P20 AC Power - value in the P20 over the P15? 20A power cord?

Decided to do a major upgrade to my combination 2-channel/home theatre system. New to PS Audio but have been very impressed so far with the DS Dac for streaming. Use Furman Reference conditioners but have come to appreciate the potential value that regenerators can provide for AC quality. Since I am running 600W monos and a high power 5 channel amp I have ordered both a P20 and a P15 through my dealer. I am fortunate to have 2 dedicated 20A circuits for my system so I included a P20 but if one does not have 20A service is there value in the P20 over the P15? (other than more outputs and it looks cooler?) With this, I was surprised that PS Audio does not even offer a 20A power cord option for a $10K retail piece. Logic suggests, at least to me, one does not need to spend a fortune for the power cord for the input side of a regenerator but nonetheless it seems to be a mismatch for the units value? Not a complaint but intended as constructive feedback…

Welcome, Wade!

As long as you use a 12 gauge wire or heavier for the power cord coming from a 20 amp circuit [outlet] hooked up to your P20…there would be no issue. I agree though…a 20 amp iec would be a better option for the P20.

Tks Elk, just getting back into 2 channel and it’s amazing how many great options are out there. I’m addicted to the streaming options. As commentary, I just upgraded from 802D’s to the new Focal Scala Evo’s. Realize speakers are a matter of personal preference but the difference to me is unbelievable. Still waiting on delivery of the center channel but this speaker also seems to be a good choice for a combo system.

Congrats on the speakers Wade - i bet they sound amazing!

I’ve also been curious about 20a cables.

I recently had a dedicated 20a line installed. I am using the stock 20amp IEC that came with my Bryston BIT20. The cables from my electronics feeding into the BIT20 are all PS Audio cables - a mix of AC3, AC5 and AC12.

It doesn’t “feel” right having great cables from the electronics - and a stock cable feeding the dedicated circuit.

Wondering if getting a AQ Tornado or perhaps a Cullen 20a IEC cable for less than 1/2 the price would make a noticeable difference. hummmm…?

Hi tj,
The PS Audio guys can weigh in but my thought is that the quality of the power cable to feed a conditioner would be more important than to a regenerator so I agree with your perspective. I am not familar with the Bryston piece but I don’t believe it “repairs” the wave form?
As with all this the struggle is trying to understand the cost/benefit ratio!

I recall reading some suggestions from this communities to put you money on quality power cords between P20 and electronics; Lesser between P20 and wall or 20 amp; I went cheap and used Shunyata Venon HC 20 amp cable from music direct to connect 20amp outlet (PS audio socket) and P20, seems to work fine; I used the same cables for REL S3 subwoofers;

hi WW. correct, the BIT20 is not a regenerator.

I’ve been thinking of swapping the BIT20 out for a PS10 but I’m not convinced. My house is not far from the sub station, and the house is literally the first one from the transformer pole. I live in a reasonably small neighborhood without any industrial consumption of electricity nearby. My hunch is the waveform is fine. BUT. i’d love to hear comments from the experts about this…

You’re correct in that the Bryston does not have the ability to repair or regulate power as a regenerator can.

Any thoughts on the second part of my previous post, regarding proximity to sub station, lack of industrial users, and distance to transformer pole - and how this scenario plays out with a AC regenerator vs. Conditioner?

I’m trying to figure out if my system would benefit from AC regeneration or not - given the above. Thanks!

Paul tends to be quite busy so I’ll take a stab at your question now and he can fill us in if I missed anything once he has some time.

First off, a substation is only concerned with power distribution, not power generation. So while you are close to your distribution hub, chances are good the power still makes a long journey to get to you. This affects the quality of the power.

Regarding being first in line, that’s a benefit in some ways, though it is far from a guarantee of clean power. I’ve talked with a lot of people in a lot of different places about power, and so far no one has had perfectly stable voltage and essentially zero THD without the aid of a Power Plant.

Power companies have a much broader definition of acceptable power than audiophiles. I’d bet good money you’re getting 2-3% THD and your voltage is running hot around 121-125V.

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Thanks for this Schroedster. And not that measurements are the be all and end all but is there a way to measure this 'hot voltage’with the aid of standard tools available to an experienced electrician?

Any electrician will be able to measure voltage, though measuring THD is more of a crapshoot. Some of the advanced Fluke multimeters can do it, though I’m not sure how many electricians use them.

Yes, Scott’s right. I have never met an electrician who has the necessary equipment nor would they know what to do with it if they did. It’s not because they’re ignorant it’s just that they do not care. Their work rarely involves power quality.

The distance from the power station isn’t a big factor though the distance from the power pole/transformer matters as does the number of people sharing your power.

But, all that aside and imagining you have clean power an no neighbors you still benefit from a Power Plant. That is because of two reasons: impedance and regulation. There’s probably several hundred feet of wire connecting your home to the power transformer on the pole. That wire has resistance and when you dynamically draw power it modulates the AC line. This we can easily hear. By regulating the power out of the Power Plant we eliminate that problem regardless of how many hundreds of feet away.

If you have neighbors, and most of us do, they are dragging down the peak of your sine wave robbing you of what you need for peak performance (pun intended). The Power Plant fixes that.

Lastly, even if you were only a few feet from the power transformer a Power Plant gives you better sound because it lowers the output impedance by an easy factor of 100. It does this by storing the energy in its reserves and providing peak current in excess of 70 amps, something your 20 amp limited system can’t do.

If you want good sound you need a Power Plant.

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I think the BIT20 has impedence and peak power covered. According to the literature for the BIT20, output impedence is rated at 0.2 ohms and can deliver up to 400 amp peaks.
I still don’t fully understand the regulation aspect but will keep digging.
Thanks for all your help guys!

Ps. Paul, it sounds pretty darn good even without a power plant providing regulaton! Thx

It sounds like the BIT20 is doing a lot of things right :grin:

It definitely seems to be a good option as far as power conditioners go.

Flat topping is a problem that I’ve seen quite frequently with folks’ power, and it highlights one of the areas where regulation shines. Essentially, capacitors only charge near the peaks of the sine wave. If you and your neighbors put enough current draw on the line, it causes the top of the sine wave to be clipped off.

This means the caps in your gear are not able to charge as effectively as they would under ideal circumstances, which can have an audible impact.

If you have something like a Power Plant that tightly regulates voltage, flat topping is completely eliminated.

Guys, I’m new to the forum, and I just bought a P20, so I’ll share my experiences.

First, on voltage measurement, I use a cheap Kill A Watt meter that I bought from Amazon for around $20. And, sure enough, I’m getting 123 V in the incoming line, and I’ve seen as high as 126! The P20 confirms the 123 V reading, which is typical.

I’m located about 300 feet from a transformer, with underground power. There are five or six houses between me and the transformer; I’m the one at the end of the line.

The P20 shows what I call a clipped waveform on top and bottom. Not a hard “digital” clip, but a soft analog clip. Something is pulling down the power near the top of the cycle. My guess is that a lot of consumer switch mode power supplies are doing this, but I don’t know. I am curious if this issue shows up upstream from the transformer, but I’ll never know the answer to that one.

So, given all this, I can testify that the P20 PROFOUNDLY changed the sound of my system. There is a big increase in dynamics (which I attribute to the very low 5 milliamp output impedance of the P20), and a corresponding increase in find detail. The soundstage is much deeper than before, and the orchestral instrumental detail is stunning.

Really, I had no idea it would produce this big a change. It’s more than I heard with power cables and conditioners. Read the review in the November 2018 Stereophile. Everything Jim Austin says in there is true.

Hope this helps!



I just bought a P20 and I completely agree with Charlie.
It is awesome.

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Howdy Charlie, welcome to the forum!

Thanks for sharing, I’m glad you’re enjoying your P20 so far :+1:

Welcome Charlie. With an outlay of 10 k I would hope the sound quality would improve profoundly as you say…:wink: