by Kevin O'Brien on 08/02/2011

I have heard from the audiophile grapevine that a sweet combination for a power reconditioning system would consist of a PS Audio Power Plant Premier reconditioner COMBINED with an Equitech Isolation Transformer for the ultimate power conditioning system for the ultimate audio and video experience. Well, I went ahead and did it. I know PS Audio has recently come out with the P5 and P10 power reconditioners but lets talk about the earlier Power Plant Premier that we are all quite familiar with I'm sure.

The premise of the PPP is that you can achieve a better audio/ video performance throughout your system by creating perfect, clean, reconditioned power for all your components. I never used to believe any of this until I tried a PS Audio P600 reconditioner back in 2005. All I could say was WOW. It made a huge difference especially in terms of soundstage width and depth as well as detail retrieval. The music just seemed to "hang" in the air in front of you when all your components were using "reconditioned" power.

Equitech provides a balanced power system by running 60V on the hot line and running 60V on the neutral line and carrying the noise on the ground. This is what recording studios have been doing for a while now. The normal convention in an unbalanced system would place 120V on the hot line and 0V on the neutral line and you still have the ground but supposedly considerable noise can be introduced into your system.

I heard a while back that an interesting audiophile experiment would be to try and incorporate an Equitech Isolation Transformer with a PPP. I couldn't help myself and I had to give it a try once the idea popped into my head. So what kind of results would this experiment yield? Pretty cool results indeed.

By itself, the Equitech 1.5Q is an exceptional product in my opinion. Unfortunately it does not remedy the problem of distortion infiltrating your system on the incoming line from your home's power. This is solved by first using the PPP to reproduce perfect, low distortion, AC power and then plugging the Equitech 1.5Q into it to achieve an even lower noise floor than the PPP can achieve.

Unfortunately, either of the products by themselves is not ideal. The PPP can control the output voltage to your components by turning the potentiometer underneath the unit. This is a dirty little secret PS Audio does not want you to know since some of the PPP units were damaged during shipping and this option could potentially be non-functional. Let's hope this isn't the case for you because 117V sounds absolutely great with tubed gear! The 1.5RQ cannot control the output voltage but drops the noise floor 20dB less than the PPP and adds the all-important balanced power output the newer power plants do not produce.

I must say, after getting my hands on an Equitech, I gave it a try and it was definitely worth it. The noise floor dropped a noticeable amount. Now whether it was the spec'd 20dB less than the PPP, I'm not certain but I know what I am hearing and it's VERY nice.

I can highly recommend the combination but I don't know how durable the PPP is since I had to send it back to PS Audio for repairs after about a year of use. I believe this is why they came out with the newer P5 and P10 reconditioners. Either way, PS Audio has been nothing but great with their customer service and I appreciate them being able to fix my unit free of charge without even asking when I purchased the unit. This is a good thing. Good customer service is a godsend in the event you need to use it. 

Getting back to the point, if you are interested in the PPP because of its ability to produce perfect, clean, voltage-controllable power but are worried about the fact at it's not using balanced power with a super-low noise floor, then this is where the Equitech comes in and saves the day. PS Audio could not keep the size down and efficiency of the PPP up without losing the balanced output. Fortunately the Equitech solves this problem by allowing the user to plug the 1.5Q into the PPP and achieve the perfect power union. I assume the newer P5 and P10 can come close to this combination but have not had the opportunity to try them as of yet so we will keep you informed as things change. Either way, this power combo is a pleasure to use and really does make a considerable difference.

 

Associated Equipment for this Review:

  • Von Schweikert VR-5 HSE (Hovland Special Edition) Speakers
  • Quicksilver tubed Linsestage and Monoblocks
  • EE Minimax DAC Bolder Cables Level 1 Modified
  • IBM Laptop with Foobar 2K Digital Audio Source
  • Theta Digital Carmen II CD Transport
  • EE Minimax Phono Stage
  • VPI Scoutmaster Turntable with VPI Zephyr Cartridge
  • YFS Custom Cables & Interconnects
  • YFS Custom Room Treatment
  • Herbies Audio Lab Dampening Devices and Tube Dampers
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