My two cents worth is that power conditioners work great for everything but amps.
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Re the comment on Monster Power power conditioners (from Monster Cable), I've owned two of them, and am currently using their HTS 5100 in my main audio system. It works superbly, does exactly what it's supposed to do, and does not compress dynamic range. It's also affordable. An excellent, well-designed product.
I recently purchased the Belkin PureAV Home Theater Power Console PF60, and I am amazed with the improvement in clarity and imaging in CD playback. I can only attribute this to the isolation provided my (Rotel RCD1072) CD player through the dedicated 'phase 6' digital filters. Perhaps the cleaner power and filtration also helps my tube preamp (Paul Grzybek's wonderful TAD-150) to some degree as well, which is now also using the PF60 and is now on its own dedicated analog power filter as well. (I am not running the power amps through the Pure AV unit.)
I will add that the PF60 is a solidly built unit, it looks reasonably attractive, has lots of features (many of which I am not likely to ever use), and I particularly like that you can dim the PF60 unit's display down to 'barely on' so that it can become somewhat unobtrusive... - Rick Azaroff.
This is the first real power conditioner I have had in my system, as previously I used only surge protectors.
The filters in the PF60 are not directly adjustable, and I don't think thay should be; the circuits are already optimized to reduce line noise and various sorts of interference.
The PF60 has 2 high current plugs (on a single filter bank) for amps, which I am using for the BASH 850W monoblock subwoofer amps in my Infinity 4.1t's. Since these amps only cut in below maybe 45 Hz, I can't honestly say I can tell any difference, I don't think my ear is well trained enough to know what to look for, and the bass was already pretty darn tight...
I keep my primary monoblock amps (Goldmund Job 150's) plugged straight into the wall using PS Audio Xstream power cables, which is what both the mfg and all others who are 'in the know' I have consulted agree upon.
What I have learned so far though, through talking to folks who understand the electronics, is that the low amperage and digital front end components get the major benefit from power conditioning. Big transformers in power amps tend to eliminate low levels of line noise by their inherent operation. (I hope some other sympathetic goner can expand on this for me as well...)
I tried the PS Audio and Panamax with my Naim CDX...both killed the sound, the PS Audio robbing all the detail and darkening the sound, the Panamax destroying the soundstage. On a whim, I bought a Belkin AV Master...wow...fully restored detail and dynamics...sounds like a statement product and makes the CDX shine. You can buy one of these at Home Depot for $75...I now own two,and each time I purchased one, it was the last one in inventory in Monroe, NY...apparently, the word is getting out. It is an amazing product!
I'm a brand new convert to the camp of power conditioning enthusiasts. In my previous home, the power must've been very good because I never heard any difference at all when adding power conditioning to the mix. However, my new home is pathetic in terms of power quality. I just purchased a Monster AVS 2000 and wow, what a difference! It's been connected for just a few days and the constant flow of stable power seems to be improving things every time I listen. Such things are very dependent upon the state of the individual listening environment but this appears to be just the ticket for my system.
I've got a Monster 5100 Signature Series, and have been quite pleased with it in terms of reduced noise floor and improved dynamics.
Pretty much everyone and their dog has gotten into the power conditioning business, and there's way more to choose from than even three years ago.
I suspect that some people who've had negative experiences with power conditioners choking off their sound quality didn't add up how many watts their system draws, versus how much the power conditioner is capable of sustaining. It's worth doing the math, for sure.
Worth doing the math is right. Also, if your power amp is class A, the power conditioner does't have to respond to transients. Class A amps require a steady amount of current.
My amp is class A/AB. It doesn't go into AB operation until the output power goes above about 25 wpc. So for the most part, the conditioner just has to supply a steady voltage level and not worry about what the power amp is doing.
The comment about the front end not taking much power is correct also.
I bought a Belkin PureAV PF31d. I'm not sure i liked it in my 2 channel set up. But i do think it makes my plasma look better. I do have a question though. On the back it has three banks of outlets. High power, analog, and digital. It says to plug the cdp into the analog, I thought it should go in the digital. What do you guys and girls think.