Audio Files: Can Exotic Accessories Improve Your Sound?

With accessories, the differences are debatable

The Audio Stellar Power Plant 3 retails for $2,199.
The Audio Stellar Power Plant 3 retails for $2,199.

No more noise?

Computers, power supplies and other components tend to spit noise back onto the AC line they’re plugged into. Audio components have filtering to remove this noise, but some audiophiles feel AC power needs additional filtering before it enters an audio system. Many manufacturers offer power conditioners to perform this function. Some are little more than glorified power strips, while others include filtering and voltage regulation to clean up the power.

I’ve conducted blind tests where panelists did detect subtle improvements when these devices were used, and slight differences could even be heard between different models of AC filtering products. While many of these products don’t, in my opinion, reflect a great deal of engineering effort, one that has justifiably earned the respect of many audiophiles is the PS Audio Stellar Power Plant 3. This $2,199, six-outlet power conditioner is far more sophisticated than most competitors because rather than filtering the noise from your AC power, it completely regenerates the power to provide an exceptionally stable, clean electrical source.

Brent Butterworth

Brent Butterworth has been a professional audio journalist since 1989, and has evaluated and measured thousands of audio products. He is currently a writer at Wirecutter and editor of the SoundStage Solo headphone site; served as an editor at such magazines as Sound & Vision and Home Theater; and worked as marketing director for Dolby Laboratories. He also plays double bass with several jazz groups in Los Angeles.