I have my amp plugged directly into the wall. I found it sounded better also.
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I think a lot of people use these things when there is nothing wrong with the quality of the power at the receptacle.I guess it's because they read in a magazine or on an audio site that it's the "audiophile" thing to do.I have nothing against them if they are needed but often wonder how much degradation they do to sound if they are not really needed.Just my opinion,others may differ.
My results are the same as yours.I use a BPT 3.5 Signature which uses a balanced transformer as does your EquiTech. These units are high power capacity-high current models that can handle power amp demands. Many power conditioners are too small to accomadate amplifiers but are suitable for all other components. I`ve tried 3 different amps with the BPT and sonics are much improved, yes even dynamics,bass and resolution.
I have tried the same routine with both Audio Research and most recently Rowland Amps. In both cases the amps sounded better directly connected to the outlet. A step beyond, however, is the use of a Rowland PC-1 with the 501's. That has significantly improved performance over the direct wall connection.
Try "STAR" grounding your system into the same outlet without the power conditioner.
I still don't believe in power conditioners on anything anytime, but I don't have the problems some people have. I am the first house from the transformer and my voltage is always 117 volts. Besides, I consistantly have good sound. Everytime I try a power conditioner the results are negative. They suck the life out of the music. Don't try to convince me to try yet another power conditioner because I haven't found the right one. I already had this conversation about passive preamps.
I know there are people still using power conditioners as a band aid and other people using power conditioners when they don't need them at all like Grimace with his recent discovery. A power conditioner is not just another component. One Audiogoner wrote "I have assembled my system now what power conditioner do I buy?" Why does he think he needs one in the first place?
There are some areas, especially in large cities, where a power conditioner can be useful, however, there are still tradeoffs by using one.
If you truly have bad power the only cure is a battery pack and a generator not some little box loaded with filters to scrub the edges of your music. Big boxes don't work either. I also tried the Tice Power Block and Titan at 120 pounds with the same results.
I use a Furman REF 20i for the amp. It has balanced power (60v/60v instead of 120v/grnd) which pleases my ear. Also it has the PF/a huge stiffening cap in line with the A/C voltage.. no voltage drops there. i use it for the pre also, and my Denon 4806 Receiver.
For the digital sources I have a PS PPP power plant premier. and for all the rest a Monster 7000SS.
(All three use balanced power.)
I have become totally stuck on the super clear presentation with the conditioners. Even though they DO thin out the lower midrange and bass lines... I just cannot give up the perfect top end for a wooley tubby addition to the bass, and a bit more warmth in the lower midrange. I have played with a lot of arrangements of cords and power conditioners... and like the Furman on the Amp. (Though Furman products are VERY overpriced IMO. New you can get a 30% off and the dealer still makes a good profit, I bought mine used for 1/3 list)
IMO powerline conditioners are just like cables.. a variation on tone controls. (blaspemey! sacrilige!! tone controls ... Da*n I wish stuff had tone controls again.
i have been through this too and it can be very frustrating. there is so much rhetoric on these forums and the audiophile press that can convince anyone that these products have no ill effects. you get them in your home and there is usually a wow factor right off but after a few days or maybe even weeks you notice something is not right, maybe it's dark, highs rolled off, bass is tubby, a metallic edge...just something sounds weird...then you read about the latest greatest...same story...
i have found one device i really love but hard to call it a power conditioner, more of a power bar with a potting mix that is supposed to work some magic. the acoustic revive rtp ultimate is the only power device i have found that does what it says it does. interestingly enough, it is probably the one that sounds the craziest if you read about it. pretty amazing product, sort of like the power conditioner for audiophiles who have given up on power conditioners. i have one for my front end and i just ordered one for my amp. i like it so much i ordered their power cable to try too. they drive me nuts too but thats another post...
there is no doubt that our systems cause havoc on the lines which already have issues when we plug in. it just comes down to how you want to balance the fixes and the problems.
A good way to test your system/power is to play at it 2 in the morning or some off hours. If it sounds better than during the day time, than you may want to try a power conditioner. Not sure about using amp though. I have mine plugged into a Running Springs Jacco. However, I have not tested this conditioner with an amp against the amp plugged into the wall outlet. I intend to, but freaking power cords can be so hard on the outlets sometimes.
This thread raises the question, what exactly is "bad" power? Voltage fluctuating beyond some limits? That's a common criterion I see frequently cited as something a power conditioner can fix. What else might characterize "bad" versus "good" power? I'm asking because it would be helpful if there were a way to measure the goodness/badness of the power, before investing in a device designed to correct the badness. The logic is pretty simple: If test reveals no badness, then do not purchase a device designed to correct such badness (tacit premise: don't purchase something you don't need). Look, I know many will respond, "You have to listen to your system to hear the effects of bad power and what a power conditioner can do." If that is the response you want to make, please refrain. Unless I am way off (in a way that is hard for me to comprehend), I believe power conditioners are designed to correct certain, clearly defined and testable conditions in the AC power coming out of the wall. What *exactly* are they fixing/tweaking/adjusting in the power, and how can I check my power to see whether the electricity coming out of my walls needs such fixing/tweaking/adjusting?
Another reason to use a power conditioner and the reason that I do is not to clean up the AC but to protect my system from spikes. I live in an area where the power gets knocked out at least 2 or 3 times every winter due to storms and when lines get knocked out it creates voltage spikes thru-out the entire system.
Way back quite a few years ago I had a Sunfire true subwoofer that added more than just extra bass.
When I unplugged it from the wall and out of the system, the music was much easier to listen to and it seemed as if there was less distortion to the music.
My friend is an electrical engineer and he brought over one of his tools of the trade and sure enough that Sunfire sub was spewing all sorts of nasty spikes into the system.
Taking it out of the link and out of the wall plug, and the print out was more clean.
So, that brings us to just how much noise and "bad" things are poluting our audio systems that unless you see it on a print out, you'll never know is there.
But it is there all day, 24/7, just less when most people are asleep, hence the "system sounds better late at nite" syndrom.
I run my class D power amps into a Shunyata Hydra 2, using Annaconda power cords all around and into a dedicated 30 amp,line.
I run all my source gear into a Furman balanced power condition, IT 1220(20 amp)from another dedicated 20 amp line, both on the same phase at the panel.
There is absolutely no noise, hiss, hum , buzz, or snap crackle or pop from my system and it sound as good during the day as it does at nite(well maybe not quite as good).
The best way I have found to find out if you need to do some kind of power conditioning is to try some of the good ones(yes the expensive ones, not the power bar, computer type spike suppressors)have a listen, then go back to wallplugging and have a listen, and then put the power conditoner in for a final listen.
You only know how much the PC's are doing ,when you take them out and then re-insert them.
Personally, my system has never sounded so good until I took care of the power going into my gear.
Next to doing something about room taming,getting the power"cleaned up" to my gear has made more of a noticeable improvement than any recent interconnect or speaker wire changes have.
As noted elsewhere,cheap power conditoners on amps that they were not designed for has given all power conditioning a bad rap.
Bryston never subscribed to using a power conditioner on any of their amps, but now endorse the Torus line.
Yes they sell Torus,but until it came along nothing really worked on their amps.
All I will say if you can even Home audition a Torus,
I quite confident,you won't want to take her back.
They are that good and the improvements are Superb.
They are pricey,but for MUSIC they are well worth it.
I have tried a few others,one that everybody knows and the Torus leaves it way behind.
Some of them will let you have the 15a or 20a from the wall,
the Torus will give you 50-400a(short term)when the amps want
it).That makes a HUGE difference the way the music is played.
If it came to selling a component or amp,I'd sell those and keep my Torus(s),they're that good.
It's free to audition and then you will know.
Here's my experience in brief... To paraphrase what Rrog said, if you want true power conditioning get a generator; nothing else comes close or completely solves the problem, not even so-called dedicated lines, unless you are wired directly from a separate winding in the utility's power transformer - something that doesn't usually happen.
I do plug in my amps to a power "conditioner" - an MIT Z Stabilizer - but it's because they employ parallel conditioning, which can still get in the way, despite the fact that all they do is convert some line noise to heat. So how can it get in the way? Simply, the parallel circuits alter the line impedance, therefore amps may or may not be immune to that. The MIT Z Stabilizer that I use also touts impedance stabilization, which in electrical engineering is a good thing - this was the critical question for me, not the fact that it also reduces line noise (which most such products do, but with all kinds of other ill effects).
In the end, the result is positive with this product and these amps, and this statement cannot be generalized. Bottom line: unless you have a real problem, plug them directly to the wall. Otherwise, prepare to experiment a lot, and I would avoid anything that offers in-series circuits, including isolation transformers.
Excuse me , but I have to jump in here. I'm in a Power Technology course right now studying power transmission. An isolation transformer is what utility companies use to take the spikes out of the system. I didn't know they made small ones for the home but,theoreticly,if it is built right with the right materials it will give you a labratory grade sine wave.