IFI POWERSTATION MAINS CONDITIONING BLOCK REVEALED
The iFi PowerStation mains block has just been announced.
The PowerStation is a six-way mains block that uses Active Noise Cancellation to ensure any audio or AV system is supplied with clean, consistent electricity to unlock its full potential.
If you live in an area or building hampered by poor mains quality, something that many of us living in large towns and cities have to endure, then this might be just the ticket.
Mains purity is further eroded by the abundance of cheap switch-mode power supplies in typical household appliances, also, the abundance of RFI/EMI that surrounds us and our equipment.
iFi offers several products that reduce 'noise' (distortion) from incoming electrical power – both directly from the mains or via USB ports. However, the PowerStation is the first to offer the company's proprietary Active Noise Cancellation in a whole-system, six-outlet mains solution.
The PowerStation's core performance-enhancing technology is Active Noise Cancellation II – the latest version of iFi's proprietary noise-busting tech.
Most power 'conditioning' products engage passive noise reduction through a selection of filters and regulators. While this can be effective, iFi says that it has inherent disadvantages compared to their active system, which uses inverse noise current to cancel out the noise in the mains signal. If that sounds familiar to you, it's similar to how the tech works in noise-cancelling headphones.
Noise in the mains supply occurs at different frequencies, depending on the cause. Passive noise reduction systems are effective at the top end of the frequency spectrum but tend to be less so at lower frequencies. Additionally, passive systems need large capacitors to be truly useful, making the best of those products both bulky and expensive.
Active Noise Cancelling
According to the bumpf, iFi's Active Noise Cancellation II is effective in reducing noise consistently across the entire frequency spectrum, by approximately -40dB. Furthermore, there is additional passive filtering on each outlet to eradicate noise at the very highest frequencies – typically caused by wireless transmission systems.
We are promised that result is a highly effective reduction of both differential mode noise (caused by conventional switch-mode power supplies, for example) and common mode noise (including interference caused by Wi-Fi and Bluetooth) - all from an affordable mains conditioning block.
The PowerStation's smart diagnostics system helps to avoid potential issues by indicating both correct polarity and whether the system has a ground/earth in place. The lack of an effective earth can cause an audible buzz or hum through the speakers, resulting from amplified low-level mains noise; this can be rectified by attaching an optional ground cable into Power Station's earth socket. iFi calls this circuit Intelligent Ground because it will not create a ground loop (a common cause of buzz or hum) even if the system is already earthed.
Naturally, the PowerStation also guards related equipment against spikes and surges in the mains supply. Instantaneous and repeatable protection ensures that damage will not occur as a result of power fluctuations, providing valuable peace of mind. If the protection circuit is triggered, the PowerStation will only reboot once it is absolutely safe to do so.
The PowerStation looks pretty good to us in its dark anodised aluminium case. Under the hood, each of the six mains outlets is independently isolated in its own chamber to prevent differential mode cross-contamination, with the addition of strategically placed EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) to damp vibrations.
PurCopper – a form of 99.9999% pure OFHC (Oxygen-Free High-Conductivity) continuous-cast copper – is used extensively for its superior conductivity. This includes heavy-gauge internal wiring with multi-layered polymer insulation, solid PurCopper busbars and the conductive elements of the AC outlets themselves.
We are told to expect greater clarity and definition, plus enhanced dynamic and spatial qualities thanks to the iFi PowerStation.
Price and availability
Available from August with a choice of four outlet types to suit the UK, EU, USA/Japan and Australia the PowerStation has an RRP of £499 inc. VAT.
StereoNET UK’s Editor and Bass playing gadget junkie. He’s captained the good ship GadgetyNews for over a decade, making low jargon high tech a very handy thing. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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