Paul Hynes SR4-12
Product link: Discontinued.
Update 9/11/2023: Paul Hynes has gone under a lot of scrutiny for misappropriating funds and customer deposits. Many have lost their deposits, including myself. There’s recent speculation and some confirmed accounts of Paul stealing deposits from unsuspecting customers for potential power supply builds. I’m just keeping this here for posterity, but please do not attempt to purchase a power supply from Paul Hynes.
The SR4 power supply has been designed in response to customer requests for a high quality power supply for powering a range of digital audio interface equipment, and analogue equipment, with a single supply rail requirement. There are many products available in the market with different voltage requirements so it makes sense to provide an easily adjustable power supply to cover a number of voltage options, thus making the power supply more universal in application, when customers change their equipment.
Build & Specification
- Uses the same ultra-low noise high-performance discrete component voltage regulator as the highly regarded SR5 and SR7 power supplies.
- The SR4 mains transformer is configured as a balanced mains isolation transformer to provide exceptional mains-born interference rejection like the SR5 and SR7 power supplies.
- The output DC connector is a 4 pin gold plated Neutrik XLR and there are two metallurgy options for DC leads, annealed copper (DC3CXLR) or annealed fine silver (DC3SXLR).
- The negative output of the DC isn’t grounded to AC ground to prevent ground loops.
- The SR4 output voltage is externally switch-able via a switch on the back panel. The SR4-12 has switch positions for 5v, 7v, 9v and 12v. The SR4-19 has switch positions for 9v, 12v, 15v and 19v.
- The available output current is 2A continuous and 20A transient.
- The SR4 uses the same ultra low noise high performance discrete component voltage regulator as the highly regarded SR5 and SR7 power supplies. The SR4 mains transformer is configured as a balanced mains isolation transformer to provide exceptional mains born common mode interference rejection like the SR5 and SR7 power supplies.
- The output DC connector is a 4 pin gold plated Neutrik XLR and there are two metallurgy options for high performance DC leads, annealed copper or annealed fine silver. DC lead prices are for 0.2 metre, 0.5 metre and 1 metre. Other lead lengths can be supplied so ask for a quote if you require a different length.
Unfortunately, PHD Ltd is now closed because of insolvency. I figured I’ll keep their power supplies in this comparison if you’re looking for it in the used market – or if you’re simply curious like I am.
I’ve actually written a review of the SR4 a while back here. The one I reviewed here was a different unit, but it should be a similar impression. But this time I can describe it relative to all the other power supplies. It’ll give me a better picture of where the original SR4 really stands.
In direct comparison to the SR7 and SR4T, the original SR4 does not have a realistic form, but the tone is much more natural. In fact, it probably has the best tonality and timbre out of all the power supplies on this list. This power supply does not layer out or image with amazing precision, but it’s incredibly musical.
I don’t think you’ll ever say the SR4 sounds truly “real” because there isn’t an exorbitant amount of spatial clarity. And soundstage isolation and depth are also limited. The music stays in front of you and doesn’t immerse or try to pull you in. But I feel as far as artistic intent, this power supply will get you closer than most. It’s self-effacing but in a comfortable, earthy way. It just has so much soul and warmth.
In the end, the SR4-12 has a silky, warm character. It’s not the most detailed or molded. But it wants to be more romantic than snappy. More cozy than airy. Making it the most organic-sounding power supply in the group. It has a good balance of tonality and body. And for some reason, I kept gravitating towards the SR4-12 for a lot of my listening.
I would prefer better outlining, texture, and transient clarity. And perhaps more acoustic mold. While listening to the Wicked The Musical Soundtrack, I felt it missed out on textures and some of the inner details. It’s slightly softer on the edges and not super tactile or gritty. Unfortunately, the bowing of a cello also isn’t very fibrous. In addition, the smoothed over airy bits make it difficult to hear the space around the performers.
Who Should Buy the Paul Hynes SR4-12 Linear Power Supply?
First, these power supplies are tough to find in the used market. And for good reason.
Technically, there are better-performing power supplies here. Including the Paul Hynes SR4T. But if tonality and musicality are the top priority, the SR4-12 might be worth the tradeoff. It’s not for the transparency chasers. It doesn’t have a holographic sound. But it has the most lifelike and truthful tonality and timbre I’ve heard so far.
If you don’t require heavily focused imaging, infinite detailing, or a more filled-out and rounded sound…the SR4-12 might be music to your ears.
vs. Paul Hynes SR4T
- The SR4-12 isn’t as deatiled or textured
- The SR4T has a more light-gray gel coating to the sound and is fuller.
- The SR4-12 sounds more tonally natural.
vs. Fidelizer Nikola2
- The SR4-12 is like a fuller and smoother sounding Fidelizer.
- The Fidelizer has more crisp, crunch, and rawness.
- The Fidelizer has better focus and delineation.
vs. Plixir Elite BDC
- The Plixir is much more dynamic and has more energetic drive.
- Tonality of the SR4-12 is in another league.