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iFi Audio PowerStation and AC iPurifiers

iFi Audio PowerStation and AC iPurifiers

iFi Audio is best known for its several successful families of high-tech and high-value personal audio electronics products, but what is perhaps not so widely recognised is that the firm also make a host of innovative cables, accessories, and power products. This review will focus on two of iFi’s most significant power products: the recently released PowerStation power conditioning and power distribution module (£499, $499 US) and the firm’s clever, modular AC iPurifier devices (£99, $99 US, each). Let’s start with the AC iPurifier.

iFi’s AC iPurifier is a small, cylindrical, plug-in mini-power conditioner that plugs directly into AC outlets. Versions are available for use with UK (via adaptor), EU, and US AC sockets. Each AC iPurifier uses iFi’s distinctive Active Noise Cancellation circuitry, says iFi, to reduce noise on the AC mains and “to rid your system of electromagnetic interference (EMI) or radio-frequency interf­erence (RFI).” Further, the AC iPurifier can detect polarity and/or earthing problems, which are shown via two multicolour ‘go/no go’ indicator lights mounted on the face of the unit (green means go, while red means trouble). There is also a 4mm banana-sock for purposed of adding supplemental earthing wires if desired. Finally, the AC iPurifier provides surge suppression to a maximum of 30,000A @ 1,000V/10ųS.

Basically the PowerStation leverages more expansive versions of the noise reduction technologies found in the AC iPurifier. The PowerStation looks like a cross between an oversized conventional AC power strip and a stealth fighter as it sports an angular, matt grey-anodised aluminium enclosure with multiple AC outlets on top and a wedge-shaped ‘nose’ on one end. Japanese and US-specification units provide eight AC outlets, while UK, EU, and AU versions offer six outlets. A device that looks much like an AC iPurifier protrudes from a recess in the wedge-shaped nose of the unit, complete with its own set of ‘go/no go’ polarity and earthing indicator lights, plus a banana socket for supplemental earthing. The opposite, squared-off end of the PowerStation provides a power switch and an IEC inlet for the unit’s primary mains cord.

 

All PowerStation outlets are isolated from the others, while internal wiring features heavy 13AWG PurCopper (99.9999% pure OFHC/OCC) conductors. The PowerStation’s signature feature, however, is iFi’s Active Noise Cancellation2® system designed to cancel “all incoming noise… …by generating a signal identical to the noise signal but in the exact opposite phase.” iFi says this active system removes noise in the “high kHz and low MHz ranges,” while a passive filter section tackles noise in the “high MHz range.” iFi claims its active-plus-passive noise reduction systems are far more effective than competing systems offering passive filtration only, enabling the PowerStation to address a wider range of noise frequencies (including noise from the AC mains, switch-mode power supplies, and digital circuitry), with noise floor reductions of > 40dB. Like the AC iPurifier, the PowerStation provides surge protection.

iFi suggests that the PowerStation works well in its own right, but works even better when used with one or more AC iPurifiers. I tried both configurations in my high-resolution reference headphone system and found that adding the AC iPurifiers yielded substantial sonic benefits. I obtained my best results by plugging two AC iPurifiers into the middle (number 4 and 5) power outlets of my 8-outlet US-spec PowerStation.

I approached listening tests with a healthy dose of scepticism and was surprised by the nature and magnitude of the sonic improvements the PowerStation/AC iPurifiers wrought. Backgrounds were as quiet or quieter than those achieved with other (more costly) conditioners I have tried, but the really significant gains came in the form of deeper levels of textural and transient details in the music that the iFi components unlocked suddenly —the sonic equivalent of ‘zooming in’ to get a better/sharper view of onscreen images on a computer.

What drove home this point for me was listening to the title track from John Adler’s Confronting Inertia [Origin Classical, 16/44.1], which is a composition for solo trumpet and piano. I have played this track dozens of times, but with the PowerStation engaged I was floored by how much deeper, clearer, and harmonically rich the voices of the trumpet and piano sounded, and by how much more focused the reverberant acoustics of the recording space became. Better still, I heard similar benefits on one recording after another.

I recommend the iFi PowerStation and AC iPurifiers for the simple reason that they help unlock more music for less money than other competing power conditioners I have tried. You cannot say fairer than that.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

iFi PowerStation

Type: Multi-outlet AC power conditioner with both active noise cancellation and passive noise filtration

AC Outlets:

US and Japan models: Eight outlets

UK, EU, and AU models: Six outlets

Operating voltage range: 90V–265V

Noise reduction: Active Noise Cancellation2® system (addresses noise frequencies from the high kHz to low MHz range)
Passive Noise Filtration system (addresses noise frequencies from the low MHz to high MHz range) > 40dB

Surge suppression: Maximum 30,000A @ 1,000V/10ųS

Other: Auto-detects and displays problems with AC polarity or earthing

Dimensions (H × W × D): 76mm × 96mm × 478mm

Weight: 1.98kg

Price: £499 UK, $499 US

iFi AC iPurifier

Type: Mini AC power conditioner with active noise cancellation that plugs directly into an AC outlet

Operating voltage range: 90V–265V

Noise reduction: Active Noise Cancellation system > 40dB

Surge Suppression: Maximum 30,000A @ 1,000V/10ųS

Other: Auto-detects and displays problems with AC polarity or earthing

Dimensions (Diameter × D): 

US-spec: 40mm × 105mm

EU-spec: 40mm × 115mm

Weight: 126g

Price: £99 UK, $99 US

MANUFACTURER INFORMATION

iFi Audio

Balmoral Lodge, 139–141 Cambridge Road,

Southport, PR9 7LN United Kingdom

URL: ifi-audio.com

US Distributor

iFi Audio (USA)

105 Professional Parkway, Suite 1502, Yorktown, VA 23693 USA

Tags: FEATURED

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