Synergistic Research Powercell 12UEF


I've just taken delivery of a pair of these latest models from SR and as one of the early customers and given the interest in SR graphene technology I thought I would share some first impressions. The 12UEFs (the glass top model) replace a pair of 10UEFs in my system. One powers the sources (phono, preamp, turntable and my 4 part DCS stack) while the other powers my two monoblocks. I had been very pleased with the 10UEFs and have several years experience with them finding that they did a good job of getting out of the way and letting each component perform.

Anyway after a day or so of listening (so given past SR black experience expect more burn in) I am surprised to relate that the impact of the 12UEFs is almost transformative. The best way of describing the effect is to say that with the 12s its as if a) all the musicians are now performing together in the same room and b) you are in the room with them. Across an array of my test discs I found the same effect. The normal indicators of frequency extreme performance, dynamics etc all somehow seem irrelevant. A couple of examples. On "Bye Bye Blackbird" by Nancy Harms yes the bass is very clear but also superbly dimensioned, this then becomes a busy and congested recording as the full band enters but with the 12UEFs it's easy to sort the parts out and hear all of the musicians playing off one another. Another simple recording is Canen "I've got a guy in Kalamazoo" -- this is almost a mono recording and frankly I thought it sounded a bit muffled but with the 12UEFs again everyone is playing together, you can't help your toes from tapping and really engage with the bass players moves

One odd manifestation of the effect of these components is with any strong central vocal when you move your head forward and back it seems as if you are in the room with the vocalist and are moving away and towards him or her -- all the other instruments stay relatively in proportion and it's as if you can walk around the room

I can only surmise that by taking away low level noise from the power supply the 12UEFs are letting through more of the recorded acoustic - others have noted similar effects with other SR Atmosphere and black series components

Anyway for those already using SR Powercells or in the market for some sort of conditioner I can highly recommend them
Convert?fit=crop&h=128&rotate=exif&w=128folkfreak
^^^ Very nice review, folkfreak ...

Here's a pic of the 12UEF:

http://highend-electronics.com/products/synergistic-research-powercell-12-uef

Sounds like you're getting similar improvements from the 12UEF that I got with the SR Level 3 power cords.  

How anyone can deny what this technology does is beyond me. 

The 12UEF = Another SR product added to the bucket list. :-)

OP
Congrats on the new 12s! Mine is still in shipment...

Not to take anything away from your review, but did you try the Atmosphere PowerCell AC cord with the 10UEFs? Also, did you use the PowerCell FEQs?

I ask the first question, as later versions of the 10UEF came with this cord. Plus, if you use the Atmosphere PowerCell AC cord with the 10UEFs, you will be comparing just the power conditioners.

On another subject, it looks like you're using the Marigo Mystery Feet. Have you tried comparing them to the Grand Prix Audio Apex footers for components?
My PowerCell had the FEQs but the original (CTS?) power cords, I had considered upgrading to the Galileo LE power cords but the new 12s came out before then -- anyway as the trade/upgrade on the new PowerCells is about the same as an Atmosphere L3 I think I'm OK

I have got one Atmosphere L3 which I use to power my Transporter, most of my other power cords are Galileo LE

I do use the GPA Apex footers, the Mystery feet are additional -- the apex are under the stands, the Marigo's go under each component
I didn't realize you traded in the 10s. That makes full sense, then.

I understand you're using the Mystery Feet under your components. I was just wondering if you have tried comparing them to the Apex footers - under components - as the Apex footers probably absorb more vibration.
Folkfreak
I just received my UEF 12 yesterday. I purchased a used AudioQuest Niagara 7000 which was so much better than my 10UEF with the UEF FEQ. So I am anxious to compare the UEF 12 to the AQ Niagara 7000. I also took advantage of the promotion which provided a free Atmosphere power cord and I chose the level3 digital. I put it on my Music server and am letting it burn in for a few days before I hook up the UEF 12. I had to remove the gold bullet from the level 3 PC as it had to much bloom in my system and caused the pinpoint imaging to change. I love SR products and will report my findings on the comparison of the 12 to the Niagara.

The AQ 7000 is very well regarded (and a hair pricier than the UEFs I believe) -- were I not locked in to SR products I'd like to check it out -- I should also note that all my power comes pre-treated by a Torus in wall transformer so I tend towards simpler, less transformer based end conditioning which is why I think I've liked the SR kit

I chose not to bother with the level 3 option, instead got a very good deal on the trade ins :-)

Anyway look forward to hearing about the comparison
It is very well regarded and sounds fantastic. The prices dealers were offering to upgrade to the new unit made this a no brainier. I will provide an update in a few weeks

@richfield_hunter

I am very much interested in your review. I have the 10 UEF w/ FEQ and wondering how much better is the 12 UEF. Its also great that you are able to compare the AQ 7000 along with it, which is a great product. The newly introduced Shunyata Denali also seems like a great product and many favored the Denali to the AQ 7000.

Is there a ongoing trade-in program going on to exchange 10 UEF with the 12 UEF ?
I am not aware of a formal trade up program but my long term dealer was able to give me a good trade in on my old UEFs.

 I've personally not actually directly compared the UEFs with the AQ 7000 but did find that the upgrade from 10UEF to 12 UEF (the glass top model at least) was transformative bringing an entirely new and improved presentation to the complete system. I have found it beneficial to damp/cover the top plates, the flickering blue LED is very objectionable.

The Denali also looks like a good option and in particular I like the look of the supports for heavy AC plugs it has -- the SR products still suffer from a lack of support and I need to resort to shims to hold in my very heavy original Galileo LE plugs - oh well
@folkfreak - thanks for your valuable feedback. I have a pair of nc500 based monoblock and found the 10 UEF to limit its dynamics until I went straight to the wall. I only connect the front ends to the 10 UEF now but I have found chaining an Audience a6R-TSSD after the 10 UEF brings some more improvements in terms of reducing digital hash and smoothness.

However, I am reading the Denali user feedback and lot of folks whoes opinion I value has claimed that its the lowest noise floor they have heard in their system but I haven't found anyone comparing it to SR products yet.
First of all I only have my fron end gear plugged into the power conditioners during this comparison. I have had some time to directly compare the AQ Niagara 7000 to the new SR UEF12.  First of all the UEF 12 is a huge step up over the UEF10 in inner detail, realism, more holographic. But so is the Niagara over the 10.  The AQ and SR 12 are quite similar in transparency quality of timbre and soundstage. However the SR has better bass definition and bass weight than the AQ. In my system the AQ has a hum to it when my ARC Ref 10 is plugged into it. With the SR dead silence. I just got back from RMAF where AQ had Vanderstten Sevens and the Vandy amps plugged into the AQ and Richard Vandersteen suggested that was a step up in performance compared to into the wall. I'm going to give it a try. More to follow. 

Experts,
I am looking to get into SR cabling. Can you guys suggest dealers/retailers who stock a competitive range of cabling and powercells across the USA?
Jafant. Regarding which dealers to use here are three recommendations I have worked with

1. The Cable Company. You will be limited to their discount policy (plus any current SR offers) but benefit from the cable library
2. Highend-electronics. Alfred is a pleasure to work with and offers good prices and very quick service, probably the easiest dealer to work with
3. Scott Walker Audio.  Scott has the closest ties to SR and also can do very good deals, especially if you are buying multiple SR items at once. He's also very good with trades

any one of these three will do you well, good luck
Jafant

I concur with folk freak on Scott Walker.  Scott is very knowledgable about system setup and more importantly how the various SR products will work best in your system. I'd be happy to speak with you on my journey through the SR cable and power conditioner series to my current landing spot.

+1 for Scott Walker. Received my Power cell 12 about two weeks ago. Great to work with and very knowledgeable about the Synergistic line. 
I would definitely check with David at Weinhart Designs.  I have purchased three powercells from him, including the latest and he is great to deal with, and I think you will find him to have as good or better prices than anyone.  With my trade-in, he only charged the net due and allowed me to keep mine until I got the new one.  To me, that was real customer service. 
Much Thanks- richfield_hunter.
I would be interested in reading about your SR products journey.
Yep- owenlee

Weinhart has been around for a long, long time. I would expect nothing less than excellence from this legendary dealer/retailer.
Jafant

To much to type. Be glad right speak with you about it though anytime

I just bought new 10 UEF from Weinhart and came directly from SR with Atmosphere level 3 cable as a bonus upgrade and I'm very convince that it self make a lot of difference ,  I'm not even thinking to trade for 12 UEF ... that cable putting it simply is an amazing piece of technology...I actually started to listen CD's again , and I still can't believe that 16 bit audio can sounds so good . I strongly recommend that power cable , now I'm thinking to upgrade my amp pc to level 3 ....
folkfreak

Is the glass top merely for cosmetics?  Is the point-to-point wiring a more important feature?  The 12UEF SE and Atmosphere power cables are definitely on my upgrade list.

I already have a lot of SR stuff (Atmosphere IC, ART, CTS power cables, Ground Block, etc), and have Black fuses on order.  Just installed the new Tranquility UEF under my DAC and moved the older Tranquility to my preamp.  Really like the reduction in noise floor and increased dynamics.
mtseymour

Thanks for the question. As far as how the SE edition differs from the others I’m afraid I cannot say as I never compared them head to head. In fact in my opinion the glass top is a disadvantage as it a) allows a very annoying flickering blue LED to be visible and b) creates a resonant surface. I cover the glass tops on my two 12UEFs with a rug and some acoustic foam thus solving both problems. All I can say is that they sound fantastic

Surprisingly the one piece of SR kit that I did not like was the Tranquility base -- I tried one in the system under my old PowerCell and it thinned out the sound noticeably adding an edge that I did not like -- that was quickly sold on. I want to try the ground block at some stage (however all those extra wires kind of puts me off 😉
It just goes to show that system synergy is important.  My dealer reluctantly carries SR because the Tranquility base and ART acoustic treatment were too popular, even among customers who didn't use SR cables and conditioners.  I say reluctantly because SR launches a lot of new products, and they don't always give enough support or advance notice to the dealers.

My dealer was also not keen to try SR Ground Blocks.  He carries the Entreq ground boxes, which are very effective but bulky with only 3-6 connections per chassis.  The Entreq cables are also very expensive and not particularly well-made.  Since the SR Ground Block is very small with flexible wires, my dealer found it easier to use in a variety of systems.   Having heard the Entreq and Ground Block in two high-end systems ($200K+), I can attest that they improved already great systems (less noise floor and electronic haze).  The ground blocks also improved my more modest system (PS Audio BHK pre/amp, Revel Studio2, SR cables & accessories, dedicated AC lines).  I'm quite happy that I sold the Entreq Silver Tellus and replaced it with the SR Ground Block.

If you plan to try the SR Atmosphere Level 2-4 IC or power cables, you can connect their ground wires to the Ground Block rather than to the wall plug.  In other words, one Ground Block has 18 connections for your components (DAC, pre, amp, etc) plus any Atmosphere cables.
A week ago upgraded to powercell12 and midrange much better now but bass little leaner 

I was advised bass will improve after burn in......
which power cords are you guys using with Powercell 12 UEF ?
Hi debjit_g,

From the SR website:

"Top tier models come standard with a special 10-gauge Atmosphere Level 3 Active power cord that does not require a separate MPC, just plug and play like standard non-active power cords- no extra wires!"

It also comes with one SR Black UEF receptacle.

The Powercell 10 and 12 models have a female 32 amp Powercon connector for use exclusively with a power cord with a 32 amp Powercon male connector on the Powercell end, so interchanging power cords from the wall receptable to the unit is pretty much limited to the SR power cords with this connector, thus one is included with the Powercell. Any cord can be used from Powercell to components.

Best to you debjit,
Dave
@ dlcockrum

Thanks for the info. I have a Powercell 10 UEF with Element Copper/Tungsten PC and am looking forward to upgrade to 12UEF.
Sorry ’bout that debjit. I misunderstood your question. Many don’t realize that the Powercell 10 and 12 include a power cord and a SR outlet nor about the 32 amp Powercon connector thing.

A lady just sold her deceased ex-husband’s first-gen Powercell 10 UHC (two Powercon-equipped PCs required) on eBay without the PCs (went for ~$600). The buyer had 14 prior eBay transactions. The seller posted on the ad that "many audiophiles refer to use their own powercords as this seems to affect the sound". I bet anything that the buyer had no clue what he/she was getting into re: the expense and scarcity of Powercon equipped SR PCs.

I too have a Powercell 10 UEF/FEQ. Hope that you enjoy the 12.

Best to you debjit_9,
Dave
Audience also has cords with 32 amp Powercon connectors, although I don't know if they sell them without their power conditioners.

Another option is an adapter from VooDoo Cable, if you want the flexibility to try different power cords, or compare power conditioners on a more equal footing.

http://voodoocable.net/product/iec-to-powercon-adapter/
Good input Jay. Thanks.
TY- richfield_hunter