James, do you know the essential difference(s) between regenerators, conditioners, and balanced power units. They are apples, oranges, and grapefruits.
Once upon a time conditioners (and isolation transformers) were all we had. Balanced power units were not UL approved for domestic use, and regenerators if approved, were very expensive, cumbersome and inefficient.
All that's changed. I now totally reject any conditioners as an inherently flawed solution, compared to the other three which are all UL approved and extremely effective.
My personal approach would be to install dedicated circuit(s) first, if your housing situation permits. Biggest bang for your audio buck (along with room treatments ;-)
Next would be a regenerator. The two current biggies are the Power Plant Premiere from PS Audio and the ExactPower (now a division of Middle Atlantic Products.) The ExactPower is the better of the two IMO (higher capacity, more efficient and cooler running) because of it's patented feed-forward technology. ExactPower also makes a matching balanced power unit.
The ideal configuration for the quietest system with the best dynamics, is a regenerator powering the big stuff (amps, subs, projectors) and also powering a balanced power unit which supplies all the low powered and sensitive front end stuff. You can get away with just the regenerator if funds are limited. Conditioners KILL amplifier dynamics - which is why I advise against them (they're OK for low powered stuff, but using balanced power is much better, ask any professional.)
Can't do dedicated circut at this home but plan to in the future. Thanks for the input, I will look into the exact power unit.
Nsgarch hit most of the key elements but left out the (in my opinion) best option.
PurePower APS regenerators with battery back up to not only compensate for lows or total power outages, but to enable the unit to pass MORE power than the line itself by tapping the battery.
I would highly recomend one of these, especially if you live in an area with poor power (like most of us!)
How do you protect you amps if not using surge protection? I understand most believe using anything worsens the dynamics of amplifiers but I can't see not protecting your investment.
I second Kennyt. I have a Purepower APS and like it very much. Where I live there are alot of brown-outs in the summertime. While listening to music when a brown-out occurs it switches to battery power seamlessly. It has a fan which you can hear a few feet away, but at my listening position 10ft. away it's not a problem.
Let me dispel a few myths and some bits of misinformation:
1. "Surge protection" (so called), as provided by all of these 'power grooming' devices is no better than what already comes built into your components, if they were constructed in the last 10 years, and some even earlier. That is to say, they add nothing to what you already have in the component itself. AND it's not enough to really protect your equipment from a real HIT, like a lightening strike -- to protect yourself from that, you need to unplug your system from the wall -- period. The only exception to this strategy is using an isolation transformer which PHYSICALLY as well as elecrically separates your stuff from the power grid.
2. A 'battery back-up', part of a class of devices better known as an UPS (uninterruptable power supply) can be added to any system. They are commonly for computers to save critical data, or finish critical transmissions, before allowing the computer to shut down if power is not restored soon. But computers are relatively low power consumers compared to even a 100W/channel SS amp. You won't be listening to your music very long if there's any kind of serious power outage.
3. Every regenerator product I know of has voltage support (voltage regulation for over/under line voltage) So does a (much cheaper) device called a Variac. If you have a tube amp that need accurate line voltage to maintain accurate tube bias, but essentially no other big utility company problems, one of these along with a big isolation transformer (for REAL surge protection) would be just the ticket.
4. Regeneration. OK, we're not talking about motor-generators which use gas or electric motors to drive a generator and make fresh power. And, except for the ExactPower (which I'll get to shortly) ALL REgenerators use the same generic method. They take ALL the AC power from the wall, turn it into direct current (DC) and then turn ALL that DC into fresh AC. It works! BUT it's terribly inefficient; which BTW is why all the high-capacity regenerators (except the EP) have to have cooling fans and add significantly to your electric bill. I call this the 'baby out with the bathwater' method;-)
4. First of all, there's really no point in making 100% "new power" because the WORST wall power is only about 20% out of spec. So why not leave alone the 80% of it that's good and just "fix" the rest? That's what the patented ExactPower circuitry does. Middle Atlantic Products purchased the company for that patent -- which they are now using to manufacture full building regeneration systems (which is where the profits are biggest -- not audio ;-) It's a slick solution to an old problem now made possible using computer matching algorithms and Class D amps (perfect for 50/60Hz AC) to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse! OK, it's not exactly a RE-generator by the original definition, but in my view it's better than anything out there.
I had to laugh when I was reading the APS comparitor matrix which suggests that there are a couple of things the ExactPower unit doesn't do that tha APS and PS Audio units do. And it's true! The ExactPower unit DOESN'T do those things. Why? Because it doesn't have to ;-) It's already replaced all the places in the incoming waveform that were noisy or out of spec!
Nsgarch, What catagory would you place the Power Cell, Adept AR6T,and the new Lessloss Firewall Distributor in?Husk
Husk, I'm unfamiliar w/ the 'Power Cell' product and would need the manufacturer's web address to offer an opinion.
As for the other two, they are power conditioning devices. The Audience product is well respected, like the Shunyata, Richard Gray, Furman, etc., but as I already mentioned, represent older technology and IMO, money poorly spent.
The Lessloss Firewall is also (some kind of?) a 'power grooming' device, but after reviewing it on their website (never heard of it 'til you mentioned it) can only conclude it's VERY expensive hype. They don't tell you exactly what's in it (ALWAYS suspect;-) and if it could actually do all the stuff they claim, the inventor would be up for a Nobel Prize in Physics! For $5K you could buy an ExactPower regenerator AND an ExactPower balanced power unit, pay retail and still get back some change!! -- AND your system would be as "Quiet as a chair" (as a friend and former Wadia engineer used to tell me ;-)
I assume you have the ExactPower? Did you notice any loss in attack/punch using the unit. The PPP, Isoclean, Shunyata have all really negatively impacted my music. But I think I do have some power issues so would like to use something. The ExactPower is one I haven't tried yet.
Thanks for any help.
Nsgarth, In your opinion, would the EP 15A handle a pair of MBL 9008's monoblocks and two JL Audio 113 subs as opposed to plugging them each into seperate Oyxide AC outlets? Do you feel it would be quieter without destroying dynamics?
Askat: The PPP is a classic regenerator. The Shunyata and Isoclean are conditioners, and you should know by now my thoughts on those; and I'm not surprised they left you unsatisfied. I am surprised you had the same experience with the PPP though, and so I'd want to know more about what you heard (or didn't hear) your electrical (panel) power, system components, and how you have them all configured before I could comment. You can send me an email. Something here just isn't adding up for me.
Husk: Regardless of one's brand prefrences, using a regenerator should never limit dynamics if operated within their capacity, and provided one isn't so foolish as to stick some kind of conditioning device in the chain because "it was just laying around doing nothing.";-) The EP, PPP, and other regenerators should not limit amplifier dynamics as long as (1) they contain no inductive devices (which they shouldn't) and (2) you are using power cords of adequate gauge (10AWG for amps and DACS, and at least 12 or 14AWG for everything else.)
One ExactPower unit can provide up to 1300W of continuous power http://www.exactpoweraudio.com/products/ep15a/specifications.html
What is total rated power consumption of your amps and subs? (You'll probably never use even a third of it, but I prefer to play it safe ;-) My whole tube amp based system (click on my 'system' link) with every device ON (which I never do in practice) only consumes 525 to 545 watts at 80dB!
Neil. Thanks for the advice. I bought a EP 15A.
Well, I've decided to try teh ep 15a and see how it goes. I have a Richard Gray 400s that I may use in conjunction with it. Will give my report when new system is up and running. Thanks Neil for your help/advice.
Nsgarch, Will the stock PC work or do I need an upgraded PC to go from the Exact Power to the wall.
Husk: I'm sure you realize your equipment consumes quite a bit of power ;-) I don't know how loud you like your music, or how efficient your speakers are, but be careful using one EP and get another if you have to. In mono, your MBL's could (conceivably) draw 5 or 10 amps depending how they're configured; with so much potential current draw (again, depending on your preferences and speakers) you should definitely be using 20A dedicated circuits (at least two) wired with 10AWG (not 12 which is still allowed by code in most areas.) The subs are probably not current hogs (they don't even list their power consumption in the specs) because they employ Class D amps operating over a very narrow frequency range. With those huge amps, you might put one MBL and both subs on EP #1, and the other MBL plus everything else on EP #2. An option for EP #2 would be (as I have done) run an umbilical PC to an ExactPower SP 15A (balanced power unit) and then run everything else (source/front-end stuff) with the SP. But you should provide abundant wall-power regardless.
I would not recommend using the stock Exactpower PC because it's 12AWG and you should be using a 10AWG cord.
Jamesw20: I'll repeat the advice to Husk in my previous post:
provided one isn't so foolish as to stick some kind of conditioning device in the chain because "it was just laying around doing nothing.";-)
At best it would be redundant, and depending what you might plug into it, could cause problems for the ExactPower. You just don't need it. The EP does everything the RG does and more. And the EP does all its power cleaning electronically (rather than passively, with chokes and filters) so it cannot impede amplifier dynamics.
I think a lot of people don't really understand that last point (which is why passive conditioners can ruin amp performance): even smaller amps ~100W can and do draw huge amounts of power way above their rated power consumption. But it's only for nanoseconds. So although it won't burn your house down, or even raise the temperature of your power cord ;-), if that energy transfer is not instantaneous, it will affect the ability of the amp to produce clean, loud, transients. The choke (coils) employed in passive power conditioners, introduce a magnetic lag (inductance) which interferes with the instant transfer of large amounts of power - and why they have such a negative impact on amplifier performance. I guess they're OK for low powered stuff, but if you have a regenerator, you should be all set.
Nsgarch, Thanks much. Great little education going on here.
Nsgarch, you have educated us on this topic and I thank you. I have to admit complete ignorance when posting this thread.
I have exactly the same amp as you. I was going through tubes at an alarming rate and read something about high voltage and shortened tube life. On a whim I measured the output at the wall, 129V.
Whether that is problematic to equipment is open to debate I suppose, but I didn't see how it could be a good thing and went looking for something offering voltage regulation.
After discussing with my dealer, (Jeffrey Catalano, Highwater sound, great guy) he recommended a Furman SPR-20i which he uses himself and has sold to many customers. I'm very happy with it. Jeffrey strikes me as a music first guy and not a hi-fi for hi-fi's sake person and the Furman services the music very well. Also, it's a 20A unit but functions fine on a 15 amp line.
Highly recommended. Good luck in your searching.
Nsgarch, how do you feel about isolation transformers or power converters all with regulation built into them. I have a couple of Kleen Line transformer from Electronic Specialists and they have been working great. This was suggested to me by another audiophile who has been doing electronics for 25 years or more. I use the KLR series transformers. This same audiphile also uses the EP15. I was surprised that the amps were not robbed of transient dynamics and even more surprised how much better the cdp sounded through the transformer. Obviously I hide these units due to the fact they are not audiophilish. Plasma tv's also love these. A pretty box with an IEC would be nice.
JP: As I mentioned earlier (I think ;-) an isolation x-fmr + a voltage regulator is really all many people need, assuming their power isn't dirty (noise) and the sinusoidal wave shape is good ('perfect' is probably asking too much ;-) Elec. Specialists make several kinds/combos of products, and their isolation + voltage regulation units would fill that bill. I would not recommend their products that also include passive filtering/conditioning because as I already mentioned, passive conditioning is not IMO a valid option for audio power conditioning. BTW, I think Richard Gray makes a line of audio-quality isolation transformers.
A regenerator will do it all, EXCEPT for isolation. And to be honest, the last time I used an isolation transformer was about 40 years ago in Los Angeles where I can't recall seeing any lightening in all the years I lived there. I have no doubt they work, and due to the hysteresis effect (magnetic 'lag') of the iron core, provide some smoothing of the AC waveform if it's jagged -- but again, a regenerator will do a better job with that too.
Nsgarch, thanks for the response. Now I feel better knowing I am not just hearing things. My mind would tell me these transformers should not work becasue they are not name branded in audio. I also have A SVC 1000 voltage converter but it has only one outlet. It comes with regulation as well but I swear on the cdp this sounds better than the KLR. I will have to give the EP15 a try but the other gent who uses both said one is convenient and looks a whole lot better but the transformers do a great job too. I was curious about all of this so I had to give them a try. Glad I did and you obviously have been doing this along time and know what you are talking about. You will be helping others no doubt. You also said smoothing out the AC waveform and that is exactly what I am hearing on the high frequencies. Just enough without losing detail. The hash has disappeared in a good way. I cannot stress enough about what clean power really does.
I suppose isolation transformers, like everything else, are made with varying degrees of 'quality'. And I don't really know what all those attributes might be (probably lack of hum/vibration would be a big plus ;-) Enough capacity would be the best place to start in selecting one, and you'd be surprised how fast they can get really big!
Nsgarch, you are a world of knowledge and have a lot of experience. Take notes people...I have run into guys regarding tubes and some have knowledge and others have major league experience. This guy has both.
I bought the Firewall 3 weeks ago and it is still burning in. I don't know what's in it but what I know is that is sounds fantastic. You can say about it all that you use to hear about a good conditionner( soundstage, silence etc) but what you can add is extraordinary presence of the musicians and singers. The sound is more transparent and robust as time goes on (very very long to burn in) Absolutely organic. Yesterday at night I listened Wagner's Walkyrie : is was little less than orgasmic (lol).
I won't say about other conditionners because I don't know another one, but I can say that it doesn't interess me because I can' t expect one to sound better. (I admit I can be wrong on that point).
Barbapapa, would you say the Firewall is a good value with a price of 5k? Do you think they are making a little profit out of a wood box? What is in it that makes it 5 grand? 5k today seems like 10k if you know what I mean. I also know that just adding dedicated lines with Oyaide outlets can make a big improvement and cost on average 1k. Even two dedicated lines and four outlets may only set you back 1k. With that being said the Firewall still could prove to be a revelation and only time will tell. I do know off another agoner who has had some well known conditioners and said the Firewall is far better. He also has a top notch system.
About a year ago Louis was touring the US and stopped by my place with a Firewall prototype. It had 8 Oyaide outlets with the carbon fiber plates and the case was carbon fiber, not wood (although I suspect the wood is masking the carbon fiber casing for aesthetics purposes). We hooked it up and the drop in noise floor was immediately noticeable. We listened to it in the system for about an hour or so. At the time I was also testing out an Exact Power 15A in my system. I thought the Firewall prototype was better. Given the price difference though, the Exact Power is an excellent product and does what it advertises. If we had the time I would have liked to have tested the Firewall against my RSA Haley, which had been a staple in my system for quite some time.
Clio, the EP15 can be modified as well.
I don't care if they do big or little profit out of a wood or even a plastic box. I care my system is far better with the Firewall.
That's what is important and I'm happy to have one at home.
As you say it is a new product and only time will say if it is a revelation or a revolution.
One problem with the Lessloss Firewall as far as I know is you can't demo one. Last I heard they were not offering any kind of in home trial for this unit. Most of us here won't spend 5k on a power conditioner unless they can try it at home first. It does look like Barbapapa took a chance and it did pay off for that person. So if you have that kind of money to throw around then why not give it a try?
I'm not sure what you mean by pay off but I guess you mean I've be payed (or obtained advantages) for telling good things about this filter and this is not the case. I paid the real price and tried to tell what I think of this product to the a'goners because me, as I already said, I speak of the product I know.
I didn't think I could be insulted for that and I won't tell anymore on that item. You can continue so write, anything on products you don't know
What I think he means is that you took a chance on a product that had no return privilege, meaning you'd be stuck with it or have to resell it for less than you paid for it if you did not like it. However, as you stated in your case the end result was a good one and you are happy with the product. I did not read into his statement that you were somehow shilling for the product or received a discount to talk positively about it. Although in the past Lessloss was giving discounts on their power cords to people who would post a follow-up review of it, I don't believe anyone here is accusing you of receiving a discount to do that.
Some of us cannot afford to take that risk on a $5k product so we have to pass on such opportunities. You are obviously not in that camp.
Thank you Clio09,
it's OK for me
A firewall already up for sale? For almost 2k less than the retail. A guy I know just bought the Tripp Lite hospital grade 1000 watt isolation transformer and said it was the best $300 he has ever spent. Does not hum and is not hot to the touch.
Thanks for sharing your experience, Nsgarch. However, I am a bit surprised that you put your sub and amp on the same EP15A.
I have found that a significant amount of noises are from equipment with switching power supplies. Subwoofer is a big offender, IMO. Won't it beat the purpose of power re-generation by putting sub and amp on the same EP15A?
Your comments are appreciated.
Vett93 (nice year ;-) Good question! With regard to switching power supplies (and Class D amps) I'm not an expert. I've certainly not encountered anything like what you mentioned.
I do know they are not all created equal (equally good or equally bad ;-) Some are analog controlled others digital. The care with which filtration is implemented is also a big factor in eliminating potential problems. So I don't think it would be fair to tar them all with the same brush ;-)
I know that Exactpower and the few other makers of regenerators for audio use, isolate all outlets from one another and in most cases even provide some of the outlets with 'digital filters' (usually nothing but a capacitor across the line ;-) Anyway, I don't think one needs to worry about modern high-quality class D amps putting junk back into the cleaned-up power. Early car audio subwoofers were another story altogether, but in that application, ELIMINATING noise was probably considered counterproductive (he said as he rolled up his window ;-)
You should add the Synergistic Research PowerCell 6 to that list. I've got one and it rocks. Take a look at the most recent issue of The Absolute Sound for their review.
The PowerCell has also been reviewed here on AG as well as 6 Moons and Dagogo. This is a must audition line conditioner.http://sixmoons.com/audioreviews/synergistic/powercell.htmlhttp://dagogo.com/SynergisticPowerCell.html
Looks like Synergistic Research may take some thunder away from the Lessloss Firewall. The build on the SR PowerCell looks stellar. An all acrylic cabinet is great for resonation control and probably looks fantastic.
Exactly- Synergistic's website states it has three times the resonance cancelling properties of carbon fiber. I don't know what that would sound like, but one things for sure. I have never heard such expansive and musical sound, nor has my system ever presented detail from such a black sonic background. The PowerCell is simply amazing and worth a listen.
Does the EP15A generate much heat, i.e. how much clearance does it need?
Most all other true regenerators create a whole AC power cycle from scratch, using the wall power as "raw material" so to speak. There are inefficiencies in doing it this way which waste electricity and produce a lot of heat.
The patented Exactpower circuit restores ONLY that part of the AC waveform that is distorted, carries noise, etc. So in the worst cases of electric utility sloppiness, that amouts to about 20% of the total AC cycle. So just fixing the 20% that's actually "bad" yields high efficiency since 80% of the power coming out of the wall is passed right through so to speak. The result is VERY cool operation and reduced electric consumption. A minimum of 1" overhead clearance is fine for the EP-15A, and you don't really need to vent their balanced power unit (SP-15A) at all.
If someone can not afford the better power enhancers and still wants clean power I would look at the Tripp Lite hospital grade isolation transformers. The 1000 watt version weighs 60lbs is quiet and does not get hot. $300 is a sweet affordable deal. Just a suggestion. I also have a Kleen Line with regulation and it does get warm and neither are very pretty. They are very effective however.
Sure would like to try that SR PowerCell too though.
Power plant for amps or direct line to dedicated circuit. Isolation transformers are fine for low wattage components. NO MOVS! JME, JMO.