Jonathan: You are kidding, right? What do you feel is wrong with any of the power products on their own?
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I think CFB is right this time; you’re going to beat your power into the ground with that much conditioning. Imagine putting three different kinds of conditioner on your hair every time you took a shower. This is sure to leave your music lifeless with too much sheen
I trust you already have dedicated circuits in place? Clean dedicated power can almost stand up on it's own next to any power conditioner.
If that does not lower your noise floor enough try the conditioners one at a time. There's nothing wrong with surge or over-voltage protection when applied correctly.
I suggest you reconsider your methodology for creating "clean" power for your system. The comments above are appropriate but in addition, I would suggest that you consider the following:
Your equipment charges its power supplies at the peaks of the ac waveform. While eliminating noise is an important consideration, more important is getting an unclipped waveform. A good waveform will allow the power supplies to charge more fully and therefore the units will have higher and more consistant rail voltages for the various circuits.
While cleaning the power is important, no matter how many cleaners you run the signal through you will never be able to repair a damaged waveform. You have to recreate it....
My suggestion is to take a very hard look at a PS Audio P-600 powerplant. This unit actually generates a perfect wave from scratch. Not only is the output completely isolated from the incoming ac mains (and all noise), but it allows tweaking of the waveform as well. PS (and lots of users) have found that their equipment sounds significantly better running a modified waveform...
Check it the Powerplants at www.psaudio.com. Read their take on the power thing as well as the magazine reviews on the PowerPlant equipment. By and large, everyone I know refers to the purchase of their PowerPlant as the single biggest improvement to their system that they've ever made.... My guess is you too will be impressed...
Finally, they're one of the only companies that will send you a unit and let you try it for a month to see if you like it. If you don't, send it back no questions asked..... Pretty amazing!
And no, I don't work for PS Audio or have any relation with them. I also don't sell any of their equipment. I have found their stuff to perform consistantly as described over the years and have always been very impressed. Paul McGowan the founder was talking about power issues 20 years ago (literally) and has come up with some very innovative solutions to the problem....
For what it's worth, that's my 2 cents....
Best of luck,
Steve's suggestion is a good, if pricey one. Audition the Power Plant by all means, along with some others. I tend to be a skeptic about many things but clean power isn't one of them. VERY easy to demonstrate improvements. OTOH, in my opinion, anyway, one maxes out on improvement long before one maxes out on potential expenditure. The best advice, as always, is....
Do you like it? Can you afford it? Then buy it.
But, man, don't string all that stuff together. Not only is it conspicuous consumption gone mad but the complex interactions could well defeat what you are trying to achieve.
You really ought to check this out: http://tnt-audio.com/accessories/platinum-pp1_e.html. I've owned this unit for over two years, run all of my source equipment off of it and my Rowland Model 12 mono blocks. It does amazing things and does nothing to degrade the sound. Far better than the Tice IIIC, PS Audio P-300 (compared use on source equipment only) and multiple PS Audio Ultimate Outlets.
Also, I haven't heard the Virtual Dynamics power cords, but there are a lot of positive comments on them at the Cable Asylum - the company claims that its customers are replacing their line conditioners with the cords. Check them out at http://virtualdynamics.ca/. They currently sell their cables direct at one-half the prices shown on their web site.
The PS Audio unit, as stated above, is a vastly superior solution to any other type of power conditioner. I will throw in another solution equally as expensive and even more demanding of space, but better than all of them put together: A motor-generator, aka a big electric motor hooked straight to a big electric generator, available from several industrial motor and phase converter manufacturers. They run in the multi-K range and need to be isolation-mounted somewhere far from your listening room (garage for example, or a separate shed), but will provide an absolutely perfect waveform with tremendous current capacity, and 100% total line-to-load isolation, meaning that ANYTHING coming down the line WILL NOT make it into your system. Plus they're very power-efficient, usually around 90%, rather than the 25% or so (just a guess) that the PS Audio will run. Just something to think about....
I've had a fair amount of experience with motor generators in research science and computers. As Karls states they can't be beat for high demand current at the top of the ac wave form (especially if the setup has a fly wheel). The practical efficiency will be below 90% because the demand will not be constant unless you run monster class A amps, however 75% plus sounds about right. But there are a few caveats.
Most are VERY noisy and will need special sound muffling installation. Outside, I have a 5 KW motor driving a hydraulic motor for a counter current exercise pool. Its designed to be quiet, on a separate concrete foundation and it is in a noise reducing enclosure. It is still pretty noisy in operation. It is much noisier than the 1 HP pool filter motor. There is no way you would be able to eliminate the vibrations if the motor generator was installed on the same concrete foundation as your house, so that eliminates the basement and the garage for installation locations.
I would also look at the spec's to make sure that the combo is designed to run electronic/hospital instruments. The industrial phase converters aren't elegant when it comes to not generating some hash (noise). My 5KW motor does.
Since the motor generator will be fairly far away from the listening room you will need to be careful with your cable run so that you dont pick up noise or cause a current drop.
Then there is that great question of for safety against lightning since the motor generator ground will be some distance from the service ground. If the city requires that the motor generators output be tied to ground at the service entrance you are connected back to a noise source.
If you are in a city, the city will probably require a licensed engineer to do the design including redoing the ground for your AC service. If you have a contractor do all this expect around $ 8 - $15 K based on my hydraulic motor experience.
However, done right, nothing can beat a motor generator for clean, efficient, high current power delivery.
Thanks Pls1, good post.
Re your hydraulic pump, the vast majority of the noise/vibration is coming from the pump side, not the motor (my guess would be on the order of 99%). Like I said, you definitely have to mount this system with isolation mounts, or put it in its own shed, but most are not that noisy since they are no noisier than two AC electric motors.
Re efficiency, I was just assuming 95% efficiency for the motor and the generator, which may be a little high, since the smaller ones probably aren't that good. So you may be right, 75-80% may be more accurate. Still way better than the 25% of a class-AB amp like the PS Audio unit.
For Tekunda, sorry if the above wasn't adequate explanation. A motor-generator is two separate pieces, (1) an electric motor, and (2) a generator. They are mounted facing each other on a single platform and hooked together by a straight coupling to transmit the rotation of the motor into the generator, which then creates the new AC waveform from scratch, just like a miniature power plant. They are completely electrically isolated from one another, which is why they give such good performance-- the power company's AC signal ends at the motor, and the generator creates a brand new one. I didn't point this out before, but they are immune to short-term power interruptions as well (up to a few seconds), since they carry a lot of inertial energy in their rotation.
Most electrical power sources are designed for efficiency NOT; elegance of wave form, low (let alone no noise), and ability to delivery high current at the top of the cycle with no voltage sag. A motor generator combo that meets these specs can be purchased off the shelf. Any DC source such as fuel cells, solar cells, batteries etc. would need an inverter. Most inverters suffer from the shortcomings listed above.
I was seriously looking at solar cells, batteries and inverters last summer based on the California tax credit and concluded that I couldnt get really clean AC power from a DC source unless I used a DC motor to drive an AC generator. Im sure that PS Audio units would be cost effective alternatives to DC sources.
I want to thank Karl for reminding everyone of the Motor-Generator combo. I think Ill look into it. Karl have you checked out any manufacturers?
I haven't looked seriously at any of them-- while I think it's a great idea, I haven't had the desire or ability to try it. But for someone who telecommutes or has a home business, it could be a perfect solution and a tax writeoff-- you need clean power for your computer too!!:-) Try Kato or Horlick, probably can find them in a Google search. I'm sure there are others as well, ask an electrical contractor with hospital experience.
I have a call into the local Horlick distributor close by in Silicon Valley. As I have posted on several occasions, I have terrible power quality. I live in the first residential neighborhood to have underground power (1925!) and if there is a power problem that can happen I have it (short of lightening strikes unlike the Midwest where I once lost a Threshold 800A). I use PS Audio units but a motor generator would be just the thing. Ill post my progress, as even if I decide to take on this project, it may take a while. Thanks again Karl!
I have a very different reply to the advise your receiving. First off I'm not sure how many of the responded have ever tried these components, I have read no experienced review here at Audiogon on the SMART conditioner so I doubt very much these responders have tried one.
I use the Hydra straight from my dedicated circuit. My amps, pre-amps and digital all run from the Hydra. I have recently received a SMART GC-120 for auditioning and reviewing. This unit comes with a "Preliminary Manual" so I doubt any others have even heard it. It weighs 44 lbs. and is basically a 9" dia balanced power transformer, a fully sealed HF low pass filter and an Industrial Duty TransZorb Avalanche transient surge suppresser and a output monitoring meter. Extremely impressive components and build. The unit is rated for 2000 watt continues power, so like the Hydra it has limits.
I intended to break it in with my present system but the total power draw of my system today is less than 100 watts. I'm waiting to review this unit until the arrival of my new amps, a pair of Plinius SA-102. I will use them to break in the conditioner and make my review from there.
I believe the potential of first balancing the power with the SMART, along with having surge protection before the Hydra is very intriguing. Please either wait a month for my review or write me for specific questions.
As far as the Richard Gray unit, I would throw that idea out first. The Grey will not help you here. The PS-600 is again the wrong direction in my opinion. I got more noise and problems from my PS-300 with multi-wave than it was worth. The Hydra will quite everything, guaranteed with no added "crap" so I would start there. Again I'm intrigued with the potential of the SMART/Hydra combonation and will keep you all informed as it plays out.
Jonathan, what worked for me was a more complex grounding system. What I did was run a 30 amp dedicated circuit with isolated ground rods outside, I have four ground rods and may add more. What this does is directs more noise to ground
this made the most difference in my system, I then installed a whole house surge protection unit, so far everything is great.