I think it is recommended by at least some experts to use separate power conditioners for digital and analogue to keep the digital noise out of the analogue power source. It is even recommended by some to use separate circuits for analogue and digital. Some higher end power conditioners have a dedicated digital input. I just use two cheap ones--one for analogue and one for digital.
I also use one conditioner for digital (a Monster 7000SS) and another for the non-digital/Video (a Furman REF20i)((Since the vid is on only if the 2 channel is off)
I use isolation transformers on my digital front end gear. That is where I have found a transformer to have the most effect. Perhaps this is because, besides removing noise from the AC to the gear, they also isolate the digital gear from the rest of the system.
my experience has been that digital is the area that most benefits from power conditioning.
I'd recommend getting and installing a Porter Port or Maestro or TelslaPlex and plugging your DAC directly into the wall without conditioning. Experiment with various power cords (give them time to settle in, don't A-B them back and forth like a switch... PCs need to settle down). Power cords make a huge difference on DAC sources. Doing so has made a huge difference on my system. In fact, on my most high res system, I have entirely eliminated the use of power conditioners. Careful selection of the right power cords has made all of the difference with PorterPorts and Maestros. IMHO, lots of money goes into power conditioners that is better spent elsewhere, such as a dedicated power line to the system components, e.g. isolate the digital sources with a separate line.
Just my opinion and experience (YMMV),
How much time do power cords need to settle down? Same as break-in for IC's and speaker cables? I put an audiophile cord on an amp I recently broke in with it's own power cord, and it sounded so bad that I thought, "Oh, no. Can't deal with it right now." Took it off again but you are convincing me to try it again.
You ask a very difficult and important question.Some aren't a good fit no matter what, and some take time to finally handshake, and the most dangerous of all "fit" right away and deteriorate later. Yeah I know.
No matter what, the ultimate and decisive variable is time. If the cable is in fact broken in, let it play, turn it entirely off, fire it up, play it awhile, let it sleep...give things a day or so.
Remember that the emotional intelligence of the listener varies during the month, week, and day and all music requires emotional intelligence. If it's off, the system literally won't sound right. Yeah, I know.
Time, if it works, ok; if not, no problem, make a note of it, and try something different, such as plugging it in to the wall instead of the conditioner, or visa versa. Or try switching cables in the system; the one to the preamp to the DAC and the one to the DAC to the preamp. You'll be surprised. And the same goes for the amp cord. Try to stay simple and minimize variables. One variable I'd work on no matter what is the wall receptacle: Porter Ports, Maestro, Teslaplex... each deserves attention. One might be best suited to the preamp and DAC. Another might bring out the preamp and amp, with the DAC on different receptacle.
Sorry for the rambling response!
The most cost effective power related tweak I got was with a Monarchy Audio Regenerator. For about $700 it costs just as much as a decent power cord but the effect it has on the sound quality is just tremendous, Dynamics and realism take on a new meaning!! No power cord can do what this device does. I agree that a good power cord further adds to the effect but the majority of it comes from this regenerator. In fact one can happily use an average power cord with this regenerator and enjoy top quality benefits (that one can have from power refinement).
It is a 100 watt regenerator with an headroom of 150 watt so one can use it with Transport, DAC and Preamps/Integrated Amps as long one doesnt cross the 100 watt limit. However as others have suggested here, it is best to isolate digital from analog components hence the regenerator have the best effect if it is only connected to digital equipments.
I have read somewhere that broken-in power cords need about three days to settle in. I can verify only this. I recently upgraded a cord on my integrated. When installed it sounded very good right away. In a few hours in became better and after that there was a small gradual improvement for about two days.
Emotional intelligence: interesting oxymoron. Ramble a little more about that, please. And three days is good. I can handle three days.
Wikipedia Daniel Goleman or go to danielgoleman.info
He's one of the originators of the emotional intelligence concept. His book, Vital Lies, Simple Truths: The Psychology of Self Deception, has some very intriguing analysis. This book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, is the one to which I referred earlier.
My point was that how we feel about ourselves, other people, and things affects how we listen and what we listen to. Even what sorts of noise we have been subjected to during the day can affect our listening experience.
I have a friend who one time told me that sometimes his system sounds "magnificent" and other times like "cr#p", and over time the only variables he could find to account for this were his emotions and attitudes and moods as they varied day-to-day, week-to-week, etc.
He has an civil engineering background and is a finance/insurance professional. He's an exceptional photographer and musician as well. A very cognitive rational guy with a music system that always sounds great to me.
Just a point that some days are better for making evaluations than others...and that we should be aware of mood and attitude when we find ourselves dissatisfied or annoyed with what our hard work has wrought us.... just a thought!
For example, when I am stressed, even a trace of sibilance in my system (knowing, of course, that recording vary as to quality) will drive me nuts. But if I get some exercise, etc. whoah! A completely different experience altogether.
As to EI, check it out... it's extended its principles into some intriguing venues.
Thanks. I switched out the factory power cable for the audiophile cable again and this time it sounded better than the factory cable from the start. I guess I'm a victim of myself. Thanks for all the info. I will check it out.
I would get a Pure Power 1050 or the more powerful 2000. They protect your gear and since they regenerate pure AC they make your components sound much better.
Do they negate the need for a dedicated circuit or would you use them in addition to it? I ask this question understanding that a dedicated circuit would provide no protection.
I own the Purepower 1050 and have my power amp (Einstein LITD), linestage (Gill Audio Design Alana) and CDP (Reimyo CDP-777) connected and collectively the load never exceeds 19 percent under full operating conditions. It is my understanding that as it is a regenerator, a filter is not necessary nor is a dedicated line. This is an exceptional product and is the end of the road for me.
I have but 1 conditioner. BUT it has a 400va isolation transformer as part of the deal.
All lo-power stuff goes thru the iso, CD and DVD players. Also, the small dish.
Since none of those items are ever on together, I don't worry about 100db down noise migrating from one piece to another.
Amp / Sub? own circuit thru a PSAudio Soloist outlet.
Linkster, someone on another forum said that regeneraters--while they improve clarity and detail--cause a loss in texture. I suspect that this listener has simply mistakenly processed distortion, the effects of a contaminated power source, grunge--to use an all-inclusive, non-audiophile term--as a part of the music. Can you or anyone who uses a regenerater address this characteristic?
I've heard the opposite. That a certain power regenerator brand causes hyper texturing.