Used P5 Power Plant from 2011?

I dont have the money for a new P12 right now but have been offered a used P5 from 2011 in perfect condition. Seller asking 17000 NOK ( 1900 USD), but I’m a bit concerned since this is 9 years old. Components and electronics are degrading over years, and specially capacitors dries out etc. Can anyone with a P5 give me some advice on how good it is compared to a new P12?

I do not have any experience on P5, but I owns P12.
“…The DirectStream Power Plant 12 is the successor to the venerable P5 Power Plant. The P12 is completely redesigned from the ground up with three times lower output impedance, lower distortion, a new FPGA based DSD sine wave generator, and an improved level of performance never before attained by any Power Plant of its size…”
The newest Stellar Power Plant 3 (half the P12 price) might be a good consideration, if budget and less output power is needed.

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Hi Terrence, I have the Stellar M1200s and also a tube preamp that will be powered by the power plant, so I guess the P3 would be to small. Can I ask why you have the P12 in your system other than to protect you gear? Do you notice difference in sound regarding dynamics and openess? Just curious to know :slight_smile:

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I have SGCD m700s DSDAC and PST (the new Perfectwave SACD transport). My reason to stick all my main gears with PSA is, for me , PSA seems make gears for music and PSA voicing its gears with its regenerator. So I add P12. I believe Sonic improvement is also depend on speakers and room conditions. I have LINN KEILIDH - JL Audio D110 Subs. In a small room 12wx19Lx8H in feet. I did not do the AB comparison on with/without P12. But with P12 and PSA gears, sound seems much clear and sound stage is much better, more dynamic (symphony playing). I have doubts before jumping into P12, today, it is an essential and important piece to my gears.
Besides that, the PSA’s PowerPlay shows with P12, my power source to my gears is very clean.

I used a P5 for 8+ years and about 6 weeks ago and replaced it with a P12 in my main (digital) system. I cannot honestly say that the system sounds better with the P12 in place, though at first I suspected it might. The system performed superbly with either of the regenerators in place.
I have since relegated the P5 to a separate phonograph based system.
The efficacy of the P5, sound-wise, is more noticeable in the phono system where it has seemingly reduced background noise and made the sound more articulate.
With a high degree of certainty I can say that the difference between the sound quality of the P5 and The P12 is smaller than the difference of having a regenerator in the system or not.

Thanks for sharing information, this is helpful! The graphs showing distortion and voltage fluctuations really tells allot. My hifi gear is Auralic DAC/ Streamer, AudioValve tube pre, M1200s and Piega Coax 90.2 speakers so rather expensive. Seems a power palnt is a good investment to ensure stabel and clean power into my system. So maybe I have to save money for a P12 unless someone on the forum say that a used P5 could do the job. Dealer price for a new P12 in Norway is approx 7 650 USD so its a big investment. Christmas gift for myself? :slight_smile:

Thanks, great to know that the P5 has been working nice in your system, and that there is no big difference in sound quality between this and the P12. Obviously the P12 has updated prosessor and electronics compared to the older P5, and warranty is out. Maybe if the seller give me a better price for the P5 I will go for it.

Great question. I’ve been running an old P5 in my HT for a number of year now. Not only made the sound more transparent, but dropped the noise floor a surprising amount. What I like to tell people is the jump up from no PowerPlant to a PowerPlant is massive! The step up from the P5 to a P12 noticeable right away, but of course wouldn’t be genuine for me to say it’s as big as going from no PowerPlant to one. The P12s voltage regulation is much stronger than the P5, and this contributes a surprising amount to achieve better sound. Also, with a nearly 10 year old P5, I would start to worry about its longevity.

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Here’s what my three year old P5 is doing for me:

As discussed, you will be happy with either over no regenerator.

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I forgot to add, mine was factory refurbished when I bought it in 2018. I don’t know if that is still available or what it costs.

Nice, looks like she’s going strong! We do still offer it for the P5 but because of parts shortages and very high cost, we no longer work on the first gen powerplants. P300, 500, 600, etc.

Perhaps better start saving money for a new P12 instead of buying a P5 from 2011. Since I’m living in Norway I do not have the option to send it for refurbishing…


Can I ask what you do when refurbishing a P5? Do you change any components like capacitors due to aging or just clean? Reason for asking is that the guy selling the used P5 says it has very few running hours compared to age. He has been working abroad and the P5 has been shut down for longer periodes. From the pictures it looks in perfect condition. But of course components like capacitors dry out even when the regenerator is not powered on. I’m not so worried about components like transistors and resistors, they seems to last very long. I also noticed that there is a SD card on the back and is this for software upgrade? I am an engineer myself so maybe I can solder out and replace old capacitors with new ones if needed…what do you think?

Well, this starts to be a bit of a mixed bag for an out of warranty unit internationally. I can’t speak upon what your distro would do, but if something were to malfunction, they would work with our team to figure out what parts it needs to work properly again. I don’t want to say that they would do a “refurbishing” of the unit if it’s working properly. When we repair these, our team does a full overhaul of it and makes sure everything is working right and up to spec. If parts look to be aging, they replace them. Specially bulging caps.

You are correct about the SD card in the back. It is for updating if it needs it.

I’ve used a P5 for 4 years and it was 2 years old when I got it. It offers a meaningful upgrade to my source components. I wouldn’t hesitate to get one.


Thanks and appriciate your answer regarding refurbishing!
Just one last question…will the P5 be able to power the M1200s good enough?
The EU model has 4 outlets but only one is marked "high current) HC, and is this a problem since I need one outlet for each monoblock?

Yes, both the P5 and the P12 can handle the load presented by the M1200s. In virtually no circumstances would someone need to pull all 1200W. Also, don’t worry about one being in HC and one not. The HC is only applicable when turning the amps on. It’s to help with the in-rush current of amps flipping on, which for the M1200s is quite low.

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I have both. The P12 and P5 are similar. They both perform roughly the same in my two systems. If you stay tuned, the P12 gets discounted from time to time. My P5 is a 2012 build which I bought new. It has been trouble free since I purchased it.

IMO, $1900 USD is way too much $$ for a nine year old P5. As Terrence stated, you would be better off to pick up a new Stellar P3 unless you have large power amp to run.

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I’m using my P5 to drive my 1000W per channel Dutch & Dutch 8cs with no problems at all.

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