(Review) Synergystic Research Powercell 8 SX – The Best Under $5k?

powercell 8 SX Review

As a continuation of our last review of the Synergystic Research Foundation SX cables, we are looking at the Powercell 8 SX. This power conditioner and hub pairs perfectly with the Foundation SX cables offering buyers an affordable option among some of the pricier Conditions from Synergystic Research. The Powercell 8 SX comes in at $3995.99 (U.S.) and offers 8 outlets, none of which limit current allowing you to plug in any amps to any socket. It also includes the umbilical cord to plug into your wall outlet, which is a hefty cable sure to flow all the current you could need. It also has a button on the back that allows you to tune the RF biasing, which allows more flexibility to the user, so let’s see how it performs.

powercell 8 SX Review


The Powercell SX is a pretty simple device in terms of setup, you just need to unbox it and connect the power cable. The cable uses a locking end to ensure a secure fit. On the back, you will find 4 duplex outlets offering 8 total connections, as well as the power switch and the RF selector button. Once you have all your devices plugged in you are ready to flip the power switch, which will reveal a little light show as it boots up. The default setting is Purple (blueish light) which is meant for larger ensembles and electronic music. When you press the momentary switch the lights will change to red, which is designed to be better suited to acoustic sets and similar music. In general, I tended to prefer the Purple mode, as my playlists switch genres rather rapidly, though when I would play acoustic albums and singer-songwriter indie albums I did switch to the Red setting.

I also applied some of the Carbon tuning discs throughout my testing to see how they affected the sound. I ended up landing on placing Gold discs on the top of the Powercell and Purple Discs on the power cables. What sounds best to you may be different and I recommend playing with different combinations. SR offers a lot of tuning and tinkering options which is something I enjoy about the hobby so having all these ways to play with the sound and try things out really appeals to me.

powercell 8 SX Review


The first thing I noticed was the dead silence when nothing was playing, specifically when my turntable was on but not yet cued. I always had a small hum no matter what I tried, be it other conditioners, cables, or cartridges. I chalked it up to a downfall of the AT LP-7. Well maybe not, with the Powercell 8 SX I had complete silence. Something else many of us deal with, especially in older houses (mine was built in the 1920s) is noisy wiring. What I mean by that is often rooms are tied together and sometimes appliances are on the same circuit which can introduce a hum in your system. Anytime the washer was running I would get a 60hz hum, well that too is gone. I do plan to isolate the wiring in the music room eventually, but for those of us where that may not be possible or in cases where it can cost thousands, you can benefit from a quality conditioner such as the Powercell 8 SX. Even with clean power, you can get feedback through the gear itself, especially with vintage gear, so the benefits can still be had on isolated circuits.

Listening to a variety of music switching between my Audio Quest Power Quest 3, and the Powercell 8 SX I noticed the music was livelier and more impactful with the Powercell. One of the downfalls of the Powerquest is that not all of the outlets are designed for full current draw, so if you run multiple amplifiers it may not have enough unlimited outlets for you. In my case, I was using both of them for my two amps, but when I want to run more such as running multiple Monoblocks then I have to comprise. The Powercell 8 SX is no compromise piece of kit, which is really what you want out of any of your pieces.

foundation sx cable review

Playing the Nationals “Aliens” from The First Two Pages of Frankenstein with power coming from gave me a tighter bass and cleaner top end. The stage grew in depth as well as width giving more space for each note in turn adding clarity. Matts’s voice was also a bit more natural and detailed. I also played “Once Upon a Poolside” from the same album, which has piano as the foundation of the track, you can hear the ambiance of the space it was recorded in, giving the sense of intimacy. The track also has a choir-like backing vocal that gives the song dimension, the added depth of the sound stage separates the backing vocals out gives them distance. The whole album had a better overall sound, but those are probably my favorite two songs and the ones I am most familiar with due to constant listening.

I wanted to try out some electronic music, so I got out my copy of Vegas by The Crystal Method. I have talked about my nostalgia for this album before, and how it was part of the early days in my Hifi journey. I keep coming back to it, all these years later I still love the beats and vocal samples. Crystal Method was one of the pioneers of Big Beat music, and it is not the only thing big about it, the depth of the sound stage is staggering. They expertly layer the track to give you that holographic illusion of space. The bass has unfettered depth and punch when the power is free-flowing through the Powercell SX. I tried the Red setting just to see what would happen and it is just not the same as Purple for music like this, it almost becomes too light, losing that weight of the synths and bass. It was like hearing the album for the first time again, and immediately transported me back to my youth.

powercell 8 SX Review

To experiment with the Red setting and see how well it does for smaller acoustic sets I listened to Moby’s Reprise, one of my all-time favorite albums. Growing up with Moby, I loved when he combined his unique electronic music with orchestral on this recording of his best songs. Many of the songs are with a full orchestra but some of them are smaller acoustic sets which took advantage of the Red setting on the Powercell 8 SX. The vocals on ” The Great Escape” were noticeably airier, as well as the instruments having a more natural presence. Having the ability to tune your system on the fly is certainly a nice feature when you listen to a wide variety of music.

In the middle of this review, I actually upgraded my Turntable quite a bit. I am now using a VPI Prime with the JMW 10-inch 3D Reference arm on the Adjustable VTA base and running an Ortofon Quintet Red cart. It is connected via the Synergystic Research Foundation SX phono cables with Purple Discs and it is a picture-perfect combination. The power coming from the SR Powercell 8 SX keeps it dead silent. My previous Table the AT LP-7 while a great table for the price and getting into Vinyl Playback was a bit noisy, though it too was silent when I connected it to the Powercell 8 SX. It is more critical than any other source in my opinion as Turntables seem to be much more susceptible to picking up electrical noise and forwarding it right onto your amp. If for no other reason, you should look into a quality power conditioner such as the Powercell. Synergystic Research does offer a single plug option that goes between the wall and the power cord if all you want to condition is your turntable, though if the funds allow it, conditioning all of your devices is going to net you the best results.

powercell 8 SX Review

Pros and Cons


  • 8 full current linear outlets (4 Duplex)
  • Tunable to the music type
  • excellent build quality
  • quality power cable included
  • relatively compact design


  • none at this price point

Associated Equipment

  • Viva Solistino Integrated Amp
  • Marantz SR7009 Preamp
  • McIntosh MC250 Power Amp
  • Orchard Audio Starkrimson Mono Premium Power Amps
  • VPI Prime with JMW 10″ 3D, Ortofon Quintet Red
  • Audio Technica LP-7 with Quintet Blue
  • Rotel CD-11 Tribute
  • Orchard Audio Pecan PI+
  • Fiio M9 (Flac Files
  • iPhone 14 Pro (Qobuz)
  • Macbook Air M2 (Qobuz)
  • Synergystic Research Foundation SX


  • $3499.00 (U.S.)


Clean power is important in all electronics, especially in Hifi where you are trying to as accurately as possible playback the music as it was recorded. When you have tiny signals that are very susceptible to interference power conditioning very well could be considered a necessity. The Powercell 8 SX offers clean, full current linear power to every outlet in the device, which can not be said about all the Conditioners on the market such as my Pwerquest 3. On top of that, there are options for on-the-fly tuning to tailor your sound to the type of music you are listening to. 8 outlets should be enough for the average audio enthusiast, as that covers a preamp, two monoblocks, a subwoofer, and 4 sources which is the config I used for a good portion of the review. At no point did I think this wasn’t doing enough or offering me enough, especially at the price point. For larger systems, SR does offer larger conditioners with more outlets, though you could also add a second Powercell 8 down the road if you add more sources or amps. With some of the other SR accessories, you get a nearly infinitely tunable device which for a system tinkerer is a dream come true. I used the Purple Tuning Discs on all of my power cables and also tried a couple of the gold and purple on the Powercell itself. If you are fighting noise in your system you owe it to yourself to audition the Powecell 8 SX to see if it is the right fit for you.

For more information on where to buy click the link below:

Synergistic Research provided Hifi Chicken with a demo Powercell 8 SX for the purpose of this review. Synergystic Research nor any affiliate paid in part or full in exchange for this review.

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