Practical Power Approaches

I am something of a power skeptic. I've heard some differences in sound depending on whether a particular component is plugged into a power conditioner vs. directly in the wall, and between basic home-made power cords.

But I'm reluctant to try expensive power accessories because it seems like the prices are insane.

I'm not interested in theory about why these things do or don't work unless it's actionable and not brand-specific.

I'm wondering if any cheapskates has cost-effectively optimized the power delivery end of things. I already have a fairly basic "power conditioner = surge + noise suppression" and a vanilla surge protector for my monoblocks that sound better that way than through the conditioner. I've also got my system on a dedicated 20A circuit.

What else is worth doing for minimal expense while saving up for acoustic treatments?
Pangea power cords from Audio Advisor. I am a 100% fangirl of Pangea. Pangea power cords are cheaper than ANY other cords around, and actually are pretty good. They are the BESt cord 'for the money' right now.
I have purchsed about $2,000. woth of $50 to $100 Pangea cords. So I guess I mean it.
The 9 for amps, the 14SE for everything else.
That is a lot of cords Elizabeth!
You must have an elaborate system - I could do my whole rig for $249!

Have these had a consistent effect on all your gear?
I recommend an industrial isolation transformer like I use. You can find them sometimes on Ebay or through surplus stores at a higher price like this:

I have found that the ideal transformer seems to be a 5.0 kVA .0005 pF.

Elizabeth is a true Pangea "fangirl".She uses them not only on her audio system but also on her computer,printer,refrigerator,freezer,table lamps,blow dryer and curling iron!!!!!!! :)
2nd vote for what Chuck said & for not feeding the crooks silly money.
My approach, dedicated circuit, Richard Gray power conditioner (bought used here), walmart or wherever I shop 1st 12 gauge extension cords as needed, stock pcs.

Please... explain exactly what is not insanely priced in high end audio?

My exp has proven to my ears that the more one puts into one's system.... anywhere.... the better it can perform.

The VD Power III is a very straight forward dynamic power cord.

Voodoo Cable LLC offers many very capable ones at reasonable costs. I've owned/own both. I'm quite pleased with them too.

I own more pricey ones too. They indeed outperform any of the lower priced cords I've tried out. Easily.

So perhaps you should define just what "insanely priced" means to you.

you might just want to begin with installing a better outlet on your ded ckt first. They go from $35 & up.

The post on adding a 5KW inline commercial iso former is a good thought too.

I've found as well, addressing either end of the system far more beneficial too.... address the middle last. Sources and amps seem to achieve higher levels of performance more handily than inserting something pricey into the middle if it's power oriented of course.
(links may not work properly now)

This is what I did, before I found that site. Have a 5 KVA and a 2 KVA that cost about $100 each, not including shipping. They're in a closet with a subpanel. They are fed 240V into the 480V taps. It's sometimes possible to feed them with 120V but, if they complain by getting hot and noisy, STOP that. For safety, I use hospital grade GFCI outlets. I even bought a regulated 1000W Sola MCR portable for $20 but those are noisy. For CDP's or other low power draws, a simple Hammond 500W is plenty, although not balanced. Balanced output derates the output current by half.

There is NEC provision for balanced power but not CSA. Grounding remains intact.

I've got 3 amps, crossovers, etc. and not a hint of noise or ground loop. Got a couple power cords from Ultimate Cables.

Some background with a wee bit of bias from Furman.

The benefits of balanced AC depend on the component plugged into it. When I had the SFL2, both myself and a friend almost simultaneously said, "Holy #$@%", within the first few seconds when fed +60/-60. It loved it. Some other components were indifferent and the only benefit was the same as isolation. Apparently, I'm the only one to find components disagreeable to balanced AC but I think that's more of an indictment of the component.

Some have found even the minimal intrusion of an iso transformer to be a detraction. Not sure if they had double the continuous current capacity for their load, which is a good rule of thumb, or any other specific conditions. That's the deal with (any) transformers, they can be unpredictable when not accommodated properly. If you're dealing with 50 Hz, be sure the unit is rated for that.

For power, I prefer EI core as opposed to toroidal. This is 50 or 60 Hz only and the wide bandwidth, close coupling of toroids becomes a disadvantage. There's also DC sensitivity and saturation differences. The advantage of toroids is smaller, lighter packaging, local EMI, and resistance to mechanical hum due to closely packed windings. If it's going to sit in the room AND it's large capacity, toroid might be better under broad conditions.

Efficiency of transformers is usually around 90% but they also draw a minimum unloaded current, dependent on size, so there is a running cost penalty.
Change the outlets that you have at the wall and inside your power conditioner with Maestro outlets from These new outlets are one of the most neutral and the most accurate outlets that I have ever heard by far!... and I have tried most of the raved outlets on the market too. I knew outlets made a difference but this outlet makes a BIG difference!...Clearly superior to the others.
Isolation transformers and balanced AC are intiguing, but how can I tell if this approach is the right one to treat the power I get at home? I've been considering alternatives to power "management" (conditioning, regeneration, etc) but always get stuck at the diagnose stage. Trying options is not possible where I live. Addressing power supply does make sense, though.

FWIW, I have 2 dedicated lines, but that's it for now.