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PC-4 EVO+ ‘21

Manufacturer: P.A. Labs.
Price (when reviewed):
• 48 600 PLN with standard cable
• 58 000 PLN with LS-2 (as reviewed)

Contact: ul. Marii Skłodowskiej-Curie 1
95-100 Zgierz | Polska



Provided for test by P.A. Labs.


images GigaWatt | Marek Dyba

No 221

October 1, 2022


The GigaWatt brand owned by P.A. Labs is one of the nestors of the Polish audio market. It has been operating under this name since 2007, being at the same time a direct successor to another company, PAL, established in 1998. They are connected by the person of the boss and chief designer of GigaWatt, ADAM SZUBERT, as well as specialization in the field of power-related products for audio and video systems. We are testing the newest version of the top PC-4 EVO+ '21 conditioner. It is its premiere.

NTRODUCING THE GIGAWATT BRAND seems to be a faux pa these days. Not only has the company been offering its products for 15 years (or even 24 years including PAL’s history), but it is also one of the still (unfortunately!) few Polish manufacturers whose names are recognizable and highly appreciated in many countries around the world. While visiting rooms at the High End Show in Munich, you will surely find Polish conditioners in more than one room, supporting presentations of high-end systems prepared not only by GigaWatt’s distributor but also other brands who just want top quality power conditioners and stripes.

Nevertheless, there may be some readers among you who are just starting their adventure in the audiophile world, so it seems only prudent to offer some basic information for them. The company is based in Zgierz near Łódź, and they actually moved to the new headquarters quite recently. The change was forced by the stable growth of business and the need for more space. The current lineup of AC power conditioners includes AC power conditioners, currently divided into two groups - a higher one "PC", and more affordable one "Compact".

GigaWatt's portfolio however includes also power strips/filters, power cables and accessories: installation cable, wall outlets, fuses, plugs, and, interestingly, feet designed for their own devices, but also sold as a standalone product. Let me add, that a few years ago, the P.A. Lab was joined by a well-known amplifier manufacturer, Marton, and the fantastic Opusculum Reference 3, which I had the pleasure to test, is the result of cooperation between Mr. Mark Knaga and the GigaWatt’s power supply specialists.

Although I have been reviewing audio components for many years, I cannot say that I have tested all GigaWatt products that were introduced to the market over the past several years. There were actually quite a lot of them and I tested some. I am also a very satisfied user of their first version of the installation cable, double wall socket, PF-2 mk2 power strip, PC-3 SE EVO+ conditioner and several power cables. The answer to the question why these products and not some others is simple - they are very good. Plus they are made in Poland and since my idée fixe is to base my reference system on as many good and great Polish product as possible, there is no reason to buy ones from other, foreign brand.

One of the GigaWatt products, which I have never tested, is their top PC-4 conditioner, in neither of the previous versions. It is worth noting that the GigaWatt offer is developed largely by evolution. The research and development department is constantly looking for new, better solutions and when several of them are collected for a given model and together they result in a clear improvement in the sound quality of devices connected to a given strip or conditioner, a new model is launched on the market. As its base is in most cases the previous version, the names of some models have grown into clumps of markings that are difficult to remember, see mine, the second from the top, conditioner, the PC-3 SE EVO+. Of course, some of the upgrades developed primarily for the highest models with time trickle down to more affordable ones, which allows those to evolve as well.

In the case of the flagship model, the PC-4 EVO+, in order not to complicate the naming even more, in the latest version, the manufacturer added the '21 'designation, suggesting that it is a version developed in 2021. As it was the middle of a pandemic and the resulting problems with the supply chains of many components (and rising prices), this version was only released on the market recently, this year. The similarity of the designation and the visual appearance may give the impression that it is a similar device to that that had already been offered before. In fact, the list of changes, both visible and hidden inside, is quite long and fully justifies the introduction of the new version.

| A short story of the PC-4 in HIGH FIDELITY

⸜ GigaWatt PC-4 ⸜ AC power conditioner AC (photo) | test → HERE ⸜ 2009

⸜ GigaWatt PC-4 EVO (v. DCB) + LC-2 ⸜ AC power conditioner AC + power cable AC | test → HERE ⸜ 2015

⸜ GigaWatt PC-4 EVO+ ⸜ AC power conditioner AC | test → HERE |PL| ⸜ 2020

PC-4 EVO+ ‘21

ONE OF THE KEY DIFFERENCES between the latest and previous versions is the chassis. The new one’s is made entirely of aluminum. What’s the advantage? The chassis (all of it is made of this material) is more than 4 kg lighter than the version tested a few years ago by Wojtek and yet more rigid, and in addition provides better shielding. If you think that maybe manufacturer looked for saving choosing this material you should study aluminum price over the last two years - it went crazy expensive!

Like the previous versions, but also a representative of the cheaper PowerControl series, the PC-4 offers 12 power outlets divided into three isolated sections with 4 sockets each. The aforementioned change of chassis material makes its weight almost identical to my PC-3 SE EVO+ , which features 'only' 6 outlet and its height is almost half that f the new PC4. These 12 power outlets on the rear panel make it still a device the size of a quite large amplifier, but in terms of weight it is closer to those with SMPS power supplies than the traditional ones, i.e. ones with big and heavy transformers.

⸜ FRONT The front probably hasn't changed much compared to its predecessor. It is a thick, brushed aluminum plate, then anodized in black or silver and screwed to the chassis with four screws with their heads visible. In the center there is a display, available in one of 10 colors (to choose from). On the bottom of the device there is a small switch that allows you to turn the display on and off. Regardless of the color, the display shows the current input voltage, which is measured by a new type of voltmeter with a new electronic switch.

Under the display there is a plate protruding above the front surface with an elegantly milled company logo. The whole cabinet is placed on four proprietary anti-vibration feet, the so-called Rolling-Ball Isolation System. According to the manufacturer, it is a design consisting of two parts (external and internal) made of solid aluminum, with two raceways with balls between them. Their task is to minimize the number of contact points between the foot and the conditioner’s chassis with the ground, which is to translate into a significant reduction of mechanical vibrations that negatively affect the internal elements of the conditioner, degrading its performance.

⸜ REAR External differences compared to the previous version are easier to see when looking at the back of the device. First of all, this time a proprietary rhodium plated IEC 20A socket was used. In practice, this means the need to use a power cable with an IEC 20 A plug. The manufacturer provides the PC-4 with a POWERSYNC ULTRA , but points out that to benefit from a full potential of the PC-4 one should use one of the more expensive cables, i.e. the LS-2 (delivered with the conditioner for the test) or the LS-1 EVO+.

While recently testing the PowerControl conditioner, I had an opportunity to check out the influence of two power cables. With the standard PowerSync Plus cable, the sound, compared to my PC-3, became a touch more musical, smoother, focusing more on the overall musical picture than on the details. In a word, it was a perfect solution for systems that require a certain tempering of minor sharpness or brightening, or for people who are primarily looking for the pleasure of listening to music, relaxation, and not necessarily the possibility of in-depth analysis of each recording./p>

However, all I had to do was to change the power cable to the much more expensive LS1 EVO+ to change the nature of sound. This time a result was a better control of the sound, a better arrangement of all the elements that were also presented more distinctly. In short, it was a bit (!) more analytical, although still musical and attractive to the ear performance. It was clearly closer to what my PC-3 SE EVO+ offers, although the latter was undoubtedly a device of an even higher class.

I am writing about it so that potential buyers of the PC-4 EVO+ '21 - but this also applies to other GigaWatt conditioners - know that it is enough to use a different power cable with a given conditioner to change (to some extent, of course, ) the nature of the sound, and thus better adjust it to the changing elements of the system, or even the user's taste.

The second, easy-to-see difference that is introduced in the new version, and probably the same will be true for the next ones, is a separate ground terminal, an element that is increasingly popular especially in systems with audio files servers/players. As I’ve mentioned before, the PC-4 offers 12 power sockets grouped into three sections, each powered from a separate, independent filtering branch. In the European version, these are Schuko sockets, but versions for other markets are available as well (US - Nema 5-20R, AU - AS / NZS 3112).

The proprietary GigaWatt sockets feature large-surface brass contacts. They were factory silver plated without any intermediate metals. The enlarged contact surface and a thick layer of silver are to ensure reliable contact with the pins of the plugs. The sockets were additionally subjected to cryogenic treatment and demagnetization process.

I'm not sure if the previous version featured a LED indicating the correct polarity of the power cord (probably yes), but in the new one you will definitely find it on the back panel. It is worth paying attention to this element and to use it to properly connect the power cord to the socket. By the way, later, when connecting other devices to the PC-4, you should also check each cable’s polarity. I know from my own experience that manufacturers of power chords do not use one standard, so it cannot be assumed in advance that after the same connection to the conditioner, the phase in each power cable at the other end will be on the same side.

⸜ TECHNOLOGY You can read more about technical solutions on the dedicated, highly informative website of the manufacturer. So let me mention only the most important elements of the design.

The PC-4 EVO+ '21 has, of course, also protective tasks to fulfill. It is to protect the equipment connected to it against interference and surges from the power grid. Overvoltage protection is provided by the starting block, which includes plasma spark gaps, new generation UltraMOV varistors and a pre-filter. As an overload protection, a two-pole hydraulic-magnetic circuit breaker by Carling Technologies, manufactured in the USA on special order according to GigaWatt specifications, was used. This element acts as a system controlling the value of the current flowing through the internal circuits and as the main switch of the conditioner. The GigaWatt flagship is also equipped with the so-called DC Offset Blocker, i.e. a module that eliminates the DC component of the supply voltage.

Another key to providing connected devices with the highest quality power is an innovative two-stage current distribution system developed by GigaWatt engineers. After opening the chassis, you should be impressed with massive, silver-plated distribution rails made of polished bars of oxygen-free OFHC C10100 copper with a purity of 99.997%. The first stage allows for lossless and uniform voltage distribution to the individual filtering branches. The second supplies current directly to each pair of output sockets through crimp and twisted connections and wiring made with conductors with a cross-section of 4 QMM of silver-plated oxygen-free copper insulated with FEP Teflon.

PCBs contain fifteen times more copper compared to standard printed circuit boards. Double-layer printed circuits have very wide conductive paths made of silver-plated copper, the total thickness of which is 550 μm. Noise suppression is ensured by RLC filtering blocks, built on the basis of e.g. proprietary Audio Grade filtering capacitors and filters based on HF (High-Flux) cores.

Finally, let me point out two more elements indicated by the manufacturer, which make the PC-4 EVO+ '21 different from its predecessor. Well, in all screwed connections, transmitting current only non-magnetic screws are used. Another "little thing" is the so-called Cap-Dampers, i.e. polymer spacers that isolate the capacitors from vibrations coming from the PCB. And finally, I would like to point out one more obviousness (at least in the case of GigaWatt), namely the fact that the quality of workmanship and finish of the Polish manufacturer's flagship model will allow proud users to put it in plain sight, even surrounded by the best and most expensive components of other major audio brands.


⸜ HOW WE LISTENED I listened to the PC-4 EVO+ '21 (i.e. its influence on the sound) in two systems. First of all, in my own with the GrandiNote Shinai amplifier and MACH4 speakers from the same company, my server and LampizatOr Pacific DAC and the J.Sikora Standard Max turntable.

However, I spent the last two days with a system with several components I tested at that time, starting with the 432 EVO Standard server, the Emotiva XPA DR2 Gen 3 power amplifier, and a pair of Perlisten Audio S5m monitors supported an active D15s subwoofer (in other words, with a significantly different, in many respects, system than my own reference). The comparisons, although not very direct, concerned the impact on the sound of the flagship conditioner and the second one from the top, which I use every day. I would like to add that despite the greater number of PC-4 sockets, the comparisons were limited to a smaller number of devices (server → DAC → amplifier, turntable → phono stage → amplifier, and in the second source system → preamplifier → power amplifier + active subwoofer).

A practical note here. Already testing the PowerControl model, I was first pleased with the possibility of using as many as 12 power sockets, as in my system six in the PC-3 are usually not enough. Hence, I also use the PF-2 mk2 power strip, and I have 4 wall outlets (2 by GigaWatt and 2 by Furutech) dedicated to audio (2 of them are occupied by the conditioner and power strip). In practice, however, I quickly realized that if I wanted to connect a large number of devices to a power system designed in this way, I would have to carefully select, hence make o lot of changes in my current lot, cables (it is mainly about their length, and to some extent also stiffness) in order to avoid a complete cable chaos. So if, like me, you use more than one conditioner or power strip in your system, you have components placed quite far from each other and you plan to switch to one device with a large number of sockets, which is to integrate the power supply of all components, think carefully where you will place them and what cables you will you use to connect them all the 12 outlets of a conditioner. It can be done, of course, but it requires some rethinking and most likely changes. End of digression.


MY CONDITIONER, THE PC-3 SE EVO+ is the basic element of the system, in which I have been testing several dozen devices a year for several years. First, I had an opportunity to test it and use it an extended period of time, and only based on this extensive experience, I made a decision to add it to my system. It was clear to me that it would be, first of all, a very good working tool, and secondly, which is not at all clear-cut, it will not take away a single bit of pleasure from my communing with music, and even increase it. I found out about its capabilities by testing, for example, a powerful beast, the Marton Opusculum Reference 3.

I connected this powerful integrated directly to the wall socket and to the GigaWatt conditioner interchangeably and in fact there were no differences I could hear. The expected one was, first of all, a reduction in dynamics, but as it turned out, nothing like that happened. Since then, the method of powering my own, and above all the tested amplifiers, depends on the current situation. If I have free sockets in the PC-3, I connect a given amplifier to it, and only if there are no sockets there, or the dedicated cable is too short, I connect it to the wall outlet. In the case of other components, I always try to connect them to the conditioner and it is yet to have any sort of a negative impact on their performance.

Why am I writing about this? Well, because the PC-3 SE EVO+ has become the foundation of my system, without which I cannot imagine testing audio devices or listening to music for pleasure. I consider it a very high-end device and I would not even be able to say exactly what I would like to improve with it. Well, except maybe more outlets.... The new conditioners of the Polish manufacturer have also shown that the grounding clamp would also be useful. Nevertheless, I had no objections to its influence on the sound, it was very helpful in assessing the components connected to it. So what could be done even better?

It is obvious that, for example, VIBEX GRANADA PLATINUM made the sound remarkably musical, analog, listener-friendly, relaxing, silky-smooth, etc. But these are features, which suit my taste and would work great in a private system, but not quite as well as a reviewer’s tool. Unlike the PC-3. In our adventures in the audio world it happens every now and then that we experience sound quality so good that it seems impossible to improve (in a given system). And we are sure of it until ... until we come across an even better / more fitting to our expectations or tastes component. You know where I am going with this, right. Yes, you’re right. The PC-3 SE EVO+ was my favorite until I got this opportunity to review the new version of the PC-4.

Important note here - I started to truly appreciate the advantage of the top model only after a few days of using it. Right after switching from PC-3 to PC-4 for the first time, there was no “wow!” effect at all. When switching between them every, say, an hour, it was really hard for me to pinpoint any major differences. So I adopted the method of "getting used to the better", i.e. for a few days the system was connected to the flagship model, and then I returned to my conditioner. It was then that it became clear quickly that the latter was "not quite as good", but it still took me some time to figure out what the difference was.

I wrote earlier that the PC-3 did not limit the dynamics of even such a beast as Marton, and yet this is one of the features which improved with the new conditioner. It was not that obvious, as it happened primarily at the micro level and to a lesser extent at the macro level. Listening to the BEETHOVEN’S Ninth Symphony, for example, I heard a similar scale, momentum and power of the orchestra, but better differentiation in individual groups of instruments.

Maybe it was even clearer when listening to some recordings of small acoustic ensembles, for example, the HADOUK TRIO’s concert or the AHMAD JAMAL’s band one, where the sound of individual instruments with the PC-4 EVO+ '21 became richer, fuller and truer due to better differentiation of sounds in terms of dynamics at the micro level.

In the macro scale, my conditioner was already doing an excellent job, so the PC-4 simply didn't have much room for improvement, but it still did make a small contribution. Whether in the aforementioned symphonic music, rock recordings by AEROSMITH, GENESIS, or finally electronic creations of DEAD CAN DANCE, the power of the sound, the speed of the attack, the rapid transition from very quiet to very loud sounds and the scale of the sound were ... exactly, as they should have been. And actually a bit more like that than with the PC-3. It really wasn't much of a difference. As you know perfectly well, when we get used to (even just a bit) better performance, the return to the previous, almost (and almost makes a difference) the same level is noticeable and perceived as even bigger than it actually is. But you can’t forget about it, you tend to miss even the tiniest improvements.

With the PC-4 EVO+ '21 the sound also seemed a bit more effortless. To be clear - the sound control, its order and precision were at the highest level. So I mean ‘effortless’ in the sense of not feeling that anything is forced or exerted. The music flowed freely and effortlessly from the speakers, the sound was extremely fluid and coherent, precise, but also smooth, resolving and juicy, clean, transparent but saturated. All this translated into an even more engaging presentation, which was natural in its precision, and I simply wanted to keep listening to it.

Another interesting experience was connecting a system with the same sources and my Audia Flight preamplifier, but also with the tested, relatively inexpensive, but at its price excellent Emotiva power amplifier, or the fantastic Perlisten S5m loudspeakers supported by an active subwoofer.

The latter, surprising me a bit, with the PC-4 EVO+ '21 powering it delivered an even tighter lowest bass base, which is not inherently as tight as the mid and upper bass. Excellent timing, perfect pace and rhythm, the power of the sound and the immediate attack, all this contributed to an even more effective and not at all flashy whole. With such a powerful foundation at the very bottom of the band, the system sounded as if someone had slightly tweaked it, filled it even more and intensified the timbre. And the sound was even more open and spacious. I repeat - there were no big changes compared to my PC-3, but they were audible and, ultimately, highly appreciated.


I’VE STATED THIS MANY TIMES - I am not a fan of the super-audiophile, meaning: highly analytical, hyper-precise, revealing every weakness of every recording presentations. I am looking for a sound that reminds me of the one I know from live performances - with its high energy, being engaging, invigorating and seductive. The GigaWatt PC-4 EVO+ '21 brought the sound of both my and the alternative system closer to the expectations defined in this way.

It provided excellent dynamics and control of a highly resolving, energetic, but also saturated, smooth and fluid sound. With each good recording, it allowed the system to render a highly engaging, emotionally rich musical spectacle, at the same time ensuring that even a picky, demanding audiophile with other than my expectations had nothing to complain about.

Long story short: the flagship GigaWatt is the best conditioner I have had contact with, it is simply a top class product! So no matter how high-end your system is, the PC-4 EVO+ '21 will be a good, and in many cases even the best possible choice. And it is Made in Poland! Hence there is no choice but to award it with the ˻ GOLD FINGERPRINT ˼

Technical specifications (according to the manufacturer):

Available socket types: EU (Schuko), US (Nema 5-20R), AU (AS/NZS 3112)
Line voltage: 220-240 VAC 50 / 60 Hz or 110-120 VAC 50 / 60 Hz
Maximum output power : 3 680 W
Maximum current load: 16 A
Absorbed impulse current: 22 000 A
Dimensions (H x W x D): 160 x 440 x 400 mm
Weight: 16 kg