Depending how isolated your current line is, you may not notice a difference. If other things are tapping electricity from that same line your amp is plugged into while your listening that creates the possibility of interference that can make its way to your amp. It can be very annoying while its happening, even if its subtle audible differences. Or more so when someones switches something on/off in another room and the amp is sensitive enough. That brief crackle result after interference runs up the line to your amp and becomes audible through your speakers. That used to make me cringe every time it happened. In fact one of my amps might have damage because of it. Not sure but its a hunch, it still has to be looked at.
If you are using an ordinary house wall outlet I would suggest upgrading to one of the many good audio grade wall outlets. They each affect the sound somewhat differently. I have put the Oyaide R1, Furutech GTX-R, and Synergistic Research Tesla Plex outlets in my systems. A good starting outlet is the Synergistic Research unit as they are sold with a 30 trial.
You will hear a significant difference versus an ordinary outlet.
I had always put my amp plugged directly into its own outlet, the difference was subtle, but audible... About 8 months ago, I had a lighten strike and lost my beloved Old Crazily modified Sumo Nine. Everything on the Conditioner is still alive.... Today, I have my old Sumo at Ed Martins house of the old Marcof Electronics, he is modifying the circuit to run off different output transistors. Should be interesting, but either way, the point is, something to be said for filtering.
This is typically the problem with homes or apartments that only have one outlet in the room. I would first suggest getting quotes from qualified electricians to run at least two dedicated circuits (separate hot, neutral and grounds) to the panel. In my opinion, having everything plugged into one outlet (and turned on), will cause voltage and current problems that may be audible.
Raised foundations homes are easier to run new circuits than concrete foundation homes. Its easier to run circuits under the house than to run it through ceilings, attics, walls and floors.
A decent power conditioner is a really good idea for the low level electronics, such as pre-amp, cd player, tuner, turn table, DAC, HT Receiver, etc. and have that power conditioner plugged into its own dedicated circuit. I suggest plugging the amps into their own dedicated circuit.
You can get away with two dedicated circuits that way. Better if the home theater stuff has its own, but, its not the end of the world.
Leave all unused equipment off and you won't have any noise or "digital" noise issues.
I use a Transparent Audio Power Isolator 8 unit that I compared with four other power conditioners and heard a definite audible difference for the better using the Transparent unit. I literally did A,B,C & D comparisons and the Transparent unit was definitely better.
Costs, or if one lives in an apartment, getting permission from the owner/manager to run dedicated lines are typically the issues in the dedicated line discussion. If you absolutely cannot run dedicated lines, then a good power conditioner that isolates the digital circuitry from the rest is the way to go and again, turn off everything that you don't need on at that time.
Can't have digital noise corrupting the rest of the audio system if the digital circuitry isn't turned on. Same for HT vs audio.
In my case, with the dedicated lines (I ran four). The noise floor dropped to a point where its gone. Also, using the power conditioner as I described above with my three amps (two Audio Research REF 250 mono amps and one Mark Levinson 23.5 amp) plugged into their own dedicated circuit, I absolutely have no noise issues, no ground loops, hum, and with all my electronics on at the same time (including DAC and CD transport), I have no digital noise on my system at all.
But, like I said earlier, if you can't run a dedicated line, a good power conditioner (they are all not the same) and turning off all non-essential electronics will help dramatically.
Yes. And turn off your microwave, dedicated circuits or no. I have 6 dedicated lines, and yet I can hear the microwave. It is not just this house: I heard it when I lived in San Francisco in my apartment, which also had dedicated lines. And I tested the theory out with a couple of audiophiles, who swore their dedicated lines protected them from that. It did not, as they heard within 1 cut of a CD.
And re: The Maestro. I like it too, but despite its naturalness, it lacks a certain ability in dynamic authority and pace and timing. I think it might be that slightly recessed upper midrange.
Using a proper power conditioner reduces the background noise level and improves the dynamics, besides protection from lightening and other hazards. One other thing that I did was lift the ground and do a separate star grounding that goes out of the house into the ground. This I do not recommend to all as it has its serious dangers, but made my system remarkably quiet. Having separate circuits can induce hum at times.
Having said that, subtle changes in sound with any change may or may not be for your liking as we all hear differently.
" ...One other thing that I did was lift the ground and do a separate star grounding that goes out of the house into the ground. This I do not recommend to all as it has its serious dangers ..."
Do you mean that your safety ground does not connect to the service panel's ground bus? If so, that is extremely dangerous and absolutely does not meet code, at least in the US.
Add the wattage rating of everything on your circuit, including lamps, TV's etc. Divide it by 80% (where a breaker trips) of the circuit breaker rating, If you get under 110 volts, you absolutely need a bigger circuit.
Power conditioners can help, but they mostly try to alleviate losses from inadequate house wiring or an inadequate-for-lousy-house-wiring amp power supply.
Consider what I would have with a 15 amp breaker: My two amps have four 500 watt transformers. That is 2000 watts (plus the preamps, CD, Tuner, etc.).
Take the 12 amps of current available and multiply it by 110 volts, and I need 1320 watts just to fill my 2000 watts of transformers, plus my preamps, tuner(s), turntable, CD player, and other internals in the amps, not to mention lamps, TV's etc.
A 20 amp circuit yields 1650 watts (80% of 20x110), while a 30 amp circuit yields 2640 watts (80% of 30x110), the bare minimum for my system.
My amps provide truly spectacular sound for my B&W's, but they require a 30 amp breaker, which was much cheaper than buying an upgraded amp with a $5000 power supply (from Audire or anyone else).
I inherited Classe equipment (Two 350 wpc amps and one 150 wpc x 6 and their preamps). At super loud volumes on a 15 amp breaker they blew away my Audire system, but only when plugged into 15 amp wiring.
When using the 30 amp circuit, I prefered the precise focus of the Audire, plus the really tight bass returned.
I will say admit that the Classe is much more spectacular than the Audire, and it doesn't need a 30 amp circuit, despite the much greater power, but I listen for me, not to impress others with spectacularity.
Plug your system into a dedicated 20 amp outlet for a test and use an extension cord for a power saw. (Return it to Home Depot, if you choose.)
Twenty amp circuits are becoming more common, but most houses use 15 for lighting and wall outlets. It met the code when I was in the business.
For a dedicated 20 amp outlet, use your clothes washer, garbage disposal, garage or exterior outlets on houses under 40 years old.
What's it gonna be? A little wire and a $5 breaker or a major investment?
Or just maybe, an extension cord to your washer outlet?
I have a large house with the usual 15 amp circuit (actually two panels). I had two dedicated 10 gauge wire outlets put in and run to the main panel with one outlet behind each speaker to serve the monoblock amp there. Then along came ac filter boxes and regenerators. Also sometimes I only had a stereo amp. To cut to the chase, I very seldom use the left side outlet.
Also, I have experimented with a great number of power filters, like probably twenty. I now use all HFCables pcs and their waveguide power center plugged into a 20 amp circuit. Since the surge on turn on for one big amp kept tripping my circuit breaker, I had to go to 20 amp breakers.
I have six components plugged into my power center with it wired to the wall outlet. Once I had seven components as I was using the BMC M2 monoblocks. I have never thought that I was adversely affected by having too much load on the circuit. I have, however, found the wall outlet to be critical. The house originally had Eagle outlets. Here again I have tried probably 15 different outlets. They too make a difference.
So electronics before the components can affect the sound, but I doubt that you are near the limits on even a 15 amp circuit. If you were to trip a breaker, then I would be concerned, especially as you may have only 16 gauge house wiring. Most outlets now are configured to allow the use of 20 amp plugs, but I have yet to see anyone using such a plug to the wall.
You can break it down to the basics. Current & voltage coming from any outlet will contain some form of noise, some more than others due to what is plugged into that same line circuit. What and the only thing that could affect the sound quality from audio equipment is AC noise introduced on the line. The rest is a current supply issue. Eliminate the AC noise component and you have clean audio. Most all floor / wall outlets are 20 amp circuits. Lighting is 15 amp circuit which it should be. But I have seen where lighting circuits are tied into the wall outlets which is a big NO-NO. Power conditioners/isolators like Monster Power etc. are a very good idea. And a dedicated 20 AMP circuit as mention in another post for your power amplifier is also a very good idea. Ground loops are death to audio systems, and are sometimes difficult to track down. I have seen special duplexes for audio equipment sold for 500.00 plus. What a joke! save your money, a beefy 20 AMP duplex for 1.15 will convey the current and voltage to your piece of gear just as well as the touted special outlet, for ungodly amounts of money. One other thing all homes have 14-2 gage wire for lighting circuits and 12-2 gage wire for all outlet circuits. Or they better be to be in compliance with local code.
"do you mean the safety ground------"
The ground is lifted only for the outlets in the audio, not from the main circuit board. You are absolutely right that it does not meet the code, when I sell the house, it will be set right. Therefore, I recommended caution. not for every one. It did make a significant difference though in sound.
To begin...an outlet is an outlet. All are required to be 15 amp rated and all they do is pass power. You can't hear any difference from one brand of outlet to another. Just make sure the integrity of the outlet is good and not old and fatigued.
Is it better to have multiple outlets on different circuits than just one? Really depends on how many amps your main power amp will draw during critical demands or sustained demands. If you are not listening at ridiculous spl's with inefficient speakers then I doubt that this is making any significant difference.
One thing to keep in mind is the psychoacoustic difference between listening to music with a video source engaged and without. Music is always more involving without any video content or visual distraction.
The power consumption of your other sources (video) will be negligible.
Other considerations are the quality of your AC coming into your home. Power demands go up during evening hours. Secondly, you can check your main service panel for power issues by using a multimeter. Check both sides of your panel...they should be within 1-2 Volts of each other. If not you could have an issue with your neutral wire or something else.
A dedicated circuit with sufficient amps to provide at least 10% greater current than you think you need is one of a number of beneficial power upgrades you can make. Plugging a properly sized and actually capable power conditioner into that circuit will not only protect your gear from noise, spikes and transients but it will provide a buffer of power in the transformer/caps to feed the gear when it plays prolonged loud or very dynamic passages. If you are over-subscribing the number of devices plugged into one power conditioner, it is time to get a second one and split the difference... but beware of ground problems if your components are no longer on the same ground.
I absolutely swear by my various generations of PS Audio Powerplants and DIY audiophile-recipe power cables. All my systems now have a completely black background with zero zero zero noise. I monitor the power consumption of representative music and listening levels and you can see and hear the difference that an oversized power conditioner can make.