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A side-by-side comparison was made between the new P15 directstream Power Plant regenerator and the older model P10. Both power plants are the same size & shape, have the same number of outlets, and nearly the same features and capacity. The P15 has a number of technical updates that steps up performance even further. - so in this comparison we are comparing apples with apples - The P10 was formerly their top model, but above the P15 is a new top model the even bigger P20 identified by front handles, an increase in height, more AC outlets than ever, and much heavier. PS Audio (USA) power regenerators are top notch with a sound improvement similar to adding a new amplifier to your system. Comparison overview - With the new P15 feeding CD, DAC, preamp and monoblock power amps (all via Valhalla2 power cables) there is a small initial sound difference and this is noted by a refinement of sound, with musical notes of more subtlety and clearer expression. Opinions are based on 0 to 50 hours on the P15 and it kept improving during ownership. Explaining further - with the older P5/P10 regenerator one of the traditional sound virtues is a very solid leading edge to notes (no power supply sag) and this gives impressive impact, as well as being fast. The P15 is slightly less obvious in this impact, but it seems less is more, as the surrounding and expressive background nuances are more developed and flow out easier. BASS test difference - An example is from the CD ‘Best of Sade’ track 15 ‘Cherish the Day’ that has 2 bass levels as the song progresses and some good drum pitter-patter; With McIntosh 601 monoblock power amps, I swapped over only the power cords (x2) from the older P10 to the new P15. - The BASS notes on the P15 go a bit deeper, and also the P15 is more neutral in low frequencies with a bit more surrounding information. Comparatively, this seems to indicate a bit of BASS compression with the older P10 regenerator. MIDRANGE and HIGHS test difference – I chose a CD by John Lennon ‘Lennon Legend’ track 17 ‘Borrowed Time’ – to me a sweet test track. (Technical – power amp cords swapped back to P10 again); Using a Soulution 725 solid-state preamp, only the power cord was swapped in from the P10 to the P15, and I noted the music was smoother on the edges. I then additionally swapped in a PS Audio Directstream transport and DAC to the P15, and it was similar again, so the difference overall was an easier listen in the midrange and treble noting better resolution of the tish-tish on cymbals with drumsticks. GENERAL LISTENING COMMENTS - On music that has a lot of ambience, the P15 delivers an enchanting and smooth sound that reveals echoes and subtleties. This is particularly evident on the album by ‘Lorde’ (NZ band) with album ‘Pure Heroine’. Nearly all the tracks are a good listen, with great bass on Track 3 ‘Royals’, and Track 9 ‘White Teeth Teens’ was a good listen after some familiarity. Regarding sound stage width, depth and height, it didn’t jump out as being obviously different between the P10 and P15, so the older P10 can still hold its head high in these important areas. I will admit the sound system with the P15 sounded the best yet on interesting albums such as The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots; INXS, War on Drugs - a Deeper Understanding; the Cure - Disintegration. In a blind test with say some listening fatigue after an hour going back and forth, I feel it would be a challenge to reliably pick the Power Plant regenerator in use as its not night and day change, even though there is a difference in favour of the P15 with subtlety and nuances and an easier music flow. Chassis / Casing - the setup and features are much the same, but there’s a bit of difference as the P15 touch screen is even bigger, has sharper text, and a feel closer to touching glass. Comparatively, the P10 has a more traditional liquid crystal touch screen. One new setup refinement aid is an ‘auto tune’ button for Phase Tune. Previously you had to listen hard to determine a best number between -10 and +10, so now by pressing the ‘auto tune’ button its easy – the unit selected -4 most times I tried it. The rear of chassis is functionally the same, but has layout improvements such as the 9 outputs being mounted lower down on the chassis. In summary, we are talking say a 5-10% difference centred around the system being easier to listen to with improved clarity, resolution and transparency of the P15 that grows on you as the hours clock up. You can turn the volume up more on your favourite tracks, and edgy recordings are an easier listen. Being easier on the ears is a very desirable benefit especially in an ‘all solid-state system’. And yes, I bought one. For people that haven’t experienced the older P10 it’s still a seriously good power regenerator, and such is the demand I sold mine within 24 hours. Anthony H. Sept 2019
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