Power Supplies & Performance

Howdy, folks. I’ve read in some posts here-and-there that a power supply can affect the performance of a system, and I was hoping to get some feedback from those of you ’in-the-know’.

My system equipment is below. Can any of you comment about how much, and what sort of, improvement (if any), I might have by removing the Panamax conditioner? My worry is that we have a fair number of power outages in my area, so I don’t want to place the equipment at risk. But if it’s going to make a dramatic improvement, it might be worth considering.

  • Bryston 4B-ST
  • Krell KRC-3
  • HiFiBerry DAC+ Pro
  • Panamax M4300PM
  • Martin Logan ReQuest (2nd Gen)
  • Polk PSW650 Sub
  • Cables: Acoustic Zen all around - Satori to speakers, Matrix Reference to Subwoofer, Matrix Reference XLR to amp, Matrix Reference 2 from DAC to Krell. Experimenting also with Silver Reference 1 and 2 between DAC and Krell to see what I like.
Thanks in advance!
It looks like the Panamax has a 15A rating. If that's correct, you don't want to have the Bryston plugged into it along with everything else. The Bryston alone warrants a 15A or better line.
I'm not familiar with panamax but have tried PS audio's quad running from a PS auidio wall receptacle. That was a nice improvement (increased space between instruments mostly) to the adcom (really dating myself here) conditioner. The only thing I have running through the PS audio quad right now is my sub.The rest of the system is running through an "ExactPower" transformer. You may want to research that to see if it would work for you as they come up occasionally on audiogon. The biggest improvement the exactpower made was with the digital portion of my system. Didn't hear much of a difference with vinyl. Again those improvements were mostly within the soundstage by haze reduction.  
Parabolic, try the Panamax with only your Krell and dac, while placing your Bryston and sub into wall outlets--system should sound better.   
Same wall outlet, or do they have to be different?
A Bryston 4B warrants its own dedicated line of 15A or better.

I have a Panamax MR4300.  Not sure how that differs from a M4300PM. 

I know first hand the Panamax is very accurate in that it will shut down if over/under voltage is detected. Offhand I think the threshold is 130/100 respectively. 

In my case all equipment I have connected to it does not draw more than its rated capacity. But as others have pointed out, if your Bryston alone needs better than 15 amps, you may want to consider a separate solution just for that.

@Parabolic - I had the Panamax 4300 in my system for a while.

Initially, it made some improvement to the sound and like others have posted, I found that plugging high power components, like the amp and in your case the sub, directly into the wall provided better control of all the speakers.

I've since removed the Panamax from the system, because the voltage is stable in my area and I have a dedicated power line, so noise on the line is minimal (if any)

The improvements I have found in removing the Panamax are...
- better imaging
- improved dynamic perofrmance

In your case to get the best improvements with the panamax still in place would be to replace the wall outlets with at least, hospital grade outlets - I have MRI grade outlets that have NO magnetic material in their construction. I bought them from Take Five Audio - they are also cryo treated (if you believe that makes a difference)

These outlets provide much tighter clamping of the plugs

You should notice improved dynamic performance with better imaging

If you are still using stock power cables i would recommend replacing those. Signal Cable has some pretty good cables at reasonable cost.. Their Silver Resolution series is pretty good

If you are into basic DIY then I would recommend Sonar Quest silver plated copper (ebay) IEC/Mains connectors together with DH Labs Encore for source components and Power Plus for the amp.

If you are really into advanced DIY then take a look at this site

The Helix are my own design and are superb performers - ask @toddverrone for his thoughts - he has built Speaker, IC and power cables.

This thread covers our experience designing and building his bi-amp'd version of the speaker cables

Going back to the Panamax and frequent power outrages.

If it were me I would think about investing in something much more robust than the panamax 4300. 

I have looked at the Furman products in the past and they look very good.

The Furman SPR201  would be my choice of product for your system

The nice thing with this product is that you can plug in your own power cable.

The SPR201 may seem like a lot of money, but not as much as having your gear repaired after a power disruption

Hope that helps

Just pointing out that Panamax and Furman are manufactured by the same company, Core Brands. 
@gdhal - that's interesting - was that a recent merge/takeover?

Do you know if their product lines are the same?

When I looked around 2-3 years ago, Furman appeared to have slightly more "professional" products.



I'm not sure if the merger was recent, but Core Brands has been the parent company for at least 18 months, which was the time I had "checked" into this and bought my Panamax. I spoke to a Panamax rep (tech support) at that time and he basically told me both brands are good performers but that Furman would be better in the case of voltage regulation. Voltage regulation isn't/wasn't something I was looking for so I went with the less expensive option (Panamax). Both Panamax and Furman have many models from which to choose and that too can govern which product is best for your particular needs.

Also, the owner of a local electronics ma-and-pa repair shop where I bought the Panamax from told me he personally had an MR4300 on an oscilloscope and other measuring devices in order to test Panamax's claims of power filtration and over/under voltage shut down. He advised me it did pass as they advertise. He didn't check the surge protection aspect of the device as he told me that's a one-and-done deal (i.e. the unit sacrifices itself by blowing mosfets and perhaps other components).  I think Furman is the same in that regard. 

Admittedly, I would tend to agree with you that Furman appears to be more professionally oriented as opposed to Panamax which appears to target "the masses". But I recall a comparable (to my MR4300) Furman costing at least twice what I paid ($229) and I just didn't want to go that route. 

Moreover, I am using a dedicated (separate breaker) 20 AMP wall outlet >>> Emotiva CMX-2 >>> Panamax MR4300 >>> all audio and video equipment. The CMX-2 provided a DC filter, and I don't think Panamax or Furman offer that functionality. 
@gdhal - thanks for the update - I'm going to look into the CMX-2 - looks very interesting.

@cleeds LOL. Yeah, so it’s helpful for me to remember that circut ≠ outlet. Go ahead and ask me why I’m not an electrician. ;-) That said, what was missing in your post was the explanation as to why.

@williewonka Interesting stuff on cables. But a project for another day.

Seems the consensus is that a power filter/conditioner helps reduce noise, therefore improves sound.  For some reason I had it in my head that there were disadvantages - so I'm glad that's cleared up.  I’ll see about reorganizing the cabling. The problem in my home is trying to figure out which outlet(s) are wired to which circuit(s) so I can keep them separate. It may not be possible due to distance.

Thanks for everyone’s feedback!
Seems the consensus is that a power filter/conditioner helps reduce noise, therefore improves sound.
They do - assuming that you have noise to begin with.

Some might argue that there is always noise, but it would seem that noise in my Audio system is so low I have not noticed a difference, so there is no conditioner.

My A/V might have a little more noise and so it has a conditioner.

It really depends on the components you have in a system and their quality e.g. the mode affordable consumer products from Best Buy may generate more noise then the higher priced products from A/V specialty stores.

The only thing to do is try removing the conditioner to see if it makes a difference - if not - leave it out

The other thing to remember is that power conditioners tend to have better outlets than power bars, so there is benefit there.

If you wanted to get rid of the conditioner then I would suggest getting a PS Audio Dectet Power Centre. it has basic common mode and differential mode filtering

There are also the following from Furutech...

Unfiltered - http://www.furutech.com/products/power-distributors-filters/unfiltered-distributor/

Filtered - http://www.furutech.com/2013/01/31/1522/

All of the above have outlets that clamp much better than many power conditioners, especially the Furutech products. That is a huge benefit for all devices - not just amps

The disadvantages of power conditioners (generally speaking) ...
1. they can compress the sound of high current-draw devices like amps, which reduces their dynamic abilities
2.The Panamax devices wire each zone in a star configuration, but each outlet in that zone is wired in parallel to the other outlets in that zone, so cross contamination sill occurs between components sharing that zone.

Cheap power bars have all the  outlets wired in parallel, so contamination across devices is very common

Hope that clarifies things a little more

Regards, Steve