Nordost and Isotek are both good options. Nordost can accommodate 8 power cords
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You're right - there are too many choices, IMO, the Audience is a very safe bet and I have never heard a bad word about them from anyone. There is an AR12 for sale at about $2500 and they are great pieces - no, not as good as their teflon cap models, but you would only know on direct comparison. Plus, Audience's service is first rate and they offer many upgrades if you want. I've had an AR6t for 11 years and I have never had the desire to upgrade. I recently asked Audience how long the caps are good for and they said 30 years. I'm not sure any caps will last that long, but I figure at least 20 and in 9 years I don't think I'll give a crap anyway. If it were me and I just didn't have the money, I would go for a Wiremold L10320 strip for $130 and save up for something good.
Remember, power strips are just power distributors, they multiply the number of receptacles. A lot of strips do a little bit more, but at that point they are really low-end conditioners.
Surge protectors do what their name implies.
Then there are balanced transformers.
You need to read the fine print carefully to find out exactly what's in the box (and even then, you might not really know). Most units combine two, three or four of these functions.
You can plug into more than one outlet as long as they’re on the same circuit. You’re smart to cheap out on a power strip and save for where it matters more, power cords, interconnects, speaker cables. Later on of course you will upgrade to a proper power conditioner. For now while things are changing its smarter to focus on wire.
Power strips are nothing more than a box connecting outlets. Surge protectors are a joke. What do they think is going to happen anyway? Lightning blows the top off your house, burns walls, but no worries a surge protector will stop it cold. Reality is surges small enough to protect against don’t really need protection against. Surges big enough to matter cannot be protected against. Every once in a great while someone with actual experience says so, only to be drowned out by the zombie horde.
Its like that with most things actually, now that I think about it.
You could for about ten bucks buy three or four outlets, a 4 gang box, and a cover and have your own power strip, same as a 4 gang outlet box only without cutting sheetrock. Or buy a power strip for not much more. Same difference. Either way it’ll be jettisoned in a year when you upgrade to something worth spending time and money on,.
I use a power strip mainly for surge protection to protect my gear. Also does some power conditioning. Then suitable wires from there into gear.
But not for power amps. Only line level gear. Preamp, DAC, step up xformer. Power amps or even integrated amps draw more power to deliver current and you have to be very careful about using strips or other conditioners that will bottleneck the power and current available.
millercarbon...you could not be more wrong about power strips with surge protection. Power surges are not limited to catastrophic burn your house down lightening strikes.
About 2 1/2 years ago we lost power due to a winter storm. When power was restored we had a major power surge...blew the main breaker on my cb panel. Caused electrical damage to all my appliances... Refrigerator, dishwasher, clothes washer snd dryer... even the garage door opener.
I had Monster Cable power strips with surge protectors on my TV, AV receiver, computer, my high end audio system and a 2nd hifi system All were saved by the surge protection on cheap power strips.
I recently switched from Panamax MR4300 to Furman Elite-15DM (I liked it because it displays live voltage and current). It made a difference in the sound (micro-details and bass texture) - and I'm not a believer in such nonsense. When I realized there was an improvement, I started searching (google and Furman site) to figure-out why. I think its because of the built-in capacitors (MR4300 doesn't have) keeping the voltage steadily supplied regardless of instantaneous current dips. I have no other explanation (better filters?). I'm sure there are better/more expensive conditioners with bigger/better capacitor banks, likely beyond my budget. For now, I'm very pleased with Elite-15DM because it isn't often a device exceeds expectations - this was one of those times. I think the Elite-15PF will produce the same results, it trades the V/C meters for pull-out down-lights. In my system, the unit sits low in the cabinet, so down-lights would be of no use, and I like to know what the voltage and current is doing. Either would be a good choice in my opinion, and neither are crazy expensive.
I'm very satisfied with a PS Audio power strip (Dectet?). Quiet, good surge protection and PS Audio will give you full price towards it if you upgrade in the future. Others are correct about surge protection. Most stuff gets fried by the surge when they turn the power back on after a blackout. I had a Panamax give up it's life to save my ARC amp and preamp under just those conditions.
I live where we loose power about once a year due to downed trees during a storm. When I see the wind is going to be significant I throw the stereo 20 amp breaker in the main panel. If in fact the power does go out
then I throw a whole lot of breakers to prevent the surge from hammering appliances. I use a PS Audio Stellar Powerplant 3 which is good for a continuous 300 watts. Only source components are powered by it. Amps are plugged directly into the wall. The source components draw just under 100 watts. And somewhat surprisingly to me that doesn't vary with volume, I did think that the tube pre would vary a bit with volume.
Agree with jjss49. Decide if you want power conditioning or filtering in the strip. If so, the Furman power stations are good performers with minor power conditioning plus surge protection.
If all you need is a strip for distribution, then Wiremold is high build quality and transparent. Will not colour or affect sonics.
I have not made any sort of direct comparisons, so I have no idea which power strips are among the best. However, I did attend a very impressive Isotek demonstration at a local dealer Command Audio in Falls Church Virginia. The dealer has a dedicated subpanel for delivering power on dedicated lines to the listening room, so it is a far better environment than is a typical home setup at the outset. The demonstration consisted of playing music through the dealer's system before inserting the Isotek product for a comparison.
I was particularly impressed by the Isotek power strip--it improved the sound substantially for a pretty modest price (around $500, I believe). The system was dead quiet to begin with, so the improvement was not heard as a drop in noise level; rather, the instruments sounded more freely suspended in space and there was a clearer sense of notes decaying naturally.
I ended up buying their higher end products--a Titan and an Evo conditioner, but, I will admit that the power strip delivered a very large chunk of the performance that these much higher priced conditioners deliver.
I like Furman for the simple reason that they have always produced products geared specifically for audio systems. Their power strips are all I have used and continue to use and they have never let me down. For my recently upgraded system, I went with the SPR-20i because it is a voltage regulator, a conditioner, and a non sacrificial surge protector. Panamax, a subsidiary of Furman also makes some interesting products.
Here is an option I do not see mentioned:
BrickWall : https://www.brickwall.com/
I have three of their units now. First one was for the Hi-Fi. Liked it so much I bought two more for second system and router / modem.
Never failed me - even in the middle of outages during monsoon season (AZ) and when sitting on a wet carpet (long story)
Read the info. on the site. Built very solid. Great value.If you only need a power strip then they have options that can fit your need.
They moved from San Diego to Florida not long ago.
Furman elite 15 power conditioner gets my vote - You can get good deals on these used. Has separate banks based on equipment type. Better than a 4 gang box and you don't have to worry about starting a fire or hiring an expensive electrician.
Don't think it improves the sound noticeably, but wasn't that much more than a very good power strip and got some surge protection from power outages. If lightning strikes and my house is on fire, insurance kicks in and I would have to buy new stuff. Would be a major PITA.
For a non-house threatening lightning strike, it's supposed to protect the equipment. Anyone have that experience and it didn't work and did Furman step up and compensate you?
What about whole house surge protection?
I’m currently using two Furman products at my gear:
Furman Elite 20PFI
My electrician said since I have a lot of. Ice gear I should get a whole house surge and said it only costs about $50. Not bad at all but I’m not sure the product or if there are higher quality products out there for this.
I have a Nordost distribution unit but it doesn't perform as good or better than my Furutech Wall receptacles. I found that these power components like power distributor or transformer or regenerator have a common weakness which is the receptacle piece. Although these units have hospital grade receptacles, way better than the stock ones, but they are not nearly as good as something like Furutech and other similar brands. As a result the overall distribution performance suffers. Now you can replace these receptacles but that involves money, skill and time. That's why I plug all my two channel stereo components straight to Furutech Wall receptacles.
Having lived in an area with a bad off grid power supply, I can affirm the need for surge and drop out protection. A direct short encountered in a transformer, caused a mega volt surge that took out most of the electronics and appliances of everyone in the community. Luckily, I had my audio, video and computer electronics, plugged into surge protectors. While the surge protectors were fried, they did their job to protect my electronics and with the exception of a blown fuse in my pre-amp. everything fared well. Some of my appliances, not plugged into surge protection didn't fare so well.
On our off grid, diesel operated system, it was common to have our power surge or drop regularly by 10 or 12 V. Having my audio gear plugged into two separate APC power conditioners, costing around $300.00 ea. did a spectacular job of keeping noise out and balancing the outgoing voltage to 120V +/- 3V. Even on this very bad off grid power, through the APCs, my system sounded incredibly clean and good.
Now back on a very stable power grid (voltage continually stable 120 -122 volts) with no noticeable RFI, my conditioners have little to do. Even when my large AC unit kicks on my audio system doesn't blink. When I see mention the need of a $2K, $3K or $5K power strip/conditioner and $5K power cords to make someone's systems perform well, I gotta say - I feel the urge to roll my eyes and shake my head just a bit.....Jim
Most power strips are just extra outlets. But if what you really want is a proper surge protector, get this one from Belkin. Cost you all of $35 and will do a BETTER job of surge protection than a UPS system or even a typical power conditioner.