I am at the point where the only things I haven't upgrade or to call it some way the weakest links on my system are related to power.
I have Luxman 550 A2 Harbeth C7 PWDAC ps audio AZ hologram cables Nordost LS XLR RD IC Rega P5 Ps audio Phono
A friend came over and said what are you doing with this great gear and with belkin power supply multiple connections and stock power cords in all your units? I have been thinking since them about his comment but I would like to hear from you guys the true and your experience trough this path.
I am planning to spend 2k on power related upgrades, help and guidance highly appreciate know anything about it.
My experience is limited, but I don't mind passing along the configuration I use.
Power Cord to all components - Used Condition - Zen Acoustic Tsunami - Approx $225.00 each.
Power Cord to Conditioner - Crystal Clear (999.99 silver) Approx 400.00
Conditioner - Equitech, Son of Sam. There are several modles. Suggest you select the wattage rating based on your current total power load,plus anything you are thinking about adding down the road. Note: don't include your power amp or possible future sub.
I have two each dedicated 20 amp circuits which I connect my Prima Luna 5 Power amp into and the other one I use for a REL 305 sub. I live in an area wher power surges or lightning is very uncommon, none the less, I unplug the Amp and Sub after each use. I will add non current limiting type conditioners to each outlet when I can afford to do so or I decide its affordable to do so. Probable similar to the 20 Amp type that PS audio sells with 2 outlets on each unit, or Blue Circle or similar.
This set up wasn't base on Quantum physics or other scientific hypothesis. Basically I bought what I thought was the best for what I wanted to spend. I would say this is a step or two up the ladder from entry level.
I suggest you consider upgrading your fuses to one of the after market brands like Hi Fi Supreme (several Forums here on AG to assist with making a choice).
Hope this may help. I am sure that after reading this, others will have there comments/suggestions to add. There are some AG'rs that do a lot of hands/ears on experimentation and research in making there final decesion. Thats probably some of the best advice you can get. Of course you may be wondering that after all this, did I find an improvement in sonics and did the power equipment add enjoyment to my music listening; Absolutly, was it worth the money; absolutly. Personally I think the dedicated circuits were the biggest improvement, but I am sure that varies with the differences between existing wiring circuits from house to house.
It is impossible to know what another person means, with 100% accuracy, when they are describing what they HEAR. What does 'tight bass' mean? What does 'bright' mean? What does 'dark', 'fluid', 'harsh' and all the rest REALLY mean to you? Then ask yourself, how do I know it means the same to them. Are we really on the same page. Speaking the same language.
In audio you can only listen for yourself. If you like it, that's all that matters. Any wire 'difference' that people hear on this site is so minscule as to be nonexistent. Esp while listen to music. Which, after all, is the purpose of this gear.
When other people tell you what a wire sounds like, it's like telling you what to 'expect'. And if you expect it, you will 'hear' it. My advice is to experiment with wire if you wish, but just keep it between your gear and your ears. There is no 'requirement' that you hear anything and don't be bullied into saying you do.
I do know this, it won't be the so-called 'night & day' experience that many claim it is. Physics and human physiology says that ain't gonna happen! And they have NEVER been wrong. Cheers
The results you get from upgrading cords and/or power conditioners/regenerators will depend greatly on the weakest link in your system. Example: all those reviews on Audioreview by people who claim Martin Logans or Maggies.....are mediocre at best but power them with A/V receivers. Your components, however, should respond quite significantly to upgrading cords and conditioners.
I have found that upgrading plugs on cords also makes a big difference. Cheap wattgates do NOT sound as good as the Acrolinks, Oyaides, Furutechs, or IeGOs though it can be a balancing act choosing the right plugs. And I've even replaced all my outlets with upgraded ones. The Porter Ports are clean and clear and inexpensive making most others sound veiled. The Maestro outlets take performance up another notch being fuller bodied and presenting a deeper and more developed soundstage.
Keep in mind though that upgrading a single cord, while the other stock cords remain in the system, will only marginally improve your sound. The more cords you upgrade, the less compromised your sound will be and the more you will be able to hear the potential of your cords and ultimately, your system.
Leherepkai is dead right with the above comments. The challenge is that you don't know what your weakest link is. In my system, the biggest change I got was replacing my duplexes with Audio Magic duplexes. It made a huge--not subtle improvement with a $135.00 investment. Another person may do the same thing and hear little or no difference. The next most impressive improvement was installing a $500 Audio Magic Blue dot, which removes noise from the grounds. I have tried a few PCs and found the differences to be generally subtle. I just don't think you can generalize on this stuff. My advice is to start with things that are fairly inexpensive. That way, you don't put $4000 into new PCs only to find they make no difference. I can tell you that I would never spend a lot of money on a PC I couldn't return for full credit.
I agree with airegin. Dedicated lines! Piece of cake for an electician. You will hear the difference immediately. Then call Jerry, from Audio Magic. He will get your electric as clean and tasty as can be...When you start a garden you want to have fertile, rich, soil, yes? I feel the same way about electric in my rig. Many feel different about electric, but it has worked for this audiophool.
I recently upgraded all my stock PCs with Shunyata Venom 3s-only $125 each. I also got a Blue Circle Thingee (its a power conditioner) for $300 with a 20 amp connect, and a Shunyata 20 amp Venon 3. I plug all sources into the Thingee, and my integrated amp straight into the wall (with a 20 amp cord).
I agree with Elizebeth that it will not transform the sound of your system, like a new source component will. But for my modest system, I think the benefit gained out weighs the cost of the upgrade.
I concur with the recommendations to have AC house wiring installed that is dedicated to the stereo system.
Concerning power cords, in addition to the brands that have been mentioned another maker of good quality sensibly priced cords, which I and many others here have been pleased with, is Signal Cable.
In comparison with stock cords, that kind of modest investment will get you quality shielding (minimizing coupling of electrical noise both from and to the connected components), heavier gauge/lower resistance, and perhaps improved contact integrity. Perhaps also some very minor degree of improvement in responsiveness to abrupt changes in demand for current, although that would have little or no applicability to your system since you are using an amplifier which is Class A, and therefore has minimal fluctuation in its current draw.
For a surge protector/outlet strip/line filter, consider this Brick Wall unit, which I and a number of others here have been pleased with.
I also second Brownsfan's caution against generalizing about this stuff. IMO investing significantly greater amounts of money than the cost of the modestly priced products that have been suggested is unlikely to yield commensurate (if any) benefits. While I generally don't question the perspicacity of those who claim to have realized significant additional benefits at higher price levels, differences in component designs, as well as variations in AC characteristics at different locations, IMO introduce way too many technical variables and unknowns to allow extrapolation of those findings to other systems.
I have two dedicated 20 amp lines into my dedicated room. They made a nice improvement. I also have Porter Port outlets. The single best improvement however came from by BPT balanced power conditioner.
This as been my experience with each home and system I have listened to music with. I think the BPT Signature 3.5 is close to jaw dropping in what it does.
Serious money into cords/conditioners without dedicated 20A lines is like hauling bricks in a Ferrari. Sure you can do it, but not the best way to spend your money. Get two good lines, good plugs like Furutech or Oyaide, etc., and then think of cords. Don't use wimpy cords on big power amps. Bigger isn't always better. Good quality connectors cannot be underestimated. Jallen
Always, if you are seriously trying to clean up your electirc, have two dedicated lines for your amp and digital. Jallen is on with the plugs. A weak spot in your electric pathway will have a deleterious/contaminating effect on your electric journey to your components. This is what I suggest. Start dedicated, plug in a quality (do not go crazy, you'll find something used under three feet for $300 or so)power cord that will plug into a passive high quality power conditioner such as an Audio Magic or of that ilk. Then (very important) very high quality power cord to your source (first) and the rest of your components if $$ are there. Your sound will bloom. Major investment will stay with you longer that your speakers...lol...If $$ are a major issue? DEDICATION = the best bang for the buck.
IMO, wait for a used Audience AR6 (non-teflon) power conditioner to come up for sale and grab it. Yes, the teflon version is quieter, but the stock AR6 is outstanding for the money. You might even find an AR12 for very close to what you wanted to spend. Obviously, the degree of improvement depends on the amount of filth in your power now, which is impossible to know, but I've yet to see someone here say they got rid of an Audience because it was better without it. I'm not saying it never happened, I'm just saying I haven't seen it.
Your friend is right because garbage in results in garbage out. The best solution is a separate ring mains from the junction box followed by a good multiplug a la Acoustic Revive Rtp-4 and good mains cables a la Acoustic Revive Power Reference or upper range Nordost. I suggest you also punk down for some good fuses: Furutech as well as Hifi-tuning work wonders. If you want to go further you can apply WA power chips or various forms of ground reinforcement such as Acoustic Revive Rgc-24 and/or Audioquest Ground Control.
In my experience cleaning up the power yields bigger benefits than buying new equipment
Chayro, I have 3 dedicated lines. Each with an Audience aR2p-TO. They retail for $1600 each but oh my did they clean up the sound and add dynamics compared to my Synergistic Powercell. Perhaps the poster after installing dedicated lines could start with adding one of these units.
What is the electrical benefit of the dedicated line? Does it remove load issues related to other equipment turning on and off, or are those issues still present regardless of the dedicated line? Or is it simply a matter of current being delivered directly and with less resistance?
If the benefit is the former, then the argument for the conditioner becomes less effective, doesn't it?
Rok2kid - I guess you're correct. There is no actual dirt in there, but there is something going on in the power lines that the Audience power conditioner appears to rectify. At least in the case of the power coming into my home. Makes quite an improvement, IMO anyway.
I think most of the advice being offered in the post is close to useless. People are talking about their particular experiences and the products they've tried. In all probability each experience is probably so unique that no valid generalizations can be drawn.
Would you recommend the same solution to someone living in a rural area with little or no industry as you would to someone living in a 300 unit apartment complex located across the street from a major medical center?
Onhwy61 - you're absolutely correct. Giving audio advice is akin to the fable about the blind men and the elephant -all of them were correct but still wrong. I agree 100% that any component sounds the way it does within a particular system in a particular room and that's it. Put the same component into a different system and the deal's off. The only way to know if something's going to work is to try it in your system. So now that we agree on that, how can we remedy the problem?
Onhyway, your comment is apt. This is exactly why I said, " I don't think you can generalize on this stuff." My comments were intended to be a guide to an approach, as well as an account of my own experiences. This is really a tough area to give good advice. It is really a trial and error thing, because one doesn't always no if one has a problem that can be mitigated by a particular piece of equipment.
My earlier comments only apply to power cords/conditioners and similar products. I just find it very hard to generalize or predict the sonic effects of these products in any given situation. All the variables and permutations starts my head to hurting.
If most really did find a recipe that works think how few questions would be asked and how little used equipment would be up for sale?
01-13-13: Pgawan2b What is the electrical benefit of the dedicated line? Does it remove load issues related to other equipment turning on and off, or are those issues still present regardless of the dedicated line? Or is it simply a matter of current being delivered directly and with less resistance?
If the benefit is the former, then the argument for the conditioner becomes less effective, doesn't it?
The main benefit of a dedicated line is that it will to some degree reduce the amount of electrical noise that will find its way into the audio system from unrelated electrical devices in the house, where it may be generated.
Re your last question, as might be expected reported experiences are diverse. See this thread, for example, in which many audiophiles reported that following installation of dedicated lines the conditioners they had been using were no longer necessary. And in some cases their systems even sounded significantly better with the conditioners removed. While others reported that conditioners continued to be beneficial.
Not so in my rig, but dedicated lines are thee start. There are [still] loads of inherent electric grunge along the electrical journey to your junction box. My Audio Magic PC has been with me for 7 years. I realize others have very different experiences. Go figure...