Power Conditioners - Best Set-Up

I'm considering a power conditioner for my system and have read alot of threads about them. However, I'm confused as
to which parts of the sound system would benefit. Several folks have said that the amp, with its big transformer, gets very little benefit. So is a power conditioner best for source components? How about pre-amps?

Some background info:

I have a dedicated line and am using a tube amp and pre-amp. I've heard great things about AudioPrism's Power Foundation and Shunyata Research Hydra power conditioners.

My suggestion: keep reading...
Lrmljaf, As Psychicanimal has stated, you've got some homework to do. The statement you made regarding amplifiers and power conditioners is partially accurate. In many cases, passive power conditioning will act as a "choke" to your amplifier. In other words, the amp will demand a higher level of current draw than the power conditioner is capable of providing it.

If the dedicated line you are presently using is 15 amps, a well built 200 watt per channel amp will suck it dry. Many passive power conditioning units are built for a maximum 15 amp current draw. If your amp is doubling it's output power based on load, ie: 200/400/800 watts per channel, you've just drained your wall receptacle. That's just the amp alone, now what about all the other components you have plugged into it?

If you have a dedicated 20 amp receptacle, that will allow you a little more wiggle room. Active power conditioning units (PS Audio, Accuphase, Exactpower, etc.) will help to keep your AC more stable during high current draw scenarios, but still will not always provide the high current needed.

Now I know I'm gonna get hammered for this but, here goes.
I personally have found that ANY form of passive power conditioning restricts current draw to the amp. And I use a small 100 wpc integrated. But, even that small integrated will draw as much as 900 watts, during let's say, the Telarc version of the 1812 overture. (you probably know about the cannons?)

Imagine what would happen if I use using A 200 watt amp?

In terms of everything but the amp, I use a passive conditioner plugged into an active conditioner. The amp is plugged directly into the active conditioner, everyting else is plugged into the passive. That provides filtration, including digital, isolation between components, and does not choke the amp.

And, I'm also assuming that your isolated outlet is also using an isolated ground? Is that correct?
Buscis2 - That's a pretty detailed answer, and I appreciate the time you spent on it.

Let me give you some more information. I actually have two 20 amp dedicated lines with seperate isolated grounds with direct feeds to the main electrical box. My amp is rated at 90 watts @ 8 ohms and it's a tube unit.

The amp gets one of the dedicated lines along with a tuner and VCR. While the other dedicated line gets the tube pre-amp, CD Player, and TV.

Does this info help?

Thanks again for your time.
I would suggest using Bybee Technologie Signature or All Pro power conditioner. I have used many types of PCs (PS Audio 300, Tice, API, Hydra and Sound Application and now ending up with the Classic Bybee Tech Signature. My system has a lot of improvement in detail, musical and dynamic. Using PCs is the best for front end like CDP, Analog like turntable,DAC&Transport, Preamp...
Lrm1jmf, You have obviously provided more than enough dedicated power for your system. If you are running 90wpc you should have more than enough power available at the wall. Now the question is, what to do with the power in terms of processing.

I very rarely get involved in threads that involve mentioning brand names. I find it is about the easiest way to start the packs of wolves to come "out searchin for ya". This site could be a tough environment. But, OH WELL!

I use an Exactpower EP-15 active power conditioner. The EP partially regenerates the AC waveform. The PS Audio units completely regenerates the AC waveform. The PS Audio, because of this, is not very efficient. The reason being, the PS uses almost as much power as it regenerates. So, if you're generating 600 watts, you're using 600 watts. The EP uses 35 watts. On the 15 amp EP, 1600 watts in, approx. 1550 out. That's pretty efficient.

The EP regenerates an AC waveform that is pretty much devoid of any AC distortion. If you were to look at the AC waveform coming from your wall, you would more than likely find that the waveform is corrupted on the tops and bottoms of the waveform peaks. That's AC distortion. Now think of what happens when you send it to your AMPLIFIER. The EP is about the only unit (other than the Accuphase @ $8000) that does this. Although Paul McGowan over at PS Audio will soon be releasing a unit that is somewhat similar to the EP in terms of design. But, I didn't say that.

Unfortunately, neither of these units provide filtering or isolation for the other components. That is why I use a passive conditioner containing filtration for the rest of my components. I think you may find the filtering portion of the equation to be as important as the regeneration portion. Filtering the digital portion of your system is probably the most important. Digital nasties backfeed into you AC power and can create a general "haze" in the overall sound of your system. Electric motors, such as in your VCR, or if you were using a turntable also send AC grunge back into you AC.

There is a rule of thumb that you can follow in regards to AC power processing and conditioning; Remove the distortion, generate a clean AC signal, and don't let the distortion get back in. (Regenerate, fiter and isolate). If you follow that path, you will be guaranteed clean power and sweet sound.

Do a little reading on the Exactpower unit, which is now available in a 20 amp version, and also do some reading on the PS Audio. After that you will need to figure out what you will want to use for a filtering device (passive).

It's taken me over 3 months of auditioning to get where I'm going with this whole AC thing. It pisses me off that I have to correct the garbage that my utility company is providing me. But, that and 10 cents will get me a cup of coffee. Oh Well.
Nguyenchiro, you forgot one conditioner, a BPT balanced power conditioner w/ Bybee`s. If you havn`t tried one, you should as they`re a very musical conditioner. The Plitron NoLo torridal transformer is well regarded for their musicality and the addition of 2 Bybee`s further it`s depth perception. Regards, Robin
Robin, thank you for time. I went to BPT's website. It appears that their power conditioners focus on noice reduction common with a shared circuit, i.e. air conditioners, refrigerators, etc. I'm not sure they would be helpful with a dedicated line for the audio.

Nguyenchiro, thank you for your help. I haven't found All Pro's web-site. Do you know it?

Buscis2, once agin your answers were very helpful.
Lrm1jaf, Good kuck with your research in this somewhat confusing world of power conditioning. I have learned a lot by doing some intense reading and by having discussions with some of the people whom represent the manufacturers.

I have concluded; passive power conditioning units do a great job of filtering and isolating from component to component. But, junk in, junk out. I have found no passive conditioning device that will correct the AC waveform, nor will they stablize voltage. If, for instance, your AC line voltage was 115 volts going into the passive device, that is exactly what will come out. Probably less after you consider the draw from all components. Passives cannot correct for that.

If you provide a CORRECTED AC waveform with a stabilized voltage @ 120 volts, and remove the distortion from the AC waveform, there will be nothing left but to filter and isolate the corrected waveform. The Exactpower SP-15 acts as an isolator between components, filtering, and now provides balanced power. That in conjunction with the EP-15 correcting the waveform is making the AC about as clean as you are going to get it.

Best of luck in your selection process. You will find that you will be rewarded with much cleaner and sweeter sound.

It doesn't get any better than that.
Careful with "audio grade" filter products...be very careful. Not that I don't use them, but the ones I use were so good the manufacturer stopped making them. Even more, they'll deny they made them since they're way superior to what they currently produce.

Buscis got the basics right. Now, powering amps via regenerators (full or partial) is rather challenging. I have a 10 amp medical grade Elgar regenerator and I made a test--plugged in my little Makita hole shooter (just that). Starting it took the current needle almost to 10 amperes! The internal wiring is not as beefy as it should be, either. We're talking about a 70+ lb device...

I separate this subject in four areas:

1) Power delivery
2) Power filtration
3) Preventing cross contamination of filtered power
4) Not ruining the music in the process

So, Buscis and I have very similar viewpoints on how to do this. However, I did not get good feedback from the Exact Power. Someone I trust used it and got rid of it. Said it was harsh and unmusical.
Psychicanimal, the feed back you received was pretty accurate. The first couple of weeks with the EP-15 SUCKED. However, I contacted Exactpower and discussed this with them. I told them I felt the sound was very hard, very unnatural sounding. Leading edge transients made me grit my teeth. Music took on a very "mechanical" sound.

Exact responded by telling me that they recommended 400 hours of break-in time. I reluctantly agreed to keep the unit and continue the long break-in period. They were right. The unit seemed to settle in and become significantly smoother. I then scrapped the stock power cord and replaced it with an LAT AC-2, which I use on the rest of my components. Another major leap forward.

You know, I firmly feel that you really don't recognize the benefits of something until you REMOVE it from a system. After removing the EP from the system, it became immediately apparent that I was using an integrated amp (and YBA by no means is an inferior quality integrated). On loud passages, the soudstage would collapse, the music would become "homogenized" losing all definition.

Reinstalling the EP was like bolting a set of turbochargers on the amp. Loud, dynamic passages became effortless for the amp to reproduce. The soundstage would remain rock solid and stable. The EP really made a major difference.

Exactpower is on the ground floor with the EP. I feel that they are absolutely heading in the right direction. I also feel that PS Audio units do a great job, if, you don't mind pissing half of the power away in just operating the actual unit itself. That to me, does not make a lot of sense.

In the very near future Exact will be releasing a 20 amp EP unit. They will also be releasing a new style SP unit which will provide total isolation from one receptacle to another, star grounding schemes, analog and digital filtering , and balanced power. Is it perfect? NO. But, I think that of all the manufacturers out there, they are getting a very accurate picture of what the audiophile requires, and are addressing it accordingly.

Do I think it's the best out there at this point in time? Well, let's just say I think it is a unit of minimum compromise. And so far, every form of power conditioning has required compromise in one form or another.

I think if we give these boys at EP some time, they may very well have a "giant killer".
Lrm1ajf, I beg to differ with you, BUT to each their own. If you think just by having a dedicated circuit that your not going to benefit from a balanced power conditioner, you so, so wrong.And if you tink you got clean power on a dedicted circuit, your wrong again. I wish you the best of luck on your research, sorry I couldn`t be of any help. Regards, Robin
Like I said, he needs a lot of reading...
I do have a 60A dedicated line for my setup, I still need a pair of isolated transformers to clean up all those mains garbage. I am also searching for an additional power filter. Recently, I've tried the Combak ALS-777. It is marvellous. Every piece of musical instructment is picking back to its right position. I am going to get one soon.