Review: GigaWatt PowerPrime- You don’t have to believe in the influence of the power supply on the sound of the hi-fi system. You can hear him. It used to be very easy: after work, the sound improved almost instantly. Those who only indulged in music in the evenings had few problems with “dirty” electricity. For a long time I could ignore the influence of the mains supply on the sound. Until I started working at home and listening to music during the day. I noticed the striking difference between what the system has to offer during the day and what I can hear in the evening or on weekends.
At that time it became noticeable that the electricity situation improved when the computers in the offices were shut down in the afternoon and work was done in the surrounding factories. Today computers are running all the time and everywhere. Every household has a WLAN that is active 24 hours a day. And when it comes to low voltage, switching power supplies that work with high frequency are widespread because they are much cheaper and smaller than conventional linear power supplies. The series could be continued indefinitely. The fact is that many systems today play below their sonic potential when they are supplied with power directly from the socket.
Sure, expensive power filters are expensive. The PowerPrime current filter to be tested here beats in connection with the cheapest power cord from GigaWatt, the PowerSync Plus, for 2,700 euros. One or the other thinks about whether the money should be better invested in an upgrade of the amplifier, a higher quality pickup or a new DAC. I would like to counter this by saying that you then do not know how well your existing components play with an optimized power supply and which component is really the sonic bottleneck. An investment in the power supply benefits the entire system.
The GigaWatt PowerPrime came to me with the PowerSync Plus connection cable already mentioned (solo from 330 euros, 1.5 m). Since Jörg Klein, who sells GigaWatt with his company “Hörgenuss für Audiophile” in Germany, attaches great importance to the cable between the socket and the PowerPrime, the test package also included an LC-3 EVO (1,095 euros, 1.5 m) enclosed as “expansion stage”.
GigaWatt PowerPrime: technology & concept
The PowerPrime is the newest product from GigaWatt. The core of the device is an RLC filter that is designed for currents of up to 16 amperes. At 230 volts that makes one power of 3680 watts that can flow through the filter. That should be enough for normal hi-fi applications.
Most manufacturers – including GigaWatt – use RLC filters as bandpass filters that pass the 50 Hertz of the mains voltage and above all leave out high-frequency interference. In addition, GigaWatt has given the PowerPrime a protective circuit against voltage and current peaks. And since electricity filters are in the reputation, the dynamics To limit connected amplifiers, GigaWatt has integrated a buffer system that is supposed to meet pulsed power requirements.
The solid construction of the device largely suppresses unwanted vibrations and the internal cabling consists of OFHC copper cables with a cross-section of four square millimeters. The phase control light on the back is practical, as it ensures that the filter in the GigaWatt PowerPrime is activated with the “correct” phase. Six high-quality sockets are available as outputs.
GigaWatt PowerPrime: Sound impressions & comparisons
On my system, the GigaWatt PowerPrime replaces an Audioplan power supply, consisting of FineFilter, PowerStar and PowerPlant isolating transformers in front of the digital devices, all connected with six Series II PowerCords (purchase price around 2,500 euros at the time).
First of all, I connect my devices without any power filter. The result is clearly audible. Although I actually like what I hear unfiltered at first. My system sounds more jerky at first. But after a short listening time, I notice that what initially seems a little livelier, more energetic, is actually more rough and unclean. This is what the voice of Bettye LaVette significantly scratchier – which initially seems quite appropriate here. But if I listen carefully, I notice that the subtle nuances of articulation, which I can otherwise easily hear, are lost. It sounds fresher because the treble comes to the fore – especially with unusual sharpness.
Timbres look a bit smeared and unclean compared to my audio plan power solution. I have about the “Pica Pica” from Omar Torrez with Orpheus on the album La Danza En Mi Corazon no difficulty in distinguishing the two guitars on the basis of their own individual sound, I can no longer do this perfectly pure without a filter. The precision drops a bit in the bass. The double bass by Eugene Wright in “Take Five” des The Dave Brubeck Quartet on the album Time out looks more blurred. Joe Morello’s drums lose even more, as they actually lose part of their percussive character, even if they seem a bit more powerful, one could also say: more contoured.
I have an idea why power filters have a reputation for stealing dynamism: Actually, I don’t think they do that very much. But they remove some effects that sound turn-on the first time you listen. When you’re in the right places Distortions supplemented, it may sound fuller, richer, more intense. So as not to be misunderstood: I think it’s perfectly fine if you tune your system to a sound that you like and that delivers the music you like in the way you like to hear it. But one must not declare this to be the measure of all things and wipe off all manufacturers who strive for a neutral sound – just high fidelity.
Back to the actual test object. As soon as the supply of my system runs via the GigaWatt PowerPrime, which was initially connected to the wall socket with the PowerSync-Plus cable, this is clearly audible. Whereby the PowerPrime manages the trick on the one hand to preserve a good piece of the liveliness that I liked so much unfiltered and at the same time to eliminate audible artifacts that bother me without a power filter.
Let’s start again Bettye LaVette at. I have the impression that the voice sounds a shade lighter and fresher than with the Audioplan components, but at the same time I can now hear significantly more details of the articulation compared to the filter-free “basic solution” described above. Also the guitars of the “Pica Pica” from Omar Torrez with Orpheus I can tell apart again. Whereby – with the Audioplan components, I can do this a little more naturally. On the other hand, the strings of the guitars seem to be stretched a little tighter via the GigaWatt solution, and the dialogue between the instruments sounds even more lively.
The GigaWatt PowerPrime also gives the deeper layers a clear contour. I’m a bit unsure whether Audioplan and GigaWatt are on par here – which would be a very decent testimonial – or whether I even like the test device a little better because it not only restores contour and control in the bass, but – especially with Joe’s drums Morello – offers even more punch. Anyway, I’m really impressed with the GigaWatt PowerPrime with the PowerSync-Plus cable.
If the Audioplan solution is a bit ahead of the GigaWatt with the PowerSync cable in terms of space, that changes when the more expensive GigaWatt LC-3 EVO is used as a supply line. In principle, the character of the PowerPrime is retained – I think that the filter itself has the strongest influence on the sound. But with the LS-3 EVO as the PowerPrime cable, the spatial representation gains even more plasticity. At one of my all-time favorites Miles Davis Interpretation of Cindy Laupers “Time after time“ on the album Live around the world, I find the places where the trumpet suddenly breaks off and you can hear the reverberation faintly fade away while the rhythm group stoically keeps the beat very moving. If the GigaWatt LS-3 EVO replaces the PowerSync Plus, this fine reverberation seems to me to fade away a little clearer and more defined in the depths of the stage.
I notice the difference even more in classical music. I like the 2nd sentence, “The story of the prince’s calendar,” which Scheherazade of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov very (Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, Kirill Kondrashin). The leitmotif of the movement approaches “from a distance”, so to speak, and is picked up by various groups of instruments – first far back by the wind instruments, then further forward by the double basses and cellos, until the violins transform it into a colorful dance. Yeah, that’s cheesy – but I like it. Incidentally, the recording gives a great impression of the excellent acoustics of the Concertgebouw. And indeed: this also works a nuance better with the GigaWatt LS-3 EVO as a supply line for the PowerPrime filter than with the PowerSync Plus.
Conclusion: GigaWatt PowerPrime
Power supply, line filters and power cables are definitely relevant to the sound. Anyone who approaches the subject with an open mind can hear this. But as is usual with our beautiful hobby, there are no all-inclusive solutions. Depending on what arrives via the power grid, how the individual hi-fi components react to the influence of the filters and cables used and ultimately how the respective listener perceives the result, different power solutions can help the sound in the desired direction.
GigaWatt PowerPrime and PowerSync Plus definitely ensure cleaner, distortion-free playback and do not reveal any dynamic restrictions. On the contrary, the PowerPrime even seems to give the bass a little more assertiveness. Overall, the sound is very straightforward, direct – and the tonality remains largely unaffected. The presentation of the room is also okay, although more could be done there. In fact, this is the aspect that increases the most with the more expensive GigaWatt LC-3 EVO. The plasticity of the spatial representation takes a step forward with this supply line.
- Model: GigaWatt PowerPrime
- Concept: line filter with 6 slots
- Price: with PowerSync Plus cable: 2,700 euros, with LC-3 EVO cable: 3,300 euros; PowerSync Plus cable individually: 330 euros, LC-3 EVO individually: 1,095 euros (cable 1.5 m each)
- Colors: front black or silver, body black
- Other: overvoltage protection, phase control light, maximum output 16 amps
- Guarantee: 2 years