Help choosing Power Conditioner


Completely new to this area. I would like a unit that:
a) regulates power, keeping it within the 120v range.
b) provides good and long-lasting surge protection
c) can be used with a power amp as well as preamp, and sources all together
d) Hopefully helps the audio, making it more open and dynamic without negative effects.

I need to say under about $750 used. My candidates are:
Monster HTPS7000
Monster AVS2000 (how are these two different)?
PS Audio Power Director 3.5
Blue Circle MR1200 Music Ring
Any others...
Thanks!
kck
Avoid Monster....best IMHO is the Shunyata line...doesn't limit power and actually does what it claims....don't invest in a power conditioner until you've got a dedicated line and done some room treatments....this is about the last thing to spend your dough on unless everything else is in place.
Try a used Balance Power Technologies unit. I use one and it cleaned up everything.
I have used Richard Gray and now Balanced Power Technologies, both good products. The Richard Gray 600 has been in a box for 6 months. I would be willing to sell it for $750 (originally $1200) [email if interested]. Also, I have heard good things about the Blue Circle Magic Ring. Not too impressed by the Monsters.
Greetings,
The difference between the Monster 7000 and the 2000 is their function - the 7000 is a power conditioner - it cleans up the electrical input - the AVS 2000 is an Automatic Voltage Stabilizer - it is an automated Variac - meaning it has a large, computer controlled variable transformer than maintains a constant 120 volt output to whatever is plugged into it. You can use the two units together. Given your requirements, it sounds like the AVS 2000 fits the bill

I have both units, which is not a rousing endorsement on my part, (and I'm not interested in selling either piece) but I can say that they appear to function as they are supposed to.

Monster components do not go over well with many here, notwithstanding the fact that they are very well received in the audio press as being highly effective. My dealer has very high level equipment available, and Monster power conditioners are used and recommended (along with Shunyata and Transparent BTW) as a good value.

I believe there are a few reasons for the negative attitude toward Monster -

They have been suuccessful, and like other audio firms that achieve reasonable level of commercial success, they are no longer seen as part of the audio in-circle. If they were still grinding them out in a garage I'd suspect they'd be seen in a much more positive way.

They have initiated what appear to be superflous lawsuits aimed at groups completey unrelated to audio, who dare to indulge in calling themselves Monster in any way. I forget what the situation was, but I suspect it may be in the archives. Gotta admit this grates on me too.

Keep in mind that if surge protection (and a guarantee) are important, you can reasonably count on Monster to be there tomorrow, and their surge protection guarantee is $100k for damage when anything is plugged into it. Fairly compelling indication that they are confident in their product. I don't know what of the other brands you mention provides such assurance.
Best of Luck
Dear Kck,
The Running Springs Haley will take care of your entire list as you have written below but it may be a bit out of your price window at $1199.00. Be sure to look into it.

a) regulates power, keeping it within the 120v range.
b) provides good and long-lasting surge protection
c) can be used with a power amp as well as preamp, and sources all together
d) Hopefully helps the audio, making it more open and dynamic without negative effects.
I would go with Exact Power EP-15 & SP-15 and later add on a Hydra. I have both Exact Power units and two Hydras, sounds stellar. I do not agree to wait on power conditioners, your equipment is designed to work on proper voltage and clean AC, anything else the system becomes seriously compromised.
And of course, Dedicated Audio is "the only AUTHORIZED Internet Dealer for Running Springs Audio".
Dealers shouldn't respond to queries like this, particularly when the item isn't directly related to the question - in this case being far beyond the price that Kck wants to spend.
We could have 50 responses of dubious value if all the dealers chimed in to questions like this.
At the very least dealers should make their interest well known with a disclaimer,
My opinion anyway.
Dear Snofun3,

I’m sorry to have upset with our answer to the author’s questions. All responses must be cleared by the administrators of this site and ours was approved (or it would not have been posted). You mention within your post that our response does not pertain to his questions. Our response completely applies. The author asks the following questions and all apply to the mentioned product.

The questions were:
Regulates power, keeping it within the 120v range.
Provides good and long-lasting surge protection
Can be used with a power amp as well as preamp, and sources all together
Hopefully helps the audio, making it more open and dynamic without negative effects.

His final question was - Any others...?

All of the above apply. We also mentioned it may be out of his range on the new market but worth looking into.

We never mentioned we were a dealer of this product, you did.
I said - "isn't directly related to the question - in this case being far beyond the price that Kck wants to spend".

His post - I need to stay under about $750 used.
Your response - may be a bit out of your price window at $1199.00.

I'd say that 50% ABOVE what he wants to pay isn't directly related to his question. You apparently disagree. How far above what before you consider it as as an out-of-place response to his request? 100%, 200%, 500%? Is there any amount as long as you can find some commonality between the request and what you're promoting?

You should identify yourself as a dealer - in fact an EXCLUSIVE internet dealer. You appear to be insinuating that AGon checks all of these posts for appropriateness and ulterior motives such as dealers promoting his product via the threads? C'mon. You slipped in under the radar and are using that as a smokescreen.

I mentioned that you're a dealer in order to make the point that dealers, and EXCLUSIVE ones at that shouldn't be responding to threads as part of their sales and marketing campaigns without large disclaimers. It seems ethical issue to me, but it seems you'll try to obfuscate the issue somehow.
I'm back. Thanks for the responses, please keep them coming. I am sorry the thread went downhill so fast. I agree that DA basically posted an ad, and browsing Agon I see he has done that in other posts as well. Whether this is ethical or not I will not judge, but if I understand the rules correctly then it is certainly questionable.
Snofun3, you have a valid point and made it with your initial post about DA. Also appreciate the info about the Monster gear, good analysis there. I will look into the AVS2000.
Anyone with experience on the Power Director? I understand it does not regulate. Also another one, Belkin PF60 - any opinions /experience?
I'm a fan of the balanced power units which include the likes of equi=tech, exactpower, bpt, blue circle and others. Equi=tech has a terrific reputation and has been doing balanced power the longest, particularly with major recording studios. However, bang-for-the-buck goes to Blue Circle for its MR1200. I use this unit and have experienced enhanced low level resolution and quieter background; however, don't expect sonic improvements because this is extremely system/environment dependent. I demo'd another power unit that, beyond peace of mind, made no audible difference. I would not recommend the smaller BC mr800 as it might compress dynamics of your amp. Of course the other route to take is to install dedicated ac lines, a wholehouse surge at the breaker box, plug your amp directly into the wall and your sources into a hydra 2 or audio magic mini stealth. Options, options...fun hobby huh?
I will also suggest looking at some of the BPT options that may be a stretch on the old budget.

And for what it is worth, I agree that dealers or even members that may be listing something should disclose that fact and only be responding if they can be adding something useful other then an advertisement to the discourse.
Consider the Powervar ABC 1200-11 toroidal balanced power conditioner. For $229, it's a no-brainer, and it'll do what the uber-expensive balanced power units do...but for considerably less. Heck, if you don't like what it does in your system, you can re-sell it for nearly what you paid. What could be less risk than that?
dealers or even members that may be listing something should disclose that fact and only be responding if they can be adding something useful other then an advertisement to the discourse.

Hey Maineiac, if that comment is a dig at me it's unfounded. My recommendation of the Powervar is a real world, low cost, common sense approach to a widely used conditioner, and the link I provided is not an item I am selling, nor do I know the seller.

I suspect your objection is to the link to the Audiogon classified ad and not to the recommendation, so let me try this another way.

Powervar power conditioners are used by hospitals and industry. They provide power conditioning comparable to esoteric audiophile power conditioners for considerably less dough...an ABC1200-11 retails for $1200 but can be found on E-Bay or in the Audiogon classifieds for 81% less.
I'll second those Powervar and Oneac units. They do what they're supposed to, are well engineered with quality components. I'd put them up against the audiophile grade conditioners at a multiple of their cost here and on Ebay.
Keep in mind that you could encounter a buzzing or humming transformer those PowerVar or Oneac units depending on their condition and also if there's any DC present in your power delivery.
Here a link to an excellent paper explaining the conditions that cause transformers to become noisy:

http://www.plitron.com/PDF/AES.PDF
TVAD,

No dig on your post at all, I was commenting on the exchange between Snofun3 and Dedicatedaudio. I guess I was too general. I like when folks point out listings in posts, just nice to know if they have more then a passing interest in the transaction. Sorry for any confusion.
Check out Shunyata Hydra. They have added more models to their lineup.
Maineiac, thanks for the explanation. No worries.

Jman66, you make a good point about the humming. I own a OneAC unit that does have transformer hum, and I have moved it to my HT system where it's located in an area that masks the hum. Readers should note that we are referring to hum coming from the conditioner itself and not a ground loop hum in the loudspeakers. At least that's not the hum I'm talking about. I suppose I shouldn't speak for Jman66.

It would seem one could use a product like a PS Audio Ultimate Outlet Humbuster ($299 new, or less used) in conjunction with a Powervar ABC1200-11, and have top quality, hum-free conditioning for $528 or less. That beats most of the audiophile transformer based conditioners.

Also, I have low level hum in my VAC power supply and in my First Sound power supply, so this is not limited to power conditioners with torroidal transformers.

I must have gotten my Powervar from the same guy as you Tvad. These things are the real deal and at 229 so much cheaper than other iso-transformers out there. I have no hum issues at all.
Mike
Tvad - Yes, I was referring to the transformer hum. The Powervar I used (ABC1200) had varying levels of hum by day, sometimes quiet in the morning and then noisy as heck at night. I tried some additional damping of the toroid, helped a little bit but not enough.
Agree with Snofun on the ethics issue,Bob
I got a 10 amp powervar used on ebay for under 50 bucks. Has minimal transformer hum, essentially inaudible at > 3 feet away. (Did NOT purchase from Tvad!). I assume it will protect the front end pieces if lightning strikes, and that was my main reason for buying. (Also, I was able to buy a kind of cool-looking gadget-like thing that was pretty heavy, which adds to any placebo effect....so yeah, I'm happy, I think).

OK, seriously--I was unable to hear any definite sonic difference in my system, but do have a vague sense that it is probably better than just a surge protector if there's a storm, etc. Hum is inaudible at listening distance (and my hearing has been relatively recently tested and is still quite good).
A neutral power conditioner shouldn't impart any sonic characteristic other than perhaps making the music seem a little "louder" due to a lowered noise floor. Other conditioners may soften the highs somewhat, or impart other sonic characteristics, but these cannot be considered neutral, and are chosen for the flavors they add to the sound.

I've read that a PS Audio Humbuster may eliminate the transformer hum from the Powervar if the hum is an issue.
PS Audio P-300, nuff said. For source componants only. Use a PS Audio High Current Ultimate Outlet for power amps.