Hi Baz; many, including me, have found that power conditioners can limit the power an amplifier can draw and also affect its sound quality/character. I had a Tice E-4 power conditioner that could not handle my big McCormack DNA-2DX (600 wpc, 4 Ohms) and it "colored" the music in a detrimental way. Steve McCormack recommended plugging the DNA2 directly into the wall-- dedicated outlets or not. And later when I installed a dedicated AC system, I definitely preferred to have all of my components plugged directly into the wall, and ended up selling the Tice.
The Tice was a good power conditioner, but it was really meant for something like HT rather than a highly resolving stereo system. I do feel that my system IS vulnerable to such things as lightning strikes-- which makes me nervous, and like you I'm considering a PS Audio 300 for transport, DAC, and pre-amp, but not for my amp. Some of the big expensive power conditioners, such as the Shunyata Hydra are not supposed to limit current, but I personally believe that anything in the audio chain (including incoming AC) is going to have an affect on music. So as usual we're left with "buy and try", audition etc.
However, some places, including PS Audio will let you audition, and when I've got the bucks, I'll do that with their 300. Big amps are a special case because they can draw so much power. Many power conditions can handle the load of small to medium amps, but it's likely that they are still going to color the music-- you just have to decide whether or not you like, or can live with the colorations. BTW this is also true of plugging other components into power conditions, and that was my experience with the Tice E-4. For the last 1 1/2 years I've been having "unprotected" music ;>). You're on the right track, you just need to do some auditioning of power conditioners with spike/surge protection. I need to do it too.
I would just add that the Monster HTS 1000/2000 series power conditioners are supposed to be tonally neutral, are inexpensive, and can easily handle at least front ends, pre-amps etc. I have an HTS 1000 that I plug accessories into, but haven't tried it with important components yet. One of the major mags recommended the HTS 2000 also. Cheers. Craig
As Garfish intimates, "clean power" is important where the chain is most vulnerable: pre, digital front-end, etc. Power amps are less vulnerable (they usually have very large power supplies of their own), but they DO need to draw current -- hence the advice to plug directly to wall. Given the (often) high current (or voltages), power amps are also supplied with protection circuits that can save them in cases of surges (hopefully!). Finally, many power amps can reach optimum operation level from cold within ~hour; so, less need to leave them on all the time and unattended.
Every component can benefit from cleaner electric power, but digital components seem to benefit the most. It's interesting to note that power conditioners did not become popular until digital components were widely used. I suspect digital components are the major internal causes of electrical noise in home systems.
At one time I used an API Power Wedge and I was never truly certain if it was limiting the sound of the power amps (Rowland Model 1 or Pass Aleph 5). Regardless, I plugged them into the API because I perceived the surge protection as more important than the small, if any, detrimental sonic impact. I currently use a PS600 and I can detect no negative effect on amplifier performance. I am passively bi-amping my speakers and I plug both a JRDG Concentra integrated and a Model 112 power amp into the PS600. With no music the system shows 190 watts on the PS600's display. Loud music (up to low 90dBs) only raises the display to 240-260. I've never tripped the PS600's overload circuit. My speakers are 4 ohm designs with 89dB sensitivity.
Scratch out the without worrying part. I suffered from a near lightning strike this spring that fried some tubes and the B-fuses in each of my amp while everything on the Chang escaped unscathed. When my system was set up differently i had the amps through the chang as well and didn't notice a hugh dynamic shift. Getting a good conditioner/protector for each amp is something on the budgeting list for me since next time it may be more than a hundred dollars worth of tubes.
Try a Vansevers "Unlimiter" conditioner.
I use a PS Audio P1200 with my Krell KSA-300S with such good results that I haven't gone back to straight wall connection. I also use the P1200 in 220V mode which benifits from balanced A/C. I know it is pricey, but if you are like me in finding the components you want then it is a final step and a big sonic improvement.
Onhighway61 is right about digital components. I've used a 'scope and a noise sniffer to measure the amount of junk that various high end digital units put back onto the AC lines. In most cases, even for multi kilobuck units, they put out a lot. I use two PS 300's, one for my analog sources and one for my digital sources. Cable TV or digital audio sources are even worse.
Interesting! Once I was lazy to plug in my new EAD DSP700 MKII DAC and I tried it in the wall... The sound of 60Hz was audiable even on small volume of the preamp. Now I keep everything into my Panamax including Bryston 3b-st power amplifier. Panamax is an inexpencive way to connect and protect your equipment against "wall noise" and surges. It doesn't regenerate a clean power like PS300 but it doesn't compromise in power. However if you've solid and new electric wiring in your home, this device isn't necessary. In this case it'll make a sence to get PS300 for small power components and plug large power components into the wall or PC surge protector. I have a horrible electric wires in my appartment and I do not take any chances to plug even TV in there. At least I should have a PC surge protector.
I solved this problem by installing a surge supressor direct into my breaker box....my amp is on a dedicated 12g wired circuit and I'm not in favor of putting in a signal/current disrupting black box...I use Black Mamba power cords and get the effect I want without the linecondioner.
You may want to try Sound Application's CFX. I have recently inserted one into my system with great reticence, mind you. I also had concerns of limitations brought about by "conditioning", but this unit,still in break-in period (reported to need weeks and weeks of break-in), has offered some noticeable and welcomed changes. The most obvious is the blackness in the sounstage. Initially, this character sounded less musical- more hi-fi-ish. Fortunately, as the piece settles, the music amidst the soundstage widens and fills out. The frequency extension has had no deleterious affect even with the amps plugged into the CFX.
More to be shared with additional break-in. Check out Sound application's website; www.soundapplication.com.
Hello Baz...I had my BAT amplifier plugged directly into the wall for many months. When the "thunderstorm" season came around, I found that my amp was popping several 10 amp fuses each time there was a quick "on and off" 1-2 second power outage. This really became a pain since I was replacing fuses several times a week plus I became quite concerned about the welfare of the amp. A good friend recommended trying a VansEvers Unlimiter with the amp. My BAT has (2) power cords which have been upgraded to BMI Whales. By using an unlimiter, I realized that I would have to use another Whale from the wall to the conditioner requiring 3 power cords to run this amp! I figured that there would be a loss of power also since both amp cords were pulling from 1 conditioner cord. Well...I guess that serves me right for figuring. The amp sounded MUCH better with a substantial increase in power and bass response. As a by-product, only 1 fuse has blown. VansEvers states that the Unlimiter does not limit power. I must agree with that statement given the all around upgrade in my amps performance, not to mention the peace of mind knowing that my amp now at least has a degree of protection. Try one...
thanks for all the responses.. but bottom line is, should i plug into the wall or not? hehe... also, if i have one outlet (w/2 plug), how can i do this? should i change it from 2 to 4 or 6 and then plug everything into that? thanks again all... -baz
Baz, i say plug into wall, always worked best for me. I hate power conditioners except for aftermarket cords. Besides, i know you don't want to go thru the hassle or lose a component but homeowners will cover any mishap. Peace.
Ideally, heavy loads (i.e. amps) should be plugged into separate outlets. If you don't go down the dedicated lines way, try to use different outlets (from different lines) to plug in yr equipment -- rather than plugging everything into the same outlet (if that's what yr intimating). And yes, do plug the amp directly to the wall outlet....
Still beleive dedicated line to be the best option, though.
well i agree i wanted to have a dedicated line installed, but two electricians said they couldnt do it. said my main panel was full and too far from my theater room. bummer... open to suggestions, tho... also, should i change my one outlet from 2 outlet to 4 outlet or 6? thanks again... baz