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Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo boost, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz Hifi, Tidal Hifi, COS Engineering D1, Denafrips Terminator, Soundaware D300Ref as USB bridge/SD transport, Jay's Audio CDT2 MkII
Preamplifier: Nagra Classic, Wyred4Sound STP-SE Stage II, COS Engineering D1, Vinnie Rossi LIO (AVT module)
Power & integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs XA30.8; FirstWatt SIT1 monos, F5, F6, F7; Goldmund/Job 225; Wyred4Sound mINT; Nord Acoustics NC500 monos; LinnenberG Audio Liszt monos
Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; Cube Audio Nenuphar; Kroma Audio Mimí; Albedo Audio Aptica; EnigmAcoustics Mythology 1; Boenicke Audio W5se; Zu Audio Druid V, VI & Submission; German Physiks HRS-120; Eversound Essence
Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL 3000; Zu Event; KingRex uArt double-header USB cables; Tombo Trøn S/PDIF; van den Hul AES/EBU; AudioQuest Diamond glass-fibre Toslink; Black Cat Cable redlevel Lupo; Ocellia OCC Silver
Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps/sub
Equipment rack: Artesania Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands
Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators
Room: 4 x 6m with high gabled beam ceiling opening into 4 x 8m kitchen and 5 x 8m living room, hence no wall behind the listening chairs
Review component retail: €1'450 with 2m mains cord
Puritans. They wear hair shirts. They whip themselves. They're sour on the sweet. They don't know how to have fun. Halleluja?
Maybe yes, maybe no. Take today's puritan. He is one Mike Lester of Puritan Audio Labs in the UK's shire of Oxford. That friendly chap frets over your power-line hygiene—no fun at all—so you'll enjoy better sound. Admit it, that's mega fun every day of the week and more so on Sundays. I'd call that a splendidly agreeable division of labor. And lester you think that he'll charge you dearly for handling the boring dweeb stuff going on in the dark behind your equipment rack, his best AC line conditioner with 1m power cord sells for £1'450. By itself, the same mains lead with 20-amp IEC plug goes for just £75 for the metre. £130 takes four. Metres. That includes keeping its ground leg clean with "proprietary dissipative technology" and the multi-shielded assembly slinky like a contortionist.
So whilst some puritans we certainly don't wish to hang with, Mike Lester seems a rather different sort. Having met him on the open floor of Munich's alternate show venue of the Marriott hotel, I watched his informative demo in person and felt that our readers would want to know more. A week later, here we are. All six 15A outlets of his PSM156 include DC filtering which eliminates buzzing transformers and has them work at top efficiency. All six outlets filter for common and differential mode noise from 30kHz up into the GHz range and do so across a claimed 52 cumulative stages. Where many line filters view safety earth as a cost-free land fill to dump noise into without sonic punishment, here we get an "integral earth management system with cleansed ground and star earthing to further lower the noise floor". Finally there's 9'000A of surge protection and an electrically and magnetically shielded casing of 43 x 23 x 11cm WxDxH.
If all of it smacks of perhaps a tad too much common sense and not enough madness, in an industry whose premier annual show at Munich's M.O.C. caters to more and more über-priced trophy hifi for the nouveau riche in Asia and Russia who don't know better yet, I'd agree. It's why I solicited this review in the first place. If Mike's very best did the business on revealing hifi systems, it'd free up more of our discretionary funds for the shiny really fun stuff that goes into not behind the rack. Let's give this a whirl then, shall we?
If £1'450 is out of your range, Mike's very similar PSM136 in the video goes for £995. His power strip purifiers with six power sockets start at £545 for the standard version and go to £675 with integral DC filter. Purist versions of those apply zero AC filtering but a cleaned start earth. If you wish to install grounding cables between your gear's chassis and the ground post of your power filter/strip, those go for £1/m in 2.5mm² flavour and £5.50/m in 16mm² strength.
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