Does power conditioning really matter?

I have a friend who is setting up a budget system with a nice hi def plasma (Pioneer PDP-5020FD) and an entry level receiver (either Denon AVR 1909 or Onkyo TX-SR606) who is wondering whether the Monster conditioner for $300 that the salesperson is pushing is really necessary over a plain surge suppressor. Will this make a difference in his system?
Ag insider logo xs@2xjlineer
Jp1208, yes, I did get one. Very happy I did. Such a smooth Analog sound.I am running all my Audio and all my Video equipment on it plugged into one outlet. Soundstage and dynamics are outstanding!
The AVS2000 Monster voltage regulator and power station is a completely different animal than the basic monster strips, for the record. You simply need to compare anything, and it's all relative, and "in context" that things must be judged...on their own merits, in YOUR own system, really. I've read reviews on the AVS2000, and the reviewers had mixed experiences, depending on system/application - but none had bad things to say, that I can recall.
I would say that you'll likely get favorable results simply trying some budget, and bellow, (yes, $300 is a budget piece, compared to what's out there) $sub $300 conditioners, and compare, if it were me. You can do it at your leisure and end up with whatever works best.
I once had a system next to a power transformer from the electric company, which came out at the wall with VERY HIGH voltage at night time. My system was running on 132+ volts some times - while at other times it was lower down to 123. I noticed that my systems sounded rather dull and dead when it was high at night, but sounded pretty darn good in the mornings/days, when voltage was low. In this case, I think some sort of power supply/regulator would have made my system work better.
My buddy lived in an area where his power was always on the low side - like around 118 or lower, voltage.
For whatever reason, my simple crossover design speakers were really picky about the power you gave them. Dunno why.
Again, I think you need to take into context all the variables, and simply experiment for truest results. The rest is just speculation.
Remember, "The crowd is always wrong" consider that when you are really looking for a correct answer.
I have to join as someone soundly converted. I have never in 20 some years of dabbling in this hobby/obsession addressed power conditioning in my system- I of course experimented with every other element in the chain, from tube rolling, cable swapping, capacitor upgrading, internal wire tweaking etc, but never more than pc cord upgrades- long story short, decided to drop-in a PS Audio Duet recently- held my breath hoping it didn't muffle/darken my exhaustively tweaked system and was amazed- I liken it to focus in a camera, my system was fuzzy around the edges, it lacked a complete cohesiveness and the Duet somehow de-scrambled the disparate parts and polished the sound as a whole...truly "cleaning" the sound, clarity, bass etc...and that's right out of the box, no amazing result, I now will treat power conditioning/conditioners as equal/vital components, maybe critical components under the circumstances
The PS Audio Power Plant, I believe it's called, though they recently discontinued one and introduced another--completely regenerates the power...doesn't try to 'clean it up', regenerates a perfect 60Hz 120V signal.
IMHO, this is the only way to go if one can affort it (big if, as it costs about $5K, more than many, hell most people would ever even think of spending on a total audio system---though not us crazies on A'gon).

Good listening,
PS Agree with Ostemo8s premise of how it helps, entirely.
Good post.

I recently added a PS Audio powerplant prmeir to my system. I'm using a panamax 5400-pm in front to power my (2) RSW-15 subs and bring power to the regenerator. It's early yet, but I have noticed cleaner sound reproduction through digital sources. Others have listened and watched the system and don't notice much. I've also heard there is a substantial burnin period which I'm not even close to. Will let you know if the difference is more noticeable after the burnin and more testing.