iFi Audio recently lent me their “PowerStation” power bar/power distribution system. I was curious about it as I had no previous experience with power products beyond a simple power bar/wall outlet. It is a somewhat murky area, with a lot of audiophile “voodoo” type products in the space, some costing tens of thousands of dollars. iFi’s PowerStation seemed to be more inline with the simple idea of using an active (powered) system to clean up the incoming power from the wall, provide surge protection, at a fairly real world price of $799CAD (Amazon price.) There does seem to be a discrepancy in the pricing as some stores have it listed $1099CAD. I’m not sure what the current price is. EDIT: MSRP is $749USD.
The PowerStation has 8 outlets (6 in the UK and EU) as well as a ground cable input if you are having troubles with grounding.
In terms of sonic changes that I heard, there wasn’t a huge difference vs. directly from the wall. Perhaps a slightly blacker background, which allowed for slightly more detail to be heard. It is possible that the power I get from my wall isn’t incredibly noisy in the first place. I think that if you have problems with noise from your wall power, this product makes more sense, as it will certainly make a difference. Also, if you continually have problems with ground loops on multiple devices, the PowerStation could be a very simple, and convenient way of dealing with those in one go, vs using multiple ground loop solutions on individual devices.
The build quality of the PowerStation is great, and feels substantial and well built. Its chassis is made with a nice grey powder coated finish, and the outlets are black.
For a beginner or intermediate in the hobby, who is still figuring out what they like, which headphones or speakers they prefer, their amp and DAC situation etc…I wouldn’t recommend the PowerStation, especially if you aren’t hearing any noise from your power from the wall. I think it begins to make much more sense for someone who has figured out what they like, and they are fairly set with headphones and source gear decisions. Adding the PowerStation in that situation may very well bring about a blacker background, and slightly more perceived detail from your set up. Don’t forgo a better pair of headphones or better piece of source gear to budget for the PowerStation, but if you are at the tweaking your set up stage, for the best possible results, I would certainly recommend giving it a try, especially if you can hear noise from your power source, or have ground loop issues.