Japanese audiophiles are so obsessed with perfect sound quality that they not only invest tens of thousands of dollars in high quality audio technology, but also install private utility poles to makes sure their setups have enough electricity to work perfectly.
There is currently no definitive proof that having your very own utility pole and an ample amount of electricity makes any meaningful difference on sound quality, but die-hard audiophiles insist that they are critical for a pure audio experience. “Electricity is like blood. If it is tainted, the whole body will get sick,” Takeo Morita recently told the Wall Street Journal. “No matter how expensive the audio equipment is, it will be no good if the blood is bad.” He recently paid around $10,000 to have a concrete utility pole installed in his yard. It comes complete with his own personal transformer, which feeds power more directly from the grid.
Photo: Yukio Yoshihara
Installing a personal utility pole might sound like a waste of money to most people, but Japanese audiophiles are apparently a very special breed. Most of them insist that sharing a pole with neighbors means putting up with electrical interference, a “noise” that makes subtle notes inaudible and the overall sound flatter, whenever they use any gadgets in their homes. A personal pole eliminates such problems, making any music sound much better.
62-year-old Yukio Yoshihara always thought his expensive audio system sounded much better at night, when neighbors weren’t using their appliances, and after asking electricians to assess the quality of power in his home, he knew he had to invest in a personal utility pole. “I found out just how polluted the power supply was,” he told WSJ. He ended up paying $40,000 for a custom setup, complete with a new circuit-breaker panel and wiring.
Photo: Yukio Yoshihara
Now he says his favorite classic music sounds completely different. “It sounded so fresh and vivid, like they were playing in front of my eyes,” he claims. His wife, on the other hand, couldn’t tell the difference. “It’s completely beyond my understanding,” 57-year-old Reiko said. “But if I take it away from him, he will lose the motivation to live.”
Izumi Denki Corp. installed Mr. Morita’s private utility pole and 40 others across Japan in the last decade, but it’s definitely bot the only company catering to this very unique niche. Japanese magazine “Power Sources & Accessories” also specializes in power sourcing for audio equipment, including private utility poles for audiophiles.