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PS Audio P12 Review Part 2: Power Testing

amirm

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I recently reviewed the PS Audio PowerPlant P12 AC power regenerator. There, I measured its performance with either no load or typical source device. Questions were raised as to its performance with higher power loads. Here is that test.

Outlaw 2220 Amplifier Review PS Audio P12 Max and Peak Output.jpg


So I unpacked and lugged the 50 pound P12 back to my lab :(, and paired it with an Outlaw 2220 monoblock. This is a linear amplifier and doesn't have a regulator power supply meaning it can produce more power if allowed.

To give the P12 full benefit of doubt, I used a Pangea AC 14SE MKII Signature Power Cable (2 meter) to feed it AC. It costs US $120.

PS Audio claims or implies that you get more dynamics and power due to P12 having lower impedance. We will test this.

PS Audio P12 Measurements
Let's test the power capability first and foremost by measuring maximum and peak power of the Outlaw 2220 power amplifier using my standard "Raw AC" wall power:
Outlaw 2220 Amplifier Measurement Max and Peak Output.png

These are my standard measurements but in case you are not familiar with them, on the left is more or less continuous power if we allow the amplifier to reach 1% THD+N. I say more or less as the test lasts about a second or two in each try.

On the right the duration of the signal is much lower. As explained, we have a sine wave that stays at low level (and hence power) for 480 cycles but then peaks to full value for just 20 cycles. This standard was created for car audio manufacturers that want to throw out big numbers for watts. As we see, the outlaw does produce a lot more power, reaching more than half a killowatt. This is far more than the base measurement because the power supply capacitors can maintain that duty cycle well enough to generate that much power.

Now let's route the 2220 amp through PS audio:
Outlaw 2220 Amplifier Measurement PS Audio P12 Max and Peak Output.png


As you see, we lost 7.5% power in both continuous and burst power. As should be the case as the PS Audio P12 is introducing losses in the AC line.

Edit: I forgot to include the THD+N vs power:

Outlaw 2220 Amplifier Measurement PS Audio P12 Power into 4 ohm AC Regenerator.png


As you see, noise+distortion is not changed with P12 but power is decreased by nearly 30 watts.

As another test, I have an Ideal AC line tester, the 61-164. This is a $400 instrument for quick and useful powerline measurements. One of its unique features is ability to measure the impedance of each of the three lines in your AC mains. Let's focus on the Hot wire and see how my standard power strip that I use for powering everything ("Raw AC") performs:
RAW AC Measurement Output Impedance High Current Outlet.jpg


Impedance is just 0.26 ohm. When we remodeled our home I made sure every circuit is powered using 12 gauge as opposed to 14. And my power strip is a beefy one as well. I am also not hugely far from our breaker panel.

Now let's power the PS Audio P12 using the Pangea power cord and measure the impedance of its high current outlets I used for previous testing:
PS Audio P12 Measurement Output Impedance High Current Outlet.jpg


As you see, impedance has jumped to 3 ohm or more than 10 times higher! I should note that I don't know how accurate this measurement is but given the wide differential, we can likely rely on the fact that PS Audio P12 *system* does have higher impedance. I wrote "system" there because P12 introduces yet another AC cord and outlet so naturally those contribute to degrading its impedance. In other words, we are measuring the whole thing, not just some internal impedance.

Edit: my BK Precision Lab AC Generator showed 0.3 ohm impedance on the same test.

EDIT: After much waiting and back and forth, we got some clues from PS Audio that perhaps Zone D High Current outlets do not perform the same as the others. This, despite the fact that the manual says they do. And the specification says nothing about Zone D outlets having higher impedance. Company now says that Zone D is just pass through with some filtering. This is not correct as I tested it and it does regulate the voltage. And its output is just as clean/dirty as Zone A as I showed in my original review:

index.php


As you see, performance is nearly identical between the two zones. Regardless, I decided to re-run the above tests using Zone A, while being worried about damage to the unit since by definition, they are not "high current" outlets. First, new impedance measurement of Zone A:

index.php


Now this is a lot more reasonable than the 3 ohm impedance we measured in Zone D (HC outlets).

So I then tested the performance of Outlaw 2220 using Zone A:

index.php


There is no more power loss. But then again, there is no increase either. Nor has distortion or noise changed one bit. Let's see if peak power is better using Zone A:

First with Raw AC again:
index.php


And now with Zone A of P12:

index.php


There is a bit less power with P12 but we can give them the benefit of doubt that this could be within measurement error. We can conclude strongly that P12 does NOT increase dynamic power and hence dynamic range as the company and customers claim.

I hope the company updates its manual and website to reflect the poorer performance of Zone D vs the other. And also correct their public misstatements that Zone D is just a filtered port. It is not but for some strange reason, it has high impedance. The manual for some older PS Audio powerplants explain that there is an inrush limiter for high current port. That would explain the higher impedance. And why it would be bad as far as peak power for an amplifier.

Edit: here are the results with a Topping PA5 power amplifier.
Topping PA5 uses a regulated and hence switching power supply so I didn't expect its power to differ with or without PS Audio P12:
PS Audio PowerPlant 12 P12 Measurements Topping PA5 Power Amplifier 4 ohm noise and distortion...png


And that is what we get. Note also that there is zero difference in noise and distortion. The two measurements land on top of each other.

Testing for burst power we get:

PS Audio PowerPlant 12 P12 Measurements Topping PA5 Peak Power Amplifier 4 ohm noise and disto...png


There is tiny difference between the two which is almost within measurement error.

At the start of the test, P12's meter says incoming voltage = 122.7 volt and outgoing voltage = 119.7 volts.

Switching power supplies have built-in regulation to create a constant voltage and with it obviating for any upstream regulator like P12 PowerPlant.

Conclusions (updated)
When using the P12 as one would think to do: using Zone D "high current" outlets, impedance is actually worse than mains AC and hence it reduces power output in our test amplifier. When testing using low current Zone A, this doesn't happen and we get the same power, distortion and noise.

Bottom line is that at worst, PS Audio P12 objectively degrades the performance of some audio products if you use the Zone D outlet. If you use the other zones, it simply doesn't do anything useful than waste some power, take up space, and cost you a lot of money. Distortion, noise, dynamic and average power of all tested products remains the same as not using P12. This is what the data shows and after two weeks of waiting, nothing has been presented from PS Audio or anyone else for that matter, to indicate otherwise.

-----------​

As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/

 
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Spkrdctr

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I'm proposing this pink budy as a symbol for snake oil products.

View attachment 190508
He is a very cute little snake. If there are no copyright issues, I agree. Amir could/should use it. He even has an airhead look on his face like there is not much between the ears. Kind of the look like "I can hear the magic!" Perfect specimen!
 

solderdude

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When Paul claims <0.008 ohm (measured where and how) the 3.0 ohm measured vs mains direct 2.6 ohm is 0.04ohm difference than it would stand to reason that either the measurement device isn't telling the story (it probably measures voltage sagging during a short period where a load is applied) or the 0.008 ohm at the measured output socket is around 0.04 ohm or 0.04ohm higher than your mains.

@amirm is this measured on all output groups ? Perhaps there is some extra mains filtering on some outlet groups ?
 
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OP
amirm

amirm

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When Paul claims <0.008 ohm (measured where and how) the 3.0 ohm measured vs mains direct 2.6 ohm is 0.4ohm difference than it would stand to reason that either the measurement device isn't telling the story (it probably measures voltage sagging during a short period where a load is applied) or the 0.008 ohm at the measured output socket is around 0.4 ohm or 0.4ohm higher than your mains.
That is probably the internal impedance of the device, not including the outlets, extra power cable, etc.
 

thorvat

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He is a very cute little snake. If there are no copyright issues, I agree. Amir could/should use it. He even has an airhead look on his face like there is not much between the ears. Kind of the look like "I can hear the magic!" Perfect specimen!

Yup, exactly why I like him! He can be purchased for 17 EUR.
 

respice finem

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I’ve always suspected engineers of old were right : plug your amps into the wall
This. Loose thought from a non-engineer: If a bog standard PSU for 50-100$ will suffice to feed a big gaming PC, with its much more stringent power quality requirements than any home Hi-Fi device, there's probably no much real need for such a "regenerator". The only exception in my life so far was with my Neumann KH 310A, which were "upset" (intermittently protection LED on for a second and clicking) by outside interference, probably by some agricultural machinery nearby.
A small, affordable filter eradicated the problem: https://www.thomann.de/de/furman_ac210_power_conditioner.htm
 

manisandher

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thorvat

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It’s not even a snake :facepalm: But maybe it would even be fitting to have a fake snake represent snake oil products :cool:

If you want to split hair than consider that "panther" doesn't even exist as a species and panthera is not a species but a genus. :facepalm:

P.S. to clarify: black or white panther actually refers to jaguar or leopard as panther itself is not a species
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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P.S. to clarify: black or white panther actually refers to jaguar or leopard as panther itself is not a species
Well, I was assured by the supplier that pink panthers are a unique and ancient species or I would have never used them!!!
 

Endibol

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I recently reviewed the PS Audio PowerPlant P12 AC power regenerator. There, I measured its performance with either no load or typical source device. Questions were raised as to its performance with higher power loads. Here is that test.

View attachment 190503

So I unpacked and lugged the 50 pound P12 back to my lab :(, and paired it with an Outlaw 2220 monoblock. This is a linear amplifier and doesn't have a regulator power supply meaning it can produce more power if allowed.

To give the P12 full benefit of doubt, I used a Pangea AC 14SE MKII Signature Power Cable (2 meter) to feed it AC. It costs US $120.

PS Audio claims or implies that you get more dynamics and power due to P12 having lower impedance. We will test this.

PS Audio P12 Measurements
Let's test the power capability first and foremost by measuring maximum and peak power of the Outlaw 2220 power amplifier using my standard "Raw AC" wall power:
View attachment 190504
These are my standard measurements but in case you are not familiar with them, on the left is more or less continuous power if we allow the amplifier to reach 1% THD+N. I say more or less as the test lasts about a second or two in each try.

On the right the duration of the signal is much lower. As explained, we have a sine wave that stays at low level (and hence power) for 480 cycles but then peaks to full value for just 20 cycles. This standard was created for car audio manufacturers that want to throw out big numbers for watts. As we see, the outlaw does produce a lot more power, reaching more than half a killowatt. This is far more than the base measurement because the power supply capacitors can maintain that duty cycle well enough to generate that much power.

Now let's route the 2220 amp through PS audio:
View attachment 190505

As you see, we lost 7.5% power in both continuous and burst power. As should be the case as the PS Audio P12 is introducing losses in the AC line.

As another test, I have an Ideal AC line tester, the 61-164. This is a $400 instrument for quick and useful powerline measurements. One of its unique features is ability to measure the impedance of each of the three lines in your AC mains. Let's focus on the Hot wire and see how my standard power strip that I use for powering everything ("Raw AC") performs:
View attachment 190506

Impedance is just 0.26 ohm. When we remodeled our home I made sure every circuit is powered using 12 gauge as opposed to 14. And my power strip is a beefy one as well. I am also not hugely far from our breaker panel.

Now let's power the PS Audio P12 using the Pangea power cord and measure the impedance of its high current outlets I used for previous testing:
View attachment 190507

As you see, impedance has jumped to 3 ohm or more than 10 times higher! I should note that I don't know how accurate this measurement is but given the wide differential, we can likely rely on the fact that PS Audio P12 *system* does have higher impedance. I wrote "system" there because P12 introduces yet another AC cord and outlet so naturally those contribute to degrading its impedance. In other words, we are measuring the whole thing, not just some internal impedance.

Conclusions
It is clear from the above tests that using the P12 degrades available power to an amplifier, not increase it. Both continues and dynamic power are limited, as they should. You are inserting another cable and box (power regenerator) which has its own losses. Burst capability in power amps is provided by its internal power supply capacitors that have a very low impedance path to the amp being inside it. Trying to do that with AC is like pulling the end of a wet noodle and expecting the other side to move with it.

The data here is the reason a number of power amp manufacturers recommend to power their units directly from the wall and not through a AC regenerator. You want the least impedance path to the AC outlet and that is a simple power cord.

While with low current devices we could hardly find a harm caused by the PS Audio P12 (other than to your bank account), with power amps we are seeing a distinct degradation of power. In this regard, I think any marketing material without proper objective back up to the contrary is irresponsible here. Please heed the advice from me and many amp designers that you don't want to use these regenerators for power amplifiers.

-----------​

As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/

It's a shame to see that a well-respected company like PS Audio is moving more and more into the snake oil business.
 

voodooless

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If you want to split hair than consider that "panther" doesn't even exist as a species and panthera is not a species but a genus. :facepalm:
That doesn’t really matter does it? You should not confuse one made up animal with another. The description clearly states: “Cute little worm” ;)
 
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