Paul Hynes SR7
Price: $2,200 (Dual outputs)
Product link: Discontinued.
The SR7 uses the same ultra low noise high performance discrete component voltage regulator as the highly regarded SR4 and SR5 power supplies. The SR7 mains transformer is configured as a balanced mains isolation transformer to provide exceptional mains born common mode interference rejection like the SR4 and SR5 power supplies.
Build & Specification
- Model: SR7MR2XL
- Cables: Annealed silver DC leads with XL connectors with 6A rating @1.25m length
- Outputs: Dual 12V/5A outputs, adjustable down to 5V
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 purchased this power supply second-hand a few years back. At $1,100 per rail, this is one of the most expensive power supplies out there. All things considered, this is also one of the very best power supplies in the world. It’s undeniably performant and stands out from the competition.
As far as “realistic molding” the SR7 reminds me of the Sean Jacobs DC4 power supply. This quality is an indication of a “high-end” power supply – and in a 2-channel system in general. These are the only two power supplies (and maybe the Paul Hynes SR4T) that reproduce a true-to-life level of bends and curvature. But the Sean Jacobs DC4 is still much better at it.
The SR7 has been my benchmark power supply for years. It does everything so damn well. The only thing keeping it from being perfect is the more neutral tone. This could be due to the annealed silver wiring inside or something else. I just haven’t had time to swap them out for UPOCC copper. I also feel that if the tone becomes more golden, it’ll lose some of that corporeal sound.
The SR7 is exquisitely real and is masterful at reproducing intoxicating and melodic passages. It offers fine insight when needed, dynamic contrast when appropriate, and scale on demand. There’s bounce, drive, and rhythmic magic throughout. But as you’ve probably guessed, a neutral tone isn’t my forte. It actually frustrates me. But sometimes, a power supply does so many things…so well – and in such an emotive way, I’m willing to turn a blind eye to it. That’s the case for the SR7.
The SR7 has decent bass heft and texture. Some of this texture is duller because of the more “dense bodies” effect. And aside from tone, it pretty much excels in everything else. From soundstage and imaging to smoothness and articulation. It’s extremely quiet and very resolving. The top-end could be a little shinier but sounds tuneful and truthful enough.
So aside from tonality and maybe a bit of punchiness…I have no complaints. The soundstage is well mapped, the flow is eloquent, there’s plenty of physical contexts, and it handles complex overtones with ease. Harmonic cues are accurate and there’s just this synergistic aplomb to every recording.
No matter what I compare this power supply with, the SR7 consistently earns its reputation as one of the very best power supplies in the world. For many, it is the greatest of all time.
This power supply is a beast when it comes to spatial articulation and reproducing complex resonances. It’s a free spirit but remains poise, delicate, and articulate. It has an iron grip on fleet-fingered fret movements, percussive shakes, and rhythmic ride cymbals. With world-class control, you’re able to hear every flex, snap, crack…and the force and speed at which they exhibit themselves.
As far as soundstage, the SR7 breaks all the walls and allows the music to expand and contract however it needs to. And it does so with impunity. Resonances are painted with realistic pitch and transients have accurate rise and decay times. Crescendos traverse the venue with vibration-filled pauses and infinite dynamics. You get an audible sense of pressure, weight, and hesitations from the instruments.
The SR7 has a nice balance of grit and body. “Textured realism” appeared many times in my notes. The music is just more transparent, tangible, and spatially articulate. It has the right amount of propulsion, fiber, and energy. But isn’t dripping with it. It’s a fleshed-out sound with good bass and presence. The SR7 is very real in the way it shapes the music.
The only thing that breaks the illusion of something real is…you guessed it…tone. It’s too neutral and the music needs more color. If the SR7 had the tonality of the SR4-12…it’d be tough to beat. In fact, I actually preferred the SR4-12 with the RME DAC over the SR7 just because it just sounds more naturally colored.
The bass is good but doesn’t make itself known. It doesn’t cement itself as heavily but is still very tangible. The treble is a little bit shelved down, and the midrange is slightly burnished. It’s smoother than it is raw, but it still rings with enough magic.
Who Should Buy the Paul Hynes SR7 Linear Power Supply?
If you could find one on the used market, I would grab it. It’s a useful reference piece.
The Paul Hynes SR7 is emphatically a “next level” power supply. The way it molds out musical ripples while being very smooth is alluring and most importantly, convincing – is astounding. It simply offers a greater level of listening satisfaction – for a price.
Aside from the unnatural tonality, it sounds like a real live performance minus some of that electric and hyped energy. The SR7 takes you from listening to a recording to something truer to life. It doesn’t matter how complex it gets, the SR7 will articulate with ease. From complex reverb extension on cymbal taps to how air is exhaled from vocalizations. The SR7 is surgical, yet scales and adapts to the proper sonic mannerisms.
vs. Paul Hynes SR4T / SR4-12
- The SR7 is better in every way.
- More open and not as heavy handed as the SR4T.
- SR7 has better imaging and is quieter.
- SR7 has better speed and articulation.
- SR7 has better bass and much more texture.
- SR7 is more organic and incisive.
- SR7 is much quicker than the SR4T and SR4-12.
- Although the tone of the SR4-12 is far more true, the SR7 does a lot more.
- SR7 is far more dynamic
vs. Optimo 3 Duo
- I enjoy the tone and denser sound of the Optimo more.
- The SR7 has better molding and is much more resolving.
vs. Sean Jacobs DC4
- Both the SR7 and DC4 have a very similar tone (neutral).
- The DC4 has a thicker and more congealed sound.
- As far as 3D realism, both of these power supplies are in their own class from the rest.
- SR7 is more lightfooted, cleaner, and more transparent. It has more rawness and resolution than the DC4. The DC4 is more mellow.
- DC4 has a larger sound and is more forward.
- If you chase resolution and transparency, I would go with the SR7. If you want more realism in body and form, the DC4 is the best.
- I slightly enjoy the relatively less neutral sound of the DC4 over the SR7. Although that could change if I were to swap the silver cabling out of the SR7. Both are neutral but the SR7 is ever so slightly cooler and not as heavy handed.
- The SR7 strikes a better balance of body, detail, and shine. The DC4 seems to skew everything to recreating the performance with as much clay and material as possible. You get the illusion of eveything being in 3D and having weight. Thus more “real.” But it trades off some air and hype (reverbs aren’t as apparent).
- The SR7 is leaner but quicker. It’s more incisive, precise, and assertive.
- The SR7 is quieter.
- If the goal is something that sounds more real, the SR7 is it. The DC4 takes that “realness” up a few notches at the expense of top end clarity and perhaps smoothing over a few more textures.
- The DC4 sounds much more “real” from a depth, tangibility, and corporeal perspective. But the SR7 has enough of that “realness” and adds on more brilliance up top.
- In direct comparison, both sound like ultra high end power supplies. The SR7 is more balanced while the DC4 is more heavy-handed.
- The DC4 does handle differences in density and texture in a more controlled fashion.
vs. Plixir Elite BDC
- The Plixir is more crisp and clear. Textures are more in the forefront with the Plixir.
- Sr7 is more dynamic
- Where the Plixir is technically superior (resolution, speed, etc), the SR7 is more analog, dense, and present. The SR7 removes all hints of digital.
- SR7 preserves more of the organics and essence of the music – and adds meat to it.
- Plixir has better tone.
- SR7 is more mellow and softer.
- Plixir has better bass.
vs. Mojo Audio Illuminati v3
- SR7 has more density and is quieter
- Illuminati v3 has more shine especially through whistles and bells
- SR7’s tone isn’t as organic. It has a greyer tone. This could be due to the silver internal wiring.
- Illuminati v3 has more prominent bass, but the SR7 has controlled bass
- SR7’s is less blurred, and has better imaging and focus. It’s overall more precise.
- SR7 has more mass and in turn, more tangiblity and is more palpable
vs. UpTone Audio JS-2
- The JS-2 is far more vibrant and has better tone.
- The SR7 is superior in depth, density, cohesion, and bass. It sounds more 3D and real.
- Both have good detail and soundstage. JS-2 slightly broader.
- SR7 is far better at layering and delineation.