Review: Synergistic Research PowerCell 10 and the SE version AC filter

Category: Accessories

Review of the new Synergistic PowerCell 10 and SE

I was very much interested in the Synergistic PowerCell after enjoying much success with the Tesla Cables. For many months I have waited to demo one of these babies.

Synergistic Cables I own

1.Apex and Precision Reference Interconnects
2.Apex Speaker Cables
3.Hologram A & D,Precision Reference and T2 Power Cables

Equipment I own

Pass Labs X350.5 Amp
Pass Labs XP-10 Preamp
Cary 306 SACD player.
Eggleston Works Andra 2 speakers
JL Fathom 113 Subwoofer

My concern was this.

I have 3 dedicated circuits.
*One circuit for all my Video and is plugged into a Hydra 8.
*One circuit for my CD player and Preamp.
*One Circuit for my Amplifier.

How can using just one wall outlet plugged into the SR PowerCell be better than using the present 3 dedicated circuits?

My past experience with any conditioner says it can’t!
My new dealer however, said it will outperform the dedicated circuits. He then asked if I would like to demo a unit.
I replied, well, yes sir I have been trying to demo one of these for months!

A couple of days later I received the Demo PowerCell standard 10 with a T3 UHC power cable.
I’ve got to say, I had some pretty big expectations for this Conditioner based on the Dealer statements and the performance of the Synergistic cables.

But when I turned everything on for the first time I was really disappointed. Best I can describe it was, the sound was very closed in, with a totally flat soundstage.

I thought, Wow, after saving up so much money to buy one of these and now I was convinced that this unit was not an improvement over my 3 dedicated circuits.

I know new things need time to break in, but this one was a demo! It should have sounded at full potential right away.
My dealer also confirmed that it had many hours on it. He agreed that it should have sounded very good right out of the box.
I thought, well, whoopee! I can save my money; this just is not very good.

The next day I did not even play my system. The following day, however, when I did turn it on, my system sounded entirely different.
The soundstage widened and deepened and it was now much more musical.
I think, even though it was used demo unit, it traveled across county to get to me and was very cold when I got it. It seems these units need some settlin’ time.
Perhaps it only would have taken 24 hours to resettle but like I stated, I didn’t try it the next day.
By the way, later on when I also tried the Power Outlet Teslaplex it also took a day to sound good.

At this point, the PowerCell 10 was making some pretty good tunes, so I went ahead and ordered a PowerCell 10 SE. Note: I also sold the Hydra 8.

The new unit arrives.

Well I received my PowerCell 10 SE and a new duplex Teslaplex outlet.
The new PowerCell straight out of the box did not have the extreme closed in flatness that the demo had.
Perhaps the difference can be attributed to the different power cords. The SE comes with a Precision Reference power cord, while the Standard comes with a UHC T3. I have read elsewhere that the UHC T3 cords take a very long time to break in.

I plugged everything I had into it and left it on for a couple of days. I think the best way to break it in is to put a heavy load on it.

Well, now how did it sound?

Well the sound quality is now the best I have ever heard. Bass quality is deep and defined, treble sparkles and the soundstage is all through the room.
The dynamics are now such that the music jumps at you.
When I play Rock music such as the new AC/DC CD some of the tracks start with guitar just in left channel or just in the right. With this new PowerCell there is nothing coming out of the other side, I mean nothing, until it is supposed to. Quiet as quiet can be.
Then when the song gets going, the music explodes out of the speakers. It sounds really quite impressive!
I have noticed that I am getting more relative volume than I did. I have had to turn down the volume control from where my Preamp normally was set.

Watching Video through my Sony 60” now has deeper colors and better contrast. The picture just looks more involving. I was not expecting this much improvement with the Video.

I plugged my whole system into this PowerCell. Everything that used to be plugged into 3 dedicated outlets was now all plugged into the PowerCell using only one of the dedicated outlets.
Amazing, I would have never believed it. No choked sound, no loss of dynamics. To the contrary, as I stated above the dynamics were even better!

Comparisons of the two units.

The SE with the Precision Reference power cord compared to the PowerCell 10 Standard with the T3 UHC cord?

The Standard unit had a warmer sound; the SE version had more presence and the center image was very well defined.
With my equipment, I definitely preferred the SE.

Any Negatives? A couple… minor

First, I must say the feet on the bottom of the Powercell should be taller so that any Mini coupler plugged in the unit clears the bottom. Otherwise, you have to waste half of an outlet to plug a mini coupler into the top half of the outlet and it will overlap and cover the lower outlet. I ended up putting Myrtle blocks under the feet to raise the PowerCell up. Then, I was able to place a mini coupler in the bottom of an outlet and still use the top half.
Later on, I replaced the blocks with sharp cone feet. Highly recommended.

Second, the outlets take quite a push to plug the plugs in. This is a good thing perhaps for a tight grip, but plugging the plugs into the back of the unit had the unit moving around on the stand like crazy. So, maybe have another person (with the white gloves on) in the front holding the PowerCell while you plug your stuff in the back.

Third, I made a mistake and placed the 32 Amp power cord connector plug in last. This made it impossible to see properly to connect it. I think I got it connected; I pushed it in, but not sure if it locked. Should I hear a click like a XLR does?


Well, I highly recommend the Powercell 10 SE, it will make all your hard earned prized equipment perform to its best, you will be impressed!
The price is steep, but nothing should wear out and it can handle everything I plugged into it. Including with my Audio system, my entire home theater system.

Now, what to do with those extra dedicated circuits?

Associated gear
Synergistic Cables I own

1.Apex and Precision Reference Interconnects
2.Apex Speaker Cables
3.Hologram A & D,Precision Reference and T2 Power Cables

Equipment I own

Pass Labs X350.5 Amp
Pass Labs XP-10 Preamp
Cary 306 SACD player.
Eggleston Works Andra 2 speakers
JL Fathom 113 Subwoofer

Similar products
Many other Power Conditioners
Ozzy, my thoughts entirely follow what you have said here, save that I had no experience with the PowerCell 10 Standard. My 10SE was good out of the box but much better the second day. Each of the SR power cords also showed a one or two day break in.

I too have unused dedicated circuits.

The 32 amp connector turns to snap into locked position. The lock will be at the top of the plug when locked.
I'm curious if this Powercell will benefit systems that don't have dedicated lines. Also, will it benefit and synergize with other cords not made by Synergistic Research?
Lak,Tbg, thanks and thanks for the PR plug in instructions. Maybe that is what happened, I will check.

Sherod, I am using other power cords with the PowerCell.

My Denon Receiver is using a Virtual Dynamics Rev2 , My DVD player is using a Telwire cord, DVD recorder a Electraglide, Tascam CD recorder a Electraglide Epithany X,

Incidently my TV, Cable Box, DVD recorder,and HD reciever are plugged into a homemade quad outlet box with Teslaplex outlets.
I used 10 gauge wire and placed a IEC connector at the outside of the box.
This quad outlet box is powered by the Zu Mother cable power cord that is then plugged into the PowerCell.
Everything showed an improvement !.
I had the Powercell 10 SE for one week now and here are my initial observations.
The first 3 days were dark and repressed sounding, which was expected from what I heard from others. I went away for the weekend and about a week later, I happen to go home for lunch. I also have been burning in the Powercell 10 SE since I installed it. I put in a very familiar and well recorded CD and pressed play and went for lunch in the kitchen. After the first song, I was drawn back to the room to sit and listen. The Powercell finally opened up... improvements noted so far... the soundstage got bigger and seems to have no limit, instruments are bursting from their exact locations in ultra clear clarity with lots of texture and definition, my midrange presence has improved. The music sounded more involving, more alive. The notes seem to start and stop quicker and become razor sharp. The black background level and separation of left to right is very noticeable and enhance the soundstage.

I assume some more improvements are to come over the next week. I was told I was just about there. Overall, I’m very satisfied and pleased with this power conditioner. The improvements over the PS Audio are just what I was hoping to hear in my system. The reason why I used PS Audio power plant premier was because I didn’t have dedicated lines. PS Audio unit adjusts to a perfect 120 volts and also reduces THD to a very minimum. I was happy to hear when Ted mentioned that he developed and voiced the Powercell not using a dedicated line. Anyway, the Powercell works leaps better than the PS Audio unit. I now understand the concept of not having any transformers or chokes for filtering in the power supply. Instead the Powercell uses an electromagnetic cell. To me, this unit is like using a direct connection to the wall. To my surprise, plugging my integrated amp into the Powercell sounds much better than plugging it directly into the wall. It seems purity has been missing from my system since adding the PPP and I did not realize this until now. If you can afford it and want a pure system that is very alive, give this unit a try. Dedicated lines are not needed for this unit to sound its best.
It seems purity has been missing from my system since adding the PPP and I did not realize this until now
Can you elaborate? Because, to me, purity is the key benefit of the PPP. How does this unit "sound different?"
Hi Drubin,

All the observations in my review was comparing my entire system plugged into a PPP for over a year and changing to a Powercell 10 SE last week. I was amazed at how much more pure my system sounds now. I never thought the PPP was restricting anything until now. All instruments are noticed in a recording. Nothing disappears to the background and is missed. The loudness levels are turned up in a very good way on all sounds. Everything is illuminated and music is very involving and emotional. Also, with the Powercell 10 SE in my system, the bass is louder. I had to re-adjust my subwoofer. The bass on the 1027 BE’s is smoother and transitions much better to the sub. The sub disappears so much as if I hid it and you did not I have one. Drums sound so real. I think this is a hard trick to pull off for any system. The only place I ever heard bass sound so real was at a live event. Go figure. I'm just amazed by this power conditioner. The level of enjoyment I get from my system has increased immensely.
Powercell 6 = $3000
Powercell 10 = $4000
Powercell 10 SE = $5000 but comes standard with a Precision AC power cord with 32-amp locking connector) A separate Precision AC retails for $1800.

The others you will need to buy either a T3 UHO or Precision AC power cord with a 20 amp connector but I think Synergistic offers packaged deals. Not sure of the prices of those.
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Hi Ozzy,
Nice review. Can you please tell us a little bit more about difference between Powercells with T3 UHC vs 10 SE with Precision AC cord? I have Powercell 6 with T3UHC and thinking of upgrading to 10SE. Problem is that, in my system on my amp, T3UHC is better than Precision AC cable. T3UHC is more open, warm and natural. Precision is more Hi-fi-ish - but it founds a perfect place on my preamp replacing Hologram A.
What type of power cord are you presently plugging in from your PowerCell 6 to your Amp?

When it comes to Power Conditioners the PR is supposed to be the best.

Using different cords in differnt places is what SR recommends.

I am using a T2 on my Preamp.

I could not compare the T3 UHC or the PR with my Amp.
My amp takes a 15V IEC.
The one that comes with the T3 UHC is a 20A IEC, and the PR powercord that comes with the SE uses a special 32A plug.
I have a Hologram A on my Amp going to the PowerCell 10SE.

Probably getting another T3 cord to use from your Amp to the PowerCell 10SE would still be good.

Thanks for response. I meant ask you about sound difference between first conditioner - regular Powercell with T3UHC that you borrowed from dealer with your new 10SE PR conditioner....
Without the comparison between the 2 Powercell systems the T3 would have been impressive, but once I heard the SE with the PR cord, I knew it was better , at least with my equipment.

The Powercell 10 was very good with the T3 UHC powercord. But, maybe the cord needed more break in time.
The sound was a little too warm compared to the SE PR cord and the soundstage was not as wide open.
Please don't take this statement as meaning the Powercell with the T3 was not an improvement over the 3 dedicated circuits that I was using, it was a big improvement!

Again, I think I read a posting by Ted from SR saying the T3 needs extended break in time.
After maybe a couple of weeks of high current draw the T3 might open up more.

If your system likes that little extra warmth then it would be a good thing.
Hi Laza,
If you upgrade to a Powercell 10 SE it comes with a Precision AC power cord with a 32-amp connection. To my knowledge Synergistic does not offer a T3 UHO with a 32-amp connector. I guess you can special order one but I dont see why since the Powercell 10 was voiced with the Precision AC. The Precision AC in my system out performed the T3 UHO with frequency extension and its ultra clear and neutral presentation. I suggest putting a Hologram A on your amp, get a T3 for your preamp since you did not like the Hologram A here. This will add back the warmth. What do you have on your source? If you have a CDP, get a Hologram D.

I think you should try this:
Powercell 10 SE - Precision AC
Source - Hologram D (If its a CDP)
Preamp - T3 or Hologram A (Pick the one you prefer)
Amp - Hologram A

Let us know.... Thanks! Joe
Laza, I have not tried any T3s but on my preamp, an H-Cat, I preferred the T2 to the Precision AC.

There is a reason for the Precision AC being used on the PowerCell 10SE. It sounds better, I am told.
I just got the power cell 10se. And it's amazing. My 300bs have always been week on bass and snap. But with the powercell, the amps have far better control, with the benefits of the 300Bs. Huge sound stage, warmer and smoother highs with more resolution across the spectrum. The vocals are jaw dropping. Every instrument delivers pinpointing imaging with distinct spaces between each. The bass and speed is like having top notch solid state amp.
I can honestly say the benefits are better than the upgrades of 16 vintage tubes (amp and preamp) in my system.

If you can afford it its worth every penny and more!!!
My experience auditioning a PowerCell 10 (non-SE, Mark II ?) was a revelation. This power conditioner is a game changer and a quantum leap forward in feeding clean (and, incidentally, balanced AC) power to components.

Like some others, my experience was that even a broken in unit can take a day to settle in. And the tonality and sound-stage of your system will be dramatically changed, but with adjustments these changes are for the better.

At first the sound can be very confusing, I thought it was adding its own synthetic signature. Continued listening revealed this was just my components performing better.

Give it a little while and you'll find incredible silence, extended dynamics and bass, stunning imaging, vast sound stage and greater definition. I also experienced vast improvement in mid-range and treble sweetness, musical flow, detail of inner voice, secondary musical artifacts and detail WITHOUT any added harshness or glare.

The reverb tails are the longest and quietest I've heard IMS and the conditioner seems to contribute an uncanny musical FLOW and CONTINUITY, probably due to lower noise floor.

Removing the PowerCell (and returning to more familiar conditioners) sucked this newly found life, vividness, mid-range clarity, bass definition, depth and space from my system. Other line conditioner now sounded tonally wrong, closed-in . . . one sounded like a blanket dropped over the clarity, excitement and musicality of the PowerCell.

As 'due diligence' before purchasing (a pair of Power Cell 4 SE's actually) I will audition some others (Shunyata, Audience, etc). Even with my limited experience with line conditioners (Bybee mostly), this GAME CHANGING technology that's a magnitude beyond competitors, in my humble opinion.

Dave Radlauer,
Recording engineer, broadcaster and second-generation audiophile

Amp: Solid State Class A 140w (by Jeff Wells)
Pre: Allnic L-300 triode
DAC: Modified Music Hall (by Jeff Wells)
CD/SACD: Denon DCD-100 Anniversary
Speakers: Triangle Antal Anniversary
Cabling: misc incl. Nordost, JPS, Tel-wire, Wells audio AC
Dradjazz, I'm confused by your post. The current SR Powercell is the 10 SE MkIII and I don't see any evidence of a non-SE Powercell 10. I have not heard the MkIII, but the MkII was striking.
I'm just going by what the dealer told me, and now not sure exactly which model I had. I was told it was not the latest/greatest . . . and it lacked the tuning bullets. Still, the results were outstanding!