PS Audio is so enthusiastic about its new Power Center that it's even included a well-presented, ten-minute video by company bod Paul McGowan on its website.

Many features of the Quintessence are shared by the PS Audio Quintet, including the five 'IsoZones' and three switching zones.

Independent switches

What this means is that every socket (in the USA, where sockets are smaller, these are pairs of sockets) has its own dedicated filtering to isolate it from both the supply and other plugged-in devices. This set-up allows the supply to be switched independently to two pairs of sockets and one single one.

This is permanently on when the Quintet's power switch (concealed under the sinewave logo) is on, or with a short delay to permit automatic power-up sequencing.

Voltage control

It's quite impressive that PS has managed to squeeze all the electronics necessary inside such a small assembly (with little or no wasted space) plus relays and filtering components tucked in beside mains outlets.

There are even pairs of sockets for overvoltage protection (no filtering) of telephone, CATV and TV/FM aerial feeds and remote control automation via trigger inputs.

Although the unit lacks the Quintessence's voltage display, it still monitors mains voltage and will cut the supply if voltage rises or falls dangerously (fortunately, a very rare situation in most areas of the UK).

Solid design

PS is particularly proud of its use of 'nano-crystalline materials' in the toroidal power chokes that filter each outlet.

In practice, this means that the chokes can achieve usefully high values of inductance without needing hundreds of turns of copper wire on them, reducing losses and series resistance. Suitably rated capacitors and spike protectors complete the component array.

The unit is exceptionally robust and clearly marked for easy use. It also takes up less space than most fully-filtered conditioners. It is supplied as standard with a regular commercial mains cable (PS does, of course, make upmarket alternatives).

Good value

So far, we haven't reviewed a single mains conditioner that didn't offer some degree of beneficial effect to the audio performance, but it's fascinating that they all seem to differ slightly in the kind of benefits they bring to the party.

The degree of improvement also varies from model to model and also from situation to situation.

What we can say is that, overall and at this price point, this is one of the most beneficial units we've tested (which puts it in direct competition with units such as the Isotek Solus and the Russ Andrews Ultra Purifier).

Improved sound quality

In performance terms, this unit resembles the PS Quintessence, which may explain why the latter is discontinued. And, as with that unit, the Quintet seems most adept at improving the resolution of the sound and lowering the perceived noise level.

Rather unusually, though, its 'effect' seemed most pronounced with a couple of power amps (low-level components are typically more affected), which acquired an extra level of ultra-fine detail.

Various CD players and even a few preamplifiers were improved in similar ways but, we felt, less obviously.

An attractive upgrade

Nevertheless, this is clearly an effective unit that does pretty much what it says on the box.

The addition of switching features, the overvoltage protection - for the very rare occasions when it might be needed - and the space-saving size makes it a very attractive upgrade at the price.