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Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click here
27" iMac with 3.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, 16GB 1.333MHz RAM, 2TB hard disc, 256GB SSD drive, ADM Radeon HD 6970M with 2GB of GDDR5 memory, PureMusic 1.86 in hybrid memory play with pre-allocated RAM and AIFF files up to 24/192; Audirvana in direct/integer mode, Esoteric/APL Hifi UX1/NWO-M w. Audiophilleo 2 and Bakoon BPS-02 battery supply
Preamp/Integrated: ModWright LS-100 with Psvane 6SN7 , Esoteric C-03, Bent Audio Tap-X,
TruLife Audio Athena [on review]
: First Watt SIT1, FirstWatt SIT2, ModWright KWA-100SE, Bakoon AMP-11R
Speakers: Aries Cerat Gladius, Boenicke Aud
io B10, Voxativ Ampeggio, AudioSolutions Rhapsody 200 [on review]
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Audio Event,
KingRex uArt USB Y cable with Bakoon BPS-02 battery supply
Artesania Esoteric double-wide 3-tier with TT glass shelf, Rajasthani hardwood rack for amplifiers
Powerline conditioning: 1 x GigaWatt PF2, 1 x Furutech RTP-6
Sundry accessories: Extensive use of Acoustic System Resonators, noise filters and phase inverters
Room size: 5m x 11.5m W x D, 2.6m ceiling with exposed wooden cross beams every 60cm, plaster over brick walls, suspended wood floor with Tatami-type throw rugs. The listening space opens into the second storey via a staircase and the kitchen/dining room are behind the main listening chair. The latter is thus positioned in the middle of this open floor plan without the usual nearby back wall.
Review Component Retail:
€5.130 with LC-3 power cord, €6.000 with top-line LS-1 MkII power cord

Do one thing. Do it perfectly. That's what REL exhorts on their website. The same applies to Poland's GigaWatt brand. The self-explanatory name indicates power delivery products. Delivering those watts not in ultra or mega but giga fashion is their beat. And that's about as loud as owner Adam Schubert allows himself to get. With three earlier GigaWatt reviews in these pages—one from me here and two from Polish contributor Wojciech Pacuła here and here—our evidence is mounting. When it comes to careful engineering in this arena, GigaWatt is one of the top brands. Expanse beyond the Schuko-standard European realm into countries which use US-style Nema plugs wasn't pursued until Adam could invest into the same type of custom job he already had for Europe's two-prong plug. 10.000 unit orders for such customization is what it took. His cryo-treated brass connectors get silver-plated in house without intermediary copper or nickel to minimize voltage losses from higher series resistance.

GigaWatt PC-3SE EVO at HighEnd 2011 from

Though I've now lived in Europe again for more than six years—first in Cyprus with its UK plugs, then Switzerland with its very own—my audiophile career began in America. The power conditioners which survived inevitable changes in personal taste have been passive (Furutech, GigaWatt, Telos) and all are fitted with US plugs as are all my good power cords. I simply use Swiss-to-US adapters directly at the wall. Everything past there is US power plugs. To review Adam's new PC-3 SE Evo I thus had to await availability of the US version.

The GigaWatt PC-3 SE Evo is an active 6 outlet power conditioner. Its three duplexes are dedicated to high-current, line-level and digital components. They use different filters to best accommodate each type of component. Though GigaWatt in the past used isolation transformers, the Evo shuns them in favor of multi-stage parallel filtration divided into three discrete circuits, one per duplex. Internal construction uses silver solder on 2-layer PCBs with traces eight times the standard thickness, i.e. wide 280 micrometer silver-plated copper. RLC arrays use low-inductance metalized polyester capacitors and Sendust-core*1 filters. To avoid current strangulation from conventional protective elements, the Evo also runs plasma spark gaps, next-gen TMOV varistors and a special filter for overvoltage protection.

*1 Sendust is familiar to audiophiles from magnetic recording heads. Harder than permalloy, its crystallographic composition is typically 85% iron, 9% silicon and 6% silicon. Sendust cores have high magnetic permeability, low loss, low coercivity and saturation flux density up to 1T.

Two-stage power distribution is based first on massive 30mm² highly polished silver-plated bus bars (the copper bars shown are for non SE units). Those are "made from cathode copper with a minimum purity of 99.99%. This Cu-ETP type copper is refined in a metallurgical process and characterized by high conductance, low contamination and low residual oxygen content. The copper for the bars is enamelled and annealed to increase metal density, conductance, plasticity and resistance to corrosion in most environments. The mechanical processing of the bars avoids heat to not oxidize the copper and negatively influence its conductance."

This distribution scheme is said to create lossless and equal power to the three individual filter circuits. The second stage connects power directly to each duplex via clamped screw-tightened connections on 4mm² silver-plated OFC copper wires.

Overload protection is by hydraulic magnetic circuit breaker custom-sourced from Carling Technologies*2. This also doubles as power switch. A red—blue or green are available by custom order—LED display shows true RMS input voltage via a fully isolated voltmeter. This conditioner is not a voltage regulator however. It simply display the incoming AC voltage value without correcting it. A red LED on the back confirms power polarity.

*2 "This is from Carling's top line, not the budget or even 'home' grade over-current protection as other manufacturers use. Made to our specifications, we define the load characteristic, buildup characteristic and connections of the switch. Traditional fuses are bottlenecks. Their small cross-sectional wire limits current and easily heats up which increases resistance when working with high loads over extensive periods. An electro-hydraulic switch maintains full contact of the conductive elements at all time. Only when the set threshold level is exceeded does contact interrupt."

To insure highest impulse response the Evo uses a twin buffer with compensation cells*3 to improve "non-linear loads like power amplifiers and level the difference between input and output power of the conditioner". There are also filter elements based on nano-crystal cores*4. All of this circuitry is housed in a rigid steel/aluminum enclosure whose insides are additionally damped with composite bitumen/polymer mats. The aluminum front panels are available in silver or black. All GigaWatt products are subject to an insurance policy that covers damage to the connected equipment up to €250.000. Max output power is 3.680 watts, max current load is 16 amperes and impulse current absorption capacity is 20.000 amperes. Dimensions are 440 x 115 x 400mm, weight is 16.2kg.

PC-3 Evo photographed by for a view of the non SE version

*3 The compensation circuits "increase the momentary output in situations where an abrupt increase for current appears. Usually this occurs when an amplifier needs to produce a powerful bass transient. The circuit releases its stored energy to allow for full dynamics. This works over very short time intervals in the range of milli- or even nanoseconds. That's sufficient however to audibly improve the efficiency of an amplifier fed from the same old power line. This also improves the efficiency of the whole conditioner since the compensation cells are elements of the main filter to affect all outlets."

*4 "We don't use ferrite-core filtration which incurs energy losses. Modern nano-crystal cores are far more effective at conducting higher currents."