Power Conditioning Shootout: Plixir BAC 150 vs. iFi iPurifier AC vs. Jackery Explorer 240

A few months ago, I installed Powerline networking in my home in an effort to get reliable internet out to my garage. Although it worked well for its intended purpose, it also introduced nasty AC noise into my stereo. Thus began a search for the best way to clean up dirty AC.

As I wrote in a previous post (and video), I found that the inexpensive iFi iPurifier AC did a good job of solving my problem.

But I was curious to know how other systems would work as well. And more than that, I wanted to know which system would work best not just for solving obvious problems, but which could make my stereo sound better under “normal” conditions.

I spent all day yesterday making a video that does four things:

  • Replicates my Powerline networking “torture” test with the three contenders below
  • Tests whether these noticeably reduce hum from a 110V AC LP12 motor
  • Repeats the AC torture test with a tube guitar amp
  • Summarizes (well, if fifteen minutes is a summary!) the hifi listening test you can read more about below.

This post and the video thus work in tandem. I invite you to consult them in whichever order you prefer!

tl;dr

This is another one of those insanely long posts of mine. Allow me to very quickly summarize what I explain in much, much greater detail in the video and the rest of the post.

If you have serious AC problems, like annoying noise coming from a Powerline internet device, the iFi units are the best, cheapest way to eliminate them, from the options I tried. The Plixir also did a good job with this. The Jackery’s AC is itself noisy, and it seems to be susceptible to RFI, so I wouldn’t recommend it.

If you don’t have serious AC problems and just want to make your music sound better, I found that the Plixir did this best (and very well). On certain tracks, like Little Scream’s “The Heron and the Fox” and Kraftwerk’s “Comet Melody 2,” it brought out textures, clarified the stereo image, and provided added kick. The iFi and (especially) the Jackery made things sound considerably worse than regular AC power.

One nuance I will provide is the following: when the Jackery and iFi were only powering my phono preamp and turntable PSU, they did sound better than regular AC — but even then, they weren’t as good as the Plixir, and their performance was inconsistent. But my tube-powered Mjolnir 2 headphone amp sounded awful plugged into either the Jackery and iFi.

So:

  • The iFi works best for solving noisy AC
  • The Plixir works best for making music sound better.

And then a proviso. I am comparing three totally different approaches to power conditioning here. I have not tested any other balanced power units, so while I love the Plixir for audio, it’s the only device of its kind I have ever heard.

The contenders

This shootout isn’t so much about comparing three direct competitors as comparing three distinct approaches to power conditioning. Of course, each approach can be implemented in various ways — but I’ve only got one of each.

Plixir Elite BAC 150 Balanced Power Conditioner

Retails for $899 CDN (about $650 USD) via The Gramophone in Edmonton.

Plixir have a very detailed discussion of balanced AC on their very snazzy website. The BAC 150 I have uses a tried-and-true design, using a big isolation transformer to isolate the power your equipment sees from the electrical grid. As for the “balanced” part — as I clumsily explain in the YouTube video, standard North American power receptacles have a 0V pin, a 120V pin, and then the earth pin. The balanced transformer switches this up to -60V and +60V (leaving the earth alone), in order to cancel out noise. As Plixir explain on the linked page,

Mains AC noise is reduced by the isolating nature of the transformer, enhanced by the balanced design, which increases the common mode noise rejection. At the same time, the balanced design elegantly places its output’s live and neutral voltage at equal and opposite potential to the earth. Thus the earth now becomes a true null point and equipment powered with it will contribute very little leakage current and noise to the Earth, from their power supply sources

Here’s another, more technical explanation from the website of Plitron, a transformer manufacturer based here in Toronto. (Note that the Plixir uses Norwegian-made Noratel transformers):

The Balanced Power concept consists of a 1:1 isolation transformer (ie 120 VAC In/Out) with a centre tapped secondary winding. The ‘Balance’ refers to a Bifilar wound secondary – meaning both secondary halves are wound simultaneously, turn for turn – thus each of the 60 Volt sections are mirror imaged and matched to the theoretical limit for resistance, capacitance, and inductance. Electrical theory would decree that noise mains noise referred to the secondary halves would be accurately 180 degrees opposed, offsetting, and thus self-canceling and delivered to ground.

Although there’s a lot of fancy language on the Plixir website, it’s a relatively simple (easy for me to say!) concept, and doesn’t require much more than a big balanced transformer — which is pretty much all that is inside a Plixir.

Now, my unit is a review copy, so I’m not going to mess with it. And Plixir make it very clear indeed that they don’t want you looking inside — they’ve gone so far as to slap a big ugly sticker on the top of the unit, where you’ll have to stare at it for as long as you own it (or as long as the warranty lasts, anyway!).

But I did manage to find this photo of the guts online. Like I said, not a whole lot going on inside. It’s an aluminum case, a transformer, some wires, and three receptacles (well, five in one in the photo, which is a BAC 400; three on mine).

Of course, if simple works, it works. And it’s not like quality transformers are cheap (or light!).

This Elite BAC 150 model is the cheapest in the range. It’s distributed in North America by The Gramophone of Edmonton, Alberta, who sell it for $899 CDN (at time of writing, exactly $666 USD). That’s a good price for a balanced power unit — but this one only supplies 150 watts, so it’s only appropriate for a front end (source components) or for a headphone system like the one I’m using it in. Plixir make higher-power units, but they get much more expensive. Their Elite BAC 3000V, which puts out 3000 watts, costs about $4500 USD. (But hey, that’s only $1.50 per watt, whereas the BAC 150 is $4/W!)

iFi iPurifier AC

$99 USD each, from a local dealer.

These are the units I bought to deal with the Powerline internet noise I was dealing with in my phono preamp. They run about $99 USD each; I got three because they were being offered on sale as a package by a dealer here in Canada, and because iFi recommend using multiple units together. I figured I could sell off the extras if I didn’t need them.

Like Plixir, iFi give lots and lots of details on how these work on their website. The main technology — somewhat mysteriously illustrated by a jet fighter — is “Active Noise Cancellation”, which they claim works somewhat like noise-cancelling headphones. The device apparently measures the noise in the AC and then outputs an inverse signal to cancel it. Naturally I can’t comment on any of this from a technical perspective; I am far from an expert. But I have produced some videos — including the one above — to show that it works, if not how. And, as they claim, the effect is indeed additive: with bad noise on the AC line, two work better than one, three better than two.

Jackery Explorer 240 Battery Power Station

$249 USD from Amazon.

This is the oddball of the bunch.

A few weeks ago, I was browsing pinkfishmedia.net late at night, as I often do, and came across this thread on the single most significant upgrades people had ever made to their systems. I was surprised how many of them related to power. My interest was piqued in particular by a user who reported using a battery-powered power unit like the one above. Note that these units are not audio units: they’re designed for campers or people who are worried about how to keep their fridges running during power outages. But the appeal for audiophiles is the promise of generating AC completely separately from the noisy public utility.

I’d also just watched a hilarious video about a Japanese audiophile who had gone to the lengths of creating his own AC spur. (“Electricity is like blood. If it is tainted, the whole body will be sick.”) The Jackery seemed like a much cheaper way of achieving something similar.

Now, the unit discussed on pfm was quite different from mine. His was a different brand (Goal Zero) and output much more power (1250W vs. 240W for the Jackery). But his model is no longer available, his brand is harder to find in Canada, and the 1000W+ models are both very expensive and more than I need. So it was the Jackery Explorer 240W for me, which cost me $299 USD and which has a 30 day free return policy, perfect for a curious but uncommitted person like me.

The Jackery website claims that their devices produce “pure sine wave” AC — the very same claim that the Plixir and iFi products make. In conversation with an audio friend, Si (sq225917), he pointed out that this generated AC would almost certainly be noisy, however, since it would need to be generated from the onboard batteries using complicated switching. “The battery pack will likely be packed with spurious switching noise from the reverse rectification,” he told me, with poetic assonance and alliteration. “A low noise source it ain’t.”

Something to test!

The torture tests

The first tests I conducted were a series of torture tests designed to see how the Plixir and Jackery did in comparison to the iFi devices in combatting the nasty AC noise produced by my Powerline internet system. You can see all that in the first 15 minutes or so in the video above.

I conducted these tests in my garage, where the AC noise is, for some reason, way worse than inside. It might have something to do with the way the power is actually connected out there. The AC noise is especially bad when the Powerline unit is attached to a particular outlet and my Rega Brio (sorry for the funky pronunciation in the video — of course a Canadian would call it R-eh?-ga). So naturally that’s where I hooked it up.

The results were as follows. One iFi does a good job, reducing noise by about 75%; three iFis eliminate the noise completely. They did the best in the torture tests. The Plixir also did a very good job; it’s about the equivalent of 1.5 or 2 iFis. But it wasn’t as good at eliminating nasty Powerline noise as the three iFis.

Naturally I expected the Jackery to be totally isolated from the noise produced in the AC lines by the Powerline unit. But… it wasn’t! In the video, as you’ll see, I’m very confused by this. After talking to some smart people, though, we think that what’s most likely is that the Jackery unit is more sensitive than the Plixir or the iFi to radio frequency interference (RFI) produced both by the Powerline device and also (moreso). It’s probably just picking up RFI. Remember that it’s designed to work in the woods. Jackery probably haven’t put much thought into RFI shielding.

That’s one reason that the Jackery doesn’t provide a panacea for power problems (how do you like those alliterations, Si?). The other is that the Jackery clearly introduced some extra noise of its own, probably from its “spurious switching noise.” This was particularly noticeable as a hum in the guitar amp test.

As for the AC motor noise test, I wasn’t able to notice any difference in the amount of vibration in the motor with the various power conditioners attached.

So in terms of solving serious problems with the AC, the iFi units work the best and are the best value, with the Plixir also doing a good job.

The listening tests

Having already solved my noise issues a few weeks ago with the iFi, I was much more interested in whether any of these devices could actually makae music sound better. And as I learned, solving horrible AC power issues is one thing, whereas enhancing hifi sound quality is quite another another.

I performed two sounds of listening tests.

Round One: Full-Track, Back-to-Back

For Round One, I cycled through all four power configurations (no power conditioning, Plixir, three iFis, the Jackery) on four separate test tracks. You’ll find the full listening notes below.

That’s the basic setup up there. My power strip is a Legrand/Wiremold L10320, the one recommended by Naim for years. For Round One, three things were plugged into the power strip: my Schiit Mjolnir 2 headphone amp (with Telefunken E88CC tubes), Dynavector P75 preamp (via the cheapo DC adaptor they recommend), and Mober DC PSU. I would then plug the power strip into the wall, the Plixir, or the Jackery. When I tested the iFis, I attached them as follows, which is precisely how iFi recommend doing it (with the third one wedged between digital sources (the Mober, in this case — I mean it is digital, even though it powers a turntable motor) and analogue ones.

The results from Round One were pretty clear.

The units divided into two groups, one of which sounded good, and one of which sounded bad. The good ones were “nothing” (no power conditioning at all) and the Plixir. Both of these had notably better dynamics, more detail, and clearer soundstage. On the Andrew Hill and Low test tracks, the differences between “nothing” and the Plixir weren’t massive — but on Kraftwerk and Little Scream they were very substantial. I was frankly blown away by how much kick and clarity I got from the Plixir versus regular power on these tracks. With Kraftwerk, the textures of the synths and their clarity in the soundstage were just stunning. With Little Scream, the fine details, soft textures, and the presence of Laurel Sprengelmeyer’s voice were literally goosebumps-inducing. I was very, very impressed by the Plixir. But regular power was also extremely good.

The iFi and the Jackery — not so much. Plugging in the iFis one by one, you could hear things losing their shine and sparkle, getting squashed into the centre of the soundstage and having their fine edges erased. With all three installed, it was like undoing all my LP12MF upgrades. The Jackery was similar but worse: the test tracks became like wilted asparagus, all floppy, stringy, and lifeless. It was shamefully bad. The Jackery is clearly just not an audio product. Perhaps the other battery-powered units are better, but the Jackery was so horrible that my curiosity about battery units is down to nil.

Round Two: A/B Second-to-Second Listening Tests

Round Two was slightly different. This time I did A/B comparisons against a digital source.

“A” in this case was always my usual digital setup (my Schiit Gungnir Multibit DAC attached to my Mac running Roon). The DAC was plugged straight into the wall, via a bulky orange utility extension cord, two outlets away from the outlet to which the power conditioners were attached. (Note that the iFi does seem to affect things upstream — I got the DAC as far away from everything else as I could, but the iFis may still have had some influence.)

“B” rotated between the various power conditioning setups acting on the vinyl side. I would get the two tracks going at the same time and switch back and forth, noting what relative differences the different power conditioning setups made versus the non-power-conditioned DAC.

My newly Javelinned turntable (JaveLinn LP12?), spitting Little Scream’s The Golden Record.

I used the two best-sounding tracks from Round One — “Comet Melody 2” and “The Heron and the Fox” — in two slightly different configurations.

First, I listened to “The Heron and the Fox” with the headphone amp, phono preamp, and turntable PSU all plugged into the power conditioning units. This produced identical results to Round One: regular power and the Plixir sounded good, with the Plixir a notch better than regular power; the iFi and Jackery sounded bad, with the Jackery the worst of the lot.

Next, I listened to “Comet Melody 2” with only the phono preamp and turntable PSU plugged into power conditioning; the headphone amp was now plugged into regular, non-conditioned power. This produced shockingly different results. The Jackery now sounded very good, as did the iFi, both of which were better than regular power. The Plixir was as good as the Jackery, but not better.

I then tried this same configuration with the Little Scream track. Sadly for the iFi and Jackery, they did not perform as well on this acoustic-driven track.

The takeaways for Round Two, then, were as follows. The Jackery and iFi are not good for powering headphone amplification — perhaps especially tube-driven headphone amplification. My guess is that they’d be similarly awful for any more powerful power amp, or any amp with tubes. But they do seem to provide some advantage with my phono stage and my TT PSU — though not on all tracks.

This is all very complicated. But thankfully there is a way out of of the complication. While the Jackery and iFi can sound quite good, they never sound any better than the Plixir in any configuration, and the Plixir sounded excellent in every configuration.

So if you were going to buy one of these units for pure audio reasons, there is no question that it would be the Plixir.

Listening Notes: Round One

Low, “Monkey” (from The Great Destroyer, Sub Pop SP 643, 2005)

No Power Conditioning. Moderate P75 hiss. No sign of the powerline internet. Probably won’t be there with the others, so I won’t note it unless I hear it for some reason. Well it sounds very good. The screech hits hard, the bass is very deep and powerful. Acoustic instruments are sharp and precise against the heavy, deep analog synth and kick drum. Cymbals are a little squishy. Some sibilance. There is a scratchy quality to the vocals, a slight fuzziness or distortion, they’re a bit out of focus — which is funny, because the rest of everything is really sharp and crisp — especially the contrast of the acoustic instruments against ann the deep/heavy sounds. Aside from that, yes, the squishy crash cymbals are the only thing I’m not loving about this track. 

3 iFis. Very slight reduction of P75 hiss as I plugged them in (only noticeable on the first one). This sounds different. I think the soundstage is less clear. There is less high end hiss on the cymbals, maybe a little less confusion when things get loud, but also less snap, less drive, less fine detail. Sibilance is still there. This doesn’t sound as good — not exciting, no wow factor, no audio thrills! All a bit squashed. Am I being influenced by the fact I’ve read that active power conditioners remove dynamics? 

Plixir.  I actually do hear a weird hum when I first power this on, but then it goes away. Oh, that’s just the tubes 🙁 Way better than the iFi configuration. The intro screech is sharp, the drums are round and powerful, the acoustic guitars are way more detailed. There is a lot more bass with this setup. The cymbals are smoother and more pleasant. Main difference is the drive of the toms and the detail on the acoustic guitars. Okay, a bit of edge on those cymbals, still — a little harsher than I’d like. 

Jackery. Just the startup hum from the tubes, then same as always. Lots of bass but obviously less focus than with the Plixir. Quite hissy and tizzy on the cymbals. This is probably the worst of the lot, though it sounds the most like the iFi. The fuzziness/distortion is there. The acoustic guitars are not as focused. Very hissy/tizzy on the really loud cymbal part. Not pleasant, alas 🙁

Little Scream, “The Heron and the Fox” (from The Golden Record, Secretly Canadian SC236, 2011)

Jackery. A bit fuzzy, especially on the bass. Acoustic guitar could be crisper. Laurel’s voice sounds beautiful, as you’d expect. But the definition on the instruments is not good. A slushy quality to the vocals, to the whole soundstage. One exception: the “oooohhh” on the far left of the soundstage partway through. Mostly I just want more focus on Laurel’s voice! It’s too diffuse, too soft-focus. Brushed left/right cymbals are nicely in focus at the end of the song. What a song, though!! The next track starts with a deep kick drum: that sounds pretty good; I can feel it. 

Plixir. Oh man that is a LOT better. Beautiful focus. Laurel’s voice is right there. Gorgeous recording! Wow, the Plixir takes this up like three or four notches from the Jackery. The little rim rustle percussion on the left was straight up inaudible with the Jackery and now sounds really lovely. It’s no coincidence that when this song gave me full-body goosebumps earlier today it was powered by the Plixir. Man oh man, I’m feeling all these textures (acoustic guitar, acoustic bass) in my chest; it’s pretty remarkable. The reaction I’m having to this version of the song is a lot like how I felt when I first heard the Mober — that “sizzle.” So maybe it’s amplifying that. Or maybe the Jackery was just crushing it, and the Plixir brought it back 🙂 That kick drum on the next track definitely sounds several notches better with the Plixir.

3 iFi. Yep, lacking in the crisp smoothness of the Plixir, definitely. Everything is a little more soft-focus. Much better than the Jackery, but tending in the same direction. Laurel is way less in focus here. I hear the rim rustle, but it’s much less sharp, less clear. Definitely not having my little texture-fest; no feelings in the chest. The differences are a little more than I expected; and the iFi setup sounds worse than I thought it would. Thuddy bass compared to the Plixir, less sparkle on the acoustic guitars. I’ll need to mix up the order for the next round, so that I have more of a chance to compare the Plixir and (nothing), which I think are my two faves thus far…

Nothing. Haha, yes, definitely better than with the 3 iFis attached. I could hear the soundstage open up and the clarity come in, the slush recede, as I pulled them out one by one. Laurel’s voice is much more front and centre here, the textures are all crisper, the edges clearer. But my audio memory tells me that the Plixir maybe made things a little sharper still — a bit more goosebumpsy. Because while this track sounds notably very good all the way through, I’m not quite beside myself with amazement the way I was with the Plixir.

Andrew Hill, “Spectrum” (from Point of Departure, Music Matters MMBST-84167, 1965/2015)

Nothing. Very lively and dynamic. A bit of thud on the piano (just the usual RVG piano recording?) and on the bass. Cymbals are nice and sharp, though. (The thud could be because this is a 180g disc and this cart is VERY sensitive to VTA). Dolphy’s bass clarinet sounds insanely nice: incredible texture and life. When things get quiet, the focus and precision of Anthony Williams’s gentle cymbal work is gorgeous. But the bass? A bit thuddy.

Plixir. I think there might be a bit more definition and snap on the cymbals, but it’s pretty close on this one. The thuddy bass and piano are still there. The Dolphy bass clarinet is maybe even more insanely nice in terms of texture. But it’s not blowing me away or standing out like with the Little Scream. Drum definition in the quiet part does seem even better. With Blue Note stuff it’s so well recorded it sounds amazing on anything — that’s the problem 🙂

Jackery. The differences definitely aren’t as great between sources with this disc. Still, flatter here, with a lot less splash on the cymbals and less impact on the drums. The thuddiness is worse and overall this is a lot less engaging. 

3 iFi. Again, less obvious that with the other tracks, but the splash is not as good as with (nothing) or with the Plixir. Just not as engaging a listening experience. No audio thrills here, and this should really be a pretty excellent recording… 

Kraftwerk, “Comet Melody 2” (from Autobahn, Vertigo, VEL-2003, 1973)

3 iFi. Well, this is just a crazy hifi experience, I can actually feel the headphones being propelled off of my head in either direction. It’s pretty amazing. There are splats, there are screeks, there are sonic icicles, there are sonic rayguns. That’s about the limit of my vocabulary for instrumental synth music, alas. It does sound extremely good with the iFis, though. 

Nothing. Once again, as I pulled the iFis out one by one, I could hear things getting a little fuller, more open, louder. Then back to the start of “Comet Melody 2.” I think this is another example where the sound is just so well recorded that even a 10% drop in audio quality still sounds really awesome. I think I’m getting a little bit more kick and drive here than with the iFis. And clarity and separation, too. My ears have most certainly noted the difference here and prefer things without the 3 iFis. One thing I will definitely say, slightly off topic: my newly installed Tiger Paw Javelin tonearm does not lack for bass. This is pretty nuts. Extremely nice hifi experience here!

Plixir. Wowee! Okay, this recording had a little more to give. The headphones-bouncing-off-ears effect is definitely there on all devices so far, and is lots of fun. What the Plixir adds is laser focus on the lead melody synth in that part: crazy focus. And then the textures on everything else are just a little better fleshed out. I think the bass might be slamming a little harder too. You know how I feel? How George feels on Seinfeld when he eats the mango. It’s like I got a B12 shot. I think it moved.

Jackery. This is the least bad Jackery performance, but it’s still clearly way behind the others. The headphones aren’t popping against my ears; just sort of flopping. No focus on the lead melody synth in that part. I don’t know what I thought I was hearing when I first listened to this with the Jackery, but it’s not there anymore. Not anywhere close to the same league as the Plixir. Note: I’m not 100% sure, but I think there might be more hum coming from the Mjolnir 2 with the Jackery than with anything else. From the tubes, maybe? 

Listening Notes: Round Two

In this round, I’m making direct, second-to-second comparisons between the vinyl system variously power-conditioned and a non-power-conditioned DAC. My digital comparators are the Tidal version of The Golden Record and the remixed Autobahn, both CD-quality.

For this first part, digital is straight into the wall via a burly extension cord from across the room (two outlets down). Everything else is in the power distributor.

Little Scream, “The Heron and the Fox” (from The Golden Record, Secretly Canadian SC236, 2011)

Nothing. Not an absolutely massive difference here — wider soundstage and a little more space around the acoustic guitar and rim rustle on vinyl. Nicer texture and tone on Laurel’s voice — harsher, edgier on digital. Just got some very serious goosebumps once again (while on vinyl, notably). Only about 5-10% better on vinyl. Just a little off on texture and tone — most noticeable in the vocals and the little cymbal splashes at the end of the track. 

Pixlir. A bit more definition and space on the little details. Notably, both the digital and vinyl sound better, now, so the balanced power clearly works well for the headphone amp. But relative to one another, vinyl takes another little step — 10-15% better. It’s crazy how much nicer those little left/right cymbals are on vinyl now: soft, tangible…

iFi. Wow, digital is now a lot better. Everything is squished together in the soundstage, soft sounds (the rim rustle) are lost. Digital is much more open and wide here. Laurel’s voice, which already sounds a little nasal, is much more nasal than it needs to be on vinyl. I must say, it’s a little shocking that these three little devices can so quickly undo all the hard work I’ve done on this LP12MF — taking away all that detail, sizzle, excitement, texture. Digital is 15-20% better than vinyl in this configuration, so a very large deterioration. (And I bet the iFi units are still having some effect on the digital source, too, because they’re in the same room, just two outlets over…)

Jackery. This time they both sound awful, probably because the headphone amp is being fed by the Jackery. But it’s really quite pathetic on vinyl. Like a half-inflated pool toy. Just totally limp and anemic. Digital is maybe 10% better relative to the vinyl, but I do want to stress again that they both sound horrible — even the digital here is much worse than vinyl with the iFi. The Jackery is useless for audio.

Okay, for this second part digital and headphone amp are both straight into the wall via the same burly extension cord. P75 and Mober go into power conditioning.

Kraftwerk, “Comet Melody 2” (from Autobahn, Vertigo, VEL-2003, 1973)

Jackery. Wow, hey, Jackery — maybe it’s just that tubes and amplification hate you! Vinyl much, much better than digital here. Way more force and power, way more focus, way smoother, more precise. Digital is grainy with no filigree or splash. Jeez, this is pretty nuts. This is like 40%  better, AM/FM radio differences. Naturally am I dying to see if the other power conditioners sound even better than the Jackery… Or whether I’ve just been testing poor Jackery in a configuration that doesn’t make sense for him. 

Nothing. Innnnnteresting. The vinyl is better, but not nearly as much as with the Jackery. Like 20% or so. It has more high end sparkle and a bit more kick, but it’s not quite the wide texture wonderland I was experiencing with the Jackery. Hmmmm…

iFi. This definitely sounds better than with nothing ^^. Tone, high-end sparkle, width, texture. Not quite as good as the Jackery, but very good, like 30% better or. There is a slightly grating, edgy quality to the high end on vinyl now…

Pixlir. Wowzers again. This is the best, I think. Tons of bass, amazing detail, that lead synth just jumping forward and singing its heart out. Switching back and forth, I’d say it’s around 40% too, but I think it’s got a bit more more low end kick that ol’ Jackery was able to provide. Let’s very quickly go back to the Jackery to compare.

Back to the Jack. (Just continuing the track from there.) Yeah, just a bit less kick, but maybe a more spacious soundstage? Hmm, and now it is kicking pretty hard. But maybe a little too shrill on the high end? Let’s go back to Little Scream and do a Jackery vs Pixlir shootout…

Little Scream, “The Heron and the Fox” (from The Golden Record, Secretly Canadian SC236, 2011)

Jackery. Hmm, nope, sorry, Jackery — this is better than when the Jackery is also powering the Mjolnir, but it nevertheless is not good; it’s that nasal, wimpy, floppy, wrong sound. I guess Jackery just like electronic music…

Pixlir. Sounds more or less like it did before, with slightly more definition and better tone on vinyl — though I do think taking the headphone amp off of the Pixlir makes things sound a little worse. 

1 Comment

Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Tomreply
August 28, 2020 at 3:57 pm

Great review and really interesting. Did you ever plug the iFi into the Plixer? I’ve read a couple reviews about the Goal Zero being a very good solution at a much lower cost than say, something like the PS Audio regenerators. I wonder if “Pure Signwave” is actually a standard.

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