I use an upgraded outlet, power conditioner, enhancer, and power cord. Some, even upgrade the outlets in the power conditioner and Cryo treat their power cords. Satisfaction is personal, where you want to stop is up to you. Not all and any outlet will be synergistically correct with the rest of your components. Again like everything else, it all needs to gel. Have patience and Fun!
This is my take. Not fact, mind you, just my experience. Firstly, I have asked similar questions about the need for killer power cords,with a power conditioner and never received a satisfactory answer. Perhaps, there really isn't one, because of the mystical nature of electricity. I have chosen to go the power conditioner route ( Audio Magic Mini Digital and The Matrix) using Lat International power cords. While, the cords are certainly not Elrods ($$wise) or the like, I believe the Lats carry the signal, from my power conditioner and guarentees its' arrival to my integrated and cdp, unimpeded with electrical evils. I do, also, use a Lat from outlet (hospital grade now,Hubbel on the short horizon) to the power conditioners as well as the Lat to the equipment. I find it hard to believe that 6 feet of cable are going to do anymore than my Audio Magic. This is, always, an interesting topic. Now, the guy I bought my Audio Magic stuff from, (including Jerry over at Audio Magic, not the Elrod, of course) swears that an Elrod will really bring me deeper into sonic nirvana. Why that 6 foot of cord from outlet to power conditoner will do those extraordinary things-he can't specifically say. "But it works" God, how many times I've heard this rap about power cords. You know, it just might, but I'm not going there $$ wise. I probably would, however, if I had the $$$. A rational would soon follow. Hope this helps you a tad. I know it will generate plenty from our friendly audiophools. peace,warren
First of all there have been several posts on this subject and each system is different. I have been corresponding with some Agon members on the usual higher priced power cords and we have each tried some of them in our own systems. The conclusions vary. What you need to do is narrow down your choices by what equipment is being used, for example if you have tube equipment and the person using the Elrod has SS but another has BMI on their tube units you have to try to get through all of this and narrow down your choices. Then contact the dealers selling here on Agon and ask for an in home audition. Do not buy the used cord based upon a review or someone elses ears. I know, I tried it and it did not work. Let your own ears tell you if it is worth the difference in your own system. It takes time to learn and hear for your self but it can be very much worht the effort.
Also, since there are so many credit card offers for 0% interest for 12 months, you can tranfer your expense to one of these and pay off the Elrod over 12 months but enjoy the hell out of your purchase today.
Buy a "Silent Cable" 10 gauge from Frank for 60 bucks and a shielded Belden kit from Ernie (Subaruguru) for about 30 bucks. Both advertize on A-Gon. For less than 100 bucks you can find out for yourself. Try them on different components and get ready to order more. You will be a believer.
In my system I received much improvement each time I added one of the following:
Dedicated 20-amp line.
Using cryogenically treated hospital grade outlets.
Using a power conditioner.
Using upgraded power cords.
Different brands work well, and you need to experiment to see what sounds best to you, with your equipment.
Lak has given you the correct sequence to inprovements, though you might just want to start with step 2, being cheaper than step 1, unless you can do it yourself...
You can have dedicated 20 amp circuits and cryo'd outlets and even outstanding AC conditioning, and I would still say that the power cords one uses can have SERIOUS sonic impacts on the sound quality of your system. I say this because a friend of mine has all of the above and AC cords still impact his system immensely. He can completely change the sound of his system by switching out the AC cord of his Mark Levinson transport.
I do not have dedicated lines or Cryo'd outlets (someday soon....), but I do have decent AC conditioning for my front end and my preamp. And power cords can also totally transform the sound I hear from my system as well.
YES, I agree! Power cords can also totally transform the sound I hear from my system as well.
My list is similar to Lak's with the following exceptions:
1. My Foundation Research dedicated in-line power conditioners have their own built-in power cables. Thus saving me a few grand.
2. I've lifted/floated the grounds on all components for less AC noise.
3. Based on a friend's recommendation, I recently re-connected the ground only on the pre's dedicated line for still further sonic improvements.
This is great! You've all given me more options to pursue to improve my system. And from what it sounds like, I'm not wasting my time, or money, in upgrading my power cables. Personally, I find the tweaking and tinkering to be half the fun of audio.
Thanks to everyone!!!
I have a HTS5000 that i use for audio.. I am very happy
with performance especially considering the price but i can
tell you from recent experience adding quality PC's will
make a "huge" improvment even with the 5100 in the chain.
Think of every wire and PC as a component of your system.
I've gone with dedicated AC lines, good quality outlets, and then good quality power cords. If your amp(s) isn't too big, and you can't go to dedicated outlets, then a power conditioner would make sense to me. Many inexpensive power conditioners can limit power supply to big amps. Good Luck. Craig
I agree with Garfish as he is correct about some to many power conditioners being enemic or restricting current draws from the wall outlet.
But I do not believe the Foundation Research LC-1 and LC-2 in-line power conditioners fall into that category.
For example, the smaller FR LC-1 is rated at 6 amps RMS and 8 amps peak. That translates to 720 watts RMS of constant current capability and 960 watts peak. The LC-2 is rated at 20 amps RMS and 28 amps peak which translates to 2400 watts RMS of constant current capability and 3360 watts peak.
In comparison, I believe PS Audio's P1200 is rated at 10 amps, the P600 at 5 amps, and the P300 at 2.5 amps. Correct me if I am wrong as I certainly do not want to be inaccurate here.
As to the dedicated lines comment, it is my experience that a dedicated line does not clean up the AC noise and a quality oriented line-conditioner is still very much needed.
I am aware of only one area in which a dedicated line does clean up noise. And that is when a digital source is no longer on the same circuit/line as the amp, pre, and/or turntable. Therefore, the digital noise that the cdp injects back into the line remains isolated when placed on a seperate circuit/line.
And, of course, having a digital source is an excellent reason for using a bi-directional line-conditioner, of which some to many line-conditioners are not.
You're indeed correct re keeping the digital line as far removed from the low-level analog one as possible. If you're system is still plagued by AC noise I'd try installing a dedicated line on the CLEANER phase of the house wiring, if possible, before going to a conditioner. This may entail rewiring a couple of the "dirtier" cables to the opposite phase, such as a refrigerator, fluorescent lights, motors, etc. I have an antique smal hand-mounted massager that throws more RF than a Scud missile!
Quote: "And from what it sounds like, I'm not wasting my time, or money, in upgrading my power cables."
If you do that time and money expenditure before working on room acoustics you WILL be wasting a lot of time and money!
To get back to the original question for a sec, and also try to answer the one Warren raises, there are 2 basic reasons often given as to why an upgraded PC could and frequently will give an improvement even after a line conditioner:
1) The in-wall wiring is typically much heavier in guage than stock power cords, so this helps explain why an improvement could be realized by replacing the last 6 feet with something heavier.
2) The greatest need for EMI/RFI shielding is in the immediate vicinity of the audio system's components themselves - due to their intrinsic radiation of same - and stock power cords are usually unshielded, so this helps explain why an improvement could be realized by replacing the last 6 feet with something shielded.
Then you've got your better connectors, high-purity conductors, exotic dielectrics, optimized geometry, mechanical damping, and even built-in filtering on some. But why should any of that stuff, which is usually associated with interconnects and speaker cables - in other words, cables in the signal path - make any difference with cords that are simply carrying the 60Hz wall power to the component?
Because the output signal of any active component is not simply a 'magnified' or 'converted' version of its input signal; it's a brand new signal, derived from or modulated by information contained within the input signal, and created out of the power being fed that component - drawn from the wall and modified by the power supply - as its raw material, which is why power cords (and power supplies, and receptacles) can and should legitimately be thought of as being in the signal path. Although this viewpoint may not be as satisfactory as the above two factors in helping to explain why it is that the last 6 feet of cable - after miles of cable which presumably ignores most of these considerations (or at least the hundreds of feet of cable connecting your service's local power line transformer to your house's breaker box) - could make a positive difference, it does help explain why a cheap stock cord which also ingores these considerations (and maybe to a greater degree) could only make things worse.
Hey Z, thanks for getting back to that question I raised. That last 6 feet is a mysterious 6 feet. I am, certainly, not questioning the difference it appears to make, especially with stock power cords. Just the fact that everything you mentioned, as legitimate as it is, can be done, it seems to me, for a couple of hundred dollars. Not $1200, or $600. I have no experience with those big boys and they might, just, make a difference, but like I said, I can't go there. I, still, think that the electric that comes right out of our outlets, traveling that long dirty, evil electric highway needs to be filtered, tweaked, purified, whatever, which I don't think any power cord, regardless of price, can do. BTW, just to get off the topic for a minute: it's snowing here VERY big time. We're talking blizzard conditions, in Point Lookout. Got the whole day to ramble on in between shoveling. Hope some of you will be home today. peace, warren
I'm looking forward today to testing the premise that a foot of snow will act as a resonance damper on the power lines and increase the inky blackness between notes.
But to the topic: It seems to make the most sense to build up in price. Dedicated lines and good outlets are cheap and effective. A PLC is next and cords are last. This also preserves sanity, as there is no doubt that once you have a PLC, the impact of PC's is reduced, compared to running them straight to the wall. I have found it easy to send back most PC's as not-worth-the price mostly because my PLC accomplishes so much. Mind you, I have never tried the kilo-buck cords. But I've tried plenty in the <$450 range, and if I bought 5 of those I'd be up to the price of a Hydra and half crazy from evaluating 5 cords and all the various combinations.
I will plug Ernie's Belden kit, which was an improvement over stock on my Linn CDP, even through my PLC (a Tice), and so cheap ya gotta love it.
Warren and Whknopp, I am with both of you when it comes to not having tried - or wanting to - any $K PC's. But I'm the same way with all my wires - that's just not the level I can play this game on, especially with as many components to plug in as I have. But on my gear which can accept aftermarket cords, all of which is plugged into an API PowerWedge Ultra PLC (which passively filters the line, transformer-isolates sources, and provides balanced AC for sources, as well as offering a degree of protection), I can hear some kind of improvement using upgraded cords, so the PLC is not rendering this factor passe. Even my new-to-me Levinson 380S preamp, which many dealers told me used such a great built-in line filtration system of its own that it doesn't need a PC upgrade (something many owners apparently don't pursue with ML pre's, due to their need for right-angle plugs to fit underneath the unit), has shown subtle but worthwhile benefits from switching out the stock cord (I have had to raise the unit up in order to fit normally-terminated cords under it for testing, pending getting something fitted with the correct plug). Is it worth the money in the end? I'll tell you when I finally get all my components fitted with upgraded cords, but I'm assuming the effects are additive.
Zaikesman, just one more side-bar. How's the new preamp? And in comparison to the old pre-amp?
I personally have found a big improvement by using a Monster HT2000. I found no differance from aftermarket PC's. I believe this to be very individual on your system and the power being provided to your home. You may wish to try NOT plugging your power amp into the power conditioner. Only one way to tell for sure what will work for you.
Good luck, Paul
Hi Stehno - Better, as you'd expect for the money. I'm not done evaluating it yet, as my system is still only partially up'n'running at the moment - and this more than I really wanted to have to invest (though I suspect it's justified at the preamp if it's justified anywhere) - but it meets my functionality needs and seems like it stands a good chance of sticking around for a while. When I'm prepared, mentally and system-wise, I might think once again about whether I feel like bothering with getting an equally-premium tube pre in here to compare against.