It seems you have very stable voltage in your home. I can say from personal experience that balanced AC power is a true asset and all of my components benetfit from its use.
I have an APC S10, and it is among the best audio purchases I've ever made. My entire system is plugged into it, it is absolutely quiet, and it works reliably and exactly as advertised. I happen to have a First Watt M2, and the APC "saves" it and my Spendors from severe power surges and brownouts on a weekly basis (my power here in Ft. Lauderdale is horribly unreliable). Before spending big $$, I encourage you to look for either an S10 or S15 you will be thrilled at the purchase. BTW, I could only find the silver face plate model (hate silver gear), so I (painstakingly) sprayed mine flat black.
I bought a PS Audio P300 Regeneratgor after the rave reviews in the late 1990s and liked it so much I bought another one, because these early models didn't handle many components, especially not power amplifiers. When Paul McGowan introduced the current line (P10, P5 and later the P3), I bought a P10 at list price -- then $4495 -- without a qualm and without waiting for reviews. This beast handles my SET monoblocks, linestage and all my source gear and helps provide what I'd call "full bodied transparency." I wouldn't be without it.
Thank you for the response.
Balanced power and regenerators seem be preferred over conditioners. Of course, as I understand their function, the balanced power effectively shunts noise to the neutral conductor. I'm not sure about the regenerators. I believe they are basically dedicated oscillators at 60 hz. Perhaps that effectively filters any noise.
But of course, there are numerous threads about power conditioners, regenerators, etc degrading the sound quality.
Balanced Power: 3 votes
BPT balanced power
Regenerator: 2 volts
Purepower+ 1500 regenerator
PS Audio P300 (Regenerator and Balanced power)
Surger Protector: 1 vote
Conditioner - 0 votes
Continue to check outlet voltage at different times of the year to get a truer picture of voltage reliability since some changes may prove to be seasonal...if you typically have icy conditions where you live it may be the worst during the winter months.
If your voltage proves to be fairly regular, you're probably lucky. When considering voltage regulators, audio components are spec'd to operate within 5% of 120v. They all are equipped with (necessarily fixed) noise cancellation circuits in the power supply that deal with 60hz noise and all its multiples - 120, 240, 480, etc. But, the closer you get to the edge of that 5% window (and beyond), the more noise will slip past the cancellation circuits and affect the sound...that general malaise that tells you it's feeling kinda sick (and not in a good way). This is why people feel like regenerators reduce noise, they don't per se, but they can keep power supplies operating at or very close to spec. But...if it turns out you truly don't often have much of a voltage problem, then you could likely spend that money elsewhere...like balanced power, usually excellent for everything but your amps (unless you're talking about a Huge transformer). A good rule of thumb is that the capacity of the transformer needs to be at least about 40% over the value of all the power supplies that will be used with it. But, typically, they are a major step forward in sound quality. A First Watt shouldn't pose too big a problem.
Mapleshade Records sells a power strip/conditioner which does not degrade sound quality, quite the opposite in my experience. There is also an option to protect from surge which is stated to barely reduce performance.
Into the adjacent AC outlet and any unused outlet in the listening room one can insert micro-priced parallel blockers of EMI/RFI called Flying Saucer (strangely named) from Machina Dynamica, to gain even better sound reproduction.
Finally, another very great added sonic improvement results from wrapping Animal Magnetism (another strangely named item from Machina Dynamica) covers around each power cord. As I would say at this point, "the silence is deafening." The quiet black background then allows a truly beautiful clarity, letting the best qualities of your gear shine through.
These ideas are quite low priced, without any impressive outward physical appearance to suggest the great benefits which are heard.
07-13-14: Ivan_nosniborJohn ("Ivan"), and I say this with respect (given the many knowledgeable and helpful posts you've made in the past), none of this is true. Degradation in performance that may occur as a result of AC voltage that is too high or too low does not occur because "more noise slips past the cancellation circuits." It occurs mainly as a consequence of the voltage change itself. And regenerators certainly do dramatically reduce noise (and distortion as well) on the incoming AC, although of course not to an infinite degree.
As far as the OP's question is concerned, you've received several good comments but I'll particularly second the one by ZD. There are way too many variables and unknowns, involving the designs of the specific components in the system; the voltage, noise, and distortion characteristics of the incoming AC; and the designs of whatever power treatment candidates you may consider, for anyone to be able to predict what choice would perform best for you. Not to mention what choice would provide the best tradeoff between performance and price.
Good comments about balanced AC power. My BPT Signature plus 3.5 is rated at 20 amps and my entire system is plugged in. The sound is clearly improved compared to my 20 amp dedicated wall outlets. I've used 3 different power amplifiers(8 watt SET, 40 watt and 100 watt push pull tubes) all are better with balanced AC.
Almarg and Charles, I appreciate your posts...I'm looking further into my source for the info on this...evidently I may have gotten it wrong like you say. (Either the source is wrong or maybe I just interpreted it wrongly...not entirely sure which yet...my apologies, either way, if that's so!). But, thanks again for putting me on to it.