PS Audio has thought through just about every aspect of the power conditioning/power delivery problem—covering everything from wall receptacles and power cords on up to passive and active power conditioners, including one model that actually regenerates AC power in a hyper-pure form. Below, I’ll review the PS Audio power products I’ve tried thus far, explaining what each one is and does, while assessing its practical benefits.
What it is and does: A two-receptacle, high-current, in-wall power conditioner designed for use in normal household circuits that have 15A circuit breakers. The Soloist provides fast-acting spike protection, plus a good, basic level of noise filtration, with no current limiting. Note: the noise filter in the Soloist is an oldie-but-goodie ferrite-based design.
Practical benefits: The Soloist is a simple, visually unobtrusive way to give your system spike protection (but not surge protection) and a modest level of noise filtration, while making maximum rated current available to all components.
My home listening room is now equipped with a Soloist and I can vouch for the fact that it provides slightly quieter backgrounds for audio components, while serving up sufficient current to satisfy even my most power-hungry components (something that could not be said for the lion’s share of the power conditioners I’ve tested over the years). I’ve not had an opportunity to test the Soloist’s spike protection capabilities, but it’s nice to know that, in the event of an electrical storm, my prized audio components are protected.
Is the Soloist all the conditioner you’ll ever need? For some people it will be; my guess is that many music/movie enthusiasts will want to go even further in terms of adding conditioners that offer surge protection and more extensive noise filters. So, a good strategy would be to treat the Soloist as a foundational element you can build upon later.
What it is and does: A beefy, eight AC-receptacle “power strip” with no measurable current limiting at all. For this reason, the Juice Bar II is the only power strip some high-end audio manufacturers will endorse for use with their components.
Practical benefits: Spreads available power across eight receptacles with absolutely no adverse effects (when plugged into the Juice Bar II, components look/sound just as if they were plugged into the wall, which is the whole point).
Caveats: Be aware that this minimalist unit provides no spike or surge protection and no noise filtration.
What it is and does: The Duet is a deceptively sophisticated, four-receptacle, two-zone power conditioner that’s built like a tank. The unit provides fast-acting spike protection, surge protection, and two layers of noise filtration, with virtually no current limiting.
The Duet features a “Power Cartridge” AC inlet module that provides spike and surge protection plus first-stage common mode noise filtering, while the business end of the conditioner provides two isolated pairs (hence the name “Duet”) of ultra high quality AC outlets, which PS Audio calls “IsoZones,” with each zone protected by a differential mode noise filter. Components plugged into one IsoZone cannot induce noise that will affect components connected to the other zone.
The Duet’s extremely effective noise filters are based on advanced “nano crystalline” high-permeability magnetic material cores (the nano crystalline filters remove more noise and at lower frequencies than equivalently-sized ferrite-based filters can). The Duet can deliver nearly the full rated power of a 15A household circuit—or up to 1,750 watts.
Practical benefits: The Duet provides a substantial amount of noise filtration that helps onscreen images look cleaner with richer (more saturated) colors, and that helps audio components sound significantly better by removing noise so that lowlevel details and textural information becomes much easier to hear. Do you have to be a “Golden Eye” or “Golden Ear” to perceive these improvements? No, not at all. Anyone who is paying attention can see and hear them, and some observers comment that the effect is roughly like stepping up the quality of your components a price class or two.
When you experience the Duet in action, you might not perceive its effects as “a reduction in noise” (although that is really what’s happening). Instead, the illusion is that the Duet has helped TVs offer better resolution and more vivid colors, while helping audio components produce purer and more detailed sound.