On High Current Amps and Regenerators


I'm hoping that you fine people can help me to clear up this question, and perhaps to explain the 'why' behind things.

I had a high power, Class D amp (Spectron) that had a long history of issues. When I first bought it, a friend said, "Feed your Maggies with good, clean power" and recommended the Spectron along with a PS Audio P500 regenerator.

Now that amp is out the door, and I'm lining up a replacement amp, a Spectron M3 MK2, new.

I've also replaced the P500 with a new and more powerful PS Audio P10 regenerator. In the P10 manual, it says to plug high-wattage-draw devices into the High Current zone, which has an in-rush limiter. I've plugged the Spectron amp into the HC zone with the current setup, as well as on the older P500.

From PS Audio's site: "From medium to large power amplifiers to the smallest pieces of source equipment, the P10 will work magic on your system’s performance."

Okay, cool so far.

But in a nice email discussion I had with Simon from Spectron today, he said, "From your last e-mail I learn that you have had PS Audio power conditioners with isolation transformers. When asked I STRONGLY recommend NOT to use such power conditioners with high power amplifiers like Spectron, Krell, Plinius etc. They slow signal and frequently blow fuses....."

So here's the rub: I live in an area that has sketchy power and frequent spikes, surges, and power outages, making protection pretty important. On any given day -- even with the sun shining -- battery backup devices for the computers trigger off in the house with no warning. The P10 is supposed to provide a level of protection for expensive audio equipment -- the very reason I bought it. (And, by the way, I've never blown a fuse in any component, just the 2.5A tweeter fuse on the Maggies from driving them hard.)

Simon has recommended passive devices such as the Prana Linebacker and Audience APR products, but they don't appear to offer any protection, just signal cleanup.

Am I putting my amp at risk by using the High Current outlet of the P10 Regenerator? Is it more at risk going straight to the wall with 'dirty' power? Am I clobbering the sound by using the regenerator? And, if the P10 is regenerating pure, 120V power, how could it possibly harm the amp?

A dedicated line and whole-house conditioner is not an option at this time.

So, if you will, please shed some light. I'm getting a bit confused by the conflicting recommendations.

Most competent amp designs already filter out bogus AC. I would listen to the guy from Spectron...

You might ask Simon for his thoughts on this Brick Wall surge protector/line filter. It is passive and transformerless, although it uses a series inductor. See this "how it works" page.

A goodly number of A'goners use Brick Wall protectors, including me, although I don't recall if anyone is using one with a Class D amp. As you no doubt realize, the current draw of a Class D amp fluctuates very widely with the volume of the music. A series inductor will, to some degree, slow the responsiveness of the current supply to those fluctuations in demand. I don't know whether or not that slowed responsiveness would be quantitatively significant with this device and your amplifier.

If you ask Simon about this, he should note that at the first of the two links shown above very detailed specs are provided, including a spec on "let-through slew rate," which might be particularly relevant.

-- Al
Just for the record, the Audience units do provide quite a bit of protection and really work great with my Pass Labs X350.5.
I also have whole house surge protection on the breaker box.
Our amps don't seem to like the 'power regenerator' line conditioners either, but OTOH neither will our amps be damaged by AC line problems as described.

I would also go with Spectron's recommendations. I am sure he knows what he is talking about :)
I have been to many people with highend sets in my life during consulting. Many of them used PS Audio Regenerators. They have one thing in common, at the end they sls it again. Wenn I ask them why: they were not convinced enough.
I use Furman Elite 20PFi with class D Rowland 102 amp. According to Furman's technical data it can provide 55 amperes peak current. My amp is connected to high current outputs. I don't hear any loss of dynamics or other negative effects but my amp can deliver only 150W per channel (with my 6ohm speakers) while Spectron is rated 500W per channel. Furman has very tight non-sacrificial over/undervoltage protection. If you already know about spikes in supply voltage then perhaps installing in addition "whole house" overvoltage protection at the fusebox would be wise.

I'm not sure why you need to regenerate the power when good filtering might do the job and possibly you might need only overvolatge protection, but I would trust Simon who has more experience with Spectron amplifiers.
The only power protection equipment that I ever heard that didn't restrict a power amp in some way was a Running Springs Audio Jaco.

Most power amps are better off going straight into the wall, however, if that makes you nervous due to dirty power, I'd suggest using a RSA power conditioner OR looking into a commercial isolation transformer. I do know one guy who did this, he had two huge commercial isolation transformers installed in his basement (about 600 pounds each). That's some pretty serious coin right there though.
Thanks for all the insight and recommendations.

No doubt that Simon knows more about this than me... a LOT more.

As a relative novice to this stuff, it can be difficult to reconcile what seems like conflicting advice, trying to make the right decisions without spending unnecessarily. That's why I love to have a resource like the good people on Audiogon.
Bo1972: "They have one thing in common, at the end they sls it again." What does 'sls it again' mean?

"Wenn I ask them why: they were not convinced enough." When you ASK them, they're weren't convinced? How does asking CONVINCE?
Have you had your electricity supplier check your electrical service? I work for a solar electric contractor and once or twice a year a customer calls complaining that the solar is causing problems like you describe like your battery backups triggering or lights flickering, etc. As the service department manager I recommend calling the utility and having them check their electric service from the pole or ground box to their meter. Most of the time their is a fault in their service and it is repaired by PG&E or whoever. I know this doesn't address your amp/regenerator issue but it might save you some repair bills on your equipment later on.
Bizango1 -- Thanks. That's an excellent idea that I'll follow up on. Once that is done, I may start looking toward dedicated lines and whole-house protectors.
sls= sold I write it fast and never read it back. my misstake.
"sls= sold I write it fast and never read it back. my misstake."

Sorry to be a jerk with one of my few posts......but seriously, this is your response to someone commenting on your poor spelling and incomprehensible sentence structure? I viewed many of your posts, and they all (mostly) read like a teenager posting nonstop on Twitter or some other mindless networking site.

You are posting on a forum with thoughtful, educated, mature users that discredit anything posted with such carelessness. Please slow down and review before posting.

I'm really not that old, or and only mildly cranky.

With my rant over, I'll add that I've never been happy with the sound from my amplifiers plugged into a power conditioner. Granted, I have not tried many of the very high dollar conditioners.
I apologize for this. I don't read it back. Next time I will read it back and then I post it. My mistake.