If you are in an apartment building or condo you may benefit from conditioner as there will very likely be a lot of noise in your AC, and conditioner may improve sound even as it limits current. If you are in a single family home near a transfer station with your amp on a separate line and breaker in your home, your power is likely less corrupted and going straight to the wall should sound better. As suggested previously, just try it both ways if you can get a conditioner on loan from The Cable Company or other source.
Mitigating decision is whether or not you are in an area prone to electrical storms and at risk of frying your investment with no protection. I lost a TV that way.
"Power conditioners restrict power flow. That is just the nature of the beast. I don’t care who makes it they all work basically the same way. Get rid of it."
Simply wrong. Synergistic Research Powercell 10/12 does not restrict current and works completely differently than other "power conditioners".
It also does not perform surge protection. Nor will any claimed surge protector/conditioner prevent damage from lightning strikes. The place for a surge protector is on your TV cable line (only, unless you like choking the current flow to your audio system).
psinyc, which Powercell model do you have?
Based on my knowledge, there are two power conditioner brand which are "NON-CURRENT LIMITED". Tara Labs (PM2, Ad6, IDAT) and Synergistic Research powercell. The rest of PCs whatever the brand is, they are not suitable for Power amps.
Tara labs Power C. has this Surge protection feature. I tried both in my amps and even in cascade mode, the result is wonderful. I am still using Tara labs Ad6 with my amps.
Dave, I agree with you ...
SR powercell is very good for power amps. I regret to have sold my Powercell. My personal impression was that it brought more brightness and a little bit of softening bass to my system. But overall, it was pretty good with modified MPCs!
Tara labs Ad6, is excellent on distinguishing different instrument and offer better edge transition on notes.
Tara labs stopped making those PCs because people thought those PM2 or Ad6 are just Power strips!! Other competitor created less efficient big & almost empty and visually attractive boxes with much less circuitry named Power conditioner to impress customers. One would say marketing effects ...
Once a while one could find those Tara labs PM2 or Ad6 on ebay or here @AQ, highly recommended... especially for power amps!
Good to know, michelzay.
I notice you mention modified MPCs. Are you referring to Michael Spallone’s mods? All of my MPCs have been modded by Michael and the improvement over the stock MPC or even the Galileo is phenomenal.
I agree that power products need to be matched to the system, just like power cords. I had a prior version, Powercell 10 Mk II, several years ago and would agree with your assessment of the sound it imparted, but yet it still delivered a huge drop in the noise floor and enhanced soundstaging.
Most manufacturers improve their products over time and this is true with the Powercell. With my system, Thiel CS5i’s with SS pre and SS amp, the more recent Powercell 10 UEF gives me what I feel to be a "just right" sound characteristic. Adding the FEQ module (normally included with the Powercell 10 UEF along with the Element Tungsten Copper active power cord and Teslaflex AC receptable) adds a good bit of transient snap, further lowers the noise floor, and adds several degrees more air and soundstage dimensionality.
I am told by friends whose systems and ears I trust that the new Powercell 12 delivers a good bit more improvement in the aforementioned areas by using Graphene in the power cord, the EM cells, and the power rails.
I will be on the lookout for a used PM2 or Ad6 to try. Your recommendation is meaningful as you have experienced what the best AC enhancement products can do.
Best to you michelzay,
henrycai, today, 11/27/16 on the "power conditioner" thread:
"I had 2 different regenerating units from P S Audio in the past, I found them a waste of money, the gentleman bought my last premier PS Audio unit said it did not do anything for him either.....that’s why after awhile you see there big ac regenerating units 50% Off......I can buy there $5,000 units n smaller units now from there dealers for 50% off, I do not feel there worth it......................................................"
I guess opinions vary, markus...
@Psinyc, hmmm.... It seems your Triton PC is ""SHUNYATA Research"" power conditioner. and not a Synergistic research!!!
@dicockrum, Once again you are right... BTW, My powercell was one of those earliest version and seems new versions like 10UEF are phenomenal. I am considering to buy one of those 10UEFs. My MPC mods were done by Michael Spallone, whom is a nice guy to deal with.
@stereo5, Hydra 2 could handle higher current but it still be a current-limited PC. Compared to other Hydra PCs, it doesn't have a surge protection feature.
@markus1299, PS-10 seems to be a good PC. However, be careful on loading too much charge on it. It could only handle up to 1500Watts! which means it is a current limited PC.
The place for a surge protector is on your TV cable line (only, unless you like choking the current flow to your audio system).Sorry, but this is mistaken. The notion that all surge protectors are "choking the current flow to your audio system" is simply misinformed.
A surge protector on your cable TV line offers no protection to your audio equipment. It also offers no protection from a lightning strike.
To protect from a lightning surge - which is clearing the most dangerous to electronic equipment - you can't do better than a Type 1 device. The Leviton 50240-MSA is probably as good as any for this use, and it does not limit current. Oddly, not all utilities allow Type 1 devices to be installed in their meter panels.
A Type 2 surge protector will also not limit current.
Some Type 3 devices do limit current, but not nearly so much as many audiophiles suspect. This can be shown by measuring the device's output under load.
I should have been more specific re: surge protectors. I am talking about the products that serve as intermediaries between the wall receptacle and the equipments’ power cords that claim to provide surge protection via sacrificial MOVs (90%+ of them I estimate).
Never had a surge via the electrical line damage equipment in my 45 years in audio, twelve of these in "storm-from-hell"/hurricane prone southeast Texas. Not to say extensive/expensive protection at the meter/breaker box is not a good idea. To the contrary, I think investing in power upgrades as early as possible in the AC chain probably results in a lot of sonic and power benefits to the whole house.
The most likely current surge damage occurs via TV cable IME. Happened to me when I first moved to Texas years ago while living in an apartment, taking out a brand new CRT TV. If a system contains a TV cable input (HT) like mine does, surge damage to all connected components is possible.
Best to you cleeds,
ok, After some fairly extensive listening I am keeping the ac cable plugged into the Shunyata research Hydra PC. My observations were the following:
Direct in to the wall, the sound was much bigger but a bit raw. Bass response was deeper and the details were more acute. But there was a definite edginess on the high end that left me listener fatigued.
Into the Shunyata produced a lot less edginess and a tighter but more musical presentation. The bass was a bit more subdued and the stage was smaller but still very involved.
In summrry, it's like riding a horse bareback or with a saddle. It seems more exciting when plugged directly into the wall but its a lot more comfortable sounding when plugged into the Hydra.
... I am talking about the products that serve as intermediaries between the wall receptacle and the equipments’ power cords that claim to provide surge protection via sacrificial MOVs (90%+ of them I estimate) ...MOV devices get a bad rap here. Without wading into that controversy, an MOV does not inherently limit normal current. (Obviously, they are designed to limit surges.) Some AC protection or conditioning devices are blamed for having a negative effect on audio quality, so many audiophiles blame "current limiting" for that. In practice, most don't actually limit current when properly used.
What constitutes proper use is also the subject of some debate. For components such as isolation xformers, I wouldn't use them at more than half of their rated capacity, especially when connected to a power amplifier.
... With the power cable plugged directly into the wall you are hearing your equipments full potential ...That wouldn’t be true if the voltage is too high, or too low, for the amplifier to work properly. What about power factor? If the AC service has bad power factor, that could rob the amplifier of the current it needs to reach rated output. What if there’s hash or distortion on the AC line? Not all amplifiers are equally able to filter such noise.
The value of a power conditioner depends a lot not only on the conditioner itself, but on the quality of the AC line and the system’s other components.
So, Benjie, since what the rest of us hear does not agree with your opinion, it is our minds that are at fault. There is a word for that I think.
Provide a list of the AC enhancement products that you have owned to add credibility to your opinion.
Here is mine in chronological order:
1) API Power Wedge - reduced dynamics to amps, benign otherwise
2) Monster THS 5000: reduced dynamics to amps, benign otherwise
3) Chang Lightspeed CLS6600ISO - reduced dynamics to amps, lower noise floor to other components
4) Furman ITReference20i: slight reduction of noise floor, benign otherwise excepting VHC amps
5) PS Audio Power Plant Premiere: very audible reduction of noise floor, benign otherwise excepting VHC amps
6) SR Powercell 10 mkII: significant reduction of noise floor, expanded dynamics and soundstage, no impact on current flow to amps, including Krell FPB-600c
7) SR Powercell 10 UEF/FEQ: incredible reduction in noise floor, greatly expanded dynamics and soundstage, no impact on current flow to amps, including Krell FPB-600c
1) The first four used "passive" chokes and MOVs in the circuitry that limited ultimate current flow to varying extents.
2) A four year period occurred between the two Powercells (6 & 7) due to financial constraints. More than enough time for my ears/mind/whatever to loose its power-conditioner-corrupted aural memory.
3) Krell FPB-600c tested by JA of Stereophile to produce 152 amps of peak current and 6000w/ch @1ohm.
4) Units 3-7 were plugged into dedicated 30-amp line and extensively compared to 30-amp dedicated line directly.
and also psinyc, it's not just the outlet you use, but all the outlets on that line, and really all in the home...Charles Hansen of Ayre, commented here a bunch of years ago, that one of the best things you could do for your music system was to unplug your TV and surround sound system...mine is on a different line, and I didn't want it to help because it's a nuisance to do, but it made a nice improvement...
Through psinyc own listing session he is supporting what I am saying. Power conditioners restrict the full potential of your equipmentI'm not sure what you mean by "full potential." I can tell you - with measurements to support it - that faulty AC power can limit the performance of audio equipment - especially power amplifiers - and that the right power conditioner can restore performance. That's especially true when the AC line has a bad power factor.
This isn't mumbo-jumbo, but very basic stuff.
Benjie, everybody comes to this discussion with different power service, gear and ears. While there may be an absolute sound many are seeking, there are many paths to get there. Power conditioning is one of them and has it's uses and benefits. I choose not to use it on my amp in my home system with a dedicated line and breaker, but it is a must in my office to get the most out of my system there, and for family members who live in large apartment buildings (in my opinion). As with all things in this hobby, YMMV and careful listening is the proof in each instance.
Not important to meet my criteria, only to qualify your experience with power conditioners so as not to unintentionally mislead. Your amplifiers more than meet any reasonable criteria for excellence and are VHC models, like mine. That, combined with the power conditioner models you listed, tell me that your observations are not surprising.
My point is that there are models available today that use completely different technologies and produce entirely different results. The two that I know of that avoid the shortcomings you have experienced are recent top models from Tara Labs and Synergistic Research that also deliver very positive results in noise floor reduction and soundstaging improvement. Most probably there are others. Everyone’s opinion of which ones work best is obviously valid and helpful, even if contemptuous, but dismissing people’s positive experiences with SOTA power enhancement, well, not so much.
"Power conditioners restrict power flow. That is just the nature of the beast. I don't care who makes it they all work basically the same way. Get rid of it."
"It doesn't sound right to you because you are use to hearing the music through a power conditioner that softens the bass and shrinks the soundstage and takes the edge off the highs."
Not everyone agrees that power line noise is not problematic and therefore not in need of attention, including equipment designers, with some form of line conditioning built into at least some high end amplifiers (one example: http://www.stereophile.com/solidpoweramps/407ayre/index.html#C4GXsiFsx3lHdP7s.97). Perhaps why at least some high end systems are better able to navigate potentially dirty hotel power relatively unscathed in demonstrations, dunno. I will say that I have seen power line conditioning included as part of some very good sounding demo systems - maybe that was the Shunyata room;-)
But the fact remains that some audiophiles actually prefer the sound of their gear in their home fed from power conditioners... even their amps. Listening and preference are profoundly subjective. That is why there is a market for different audio solutions, with different tube and solid state amplifiers highlighting different aspects of performance, some on the soft and warm side and others on the crisp and fast side. And as described above, different conditioning products have different approaches and produce different results.
I agree with many here that power conditioners change the sound of their gear, and perhaps especially their amplifier. I also agree that that change is not always for the better. I disagree that power line noise is not a potential problem in some instances. The most important point is how does your system sound to you, and what sounds more like a real performance in your listening environment. While experience and advice given here are all valuable data points, the definitive answer can only be determined in the end by the individual listener in their listening environment. A very long winded way of saying try your amp with and without conditioning.
Some basic information on power line and common mode current noise for interest.
and for fun, if you want to try to detect noise yourself:
I think knownothing said it best. Hopefully you will understand that one.
I will add that of reviewer friend of mine asked some of the proprietors of top equipment companies at RMAF (that did not offer power enhancement products in their line) why they did not use power enhancement products in their show systems and they told him that they felt that it was more truthful to show their equipment sans power enhancement gear so as to not mislead potential buyers regarding the sound quality of their gear. All polled agreed that the best power enhancement products would further improve the sound of their equipment had they used them.
The last year I attended RMAF (2012), the Synergistic Research room won the "Best Sound" award from The Absolute Sound and the "Best of Show" award from Marc Michelson plus a very favorable mention from Stereophile.
I find with the recent addition of 2 Audioquest Niagara 1000's for my audio system with excellent results. I am using Audioquest power cords as well. In fact I am using my second one for a pair of Martin/Logan SL-3 electrostatic speakers. Using An Audioquest NRG 100 from the wall to the conditioner and a pair of NRG 10's from the Niagara 1000 to the speakers. Previously I was using an inferior power conditioner and ordinary power cords to the speakers. The changes were simply incredible. Anyone with a speaker such as my Martin/Logan's, which themself need to be plugged into current to power the subwoofer portion of their speaker will need a combination such as I have to achieve the full potential of their speaker system. But, again the addition of some of the very latest power conditioners, such as the latest offerings from Audioquest really work. On most audio products, as well-unlike many of todays competing products that will work for some products but not for others. Anyway the Niagara only runs $1000, plus it has spike protection s well. That is all I can say on the matter, except they really work.
I've been a firm believer in good power filtering since I moved into my Chicago apartment as a kid and couldn't listen to my rig due to the line noise or watch my projector due to the power fluctuations. My first piece of real gear was a power conditioner and it was a revelation. I recently have put my dream system together and spoken to the Benchmark, Pass and SVS and all of them say to not use a power conditioner because their internal filtering is so good. I listened and can't hear the slightest hiss or pop out of my 20.1 Maggies, Kinnergetic or SVS subs. I did want surge protection and have bought The Yalu Bulala from Blue Circle Audio which I put in the outlet of each circuit and it will sacrifice itself, take a lightening strike, and save your amps. Since it is in another socket on the outlet it is non current limiting as well. I also bought an FX2 X0E line conditioner for my smaller sources which are not current hungry. Blue Circle also makes a Sillycone Filter which draws the noise out of the circuit if it is plugged in near the amp (also non current limiting) if you have an extremely noisy environment. These products aren't going to win any industrial design awards but they work great and don't break the bank. Just my 2 cents. . .