Power Conditioner Architecture. Discuss Differences?



Posts: 520
Joined: September 21, 1999

From the way I see it there are three basic types of power conditioners in our hobby. At least the serious ones.

1. Isolation Transformers. Perhaps the most common and have the possibility of being current limiting.

2. Capacitive ones, or large banks of capacitors. Blue Circle incorporated this, and the advanate is non-current limting

3. Regenerative tpyes, PS Audio Power Plants. The new Class D based ones offer the most output, but its essentially an amplifier so it has a theoretical limit of output and current.

What would you consider the benefits or each type and their greatest limitations? If you were to select one, which would it be?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

I like the old style regenerative ones that weigh 80 lbs. Never current limiting.

I really like how you’ve hit the nail on the head with current limiting as the major failue of these devices.

I haven’t done a lot of research since I found the regenerative power conditioner and never looked back. But I have read a lot of stories on here of people figuring out (eventually) that the wall outlet sounds better than their power conditioner, often on name brand equipment.

You asked my recommendation:  Last generation PSA, PP10.


-regenerators add distortion to the line. basically an amp for your amp. limited to what that amp can output. They are also current limiting, if that's actually a thing. 

-isolators add inductance to the power factor.

-caps add capacitive loading also effecting power factor. 

-your outlet-wire-breaker is current limiting as well. 

nothing perfect. probably best to have a dedicated line run from your panel. 

oh your equipment has many of these already in them as well. 

no one talks about protection though that is more important to me. 


Different use cases may dictate the requirement. You may end up with something like a non-current limiting Shunyata for your amp and a Puritan or AQ for your sources if you live in a city in an apartment building. Or even a regenerator like the PSA for all components. Depending a lot on what’s going on in the power line and what your setup looks like. I don’t think there’s a one formula fits all type conditioner.

I’ve used Shunyata Hydra for years then switched to Piritan. Two different types of design.
Since running a dedicated line, I actually prefer everything direct to outlets now using very high quality power cable on every component and plugged into Furutech GTX-D NCF outlets. My Puritan PSM156 is looking for a new home.

But…as with everything in this hobby…YMMV

@glennewdick you need to look at your understanting.

A regenerator is a rectifier and an inverter. Their current capacity can be 1000 KW if that’ what they are designed for.

I do have a dedicated line run for my stereo.  That can't change the sine wave coming to my house.  It has about 4% THD.  After my regenerator it is about 0.1% THD.


You missed inductive and switched regulators.

Series mode surge protectors fit the former.  Besides the actual surge suppression the benefits are very low start to filter frequency, around 3 to 10 kHz.

This brand/unit is AFAIK out of business and never got the right kind of distribution but IMHO had the best mix of design and features.

Instead of either a linear or switching amp to regenerate power (i.e. PS Audio) ExactPower used a buck/boost transformer to actively fix the incoming AC signal from moment to moment. The advantages were many, including extremely high efficiency (comparable to latest gen PS Audio) and very low noise (unlike PS Audio now), and excellent fine-grained voltage regulation.

The one feature it did not have was the ability to arbitrarily change the AC frequency. which is fine by me since that’s extremely tightly regulated already.

Sad to see it wasn’t more accepted in the market.


PS - The latest PS Audio's limits are known, like you say they are essentially amplifiers, but the noise on the output is unexpectedly high, even given Class D.  Modern audio Class D amps are much better when driving sppeakers.

Perhaps a future version of PS Audio's regenerators will use spread-spectrum Class D to minimize that. 

Personally I'd rather use mechanically switched voltage regulators.  Even more efficient, no amplifier switching noise and all the current my wall can provide.  The one negative is the mechanical noises.  The switching as well as the occasional mechanical hum.