The only power conditioning on the amps should be PS Audio high current 20 amp Ultimate Outlets.
23 responses Add your response
Harleyhawk, I wholeheartedly agree with Timo. I CANNOT recommend the separate 20 amp lines more highly after my recent experience. I have Lamm monoblock amplifiers which have very good power supplies. I had two dedicated lines put in a number of years ago before the benefit of all that I have learned and studied (many as a result of the fine people on this forum - Bob Bundus and Subaruguru in particular on this one). Those two lines were 12 gauge Romex with no conduit or twisting of the conductors. They were used with various power conditioners over the years mainly on front end and preamps but not my amps (didn't have long enough cords to reach the amps). I recently put in four more 20 amp dedicted lines (on the same phase) of 10 gauge THHN solid core wire with the three insulated conductors twisted and placed in Greenfield conduit with Watt-A-Gate outlets (two duplexes that I had) and two ACME cryoed outlets.
I have my CDP on one, each Lamm amp on one, and my preamp on the fourth (with my subs and ESLs on the old ones). The Lamms are straight into the wall with no power conditioning.
Total cost of the lines (excluding the Wattagates) including labor - $450.
All I can say in that if I could get the kind of improvement from a $450 upgrade like this every time, I would have a whole lot more money in the bank. My system is pretty resolving and I have very good PCs and cables/interconnects on my stuff so I thought the improvement would be subtle at best. NOT! I won't go into too much detail here except to say that the bass was deeper, tighter and more articulate, the highs were clearer but less strident, the overall presentation was more resolute while less analytical and the noise floor went down so much that I finally could understand Graham Nash crystal clearly on a passage that I have never understood before.
Thus, if you want a cost effective upgrade, you should consider this as an option. Subruguru was very helpful and he sells some Belden 83802 (I believe that's the one) which I was interested in due to its ease of installation (before I decided on the 10 gauge for other reasons).
Hope this helps!
Wow, thanks for the rec!
Yes, two years ago I installed dedicated lines and made my own PCs from the magical belden 83802, and have never looked back! Incredibly low noisefloor from the full shielding, nice current delivery from the 12AWG, and utter transparency from an ultralow loss all-Teflon dielectric.
I recently discovered that Schurter redesigned their old fragile solder-only IEC connector, now making a really great, heavy contact, screw-clamp design! Thus the idea of giving something back to the Audiogon community by assembling DIY PC Kits of this 83802 and fine connectors for only $35. I sell the 83802 raw for lines at $2.50/ft first 20', then $2.25 longer length. I'm thinking about duplicating the junction boxes I use. They comprise the great, cheap Pass & Seymour duplexes (silver-plated by Acme at $35 is PERHAPS cost-effective. Not sure.), set in all-aluminum junction boxes, hardwired to the brteaker panel.
I made one small one for digital (EMC-1 MKII and Alesis Masterlink), one for analog (MD100 tuner and Aleph P pre), and one with a 30amp switch for the monos in the basement (Aleph 2s). No conditioners, no surge protectors, no Wattagate-modified Marincos, just solid engineering, Teflon and 12AWG. Incredibly low noise floor! Sorry to wax on, but I believe that essentially hard-wiring your components to the breaker with good copper and all-Teflon is a cheap no-brainer. Let me know what you need. And don't think you'll need 10AWG unless you're running kilowatt monos more than 50 feet away.... Ern
Harleyhawk, I would recommend several dedicated 20 amp circuits and cryogenically treated outlets. See below:
Here is some information from several of my posts on Audiogon (another similar topic).
“I have experimented over the last year with various wires to use for dedicated 20-amp circuits. I have the following wire in use in no special order:
1) 10 gage Romex
2) 10 gage UV
3) Belden 83802
4) Virtual Dynamics 10 gage BX Cryogenically treated with Cryo’d circuit breaker. *
I have not tried the following but I’m sure it works, 10 gage solid THHN (white/black/green) manually (electric drill) spiral twist and snake through conduit.
To my ears on my revealing system I hear NO difference between (1-4)! I think simply using a dedicated circuit with 10 gage copper makes the biggest difference.
* There might be other positive factors to using cryogenically treated wiring besides sonics. It might lower the operating temperature of equipment.
I have also experimented with many outlets regular/cryogenically treated. My last purchase was the Acme silver plated/Cryo'd outlet which finally settled in and sounds good.
At the present time my favorite outlets are as follows: Hubbell 5362, Hubbell 8300, Wattgate 381, all three sound very good, I think I like the Hubbell 5362 just a bit more (a smoother more musical, dynamic presentation)
but I rank all three together. A person could buy three Hubbell's fully treated by Alan for the cost of one Wattgate 381!
Next in line I would rank the Acme silver plated/Cryo'd and the FIM (cryo'd) which I had Alan cryo/cable-cook.
The best looking put together, solid, built to last outlet I have seen and have in my possession is the Hubbell".
I can't believe that a Tice Power Block / Titan combo could feed all of those amps under load and NOT cause some type of voltage drop / signal decay. My suggestion is to get a couple of dedicated lines just for the amps and have the Titan converted over to a full fledged Power Block. This is not that hard to do. You could then split the current draw between the two Power Block's, which were in turn being fed off of their own dedicated lines.
Quite honestly, you really do need several more Power Blocks to do things right. With that kind of set-up, i would consider 4 Power Blocks a minimum and 6 as being "good".
The other alternative to this is to use one phenomenally huge Isolation transformer i.e. something like a 10 - 12 KVA model. You can find these surplus and it would probably cost you less than one Power Block at MSRP. It just wouldn't have the "audiophile approved" name on it. Sean
You should look at balanced power from equitech or someone else. I don't like the idea of power conditioners on amps at all. I think it limits the range of the amps. I have no problem with these conditioners on digital units such as dvd,cd and video. Widescreen review has done a thorough analysis of balanced power and its use in combo with Richard Gray equipment. Their website provides the articles
describing the use of this equipment. The balanced power mfgrs. do not particular care for anything between their units and your equip. I agree that outlets make a difference and I am sure that the PS Audio is good, but it is not the last word. I have FEMs and am very happy with them. I intend to cryo them because from what I have heard from hearing cryod outlets their is a benefit at a decent cost. I would suggest doing an outlet search here where you will find a wealth of opinions on outlets.
The older Tice Power Blocks / Titan's are NOT "normal" power line conditioners. Each unit houses a single 43 pound 1875 watt isolation transformer. For best results though, one should not be pulling more than about 1000 - 1200 watts out of each transformer, as this pretty much guarantees adequate headroom and minimizes the potential for transformer saturation. Running a Power Block with a Titan minimizes the potential for transformer saturation, but still limits you to one 15 amp circuit at best. As such, re-configuring the Titan to act as a Power Block would allow you to use it as a separate ( rather than "reserve" ) isolation transformer, allowing you the use of another 15 amps of current delivery from another circuit. So long as you keep the current draw down to about 10 amps or so out of each transformer under load, this would provide superior results than running them in the "stacked" or "piggy-back" mode that Tice suggests.
The only benefit to running the Power Block / Titan as they come from the factory is if you are limited to one circuit for the entire system. Otherwise, you've increased capacitive coupling i.e. reduced isolation by running them in parallel on the same circuit. This is due to stray capacitance. Running them off of and as separate circuits would actually increase available power to the amps and increase isolation. Sean
OCMs are working well (3 of the 4 are bridged and 1 is stereo).
One of yours is on the rear right channel (B&W Nautilus 804) and the other is on the center (Nautilus HTM1).
I kept the 2 that seemed to be the same age together on the rears.
My original OCM200 runs the other rear N804 and I use the Soloist 200 for the sides (stereo / B&W SCM-8 dipoles).
I have not purchased the 2nd 350A monoblock / converted my 350A to a monoblock yet .... actual reason for my questions was to prepare for their arrival in March or April.
The fronts (eventually two mono block 350As vs 1 stereo) are N802's and I am hoping for great things when I get the power situation sorted out.... Then it the "big screen" (using a 42" now and it is hard to get really absorbed into the film ... although the sound can be awesone.)
As the volume across all channels goes up I think (I can't measure it - only observe it) that I am running out of current (not as dynamic as I would expect) .... you would think the volume level would be ear shattering but it is not.... I don't really want it loud just very dynamic, Open / Clear / Musical .... at low level it is just that.
Couple of other things are expected to improve the sound ... the Anthem AVM-20 will get an upgrade at the factory to 2.0 SW & Firmware and the Belles 20A preamp is being upgraded by David B. to improve its sound as well (new volume pot / some circuit/component mods) ... have not experimented with tubes yet.
From all of the feedback, the circuit upgrades will probably yield the biggest bang for the buck. Not that familiar with other conditioners ... keep getting mixed signals about using / not using.
The single largest concern I have is the possible amp damage and using 2 conductor wire (Belden 83802) to boxes without grounds ... but I may not fully understand the wiring plan ... separate dedicated grounds can easily be accomodated to meet code.
Harley: You have enough transformer in the Tice to run ONE good sized stereo amp and that is all. You might be able to get away with two amps if you listen at rather moderate volumes or have high efficiency speakers. Ideally, you wouldn't have anything capable of pulling more than about 1000 - 1200 watts hooked up to the Tice. I have NO doubt that this is causing some of your problems. The Tice might be capable of supplying the quantity of 1800 watts of power but that doesn't mean that all 1800 watts would be of the same quality.
Try plugging the amps directly into the wall and see what you get. While the sound will change due to the noise floor increasing, you should be able to hear a drastic increase of dynamics under load. Even plugged into the wall directly, you are probably going to run into current starvation if you really stood on the throttle. I have amps that can pull 20+ amps individually when really cranking things up on low impedance, low sensitivity speakers.
Just because you have six outlets on the Tice does not mean that you can hook amps up to all of them. Doing so would be like assuming that you have money in the bank simply because you still have checks in your checkbook. It just isn't so.
With what you are trying to run, you really need a dedicated 100 amp breaker box and the associated dedicated wiring / outlets just for your system. Sean
Subaruguru has been really helpful and has echoed the same meassage .... go dedicated & use belden 83802 power cables.
I am in the process of disconnecting the amps and running only one until I have a remote sub panel installed (6-8 AWG) and then run Belden 83802 to new dedicated solid metal boxes with 20A hospital grade Hubbles (cryo maybe).
Since I am going to build a dedicated room in the next year, I will float these boxes and re-locate them to the new room.
Since they will be floated in the attic, I can take them with me if I move ...
2 20A circuits for 4 OCMs
1 20A circuit for the 350As
1 20A circuit for the Subs
1 20A for the front-end / Bybee Pro.
The existing 15A will be used with the Tice for the TV and other basic components.
Appreciate all the input from everyone.
It has been quite helpful and appreciated.
125 amp (4 AWG) isolated ground panel
5 dedicated 20 amp circuits (10 AWG romex)
1 single 20 amp circuit Beldon 83802 (didn't have 500 feet of 83802 or another $1000 at this time) ...
All IECs are now Beldon 83802 / hospital grade / lifted grounds.
The only noise is from the recently upgraded Anthem AVM 20.
There are no satelite / cable TV connections / not on top of any electronics .. just a CD player.
The floor is so silent that the transformer noise from the AVM 20 can be heard across the room ... what a pain.
I just contacted Sonic Frontiers to ask why ... will update with their response.
Other than the AVM 20 the improvement (and peace of mind) is dramatic ... even the new AVM 20 software is awesome ... but that noise!!!!
Glad to hear that things are pulling together for you. Sounds like you had the electrician busy for a while. It's not unusual to think that you are done only to find yourself with yet another project that came about as a result of the other "upgrades" you just performed. I think that we can all relate to that part of the equation : ) Sean
Noise from the Anthem AVM20 is the transformers (there are 2 and the main one is suspect).
Sonic Frontiers' Tech support (firstname.lastname@example.org - Nick P.) was awesome and very helpful. The unit is 14 months old but both SFI & the dealer (Hillcrest / Tweeter) were willing to fix it for free.
Other than another trip to the service center, this should have a happy ending!
I know for sure that I will not be happy with the noise level from the Runco DTV-930 (overhead CRT projector) I am about to add!
To your point Sean ... there is always something to cause a new "learning experience" to present itself.