You should get one that has good separate digital filtering. It will make a big difference in the quality of your TV picture. At your price point, take a look at models by Audio Power, Tice, and Chang Lightspeed.
Also used now on Audiogon is a Vansevers Model 83 and Model 85 for a little over $300. I would start with the 85 as my first choice because it has more digital plugs than the 83. The 85 has two separate pairs (4), so for digital you can keep the TV and DVD on separately filtered plugs for better issolation and filtering. The Vansevers list for around $600 new and are a great value for the asking used prices.
I would personally skip the Monster conditioners which I am sure will get recommended. They work OK if your budget was only $150 or less, but are over-rated above that in my opinion.
Sugarbrie is almost right on the money. Look in e-Bay for "true isolation power conditioner"; Seller is David Riddle. It is a used Power Var 400W isolation transformer you can buy for $55. Davis has lots of those. I have one, so does Sedond and Audiojerry. Keep your digital stuff plugged there.
You'll have money left for a Tice A/V Solo. Plug your TV to it and watch that TPT treated power cord bring magic to your video picture! Don't buy Vans Evers--they'r a rip off. I saw the insides of a Reference Digital 12 and it's a joke...a very expensive one.
Panamax makes some good conditioners for about $100.00
Looks like someone was Psyched out by what they saw. The Vansevers Digital 12 is a small one outlet conditioner to issolate a digital component. How complicated can it get? Mike Vansevers takes a lot of time voicing his conditioners by trying different parts and employing resonance modifying technigues. He picks the parts and techniques he uses based solely on how they sound, not how cool and expensive they look. All of his outlets and some of the other electric parts are cryogenically treated. This cost money as well.
The Tice, Chang, etc are all fine. But I guess if cool looks matter to you, then get the Monster conditioners. They are colorful and have lots of flashing, lights and switches.
There are conditioners loaded with all kinds of fancy electronic parts that attempt to filter the power. They look real impressive, but they also choke off the power and limit dymanics. The reason why many of us go with dedicated lines, instead of conditioners, is we want clean power with nothing blocking path. Less is more.
For that amount of money, be looking at Monster Power Condiotioners. I used the 5000 model for some time and was happy with it. You can pick that up used for roughly 300. There is another less expensive model that got good reviews (better reviews than the 5000) but I forget which one that was. Check www.audioreview.com for reviews.
I hate to ask a dumb question, but here it goes, what all does a power conditioner do?
Psyched out for a capacitor? No. It's the "switch" that doesn't switch anything in or out, and is just a bundle of wires running in parallel...
Like shampoos and cosmetics, the case is the most expensive component!
Isolation transformers will get you much farther--I recently bought a 3000W ONEAC 220V beast for less than what a Vans Evers ref 12 costs...
Sorry Rigo, I don't mean to confuse you, but I've been heavily studying and practicing this topic and consider myself qualified to speak up. If you get a $55 Power Var and a Tice A/V Solo you'll get really decent HT performance. The TPT treatment *does* increase depth in TV picture--give it a shot.
I would seriously look into some of the new line of Panamax
Power Conditioners. I have one of the newer models - the
Max 5300 - and along with several AudoPrism Quiet Line
plug-ins (about $25.00/each) - and my audio system is absolutely silent when not playing music.
I should mention that I did look into some of the Monster
Power Units; and thought that the new Panamax units were
of better build quality. I might also mention that the
wholesaler that I bought my unit from - I'm in the media
industry and buy my media & accessories wholesale - says
the Panamax is a much better unit. They get far fewer
returns of Panamax units vs. Monster.
Psychic, I suppose you would approve of an API like I have, since it's isolation transformer based. The first generation (non-Ultra) 114, 115 or 116 models should suffice for Rigo's system at around $300 used. But tell us, since Tice won't, what in the hell is TPT?! (I'm naturally suspicious of anything that must remain a *secret*, especially with cryptic acronymns attached...)
Those switches (two of them) on the Vansevers Reference conditioners that "don't do anything" are transient impedance switches. They are for tweeking the transients of the high and mid treble. It is one of those things you won't notice right away, or maybe ever, if you don't know what they do, and you don't know what you are listening for. With most conditioners you get whatever the designer thinks is right, which usually ends up being an average of what will work pretty well with most systems. Mike Vansevers lets you tweek the highs to more closely fit your system and your personal taste. The change is not huge, but still noticeable. Same goes with his Pandora power cords. One more toy for us to play around with.
I have the feeling the Tice "TPT" is similar to Adcom's new patented "ILS" technology. "ILS" really is just surge protection. It stands for "If Lightning Strikes". Probably dreamed up by the marketing department to justify the big price increase over the old models.
Brian, there are several different things that PLC's are "supposed" to do. The obvious task is that they should filter out electrical noise. Some of the common sources of noise are listed below. Keep in mind that the noise may not even be generated in your house, it could be coming from somewhere nearby that shares the same pole transformer.
Pops and ticks from light switches, timers, thermostatically controlled devices, etc...
Hash from electric motors found in your fridge, fans, power tools, etc...
RF / digital noise from CB's / Ham radio's, clocks, microwave ovens, computers, etc...
Noise can even be generated by components WITHIN your audio system. I just talked to someone the other day that told me that their tuner / cd system interfered with each other. If they wanted to use one, they had to have the other turned off. I also know that many digital based products, especially amps that use switching type power supplies and cd players in specific, can pump a LOT of junk back INTO the AC line. Anything plugged into that line then gets to share the noise.
By using a "decent" Power Line Conditioner ( PLC ), parallel line conditioner ( RGPC, Audioprism Quiet Lines, etc... ), Isolation or balanced power transformers, true power regenerators ( PS Power Plant ), etc..., you can minimize the above problems and even isolate some of the components from each other in terms of AC crosstalk. Many different designs have several different filters within one chassis. This allows each component to have filtered power coming into it. It also filters what can go back INTO the line, which means twice the the filtering action and reduced interference / component crosstalk within the system itself.
What does all of this "hoopla" buy you ? If properly done, you can gain a much quieter / blacker background due to a lower noise floor, increased dynamic range, increased system resolution, more "liquid" presentation, increased separation of notes / instruments, less grain and glare, greater bass impact and definition, etc...
On the other hand, using low quality PLC's or using a PLC that is not appropriate for that specific application can result in squashed dynamics, strange soundstage effects, etc... Most of this would be due to current limitations ( long term or momentary ) within the filter itself. That is why many people tend to filter the line level equipment but plug their amps directly into the wall. This gives them quite a bit of "filtered protection" and avoids most of the problems associated with current limations.
Keep in mind that everything surrounding power line filtering is a band aid to a much bigger problem. You have to remember that all we are doing is "shaping" the AC waveform coming out of the wall and converting it into a musical signal via our audio equipment. Since 5% - 10% distortion would be considered "insane" in a "high fidelity component" ( except for speakers ), take into consideration that this is the type of signal that we typically feed each and every component in our system. Those are the levels of AC distortion that one can normally find coming into your dwelling if you live in a populated area.
As such, nothing short of TRUE power regeneration ( PS Power Plants* ) will give you "optimum" results. Those are the only devices that i know of that actually produce a pure and clean signal to work with. Others might make claims of "regeneration", but i've yet to see one that did. Unfortunately, "optimum" is typically equated with "state of the art" and anything that is "state of the art" typically costs a good chunk of change. A suitable Power Plant for a good sized system is no exception to that rule.
While a filter can remove most of the additional "junk" that is added to the AC supplied by your local power company along the way, it can't correct the deficiencies that it starts off with coming from the source. As such, one can see where removing 5% - 10% distortion right off the top might make a bigger improvement than trying to remove a small percentage of that through cumulative efforts ( various power line conditioners, power cords, parallel filters, etc... ).
Obviously, the first thing to do before shelling out tall cash would be to check into the power supplied to your components and see just how "dirty" it really is. This can be done by using a very simple yet effective device made by Audioprism called the "Noise Sniffer". You can literally listen and hear all of the junk coming into the AC system. You can do this outlet by outlet, circuit by circuit and hear the differences. You can even track down some of the "offending" devices and repair / replace / modify them as necessary. If you didn't have a bunch of noise, you could probably get away with a small amount of filtering. As noise levels escalate from there, so do the costs and complexity of the filters necessary to get the job done.
Keep in mind that many of these changes are cumulative and very subtle in nature. One can make a bunch of small changes that would go un-noticed by themselves yet might add up to something substantial when combined. That is the approach that i've been taking since i haven't had the money to dump into a more thorough "all in one" approach at one time. Sean
*For the record, i have no personal or business affiliation with PS Audio nor do i own a Power Plant. However, i do admit that I would like to purchase one in the very near future. My comments are based on the technical aspects of how various designs work. Obviously, results may vary due to a multitude of potential combinations and variables. Always "try before you buy" within the confines of your system whenever possible. Like i said, there is NO sense in buying something that you don't need.
I know that your budget is limited to $300,but if you can little bit up your budget to $350-$400,you can find used Richard Gray 400 !
Quote: "Those switches (two of them) on the Vansevers Reference conditioners that "don't do anything" are transient impedance switches. They are for tweeking the transients of the high and mid treble."
Sugarbrie: that's Vans Evers copywriting! Open the thing and see the emperor's new clothes for yourself...
Zaikesman: not everything that is transformer based will automatically work right. However, if properly executed they're a very effective solution. My 3000W ONEAC 220V beast works beautifully...so does my Power Var (just my DAC is plugged to it). As for TPT, it is not for surge protection. It is a materials treatment Tice has designed. Sort of a very powerful cable cooker. It works. I have talked with George Tice several times--he's a very forward and helpful person. The reason he has not patented TPT is that if he does he would have to reveal the process and then he'd only get a few years of protection. Also, he's a small time operator w/out the financial resources to chase everyone who would infringe on his patent rights. Tice has a 30 day money back guarantee--buy a TPT treated power cord and try it in your system. Plug your TV to it and watch...
Sean: my CDP and tuner don't like each other, too. Also, my DAC is the worst polluter in my system. It throws a lot of noise back in the power line.
No, not copywriting. I have spoken to Mike Vansevers myself about these switches. Mike has even personally modified one of his units for me. I have been using Vansevers for years; done extensive listening while playing with those switches, so I know what they do from long hours (years) of personal experience.
All you have done is look inside and saw some wire you can't explain. Since the Digital 12 does not have screws to open the case, it would indicate you must have pried it open (broke it) to look inside. You would then unable to put the case back together properly, so it must now be unusable.
Mike is an electrical engineer by training and former pro-audio engineer with over 30 years experience working with sound. For those interested in finding out more, you can read this extensive article in Soundstage.
I like Tice also. I recommended them above.
I checked and "TPT" stands for "Tice Power Technology" Therefore it is just be some letters added for marketing purposes to make whatever they do to treat their power cords sound cool; the same as Adcom calling their surge protection setup "ILS Technology". Does not really matter as long as it works. Looks like George Tice burns/breaks-in the cable some, so it sounds better new out of the box. If so, it's perfectly fine and a good idea.
The following is cut and paste directly from Tice website:
The TPT treatment has already shown great potential for use in medical / laboratory imaging equipment, communications and general electronics.
Then he adds later:
At present TPT treated products are only available from Tice Audio.
Talk about marketing hype! He wants to imply his technique is a scientific marvel that could potentially save human lives; but he refuses to point to anyone who is actually using it other than him. At the very least he would have licensed the technology by now if there was demand for it from other industries. (After 12 years) Or he would mentioned companies he sells treated wires to. Instead we get vague statements that can't be verified.
Scotty: Beam me up.
Quote: "All you have done is look inside and saw some wire you can't explain. Since the Digital 12 does not have screws to open the case, it would indicate you must have pried it open (broke it) to look inside. You would then unable to put the case back together properly, so it must now be unusable."
I did not purchase the unit. Someone who's very knowledgable in these forums, electronics and really up to date on line conditioners showed me the unit...
All you have to do is purchase a Tice power cord or interconnect--it has a 30 day money back guarantee. I think TPT is a cable cooking process. As for myself, I am definitely going to get a 10-12 ft stretch of 8 ga TPT treated cord and make my own power strip.
I've heard a significant reduction in noise and improved definition and subtlety in a friend's audio system, since he started using a Monster Power conditioner (model 2000). He has very noisy power coming into his house, attributed to the school across the street from him and a power substation nearby.
My power is not usually as noisy, and I have solid state amplification (my friend uses tubes), but my cable and power lines have been hit by lightning. So, for $125, I'll also soon get the Monster 2000 and hope for some audible improvement, along with the lightning insurance.
Sek, There's several Tice A/V Solo conditioners for sale in the Audiogon classifieds...the improvement brought in TV picture is stunning.
Thanks for all the great advice. I'm new to audiogon and I am impressed on how quickly everyone jumps at the chance to help out. I will be sure to do the same if any of you ever need help. I'm a pro audio engineer and have a lot more experience in that field than I do in home theater. Well once again, thanks everybody you've been a great help.
What do you guys think about the ps audio ultimate outlets? Would one of those work for me?
I'm sure its worth a test, but I wouldn't get into a situation where you can't return it...PSaudio is kinda vauge on how the "Balun" works, and I am skeptical of products when i'm told how good it is rather than how it works. Keep in mind, it only has 2 outlets. Personally I'd stick with more traditional forms of protection/isolation. Monster or Panamax.