AC mains noise Borrowed noise sniffer and tested my AC lines...

I borrowed this AC line noise sniffing device (Blue Horizon Mains Noise Analyser) today. (Do not ask from where, I do not feel at ease saying.)
This device sniffs out noise and has a range of "000" to "999" and over that it just is "MAX".
So first test was kitchen light with wall plug. "784"
Kitchen outlet tied to refrigerator (frig ON) "MAX"
Bedroom wall nothing around in use "220" wow good number.

Furutech Duplex at amplifier "013*" WHAT!!!! yes "013". That is on a direct 44 ft extension cord from 20 amp wall outlet (also Furutech) * with the C7 to the noise sniffer one way, it is 13, other way it is 20. ALL the measurements change with reversing the noise sniffer AC plug, about the same amount each time)
That extension does have an additional Furutech duplex on the cord, six feet back of amp Furutech plugs end, and that duplex has two PS Audio Noise Harvesters. The wiring is a quad twist. and each side or pair is connected to one out side. so each Noise Harvester is on one half of the quad.
So I can say the PS Audio Noise Harvesters really DO a fantastic job!!!

The other similar line (from he same 20 amp outlet) does not have any Noise Harvesters on it. And with the stereo running, it has "297" noise level. However IF I do stick one PS Audio Noise harvester in an out 3 feet back ot the one the sniffer is in. The noise drops to "143". (I cannot leave the Noise Harvester or a pair in there due to it being in use, normally, plus adding them in where the noise sniffer is, seems to make the sound go too thin.)

Another major discovery is just HOW NOISY Digital equipment really is!!! I have my two CD changers plugged into a separate power conditioner. A PS Audio P-600.
Testing the PS Audio P-600 I own (tested at 60Hz) With nothing turned on plugged into the P-600 the baseline noise is "040" With one five disc CD changer turned on the noise level jumps up to "740" With the other one only on the nose is also "740" with both on the noise jumps over "MAX" This is with a PS Audio Noise Harvester plugged into the same duplex (on the back of the P-600) as the CD changer!
On the other hand.. The Marantz SA-10 is pugged into the Furman (also with a PS Audio Noise Harvester in same duplex and that area is "032". So SOME equipment is not spewing, and some is.

This is all I have learned in a half hour of fooling around.
Hey Elizabeth,
I remember you are a big fan of Furman, like I am.
I'm curious if you have measured how much the Furman cleans up the noise? Like what is the noise at the Furman vs. the wall in the same location?

Also, what model Furman are you using?
BTW, I just read this article from 6moons (worlds ugliest audio web site) :

And I found the results very interesting. It's kind of what I expected. Based on this, I repeat, you don't want perfect AC cords.  You want perfect power conditioners, and band limited, shielded, power cords.
please tell where one can get this sniffer . Would be great for many to show sniffer results with different brands of power conditioners . also what is the noise harvester and how much do they cost . Thanks
it would be cool to see if you plugged in the digital to the ps audio and compare to the Furman results if possible. Thanks
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The PS Noise Harvester ruined the sound of my system.....put 2 in got worse....put 3 in.....returned them all.  (also the light was annoying)
After reading this, I'm very tempted to try out these Noise Harvesters. 
I have two outlets, 12 feet apart, on the same line to the breaker with one spot open for a Harvester and another on an extension. It sounds like the distance wouldn't be a concern.

All the best,

I wonder if  some of us really prefer some noise and distortion for our systems to sound" just right "?Whenever I've replaced a component that turned out to have a blacker background and reduced noise floor it was always a welcome change.I don't notice the noise until it's gone apparently. I had a PS Audio power plant a few years ago and ended up selling it.I've never tried Furman products so it's possible that would be a better experience.The six moons article was really interesting.
This is pretty awesome. Too expensive for me to play with, but I have wanted something short of an AC noise analyzer that was easy to use for a long time.

I have used oscilloscopes to examine problems from wall warts, and digital power supplies before, and I know from experience the Furman unit I have really makes my stereo sound better.

One really interesting thing from this article is the quality of noise coming out of the Hypex units. I totally believe it. When I build I add ferrite cores to the AC lines, but I have no idea if they really help.

Would be really interesting if the problems with Class D amps was not the amp, but the noise they inject.

Then the problem is not about what gear they match, but how good the power supplies in the other gear is.
But system on. Second measurement twenty minutes later was "003" (I am thunderstruck.) Music was playing.        

I am sorry, but what does this mean?  What changed?

Interesting indeed. I have been looking at different AC conditioners and power distribution strips, e.g. Shunyata, synergistic Research, Cardas, etc. My thought is to replace my 2) Running Springs units to save space. I have looked for a Noise Sniffer as Elizabeth has been fortunate enough to obtain. 
Obviously too expensive to own for a one time purchase. It would be nice if Audio stores or manufacturers would offer rental on such devices to help sell their products.
That aside, I have a question for Elizabeth, not knowing how long you have possession of this device, but if you could let us know how the readings vary at different times of the day. And when you get a low reading on one component do you plan to test one of the higher reading components as close to the same time? It could reveal just how much the electricity coming into the house fluctuates thru the day.

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For a less expensive alternative you might try this Power line Meter direct from AlphaLab:

I sold my expensive Akiko Corelli Passive Conditioner when I found it actually increased lpower line noise.

I hope this helps!

I have an Alpha Lab Power Line Meter and it is fun to see the different numbers being generated with different circuits, different equipment and at different times of the day.

But I have trouble correlating these numbers with differences in how the music systems sound. I also have the PS Audio Harvesters and they (as Elizabeth pointed out) are not simply plug and play. They may make the sound better, worse, or unchanged. Chasing numbers does not lead to better sound.
David Pritchard
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Elizabeth, That is pretty extensive testing! I really appreciate your sharing the findings of your experiment. As mentioned I am looking at changing the direction in my own system on this matter. One thing that you mentioned is the common ground in circuits. That really re-enforces my thoughts on adding a dedicated ground stake for my 2 20 amp circuits so they won't share the same ground as the balance of the house.

I do think that Power Conditioning is something I want to continue in my system, but wonder if we over think it. Sometimes I get focused on one area of the system and obsess myself into spending money where it really isn't need. Maybe all I need is an afternoon of relaxation and vinyl...

What’s different I think is the Alpha labs is specifically about EMI. It is limited to 10kHz to 10 MHz. This is also the range at which most cheap noise suppressors work. Kind of useless for audio gear IMHO. So, I am not at all surprised it has little bearing on sound quality.

We need to see everything between 60Hz to 20kHz. That is very little overlap with the Alpha Labs product. Sad because it’s much cheaper!

This is why the Furman gear is something I really like. Their noise suppression’s -6 dB point is at 3 kHz. A much more useful starting point.
You can also try.

They also sell the filters to reduce EMI

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The one thing I had not realized is how some audio equipment removes grunge from the line. And others. particularly the CD changers just SPEW tons of junk. I should measure the DVD players... ?? maybe.. And the plasma, just to know, while I have the tester in hand.


This is why multiple filter banks (some Furman units have them) or keeping your digital (especially network) stuff outside your analog power conditioners can help lots.

I like to think of it as a kind of demilitarized zone (DMZ).

The inexpensive Furman with LiFT and SMP like this one:

for my wall warty stuff, and then something else for preamp and amps, like this:

This keeps my wall warts 2 entire filter sections away from my audio reproduction.

Unless you use an active device like a PS Audio regenerator, this type of isolation seems mandatory to me.

If you can't afford 2 units, at least keep your wall warts outside your conditioners.
I was just thinking, this also kind of leads us to simplify.

I mean, between routers, switches, streamers, amps, televisions, preamps, and DACs, managing all this power and noise issues becomes very expensive (as evidenced by Elizabeth's own set up).
The idea of having a 1 or 2 piece system seems to have exponential benefits in terms of cost and simplicity.
@ozzy ,
Thanks for the link. It may be that other, similar devices were just made into "audio" related ones and had the corresponding price mark up.

I think I’ll order a few of the filters and see (hear) what happens.

All the best,
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While researching Noise Harvesters and using a meter to measure the noise on line, I came across this video for the LAB12 Gordian:

It’s in German but you can see the read outs from the meter (which is sold as a Blue Horizon meter elsewhere). They get very similar results using the LAB12 Gordian (which constantly adjusts to suppress noise and gives you a readout for various functions measured and has 6 outlets) as @elizabeth experienced.

I’ve always been interested in it but aside from HiFi Pig (they bought one), 6moons, and Mono & Stereo, I’ve yet to read anything else about it.
The price is reasonable compared to what else is out there so if anyone here has tried it, can they chime in?

All the best,
As I mentioned above.....the Noise Harvester reduced width and depth, and "fuzzed" up the mids.  There was another product maybe from Audioquest with the same claims, without the annoying light that did similar things to my system. Don't know where they are now, but not using them.  An enlightenment when they (and the PS) were removed.
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There are also videos on youtube of Isotek with before and after measurements with noise sniffers.  I was seriously tempted by the Gordian, but eventually went Isotek.
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There is also a product called "Monster Power DR. Power" which indicates clean power vs noise. It's a noise sniffer that is a sensitive instrument that measures the amount of interference in power lines as well as the radiated electromagnetic interference generated by various electronic devices. I believe these are no longer available but new and used unites can often be found at a very reasonable price on eBay etc.
@erik_squires:  Actually, when monitoring noise, one cannot include 60 Hz since that voltage will swamp everything.  It has to be filtered out along with most of the harmonics from inductive loads.   Those lower frequency inductive harmonics of 60 Hz, will get rectified in the power supply and we don't want them screwing up our measurements since they are a normal part of line power, so they are best left out of the noise measurement.  The main noise concerns start around 1 to 5 KHz or so and goes up from there to about 30 MHz.  So, a 10KHz to 30MHz analyzer is probably about optimum.  

@Elizabeth:  One possible reason the noise is lower when music is playing is the line impedance is lower since more current is flowing in the line.   The lower impedance will squash some of the lower power noise.  
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Actually, when monitoring noise, one cannot include 60 Hz since that voltage will swamp everything 

Yes, and it's clear from the description of the Blue Horizon Mains Noise Analyzer that this is exactly what they do. I've never said otherwise. To quote myself:
We need to see everything between 60Hz to 20kHz. That is very little overlap with the Alpha Labs product. Sad because it’s much cheaper! 

Should I have said "between, but not including..." before you could read the meaning of my post correctly?

The main noise concerns start around 1 to 5 KHz or so and goes up from there to about 30 MHz. So, a 10KHz to 30MHz analyzer is probably about optimum.   

<< cough >> OK, spatialking, you go on selling that.


@erik_squires:  I am not sure I understand your comment about "selling that"?  Do you seriously want to define line harmonics as noise? 

They are generated by loads, such as AC units and refrigerators.   In the typical harmonic frequency range at less than 1KHz, the big problem is line voltage changes affecting unregulated power supplies in most power amps, not the harmonics that are readily rectified and stored as energy by the power supplies in our stereo equipment.  

In other words, if one is concerned about that band, one should monitor the RMS voltage from 60 to 1KHz, which is far more of a problem than line noise in the same frequency band.  However, most low level audio products, such as preamps, CD players, DAC's, etc. have regulated power supplies so line RMS voltage changes in that band become meaningless;  especially since the regulation in that band of any decent regulator these days is especially good.  Power amplifiers rarely have regulated power supplies in the high current stages and are more affected by voltage changes in the line. 

Beyond that band, especially above 10 KHz, the PSRR of most regulators starts to fall off and noise passing through the power supply does have a detrimental effect on sound quality. 

The best way to measure this stuff is not using a meter but using a spectrum analyzer with an upper bandwidth around 30 to 100 MHz.  That will give you the frequency of the noise and also the magnitude of the noise.  With that, one could correlate which frequency spectrum affects which component the most and how it affects the sound quality. 

Really too tired for this.  Have a nice time.
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Isn't that the way some Romans checked out?