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Review of M18PSU – Gieseler Kraftwerk 12V 4A PSU


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The new high current Gieseler Kraftwerk PSU rated at 12V, 4A powers a SOtM SMS-200 Ultra driving a Gieseler Groß DAC.  According to Clay, it has a new lower noise regulator and a massive 26,000 uf main filter cap; more design details here.

 

The new 4A PSU on the Ultra improved the resolution of the music. Initially, it came across as slightly louder (incorrect, checked with a sound meter) but this was due to individual instruments being more distinct.  I suspect that the higher current has given the Ultra headroom resulting in a better listening experience.  By comparison, things sounded restrained when switching back to the older Gieseler M17PSU 12V, 1.5A.

 

And a bonus was a much cooler Ultra.

 

Please note that there is burn in period.  Clay suggested that characteristics of the large filter cap will change a bit after say eight hours or so and then stabilise.

 

Tested the PSU on @lumholtzii setup, with his Ultra driving an Exasound 32 DAC.  The change was more noticeable with his setup with both of us preferring the 4A PSU.  Will leave him to post his impressions.

 

Highly recommended for SMS-200 Ultra and devices which need or improves with higher current.

Edited by Snoopy8
Added Gieseler to title
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I received one of Clay's Kraftwerk PSUs on Monday, but due to a super-busy week at work and being on the cusp of man-flu with the associated headaches, I didn't get time to listen to the PSU properly

Hi guys    I picked up my unit last week from Clay.  It’s powering the SOtM now. Like Snoopy. The SOtM is attached to the GroB Dac. Feeding into a Lux 507u. All with my solid silver core cab

@Snoopy8's observations on the Clay’s new PSU are interesting, and parallel mine to large degree.  I only had a very brief initial audition when Snoop brought his new PSU over.  Even with this brief a

4 hours ago, Snoopy8 said:

Tested the PSU on @lumholtzii setup, with his Ultra driving an Exasound 32 DAC.  The change was more noticeable with his setup with both of us preferring the 4A PSU.  Will leave him to post his impressions.

 

@Snoopy8's observations on the Clay’s new PSU are interesting, and parallel mine to large degree.  I only had a very brief initial audition when Snoop brought his new PSU over.  Even with this brief audition, I could tell that it was a reasonable punt in the (never-ending) search of ever- better SQ, and so I got in contact with Clay.

 

After receiving the unit it burnt in over a couple of days, continuing to improve over this time.  Now several days on the difference is now ‘chalk & cheese’. 

 

The 4amp PSU certainly adds a little warmth to sound compared to 1 amp, but more importantly it adds a body / depth and richness to overall sound, particularly in the mids & upper bass.  If I was listening to it blindly without knowing what was changed, I would have said the source had been switched to one with a greater bit-depth ….. But it wasn't, it was the same source. 

 

Put simply, the sound to me was much more engaging and less ‘digital’.  And if I had to label it as succinctly as possible, I’d describe it is much 'more musical'.  And even the ‘SO’ thinks so too 😉.  As vinyl fan anything that make digital sources sound more musical to me is likely to be a winner, especially if it is a cost-effective one. 

 

Well done Clay – I’m very happy with this recent tweak, and still a little gob-smacked at the improvement.  

 

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After a quick chat to Claylast week, I’ve decided to try one of his new PSU’s with my SOtM feeding the GroB.   Picking it up tomorrow ( coffee Clay ) Same as Snoopy’s.   Hope the results are as good 

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51 minutes ago, NKMA said:

Hi@Snoopy8, I have a 9v ultra. I suppose using the 12v might break it? What is the recommended PS then? I already use a SPS500 already. Thanks

Do not use the 12V on 9V Ultra (ok for std SMS-200); been told it is not tolerant.  You could try the Gieseler 9V 3A but not sure it will improve on the SPS500? 

 

By coincidence, I am about to get the 3A PSU for another device, so will do a compare on the Ultra.

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8 hours ago, Snoopy8 said:

Do not use the 12V on 9V Ultra (ok for std SMS-200); been told it is not tolerant.  You could try the Gieseler 9V 3A but not sure it will improve on the SPS500? 

That would be great, please let me know.. thanks @Snoopy8

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Great that Clay has released this Kraftwerk PSU! I predict there is very little if any positive difference compared to SOTMs SPS500 which costs more than twice the price. Snoopy8, I’m happy to do a comparison together using my SPS500.

 

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You are on @RussB but not sure when. I have a DAC compare on Saturday, not sure I can get a leave pass on Sunday :shocked:

 

Will do a Gieseler only PSU shootout first with my own gear...

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On 01/10/2018 at 10:51 AM, Snoopy8 said:

powers a SOtM SMS-200 Ultra driving a Gieseler Groß DAC

Just to clarify, it only drives the Ultra right? Your Grob has its own power supply. 

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35 minutes ago, Mike13 said:

Just to clarify, it only drives the Ultra right? Your Grob has its own power supply. 

Correct, PSU drives Ultra only. The Groß has its own power supply.

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Hi guys 

 

I picked up my unit last week from Clay.  It’s powering the SOtM now. Like Snoopy. The SOtM is attached to the GroB Dac. Feeding into a Lux 507u. All with my solid silver core cables and my Straightwire copper SC.   And Spendor D9’s.  I was quite sceptical if the power supply would make a lot of difference.    Well at first it didn’t.  But Clay has warned me it would take a couple of days to burn in.  

 

Now on what I’m hearing. 

 

The music seems to be more detailed. Somewhat darker and deeper in detail though. Not brighter that many people take for more detail.   Soundstage is very similar but the separation seems better 

 

This has been an interesting and enlightening experience.  Over the years I’ve purchased many high end power cables, regens, and other weird and wonderful power related tweeks 

 

This one works and I can def say I can hear a difference.  But a good difference 

 

recommended 

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57 minutes ago, Snoopy8 said:

@Bill125812  What PSU were you using before switching over to the Gieseler 4A PSU?

Hi Snoopy.   No PSU.  Just the cord that came with the SOtM   I’ve just got the SOtM last week mate 

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On 03/10/2018 at 7:41 PM, NKMA said:

That would be great, please let me know.. thanks @Snoopy8

I compared the Gieseler 12V 4A PSU with the 12V 3A PSU on the SMS-200 Ultra and the 4A unit beat the 3A unit.  It provided better resolution of the music with a cleaner resolution of individual instruments, more distinct.  While the 3A unit is quieter, the 4A unit provides more headroom making it nicer to listen to.   For the SMS-200 Ultra, a higher current PSU is the recommended way to proceed.

 

Hope to do a comparison with the SPS-500 in the next few weeks.

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9 hours ago, Snoopy8 said:

I compared the Gieseler 12V 4A PSU with the 12V 3A PSU on the SMS-200 Ultra and the 4A unit beat the 3A unit.  It provided better resolution of the music with a cleaner resolution of individual instruments, more distinct.  While the 3A unit is quieter, the 4A unit provides more headroom making it nicer to listen to.   For the SMS-200 Ultra, a higher current PSU is the recommended way to proceed.

 

Hope to do a comparison with the SPS-500 in the next few weeks.

Hope the 4A PSU doesn't beat the SPS-500.... otherwise... it will be insane

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23 minutes ago, NKMA said:

Hope the 4A PSU doesn't beat the SPS-500.... otherwise... it will be insane

A compare will not be too far away. @RussB has a SPS-500, and we will use it on my SMS-200 Ultra Neo 12V.  I am anticipating the Gieseler 12V 4A PSU will at least match the SPS-500. 

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On 08/10/2018 at 8:38 PM, Snoopy8 said:

A compare will not be too far away. @RussB has a SPS-500, and we will use it on my SMS-200 Ultra Neo 12V.  I am anticipating the Gieseler 12V 4A PSU will at least match the SPS-500. 

@Snoopy8 - did you manage to test against standard Ultra? or Neo with SPS-500?

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2 minutes ago, NKMA said:

@Snoopy8 - did you manage to test against standard Ultra? or Neo with SPS-500?

Have not been able borrow Standard Ultra.  However, can say with certainty that the voice delivered by Neo is better. Listening to Diana Krall right now and her voice is superb 👍

 

SPS-500 compare to be scheduled...

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Just my 2 cents. I borrowed the new power supply to try out on my Chord 2 Qute, on which I am currently running an MCRU linear power supply. Well what a huge difference. The sound expanded significantly in width and height and improved the sound overall. I'd be like 'shut up and take my money Clay' if I wasn't about to upgrade one of Clays DACs.

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Well, here is the requested comparison with a SOtM SPS-500 PSU rated 5A@ 7Vdc, 9Vdc, 12Vdc (from website). 

 

If my earlier statement is correct:

On 08/10/2018 at 11:05 AM, Snoopy8 said:

 For the SMS-200 Ultra, a higher current PSU is the recommended way to proceed.

then, with the higher current, the SPS-500 should come on top!

 

However, today's result is similar to my first post here. The 4A PSU on the Ultra improved the resolution of the music with individual instruments being more distinct. By comparison, things sounded restrained with the SPS-500.  Donald Fagen's I.G.Y. starts with a number of instruments.  The 4A PSU shone through with better reproduction, each instrument coming through clearly. Similar with The Persuasions: Angel, with the voices clearer, more distinct.  Did an extended compare with both DSD and PCM material involving playing each track, then switching over PSUs, playing new track, then switch.  That way, each PSU was heard first for alternate tracks.  The 4A PSU came up on top, making for a better listening experience, and using lumholtzii's words, more musical.

 

So, my earlier conclusion that higher current for the Ultra is wrong and too simplistic.  It is also dependent on the design.  The Gieseler 4A PSU is better for the Ultra 12V.  My hunch is that it will be similar for a standard SMS-200 (which has been found to benefit from running at 12V).  For a Ultra 9V (which cannot take 12V), another hunch is that a Gieseler 9V 3A will match the SPS-500.  

 

While I had the SPS-200, decided to compare the SPS-500 at 7V 5A with the Gieseler 7.5V 3A for use with Uptone Iso Regen.  Could not pick a difference between them.  Could not do a SPS-500 12V 5A with the same 3A unit operating at 12V; not enough PSUs!

 

In summary, the Gieseler Kraftwerk 4A PSU is better than the SOtM SPS-500 and continues to be highly recommended for a SMS-200 Ultra (Neo) 12V.

 

Well done, Clay!  👍

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Thanks for the comparison, its interesting and i would have thought it sounded similar..

 

I'm pulling the trigger (just did) on the GK PSU 4A. 

 

Along with the upgrade to Neo, John from Sublime Hifi also changed mine to 12v. So this should be good..!

 

Still cant believe something almost half price sounds better..! will keep you updated. 

Edited by NKMA
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Don’t forget that the SOtM power supply is switch mode.  Having had a chance to use it in my system I found the 5A linear power supply to be superior. The SPS-500 sounds a bit “digital” compared to the LPS but the battery still sounds best of all.

Amps ain’t amps - it depends how they are delivered!

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Clay’s 3A multiple voltage PSU is not the only higher current Gieseler option for driving a 9V Device such as 9V version of SMS-200 Ultra. He can just as easily make a 9V version of the 4A Kraftwerk. He advised me that the only difference is a single resistor, and the “performance would be identical to the 12v 4A unit but just now at 9v out”. So those running a 9V device effectively have a choice of the multiple voltage 3A or the 4A Kraftwerk.

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14 hours ago, RussB said:

Clay’s 3A multiple voltage PSU is not the only higher current Gieseler option for driving a 9V Device such as 9V version of SMS-200 Ultra. He can just as easily make a 9V version of the 4A Kraftwerk. He advised me that the only difference is a single resistor, and the “performance would be identical to the 12v 4A unit but just now at 9v out”. So those running a 9V device effectively have a choice of the multiple voltage 3A or the 4A Kraftwerk.

So are you tempted ? 😜

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I’m planning on getting an Iso Regen and will need a new power supply for it. Main options I’m considering are buying Clay’s multi voltage 3A supply for the Iso and keeping my SOTM SPS-500 on the SMS-200 Ultra Neo, or using the SPS-500 for the Iso and getting Clay to make a 9v 4A Kraftwerk for the Ultra. Based on your review the latter might be better, but I’d prefer to at least compare SPS-500 and 4A in my own system first. Fortunately I know someone who might be able to help with that! [emoji3]

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On 19/10/2018 at 9:22 PM, NKMA said:

Still cant believe something almost half price sounds better..! will keep you updated. 

Any update?

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18 minutes ago, Snoopy8 said:

Any update?

When i received the Kraftwerk 12v 4A, I was thinking of keeping my it as a spare alongside Sotm SPS. However as soon as I connected the Kraftwerk, I could see what you were talking about in your review as it has brought depth to the instruments and made it bright. I love listening where there is a prominence on instruments, so I just loved it.  Another thing i noticed is the base got tight. A overall loudness to the music.  The SPS-500 was a bit laid back and had prominence on voice, at least thats what i felt. I am yet to listen for longer periods, but this is my immediate feedback.. Hence let go of my power supply, one of them..! (still have my HD Plex left powering the Sotm modded switch).

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Thanks @NKMA. Good to hear you have experienced an improvement with the Kraftwerk. My system has tended to be a bit on the bright side and I have deliberately chosen some components to be more laid back as a result. I didn’t realise the SPS-500 may also be a little laid back! Before I decide between the two approaches I mentioned in my above post it is probably desirable that I give the Kraftwerk a test run in my system if possible before committing the $.

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3 minutes ago, RussB said:

Thanks @NKMA. Good to hear you have experienced an improvement with the Kraftwerk. My system has tended to be a bit on the bright side and I have deliberately chosen some components to be more laid back as a result. I didn’t realise the SPS-500 may also be a little laid back! Before I decide between the two approaches I mentioned in my above post it is probably desirable that I give the Kraftwerk a test run in my system if possible before committing the $.

Agree, with the comparison.  How do you do a seamless comparison on the same song without stopping and starting? Is there an easier way other than recording and playing back (I use my iphone to do this)?

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Agree, with the comparison.  How do you do a seamless comparison on the same song without stopping and starting? Is there an easier way other than recording and playing back (I use my iphone to do this)?


I was imagining just playing one of my favourite test tracks two or three times using one power supply and then swapping power supply and repeating, and then repeating that process again for same song as necessary until I feel I have sussed the differences on that track, before moving onto a different type of track. At least that’s what I tend to do. But I certainly wouldn’t claim it is seamless. Open to other suggestions that people may have. Interested to hear more about how you use your iPhone.
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1 hour ago, RussB said:

 


I was imagining just playing one of my favourite test tracks two or three times using one power supply and then swapping power supply and repeating, and then repeating that process again for same song as necessary until I feel I have sussed the differences on that track, before moving onto a different type of track. At least that’s what I tend to do. But I certainly wouldn’t claim it is seamless. Open to other suggestions that people may have. Interested to hear more about how you use your iPhone.

 

I would be inclined to leave it in for a few hours to warm up and then spend an hour listening. Disconnect PS1 and connect PS2, go away for a few hours and then listen again. Hopefully you would have found one more enjoyable than the other.  A/Bing is very difficult in this situation.

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17 minutes ago, PKay said:

I would be inclined to leave it in for a few hours to warm up and then spend an hour listening. Disconnect PS1 and connect PS2, go away for a few hours and then listen again. Hopefully you would have found one more enjoyable than the other.  A/Bing is very difficult in this situation.

Agree that PSUs need to warm up. 

 

The only way to do a proper  A/B comparison is to have 2 SMS-200 Ultras with the different power supplies, 2 same DACs and hook them both to  a pre-amp.  I do know a number of people who I can borrow gear from but is it worth the effort???  And please do not mention double blind testing; that has started many a debate and caused threads to be shut down. 

At the end of the day, if you can hear a difference, and it improves your enjoyment of music, that is all that counts.

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Well I thought I would make

a 9v version & see how it measures.

All good as you can see .

With a 2 ohm load voltage was 9.05v & current 4.11A

I will add this as a optional output voltage for the 12v 4A Kraftwerk model.

 

 

IMG_3002.JPG

Edited by Gieseler Audio
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