Power Plant Premier "First" Impression


#1

I’ve owned my Power Plant Premier for over 10 years now and its been a bit of a rollercoaster, love/hate relationship. A few years into ownership, but after warranty expiration, it developed the clicking-of-death and was eventually sent back to Colorado for repair. I’ve always been a fan of the power regenerators, going back to the P600 which also succumbed to a failure, but I foolishly got rid of it in a move from MA to CA.

Four years ago, along came my first child and for numerous reasons (overly paranoid baby-proofing, dedicated media room becoming a revolving door guest bedroom, etc) I radically simplified and minimized my media room equipment setup, including the removal of the PPP from the system.

Over the intervening years, the PPP has sat, unplugged, in my media cabinet collecting dust, and I have been slowly re-adding equipment and rekindling the passion for great sounding audio (reading Paul’s Posts and these forums are primary culprits for that!), capped off by my first audio show attendance last week and hearing some really good systems at the LA Audio Show.

Fast forward to this week… I finally decided to dust off the PPP to see if it was working (my faulty memory was telling me that it had begun clicking again when I removed it from the system) and get the unit sent back to Colorado for any needed repairs.

I put the PPP back into my system on Tuesday, June 6th, D-Day, which I mark with a marathon rewatching of HBO’s Band of Brothers on Bluray. I was 6 episodes into Band of Brothers when I reinstalled the PPP. As a side note, I work from home, so I was in my media room with laptop out, working away and wasn’t really watching with any sort of focused attention.

I was happy to find that the PPP powered up and appeared stable, 3% THD / 124 volts input and 0.3% / 119 volts output. I returned to watching episode 7 of Band of Brothers, The Breaking Point, and also returned to working on my laptop.

However, I began to notice a lot of distractions while working, causing me to look up and around the room. A cough from a soldier far to the side of the image. The rustling of silverware during an outdoor dinner meal. The shuffling of papers. The crack of a tree branch being stepped upon.

Holy Cow! I was noticing and hearing all sorts of sonic detail that I hadn’t been hearing in the other episodes. I am so glad I finally decided to return the PPP to service as I’d forgotten just how good things can sound with clean power feeding things! Note that I didn’t make any other changes to my system, other then to plug a few things into the PPP, and was listening at the same volume level setting. I think my jaw is still laying on the floor in my media room. :slight_smile:

Prior to reinserting the PPP, everything was plugged into a PSA Juice Bar with Punch power cable plugged into a Power-Port outlet. Equipment in use: Anthem MRX-300 AVR, Pioneer 60" plasma TV, Sony BDP-5100 bluray player, Logitech Squeezebox Duet receiver, Amazon FireTV, Motorola STB DVR with B&W Matrix 804/HTM/805 speakers and Meridian M2500 powered-sub.

I have the PPP plugged into a standard outlet, using another Power Punch cable, with only a few sources connected to it: the MRX-300 to Zone 5, DVR and Squeezebox to Zone 1/2, and bluray and FireTV to Zone 3/4.

I can’t believe I had so fully forgotten how good my modest system can sound and am excited to continue making it even better. Perhaps I need to dust off my old Meridian 588 amp, Meridian 596 CD/DVD or Sony S9000 SACD player and see how they’re doing… And now I’m also thinking about the new Stellar GCD to step up my two-channel game and digital music streaming. :slight_smile:

Best Regards,

Dan W.


#2

Good news Dan! The PPP is a great little performer. I guess I was lucky: I never had problems with mine. I went to a P5 and then a P10 and my PPP is in a second, little-used system feeding a TV for the wife and a universal player into a headphone amplifier for my use. I know that it is helping make that system as enjoyable as it is!


#3

Welcome back to the wacky world of audiophilia! I know what you mean about how having kids kind of changes things for this hobby. When I bought the house we are in now, one of the things I was looking for was a good room for my audio stuff. So we bought it and all was well at the time as we had only me, my wife and one child. 6 years later our second child was born and I was forced to re-purpose my audio room as a rather large extra bedroom. Like you all my equipment got stored away and collected dust. had to make due with a modest system in my BR. That took a while to get my wife to agree to. But then, very slyly, I began incorporating kit from the main system to the bedroom system. A piece here, a piece there over the years was slowly added to the BR system culminating with my original speakers (Magnepan 1.6) being the last piece to get the “OK”. Unfortunately for me maggies have a delamination problem that happens to them over time so I had to figure out how to get that rectified which I did. Audiophilia is definitely like a bug that once you catch it there is no cure. If I had to try to explain to someone who was not so afflicted I doubt they would understand. Am I crazy? Probably, but being an audiophool is like being on a great ride that you never have to get off. (If you have an understanding spouse) Anyway welcome back and take a good look around things are changing faster and faster nowadays. Thanks to some special companies like PS Audio us non Rockefellers get a chance to ride too!


#4
Euphonite said Am I crazy?
Any takers? giggle_gif

#5
lonson said

Good news Dan! The PPP is a great little performer. I guess I was lucky: I never had problems with mine. I went to a P5 and then a P10 and my PPP is in a second, little-used system feeding a TV for the wife and a universal player into a headphone amplifier for my use. I know that it is helping make that system as enjoyable as it is!


What have you found the sonic differences between the PPP and the current models to be?

#6

For me, a more relaxed, effortless, open sound. Less forced/strained, yet quicker.


#7

Another question (probably not worth a thread): Does sonic nature of power cord from wall to power plant matter if there’s regeneration?


#8

Absolutely.


#9
highstream said

What have you found the sonic differences between the PPP and the current models to be?

Elk said

For me, a more relaxed, effortless, open sound. Less forced/strained, yet quicker.


My impressions are similar to Elk’s. When you experience the P5 and P10 you realize that there’s a ‘signature’ to the PPP that the others don’t have, a feeling of compression and congestion that disappears with P5 and then with P10 a huge sense of headroom and “openness” to the sound. Plus on the PPP I just could not use Multi-wave, it was like the difference of real maple syrup and Mrs. Butterworth, with Multiwave being Mrs. Butterworth. With the P10 I sometimes run Multiwave at “1”. . . and enjoy it. There is also a lot of excellent sound possible with the two modes, “High Regulation” and “Least Distortion”–toggling between these two modes with my tube amplifier is like having two different amplifiers (perhaps in part because my amp has tube voltage regulators, separate, for input and output tubes). With the P10 I can hear every tube or cable change more clearly and specifically than I could with the P10.

There’s just more to love with the P5 and even more with the P10, but I’d not want to be without a PPP if that was all that I could afford (as it was for me for years).


#10

Thanks for the description. Cost is a consideration. The lowest I’ve seen a used P5 go for recently is $1500 and that was snapped up. PPP’s are going for about half that or a bit more.

What about the P3, where does it fit in this discussion? The system in question doesn’t need a whole lot: Oppo, Directstream, ATC powered speakers (two amps), medium sized HDTV, cable box. Been using a HiDiamond power “conditioner” (powered distributor), but the DS and ATCs - and my ears - could use better.


#11

I had a PPP for years and only within the last year upgraded to a P 10. (due in no small part to lonson’s kindly input) I was on the fence for a long time because like you price was a consideration. The P3 is regarded as a step up from the PPP in SQ. I can tell you that, no surprise, the P 10 is way better in every way. IIRC Paul mentioned that “headroom” is a consideration in regard to SQ. The greater the load on the unit, the more likely that sound quality could suffer. It was for this reason that he suggested not plugging plasma tv’s into the regenerators although they definitively do improve picture quality. I had my LCD TV plugged into my PPP. If I were you I would talk to Walter at Underwood Hifi about upgrading to a P 10 and be done with it. He was running a great sale on P 10’s not long ago. If you wanted to sell your PPP to offset the cost of upgrade I’m sure you would have no problem selling it. Lots of interest/offers when I sold mine. Good luck!


#12
highstream said

Thanks for the description. Cost is a consideration. The lowest I’ve seen a used P5 go for recently is $1500 and that was snapped up. PPP’s are going for about half that or a bit more.

What about the P3, where does it fit in this discussion? The system in question doesn’t need a whole lot: Oppo, Directstream, ATC powered speakers (two amps), medium sized HDTV, cable box. Been using a HiDiamond power “conditioner” (powered distributor), but the DS and ATCs - and my ears - could use better.


Well, I’m sure the P3 is a step up; I haven’t heard it myself. I really enjoyed the P5 and can say that if the P10 hadn’t gone on sale at a time when I could swing it I would have been fine. . . but as Euphonite notes the headroom and the ease of the sound of the P10 make it the very best target. . . If I had known how good the P10 sounded I would have foregone buying the P5 and saved for a P10. It really is an amazing anchor for the system.

There’s a P20 on the horizon! Perhaps that will free up some P10s at good prices second hand. . . .


#13

I listed my system components because it strikes me that they should play a central part in what to consider. I mean, how much head room does one really need before diminishing returns set in for a system of the quality and needing the power of a DS, Oppo 203, ATC SCM19AT (two-way tower) actives, a 48" HDTV (LED) and a cable box?


#14

I totally get it. Your thoughts parallel my own when I was thinking of upgrading. I am sure Paul will chime in here re: the headroom question. A couple of other things that drew me to the P10 were 1) future proofing I wasnt sure if I would at some point need a regenerator with more power capability. Also like the PPP the P10 has 5 duplex receptacles on it whereas the P3 and P5 have four. 2) Passive cooling was also something I liked as the PPP fan could at times turn on and while not loud was audible. 3) I got such a good deal on the P10 that the difference in price between the P5 and the P10 wasnt all that much after I sold the PPP. So I finally figured why not get the best one and be done with it. Bottom line though I think you would be happy with any of them vs the PPP based on all the research I did before buying the P10.


#15
highstream said

I listed my system components because it strikes me that they should play a central part in what to consider. I mean, how much head room does one really need before diminishing returns set in for a system of the quality and needing the power of a DS, Oppo 203, ATC SCM19AT (two-way tower) actives, a 48" HDTV (LED) and a cable box?

Highstream, I don't have that much more going in my system (I have a DMP/DSD also as well as a blu-ray player, and a power amp, a phono preamp and a headphone amp, all tubed, in place of the active towers) and I could sense the "headroom" change from P5 to P10. So "headroom" may not be the best term technically, but it has opened up the sound in a way that adding more power to an amplification subjectively seems to. Hard to explain, easy to experience and get used to!

I’m sure you’ll be happy with any of the regenerators–but I’m just attesting that the “upgrade path” of PP to P3 (I assume) to P5 to P10 (assured!) is real. . . and clearly audible. More’s the pity on our wallets!


#16

Definitely, the P10 is the way to go if there’s every room for it in the home and the budget. The headroom, lowered impedance, better sound is worth every penny compared to anything else we make. It can be life changing in the system.


#17
Paul McGowan said

Definitely, the P10 is the way to go if there’s every room for it in the home and the budget. The headroom, lowered impedance, better sound is worth every penny compared to anything else we make. It can be life changing in the system.

Can't argue with that, just that budget is definitely a consideration, as is heft and quality of system, which I would call maybe upper middle tier overall. I think a sense of proportion is called for. Checking specs, my total system is about 350W in action, so a P5 would seem to have a good amount of headroom. And P5 user comments I've come across appear to confirm that. With that in mind, I came across a new, sealed P5 for a little over half price plus fees/shipping. Will see soon...

#18

Congrats! Keep us posted.


#19

The P5 comes Monday, but reading through the guide I do have a question. Right now, everything in my living room system except the cable box is on warm power or in the speakers case switched on, with all except the latter showing a red light or something illuminated. Is the P5 zones setting for that condition “Always On?” I can’t imagine otherwise, since all those have switches that have to be powered up, either via remote or manual. I’d love for the P5 to be able to do that, but I don’t imagine that’s within its power yet.


#20

Yes, you can set the zones for always on or just leave the P5 always on. It was designed for 24/7 use. Have fun and let us know what you think when it arrives.