Power Conditioners


I'm looking at the Audioquest Powerquest3 and the Austere 7 Series Power. At this price point are the power conditioner sections a gimmick or can they have a meaningful impact. Is there a certain price, brand or tech which is generally the gold standard? Is power conditioning something you should only need to address if it's an actual problem (you can hear it) across your system or is it a best practice no matter and if so who is the "value" player in the space? I cringe at the thought of spending 4k on a power conditioner. Thanks for your comments. 
spotconlon
I use the audio quest model you are considering. I bought it strictly to protect my router, small green computer server and modem. I did not hear any sonic changes
I’ve used a power conditioner priced around this level. The sound quality improved

I then replaced it with a simple (but expensive) power bar and the sound quality improved even more.

Turns out my power did not require "conditioning" but the better quality outlets gripped the plugs better.

Take a look at the Furutech line of power bars without power conditioning/filtering or similar products from reputable power related companies
http://www.furutech.com/products/power-distributors-filters/unfiltered-distributor/

Regards - Steve
The need for power conditioning depends on a lot of factors. The only way to determine that for your particular case is to try one (or more).

As for the two units you listed, the AQ Powerquest 3 offers series-mode surge suppression while Austere VII Series offers parallel-mode using "sacrificial" MOV devices. For more info, you might want to check out the "Surge Suppressor Basics" thread in this section.
I use a Torus RM20.
The main problem with power conditioners is filtering.  Any impedance in series affects dynamics of the power amp.  Linear power supply draws current in narrow peaks of big amplitude.  Amplifier demand of 1A at given time will draw about 10A in narrow pulses from mains.  Filters will cause big voltage drops and loss of dynamics.  I use Furman Elite 20PFi conditioner, that in addition to filtering and good non-sacrificial over/under voltage protection has big capacitor that stores energy to provide up to 55A of peak current.   
This Furman Elite looks interesting. The 15pfi is priced more to my liking and looks comparable except for the 45A v 55A of the 20. Any thoughts on likelihood of experiencing that kind of spike in a music-only system?
Ran the Furman with good results.  Replaced with https://www.decware.com/newsite/ZLC.html which eviscerated it on all levels.

System is server, DAC, tube preamp, active ATC towers.  All improved when run through it.


spotconlon
 OP
9 posts
10-17-2020 8:08pm
"This Furman Elite looks interesting. The 15pfi is priced more to my liking and looks comparable except for the 45A v 55A of the 20. Any thoughts on likelihood of experiencing that kind of spike in a music-only system?"

The Furman Elite-15 PFi is a quality unit with all the good stuff and is an easy recommend. Series-mode surge suppression, linear filters and Power Factor technology. As kijanki indicated above, the dynamic current demands of power amps can result in reduced dynamics due to losses associated with filter impedance. The Power Factor technology addresses that problem by providing energy storage. Audioquest offers the Niagra 3000 for $3000 if you feel in a spendy mood.

Be aware that the cheaper power conditioners/suppressors do NOT have the Power Factor technology due to cost constraints. Using conditioners like this for a large, current-hungry power amp will likely prove disappointing.

Good luck in your search!
You should also check out the Audioquest Niagara 1200 that goes for about $160 more than the Furman ($999). It does all that the Furman does and is designed by Garth Powell, who used to work for and designed the Furman power conditioners.

Garth feels that the Niagara goes even farther in cleaning up the noise without limiting anything in the music, and is a great surge protector and has a solid grounding system.

All the best,
Nonoise

nonoise
6,359 posts
10-18-2020 11:40am
"You should also check out the Audioquest Niagara 1200 that goes for about $160 more than the Furman ($999). It does all that the Furman does and is designed by Garth Powell, who used to work for and designed the Furman power conditioners...."

The Furman Elite-15 PFi has a current street price of $535, which is quite a bargain. As for the Audioquest Niagra 1200, it does NOT have AQ's Power Correction (energy storage) technology. For that, you'll have to step up to the Niagra 3000 ($3000).
@turnbowm,
I went with the first thing that popped up and it's over at Crutchfield for $839.99. If one can find it cheaper, all the better.

As for the "Power Correction" aspect, I'd have to hear it for myself to determine if it betters the Niagara 1200. It's all in the implementation and the Niagara is a superb product, as I can attest to in my own system.

All the best,
Nonoise
How much does analogue vs digital play into the decision? Setup is a Rega P6 w Aphelion MC into Icon Ps1Mk2 into Quicksilver Mid Monos. I've read that many folks just run the amp stage right out of the wall. Tho you miss the surge protection, for sure.

nonoise
6,361 posts
10-18-2020 1:32pm
@turnbowm,
"....As for the "Power Correction" aspect, I'd have to hear it for myself to determine if it betters the Niagara 1200. It's all in the implementation and the Niagara is a superb product, as I can attest to in my own system."
 
Do you have your power amp (or integrated) plugged into the Niagra 1200? If so, any changes in dynamics or bass impact?
@turnbowm,
The changes in dynamics and bass were all for the better, by a noticeable margin. Nothing restricted or limited. In fact, just the opposite in that they both benefited from elimination of noise on the line. 

All of this is with my integrated plugged into the Niagara 1200 instead of going directly into the wall, which is how I used to have it set up.

All the best,
Nonoise
@spotconlon,
I have been using the Inakustik AC-3500 for the past year and have been pretty happy with what it did in my system. Absolutely no loss of dynamics or musicality. If anything it improves the sound across broad spectrum with tight bass and "openness/clarity" with wide soundstage.