Dedicated line vs. power conditioner

I've pretty much found the gear for my "keeper" system. Now, I'm turning my attention to the little things that make a system sound its best. Which is the better tweak, running one or more dedicated power lines to my audio gear, or investing in a high quality line conditioner? I've heard arguments both ways. Some say the line conditioner is better because there is "junk" coming in even with a dedicated line. Others say you'll never know true power and dynamics without a 20 or 30 amp line. Any thoughts?
for bang for the buck, i heartily vote for the dedicated line. i paid less than $300 incl Hubbell 20amp sockets. I ran 4 dedicated circuits, one for amps, one for digital, one for analog front end, one for my preamp.
I think both arguments are valid. A dedicated line will allow your system to draw current independent of the rest of your home. A wire can only carry a limited amount of current before it begins to heat up and limit the draw. This effect can be minimized by running heavy gauge lines directly from your circuit box.

However, this will do little to reduce the effects of noise on the line that a well designed power conditioner will address. I am currently using a balanced transformer with noise reduction (Furman) connected to a dedicated line near my breaker box. I then ran 4 separate lines from the Furman to my gear. The reduction in the noise level was very noticeable. I hope to soon begin experimenting with a PS Audio power plant to see if that will offer any benefits.
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for bang for the buck, i heartily vote for the dedicated line. i paid less than $300 incl Hubbell 20amp sockets. I ran 4 dedicated circuits, one for amps, one for digital, one for analog front end, one for my preamp.
My Eletro friend installed two dedicated runs on two new breaker slots with a separate ground from the rest of the house. The improvements were detailed and amazing. He installed some of those Hubbell “orange” hospital receptacles and I even tried one of those costly WATTaGATE receptacles. I then tested a cheap Monster power 3000 to filter the front ends. I tried the amp into it but you can imagine the results. But the improvements on the front end was lifted again to another level. I then stated in with power cords; Synergistic AC Master Coupler, Harmonic Tech AC-11N, Sonic Horizon Skyline. And all exhibited marked improvements. ( If you question it, just remove it and listen to the same recording again ) Well, now I purchased a PS Audio PP300 and this was a huge jump in depth, clarity, focus, detail, background blackness. ( Not in that order, but you know )
Now, I cannot comment on how the sound was before the dedicated lines, but I would have done them no matter what. ( I was tired of watching the light bulbs in the house going to the beat of the music not to mention that I like that soft lighting that you only get with dimmers ) But I only needed the smallest Power Plant because I never intended to plug my amp into it. I have a reasonable amplifier ( Krell KAV-25a ) and it always sounds better plugged into the wall. And I have tried many a different filter, fuse, power conditioner, APC, line couplers. Maybe if I had one of those cute little SET amps I would consider a larger PP to be able to plug my amp into it. But I don’t see that happening. Not unless Dynaudio really makes a new direction. But I did add a nice filtered AC cord from the wall to the amp. The Synergistic sounded fair but I tried a Sonic Horizon Silver Moon which worked very well. I am sure that I could also have used a Whale or a Cobra or a Designer reference and probably have gotten good results. It just depends on what you hear when it is connected. I tried all three of the above mentioned AC cables but this one was the obvious winner. But at $500.00 it kind of hurt. But now I have no regrets. Except that I live in California and now having good clean power may not even be the issue.
MO (mostly as above): 1st you need the juice, plenty of it -- so, dedicated line(s). 2nd, when you HAVE juice, you "clean" it if you need to.
Good luck!
I must side with the seperate line! It doesnt cost that much and it actualy doesn't rely on magic. Also dropping the grounds on your amps make a improvement even Grandma can hear! It wont hurt the equipment and its safe as long as you dont shower with your amp! A great audio product would be a large gold plated cheater plug! I can see it now in audio advisor for 19.95! (royalties and kickbacks welcome!). You can also buy nice 3prong plugs (use two) and custom length your current power cords. A friend bought a PS audio power thing(quite pricey!) ajustable voltage even! sucked the detail right out of his speakers. If he turned up the voltage, some detail returned. Buy better amps instead, maybe even some music!
Macm; I put in a four breaker sub-main breaker box, and from there four 20 amp dedicated Hubbell duplex outlets with dedicated ground and ended up getting rid of my Tice E-4 power conditioner, ie it made music worse. With the dedicated circuitry, noise floor dropped dramatically, but music presentation became too bright-- the cure was high quality power cords. Good Luck. Craig
Craig, thanks for presenting "the other side of the coin". Kind of funny how some things that work so well in one installation can reverse so quickly in another situation. I'm assuming that you still had the same components and were using the Tice in the same manner with the only variable being the dedicated lines. Is that correct ??? Sean
I ran 4 cicuts with 10 guage wiring with hospital grade outlets. One 20 amp circut is dedicated soley for my amp.For my stereo system I went with good power cords. On my home theatre setup I am using Chang Lightspeed 6400 20amp which does help. I am considering trying a PS Audio power plant 300 on my stereo excluding the amp. You can never have enough good clean current. Larry
Sean; yes, for awhile the only elements I was comparing were the dedicated AC/ground system versus the Tice Elite 4. I will note that before the dedicated system, the Tice power conditioner did improve music quality when used with front end components and pre-amp, but it sucked the life out of my big McCormack DNA2DX amp. Craig.
Here’s an inexpensive way to hear which gives you the most for your money. Trace the circuit, which provides the source of power to your equipment. Un-plug all other devices on circuit. This will take you very close to having a dedicated line. Then audition a power conditioner. A good dealer will be happy to loan you one.
Simply unloading the multi-tapped house circuit will absolutely not come even close to comparing with the superior performance of a properly engineered dedicated line. There are normally multiple connections & wire splices along the way through the house to that 'outlet of interest'.
However you can compare by running a "temporary dedicated line" strung across the floorboards etc. to your rig, but be prepared to follow up with a permanent installation because once you hear it, you won't put up with house wiring ever again.
Have to agree with Bob b above. An easy simulation is to use a quality 12 gage extension cord plugged into your laundry outlet (with laundry appliances unplugged of course) and run to your rig. Not quite ideal with the extra recepticle and plug, but a good simulation of what a dedicated line can do.
Alex has a great idea. Per The 1999 National Electrical Code, 210-11, C -2.

Laundry Branch Circuits: In addition to the number of branch circuits required by other parts of this section, at least one additional 20-ampere branch circuit shall be provided to supply the laundry receptacle outlet(s) required by Section 210-52(f). This circuit shall have no other outlets.
Thanks everyone for your advice, experience and suggestions. Sounds like the dedicated line is the better way to go. Now for my next question: How do I explain to my wife that the "perfectly good" outlets in my listening room need a $300 upgrade?...
What if you're living in an apartment building? What options would I have, if any? I currently own a Tice AV Solo and bought a Leviton 20 amp hospital grade outlet.
I bought a VansEvers Unlimiter to plug my amps into, and it made an immediate and dramatic improvement in stage, dynamic range, inner detail etc. Then I bought a VansEvers Model 85 Reference power conditioner for everything else -- CD transport, Genesis Lens, DAC, preamp and crossover. It gave me the same improvement all over again. Now I'm working on the dedicated AC lines. According to Mike VansEvers, digital components "talk" to one another through their power supplies, so until you get a power conditioner with the proper filtering to stop this, you're losing detail. I know it's true because I could hear the startling
improvement when I did it.