My review of the new P15 power regenerator


#1

As someone who has been at the audio game since about 1976 when I had a pair of small Infinity speakers, a Mac amp, and a Phase Linear preamp, I can say that, like a lot of you, there has been a lot of gear in and out of my life.

I started years ago with the PPP (premier power plant) and it made a noticeable improvement in the sound over using nothing at all. Going to the P5 in 2012 was a nice move up, and the P10 in 2016 was noticeably better in all areas over the P5. With the P15 I expected a nice jump like the P10 was over the P5. WRONG. It was not another move up in sound, it was transformational. Audio memory is a very iffy thing because there are so many factors that come into play, but I do not recall any change I have made in years, not even moving up in speakers, that has done what the P15 has done. The sound stage is so much bigger and so three dimensional, the detail is through the roof better without being brighter or more artificially detailed like some amps and preamps might do. It is both more nuanced and more powerful. The excitement of the music is so much more palpable and the sheer joy of listening to Jen Chapin and the Rosetta Trio, Fourplay, Fleetwood Mac, Mark Knopfler, Brahms, and the others that have been played since I got this new beast is way better. It took about 48 hours for it really to get going, but boy oh boy what it has done to my system is amazing/transformational. I have not heard my system with the BHK mono blocks (have the BHK 250), so what I am going to say now may seem a bit of hyperbole, but if I had to choose between the mono blocks and no P15, or one 250 amp and the P15, I know what I would do.

After 40 years of playing in this field, I am convinced that the two most important components of a truly first-class audio system are a great listening space with proper dimensions, room treatments and speaker setup, and a power regenerator from PS Audio. For those who are reading this and say that this is not in the budget, go buy a used P5 or P10 from Audiogon (as I write this on August 6, 2018, there are a few listed). It will be the best investment in your audio (and video) system that you can make. And start saving your money so that in a few years, you can sell the P10, and get one of these magnificent creatures. You will not be sorry.

Kent Tager aka the Clothes Pen.
Thiel 3.7 speakers
BHK preamp and 250 amp
DMP player and DSD DAC


#2

Nice to hear Kent. I use no power/regen really except a Furman. Never thought about it much till I started w/ PSA gear. Thinking a used P10 or maybe P12 one day . My music sounds great now so I’m not sure what to expect. But posts like this are food for thought. Glad you can appreciate the difference…Enjoy!


#3

they are amazing devices and i highly recommend them. we do not know what we are missing until we hear and this beast really allows more of the music to come through.


#4

My guess is “my room is not set up correctly” which it probably is not or “you don’t have dedicated 15 amp lines” would be the reasons I may not hear anything. I don’t doubt you heard improvements but I think you may be in the minority. I visit a lot of pages and seems many systems from mid to mega buck don’t have re-gens. I’m not sure why. However one thing is for sure, I won’t know unless I give one a shot… So thanks again for the review.


#5

Out of curiosity, what is your THD% input?


#6

3.7% in, .1% out


#7

Thanks!

I’ve come to the conclusion that if one has > 3% THD input then they will notice a dramatic difference. My P15 had 1.7% THD and quite frankly I didn’t notice any difference.


#8

well i had a P10 and it was a big improvement over that unit.


#9

you noticed no difference between what and what. do not understand. you mean the P15 did not improve the sound of your system? did you return it?


#10

That’s correct, I sold it.


#11

thanks. i guess our systems are all so different that one size does not fit all


#12

My P15 has shown 1.5 - 1.7 % THD in (stereo) during the short time I’ve had it, but I wouldn’t live without it. When I watch movies with a pre processor and 3 additional power amplifiers, the THD in increases to more than 2%. There is a calmness/‘steadyness’ in the sound that I find more natural.

A P20 I tried at home for a week showed very similar THD values. Sinus in shown on P20:

P20_003


#13

I wonder if there is more potential in a system like yours that has multiple processors for movie watching etc? More to “clean up” so to speak. I have a 2-channel set up and am 100% digital. Very simple (by design). However I bet there are 2-channel guys with re-gens…


#14

Lots of two channel guys with Power Plants. My guess is that most Power Plants are used in two channel systems. I go back to the P300. Still saving up for a P20 to replace my P10 (which will go into my second system). Digital equipment is generally noisy by itself. Noise and power distortion can come from lots of different sources (e.g., refrigerator motors on the same circuit, air conditioners, light dimmers, etc.). Power qualify itself can be quite variable from location to location and at different times of the day. If you haven’t tried a regenerator in your system you should. You’re likely to be surprised.


#15

mine is a very simple 2 channel system with playback only with the DMP player. If i had gone from no power plant to the P15, i would have expected to be “blown away”. the fact that I went from the P10 and was “blown away” tells me there is a lot more here than just measuring the ins and outs of THD. The sound is just much more real and alive than before.


#16

Agreed Kent. I guess it would be incorrect to state specs have nothing to do with musicality, but in my experience, they have very little to do with it.


#17

I agree. the numbers are just a guideline. I sell clothing for a living and people always think that if the thread count is higher, then it is a better fabric. that is not always the case as there are other variables. For years solid state amps “measured” better than tube amps, but mostly sounded worse.


#18

True, but an analogy which would have never occurred to me. Thanks!


#19

After spending thousands on upgrading sources, amps, speakers etc, the biggest single improvement i have ever had was plugging everything into the P15.
Don’t care for all the numbers too much but know what my ears hear and am now a total believer that these Power Plants should be a must if you want to get the best out of your system.


#20

Not having dedicated lines would most likely make a bigger difference than with dedicated lines.
With dedicated lines there are no lights or any other noise generating devices plugged in to that circuit. I still use a P300, with my preamp, transport, DAC, and tuner. Everything in the front end is plugged in to a Dectet and amp in to a PSA Duet.
Over the years I have come to the conclusion that everything matters in a decent audio system. From the obvious, to various tweaks. On their own they may not seem like much of an improvement, but they are cumulative. There are numerous recipes and descriptions on building room treatments. Tips for speaker placement, not everything requires a big expenditure.
And either through a known dealer, or from PSA, Music Direct, or Audio Advisor you can do an in home demo. With PSA, you can get great trade in deals, and no hassle returns.
If my finances changed there would be a P20, and a P15 on order asap.