To an audiophile, there’s no such thing as ‘too expensive’ if it means an upgrade to their setup could improve their listening experience. And in Japan, some acoustic connoisseurs are now installing their own utility poles, with custom transformers, to ensure all of their audio gear is getting the purest power possible.
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The Wall Street Journal spoke to Takeo Morita, a retired lawyer in Japan with a personal sound system that already includes a $US60,000 ($78,117) amplifier, gold and silver cables and other gear that will put your bundled iPhone earbuds to shame. But with audiophiles there’s always room for improvement, and he realised that electromagnetic interference from his neighbours’ appliances was propagating through their shared power lines, reducing the quality of the sound he was getting.
The solution was to receive power more directly from his local power grid, which required the installation of his own private utility pole. With upgraded wiring, a better transformer and an improved circuit breaker, the upgrade can run close to $US40,000 ($52,078), not including what your local power company decides to charge you for the privilege of private power.
But to Morita, and other audiophiles in Japan, who believe they’re now hearing so much more of their favourite albums thanks to the cleaner power feeding their sound systems, it’s not a question of whether or not they can afford these upgrades — it’s how soon can these private utility poles be installed?