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Gigawatt PC-4 EVO power conditioner

Gigawatt PC-4 EVO power conditioner

Not satisfied with taking over the UK building trade, Poland now has its sights set on your audio system, and Gigawatt, with its range of power products, is in the vanguard. In 1998, Adam Schubert co-founded Power Audio Laboratories in Zgierz, a small town just to the North of Łódź in central Poland. In 2007, Schubert divided the company’s R&D and production facility, creating the Gigawatt brand in the process.

Gigawatt makes power cords, strips, filters, and five conditioners of which the PC-4 EVO is the biggest with 12 Schuko outlets, which is the norm in Europe. The PC-4 EVO is supplied with one of Gigawatt’s high quality mains cables to connect it to the wall, as well as a Schuko plug.

The PC-4 EVO doesn’t use big transformers to isolate its outlets or regenerate the mains. Rather, it has a multi-stage, parallel filtration with each quartet of outlets having its own filtering. The sets of outlets are marked for digital, analogue, and high current products, and the filtering is designed for those load types. The device is capable of supporting a continuous 25A load (70A peak) “if the power line allows”, which is greater than any audio component needs, but nevertheless does mean it can hold a current reserve for impulse loads, effectively working like a big capacitor. The review sample had a DC Offset blocker onboard, which is an optional extra. The front panel display shows incoming voltage level, and where I live, this is quite high; often over 240V and sometimes up to 246V.

I used one of Gigawatt’s chunky stainless braided power cables with a 13A plug on and hooked it up the power supply on a Rega RP10 turntable in an otherwise unconditioned system. The effect was to decrease noise and open up the soundstage, making Joni Mitchell’s voice [Mingus, Asylum] and the layers in the mix clear-cut. The soundstage also became much more solid and three-dimensional, even as it was pretty strong in the first place. Additionally, such an arrangement fleshed out the sound of the musicians, so that the bassist, Jaco Pastorius, seemed ‘behind’ Joni and her guitar.

These positive results suggested that I connected more products to the Gigawatt, starting with my Trilogy 907 phono stage, the next element in the audio chain. This dropped the noise floor further and increased stereo solidity, emphasizing the character of the studio acoustic. The extra clarity produced louder elements, too. It draws attention to the string texture of the acoustic guitar by producing an ability for percussive string sounds to stop and start more quickly, and less ‘smearing’ means faster transients. And that means better timing, and greater involvement, significantly greater.

 

I also tried the Gigawatt on a pair of PMC twotwo.6 active speakers paired with the Velodyne DD+10 subwoofer, both of which have Class D power amps onboard. Here the effect was more dramatic, the conditioner managing to make both sound considerably more refined and much more like class A/B in character. Consequently, it was possible to play music at higher levels and hear a lot more of the musical detail thanks to the reduction in grain. Anyone using Class D amplification should investigate conditioning – you will be surprised at the effect.

I was a little reluctant to try the Gigawatt on my ATC P1 power amp because conditioners that work on high power amplifiers are like gold dust; in fact, the only one I’ve found (Isotek EVO3 Super Titan) costs a bundle and makes most power amps seem compact. But I was glad I did as the result was fascinating and not dissimilar to that achieved with the Class D amps. This time, however, the transition was from A/B to a Class A sound, so much so that I lost many hours to the charms of the resultant effects. Ultimately, connecting the Gigawatt to the ATC P1 power amp gave the sound an ease and finesse; an effect you would have to pay significantly more for than the price of the power amp and conditioner combined. Immensely revealing, beautifully timed, tonally rendered, and totally fluid, the effect was like listening to a powerful valve amplifier with very little in the way of valve character. The music became engrossing, and tracks like the bass heavy ‘Limit To Your Love’ [James Blake, R&S], which often overpowers the room, became pure and radiant.

I also tried the Gigawatt with digital sources, the Melco N1A NAS/transport via an Ayre QB-9DSD, granting the music a vinyl like quality – and I’m not talking about pops and clicks; rather, the music sounded cleaner and more fluid, and could be played at higher levels without discomfort, with brass still blasting out when it should. Connecting the already extremely natural sounding Ayre produced bigger imaging, full-scale soundstages with fine detail, and gave texture to bass lines that had sounded amorphous while making lyrics easier to understand.

Most of my listening with the Gigawatt had been with an easy-to-install Supra Lo-Rad cable. But out of interest, I switched to the Gigawatt cables, and they put me behind the desk in the studio; now the musicians were there to be reached out and touched.

I have reviewed a few conditioners and regenerators over the years and always had positive results, but pound for pound I don’t think any have come close to this. The Schuko factor is a pain, but it might well be something to do with the final result, so it’s a pain with gains in terms of resolution, finesse, and musical coherence. With the Gigawatt, hearing is believing if you want to take your system into another league.

Technical Specifications

Type: Multi stage parallel mains power filtering conditioner

Power outlets: 12× G-040 silver plated Schuko

Maximum output power: 3680 Watts

Maximum current load: 16A

Absorbed impulse current: 22000A

Line voltage: 220–240V/50–60Hz

Accessories: 1.5m LC-2HC power cable

Dimensions (H×W×D): 181 × 483 × 476mm

Weight: 20.5kg

Price: €9,100

Optional DC blocker: €900

Manufacturer: PA Labs Company

URL: www.gigawatt.eu

UK Distributor: G-Point Audio

Tel: +44(0)1435 86 55 40

URL: gpoint-audio.com

Tags: FEATURED

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