forget the Adcom it's useless...the Monster is ok, don't know about the Furman. The Monster will filter ac and protect from surges and brownouts....
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I see that you are new, and looking for advice. Don't let people throw you-off with unhelpful and false advice....(roll of eyes)
Which unit you get may depend on where you're going to use it and with what equipment. Filters are useful for keeping noise pollution out of your system, as well as giving you the extra plugs you need without resorting to a cheap power bar. (which can cause even more noise!)
Cheaper noise filters can be a problem when you have a big amp that draws a lot of power when it gets loud. Unless you have a really good filter that can handle the current without strangling your amp, plug the amp into the wall and everything else into the filter.
I happen to have two of those units right now. I wouldn't use them in my expensive high res Audio system, but they do have a place in my Home Theatre. The Adcom ACE 515 was the first filter I ever bought, and it does a decent job. A couple of years ago, I upgraded to the Monster 3600MkII for my main rack of equipment at the side of the room, where it does a fine job, and moved the Adcom over to where my TV and subwoofer are.
The TV looks noticeably better when used on the filter, and the subwoofer gets plenty of clean power. Everything else is plugged into the Monster, except the seven channel amp, which can draw a lot of power.
There are other options of course, but if budget is a problem you can't really go wrong with the ones you're looking-at.
When I look at my Monster, I kinda' pause and think about it, given their stupid pursuit to OWN the word "Monster" and their legal harassment of other companies that use it. I'm not buying Monster anymore, but I had this unit before that story really hit the news Big Time, and I'm not going to sell it just because of that. Just remember that there are a lot of people who bad mouth Monster because of this, or just because they mindlessly parrot the same propaganda because they heard it somewhere else. It is your decision to make and all that crap doesn't change the fact that the 3600 mkII does a good job...so buy a used one and be happy!
Here's the most helpful advice I can give (roll eyes).
Buy a used version of whichever of the three interests you most. Listen with it in the system and out of the system. Concentrate on not allowing your desire for the conditioner to work influence what you actually hear. Write down on a pad of paper the differences you discern, if any.
If after a week or so you decide the conditioner is worthwhile, then keep it.
If not, sell it for what you paid.
dedicated line for source and amp. Power conditioner or no power condioner, that's a good starting point. Your search for a power conditiner may just end at the outlet.
I also agree with tvad should you decide to go the PC route; that is, of course, after you installed your dedicated line. If you can only do one, I'd do the source.
There are two Audio Magic Mini Stealths for sale now. One is $300 and the other is $325. I have the mini digital version of this conditioner and it is very effective. Also, as has been mentioned, the new PS Audio duet it in your price range. I believe AA and Music Direct are both discounting the duet currently.
Ditto the right honorable Golden_Ears. and Tvad too. Most amps are better off plugged directly into the wall. For protection from lightening, get a Brick Wall. Or add a whole house surge suppressor at the panel. For front end kit, buy a used Monster HTS 3500 Mk II or 3600 Mk II. Leave the Ace in the hardware store. I use a 3500 in a mid-fi system in the dining room and it surprised me with the improvements it made running an old NAD integrated and a cheapie 5 disk CDP.
Currently there is a fellow audiogon lister/vender selling monster 3600MK II for $199.00 plus shipping. That's tough to beat. I have more expensive pieces, but I do own a 3600MK II and a 5000 MK II. They really work well. My more expensive pieces ar from PS and Audio Wedge which have been upgraded. Big difference in price between those bad boys and the monsters. Monsters are hard to hate!!
How much would be a dedicated line? I realize it depends but aren't we talking like thousands?
My entire audio system including all cables is about $4000. I've got to be reasonable....kind of like putting Z-rated racing tires on a Hyundai.
Also...if I was to look into dedicated surge suppressor at the panel - any particular type / model??
Thanks all for your input - great learning. Really appreciate it.
It shouldn't be more than a few hundred unless you live in NYC or other such area. I have an original Tice Power Block, which weighs 56lb and is quite large. When I had noisy power lines it was a help, on dedicated lines it sounded worse. I was going to sell it but have finally persuaded my wife to let " that ugly thing" into the living room, where it makes a noticeable improvement on our 52" Plasma.
fwiw I have had dedicated lines and cryo treated hospital grade outlets for a few years and using the Audience conditioner made a significant upgrade over plugging the amp straight into the wall.
It probably is best to get the dedicated lines first but the Audience Adept Response is a mighty fine addition.
buying and selling here on Agon is not too bad, after over 30 times I have not had a bad deal so listen to Tvad and try for yourself.
Surge suppressor and noise filter installed at the service panel. Environmental Potentials EP-2050. I had one installed. Total cost was about $750 including installation.
I had two dedicated lines installed for $500 total.
Ether, is your mind reeling yet? All good stuff on your thread. I'm an Audio Magic fan, and a Stealth Mini on your source would be wonderful. There are oodles of used PCs out there, but your deicated line is still a prudent and sound start. I paid $125, not counting the cost of my Porter Port. Obviously, from what you've read, this price may get pretty steep. Keep us posted on your electric journey.
I just tried a PS Audio Quintet in place of my Monster HTS 800, and although there was a slight improvement for the CD player, the LP's sounded horrible with the PS Audio - it took away a large portion of the soundstage, and had a very negative effect on instrumental timbres as well. I am sticking with the Monster - in my next house, I will probably have dedicated lines instead, as some have suggested here. I won't try a power conditioner for analog playback again, that's for sure.
Dedicated lines do nothing to cleanse the dirty AC coming in from the street which is the biggest distortion pertaining to AC. Everybody has dirty AC (some worse than others) and it does not matter how close or far you are from a power station.
Dedicated lines serve two purposes:
1. Minimize any interior AC noise coming from appliances and dimmer switches.
2. Help ensure that there's enough juice for dynamic/complex passages for power hungry amps.
Dedicated lines also do not cure the bi-directional digital noise generated from digital source components (cdp, dac, class D amps, computer, etc). Even with dedicated lines the digital noise will go out from the component into the wall, all the way back to the service panel, and then out to every other circuit/line, and into your other components.
If you do not have a high-current drawing amplifier you can easily forgo dedicated lines all-together provided you have proper line conditioners in place and perhaps not be lacking in anything.
Be sure that the line conditioners you select have bi-directional filtering capabilities otherwise your digital components will continue to induce sonic harm into your other components (dedicated lines or not).
I go straight to the wall with my gear now. For sources I used to have a Hydra 4, Stealth Mini, PS Audio UO and the Premier. All but the Hydra affected dynamics. I've considered trying something else but it's not important enough for the cash outlay. I also use the Wiremold power strips which I like.
Hi Mapman, yes I was talking about LP's as well. My brother and I did the experiment, and were shocked at how much worse the conditioner made the LP's sound. We used recordings I knew to have spectacular soundstaging, and it all but disappeared with the conditioner. The conditioner also seemed to remove the ambient noise of the original recording space, greatly to the detriment of the effect. It also took much of the richness out of instrumental and vocal timbres, making the music sound much more analytical, and losing the warmth and sense of life and realism that analog usually has. We think that it may have something to do with the tube amplification, as this effect did not happen in my brother's system, and he has a solid state amp. However, there was a slight improvement for CD's with the conditioner, even with the tube amp, so we are not entirely sure of that conclusion. Anyway, in my system, the conditioner had a VERY detrimental effect on LP's.
Learsfool, I made mention in my post above about the use of 'proper' line conditioning. If I ever post about line conditioners I always preface it with the word 'proper' because there probably is no other area within the industry where there are so many improper (inferior) products as in line conditioners.
Not only do improper line conditioners not improve the sonics (their sole purpose for being) by cleansing and conditioning the AC, they most always seem to induce their own sonic harm by inducing their own noise and/or suppressing certain offending frequencies (including the music). The indifferent line conditioners are those that do nothing whatsoever.
Based on the line conditioner brands you've mentioned, I cannot see where you have yet to list any 'proper' line conditioners among those you've auditioned.
But don't give up. There's a few out there.
Learsfool, good point. There is always the used market.
For example the Foundation Research LC-1 and LC-2 line conditioners are older models and still should compete with some of the very best line conditioners available today and used you can find them around the $300 - $500 price range. (There's none on Audiogon at this moment.)
I'm sure there are others as well such as Audio Magic.
But more important, if proper line conditioning is not in your budget at this time don't waste your money on something that often times sounds worse than nothing at all.
It's not like any line conditioning is better than no line conditioning at all because that simply is not true. I've actually auditioned systems where after 10 - 20 minutes I couldn't take the fatigue any more and suggested we remove the line conditioners entirely from the system and the system sounded far better and less fatiguing. And we're talking very popular name brands in high-end audio.
It's these very units that give proper line conditioning a bad rap and that's why even after all these years few systems have any kind of serious line conditioning.
Line conditioners are what I consider somewhat of a foundational requirement to a system. In other words, if you get this part of the system right (or at least better) it has the potential to dramatically improve every electrical component in the system. Not just one. So it's actually like upgrading every component and hearing a bit more of every component's full potential.
I suggest patience and research, stay away from the most popular brands, and look for used unit prices.
Perhaps instead of budgeting for your next amp or speaker upgrade, you might consider budgeting for proper line conditioning instead. I can all but guarantee that you'll get far more listening pleasure.
Retailed at about $1300. 20 amp. 70+ lbs. Isolation transformer. No relation.
IMO, Shunyata Hydra is the way to go. I've had Monsters, PS Audio Ultimate Outlets, Quietline filters, and the Hydra is the only one that doen't limit dynamics and made a BIG improvement on everything, from large amps, to digital, to TV. Just amazing.
Used Hydra 2's for $250, new right now at Music Direct or Dedicated Audio for $320. But the Hydra 2 has only 2 outlets. In a pinch, though less satisfactory, you could use a high quality power bar attached to it. Other Hydras are more.
Ngjockey, there are others too and they work well. Some have power regulation and surge protection. Seems to me that they act as one big filter without killing speed and dynamics. I don't think I have seen anyone post on this before. I have seen pictures of big iso tranny's in a garage hooked up to dedicated lines. Looked bigger than 70 lbs. I won't be going there however.
When you look at critical applications in laboratory, medical and industrial/commercial, there is virtually no question. They use transformers. For the latter, it is often step-down transformers that serve dual purpose and they're quite common.
Generally, I prefer core type transformers to toroidal because they are more effective filters but it's often a question of packaging. Occasionally, but not typically, they can have a mechanical hum which is one reason, along with aesthetics, they are installed remotely.
If you want regulation, look at Sola Hevi-duty, but they're not cheap.
I have a 120 lb, 5KVA, GE step-down in a closet, with a subpanel, that's fed 240V and creatively wired to supply balanced (60+/60-) AC to dual, bridged amps. It cost $100 off Ebay and $150 for shipping. A third, 1600W bass amp is direct to the wall. Also, a smaller (500VA) iso for the CDP. Dead quiet. The TVC passive line stage also provides some galvanic isolation.