lots of variation and difference of opinion, depending on system, electric supply, personal preference. I have amp and pre plugged into wall, sources into a balanced conditioner. Then there is the issue of dedicated lines...
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I like to use Furman units with LiFT and SMS. I do find they add warmth and clean/quiet mid to treble. I miss them when disconnected.
More importantly is having consistent performance 24/7. I rely on the Furman’s to provide bullet-proof surge protection and (sometimes) voltage regulation. If you are worried about that then of course, invest.
Your mileage may vary, but I do think some units are ridiculously overpriced, as are power cables.
In terms of sound quality, invest in good room acoustics first. Then power conditioners.
I too am wondering about the validity of power conditioners to a good audio system. I have dedicated lines to my system and 6 years ago added a Furman Elite 15 with 3 Seperate banks of 4 each reciprocals and it seems, to my ears, not to add or subtract from the overall sound and it gave me peace of mind at a cost of $500.00 new, I thought I would move up the Furman line to their Reference series at 4 times the cost of the Elite and could not get it out of my system fast enough, it sucked the life out of my system. The dealer that sold me my Lamm preamp has sent me the specs to assemble a basic power strip with quality parts that I can put together my self or have it done and I believe that is the route I choose to follow next. I believe that any of these pieces do for the most part alter the sound in some way or other it just boils down to what you can live with.
... blind listening tests are critical to evaluation ...Perhaps that's true for you, but most audiophiles have no use for blind listening tests. They're tricky to conduct properly and if they're not done properly, the results are of no value. They're also time-consuming, and that time takes away from listening just for fun.
Double-blind tests do have value for designers and manufacturers, no doubt. But for hobbyists ... not so much.
Consumer audio is rife with confirmation bias. The only way to eliminate that problem is to use blind tests.You've committed the logical fallacy of the excluded middle. Long-term listening will reveal a component's true qualities, and without all the time-consuming, fiddly nuisance and level-matching of blind testing.
I use a power regenerator. All my gear is plugged into the Regenerator. Major inprovement in sound. Filters never did anything for me. Also blind testing for audiophiles is worthless. Live with a component for a couple of months playing a lot of music and you will then be able to tell if it is for you.
Blind or doubleblind testing is designed to tell if there is a difference in sound, not which is better. Did you know in a blind test if you listen to A and then to B most people will prefer B
.I have 3 Shunyata Power Conditioners. A Hydra 2 for my amp and preamp (The Hydra 2 doesn't limit current) and two Hydra 4 Conditioners. One for the analog and another for the digital. All on 3 separate dedicated lines and all Shunyata Cryoed outlets and power cords. My system is dead quiet (Tube pre is eerily quiet) and has excellent bass slam. I hear a big difference without the conditioners. To me it sounds dirty without them.
Well, I have done blind testing.
Test conditions: wall (dedicated audio line with 12 AWG) with factory power cord, wall plus $2000 power cord, Plitron isolation transformer with factory cord, Plitron with $2000 cord.
The last two conditions were clearly better, and indistinguishable. So I spent money on isolation transformers.
Further, an isolation transformer also removes DC from the power line, which can really save your bacon (and your amplifiers) in a storm. So, if you have expensive gear, an isolation transformer is just reasonable care and insurance.
But they do tend to growl when working, so they should have a place outside the music room.
Would like to directly answer the question posed at the start of the thread. My opinion is yes, power conditioning is important and no, it does not - or more accurately should not - improve the sound quality.
As I’ve stated elsewhere on this forum power conditioning is more appropriate for piece of mind and general health of the components in that they can be surge protected, under/over voltage protected, regulated (more expensive), etc. If sound is noticeably effected then there is something wrong other than power supply. Any change of sound should be subtle at best.
My system is dead quiet when "idle". I’m using a relatively low cost ($350) approach of dedicated (separate breaker) 20 Amp outlet >>> Emotiva CMX-2 (D/C filter + RFI/EFI/Noise reduction) >>> Panamax MR-4300 (same manufacturer as Furman 95% as good 65% of cost) for RFI/EFI/Noise/Surge/Over/Under protection >>> my entire A/V system.
I guess the way I look at it is, I've spent all this money on decent components and while I have replacement value home owners insurance in the event of a lightning strike, we all know how that works out. A balanced power conditioner is going to supply your components with clean AC power eliminating noise, in addition (if so equipped) it will protect your system from electrical surges. I guess those two things are in my mind worth the cost of the equipment. And it's not like they wear out so your investment can last for many many years.
Farzad, many people complained that dynamics were reduced. In typical linear supply current is drawned in spikes of very high amplitude. Any filter element will cause a voltage drop, hence reduced dynamics. My conditioner Furman Elite PFI 20 has, in addition to filtering choke, a big capacitor able to supply high momentary currents. Not only that bass is sounding more even (more melodic) - I'm not sure why, but TV plugged into Furman has brighter and purer colors (reduction of jitter?). In addition my Furman has very tight non-sacrificial over/under voltage protection. Since the day I bought it we had few cases when bulbs suddenly got unusually bright and Furman switched OFF to switch ON automatically again when condition passed. I would never connect my gear directly to wall outlet.
x2 as i do so many times ... erik ---
room treatment gik for me
and my p2400ar . as per the endless opinions on my thread on this .. I needed regulation so i got the p2400ar . Lift etc it is a noticeable change in sound . Unless i was running a complete regeneration of power ( big bucks) i would go furman , remember its not just and audiophile thing,opposite its a pro ,studio thing first . ( not quite as flashy )Shop around ,i got a great deal on mine brand new in box .. jmho
Today’s best AC enhancement units aren’t "power conditioners" as we knew them even 5 years ago. Regeneration, Electro-magnetic cells, Graphene, etc. have obsoleted the notion of "taking something away", usually associated with power conditioners as they lower the noise floor based on passive filtering and choking of extraneous noise from the AC signal.
The current TOTL AC enhancement products virtually recreate and/or transform the AC power. A few even audibly increase dynamic headroom over what is possible from the raw AC line.
The right models will positively improve the sound of a good system in every way with no downside except the high cost.
Best to you farzad,
Farzad,back to your original question. The simplest answer is that it's simply not possible for your ac outlet from a residence to give you 'adequate power'. All ac today is noisy and getting worse. Refined sound requires clean ac power. All the highest end products pay great attention to their power supplies for this reason. It's time for you to experiment. Best wishes.
@falconquest to your point "And it's not like they wear out so your investment can last for many many years" this is true, however, in the case of an actual surge I come to learn (by talking to electronic repair shops, not first hand experience) that the overwhelming majority of conditioner use some kind of MOSFET and those components can only withstand one (1) surge and then they are of no value (i.e. they have sacrificed themselves to save the rest of the gear). Further, and from what I've read and been told, trouble is "small" surges that you may not notice could also do irreparable harm to the MOSFET without the end user even realizing the protection is gone.
One electronics guy told me if one gets a direct lightning strike there is no in-home surge protection device that could withstand that. The voltage could simply arc across whatever stands in its path and literally fry anything "in its way".
Still, I agree its better to use surge protection than not have it at all.
I can only speak for myself, based upon my two audio systems I have to say yes, I definalely hear improvement by using dedicated AC lines, and further improvement with a good high quality AC outlet. In addition to that, I also hear an improvement when using some type of power conditioning. Many times my amp sounds better when plugged directly into the wall.
Audio equipment reacts differently to various power conditioning, so it's a matter of trial and error and/or reading various reviews and hoping what you read about works in your situation.
Just yesterday I received my Power Core Technologies 1800, in my system, it's a killer out of the box and very reasonably priced.
I agree with Lowrider57; "The goal is to lower the noise floor, provide stable power, and not restrict the sonics of your system".
Power conditioners can harm sound and help the sound. Some have spike and surge protection some do not. Some work well with amps some do not. Yes it can depend where you live and what type of power you have coming in to your house. Dedicated lines our nice, but they to can some times benefit from some type of conditioning or surge and spike protection. Some recreate a perfect sign wave some filter. Both can help or harm or restrict your system sound. Best to try as many as you can in your system Most company have a 30 day money back guarantee. Some will sound good with your preamp and disc player but not with your amp. Some will sound good with your amp but not the rest of your system.
For me i have used PSaudio P10 for years and never had a problem with it.(large amp straight to wall) used it in a home theater system and a 2 channel system. The sound i felt was good with it. Since i have done away with the home theater system and only do 2 channel now. I moved to High Fidelity MCo6 Hemisphere, really like what it does in my system it was a big improvement in the sound a cross the board(long break in). But on the down side i gave up surge and spike protection.
Everyone has a flavor they like, you need to find one that works for you. What works great in your system may bring a another one down. Both companies are way easy to talk to with no pressure and 30 day money back policy.
"none of my favorite high end stores that I do business with use power conditioners in their showrooms..."
Why? Are you convinced that they have honestly auditioned the latest AC Enhancers or are they summarily acting in accordance with their experiences with passive filtering products of years past? Can they tell you which ones they recently auditioned?
Best to you jl35,
"none of my favorite high end stores that I do business with use power conditioners in their showrooms..."
The dealers want the gear they sell to sound as good or better at your home to avoid returns . If they max out the room acoustics and ancillary gear in the showroom and you get your gear home and it does not sound as good it does not help them .
maybe not demonstrating gear at it's best also helps explain the disappearance of audio stores...I have never been in sales, but it seems an odd way to sell product...I would think the store would want their gear to sound great or else the customer won't buy it, and also sell power and room acoustic gear too...Are you in audio sales maplegrove?...I would be curious if that is common practice, as we have many dealers on these forums...
I also use Furman power conditioners and they seem to help keep the noise away. I have not noticed any degradation in sound quality, but if there is any lessening of sound quality it is far less than a small tweak, like upgrading a fuse in one of your components.
Now that I've added my two cents, I have a question as to where do you place your power conditioners? I am very space limited and I wonder if I can place one of my components right on top of, or set the conditioner on top of a component. Would there be some type of shielding I could use in between them? My only other alternative would be to place the Furman on the floor, behind my components, where I wouldn't be able to reach it; so it would have to stay perpetually turned on.
@toolbox149 while it's always best to have dedicated space for components (to which I categorize a power conditioner),if push comes to shove you can place the Furman on top of another component or another component on top of it PROVIDED the component on the bottom has no vents and the component on top fits correctly.
Toolbox . Above is correctomundo imo .. I have a pro unit (p2400ar) it is a rack mount and is slim and deep . My stand on audiopoints raised it 2" i then placed my furman under my stand on audiopoints again .. keep power away from the other gear . Another reason some amps run outboard power supplies . I also placed my furman on a 1/2" steel place again on 1.5 audiopoints almost outrigged next to my stand first . I perfer it under the stand .. jmho 🙏 There is a rough pic in my virtual of my humble system
@ptss I looked at the site and without reading more than 10 minutes or so I'd say at face value their products (they have many models) seem viable. The technology is toroidal transformer isolation which is already known as being very good. Not sure about the overall value because some models are many thousands and at that point an Audioquest Niagara or similar could be considered. I'm interested to monitor this thread to understand the opinions of those with more knowledge than where the Torus are concerned.
gdhal....I looking also 2 learn more....jl35....if ur ac is bad it really hurts the sound.....no matter how good ur equipment is.....when I lived in queens it was bad....n nothing worked i tried many PC.....
including quiet a few PS audio PC--- I lived across from train yard near Queens Blvd n Union Tpke....one thing I know....I will never buy another PS Audio PC.