From the Washington Post
By the time he noticed the "refrigerator problem," Hugh Campbell had spent four years and a fortune building his stereo system, one super-sleek gizmo at a time. He bought a pair of handcrafted loudspeakers, each more than five feet tall. He bought a CD player, a preamplifier, two amplifiers, a digital-analog processor and a tuner - - all gorgeous boxes of brushed steel and blinking red diodes.
The system cost $140,000. The cables alone -- just the wires that connect the various components -- set him back a little more than the price of a new Volkswagen Jetta. Altogether the thing weighed more than 1,000 pounds, much of it perched on a stand fitted with a special air bladder to reduce vibrations and improve fidelity. In his modest house in McLean, Campbell pointed the speakers to a spot in the middle of his living room, then carefully positioned his favorite leather chair so the music of Bach and Mahler caromed off at the precise height of his ears.
Great, he thought. But not perfect. Every time the refrigerator kicked on, it swallowed a little gulp of electricity, which, he believed, degraded the sound of his stereo ever so slightly.
Ignore it? Unplug the fridge? No way. Campbell headed back to the store and purchased a pair of power regenerators, which smooth out the electricity coming from the wall socket, and send it in a steady flow straight to his stereo system. Price: $4,000.
"As soon as I put them in, it was really noticeable," says Campbell, who is 71 years old, gray-haired and almost always smiling. "I just thought, this is very much better. There's no going back."
Further description of thses folks
It's a fetish worth about $300 million a year to a handful of hi- fi companies with names you've never heard, like Conrad-Johnson and Sera. This planet has its own magazines, its own gurus, its own language, partisans and proselytizers, heretics and cranks. They listen and spend, then listen and argue, then listen some more and argue some more. They are experts on electricity. They think your cell phone is ruining their sound. They're certain your $950 Toshiba with the six-CD changer is junk.
This is Mark Levinson speaking:
"It's an industry based on abuse, greed and arrogance. It takes advantage of people who love music. Don't glorify this business."
In the middle of an interview Mark suddenly announces that CDs are harmful to people. Harmful? As in physical harm?
"Yes, they adversely affect humans," he says.
"I can't really go into it," he says. "We'll have a press conference about it soon."
Back to Hugh:
So is this it? Is Campbell done with his buying? Hardly. Having solved the refrigerator problem, having purchased the finest Mark Levinson out there, the war against vibrations is just getting started.
"The next thing to do is put the sandboxes under the two power supplies back there," he says earnestly. "I've been told by people who've done it that it's really quite a nice improvement."