Power Conditioning done by IC's & Speaker Cables

Can proper power conditioning be addressed in the middle and at the end of the chain by some of these new technology ic's and speaker cables?

I have about $5k retail tied up in 3 excellent in-line power conditioners from Foundation Research and the rest of the $5k tied up in interconnects and speaker cables.

I've been quite pleased with my power conditioners and cabling. But I'm also all for simplicity. If I could have superior cables and no need for line conditioners, I'd do in a heart beat.

To rephrase the question: Can some of these new ic's and speaker cables act as passive line conditioners and do as good or better job than active or passive power conditioners that you plug you components into?

I did have one manufacturer tell me that his cables would do exactly that.

For several reasons I don't buy it, but I'm all ears if anybody has had first hand knowledge or experience at this.

I would think that even if his cables did exactly that, one would still benefit from leaving the power conditioners in place.
I am no engineer, but my understanding is a well made cable will reject RFI, etc., except this just means the cable will not act like an antenna and pick up noise and radio signals. If the noise is already in the signal stream, I can't see how a non-power cable can help. If a well made interconnect and speaker cable is suppose to pass the signal through the system and out to the speakers without altering or coloring the sound, then the cable should pass the noise straight through with no coloration as well. You get perfectly reproduced noise.

Logically, if I am wrong, this would mean that a recording of AC noise (as music) would come out the speakers as complete silence. Not likely.
Bybee filters worked really well on my loudspeakers, but that's no substitute for line conditioning. Goto www.dezorel.com and download their "Noise Basics" file. It's a good starting point.

I don't believe a power cord should be a filter. But, what do I know?
Psychic: What is the difference of employing some type of "filter action" in a power cord or putting it inside of a fancy box ? Granted, one can go "whole hog" if you have a larger platform or chassis work with, but other than that, i don't see much of a difference as to how it is done or what it looks like. The bottom line is that the "junk" gets filtered / attenuated out of the AC line, whatever the means. Sean
That's a good point/question, Sean. From my naive perspective, I would think that if you can filter out the noise prior to processing in your source, pre, and amp, the results would be for the better.

Cleaner in, cleaner out. But again perhaps I'm being naive.

Can a speaker cable really catch just as much noise at the end of the process as could be caught at the beginning?

Or wouldn't the speaker cabling need the capability to filter out even more noise because whatever noise came in from the AC has now been amplified to one extent or another?

If the answer is yes, anybody care to name the cable manufacturer and model?
Quote: "Psychic: What is the difference of employing some type of "filter action" in a power cord or putting it inside of a fancy box ?"

Answer: There is no difference--theoretically.

Now, by having one component perform *two* functions, try to evaluate its sonic signature and its filtration performance at the same time. I like my filtration happening elsewhere...

Quote: "Can a speaker cable really catch just as much noise at the end of the process as could be caught at the beginning?"

From what I understand there's some speaker cables that filter stuff. I think Empirical Audio does have such designs and has an explanation in the website (www.empiricalaudio.com). There is an explanation of line noise generated *within* the wire in the Bybee website (www.bybeetech.com). I went for the Bybees because Dan Wright insisted they were necessary and I accepted what the Bybee website exposed. I had also done searches on the Asylum and Harmonic Discord. Pretty controversial what I found. Eventually, Dan's posting on this matter in Audiogon clarified me as to why the controversy.

The Bybees proved to work great in my speakers--definitely worth the money. It's good to know effective filtration is happening at the last minute, just before the signal enters the voice coil. I can see that with all the mods my speaker's efficiency increased by about 2dB.
Any filtering that you are getting in a power cord or conditioner will have an effect on the dynamics or the noise (common-mode). Filtering in IC's or speaker cables directly filter (roll-off) the signal high-frequencies. This is not the same type of filtering.

Chances are, that you have a ground-loop that is adding common-mode noise to your system and the conditioners are helping to reduce this. Also, but less likely, you may have excessive HF noise on the power line that is getting past some power supplies in some components. It is worth trying to deterimine if it is the ground-loop by floating the grounds on all components except one and not using the conditioners. If the noise floor drops and the sound is pristine, then the ground-loop is at fault.

As for noise induced by cables, this is certainly possible as well. If you have IC's with jumbled crystal lattice in the conductors, then you will get soem sibilance from this. The speaker cables can have filtering to eliminate this. However, it is better just to eliminate the sibiliance by getting the right IC's. Likewise with the speaker cables. I recommend that my customers not use any power conditioning unless it is a regenerative device or a simple isolation transformer.
From what I understand, Bybee filters work at the *quantum* level, unlike other devices. This is what Dan Wright posted about them:

"The Bybee filters are completely non-reactive, so they are not actually 'filtering' the frequency responce in terms of a passive device of an LCR nature."

What is "LCR nature"? Beats me...

I could safely assume that the Bybee IC filters are also of the same nature. Dan likes to use Bybee filters in Power supplies and in line conditioners, too.
LCR means:

L= Inductance

C= Capacitance

R= Resistance

When you combine all of the above aspects into one circuit, it gives you what is termed a "complex impedance". Most people confuse "resistance" as having the same meaning as "impedance", but they are quite different. One can only have what is considered a "pure" resistance if it is free of ( or extremely low in ) capacitance and / or inductance. When you add those two to a circuit, it is no longer "simple resistance", hence the term "complex impedance" to show that you have multiple aspects at work simultaneously.

What Bybee is trying to say is that his "filters" do not work like "common" filters using "common" parts.

As to Psychic's comments about power cords having a sonic signature and not wanting to confuse this with how it is filtering the system, they are one and the same. Due to the specific electrical characteristics of how the power cord mates with a specific component, the result is the "sonic signature". This "sonic signature" is a direct result of "filtering" or the "complex impedances" that take place when mating components / cords together. As such, you really CAN'T separate the "filter action" of a power cord no matter what you do. It will always show various amounts of inductance, capacitance and resistance, which are all the variables that it takes to make up a "filter". Whether or not these factors are "beneficial" to a specific system or high enough in value to be noticeable would strictly be a matter of personal preference that one could only find out by trial and error.

As such, i would rather have a power cord do as much filtering as possible than to have to go through current limiting devices that eat up more rack or floor space. The only problem with this is that such a power cord would be pretty darn "thick", making it less practical. With that in mind, both consumers and engineers have to pick and choose which methods that they prefer and where they are willing to draw the line / make sacrifices in terms of total performance and cost. Sean
Sean wrote:
As such, i would rather have a power cord do as much filtering as possible than to have to go through current limiting devices that eat up more rack or floor space.

If I understand you right, I think we may differ on this one. I relegate power cord filtering to only the ground conductor (for common-mode noise). For the current-carrying conductors I prefer no filtering, in fact I want the inductance and resistance to be as low as possible. This is the way my cord, the Magnum2 works, and it has held its own against much more expensive cords, particularly when used with power amps (see BFS review issue #140). I do not believe in shielding power cords either. There are better ways to control stray fields.

I believe the reason that some of the shielded and highly inductive/capacitive cords can have a positive effect, particularly on line-level components, is that they are reducing common-mode noise from ground-loops, abeit at the cost of signal dynamics.
I'm glad I have learned audio w/out electricity. I can make it work rather simply...

Sean, when you do that power cord prototype, send me one and I'll gladly audition it--filter or no filter. Like Deano taught me: "Never pass up an audition."
Tom says, I've used all of these types of things, and they work. I use Bybees, and they work nicely. I use power conditioning and it works. I use decent IC's and Speaker Cables , and they work well. I think a combination of things is the way to go. If you have a real problem, address it as best you can. I use Bybees at the speakers, and battery power for the mains. I don't have an RF problem, so I use unshielded IC's. I have no AC wiring or power in my house, except for the high voltage section of my tube preamp. I have DC lights, DC refrigerator, no TV, and DC everything else. I am 400 feet from the nearest power lines, and am not connected to it. The stray fields in my house are as low as it can get. So, I am adressing the issue from as many directions as possible. No mains power or fields. DC battery power wherever possible. Less offensive appliances in the house. And I still have Bybees on the speakers, and they still help. Do whatever you can, and you'll get better results out the speaker. But be sure that it really does something. Don't buy snake oil.
Speaker cables would be one of the least effectives places to attempt the type of filtering accomplished by power line conditioners. If your problem is 60Hz line hum, then you've already run it through your power amp thereby wasting precious headroom. If its some sort of ultra sonic hash, then it will have already done its damage in your CD player or preamp. I use Versalab Red Rollers at the speaker end of my cables to filter out radio frequency interference that may be picked up by the cable, it's no substitute for dedicated, active power line conditioning.
Twl, you truly are a 'purist'. And in more ways than one. You are to be commended for some to many of your choices.
TWL - I believe that the reason that you like the Bybee filters is because they eliminate some of the sibilants caused by wire in your IC's and speaker cables that has jumbled crystal lattice. If you replaced this with wire that has organized crystal structure, you could probably eliminate the filters.

This is the reason why so many folks believe that stranded wire is worse than solid wire. It's because cold-working the wire to braid or twist it into stranded bundles damages the crystal structure and sibilants are the result.

This is also why direct-immersion cryo damages the sound of the wire - the crystal structure is then helter-skelter, not well-organized. This causes reflections and current-bunching in the conductor.
Audioengr: As i've stated before, there is nothing wrong with shielding a power cord. You've probably based your opinions of this matter on the commercially available models that are out there. I don't think that any of these do it "right", especially for high current devices like a power amp.

Other than that, i agree that power cords should be as low in inductance and series resistance as possible. If it sounds like i'm "dodging" specific design criteria, you are right. I am trying to say something ( as i have tried to do in the past ) without giving away the whole bag of marbles. Sean
Audioengr, so are you an advocate of single crystal wiring such as Harmonic Technology's, Acoustic Zen, Audience, etc.?

I ask because I have Harmonic Tech cabling (single crystal) in my system and when I removed my amplifier's in-line power conditioner and connected the 10 gauge 99.95% OFC romex to a cryo dipped Hubbell 20 amp IEC and plugged that into my amp, the most immediately noticable difference was the increase in sibilance.

I'd be interested to get your opinions on the results of my experiment?
Stehno -
I do believe that more organized, relaxed crystal structure can reduce sibilance. I actually just started offering a cable I call the "Perfect Crystal" (marketing talk), which eliminates most of the smll sibilance that my "standard" cables had. However, I'm sure that you can damage even single-crystal wire by working it or temp-shocking it. Single-crystal wire must be handled carefully after it is fabricated or you will wreck it. For instance, if you were to twist several small gauges of single-crystal into a stranded wire, working the metal like this would cause it to be no longer single-crystal. It would definitely break it up into smaller crystals, with the resulting sibilance.

It's hard to believe that crystal structure in a power cord would make much difference, particularly given that there is usually far more ROMEX in the wall that has relatively crappy crystal structure, but you evidently have the empirical evidence on this. I wonder how much of the sibilance reduction was actually due to the improved grounding or ground-filtering provided by the conditioner as opposed to the current-carrying wires? If the sibilance is due to ground-loop noise, then this could explain it. The power Hot and neutral wires do not really explain it, IMO. Another experiment, where you unground the amps at the wall outlets or at the conditioner using cheater plugs would tell you if it is a ground-loop causing the sibilance.
Audioengr, thanks for the reply. I've been floating the ground on all three dedicated lines since I've installed them over a year ago. And I've been using some custom 10ga 99.95% OFC romex for whatever that's worth. If you'd care to address this, I'd appreciate it.

I would interested in obtaining more info on your perfect crystal products.
The Bybee filters work at all frequencies. I am glad I had them installed in my Swans. In fact, I plan to use them on the Bose 901's I have reserved for HT.