Do I need a power conditioner?


I’m in the process of dropping a dedicated 20 amp circuit or 2 into the music room.
So if I have a dedicated circuit for the amp, and a dedicated circuit for everything else,
is a conditioner useful?
I have several fairly decent systems going that I tweek and retweek.
Just got around to upgrading cables. Avoided conditioners because, in general, they dampen the presentation.
Was using a PS Audio PPP for low power components. But fell for the Shunyata spiel.
Plugged in a Hydra 4 with a Python Helix and was very happy with how it cleaned up the Zu Druids.
Seems high sensitivity speakers maybe reveal the grunge also.
Moved it to my system with the Martin Logans and the presentation seemed a bit lean and just a bit lifeless, using just copperhead cable to Hydra. (using all Pangea to get from the Hydra to other components.)
Then I put a Black Mamba from Classe amp straight to the wall and Wow! Single most significant tweek ever for me.
So I’m thinking, maybe I don’t need the Denali I ordered if I just use a couple dedicated circuits and some Shunyata power cords everywhere.
Opinions?
Thanks. :)
leotis
a conditioner is useful if and only if you have noise on the lines sufficient to distort the music you are playing

very very few actually measure the noise before wasting money on a conditioner

a conditioner is not really useful for protection - unplug everything when a storm approaches (or have a low deductible on your insurance)
My bet is that you will hear a marked improvement with the Denali. I find that the quality of the power cord that feeds the power conditioner is of utmost importance.

Dave
My system never benefited, only was hindered by conditioners.
I always plug my amp into the wall. Everything else into my Triton 3 with Typhon supplement. That works best for me.
I guess I was wondering of the dedicated circuit would obviate the need for a conditioner. I'm convinced Shunyata is superior to most because it's not supposed to restrict current or dynamics. But the 1st gen Hydra I just git does seem to take away a little bit of liveliness, some of which is noise and some of which is detail IMO.
Guess I won't be cancelling the Denali anyway. Music Direct has 60 day return if I decide it's not cost effective. I find Shunyata's demonstrations on their YouTube channel fairly persuasive.
Audio is crazy at times, others like power conditioner because it works on their system, others don't like them because it did not show improvement in their system, I like them because it did improve my system.You never know till you try....
if you have noise on the lines sufficient to distort the music you are playing you need power conditioner, if not it's a waste of money.
It's very possible your system will sound best with the amp plugged into the wall and low-current components into the conditioner. I have two PC's that state that they are non-current limiting, but they compress the dynamics of my amp.
It's worth trying the conditioner to lower the noise floor even with a dedicated AC line because you are at the mercy of the electric company and the power grid.
Hi leotis, dedicated lines cannot reduce any noise in themselves, but they can gain you a little physical distance between your system and the rest of the noise in the home and that should help at least some, sometimes noticeably. 

There is Always noise present - it's unavoidable - you will just never notice it until it's Gone!

Conditioning solutions do too often spoil the sound in one way or the other. There are perhaps a few types available out there that simply don't have any sonic downsides. Alan Maher Designs is one. I've used that for years and there is nothing but the positives. I don't even need the dedicated lines with that and everything can be plugged into the wall and it works with any kind of amp, no matter how much current or how many watts it draws from the wall.

Regards,

John
I think Shunyata says most of the noise in the line is generated by your own equipment. And that most of the noise attenuates pretty quickly with distance. Thus dedicated line. Fortunately I am rural so there is not a lot of activity on any nearby lines. If I turn off appliances as much as possible it may be that my wall power is better than average. The PS Audio PPP that I had been using gives a readout of AC distortion on one of my non dedicated lines of between 2% and 4.5% usually. PS PPP output usually reads 0.5% distortion. I do have one dedicated line in another room. I should plug the PPP into that line and see what it reads. My sister is IMO nutty about "Earthing". She has a little meter that measures something "bad" in power outlets (not sure what) and it seems every outlet and every house she measures gives wildly varying results. Maybe have her measure my dedicated line and see if there is less "evil" stuff there. Haha.
I would give High Fidelity MC O6 Hemisphere a try. Cheaper in price than the Shunyata and comes with a 30 day trial for a full refund. Its down side is a long break in and only for your front end equipment no amps and no surge or spike protection.  I have found amps do better direct to the wall. I have owned PSaudio PPP and their P10. The P10 was a big step up from the PPP in sound quality. The MC O6 Hemisphere just put out a better sound stage across the board once broken in.High Fidelity has some very high price items but their intro level stuff works very well.
enjoy Pete

@leotis,
I most likely can't suggest any further answers to your questions than what has already been mentioned above my post, however, I would like to add a few suggestions and give you my take on my own systems. 

If possible I would suggest you add at least two if not three dedicated 20 amp circuits into your music room. That way you can have any digital components (including a turntable motor if you should have or ever get one) on its own dedicated line, in case you should decide down the road that you don't need power conditioning.

I have a Denali 2000T that I was powering my Plinius SA Reference Amp and Allnic L-3000 preamp from however I found that I prefer the sound of my amp when powered directly from the wall outlet.

As far as power conditioning goes, that's something you need to try and decide for yourself if you need or like it or not. Everyone's system is different and no one but you can make that decision.
@leotis,
I’d like to caution you about circuit amperage, unused circuits in your circuit breaker box and the act of turning off lots of appliances when you listen (longterm). Be aware that a properly designed circuit leg from the breaker box will have a load of around, say, 80-85% of capacity. IOW, if you have a 20 amp circuit, the connected devices should preferably be, say, 15-17 amps...too close to 20 would be considered unsafe, but the concern for audio is too little of a load (longterm, over many weeks). A circuit with consistently much too low of a load will create voltage instability. It’s the voltage instability (again, longterm) that plays havoc with the sound. In many cases, there are more voltage instabilities that originate inside the home than from outside.

If you have a home with all circuit loads at nominal and all circuits see regular daytime use, that will be enough to be conducive to voltage stability and therefor good sound.

But, there is one more point. After the above is secured, the entire issue becomes wholly a matter of GROUNDING! For audio, your home’s ground system should really be inspected every 10 yrs or so, more often if you live in a dry climate. Ground rods corrode, as do connections and wiring (assuming that is all to code to begin with) and many older homes are effectively left electrically without any ground at all. Does that have an effect on the sound?? You bet it does. An effective ground (your local electrician can tell you what is code for your area) will mean better power conditioning performance and/or better system performance even without conditioning.

I don’t know that your sister is so nutty after all ;>)
Hey Guys,
Thanks for all the interesting advice.
Definitely gonna implement some.
Just got done cutting holes in the wall and drilling through studs and top plates. Fortunately I could do it on the inside of a closet, and just put the outlets on the other side of the wall. What a mess. Gonna run 2 isolated 20 amp lines.One for amp (Classe CA5200 = 200W X 5). One for components.
Had been using PS PPP for just components. Was always a little suspicious about that unit. Final straw is the vibration and the fan. Figure the Denali is a sure fire upgrade. Classe says "no conditioners."
Shunyata says "no problem." Will be easy enough to do the experiment.
Thanks again.

Hey Ivan,
Don’t actually turn off AC or dryer etc unless the noise is an issue when I’m dong some critical listening. I’m aware that you like to keep the draw balanced between the A and B poles on your main power supply. Easier said than done maybe.
Looked over Alan Maher's web site. Pretty interesting stuff. So I borrowed my sister's "Stetezerizer Microsurge Meter" and measured around. Some of my non dedicated circuits measure better than the 1 dedicated circuit I have.
Also, the circuit where I have the Hydras connected measure significantly lower at all the outlets on that same circuit.I also borrowed her mini conditioner. Kinda like a Shunyata Defender I think. Plugged it in and the measurements are about half of the unconditioned measurement. Similar to the Hydra effect. Gonna take a listen and see how it sounds. A Defender is $195. My sisters unit is $39!
Plugged in the $39 conditioner and couldn't hear a difference.
Bummer. Thought maybe I found a cheap shortcut. :/
leotis-

much is dependent upon your location. After that, a dedicated line is nt a bad idea and an excellent start. Finally, most important, Power Cords do make a difference!

Happy Listening!
@leotis holy crap, I read about the ’sterzerizer’ and how ’dirty power’ is bad for your health. Man, and I thought we (audiophules) were paranoid about dirty power! These guys are claiming that dirty power emits harmful electromagnetic fields that inductively couple to our bodies and cause headaches, insomnia, vomiting, hair loss.. you name it.

And we thought it was just bad for sound. Lookout, we’re all going to die!
I hear ya bro.
"Earthing" is a big time snake oil operation.
A bit of the snake oil in high end audio too I guess.
Agreed, I believe Alan Maher has some legit products for the health end of the market, too (for those who are EMI/RFI sensitive), but is finding it hopelessly full of snake oil and will have to be pulling out of that soon.
Man, I can hear florescent lights and dimmer switches, as well as 'the hum', but jeez, get over it and just have less always on electronics.
Last night, I read a research article done by some Canadian government department that showed the filter products these guys sell actually increase the amount of 'dirty' power flowing through the home electrical service. Damn.
So i got two 20 amp lines to the music room.
Don't know if it sounds any better yet, but at least I have plenty of outlets ! :)
Do you have a link to that article?
Might like to harass my sister with it.
Funny thing is, I’m in health care and wacky therapies annoy me.
So when my sister is falling for snake oil I get a little bugged.
You wouldn’t believe the kind of money people spend on this stuff...
Kinda like audiophoolery that way ;)
I’m open to wacky therapies.. IF they have some sort of internally consistent logic and a way to ascertain results, even subjectively.

This stuff doesn’t seem to.

The study seems legit, the website it’s hosted on is very much about debunking claims about EMF and RFI causing poor health, though. So, salt before taking:
http://www.emfandhealth.com/Evaluation%20of%20Stetzer%20Filters.pdf
Dealer alert here but the Audiquest Niagara 7000 made a huge difference in the system. And it only requires 1 20 amp line and has 3 seperate zones for amps, and analog digital gear . It also deliveres up to 90 amps current for short peaks . I have he BHK 300 monoblocks plugged in and it increases micro and macro dynamics.

Anyone in the NYC area can hear it if they are interested


it also Made a nice impAct on an emotiva home theater system that is separate form the 2 channel system.  
Niagra 7000 with great reviews but price almost double a Denali 6000S.
Was considering a Niagra 1000 at one point. Local dealer raves about it.
randy-11623 posts02-19-2017 10:49ama conditioner is useful if and only if you have noise on the lines sufficient to distort the music you are playing

very very few actually measure the noise before wasting money on a conditioner

a conditioner is not really useful for protection - unplug everything when a storm approaches (or have a low deductible on your insurance)
I think your comment is an over-generalization Randy. The conditioner I use (Gigawatt PC-3 SE Evo) has a number of features which you don’t get by purely having a dedicated 20a circuit. For example the conditioner has a double buffered circuit with compensation cells to enhance impulse response for non-linear loads such as a power amp & levels the difference between input and output power.
It has an accurate volt meter which measures voltage in ’true RMS’.
It has over-voltage protection provided by a start block with plasma spark gaps, UltraMOV varistors & a filter circuit
It has a high current branch & is one of the few conditioners where power amps sound better connected to the conditioner than direct to wall.
It also has very robust surge protection provided by a custom-made hydrolic-magnetic switch from Carling Technologies. In fact, the conditioner comes with an insurance policy which covers damage to connected equipment up to €250,000! In other words, it can take a big hit.
Hey Todd,
Checked your reference and found it interesting.
As mentioned I am in healthcare and I have a definite bias toward avoiding unnecessary health interventions, because every intervention has a risk of complications, known and unknown. This unit falls into the category of unproven benefit and potential harm IMO. Thanks for providing the reference. Forwarded it to my sister. Hope it doesn't start a fight.
Sorry to everyone for taking the thread on a wild tangent :)
melbguy1

is the Gigwatt PC-3SE available in the U.S.A. ?

Happy Listening!
always useful to measure and see if there is really noise on your power line before trying to solve a non-existent problem


PS Audio PPP usually says between 2% and 4.5% harmonic distortion on the line. With either the PPP or the Hydra in line it drops to 0.3-0.5%. I think my line untreated is better than most. Still I can hear a big difference with treatment.
Tested out the new dedicated lines and, even though I assume the romex requires some kind of break in, it sounds pretty wonderful. But that is with the Hydra 4 to the components and the Black Mamba from amp direct to wall.
I would be surprised to learn that anybody has perfect power without treatment.
I have always been a fan of balanced power. The term "power conditioner" is a generic term in my opinion. Just what does that mean? It sounds like something you apply to your hair after shampoo. I highly recommend the following presentation, not so much for the aforementioned Niagara product but because this engineer comes from Furman, the owner of the market in commercial sound reinforcement systems worldwide. To me, balanced power is essential even with a dedicated line. Research balanced power and please ignore the crazy claims that it is dangerous. I have a balanced power unit and my system is black as can be.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITkuBgFtTjs
@jafant, Gigawatt have world-wide distribution, though not currently in the US. On their website they advise if the country you're in doesn't have a Distributor to initially contact them, and my guess is they would either look after your enquiry directly or refer you to your nearest distributor (eg: Charisma Audio in CA).
TY- melbguy1
I use 2 power conditioners with great results. One being a Shunyata Denali 6000T for my front end gear (Preamp & DAC) and a Torus Power RM20 for my monoblock Pass Labs XA60.8's.

In terms of the Shunyata, it was an eye opening experience once it was introduced into the chain. I have a single 20a circuit feeding it with an Alpha HC power cord.

In terms of the Torus, it has plenty  of reserve power to feed the Amps without restrictions  and they sound  better with it in the chain. Its fed by another 20a circuit.

If your power requirements are low its better to feed the whole system from a single 20a circuit using a single power conditioner of adequate headroom.

I'm waiting on a Denali 6000S (looks exactly the same as the 6000T internally) and an Alpha HC. Was running everything (ModWright Oppo 105/ Classe SSP800/ Classe CA5200/ JL Audio Fathom F110 X 2/ Martin Logan Montis + Stage and TV) off one 15 amp circuit. Seemed to work fine. Just added two 20 amp circuits so tripled the supply. Plan is components off  one 20 amp circuit. Speakers off 15 amp circuit and amp off other 20 amp circuit. Question is if I can run the amp through the Denali's high output section plus components on remaining sections. I believe Shunyata says yes. Seems that is what you are recommending. Amp is rated 12 amps but I doubt I use more than a fraction of that. Any experience running an amp off a Denali?
@leotis

I haven't yet tried to run my Amps off of the Denali but the only reason for this is due to the location of my gear. Front End gear is on the other side of the room from where the Amps & Speakers are.

I wouldn't hesitate to run off the Denali if I could but doing so would involve a Front End equipment change/consolidation effort for me. I'm not sure if I will ever find the motivation to do that :)

Given what the Denali did for my system when I installed it I would be very surprised if it turned out to be a step backwards in SQ given the new 20A circuit you would be feeding it with and based on what you mention about your power needs.
Thanks for all the interesting responses. Just what I was hoping for.
Several interesting suggestions for further research (was unfamiliar with "balanced power"), and several first hand anecdotes. Guess we'll see when the unit arrives. Doubt I will need to use MD's liberal return policy. :)
No, don't waste yr money on a conditioner if you have dedicated circuits. Buy more music! Save up for better speakers!

I've listened to ~30 power conditioners...NO do not waste your money.  Plug into the wall outlet.  If you are concerned about lightning/surges put a lighting surge arrestor, home depot whole home protection device.  Square D, Eaton and other make these, they go right at your service panel and protect every component in the house.  Power conditioners ruin dynamics, soften everything, and do you no favors.  This is all subjective, you'll probably hear others telling you how great power conditioners are.  I've found them to be a waste of time...good luck on your quest.  :-)

Perhaps somewhat off topic but related; I have a hydra and plug the tuner, cd, phono into it but prefer the pre amp and amps plugged directly into the wall.   Someone above mentioned  flourecents;. OMG did my fluorescent front porch light cause me a world of hurt until I figured it out!   Stereo system was on its own dedicated 20 amp  circuit, problem is/was at the panel all the negative leads in the panel shared the same circuit, only the positives were not shared.   Once the front porch was turned on all hell broke loose!   LOUD buzzing which fried tweeters, tubes, mid woofers; very expensive problem.   Fluorescent lights pose a real problem.  Avoid them or own sufficiently shielded components.   My old Doge pre amp failed that test miserably.  Solution: A very well built First Sound tube pre amp.   And keep
the front porch light turned off when rockin'! 

I did a complete reversal...I guess i try and not use conditioner anymore...you have isolated breakers,try that and live with it before spending youre cash...

I have my system plugged straight into outlet (shunyata outlet)... i tried a conditioner for a week (pricey audience) and felt it wasnt getting it right...straight into wall and doing room conditioning and speaker placement did more for my system than any piece of gear has ever done...

Gentlemen All,

Every journey must start at its beginning.

Well you cant start at your Power Co. You can start at your Master

breaker panel. I installed Square-D Hospital grade 30AMP breaker

there are other companies that offer grung filtering breakers.

I’ve used Sq-D 30AMP single pole/Dual function-CAFCI/CFCI

No it doesn’t require an electrician. These are plug ins Throw the master breaker. Un-plug the OLD snap-in the NEW. If you don’t have a ground rod. Home Depot carries them. Even if you are a renter. You have a Panel

box. Remove there’s. Then remove yours when you move. Around Mid-night. That is. Will you hear the difference? Yes! especially if your in an older home. The grounding rod really is noticeable if you have PHONO player.

I never thought a power conditioner could help my audio system until I purchase one. I noticed an instant improvement and all the power coming into my house is relatively new. I also noticed the better the power conditioner the better the sound, more detail and blacker background. For me the front end of my system realized the most improvement but the amps also did improve but only with the right power conditioner. I went from Shunyata to PurePower to Running Springs to Synergistic Research to Audience. I also have multiple dedicated 20 amp circuits run to my system. I hear more improvement in sound quality with the power conditioner.
Generally speaking having 2 dedicated circuits can cause more problems than it will solve. If the two dedicated circuits are connected to the two halves of the balanced AC line you have just created a gigantic antenna.
You can save yourself a lot of work and expense by installing just one dedicated 20 amp AC circuit and use a big plug outlet strip. 
Generally if you have any ground loop with this situation you can float the power amp's ground with a cheater plug but keep the preamp grounded.
perazzi28
Generally speaking having 2 dedicated circuits can cause more problems than it will solve. If the two dedicated circuits are connected to the two halves of the balanced AC line you have just created a gigantic antenna
I'm not sure what you mean here. There is substantial potential benefit to using balanced AC. To whatever extent there may be an issue with induced noise, it's eliminated because it's a balanced line. That's the whole point and of course, a balanced AC line is by definition connected to both sides. Otherwise, it's an unbalanced line, which is much more susceptible to noise.

tubes444

... You can start at your Master breaker panel. I installed Square-D Hospital grade 30AMP breaker ... I’ve used Sq-D 30AMP single pole/Dual function-CAFCI/CFCI

No it doesn’t require an electrician ...  If you don’t have a ground rod. Home Depot carries them. Even if you are a renter ...

I'm not sure what the benefit of a 30A breaker is in residential use where (in the U.S.) a 20A receptacle would be the largest single-phase outlet allowed under many local codes and, I'm pretty sure, the NEC. Moreover, the 30A breaker creates  hazard, because the rest of the circuit (especially the receptacle) isn't rated for 30A. That's a potential fire hazard.

A grounding rod bonded to the service panel is required by code and, often, code requires two rods. If there's no rod, you should contact an electrician or, if you're a renter, your landlord.


I installed two 20 amp circuits both from the same pole. So ground loops shouldn’t be a problem. Don’t really need 2 though, if I run everything off the Denali including the amp. Can easily compare with amp alone into it’s own circuit. Even just using the old Hydra 4 the sound stage/imaging is dramatically improved. I think the Black Mamba PC, amp to wall made a bigger difference than the Hydra 4 maybe. Seems like the Hydra cleans it up but also drys it out a little. I expect the Denali to be way better than the Hydra, so I doubt I will be disappointed. Too bad it is on back order.

Cleeds,

My home has 150AMP Panel to run A/C/ Range/Ref/water heater them along demand  44 AMP's. My audio system when all equipment

is playing can surge up to 18 Amps. This fact is supported  by a Inline

current meter placed on a dedicated Cardas 8-ga AC Cable.

As far as the components. ALL R FUSED..

tubes444

... My audio system when all equipment is playing can surge up to 18 Amps ...

As far as the components. ALL R FUSED.

I don’t doubt that your system can draw 18A. Typically, a system such as that is best served by using multiple dedicated AC lines.

The fuses in your components are there to protect the component, not the AC line. Similarly, the breaker in your service panel is there to protect the AC line, not your components. If you’re using a 30A breaker on a line designed for 20A service - and that uses a 20A receptacle - that’s a clear violation of code. And it’s a potential fire hazard.

Use of ALL CAPS is considered shouting, btw.