I have never compared the two together, but in some respects it may also depend on how big a PS Audio Powerplant you use. If you have a small one and the amplifier gets power hungry, I could see where there would be limitations in performance.
I think it depends on the amps, but most of the amps I have had did
not like being plugged into an AC Conditioner. They love being plugged into properly grounded dedicated 20 amp circuits with Holspital Grade Outlets. I plug everything else into an AC Conditioner that is also plugged into a properly grounded dedicated 20 amp circuit. Works beautifully. I highly recommend dedicated circuits.
There is no powerplant on the planet big enough to handle my big Krells. I would definitely put the conditioner on the source/preamp.
I would first see whether you need conditioning. For me it turned out that when I substituted an excellent power cord for the conditioner, the sound vastly improved.
Thanks Rsbeck...Dedicated circuits are a must in any situation.
I have two 30 amp and two 20 amp circuits.
The two dedicated outlets, firstly, are the way to start. There is not a power cord out there, that can do for your electric what a great conditioner can. I'd start with your source, but you want your amp, as well to have it's own power conditiner. I use the Audio Magic Eclipse which requires two power cords. The best way to isolate your digital and analog. As much as I loved my Eclipse, the addition of (yesterday, in fact) two new power cords from Eclipse to amp and cdp--wow!--another level, altogether.
After installing dedicated AC lines, I ditched the power conditioners, but threw a PS Audio Ultimate Outlet on each line (with the 20A high current version for the amps), and a third one for the TV and VCR (on an existing, non-dedicated line), and I am very happy with the results. Interestingly, it was my 20+ year old (but high end, for the time) television that received the most noticeable benefit from the UO's.
Tom, you ditched the power conditioners? What were they? How come you're using, now, PS UO if you didn't require power conditiners after your dedicated outlet installation? What could they be doing better than a good pc? I'm confused. peace, warren
Tom, what are those PS OUs doing for you, that your power conditioner wasn't? Dedicated outlets, but you're still going with those OUs rather than a power conditioner? I'm confused. What kind of pc did you have?
Well, my power conditioner wasn't top notch, it's an Adcom ACE-515, but I felt that it was not allowing the full current to go through. My concerns were surge suppression, and noise filtering, but without bottle-necking my current. I feel that the UO's are providing me with that. I suppose that I could have gone with a more expensive power conditioner, but from what I had read, the Ultimate Outlets seemed like a more cost effective option, and they have worked well for me so far.
Tom, I respectfully disagree. The PS OUs are certainly less expensive, but that's it. There's no cord that will replace an excellent power conditioner. You might want to consider something like the Audio Magic Mini Stealths. Non current limiting. Fasten your seatbelt, you'll see what killer electric will do for your system. Perhaps,it's a tad expensive, but watch the 'gon for used Mini Stealths. They are inexpensive and quite amazing. peace, warren
I agree with Drdiamond, Rsbeck & Tombowlus: my experience w/ power conditioners is virtually identical.
IMHO, in general, a power conditioner is the worst thing one can put into one's system esp. for the pre & the amps. The most benefit I have seen is to create dedicated outlets using dedicated wiring from the mains box (in one's basement/garage, etc). A power conditioner creates far too much filtering that encroaches into the audio band & makes for some pretty lousy listening. Most power conditioners are far too coloured thus impose their signature onto the music.
I use Richard Gray's 400S only on the CDP & TT & never did think of putting the pre & amps thru it even though a communication w/ Richard Gray re-assured me that the 400S did not contrict current. Here I'm using the 400S mainly as a surge protector for equipment that is more delicate than a pre & amp.
Those who listen w/ their pre & amps plugged into a power conditioner are undoubtably listening to music w/ some colouration. This is a fact. They might like colouration & that's just fine but it's still a colouration.
Putting an expensive power cord into a wall outlet that is carrying cruddy power is another myth. We went thru this heated discussion during Christmas break (in that us vs. Corona power cord thread). For this matter, as Slappy said, if you got cruddy power, you are covered in sh**, you can wear a tuxedo to cover it up, but you're still covered!
Get some dedicated lines & ditch that power conditioner!
I do believe that dedicated circuits will give a nice bang for the buck.
My amps and powered sub-woofer love being plugged directly into dedicated 20 amp circuits. After that, you want to isolate your digital
equipment from your analogue. IMO, this is why many people report hearing improvements after adding filtered power cords to digital equipment. Digital players will pollute your system. If you can provide a dedicated circuit for each of your components, you could get away without a filtered power cord on your digital components -- or AC conditioner [and ISOLATOR] in your system. But IMO, it is more cost effective and effficient to plug your amps and powered sub-woofer into 20 amp dedicated outlets and then plug an AC Conditioner and *ISOLATOR* into another dedicated 20 amp outlet and plug everything else into that. Make sure your AC conditioner also ISOLATES each component plugged into it. This keeps your digital from polluting your system, keeps your components isolated from each other, keeps noise from bad electricity out of your source components, keeps them from transmitting that noise to your amplifiers. I would start with dedicated circuits. Then, I would add something like a BP-2.5. I orginally bought the 3.5 with the idea that I would plug my amps into it. Since I've learned that my amps would rather be plugged directly into dedicated circuits, I probably could have been fine with the 2.5. But -- I still like having the 3.5. It is probably overkill, but then -- most people would say my whole system is overkill, so why split hairs?
Dedicated crappy electric is dedicated crap. Throw a power conditioner (a great one like the Shunyata, the Sound Application, Audio Magic) and you'll be set free.... just some FWIW. warren
My experiences parallel Rsbeck's regarding both amplifiers and digital. I'd start with dedicated lines and plug the amps into the wall. Regarding digital, I own a Sound Application plc and have dedicated lines. The Sound Application is a fine plc but it does not isolate components (nor does the Shunyata or Audio Magic). This means that if you plug preamp and digital components, or multiple digital components, into one plc, you do get a degree of digital noise cross-contamination. If you then isolate the digital via an isolation transformer plugged into the plc, you have a lot of excess daisy chaining of cords and conditioners, which inherently tends to kill sound and reduce resolution. The better alternatives are either to have separate dedicated lines for each component, with filtering or isolation on each of the digital components, or else to have a single isolating and conditioning unit for the front end, providing that you can find one that is high enough in quality with low noise and no coloration.
If you really want to avoid 'dedicated crap', then go all out and use a high kva isolation transformer to feed your dedicated circuits or subpanel, and an upgraded grounding system.
The Audio Magic Eclipse is set up perfectly to isolate digital and analog. Two power cords required. I have them plugged into two dedicated outlets. that's the way to go..warren
My preliminary experience with the Hydra-8 is that it improves upon all the components. My monoblocks are 600 watts, and I think even they improved. They were maybe 1-1.5 decibals louders without the conditioner, but were more coherent and refined with. I'd be interested to know others opinions about this, because the party-line is that power conditioners are too restrictive on amps. Perhaps good cords all around and a dedicated line are key here.
Just a comment, since I'm in no position to know Audio Magic's current design. I'll be a bit surprised to find out that a passive plc can 'perfectly' isolate digital and analog, though any moves in this direction are [much] better than none. Anyone coming from a mixed signal or digital ic background knows the difficulty of preventing digital noise transfer, and most passive plc's are not very heavily engineered. Just skeptical of the word 'perfect' in this context, despite the separate power cords, though I could be wrong.
Appreciate the advice. Of course, I have already gone out and bought the Hydra 8 and the PS Audio 500, so I'll test out my own theory. I just installed a dedicate 20 amp line, but perhaps I made a mistake becuase I had the electrician use the same line for the source and the amps. I probably should have had him put in two different lines. Anyway, I'll post any interesting conclusions that I reach on this subject in a few weeks.
If you get the electrician back -- you might want to consider installing another couple of dedicated circuits. I think three dedicated circuits is great and four is ideal.
If you have everything plugged into the Hydra, then you only need the 1 dedicated line.
I finally got to take the amps off my Hydra and compare the sound with and without. The Hydra is plugged into a dedicated circuit with wattgate outlet and an Elrod Statement powercord. I removed my 600 watt monoblocks and plugged both of them into a single 20 amp dedicated wattgate outlet. The difference was staggering, and much for the worse without the conditioner. I was really expecting there to be increased dynamics and a real potential for improvement without the conditioner, so I did not have a preconceived notion prior to the experiment. I also left the system on for an additional 12 hours just to be sure it wasn't just from turning things on and off. Anyway, I found it literally unlistenable without the conditioner. It was harsh, lacked pace and rhythm, the soundstage lost all perspective, and was very 'unmusical'. When I plugged everything back in, it thankfully improved. Does the conditioner serve as a mask/filter for problems or does it allow my components to function optimally - who can say and who cares. For me, this issue is settled. The amps are staying plugged into the Hydra.
I would also just say that without the conditioner, things sounded a bit louder, more forward, and more detailed. However, it all lost it's proportionality which is crucial for conveying the proper soundstage for classical music. So I guess there is some room for personal music preference and system to say that some may like it without, and some may like it with.
I just went through this analysis myself recently. I had been using 2 Hydra 2's (240V versions) to feed my two Linn Klimax Solo 500W monoblocks using Anaconda Alpha powercords. I went the 240V route because to my ears the amps sounded better in that set-up.
Recently I bought a darTZeel power amp and decided to reassess the most optimal power delivery. Initially, I went straight into the wall in 120V mode and then I reinserted the Hydra 2. Almost didn't even need to go sit down and listen the improvement was so immediate. Then I decided to try the Hydra 8 in place of the Hydra 2. An immediate and very audible further improvement. Sold me immediately and I have since ordered a 240V Hydra 8.
Then...I decided to try the new Helix version of the power cords...all the store had to demo was the Python Helix. This model bested my non-Helix Anaconda's and accordingly I have ordered new Anaconda Helix's for my amplifier and front end equipment. The incremental performance of the Anaconda is probably best extracted on high current devices like amplifiers.
earflappin, just what exactly is 'high current' amps. If you have a 480watts amp running on 240V mains, that would be 2 amps and 4 amps on a 120V. Not exactly high current in my book! frankly, any power cord larger than 14ga is pointless!
Bob P, my point was that compared to pre-amps and CD players, amplifiers are higher current pullers.
In terms of anything greater than 14 gauge being pointless I would say that there is more to optimal power cord performance than just the gauge of the wire. Based on my experience with Shunyata's helix speaker cables, helix interconnects and now the helix power cords my ears are telling me that this design element is very effective in reducing the electromagnetic interference and self-induced inductance that tends to limit the performance of so many other designs.
But ultimately, the science and engineering gets you only so far and the rest has to be judged by your ears. I can remember several years ago people pounding the table saying that zip speaker wire was as good as any other kind...cable was cable....