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.
elizabeth
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?
Best,
E
BTW, I just read this article from 6moons (worlds ugliest audio web site) :

https://6moons.com/audioreviews/bluehorizon/4.html

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
The device, Blue Horizon Mains Noise Analyser, is available in EU for Euro 657.02 to destinations outside EU  and Euro 795 with EU tax. https://www.kempelektroniksshop.nl/blue-horizon-mains-noise-analyzer.html I would think it is also available else where. That is the first Google to 'buy'                
I own a Furman REF20 several years old when I bought it used nine years ago on the goN' for $1,300? $1400.. close to that.. and I recently replaced all the OEM duplex in it and put in Furutech GTX. (But put the individual little piggyback filters from the OEM duplex, onto the Furutech same way as OEM.) Some GTX-D Gold, Some NCF Rhodium ((The PS Audio P-600 also has all Furutech duplex now)Noise at the extension cord duplex (where the actual cord to Furman starts) is measured at "297" The ONLY outlet I measured in the Furman, a 'source' 60v/60v balanced duplex measured at "032" the first time. No music playing. But system on. Second measurement twenty minutes later was "003" (I am thunderstruck.) Music was playing.               
PS Audio Noise Harvester: https://www.musicdirect.com/power/ps-audio-noise-harvester-blackI bought them on a sale where if you bought two or more, they all would be $50 each. That sale is over. I bought seven. i am using five. My spare two are not for sale! The are a little box  with 2 prongs for AC.. and they suck up the noise, and when the capacitor inside gets full of the noise energy, it blinks the diode sticking out the top. There are many variations from different companies. All the others more expensive. Even the Noise Harvester used to be $199. Then $99 Now it's at $75 a pop
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,
Nonoise



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.





Use of the device while place is closed. Late Saturday until early Tuesday only.     
I am not going to bother test all day.. It IS Sunday. Only possible change might be on Monday.. But not much here. I might if I fel like it. But no way comprehensive checking.           
As for 'making the sound bad with PS Audio Noise Sniffers'. Yes, the can, location IS important. And the usual problem of lean sound due to too much filtering is well known to me. Any of the various filtering devices, overdone, can damage the sound. Mainly by making it thinner, tighter, leaner bass,.. You name it.      
The question: "What does it mean" Philosophical?? I guess what it means is the noise was lower at taht outlet at that time, curiously while music was being played.when music was being played. Period.If you cannot live without knowing why, you are SOL here.      
This Morning I an unplugging everything to get a baseline of the actual wall I take the AC from, and each stage asI plug stuff back in. Also searching for the 'worst offenders' injecting garbage back in. (Like the Laptop charger, known bad. And where the AM music is being injected on the separate Adcom power conditioner used for the cable and WiFi etc. Adcom may be moved off stereo AC? if it is not stopping this stuff.
For a less expensive alternative you might try this Power line Meter direct from AlphaLab:

https://www.alphalabinc.com/product/plm/

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
Ok did all the baseline measurements.                  
At wall, nothing plugged in a 20amp single on a separate breaker: Noise "724" .That line is one phase sharing common neutral with other phase 20 amp for refrigerator. I wondered how much of a problem that ’common neutral’ made. Well almost zero!           
The stereo line at wall with frig ’on’ noise "724" (frig off ’710’ frig break off noise "711" so the frig is a non starter of a problem. VERY good to know.)              
Plugging in the two lines made up of 12 gauge MilSpec silver plated quad twist Teflon 600V wire. grounds run between the two quads. 34 feet and 44 feet to stereo area. From the noise readings, it is clear the quad twist all by itself is removing a good amount of the hash from the line.             
At the 34’ line end Furutech duplex (no Noise Harvesters) noise "432" With two PS Audio Noise Harvesters in line a few feet ahead of duplex measured at, noise "006"         
The other line for the amp at 44’ (With two Noise Harvesters in a duplex four feet from the measured duplex) the noise level "001"(amp not plugged in. for those tests nothing was plugged into any outlests except the Noise Harvesters.            
So outstanding noise reduction from the wall ("724") down to ("006") and ("001") on my dedicated line from the wall to the stereo.               
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++           
Plugging in the PS Audio P-600 power regenerator to the 34’ line changed the measurement at the Furutech outlet to "036" with P-600 ’on’ (nothing in use via P-600) With TWO CD changers also ON via the P-600 the noise at the Furutech 34’ outlet changed to "040" So I consider that wonderful performance. None (well ,very little to me is as good as none) of the considerable previously measured noise from the CD players is getting BACK to the outlet via the PA Audio P-600 regenerator.               
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++           
Adding the Furman power conditioner OFF nothing plugged into the Furman noise measured at the same 34’ line Duplex "063" PLUS AM radio noise on the test instrument. (the PS Audio was also already plugged in and ON for this test. so the Furman alone added only ((023)) on it’s own to the noise level.  When I turned ON the Furman REF 20 the noise dropped to "035" No AM radio noise anymore. (again, this is with the PS Audio plugged in too, so the Furman ON lowered the noise floor below what the PS Audio added. plus the Furman ON removed the AM radio noise on the line.)              
With Furman all electronics plugged on but those not turned on, only Furman turned on. At the 34" duplex noise measured "042"         
With all normal stereo equipment turned on the 34’ duplex measurement was noise "036" The items on included several preamps, and the Mrantz SA-10. (not turned on two Denon DVD players, The plasma TV. the Kuzma TT motor power supply I did not measure for those)              
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++           
Small Adcom conditioner used for little stuff plugged in (with both big conditioners on at the 34’ duplex noise "060" plus AM radio noise.I removed the Adcom and substituted a Monster 5600 I own in it’s place, The Monster on with nothing plugged in gave at 34’ duplex "045" ... With all stuff plugged in in use (including the cable co boxes) measured at 34’ duplex "054" So I am leaving the Monster in            use.+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++            
Finally my Audio Research SP-15 I had left plugged in at the 34’ box mainly due to the short cord. With it plugged in at the 34’ box at the 34’ box both conditioners in and on measured noise with Sp-15 in not ON "082" plus AM radio noise. ARC SP-15 ON measured "081" no AM radio noise. I removed the ARC SP-15 from that location and put back with extension cord to Furman. I did not measure anything when I did this.  
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 
as of now, my Rega turntable power supply wall wart sits with no place to plugin. Orphaned when I decided to plug the two PS Audio Noise Harvesters into that spot it had used...   
Also I do not notice the downside of using the additional Noise Harvesters in the 34’ line. Previously I had them AT the two duplex on the end of the line. This time I moved them to the single duplex at the 31’ point.on the 34' line.. similar to the amplifier line. Why this matters??? seems to.    
I have no magic comments on this stuff at this time. I just wanted to report the numbers.     


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.
https://www.stetzerelectric.com/store/microsurge-meter/

They also sell the filters to reduce EMI

ozzy
When I swapped the OEM Furman duplex to the Furutech duplex, I realized I need to keep the OEM noise suppressors added on the back of each OEM duplex. Glad I did swap them over.   
I am happy I was able to do the readings. No problem to report them So it they help anyone decide what direction to go in... great. 
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.                         
One device I decided not to buy because the reviews said the wall wart spewed tons of garbage in the line. Since it was a reclocker to 'fix' problems.. LOL why add another problem when you fix one!All in all I an happy about my power stuff.
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.

Yep!!

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:

https://amzn.to/2Gpffj3


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

https://amzn.to/2TqBJU9

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,
Nonoise
As for sound.... I am now listening to Joni Mitchell "Court and Spark" a 'Target' CD. Her voice is clearer (easier to understand) than when I played it last night (without the two PS Audio Noise Harvesters on the Furman AC line) Also got to song with backing vocals, they a much clearer!  
I also switched back to the DH Labs/Furutech power cord to the Furman. which has more lower midrange and fuzzier vocals, than the Pangea AC14XL power cord., the Pangea is cleaer but a little leaner.  But I wanted to use my DH Labs again. It does take a few hours for the AC cord to really fully settle, even though it only moved inches. Plus not used for a few days.    (I am constantly flipping between them. Both are set at the position they can be plugged in anytime)   
The DH Labs cord is more musical. But as always, I am drawn to clarity. I will see if the added Noise Harvesters change the choice on a permanent basis. The sound is also more forward than before, more detailed in space.    I like it.
I also moved the Rega P5 power box. It has a LOT longer cord than I remember. So I can place the box on the TV stand, and the wart reaches the Monster PC.
Another day. Very glad I borrowed the Noise Sniffer! Mainly adding the two PS Audio Noise Harvesters I had sitting unused on the 34’ line gave me some more detail. Also a little lean. pushed me to finally fix the tweaks to the Magnepan 20.7 midrange resistors.Sadly I did not realize the Duelund CAST resistor leads are very fragile. Bend then at the root more than a few times and they break off, no repair I can see. Lucky I had spares. So I also made the gizmo to hold them keep the leads straight, and no stress on them. I hope that solves them breaking . Sadly I had no idea they are so fragile.
Also the gizmos have coils on the 1/4" dowel to bring the 3/4" apart from speaker back to the 4.5" apart of the resistors. So they have no lateral pull. I used the space from the hole in dowel to the hole to the resistor to wind the 18g wire 27 times to make two chokes on the dowel. This to be like the ones I made for the tweeter. Seems to be helping. The detail now is striking!  So it works whatever it is doing...
While researching Noise Harvesters and using a meter to measure the noise on line, I came across this video for the LAB12 Gordian:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7O8QMNO0J9w&frags=pl%2Cwn

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,
Nonoise
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.
Post removed 
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.
The dealer I borrowed the noise sniffing device sells Isotek.I already had AC stuff. So I am not in the market. But he loaned me the gizmo when I asked, since I have been a customer for 35 years, and bought my Magnepan 20.7 from him.
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.  
spatialking.. thank you for the info.
@spatialking:

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.


Best,

E
@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. 
@spatialking

Really too tired for this.  Have a nice time.
Thank you, no bloodbath is way better than bloodbath. Specially when it is taking place in my bathtub.
Isn't that the way some Romans checked out?