Regenerator on a fancy power strip budget?


Looking to try something new.  Currently using a Niagara 1000, or Belkin PureAV.   I like that the Belkin can go on my rack, and it looks nice enough.  Been switching between the two, and there's no difference in sound quality to my ears.

The newer Niagara 1200 is more attractive/wanted physically, but I'm sure it will sound identical to the 1000.

Thinking of one of the PS Audio regenerators, but the top of my budget can only afford the new Stellar model.  I also see the Premier Power on the used market frequently, although it's about 10 years old now.

*Components needing to be plugged in:  Integrated amp, phono stage (with external power supply), streamer (with external power supply), and a turntable. *Also - I only have one outlet on the wall where my components are, so plugging everything in that way is not an option.

Any and all thoughts, experiences, and suggestions welcome.


7bc4daa2 be3e 4e1a 95da 243581b9bbb5robelvick
Hey dude, hows it been? The Steller regenerator is probably good for only source components. I would not hookup a high current amplifier to it. You might look for a used PS Audio P5 regenerator. Those aren’t that old and it provided a lot more current.  There's actually a P5 on audiogon for $1900 that's only 2 years old.
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Alternatively, you can look at the Furman Elite PFI power conditioners. They have a large capacitor inside that provides a "current reservoir" for high current pulls. This is probably as close as you are going to get to a regenerator without spending that money.
What is your goal?
For a transformative upgrade with no pain, look into Akiko Audio. All that is required...you plug it in to your current power conditioner.
@auxinput  Thanks for posting, it's been a while!  Thanks for the suggestion, I will look at both of those.  I guess I should have been more specific regarding my current setup - Spendor A4, Hegel Rost, Gold Note PH10, Auralic Aries Mini,  and Technics 1200GR.  The Rost is only 75wpc.  Do you still suggest something with more current than the Stellar?

@slaw  The goal is to try something new, ha!  Really though - lowering the noise floor, and better dynamics would be a good start.  I will research the Akiko, and thanks for your suggestion.
Also on the radar: Equi=Core 1800.  Although that's not a regenerator to my knowledge.
The basic concept is that regenerators tend to do very well with equipment that have constant non-changing current requirements, such as source/preamp type devices.  Amplifiers have a huge swing in current draw as the waveforms hit for different music instruments.  Only the much larger sized regenerators (such as P5 or P10) will tend to work good with amps.  You could definitely try the Steller Regenerator with the amp if you wish, but I would probably want at least a P5.
I've heard the Yeti lith-ion battery pack  does great job and can be used like a UPS 
i.e. it remains plugged into the mains while in use. The house power charges the battery and the battery powers an invertor to provide perfect sine wave.

I have not used one, but a fellow audiophile has and he swears by it.

You can even unplug it from the mains and just use the battery power

Budget around $1000-$1500
https://www.modernoutpost.com/product/yeti-1000-lithium-portable-power-station/

Regards - Steve
@williewonka - very interesting!!!  They also have a 1400 and 3000 model (larger batteries).  Could very well be a substitute for a regenerator, especially if you unplug the Yeti from the wall while your listening so that you can be sure it's running purely off battery.
@erik_squires 

Thank you for sharing the blog post.  Very interesting.  The PureAV I'm using has multiple zones, one for High Current, Analog, Digital, and Video.  The 4 components I have plugged in, are all on their own zone.  Thinking this is similar to the two power strip approach, I may be wrong.  

@uberwaltz  message received!  
I think it's the same idea/approach.


In my own set up I use a single Furman with multiple filtered zones. I only recommend the multiple strip approach for cost. :)
I can offer a little advice as I recently added a P12 (souped up P5) to my system, an ARC pre, PS DSD, PS Memory Transport, MagnumDynalab internet tuner and a pair of Pass 260.8 amps. It is able to handle the entire system is I turn on the amps first, then sources. The difference with the P12 was astounding. No other tweak, not cables, IC, power cables had as much of a difference in SQ as the P12.
@robelvick The advantage of the Niagara 1200 over the 1000 is that there are more outlets on the 1200 than the 1000, which may be important in your situation. Also there are 2 HC outlets on the 1200 as opposed to the 1000. 

However, for budget minded power management I would either stick with the 1000 or trade it for the 1200. You could get one or more of either a PS Audio Noise Harvester and/or a Greenwave Noise Filter and plug them in nearby outlets. That gets you power conditioning, 1-2 HC outlets and some added noise filtering. 
Best bank per buck regeneration is power inspired ltd in UK give them a look great value an£ improvement 
They have been reviewed positively and only cost £600
This same question comes up all the time. Within my 40 years of experience I have tried regeneration (kills dynamics) direct into the wall sockets ( different results, overall better than regeneration, downside slight high frequency distortion) Mains Isolation Transformers various (killed Dynamics). A high quality power block worked for me (Russ Andrews) you can choose options of various filters surge protectors and internal wiring of Silver or Copper Kimber cable.

Best for me was Mains Conditioning. Audience Adept response (Improved everything) and currently using Running Springs Dmitri (Improves everything) I plug everything into the conditioners and both the Audience Adept Response and Running Springs Dmitri can be picked up for reasonable money. I have no other experiences with any other conditioners, only the two mentioned, I give the nudge to the Running Springs Dmitri, as i still have it and would not sell.

Look into Akiko Audio as already mentioned, I use a Tripple AC Enhancer Stick and find it has offered great improvements overall. Do not overlook Isolation avoid Balls (bright and shrinks sound stage), I use Townshend Seismic Platforms and find they are the very best overall for improved sound quality, Use them under everything, even the conditioner or mains block if you go that route.
Thank you to all who have contributed.  Much more to look into now.
Hi robelvick,

My only concern with the new PSAudio Stellar Power Plant 3 is that it’s only 300 watts with 500 peak. I have a tube hybrid preamp and amps, so just those three would put me over the top without even thinking about a CD player, DAC, streamer, etc. I also have a couple of SS amps that would easily go way over the top.

I’m currently using an Audence AR6 power conditioner and I have no complaints.

All the best.

JD

@curiousjim good point, as also mentioned earlier.

I think I've narrowed it down between the PS Audio P5 (used) and Equi=Core 1800 (latest model).

From what I've read on the 1800 is that all new units (2019) have upgraded wiring.  Note sure the specifics, or how much if any difference that'll make, but it's a thing..

If there's other suggestions in the same price range that are equivalent, I'm all ears!
"Premier Power on the used market frequently, although it's about 10 years old now."

roblevick-I picked a PPP here, for $700 4 years ago. Works fine, and does what it's designed to do. I do the opposite of what many do with them- plug EVERYTHING into it. I hear no deficit, doing so.

Also improved the picture quality of the TV. Results are going to vary,depending on the quality of your line.

Everything audio geek is subjective, I find it to be a great addition to my tubed, midfi setup.

Precious owners who stepped up to newer models report an audible improvement form the PPP, so if you can find used P3/5 for cheap, it may worthwhile to try, You can always sell it if you don't hear any improvement.

@robelvick - my experience with power conditioners and similar products is very limited, but I will echo the sentiments of some of the posters above.

I do find that dynamics suffer the most when inserting any kind of power conditioner into a system. No matter what power treatment you opt for, it will affect dynamic performance to some extent. A good power distribution block is my preference - and try to plug your power amp(s) directly into the wall

I do have a lot more experience with power cables and found that cable geometry,  the wire and plugs used in them can significantly effect eprofrmance

It all boils down to what you are willing to sacrifice - in some cases, where line noise can be a significant issue, there is no option but to implement a power conditioner of some type. 

But in some cases the "idea" that line noise might be an issue can be more in our heads, based on what we read, rather than what we are actually observing.

So, if you are simply looking to "try something new" then perhaps replacing your power cables might be an approach to pursue. 

E.g. - I did have a power conditioner many years ago, which appeared to clean things up initially, but once I started delving into cables I found that removing the power conditioner actually made things much better.

Turns out that it was not the power supply that was the issue, but the cables I used throughout the system that was the cause of a lot of noise.

Which Power cables should you look at?
- Nordost has some very good cables - some of best commercial products I have heard.
- KLE Innovations has a relatively new line of power cables which should work well - I have tried their other cables and they are excellent
- if you are into DIY - I can highly recommend these...
http://image99.net/blog/files/category-002ahelix-power-cable.html

I use the DIY cables throughout my systems and they are extremely good and provides superb dynamics together with amazing clarity and imaging.

Just something else to consider - Hope you find the treatment that works best for you.

Regards - Steve



@williewonka Thank for you the input, and link. I agree that the line noise very well could me in "my" head.

I do have a few PS Audio Noise Harvesters throughout my room, and since I don’t have a dedicated line, I see them blinking like crazy whenever other appliances in my house are turned on (microwave, dishwasher, washer/dryer, and even the TV system in my living room).

So I do know that i’m getting line noise at certain times, but how audible it is, that’s another matter. I really haven’t done reliable testing to see the difference. Sometimes when appliances are all running, my system sounds dull, but not always. Same goes for when NO appliances are running. It’s a toss up.  My guess it has more to do with the source material.  I guess I would have to A/B the same recordings with appliances on/off to determine.

Regarding power cables - right now I’m using Pangea 14SE MKII for my sources, and an Audioquest NRG-Z3 for my amp. Nothing all that fancy, but I just wanted something other than the stock cables that were included.

I’m all for upgraded my PCs, but I figured I should fix the power source first, then try new cables afterwards. Maybe my logic is not sound, but that’s why I’m here!!
Look for a used PS Audio PPP. I have the impression that a good power regenerator is not inexpensive to make, and a cheap one would not be worth having. 
Been switching between the two, and there's no difference in sound quality to my ears.


In 30 years comparing power cords, conditioners, all kinds of things one thing I know for sure, the two you tried do not sound the same. But since you compared and heard no difference that makes this all very easy. Either do nothing until you get to where you can appreciate the differences, or buy what you are able to appreciate now, ie how it looks.

You might want to bear in mind that many become better listeners over time. Buying now based on appearance, or whatever, you may eventually come to realize this purchase moved your system in the wrong direction. You just weren't able to hear it at the time. But you may later on down the road.

Most comments I have ever read on power conditioners are along the lines that with amps plugged into them they tend to kill the dynamics somewhat.

Cannot comment on that but can state from actual experience that does NOT happen with a CPT Equicore=1800.
I ran EVERYTHING in my system through the Equicore. This was plugged into an SR Blue duplex.
Backgrounds were black and astonishing quiet. No more annoying clicks or any interference at all when the AC kicked in or from any other electrical device which I used to suffer from immensely.

Just fyi.
@millercarbon you make some valid points, appreciated.

Im sure there’s a solution to have a component that’s both aesthetically pleasing, and performs better than what I’m using currently . That would be ideal.

As far as becoming a better listener...hmm. Don’t know if I’ll ever improve, ha. Although, if that were the case, being able to discern the subtle differences between the Niagara and PureAV, still may have me wanting for more. That is certainly the case as of now.



I took a quick look at the Equi=Core 1800.  Essentially, it's a really big terroidal isolation transformer inside a case.  They call it a "balanced line conditioner", so I will assume the transformer takes the "120-0" A/C input where there's a 120V hot + 0V neutral and converts it to a 60V hot + 60V hot (both legs having voltage in a push-pull configuration).
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It looks like there were a couple of different models made.  On model has the output wires of the transformer connected only to one outlet, and then the remaining outlets are chained together in series.  Another model has each of the transformer output wires connecting to a junction block where it has 4 additional wires all going directly to the outlets.  This is the model you want. If you're buying used, maybe ask the seller to take a picture of the internals.
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I cannot see any conventional power conditioning happening in this unit.  I suppose there might be some high frequency filtering in that model that contains the IEC inlet / power switch / circuit breaker, but probably not.
Aux input.
It was one of those items I never really knew how it worked or needed to know tbh.
It just did and that was more than enough for me.
@auxinput  Thank you for the great insight.  Thinking the PSA P5 is probably the best way to go.

Would love to audition it for a while first, but since I'm going to have to buy used, that's not really an option.

Also still might consider a new(er) Furman Elite PFI unit.
I just picked up a P5 which is probably one of the best purchases I’ve made in sometime. What this thing does is not subtle at all. My local PS Audio shop took a P5 in on trade for a P12 and they recommended I take it home to play with as I suspect they knew I wouldn’t bring it back, which I did but I ended up going back to grab it to make sure I wasn’t just looking at an impulse buy. I spent a solid week listening to the P5 in and out of my system and realized I wasn’t going to live without it.

The P5 improved everything imaginable in my system from top to bottom but what it did best was make my speakers completely disappear in my room. I felt my speakers already did a great job disappearing but the P5 revealed indeed there was room for improvement and a lot at that. My system now plays so effortlessly and just flat out sounds more natural and not so HiFi; funny I was very happy with it before the P5. My shop gave me a great price of $1500 with box and all. Very happy with it... No - Extremely happy with it.

I also have a dedicated circuit with boutique receptacles and I really wasn’t expecting much of an improvement. You will not be disappointed with a used P5; just buy it right.
@adg101 Thank you for sharing, and congratulations on picking up a P5 for a great price.

I'm pretty set on going with the P5, but the Equi=Core 1800 is still lingering.  There also is an add-on, called the Deep Core that is being released soon, and that is tempting me as well.

https://www.underwoodhifi.com/products/deepcore-1800
Well..I'm not very good at taking suggestions.

Just pulled the trigger on the Stellar Power Plant 3.  I had be emailing with PS Audio and for my system they said it has more than enough power handling - 300 watts continuous / 500w short term / 900w peak.

I may have it as soon as next week, and will update everyone with my impressions.
+1 Robert.

😎😎😎😎
I'm also intrigued by the Yeti. From 30k ft. it's half a regenerator, DC to AC via an inverter. Since theoretically the batteries are a clean source, it's down to the quality of the inverter. I'd like to hear one, but have to wonder about a product that's designed to run power tools etc. where there is no AC available. Also there have been negative comments about the fan.
Li-ion batteries have a life of approx. 2000 cycles (8-10years) in a car. They last longer if you only use 20% per cycle. Not intending to take this string too far afield, I'm planning to run my front end directly from Li-ion DC-DC.
The Stellar Power Plant should be arriving today, much quicker than expected.  First impressions to follow shortly..


Good Luck and look forward to reading/hearing of your results

First impressions:

Setup was about as easy at it gets, as you would expect.  The outlets in the rear are top notch (also, as you would expect).  I really had to give 'some' muscle to get the PCs in all the way, and once connected they aren't moving anywhere.  Not the case with the PureAV and Niagara, which both had loose outlets throughout - granted they've been used a lot.

I've only been playing music for about an hour, but right off the bat the noise floor, or lack-thereof, is easily noticeable.  Well..there is no noise floor.

I'm sure the P3 needs some time to burn in, and that's exactly what I plan on doing before I do more serious testing/listening.  I will be swapping out between the three conditioners and taking notes regarding dynamics, soundstage, bass response, midrange and highs.  At least the best that I can.

I'm all for suggestions regarding different A/B testing as well, and it would be greatly appreciated.
I had looked for a while at transformer based (conditioners) and made the choice to go passive. Also, I have noticed for years the large amount of PS Audio gear that is constantly for sale/for re-sale as reconditioned. This gave me pause as well.