If you are a worry wart, then so am I.
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Bob, The issue is also SOUND. Maybe start there! In my experience, various amps react various ways to various power conditioners or regenerators (helpful, huh?) I had a tube amp in our last house on a Power Plant (PS Audio PP600)and it was better that way. Here, in our new house with dedicated circuits, I thought the amp was better into the wall (Porter power ports for plugs.) Having tried several Class D amps, I found they also preferred the wall to the PP600.
I share your concern about power problems. But as they say - there's always something. I don't listen in thunder storms, and kill the circuit breakers.
Maybe think about a Shunyata 2 outlet deal for your amp - I believe it has protection - or a PS Audio Ultimate Outlet or whatever else they have for that purpose.
"I do notice better performance on the power amps plugged directly into the wall."You've probably just answered your own question. Maximum performance, in my opinion, trumps the minor equipment safety concerns.
"Or am I being too much of a worry wart."I'd say that it's self-defeating to purchase high end gear for big bucks and then compromise its performance with a surge protector or something. You MAY want to consider one of the supposedly "non-current limiting" big boys like Running Springs Audio or some of the others. I think those offer surge protection.
Also, the NBS website provides an interesting perspective on this issue (I don't sell NBS or work for them or any other power conditioner company):
What the people at NBS have to say
I plug mine directly into each amp's dedicated line. Surges etc. are a conern, however there are few "protective" systems made that will not impact your amp's performance. A friend and I have tried various products, which at first we think made a marked improvement, but after listening to the system with protection, then switching back to a direct connection, we've always found the direct is better. Then a few months latter, we'll try another scheme to improve the sound and have repeated our findings. There are places in cities where the electrical lines indeed sound trashy because of to high a load, noisy transformers, etc, and for these areas I'm sure the surge protection schemes may improve the electricity so much that filtered sounds better even with the current limiting factors these devices seem to impose. If you live in the heart of a city with lots of industry and heating cooling needs, you may want the protection of line filters/regenerators. If you live in the suburbs you may have similar findings to mine.
If you listen late at night, you'll almost always have better sound.
My Pass dealer told me to do so (right into the wall), as recommended by Pass. Sure enough, all surge protectors or AC filters I tried made my X350 sound compressed. I have discovered the same is true with my Edge NL12, which is now also right into the wall. (My source components, however, benefitted from being plugged into my Hydra 8.)
I have never had a problem in my house with this arrangement.
It's perfectly safe to plug the amps straight into the wall, especially on non-shared circuits. I prefer that approach to most "power conditioners" that tend to screw up the detail or the dynamics or both. However...
I have discovered that an IsoClean power filter can improve the sound even on a dedicated circuit. They're just filters though, so they don't do regeneration or surge protection. However, given the quality of the power in most of North America these days I wouldn't worry about the really bad stuff too much. Unplug the system during wind or electrical storms and you should be OK.
Its a rare occurrence for an amp to get fried from a surge, but it DOES happen. There was a guy who's entire system was fried from a lightning storm when he was not home. In my experience there is no solution other than taking the risk (which, again, is rare) or compromising the sound to some degree. I tried a Brickwall surge protector designed specifically for amps. It did not constrict dynamics, but there was an ever so slight loss of clarity. The Brickwall had two plugs and I found that only one component could be plugged in or the sound became too veiled. The loss of clarity is ever so slight, but the protection it offers is beyond compare--so I live with the compromise. Brickwall used to offer a 30 day trial period, but not sure if they still do; you may want to check it out. The only real downside/limitation with the Brickwall is that it does not allow for a change of its power cord (something I didn't even think about when I bought, but now wish I did; of course, but you could always DIY it to accept different power cords by installing an IEC receptacle, but this would void the warranty). I have tried many surge protectors and would recommend the Brickwall out of all those I've tried, but it does come with compromises just like the rest of them, just less. Lastly, there are some that say there are ordinary spikes that occur on a daily basis that don't necessarily hurt your amp, but do add stress to your components and can shorten the life of equipment. Just thought I throw that in there to give you (and me) one more thing to worry about. I too am a worry wart
This is simple:
If you have a decent amp, you will always plug you amp directly into the Wall.
If you want it to sound better get an electrician in and get a dedicated line.
If you want it to sound even better, have the electrician run an Isolated ground, that consists of a dedicated Ground wire not connected to your water pipe, or your fuse pannel, but have it run outside to a copper rod, that is burried in the ground.
Industry experts have long been proponents of this type of setup, because of the isolation from other appliances that generate noise.
My whole house surge protector is not sensitive enough to cover small "issues". Regardless of sound quality, I'm using a surge before my amp. I can get used to a miniscule amount of sound problems vs buying a new amp.
And, YES I have had lighting strike the house more than once. Last time if fried my whole niles system!
"I can get used to a miniscule amount of sound problems vs buying a new amp."On the other hand, what better excuse could there possibly be to upgrade????? You could say: "Honey, the urge struck me like a bolt out of the blue; now I'm thundering mad and going to storm off and buy a new amp."
OK, maybe not.....
>>"If you want it to sound even better, have the electrician run an Isolated ground, that consists of a dedicated Ground wire not connected to your water pipe, or your fuse pannel, but have it run outside to a copper rod, that is burried in the ground."<<
Thats a no no and dangerous to boot....A good way to fry his equipment in a lightning storm.
And what if for some reason a piece of his equipment were to have a leak or short to the case. One of the main reasons for an equipment ground is to carry any fault current back to the source and if the current flowing in the equipment grounding conductor is large enough it will cause the overcurrent device, breaker or fuse, to open. By running the equipment grounds to a separate outside ground rod and not connecting this isolated grounding system back to the main electrical grounding system, any fault current will have to flow through the earth and reinter either his house's grounding electrode system or the house next door's grounding electrical system to return to the source, the utility transformer. By the way the current flow will take the least resistive path back to the source. The earth is never to be used as a fault current carring path back to the source. Depending on soil moisture the current will be limited returning back to the source, resistance. If the resistance is large enough the current flow may not be large enough to open the overcurrent device.....
That is also how to electrocute an animal or person who may be walking outside on wet grass near the ground rod if there is a fault.
I love my SOUND APPLICATIONS, non current limiting, power comditioner. My amps, not only sound better, BUT, are totally protected. I have a friend whose ho,e was hit by lightning, had his whole system plugged into the SA Reference Linestage, and whala, no problema....add to that, IMHO better soundstage, imageing, AND seemingly more power, and WOW.
I have noticed a very slight reduction in dynamics using a power conditioner (could be psychological) but sound quality in itself was noticebly better & smoother. I don't think that power conditioning and a surge protector can be equated. Surge protection in itself is not recommended by anyone including dealerships that know what a negative impact this has on a amp's performance. However as long as the surge protector meets or exceeds the amps amperage this effect can be minimized but not eliminated.