PS Audio is the only one that actually reconstitutes the AC Wave and cycles. It draws a lot of current and costs quite a bit, but of the above, I would choose it first.
I agree with KF...
I have used PS Audio with very good results on less expensive gear (eg. Sunfire Amp, Theta Miles).
Improvement in the Theta was nice but the sunfire was a different story...
It was like I had bought and brand new amp. it was incredible..
In my opinion, the sonic improvements gained by a regenerator such as the PS Audio are proportional to the quality of your incoming ac and the power supply(s) in your gear.
When I upgraded to very good amps (Atma Sphere MA1 mkII.2) the improvements were positive, but far less dramatic than the sunfire.
I still use a PS300 for front end.
Although, I was most suprised by the installation of dedicated balanced ac lines with good receptacles?
I have heard great results with these and it was somewhat less expensive than the very big and good generators/conditioners.
I have not heard the other choices but have read great reviews on Hydra.
You may want to add Foundation Research into your list. FR makes passive in-line conditioners that take the place of an aftermarkter power cord. These are about as expensive as most active power conditioners but I believe do as much if not more that most in the list above.
Of course, the Foundation Research in-line conditioners, passive conditioners that they are, do not regenerate electrical current.
Foundation Research is a little known company a few hours outside of Toronto, Canada with Ed Wolkow as the Chief owner/designer. He also makes SS amplifiers and tubed preamplifiers that are supposedly out of this world. His new V6 preamp has been touted by some as the very best.
I am using two LC-1's for my source and pre and an LC-2 for my amp. At the very least, you would notice a much lowered noise floor, better imaging and soundstaging, and a vast reduction in sibilance with the addition of each LC into the mix.
The PS Audio products are current limiting and choke down the sound. The do quiet things down a bit, but the expense of what is lost is not worth it.
I did not get a chance to spend a whole lot of time with the Audio Magic Stealth (1 week with a broken in unit), but my experience was that of being underwhelmed to say the least. It probably is a good value at the price, but that is it.
The Sound Application is excellent. It can sound a bit lean and thin in some systems, but it really does a good job.
The HYDRA is my favorite out of the bunch. It limits nothing and allows everything you want to hear come through. Although I am a Shunyata dealer, I can say that this recommendation should be taken seriously because they are not available anymore. There is a new model called the HYDRA Guardian (?) which will be out in a few months. I cannot comment on it as I have not heard it yet. What I have heard is that it is projected to be quite a bit less expensive than the HYDRA with uncompromising surge protection to boot.
Another recommendation I have which is not on your list is the Jena Labs Fundamental Power 6.1. It is an all out assault on power conditioning and has done amazing things in my system. If you decide you want to listen to it, I am sure I can setup an audition for you. The only drawback is that it is very expensive. The retail cost is 6k.
Jtinn: While i do not have a PS unit, i was curious as to how much of a load you were pulling and what model PS was being used when you observed a "lack of dynamics" / "current limiting" ?
I can understand such a thing occuring if one was trying to get at or near rated output from one of these devices on a steady state basis. This would be no different from trying to run a power amp near rated power for extended periods of time. Chances are, it would not sound good for long and / or the flaws of the design would become quite apparent pretty quickly.
Personally, i would figure on the PS 300 being good for about 180 - 200 watts of output, the PS 600 being good for about 350 - 400 watts of output, the 1200 being good for about 700 - 800 watts of output, etc... Following these guidelines, one should not run into a problem with any type of current limiting and / or compression, excessive heat, etc... I say that as these figures would allow any of the units to operate at appr 60 - 70% of rated capacity. This results in AT LEAST 30 - 40% dynamic headroom above and beyond what was being drawn on a steady-state basis. Following these guidelines, these units become even MORE expensive as their "usable" power ratings are effectively reduced in order to maintain the "necessary" ( at least in my mind ) amount of dynamic headroom. Sean
I know its not on your list, but the Equitech "Q" series balanced power conditioners are what I feel are the best. They have very powerful units that are still shelve "mountable". They even have in-wall units powerful enough to run your entire home's electrical system. The PS Audio regenerators sound very nice, but they are too inefficient to be pratical. You cannot run power amps from them at anything but very low volume levels. If you have subs, a plasma or other high current requiring devices, forget it.
I have quite a bit of experience with the PS-Audio products and I think Jonathan is right in as far as I had loaded a 300 pretty much to its limit at a current draw of about 210 all together. I later switched to a 600 and had no limiting of dynamics whatsoever. So I guess Sean's hypothesis above is pretty much correct. Cheers,
my personal fave is the bybee rebuild by TG audio. bound for sound loved it as well. ---its effect in my system was nothing less than dramatic, startling, ridiculous. bought it in 1 min audition (and i already had a vaunted PC in my system, which shall remain nameless to protect the guilty).
from what i gather, the PS Audio only helps if you're out in the boonies...not good for city folk, but good for country folk. power regen the further you are from the grid becomes more important evidently.
I like none of the power conditioners for amps. They condition power which means the amps are getting the real thing. They are fine for digital equipment and video. However, I agree with Jeff_s that the way to go is the Equitech balanced power system. Go to their web site for the specs. but this isn't conditioning, it is balanced power which had my electrician scratching his head when he put my wall unit in. It is clean and provides all the protection you need for you system. In my application I had numerbers lines run to where I was going to use a/v equip. and got clean undisturbed power. My stuff is plugged straight in the wall. They have rack units as well.
Flemke, yes, you will notice improvements based on your suggested endeavors.
However, the topic here is recommended power conditioners, and if you haven't done so yet, you will notice a still lowered noise floor/blacker background, minimized sibilance, better imaging and soundstaging with proper power conditioning.
Of course, that's assuming one obtain's decent power conditioner(s).
I do believe power conditioning demonstrates it greatest impact when installed in an environment where lines are not dedicated and perhaps digital and analog are shared on same circuit. In other words, the dirtier the AC, the easier it is to hear the positive affects of proper power conditioning. Diminishing returns, you know.
Depends on how bad your electrical source is. I did all the new wiring for the new room I built for my mucic system.Tried some different line condisoners. Only found very small changes in the sound. With over 50 grand in equipment thought if you have good wiring just the basic power line accessories will do the trick. If you happen to live in A big city good luck try them all. Think that ps audio is very good for the price.
Never underestimate the ability of the Audiogon community to bring back a thread from the dead :D That said, I vote for the Gigawatt PC-3 SE Evo or PC-4 Evo depending on the number of outlets required. Superb engineering and the improvement in sound is amazing. They are one of the only power conditioners where high current amplifiers sound better connected to the conditioner than direct to wall. Also, they are the only conditioning products which are subject to an Insurance policy that covers damage to the connected equipment up to $250,000EUR.