GIGAWATT Powerprime

MJ17.02.2020

Power conditioners

The Powerprime is a beautifully made  - and packed – device that comes with a high quality LC-1 EVO 1.5m power cable. This means that that you can deduct 10% of its purchase price right away. During unpacking the device I was surprised by the care that GigaWatt put into protection; the prongs of the power plug are covered by plastic caps, for example, which is a small detail that I am not used to see even with ultraexpensve high end esoterica.

Function and form

94%
Ease of use
67%
Sound
90%
Appearance

For GigaWatt the Powerprime is a forerunner for the company’s new filtration approaches. These should consequently find their way into all GigaWatt’s conditioners. I find quite intriguing that the new technology was used in the cheapest model rather than in a flagship one as one might expect.

The economy approach is seen for example on the device’s chassis which is made of bent steel. Yet the Powerprime’s front panel is a slab of precisely milled aluminum with an oversized glass display. It is pity that the display only features one single white diode that informs about the filter being in operation.

Powerprime is equipped with six silver-plated Schuko outlets, grouped in two’s. As GigaWatt puts it, all the outlets are cryogenically treated and de-magnetized. Next to the IEC inlet there is a LED indicating correct or wrong polarity of the connected cable.

The surge protection is secured via plasma spark gaps and new generation varistors instead fuses that would negatively impact voltage and dynamic response of the filter. It is interesting to note that the Powerprime uses “a GigaWatt Audio Grade battery” that should compensate non-linear current requirements between input and output of the filter. According to GigaWatt this allows for almost unlimited impulse possibilities. The power distribution system is based on star arrangement, solid copper bars and 4mm2 OHFC conductors are used throughout. The whole device chassis rests on anti-vibration feet.

I mentioned the 3 duos of outlets.The left pair is dedicated to sensitive electronics like CD players or DACs. The middle pair is recommended for amplifiers, the right pair – marked as High Current – is for power hungry devices that ask for unlimited juice. As usual I felt not restricted by manufacturer’s recommendations and tried different combinations of where my audio equipment was connected.

Bass management

Weight
92
Slam
79
Articulation
78

Let me start with what I hear when I disconnect all the power cables in my system from Shunyata Research’ Denali and plug them directly into a dedicated wall socket. The soundstage collapses. The sound shrinks into a fuzzy ball of sound that stays between the speakers and lower towards the floor, with largely diminished dynamics. The playback of Diary of Dreams Nigredo album (Metropolis Records) becomes almost a mono experience when compared to the Denali-powered system. I was really taken aback by how big the difference was, because it is been a long time since I listened to unfilterd system.

Reconnecting the system, now using the Powerprime, makes it clear right from the very first bars: the lateral and vertical soundstage is back, and dynamics are greatly enhanced too. The complexity of Giftraum sonic collage becomes more resolved and individual tracks more legible. With the Powerprime the bass becomes stronger – not that it is deeper, rather it has bigger volume. Now the bottom end is like from a dance club, the beats are heavy and punishing. There is more of the bass than with the Denali, but its textures are less competent and controlled. The grip of the Denali is missing. Sure, these two devices are incomparable in price, still it is amazing how good the Powerprime actually is.

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
86
Air
84
Transparency
76

When I connect my SACD player into the middle group of power outlets (the one that is for amplifiers) the bass gets into better proportion with the rest of the audio spectrum, it also means a bit better accuracy for the ear. The bad thing is that highs become coarser, their silkiness is lost. The difference is a proof that GigaWatt uses different filtering stages for each outlet group. Connecting the power cable into the HC outlet does not change the sonic signature I am receiving from the middle outlets. The resume: for the player I would stick to the recommendation of the manufacturer and use the CD/DAC filtering.

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
80
Dynamics
75
Temporal resolution
75

Switching between the Denali and the Powerprime with TAD power amplifier does not affect tonal colours and that is a good achievement for the GigaWatt. So what is different?

The dynamics are flatter, so is the depth of image. Also, with the power amplifier, I prefer the middle group of outlets to the high current (HC) ones. Despite the bass is a tad better contoured in the HC, the overall resolution and imaging is worse. After finding where to connect what in the Powerprime the system sounds balanced and musical in the true high end fashion.

Spatial resolution

Holography
87
Soundstage width
87
Soundstage depth
87

The GigaWatt Powerprime does exactly what it promises. No doubt it improves the sound over electronics plugged directly into untreated power sockets. I would recommend not to follow rules and experiment a little bit to get the most of the unit. The same applies to the included LC-1 EVO power cord. It uses high-purity solid core copper and its braided geometry has deliberately high capacitance which GigaWatt claims helps filter out RFI. The cable is fully shielded. After my experience with several GigaWatt´s power cords this cable will be my number one item on the list for an upgrade – for a better performing LC-2 or LC-3 EVO.

Price as reviewed:55 600,- Kč

Recommended resellers

HTP Studio, Praha, tel. +420 606 346 822

Associated components

  • Sources: Accuphase DP-720
  • Amplifiers: TAD-M2500
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Audioquest Redwood, Ansuz Signalz C2, AudioQuest Dragon Zero Bi-Wire
  • Loudspeakers:  TAD Evolution One E1
  • Power conditioning: Shunyata Research Denali, Ansuz Mainz C2, Block Audio Snakeblock, Zerofinity M3

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