ACCUPHASE PS-510

TR29.12.2009

Power conditioners

The simple fact it actively compensates for the AC power fluctuations does not mean that the device generates absolutely clean power – just try and change the power cord that comes with the PS-510 to some other and you will experience a different sound. This is surprising as the output of the Accuphase should be independent of its input – but it is not. It indicates that there are other factors that count and that have been so far hidden from us.

100% reference

Funkce a forma

80%
Ergonomie
80%
Zvuk
98%
Zpracování

Unlike passive devices that try to filter out power line nasties leaving the original AC waveform intact, the Accuphase PS-510 is an active power regenerator. To achieve this, the PS-510 compares the power cource waveform to a ´reference´ sample and based on this comparison it applies the required amount of correction. The reference wave is generated by a sophisticated circuit that employs Zener diodes and a cascade of bandpass filters. The assembly that heals the incoming AC wave is in fact a power amplifier that uses current feedback principle and MCS+ circuit topology to achieve the goal. The more precise reference wave generator and the latest version of the MCS+ are where the PS-510 improves on its predecessor.

For example, when the input voltage is 210V, its sinewave is compared to the synchronized reference waveform of 230V which results into 20V that are added by the means of a generated compensation waveform. Vice versa, if the circuitry detects 235V on its input the excess of 5V is subtracted by a generated wave with negative amplitude. The PS-510 is said to work within the range of 200 to 253V at the rated load of 510VA, where it maintains the output voltage at 230V +/- 2%.

Apart from this waveform shaping the PS-510 is equipped with a passive filter to attenuate any unwanted high-frequency noise that may have entered the system.

From outside the Accuphase looks very neat, its faceplate being dominated by an analogue backlit meter. Though the meter does have some functionality (it shows input and output voltage, distortion and output power) I am 100% sure that this was not the reason for putting it in the center of the faceplate. In a darkened listening room the light coming from the meter is almost hypnotic and I bet you will not care about stable output values readings but you will surely love fluctuating input values instead, that is when the hand of the meter moves. Next to the meter there are five small buttons that are used to select the functions of the meter and an unusual power switch which is on guard for input overloads.
You would not find any heatsinks on the unit as they are hidden inside resulting into the case being quite warm when the machine is active. There is 4 power outlets on the rear face of the PS-510 (European version), 6 power outlets for the U.S. respectively, and an IEC inlet.

Nízké frekvence

Váha
90
Výbušnost
82
Artikulace
88

As mentioned, the maximum rated power output of the unit is 510VA. If it´s exceeded, the meter illumination should flash as a warning that you try to draw too much juice out of the device. I used the Accuphase PS-510 as a foundation for the system that resided at my house at the time of this review (C.E.C. TL51XR CD player, Bel Canto e.One Pre3 and monoblocks Bel Canto e.One M300, Kubala-Sosna Emotion interconnects and speaker cables, Revel Ultima Studio 2 speakers) for a month and despite sometimes high loudness levels the meter never flashed. It did not flash either when I used the PS-510 in my friend’s system driving more hungry Accuphase A-30 power amplifier. I count you shouldn´t encounter any overload problem in any standard set-up, however, the PS-510 will probably flash and shut down if you try it on megaamps like Luxman M-800 or Accuphase´s own A-65. I tested the readiness of its protection circuits with a heat gun - at 500W there was no problem at all and the juice was coming out, at 750W the unit switched itself off. You have to go for the twice as powerful PS-1210 to be safe.

Here, my first concern comes. I cannot understand why Accuphase’s designers opted for only two Schuko-type outlets and let the remaining unused space be occupied by a pair of unearthed flat sockets that are suitable, apart from your shaving machine, perhaps only for a Panasonic DVD player. Thus with the PS-510 you receive only two proper outlets for your hifi, which is simply not enough. I was not even able to use the PS-510 to feed my CD player, preamp and power amp, not speaking about en external D/A converter. I also could not experiment with more than two after-market powercords (none of manufacturers is using two pronged flat connectors) and if you already invested in better power cables you will find the PS-510 limiting. As an European audio enthusiast I feel discriminated against my American colleague who can enjoy feeding up to 6 components with the same machine. What’s worse, even if you allow for a double budget and upgrade to the PS-1210, you will be able to use only 3 Schukos and, as a bonus, 3 shaving machines. It is not what we expect in terms of connectivity possibilities, especially at such quite a substantial amount of money, and this is actually what prevented the unit to stay with me for ever.

 

Čistota rozlišení

Detail
90
Vzduch
90
Transparentnost
86

It is not going to be a surprise if I say that the PS-510 power supply can bring you all the familiar sound improvements like quiet background, overall better system resolution and better soundstage organization. The accompanying manual says that the unit „drastically improves the sound and picture quality of audio and video equipment“. I cannot comment on video but with an audio signal the amount of an improvement depends on (as usual) your reference. If you compare to a ´no power conditioner at all´ state of affairs then, yes, the improvement is indeed drastical and essential. If you compare to another power filtering device, like PS Audio Power Plant Premier that also actively manipulates AC waveforms and that currently dwells in my house on loan, the improvement is not drastical at all. What both devices do have in common is an impression of rather darker sound when they are in operation. This is due to lower bass extension, enhanced plasticity of mids and not so naughty highs; before you realize that it should be exactly like this you may even miss the attractive sparkle of untreated AC energy for a moment. It happened to me while listening to Phone Message of multi-instrumentalist Patty Larkin (Patty Larkin, Watch the Sky, Vanguard Records). The track contains the rich and saturated voice of Patty accompanied by a deep pulsating bass loop, electric guitars and a bouzuki. Very well mastered by Ted Jensen of Sterling Sound the balance of the song is towards the dark and so with the PS-510 in the game you initally have a feeling of even darker sound. However, when you listen to the same track without the Accuphase, you can easily hear that the extra sparkle comes from fuzziness and hash with no additional information coming from your loudspeakers.

Tonální věrnost

Témbr
87
Dynamika
86
Časování
88

Let’s take, for example, a simple tune of flamenco. Not that Paco de Lucia plays simplistic pieces – the opposite is true – but what he plays on Rio de la Miel are tunes for an acoustic guitar that are accompanied by only a handful of very natural flamenco elements - hands clapping, voices singing and feet stomping. When you play a guitar, it is all about touching and plucking strings, one hand moving along the guitar’s neck and... that’s it, isn’t it? Well, let’s check what we can hear through a system powered by the Accuphase PS-510.

Prostorovost

Trojrozměrnost
92
Šířka scény
92
Hloubka scény
92

First, as you can expect, the sound of the guitar suddenly gets very complex. There are nuancees appearing that have been hitherto hidden, like Paco’s hand moving along his guitar’s neck which is now spatially resolved – you can indeed visualize the hand moving up and down. Another example is the wood of the guitar – the PS-510 lets you hear that interaction of resonances of the guitar’s body and strings is what creates the sound. When my system was fed directly (i.e. without the PS-510 in place) the sound was just somehow ´created´ (though in a very audiophile way) without letting you know anything about its real origins. It was rather like being synthetized than naturally born. And that is the biggest contribution of the PS-510 to Rio de la Miel: if you enjoyed the tunes already without the Accuphase power regenerator, then you are going to fall in love with them once the PS-510 is hooked up. I was almost ecstatic at naturalness of fingers tapping the guitar’s body, a full rounded and organic sound it was. Though I had an impression that transients were a bit softened and, as a result, microdynamics acquired silkier presentation, it contributed subjectively to better liquidity of the sound. Less mechanical, less perfect, more human.

Cena v době recenze:165 000,- Kč

Doporučení prodejci

Nisel SK, Bratislava, tel. +421 905 203 078

Připojené komponenty

  • Sources: C.E.C. TL-51XR
  • Amplifiers: Mark Levinson No. 432, Bel Canto e.One Pre3 and Bel Canto e.One M300
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Kubala-Sosna Emotion
  • Loudspeakers:  Revel Ultima Studio2
  • Power conditioning: Gigawatt PF-2/LC-2

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