PS Audio Stellar PowerPlant 3 Review

September 13, 2021 § Leave a comment

There was hum in my system! It was the dreaded 60 cycle hum. So was it caused by a faulty power supply, or a power transformer too close to a high gain amplifier? No, more likely the progenitor of this problem was electromagnetic coupling somewhere in the cabling. Experimentation narrowed my search for the source back to my preamp. As a rule, if the level of hum doesn’t change with changes in volume, then the problem is likely in a power cord or interconnect. In this case, swapping the power cord greatly reduced the audibility of the hum.

Hum, buzz, and static are probably the easiest noise issues to identify, but there are others, EMI and RFI among them, much harder to sort out. This is partly because they are more difficult to pinpoint when present but, interestingly enough, are very noticeable when removed. Anyone faced with system optimization will ultimately need to address noise issues and solutions. Noise masking of program material will increase fatigue, reduce dynamic range, waste amplifier power, increase distortion, and generate unnecessary heat. Noise can alter amplitude and phase, and inject spurious frequencies.

These are just some of the things that power conditioners are, ideally, designed to deal with, some more successfully than others. Power conditioners can, while removing noise, also change the character of your system, not necessarily for the better. As with any component, it is always best to audition a power conditioner in your own system before making your purchase.

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