PS Audio's Power Plant Premier is a high-end product that takes the regeneration approach in providing audio/video gear with the cleanest AC possible. But not everyone can afford to spend $2195 on such a product, and although the new amplifier design that forms the basis of the Premier is relatively efficient, it does use power, and concern about conservation of the planet's energy resources might lead one to prefer a passive approach to power-line treatment. PS Audio's line of Power Centers provides such an alternative. The model I had for review was the Quintet Power Center, which differs from the Duet Power Center only in having five pairs of receptacles to the Duet's two.
PS Audio's Power Plant AC-regeneration devices have taken the audio and home-theater worlds by storm. The P300 was voted 2000 Accessory of the Year in Stereophile (December 2000), and the P600 won the Editors' Choice Platinum Award in Stereophile Guide to Home Theater (January 2001). The Power Plant differs from conventional power-line conditioners (PLCs) in that it doesn't just "clean up" AC but actually synthesizes (or regenerates) it. Each Power Plant is essentially a special-purpose amplifier, producing AC to run the equipment plugged into it, the maximum output wattage indicated by the model number. (The most powerful Power Plant available is the P1200, which produces 1200W.)
The Richard Gray's Power Company 400S arrived on the audiophile scene last year with a bang. Weighing in at a hefty 20 lbs and at $700 a pop, this four-outlet power conditioner, according to the paperwork, "effectively 'positions' audio, video, and home theater equipment 'electronically closer' to your utility company transformer, without introducing any type of series electronic 'traps' or capacitors into the circuit, which we feel degrade the performance of certain equipment, and severely limit the amount of current they can handle."
Power-line conditioning and exotic power cords, once considered the lunatic fringe of tweaking, have become normal parts of audiophile life. Over the last several years Shunyata Research, founded by former NSA research scientist Caelin Gabriel, has established itself as a leading innovator in the area. The company's latest efforts include the Hydra Model 8 power-distribution center ($1995), for use with whole systems or front ends; the two-outlet "mini" Hydra Model 2 ($395), intended for use with power amplifiers; and the Anaconda Alpha and Anaconda vX power cords ($1995), the new top models in the PowerSnakes line.
When I arranged to review the Bryston 28B-SST monoblock power amplifier, I wanted to be certain that the 1kW amplifier wouldn't be starved for current. Bryston advised me that Plitron, who manufacture the 28B-SST's toroidal transformer, also make Power Isolation Units (PIUs), under the brand name Torus Power. Torus explained that its PIUs combine surge suppression with massive toroidal transformers to provide AC power conditioning and protection from voltage surges.
Merriam-Webster's 11th Collegiate Dictionary defines tot as "1: a small child: TODDLER; 2: a small drink or allowance of liquor: SHOT." Torus Power used it to name their compact line of toroidal power conditioners. Although small in size, weight, and price, the TOT AVR includes the Automatic Voltage Regulation referred to in its name, as well as noise filtering and smart Ethernet control, and is available with series-mode surge suppression (SMSS) circuit protection.