Power conditioning stuff still helps. In my experience, anyway. That doesn't mean you should reconsider the dedicated line, though
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Like most things "it depends!" Primarily on the quality of the AC supplied by your power company. Dedicated circuits cannot eliminate voltage fluctuations (not good for tube gear especially, because the bias current is affected), nor can they (without additional hardware at the panel) provide surge protection.
And if for some reason you wish to use balanced power for your front end stuff, you'll still need a balanced power unit.
Start by checking the wall voltage at different times of the day and night on weekdays and weekends. You can use a simple volt/ohm meter and record the readings. That should tell you. You certainly don't want the voltage to vary more than say, from 119 to 122 volts.
Can't hurt to have both, IMO.
The insidious thing about "dirty" power, at least in my experience, is you don't know you have dirty power until after it's been conditioned. Elements of dirty power...edge, grain and hash in the music...can't necessarily be heard, but are more often felt. Sometimes the presence of these elements just makes me feel uncomfortable, and make me want to leave the room. The effect of dirty power is almost subliminal, and can be analogous to working in flourescent lighting versus incandescent lighting...if that makes any sense
Why? Because dirty power can't always be heard as clearly as its absence can be experienced. It's hard to "hear" clean power because it's like trying to listen for something that isn't there, but clean power can be attributed to a blackness in the sound, and the ability of the listener to relax and settle in with the music.
The only way to experience this is to experiment with power conditioning products by installing them and living with them in the system for a few days before taking them out.
I have often found quick A/B'ing of power products to be inconclusive.
That is not necessarily the case as someone mentioned it depends on the quality of power comming into your panel. I used a passive conditioner on and off for about 12 months. I did not like it, system sounded veilled, so I sold it and I plug my equipment directly into the wall. A dedicated circuit is still a good idea; I installed one but can't say I heard any real sonic benefits.
what you are looking for is something that will eliminate voltage swings. the house voltage will be the same during the day as night. get a exactpower EP15A. i just put one in my system. all i can say is WOOOW !!!! there is two for sale as i post this on audiogon. they are $2500.00 new. there is a asking price of under $1200.00 in either silver or black. get one. no negatives like some power conditioners can have. most of these products induce noise into the system. this is what is making my system sound so much better. no voltage swings and less noise.the voltage stays at 120Vrms. no power conditioners needed as well. big improvement in sound. what TVAD is saying is how to describe what the EP15A does.
Tvad, nice explanation.
Eandylee, it absolutely will help but there's always the qualifiers.
I don't know where anybody might get the notion that dirty AC coming from the street is somehow magically cleaned up if one splits the AC off into dedicated circuits/lines.
Everybody has dirty AC (some worse than others) and depending on the quality of components, everybody can benefit sonically from 'proper' line conditioning. In other words, the more resolving a system is, the more it will benefit from 'proper' line conditioning.
Dirty AC split off into dedicated circuits/lines simply means that the AC noise is now dedicated to that circuit/line.
Perhaps some people confuse dedicated lines with clean AC with the fact that in-house generated AC noise from dimmers, microwaves, appliances, etc. can be minimized by installing dedicated circuits/lines preferably on the opposing phase/leg in the service panel of where the majority of dimmers and appliances reside.
But again, dedicated circuits/lines does absolutely nothing to clean up the dirty AC coming in from the street and it certainly does nothing to clean up the bi-directional digital noise generated from a cdp/dac which will contaminate the AC all the way back to the service panel and out again into all circuits/lines.
Hence, one more qualifier for 'proper' line conditioning is that the line conditioner should be capable of bi-directional noise filtering.
Perhaps some people confuse dedicated lines with clean AC with the fact that in-house generated AC noise from dimmers, microwaves, appliances, etc. can be minimized by installing dedicated circuits/lines preferably on the opposing phase/leg in the service panel of where the majority of dimmers and appliances reside.That's exactly my understanding, and it's why I also use conditioners on the dedicated lines.
Stehno et. al.
It is my opinion that people do sometimes confuse dedicated lines with mains conditioning and that somehow a dedicated line will clean up the incoming AC. Another method that I happened upon is the use of isolation transformers per the attached web site http://www.audio-consulting.ch/. I have no affiliation with the company and do not currently use this method of mains conditioning. I have considered it, however, since my experience with passive conditioning was not positive.
I would think that a dedicated line is used to isolate your components from the rest of the items in your environment ie, dimmers, microwave, digitals, electrical motors etc. Given this, wouldn't it be advisable to further isolate the 'dedicated' lines by using a seperate ground system as well ? And then to keep one dedicated line for analog components and a second dedicated line for digital . Although none of this would 'clean' the incoming power it would, however, keep it from being contaminated further .
Just my thoughts, YMMV.