I've been quite pleased with the Foundation Research LC-1 and LC-2 in-line power conditioners. I have two LC-1's for the source and pre and one LC-2 for the amp.
In-line is nice in that you no longer need to purchase an aftermarket power cord.
I have to both agree and disagree with Stehno. The Foundation Research LC-1 and 2 are incredible power line conditioners, and to my ears, the best available. The only draw back of the LC-1 and 2 is that the line conditioner is incorporated into the power cord for use with only one component, therefore, making it very expensive to condition an entire system. This is where I disagree with Stehno, as the original poster is looking for the biggest bang for his buck, and to that end, the Foundation Research fails. For the biggest bang for your buck, I would recommend a used API Power Wedge 114 MK2 or 116 Mk2 depending on your system size. If you are looking for the best Power Line Conditioner regardless of cost, then go for the Foundation Research.
The Monsters work great. I have the HTS 5000 mark2 which can be had for around $300, and it has 10 outlets which can condition digital, amplifiers, video, cable ETC. The 1st one I purchased made noise ( ebay) I emailed Monster about the problem and they sent me a new one, with absolutely no hassle. They sent me the replacement 1st, then picked up the noisy one free of charge.
They do a great job of lowering the noise floor,plus my dreaded cable TV picture is considerably better through the Monster, sonically it seems to provide a clear and even a richer sound ( not drastically better but enough that you notice)
Brf, Tmoore did say "Used is OK." Therefore, if you believe that the Foundation Research in-line conditioners are as good as you say, then how much better are they at a used price?
I could see that as a "best value" which is what Tmoore is looking for.
Brf, Glad to hear you know the Foundation Research products so well. Not too many have heard of them. What is your experience? Do you own any?
I agree with the API. The Power Pack II is great for so cheap. The Chang Lightspeed are very good also.
John, I have never seen a used Foundation Research LC-1 or LC-2 on the used market, therefore, making their procurement at a discounted price very difficult. I have 2 LC-1's feeding my DAC and Genesis Digital Lens, and a LC-2 feeding my tube amp. The designer of Foundation Research, Ed Wolkow, lives in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada which is 45 minutes outside Toronto, and his products are very well known in higher end audio circles in the Greater Toronto area. For those interested in learning more about Foundation Research products can email Ed directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brf, yes, you won't hear much about Foundation Research. I bought one LC-1 and the LC-2 new. But I did buy one LC-1 used here on audiogon about 5 months ago. The guy had 2 used LC-2's and 2 used LC-1's and the prices were quite good.
Yes, I am aware of Ed Wolkow. Did you know last year he has come out with a tube pre-amp that is suppose to sound absolutely fantastic? It's called 'V6'. Apparently it's made it's way around a few shows in the Toronto area and some to many of these higher-enders are blown away by it's sonic capabilities.
Brf, did you happen to notice anything special or different when you added your last LC into the system? I was told that if I had LC's on all my components, that there would be an extra umph or extra low noise floor, etc.. It turned out to be true for me.
John, I have an excellent relationship with an audio store that sells Foundation Research products. I managed to borrow 4 LC-1s and a LC-2 for my system. LC-1's for my Transport, DAC, Genesis Digital Lens and tube pre-amp, and a LC-2 for my tube amp. All of the in-line FR LC remained in the system for 2 weeks and then I started removing then one by one. It turned out that the FR LC-1s on my tube pre-amp and the CD transport did little to improve the sound. The most dramatic effect in order of magnitude was DAC, AMP, and Digital Lens. I mentioned to my audio dealer that I experience very little improvement by adding a LC-1 to my pre-amp, but since my tube pre-amp is very current hungry, he suggested that I try an LC-2, but he would consult with Ed Wolkow first. Please find listed Ed's response...
"The LC1 is most likely the best choice for your preamp. Even high-powered preamps tend to draw well under half of the LC1s capacity. However, you will probably get the most dramatic musical improvement by filtering the line to your power amplifier(s) first with the LC2. Most power amplifiers suffer from line noise much more than preamplifiers. Good preamplifiers (like yours) have well regulated supplies rendering greater noise immunity. I have often experienced that preamplifiers are usually the last step in the noise reduction process. It's a "weakest link in the chain" approach. The highest source of noise is usually the digital source and then the power amplifier. I would recommend that you prove my opinion with listening."
My listening tests concurred with Ed's recommendation. I have owned Tice, API (pre-Ultra) and PS 300 (pre-multiwave) and the FR products are the most musical. If you like a low noise floor with a dark silent back ground to allow the music a clean canvas to paint its sonic picture, then FR products are for you.
Thanks, Brf. My experience is a little different. I started out with one LC-2 with a 20 amp IEC connector. The LC-2 was a big improvement over the Cardas Reference power cord that came with my amp. Then I inserted an LC-1 into the chain by connecting it to my cd player and also tried it with my pre. Initially I noticed slightly better improvement when the LC-1 was plugged into the cd player.
I then added a third dedicated line and had played with my electrical a bit. I then tried the LC-1 plugged into my pre instead of the cd. Big, big improvement.
Took possession of a second LC-1 and plugged my cd player into that. Another large improvement and a better gel'ing of sorts.
So for my ears the amp had by far the biggest improvement, then the pre, then the cd player.
A friend got a significantly reduced noise floor and increased clarity and dynamics with a Monster power conditioner that he bought new for about $120. He has an Audio Research amplifier and preamplifier and Vandersteen 2Ce speakers (sounds great). Based on his recommendation, I've ordered a Monster power conditioner for my system.
Have you guys compared the above mentioned conditioners
to the Richard Grey 4 outlet version. I have an API Ultra
and find that the API is perhaps a little more affective
on the front end, while the Richard Grey seems to make a
more significant change for the amplifier. However, I feel
that in my system there may be more bang for the buck
with the Grey. I think the Amplifier section in the API
makes a less noticable improvement.
I do think that there are variations in performance of
these pieces depending on where you live and the equipment