I would really like to get a more analog warm 2 ch sound. Any recommednations on what power conditioner would help?A power conditioner is not the answer to your quest.
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There is really nothing in your gear that my experience would show as bright sounding, and I have not heard the Proac 200's, but it would seem either you need some room treatments or different speakers. A power conditioner is more of a fine tuning thing, and if you are not happy with the way your system sounds, it will not be your last upgrade. If you insist however, I highly recommend the BPT products, worked best for me.
Sorry, but I don't agree with the above posts, due to my own experience.
Your electricity NEEDS TO BE CLEAN...(crap in = crap out)
First I would suggest a dedicated line WITH it's own grounding rod. (cheap AND effective) If you already have this, or can't due to living in an apartment, THEN I would suggest a P-300 with MWII. The MWII removed glare from my system that I did not realize I even had. (at first I had MWI) Plug all front end equipment into the P-300. Amps direct to the wall.
Another item that will help the ENTIRE system is a Quantum Symphony Pro emf stabilizer. This unit works so well that I have two.
People have stated that my all solid-state system "sounds like tubes".
Hope this helps.
I agree with Tweakmenow. Everybody has dirty AC to one bad degree or another. Installing PROPER line conditioning is absolutely foundational to any system.
In fact, once you've become accustomed to listening with excellent line conditioners you soon find out just how difficult it is to listen to any system for more than 5 or 10 minutes without proper line conditioning.
Moreover, with proper line conditioning, you also discover just how much sonic harm some line conditioners induce in your system. Not to mention that without proper line conditioning you will never know your component's and system's true capabilities with this foundational piece missing.
With that said, I've been using the Foundation Research passive and dedicated and bi-directional filtering line conditioners for the last 5 years. Late last year I became a dealer and in so doing, I also became a dealer for the top flight Foundation Research product line.
I have been using the PS Audio Power Plants P600 and P1200 for the past 3-4 years and don't like my audio or video as well without them. The room treatment is very important first though to balance everything out and the power plants are icing on the cake. Remember that some conditioners actually restrict components and protect very little. If you want some good Q&A on power issues, log onto www.psaudio.com and check out their approach.
Sometimes, I think we lose sight of the goals of the person who posted the question. No one here is disputing the benefits of power conditioning. What Sempaul specifically said was:
I would really like to get a more analog warm 2 ch sound. Any recommednations on what power conditioner would help?I do not believe any amount of power conditioning is suddenly going to result in a more analog warm 2 channel sound. The source of that sound will be found elsewhere. Nevertheless, when the warm, analog sound is achieved, power conditioning will enhance it further.
IMO...as a user of Shunyata Hydra products, and as a past user of Sound Applications, PS Audio, Quantum Symphony, Bybee, and BPT power conditioners.
Actually Tvad, it was Tweakmenow who roped you guys back in after you posted your room acoustics recommendations.
I'm a little surprised that Sempaul's using a Monster lc did not at least raise some eyebrows. He already has a line conditioner, but it seems that he realizes he can do better.
I lost sight in that Sempaul stated he is hoping another line conditioner would bring him greater 2-ch warmth.
Proper line conditioning can give the perception that warmth has been added and that's in 2 ways, 1. Bass can become more pronounced and well-defined and without bloat, thus balancing the overall presentation and sounding as though 'warmth' was added.
Another way is proper line conditioning will clean the noisy AC and drop the noise-floor substantially, so that even the slightest nuances become quite evident and also by eliminating what appears to be a digital-like hash or time-smear like grain in the highs inducing negative sibilance and general ear fatigue and replacing those shortcomings with extremely pristine presentation.
So perhaps in that sense proper line conditioning will add warmth also.
On the other hand, proper line conditioning will never suppress offending frequencies as some to many very popular name brands do. Rather proper line conditioning gives you the full monty and in a very pristine musical way.
I would still want my electric to be as good as I could achieve before I started with room treatments. I would put your source on a dedicated line with an Audio Magic Mini Digital and listen. I have used the Hydra, but prefer the AM line. Sound Application, even used, is out of your budget. Room treatments? Maybe, but I would prefer to have electric nirvana before I started going that route...IMHO...
To answer this thread's primary question, what is the best PLC under $1k? For a passive filtering device, if the lower-priced Audio Magic Stealth is anything like the Eclipse model I run with, this could very well be the ticket to entry level PLC greatness. A friend has the Hydra8 and swears by it so the Hydra4 would be my other choice to consider. The PS Audio regenerating units may be worthy of audition, but these generate heat and so I prefer to stay with the passive filtering devices.
The above issue could dramatically change the clarity and resolution of the system. You may very well hear more silence between the notes. Sounds will be as if they are the results of musicians and not just sounds. But a PLC is not going to do much to bring on "warmth" or simulate an analog-like presentation. If you're after analog "qualities" like portrayal of space, long decays, harmonic textures especially in the mids, no PLC nor room treatments are the answer here. In the context of your system's components, this is simply not going to happen.
Room treatments are not likely to bring on "warmth" either. When I added ASC tube traps around the room, they brought on even greater clarity to the mids and highs. But this was not so much a tonality change in the mids that is often associated with the term, warmth. The ASC's removed a fatiguing edge that was very evident when I took them back out of the room. And the result here made for more greater decays and ambience because of the clarity.
You want warmth....you need one of a handful of tube preamps out there. It is not likely going to happen any other way. You want analog sound from CD playback, you're looking at a top-notch tube DAC.
Hi Paul: I'm in agreement with the aforementioned as being good tweak suggestions, only some of which may achieve your 'warm analog-like' tuning objective.
A decent PLC is a necessity IMO; provides reduced glare, and also provides AC line-transient protection, for ownership peace-of-mind.
A different PLC should likely alter your sonic signature but I'm unsure what to suggest. I've experienced warmer-sounding results with Audio Magic; in your pricerange you may be interested in this 6-outlet Audio Magic Matrix (I've since upgraded to the Audio Magic Stealth XXX, I needed more outlets). The detachable AC cord allows you to tune the sonic signature of your entire rig by switching the mains AC input cord.
In order to alter your sonic signature more to your liking, I would (at least initially) retain your existing audio components & speakers. If you haven't already done so, you can also experiment with different upgrade AC cords, signal cables, & perhaps even speaker cabling. Component shelving & footer tweaks are alternative tuning tools available for your experimentation; changes in sonics can vary considerably depending upon sensitivity of the components.
The only budget PLC's I'm experienced with are the Chang Lightspeed product line. I used a CLS3200 and a CLS9900Amp (also here available) before upgrading to Audio Magic.
Highly recommend the BPT products - Chris can do some nice things in your price range. Whether it gets toobey or not, its for sure your system will sound better. No matter how your system morphs going forward its a piece you will never need to change.
After that, I am with Jafox. Look for a AES AE-3 preamp, they come up all the time - very clean, inexpensive and you can roll 6SN7s till the cows come home - the classic tube. Or get a Musical Fidelity tube buffer.
Right now you could get the buffer and a BPT on the Gon for a grand...
Proper vibration control will help you get clearer (focused), more coherent and relaxed sound.
I'm a BIG fan of 220/100 isolation transformers/filters and they can be set up in an apartment. For a start, though, try the parallel filtration approach and take it from there. It's very hard (and $$$) to make HT sound theater to sound 'analog' like. I do not recommend the tube buffer approach, though.
Jafox - a tubed DAC is not the only option to achieving analog sound from CD playback. Non-os DACs, tubed or not, accomplish this as well, and in many cases for a lot less money.
As for the other recommendations, I would say the preamp will have the most impact. A used Joule Electra LA-100 MkIII would do, or perhaps something from the Cary/AES line.
I probably can't help much on the line conditioner question, although if you find a used Running Springs Haley I'd grab it.
Some additional detail:
I actually am still running CD's with a Denon 2800. I recently sold my 2910 and have purchased a 3910. So I have yet to determine any positive effect of the upgrade to the 3910.
I am using a VH Flavor 4 with Gold Furutechs to my main amp. This is plugged directly into the wall. I have a dedicated circuit with Hubbell 8200 red Hospital receptacles. For my CD/DVD am using a VH Flavor 1 with Rhodium Furutech plugs. For my Processor am running a VH Flavor 1 with Gold Furutechs.
Am using Purenote 5N Silver Paragon I/C's thruout and Paragon Bi-wire Speaker Cables. For video am using a Wireworld Silver Starlite HDMI.
I am planning on going thru a thorough break in period with my new set up with the 3910. Have been keeping my eyes open for a good price on a used Audio Magic Stealth, BPT 2 Ultra or 2.5 Ultra.
Before going to the expense of buying another PLC, you might consider changing your outlets. Hubbells and Pass & Seymour tend to be very revealing outlets, especially if cryo'ed. Furutech outlets might work, although they tend to be more dull than I prefer. A good median might be the FIM 880. They're out of production, but you can get them from Galen Carol audio.
If you do decide to go with another PLC, I highly recommend going with a 'parallel' conditioner setup in your price range. My ears tell me that 'tuning' your gear with 2 or 3 different 'parallel' filters upstream of your gear can do remarkable things to clean your sound without restricting dynamics. Blue Circle, AudioPrism, PS audio, Quantum, make good 'parallel' conditioners.
While I think power conditioning is important (just bought a Hydra 4), I think you should be looking elswhere to "warm" up your system. maybe loan some cables from the cable company, copper instead of silver (I am a Pure Note fan,) like Purist. I think the SS rotel and denon going into the revealing Proac's via the silver cables is the issue.
Remove the Monster I had a 2600 which was actually better for 2 channel cause it had less filtering than your monster, but it still was restricted slightly in the lower mids and bass causing it to be a bit less organic sounding, Go for a Power Link By ensemble, or possibly the one I think made by Blue circle now, these Are straight Copper buss bar design, no power switch and high quality outlets and dead silent shielded isolation type design, but they do nothing special just show you what your equipment sounds like.
"I think the SS rotel and denon going into the revealing Proac's via the silver cables is the issue."
I'm with Dan on this one. I never did like an all solid state configuration ahead of my ProAcs. While the bass was tawt, the treble was bright and the midrange recessed. Just inserting a tube preamp changed everything for the better and in the direction I think you're looking for Sempaul.
Power conditioning can be of great help, and it seems like you've already done a lot in this area, but maybe a tube preamp with HT bypass might be the ticket here.
i am using a p 300 with my tube preamp and tube cd player.
i find the affect of the power plant upon the treble response to be of a subtractive nature.
if there is noise and other "pollution" on the ac line, removing such artifacts may "warm" up the overall sound of your system by eliminating what is perceived as an imbalance in the treble region.