Power Strip vs. Line Conditioner

Please give me some feedback on this. I was told and have read that line conditioners should never be used as they degrade the sound. Instead a simple power strip such as the Wiremold brand is all that is needed for the best sound. Is this true?
Not familiar with the Wiremold, but in my experience the answer is "it depends." Generic power strips are usually made of cheap materials and with questionable manufacturing practices. Poor connections, cheap switches and small gauge wire do not enhance any system. Quite the opposite.

Line conditioners seem to be a mixed bag, too. Some claim good experiences, some bad. In my case everything except the amp ended up plugged into a Vans Evers power line conditioner (PLC). This PLC has sockets with three levels of filtering and it does seem to matter what component is plugged into which.

The amp is plugged straight into the wall. When it was plugged into the PLC there was a discernable loss in dynamics and the bass became less defined.

My advice is to buy quality products whatever they may be and be prepared to experiment to find which works best in your setup. In the end it's a matter of synergy.
I agree with Fpeel.

I own some of the Wiremold power strips, they are all hospital grade, Hubbel outlets, and are extremely well made. They work well where you need them.

I also live in a condo, and the power sucks. I find a significant improvement in my sound, in lower noise floor and tighter bass with power conditioners than without, even on my amps (I use a Chang Lightspeed 9900 amp for them), which seems to work well, even on my Aragon 4004 MkII. But you need to play around. Some amps have better conditioning already in the power supply, some need the direct wall/line.... See what works in your system...
The previous posts said it well. If you need conditioning--it almost always helps things--go that route. The only area you need to be careful with conditioning is on power amps, even ones that are made for high current I have found frequently degrade the signal. I too prefer to plug power amps directly into the socket (I've replaced all the sockets with Hubbel sockets). If you don't really need the conditioning you might try one of the Monster power strips--they have a few that have a little filtration and good quality plugs. I use one on a smaller system in the house and am pleased. You can probably pick one of them up used for around $100.
A "power strip" is a glorified extension cord and in most cases junk IMHO. A very good conditioner will help considerably if your power is dirty, which is most of us. I use a Reference grade Vansevers conditioner. I has a plug-in made for amps, which sounds better than the wall in my system. Vansevers also makes a amp specific conditioner designed not to limit current (It called "The Unlimiter").
There are also products like those make by PS Audio that "regenerate" the AC power comming into your house into new fresh AC power.
There are also products like the Blue Circle BC-86 Noise Hound Power Pillow that has not plugs itself; and just plugs into a open outlet on your wall or power strip; and cleans the power for the whole circuit. I do not know how it works, but I have demo'd one and it does work.
At the risk of repeating, the above advise has been dead on in my experience. If I had a place where I could assure the quality of the power right out of the socket, that would be the way to go. However, living in a New York appartment, where the power is significantly less than stellar, I have found a power conditioner to be a good improvement for as many things as I can plug into it (I am even running a power strip off of the conditioner, and have found that preferable than running it straight out of the wall). It's not uncommon for the lights to flicker from time to time, but with a decent conditoner that gets evened out and not passed along to the equipment. True, its a bandaid where a lack of injury would be preferable--but where the injury is unavoidable it makes for a good addition.
I have a dedicated 20 amp outlet with a 14 outlet Vans Evers plugged into it. Everything is plugged into the Vans Evers, including the amp (Hafler 9505 DIABLO), powered woofer and the Acoustat interfaces. This amp sounds better this way, so one needs to experiment. Don
You really need to experiment extensively to determine the optimum for your rig, meaning different types of filters work better on different components, as was stated above. Example: the Chang series of conditioners offers various levels of analog & digital filtering, sometimes even combined into one model with multiple plugs. Yes sometimes even straight into the line is the best way to go.
What has not yet been mentioned above, & to further complicate this issue, is that various combinations of upgrade AC cords (different makes/models) work in tandem with the filtering to produce still more variable results. It can sometimes (but not always) take you a very long time to determine which combination you most prefer.
I decided to not use power strips. Instead, I took the outlet out of the drywall, put a triple wall-mount box in, replaced the original outlet with a Hubble, put it in the center of said box, with two Hubble outlets connected to it with 4" of #10 to the left and right. Recently I got four MOV's and wired those accross the incoming wire inside the box, this way I have great surge protection too..

This has blown away any power strip or conditioner I have tried!

I guess I should augment my post by pointing out that I have now had a PS Audio PowerPlant 300 on my SCD-1 and ML380 Preamp for 2 days, which did improve sound somewhat...
Mezmo, I found that using a good power strip (wiremold) from the wall to my power conditioners worked better for me. Just my 0.02.
i presently use 4 power-amps - 2 bridged adcom gfa555's driving my 4-ohm subs, & 2 electrocompaniet amps, biwiring the monitors. i was using a tripplite conditioner which keeps the woltage at exactly 115v regardless of what's happening in the outside world. i was using this 20amp, 2400v unit not to get better sound, but to protect the equipment.

well, after hearing the pros-n-cons of power conditioning, i replaced it w/a generic 15amp 1875v power-strip - *no* conditioning whatsoever, yust decent-quality 3-prong plugs. also a whopping $3 from mcm electronics. well, the sound improvement was *not* trivial. even the wife noticed.

but, i don't like running the equipment unprotected - even tho, for the most part, the power quality is good, we get strange surges & dips every now-n-again. so, i purchased a couple of those vansevers *unlimiters* that a-gon's steve bruzonsky has adwertized. i was hoping for *nothing* when plugging my amps into one - i yust want protection w/no penalty! :>) well, the werdict's still out, as i yust got 'em this afternoon, but for sure, one unlimiter doesn't muck-up the sound of the amps - it mite even make it a li'l better. mebbe some double-blind testing is in order! ;~) certainly, some listening w/familiar materials is in order - it's only been latin/jazz/world on the tuna tonite.

so, the one unlimiter will certainly remain in the system - i cant see affording the two ps1200's needed to power my amps, anytime soon! :>) as for the 2nd unlimiter, i haven't decided whether to use one each for two amps (mike v/e sez this *will* give a sonic improvement), or to yust use the 2nd for my source components, which are also plugged into a tripplite. i don't tink the tripplite's obvious current-limiting properties are degrading my source components, but, until i try...

doug s.

I use power conditioners and factory power cords. As long as you use a quality power conditioner, dynamics should not be a problem with small signal components. When power amplifiers (and possibly some preamps) are plugged into conditioners with transformer isolation, loss of dynamics is very possible.

Following my experience with a highly regarded isolating conditioner, I have stuck with transformerless units and am very pleased with my results. The quality of your results is highly dependent on conditioner quality, and care in determining which component plugs into which outlet. As a general rule, the greater the isolation between digital components and analog components, the better. Power amplifier conditioning may or may not be preferable to a direct wall connection. As has been pointed out, you have to experiment in order to get the best results.

-- Trevor
I added two Monster HTS 2000's for surge protection and their ground breaking feature. I live in an older building with sketchy wiring. I was pleasantly surprised that these inexpensive units also made and improvement in sound (insert the usual adjectives). Each unit has two non current limiting outlets for amps. I had tried power conditioners in their early incarnations and found them to be too "subtractive" in nature, so I had stuck to cheap strip/surge protectors. I'm thinking of adding better quality outlets now.
Cool, Jim

I recently tried a used HTS2000 in my system. I plugged it into one of my main conditioners for additional isolation, and then plugged most of my video and digital equipment into it. The improvement with the video monitor, LD player, and DVD/CD player was VERY noticable (I previously used power strips plugged into same main conditioner). That daisy chained HTS2000 is now an invaluable part of my audio/home theater system.
I agree whole-heartedly with Mezmo, it all depends on what your electrical situation is. I live in NYC, too. The first block to ever have electricity is in NYC. Once wiring is in place, there has to be a really good reason to spend the money required to go back and dig it up or rip it out. Much of this city was wired at a time when a couple light bulbs and a radio were the extent of electrical appliances; people had "ice boxes", not refrigerators. Well, those circuits are not loaded down with refrigerators, air conditioners, etc., and the refrigerator in the neighbors' apartment can make your lights dim. Power conditioners are almost a necessity. My building was built in 1937, and has not been rewired since. I grew up in the suburbs where everything was wired in the 1960s, however. Line conditioners there might be considered over-kill.
I see a lot has been said about a wiremold power strip here, but I can't seem to find the WEB site. Can someone please point me in the right direction?
Oops: Found the site and feel stupid now.
Hello, MSW26 (strange name!)

Whether you live in the city or the suburbs or wherever isn't a deciding factor as to whether or not a good power conditioner will make a difference. I live in the suburbs and the impact of power conditioning is tremendous for both audio and video. I don't go for subtle tweaks because it's easy to spend a lot of money and never be certain you REALLY heard a difference. If I install an "improvement", listen to it for a few hours or longer, and don't seriously miss it upon removal, I don't bother with it. A decent power conditioners can easily pass that test. The only way to find out whether your setup will benefit is to try it.
I also use a Monster HTS-2000 conditioner with good results in an apartment in LA. It only improves the sound in my setup. I am considering running a second one in series off of the digital power outlet of the first. I would plug my amp into the first one (in the "amp" outlet) and then run the digital gear from the second conditioner plugged into the appropriate digital outlets. If it does not further improve the sound I still have a use for it with our mini system (that needs a conditioner as well). I am also considering the Vansevers Unlimiter that Sedond is trying out, for the amp in our main system. I am afraid to run the gear (amp) unprotected (straight into the wall) due to the power situation in CA. I have tried zip strips from RS that are supposed to be designed for audio as well as various industrial extension cords and they all screw up the sound in my setup.