PSAudio Quintet Power Conditioner and PerfectWave AC3 & AC5 Power Cables [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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01-19-2010, 09:11 PM
I just got the PSAudio AC3 and AC5 power cables and Quintet Power Conditioner in for review.

Unpacked tonight and am running them into the AudioNote DAC1 and the KingRex HQ-1 headphone amplifier.

So far, just off the bat, I'm very impressed with construction. The power cables are very beefy. The Quintet is a hell of a power conditioner. Pretty dang heavy, and seems very well made.

It has three sectors. 4 A plugs, 4 B plugs, and 2 C plugs for amplifiers. Each sector can be turned off with a toggle switch on the conditioner. There are also phone, and other TV related plugs on the conditioner, which I'm sorry, I most likely will not be testing because I don't do home theater. Shiat, I don't even have a TV.

Here are some photos so far.
(dont trip. I don't normally keep the power coniditioner and cables across the TT. But the 12v on the phono amp busted (thnx you Simaudio for sending hopefully sending a replacement soon))

(might seem silly, but packaging for the power cables is very nice - just a side note)

Mr Peabody
01-20-2010, 08:23 AM
I was impressed with what my Quintessence did for me. Another member tried one after I did and he wasn't so impressed. It depends on the incoming AC and what a person has plugged into their home AC line and the home's AC set up. If you wanted to be wow'd by the power cords plug one into your phono stage if possible. That was the unit that benefited the most in my system when I upgraded power cords. Second was the CD player. Placement of my Audio Note DAC made it impossible to upgrade so not sure how that will work.

01-20-2010, 07:12 PM
Well, so far so good.

But there could be a change. I've still got the Granite Audio #560 cables in the mix. Right now I am using the Granite Audio #560 to power the Quintet and the Audio Note DAC. The AC3 into the HQ-1 and the AC5 into the JRDG 102S. It all has sounded wonderful tonight.

I did pull the GA#560 from the Quintet and put in the standard power cable and there was a noticeable drop in bass, mids, and soundstage depth.

I've got some time with all this. But after chillen with this set up for a bit I'll switch out the GA#560 into the Quintet for the AC3 and AC5.

But it had me thinking, cause I noticed, now that I've got 2 GA#560 cables on loan. When I had one GA#560 plugged into the JRDG 102S and a normal cable into the HQ-1, it sounded so similar to having a GA#560 plugged into both, that it wouldn't be worth the purchase of two in my opinion. At least now with this equipment.

So, I wonder. Is it more worth it to get 1 really outstanding power cable, plug it into a power conditioner, like the PSAudio Quintet, and use either standard, or less expensive power cables from the power conditioner to the rest of equipment. Like, once the good cable has worked its magic, or rather had its effect on the power coming in, than it doesn't matter too much the quality of cable after that.

I guess the best way to test this would be with 1 GA#560 into the Quintet and normal power plugs into everything else and hear how it compares.

Wouldn't that be awesome though, for those who can't spend a year's salary on 4 power cables, if you only needed one and then normal, or a bit better than normal, after that.

hum.......short cuts....short ribs....humm... dinner time!

Mr Peabody
01-20-2010, 07:25 PM
Logically, it makes sense if one good power cord was plugged into a conditioner that you'd be alright beyond using the stock cord but with audio things don't always follow logic. I'd be interested to know if it worked for you.

I think I jinxed myself today. I turned on my power amps and nothing happened. i knew it wasn't likely that both would have an issue at the same time so I began tracking the problem. Turns out the two outlets in my Quintessence that the amps were plugged into are no longer working. I have an original version without all the fancy stuff and independent switching so I'm wondering if something is wrong with it. I have an email out to PS Audio. The amps work fine plugged into another strip.

01-20-2010, 07:47 PM
I think I jinxed myself today. I turned on my power amps and nothing happened. i knew it wasn't likely that both would have an issue at the same time so I began tracking the problem. Turns out the two outlets in my Quintessence that the amps were plugged into are no longer working. I have an original version without all the fancy stuff and independent switching so I'm wondering if something is wrong with it. I have an email out to PS Audio. The amps work fine plugged into another strip.

Oach, good luck with that. Seems Jan is the time of the month for things to break. Had a power adapter go out on my phono amp two nights ago. Really gets me now, that I've got my room set up, I've love to be spinning vinyl.

01-24-2010, 12:00 AM
Well, today I finally wrote up my review of the JRDG 102 S amplifier and so after returning the library and some chore decided to sit down with the wife's help and hear what I wrote.

I find it helpful for me to write my review, then listen to the equipment, and ask myself, did I write today what I hear now? Kind of a good way to check myself.

In the process of this tonight, though, we also did some switching between power cables and amplifiers.

So, 4 cables, 1 power conditioner, 2 amplifiers.

Granite Audio #560 ($850)
PSAudio AC5 ($199)
PSAudio AC3 ($99)
standard generic power cable from box

PAaudio Quintet
-> amps in amp zone, cd player isolated in zone 1, pre-amp and DAC in zone 2 using another Granite Audio #560 to power the conditioner

Jeff Rowland Design Group 102 S
Van Alstine OmegaStar 250EX

CD sampled:
Massive Attack - Mezzanine - Track 4
Tindersticks - Tindersticks [II] - Track 4
Sufjan Stevens - Illinoise - Track 1,2,4
Thelonious Monk - It's Monk's Time - Track 2
Miles Davis - Tribute to Jack Johnson - Track 1

Now it is fair to say that the PSAudio cables are not fully burned in. I asked about recommended burn in time but haven't had an answer yet. But lets just say they have had only about 5hrs of play time while the GA#560 has had many hundreds.

I wanted to establish a couple things in this little listening period. One, the differences in the sound of each cable, and if I really liked Jazz better on the AVA than the JRDG amp.

With the JRDG 102 S: - Plugs directly into wall outlet

Generic Cable:
Quickly it was agreed between us that the generic power cable produced a hollow sound and a collapsed soundstage. Low frequencies where blurred and basically non existent. Resonance and on piano was and drums were very short lived, dynamics between instruments and effects on them were blurred. The music was unengaging and 'boring'. As the wife said "I could read to this, no problem".

Granite Audio #560:
Soundstage is huge and resonance seems to be what is on the CD. But what really got us was the d.ynamics between instruments. It is amazing. The piano and guitar duo on Illinoise track 4 is captivating and the sound stage was huge. Being nice I let the wife sit center stage for a bit, and even when i was directly in front of the right channel the piano and guitar sounded just like I was sitting center stage. This probably has a lot to do with engineering, but it sounded great. The wife commented that vocals seemed to get a bit lost or over powered by the instruments. I have to say, i think i agree with her. I noticed that with the GA#560 the very low frequencies are more present, and I think this helped with giving the instruments a greater dynamic range but it also helped to shadow some of the male vocals. But we pretty much agreed that with this power cord you feel like you are right at the edge of the stage, so to speak.

PSAudio AC5:
This power cord gives just about all the GA does except for the power to the lowest end. As such dynamics is reduced a bit between instruments but vocals do take more of a front stage. There seemed to be a more of an extended high end which didn't sound too smooth. It wasn't bad, but it didn't offer as deep in tones, or as black a background as the GA power cable.

PSAudio AC3:
We both agreed it sounded better than the generic power cable but we quickly focused on the AC5 and GA#560. I'll have to spend more time with the AC3 but it offered more detail and dynamic range and larger and deeper soundstage than the generic cable, but was a far cry from the GA. Granted, it is also $700 cheaper.

We moved from the plugs straight into the wall to plugging the JRDG 102 S with either the AC5 or GA#560 into the PSAudio Quintet which used another GA#560.

I was curious if the GA#560 between the Quintet and the wall socket would be noticeable. Specifically, if using the GA to plug the Quintet in, and using the AC5 to plug the amp in, if the sound would receive the GA sound. It in fact did. The AC5 plugged into the Quintet which was plugged into the wall with the GA sounded different than just the AC5 plugging the amp into the wall. There was a bit better dynamics and separation between instruments but the vocals didn't seem to take as much of a back seat when the music started to crescendo. The wife liked this combination a lot, while I was more happy to let the instruments over take the vocals at times. I guess it all boils down to taste. Resonance and depth of drums was still amazing and thump was definitely not noticeably changed.

So, onto the Jazz part. I plugged the AVA in and played track 4 off Illinois again and the wife stopped reading and looked at me, and said "what happened, this sounds great!". LOL. Well, it did in fact sound different, but I wouldn't say great. The difference was more clear on the begging of track 5. Bass was less detailed and present, and the lowest frequencies of the music didn't stand out as much. Plus, the highs were a little sharp and airy. For those of you who don't know the AVA comes with a power cord installed into the amp. So I can't switch power cords. What I could do, is plug the Omegastar into the Quintet that was plugged into the GA#560 to the wall. Maybe I could get some of the benefits of the GA into the AVA gear.

Between the JRDG (with GA#560) and the AVA (into the Quintet and GA#560) amp there were some significant differences. With the Tribute to Jack Johnson album the guitar sounded less present and in your face. Dynamics were reduced on the AVA but the bass was more clear. With the JRDG the bass tended to feel lower but also was harder to distinguish from the drums. It has lows, but lacked some mids. This is something I've noticed that happens with GA#560 plugged int a component. The lowest of the low end is given more of the stage while some of the low mids are reduced. Or maybe they are just harder to hear when the lowest of the lows are more present. This could obviously really be an issue with the Monitor Audio RS6 speakers. Being able to handle the presence of the low lows and the detail of the mid lows might be done better on different speakers. Something with larger woofers maybe.

On the T.Monk cd track 2 with the JRDG there was just too much bass and not even low mids. This is a pure piano track and with the JRDG it sounded at times there was someone upstairs thunder footing around. Yet I have no upstairs in my one story house. With the AVA the lowest of the lows were not so present, and the low mids on the piano and I think, his feet clomping around, gave the track more clarity and a bit more musicality. Both were very enjoyable to listen to, just each had different focuses.

So as it stands, I do believe I really enjoy the JRDG 102 S for pretty much anything other than some jazz pieces and slower lounge music. For instance, I've go a Henry Mancini LP, I believe called 'strings on strings'. On the AVA it sounds slow thick, rich and warm, the sound fits the music style to a T. On the JRDG it sounds great, but it doesn't sound like the right match. The style of amp, fast and putting focus into the low lows (with the GA#560 that is) just doesn't match the style of music that LP is.

Anyways, I know this is long, but I hope it helps someone somewhere at some point.

Look for my upcoming review on the 102 S on Dagogo and I'll also have more in depth reviews of the PSAudio gear coming on AudioREVIEW in the next month or two.

Mr Peabody
01-24-2010, 03:45 PM
I enjoyed the write up Adam, thanks.

02-15-2010, 09:40 PM
So it has been a little while since I've had the AC3 | AC5 | and Quintet in my hands. I've been using them interchanged between amp/headphone amp/DAC and I think they are starting to show some more signs of life.

I'm going to do another A/B/C compare with the wifie again soon, but tonight I've been rocking the AC 5 ($199) in the HQ-1 Headphone Amp with the AC3 ($99) in the AudioNote DAC 1. Both plugged into the Quintet ($349) which is plugged into the wall with the supplied power cord.

So far tonight Belle & Sebastian's "Boy with the Arab Strap" | Shinny Toy Guns "Self Titled v1" and Nine Inch Nails "Further Down the Spiral" have been on tap. All CD format.

I really liked what I heard with this set up with the B&S CD. The bass had less punch and volume with the AC5 than the GA#560 but the music as a whole felt a little further away and more balanced. Plus there seemed to be more detail, or rather, maybe, a different focus on what was detailed. Also there seemed to be less pressure on my head than with the GA#560 power cord.

With the B&S CD the band seemed more round and and vocals appeared to be a bit more clear. I actually heard for the first time, and I really don't like it when people say "i heard for the 1st time a ... yadda yadda", but I really did hear some more detail in vocals for the 1st time. I heard someone count '1,2,3,4' in a break in one song and at the very beginning of the CD I heard tape recording fuzz. I don't every remember hearing these things before.

What is a bit more telling, on the STG and NIN CDs there has been less boomy bass. I think this can attribute to the 'less pressure' on my head that I have been feeling when I had the GA#560 plugging it in. Yet, unlike when the HQ-1 is plugged in with a standard power cord, with the AC5 there is a more full and deeper bass. For instance, on the opening bass throb of NIN "Closer" the bass is deep and detailed, but as other noises come in, the bass tended to fade away and not sustain thought out the song. Plus it just isn't as punchy and some what overwhelming as it was with the GA#560. And on NIN "Ruiner" the section with the progressing aggressive synthetic horns there is a very low rumble I've heard on different systems that isn't fully there, or rather, not as much there as I'd like it to be. But the deep 808 style 'boom' bass in the other parts is there. The guitar and bass solo in the middle with the drums is very detailed and nice sounding, you can hear the compression very distinctly and when the drums kick back in and the headroom opens up again, hearing the dynamic change from one part to another is, well, what I'd want to hear.

I'll have remember this and hear how this song sounds between the 4 power cords. Good thing I wrote it down!

I have to say, for STG it made a great balance. Just the CD mix I suppose. And for the B&S CD it was great. With the NIN CD though, I do wish it had more kick to help the aggression in the music. Though the guitar and synth noise has been a bit clearer.

Now, one thing to keep in mind, is that I am still using the AKG K701 which are extremely revealing headphones, but from what I've read, and seem to experience from time to time depending on associated equipment, is that the lack of dynamic punch in the kicks and snare, could just be them.

Trade offs I suppose. One of the problems on listening to a wide verity of music on equipment that doesn't rival the national debt.

02-16-2010, 05:22 AM
Nice stuff Adam. As you know, I have my source power sorted into 2 lines, one for digital and one for analog. The Golden Tube is hooked up to a low level AR cord. Does a nice job, but I haven't done any comparing. Maybe I should.

I am getting a Cambridge Audio D300 and was hoping you could reccomend a good cord for it. It's a CDP by the way. Something in the 0-100 range if possible. I'm assuming the PS Audio stuff is expensive.

02-21-2010, 01:46 PM
I am getting a Cambridge Audio D300 and was hoping you could reccomend a good cord for it. It's a CDP by the way. Something in the 0-100 range if possible. I'm assuming the PS Audio stuff is expensive.

Hey PC -

Sorry to get back you late. Last week was hell! Umm..well, for a CDP I'm not fully sure.

The CDP I'm using is I guess, just being used as a transport because it is going into the AudioNote DAC 1. I could see about switching between the power cords I have to hear if there are changes in the DAC.

The PSAudio stuff I have is $99 and $199. They have a $59 version but didn't send.

I've contact a couple other manufacturers about sending in some 'entry' price range power cords but haven't heard back yet.

I suppose, the most help I could be for you, would be to do a side by side of a standard power cord and the PSAudio AC3. I'll do that with the DAC tonight and write up what I hear.

02-22-2010, 07:22 AM
hey PC -

I got in a few hours of listening last night but I mainly used the KingRex HQ-1 as the testing equipment.

My review pretty much has to remain the same between a regular power cord and the AC3. That is, the AC3 is a step up, at least on the HQ-1 it beefed up the low end a bit and smoothed vocals out. Smoothed out in a good way, helped make them sound more real, less tinny. There was a slight increase in detail with some music. For instance, with Bell and Sebastian's "Boy with the Arab Strap" I could hear the hand percussionist a bit clearer.
The AC3 is $99.

The AC5 is a I think the champ so far. It definitely brought out the bass, mids and gave the highs a smoother quality. I could turn the music up higher w/o getting irritating. Details were better, and the major difference between the AC3 and AC5 is that the AC% offers better dynamics. Hand claps and finger snaps actually snapped, and on track 4 of Massive Attack off Mezzanine, the vocals and drums popped in closer time and with greater dynamics.

I would say, between these two, the AC5 is worth the purchase. The AC3 seems like it would only help if you are looking for a just a slight increase in bass and smoother highs. But for the variety of music I played last night, say, from Massive Attack to NIN to B&S to Miles Davis, the AC3 vs regular power cord only made a difference with the non-electronic music. Where as with the AC5 vs AC3, there was a noticeable difference in all music played.