In my two channel system, only the source components and line level and phono preamps are connected to an AC regenerator. Those components only represent a 110 watt load. One might assume that there would not be an audible difference between the P5 and the more powerful P10 AC regenerators since the P5 was only being utilized at 14% of capacity. The P10's extra goodness might be considered as wastefully indulgent overkill. What good would more headroom do on top of the already extravagant amount of headroom provided by the P5?
That might have been a valid question if music signals weren't full of transients that require large amounts of power to reproduce cleanly and accurately. The P10 has 20% more continuous power, 25% more peak power and 40% more peak current than the P5. I am well aware of the benefit of extra power headroom for power amplifiers. I was surprised at the difference that the P10's extra headroom made in the performance of my low power source components and preamps.
Table 1. PerfectWave P5 and PerfectWave P10 Differences
Figure 1. Time's up...Sonny's home.
Figure 2. The P10 is a huge hunk of metal like PS Audio's earlier power plants.
Figure 3. Upgrade Power Port Premier outlets and a changeable fuse! Just two reasons why the P10 makes
Such Good Sound.
Figure 4. HiFi Tuning Supreme fuses.
After the P5 was burned in, the power line fuses on the preamps and SACD player were changed to HiFi Tuning's new Supreme fuses. The P10's fuse was changed at the 80 hour mark. As with the P5, the P10's output total harmonic distortion while idling began fluctuating between 1% and 2% after the HFT fuse was installed. Output THD at idle was a steady 2% prior to the fuse change. Based on other reports from P10 owners who switched to HFT fuses and who also upgraded from the P5, I was not expecting the fuse change to make as big a difference in the P10 as it did in the P5. I thought that the HFT fuse brought a higher degree of improvement in the P10's clarity, detail and image weight than it did in the P5. There was also the additional benefit of an increased sense of layering and holography between images. As with the P5, the sound was best with the arrow pointing in the "wrong" direction (toward, rather than away from, the point at which AC enters the fuse socket).
Burn In Procedure-Pain Before Pleasure
I followed essentially the same protocol as with the P5: a 300 hour burn in period with varying load conditions from 12% to 106%. The 106% load condition came about when I connected my entire two channel system, including both high-biased Parasound Halo JC 1 power amps, to the P10. This was done at the 51 hour mark...just for fun. I expected the P10 to shut down when the second JC 1 was turned on, but it didn't. I let the system play at 90 dB-C for 30 minutes before I took the JC 1's off the P10. With an overload of 106% for 30 minutes, the heat sink temperatures rose to 95 degrees F. The idle temperature with a 110 watt (12%) load is 92 degrees F.
With both JC 1's on the P10, the sound was grainy with diminished dynamics and pace. Putting the left JC 1 back on the wall reduced the load to 56% and the grainy sound shifted to the right. I tried the source components and preamps on the P5 and both JC 1's on the P10. This resulted in a load of 88% on the P10. The grain and constricted dynamics were still there, though not to the degree as when the entire system was running off the P10.
The burn in experience with the P5 had taught me not to expect sweet sound right off the bat. However, I was unprepared for the crushed sound stage that resulted when I replaced the fully burned in P5 with the brand new P10. The sound stage shrank to a five foot wide by two foot high area centered about the top of the equipment cabinet. At the end of Sheila E's "Writes of Passage" CD, there is an outro piece titled "Train Agoin'" that consists of heavy electronic drum beats and the sound of a "choo choo" train that travels from left to right beginning at the left wall (three feet from the left speaker) and just under the top edge of the speaker (five feet up). The train sound moves across the sound stage and fades away at a point seven feet from the edge of the right speaker. I always get a kick out of seeing people's heads follow the train as it moves from far left to far right, with the inevitable question "how does it do that?". The new, un-burned in P10 didn't have the train floating near the top of the speakers. It put the train firmly along the top of the equipment cabinet and confined to the area between the speakers. I experienced a moderate amount of sound stage width reduction with the pre-burned in P5, but no height reduction. The sonic changes throughout the burn in procedure are summarized in table 2.
Table 2. P10 Sonic Changes Throughout Burn In
Figure 5. PS Audio recommends the use of isolation devices to reduce mechanical vibration. Left to right: Black Diamond Racing Mark 4 carbon fiber cones, 1.5" aluminum cones, 3/4" aluminum cones.
I use three Black Diamond Racing Mark 4 cones under my turntable and SACD player. Under the P10, the BDR cones increased bass weight but also blurred bass detail. Overall detail was also slightly softened. The small aluminum cones increased bass weight, speed and slam and increased image weight at the sides of the sound stage with no detrimental effects. The large aluminum cones were previously used with the Power Plant Premier AC regenerator. They worked as well as the small cones, but were a little too tall as they only left 1/2" of clearance above the P10.
Figure 6. While I was on my power accessory binge, I bought a few Soloist Premier SE in-wall conditioners
Sine wave and noise spectrum (Fast Fourier Transform) plots were made with a Tektronix 2012 digital oscilloscope. It is easier to see the differences in the FFT plots if you save them to your computer and view them in succession. These plots are from a fully burned in P5 (over 600 hours of use) and a new P10. The P10 shows a lower amplitude, flatter and less dense noise spectrum.
Figure 7. Sine wave plot of AC power signal from end of PS Audio AC-12 power cable connected to a
PS Audio Soloist SE in-wall power conditioner.
Figure 8. Sine wave plot of AC power signal output of P5 AC regenerator.
Figure 10. Sine wave plot of AC power signal output of P10 AC regenerator.
Figure 11. FFT plot of AC power signal from end of PS Audio AC-12 power cable connected to a PS Audio
Soloist SE in-wall power conditioner.
Figure 12. FFT plot of AC power signal output of P5 AC regenerator.
Figure 13. FFT plot of AC power signal output of P10 AC regenerator.