Will a good power cable replace the need for a PC?
I've heard mixed opinions on the use of a power conditioner. My question is, does the use of a high end power cable replace the need for a power conditioner? A local high-end retailer claims that the power cables he uses can run directly to a wall socket, and that a power conditioner can actually create more problems than it solves. I'm currently in the process of upgrading my cables and wondering what the best solution is.
You will get multiple replies, many will be opposite opinions.
I won't say a power cord will solve the same things that conditioning addresses, but so far I have not heard a power conditioner I liked.
All conditioners I've tried harmed the sound in some way. A couple were very expensive (seven to ten thousand dollars) and hurt dynamics, detail and even compressed the sound stage.
Then again you might hear from a music lover that lives in a high rise and has 100 other people beating on the same electrical service he's tied to and his test concluded that (brand here) conditioner was much preferred.
If you live in a single family home, chances are dedicated lines should be your first line of defense against bad AC.
After that improvement, maybe explore some high end power cables assuming all your equipment is pretty much where you want it.
There are a lots of AC cords on the market and many of them are an audible improvement over stock. That being said, conclusions as to which provide what are dependant on equipment and personal preferences.
Thanks for the reply. I do live in a single family house. What do you mean by "dedicated lines" exactly?
Also, My system unfortunately requires quite a few AC connections. Electrostat speakers don't help the matter. I've sort of decided that I dont really like the component power conditioner I'm using right now because 1. It reduces audio and picture quality 2. requires that all of my devices are connected to one spot 3. doesn't have enough connections for all of my stuff.
Whats the point of a PC anyways if your end result is worse than without it? Ins't the goal to give you BETTER end results?
I can't imagine a power conditioner that reduces a TV picture quality. You conditioner must be having problems! I do Agree with Albert Porter, that it all depends on your situation. I would think a homeowner would go for dedicated lines 100% of the time. As Albert mentioned, living in an apt building does not (usually) allow that option. I also agree the conditioners do help some areas much better than others, and you also lose some thngs that can be viewed either as a loss, or as a change for the better, depending on your system, the room, your needs. They ARE a compromise where if they do what you want, they are wonderful. If they do the opposite.. well. As for cords alone, as always it is system dependent. IF you want the least intrusion (you love your current sound) I would only go with trying cords. If your system sounds a bit congested, (Or you want more clarity) try a conditioner. I use both, 2 big conditioners, and Pangea power cords on nearly everthing. (except the conditioners, one has a captive cord, the other a 20amp IEC, and Pangea does not make a 20amp IEC end on any cord they make) One issue i have never seen discussed is buying a system USING a conditioner as a pre buying equipment choice. Thus the equipment audition using the conditioner you like, can and does lead to buying equipment that performs at it's best with a conditioner. When i auditioned my current Magnepan 3.6s and Bryston amp/preamp I took my conditioner and had the stuff plugged into it at the second long audition, So I actually bought stuff based on an auditione WITH a conditioner I use. (I liked the sound better with it, than without) Worked out great. And taking a conditioner with you is pretty easy,as just plugging the stuff into it is not as big a hassle as swapping cables etc.
The first step to problem solution is problem Identification
Here are 10 common conditions that can effect your power delivery and skew the sound of your system
By applying the right type of filter application for the electrical anomalies you can correct the problem
Not knowing what your problem is and just adding some ones recommendation for a power conditioner or power cord that works for someone else can be a catastrophe as their problems may not be the same as yours
I'm sure Elizabeth has different issues in her down town Midwest condo vs Albert's issue in suburban Texas
Knowledge with out understand can be a sure fire receipt for disaster
Here are probably the top ten problems issues in power delivery
1. Blackouts: A total loss of utility power 2. Frequency variation: A change in frequency stability 3. Transients: Instantaneous high voltage increase in the range of nanoseconds 4. Harmonics: Distortion of the normal waveform, generally transmitted by non-linear loads 5. Over Voltage:Increased line voltage for extended periods of a few minutes to a few days 6. Brownouts: Reduced line voltage for extended periods of a few minutes to a few days 7. Sags: Short term low voltage 8. EMI (Electro Magnetic Interference): High Frequency waveform - often referred to as noise 9. RFI (Radio Frequency Interference): Also a High Frequency waveform - often referred to as noise 10. Surges: Short term high voltage
Here are 3 that can be equally as deliberating but get little to no consideration on this and other boards
1 Power Correction Factor ... when current and voltage are out of phase efficiency is reduced ... 2 DC offset ... this is a silent killer that attacks transformers reducing their efficiency limiting dynamic and head room 3 Noise (RF/EMI) traveling on the third wire / safety ground ... main reasons systems sound better when ground is lifted ... but not a recommended solution
Tell me how a power cord can remedy these situation and a properly applied power conditioner can't or won't
One more thing ... dedicated lines ... will someone please show me how they isolate when all the neutrals in the house are bonded to a single bus bar and all the ground wires/3rd wire safety are bonded to a separate Bus and then these two Buses are tied together before going the the ground rod out side
Looks like noise on the safety can easily be coupled to the neutral at the main panel box through their bonding to the ground
Now noise on the safety plus any noise you pick up on the neutral will work it's way back into your equipment's power supplies degrading the sound on the AC's back side or return trip back through the power supply ... after all we are dealing with alternating current
So I guess a power cord can correct all these issues and can correct all this but a power conditioner is detrimental
Apply the right type of filtration to the specific problem usually works every time
"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results" ... Albert Einstein
yeah, i don't know whats up with it. not from the power, but by running the coax from the wall into it then out to the cable box. The thing that made the biggest difference in my cable TV quality was swapping out the splitter at the wall (for internet) with a higher quality/higher bandwidth splitter. go figure.
Until recently I agreed with Albert but have recently started using conditioners. I have dedicated lines, which are lines run directly to the outlet from the 'fuse' box and quality receptacles. I now use a Hydra 2 for my amp and a PS Audio Quintet on the other line for everything else. Martin Colloms has done considerable work on this and his conclusions are in line with the above posts; that is IF you have dedicated lines AND good power the conditioners are little if any help and usually degrade the sound to some degree. BUT the worse your power the more they help. So it all depends on your individual situation.
Hmm, well I'll still need some type of surge protection/power strip. Now that Im thinking about it, I may be able to stick with the same one since I only really need conditioning to 6 devices at the moment. Once I get component amp's ill need a couple extra though. In the other PC thread, someone mentioned that they had audible compression of sound stage, etc. by connecting their amps to the PC, so I might avoid that, but no surge protection scares me.
How important is surge protection If my home has circuit breakers? I haven't actually experienced even one power surge that would damage equipment, but I guess the whole point is to have this bit of security "just in case".
So based on what Stanwal had said about what dedicated lines are, sounds like it requires in wall wiring and such. rewiring the home isn't really an option, especially since my living situation is constantly changing (I'm a student).
I've recently been looking at the Panamax PM-5400. provides power conditioning, voltage regulation, surge protection, 5 isolated outlet banks, and 2 high current outlets for amps. opinions?
Interesting to know. I'm actually using a furman amp for my studio equipment. Works great. Thats actually how i first realized the potential of a power conditioner. Before I bought mine I was getting this irritating hum on every track when it should be silent. Its more noticeable when you can actually SEE the AC hum on your track. Bought the PC and it drastically lowered the noise floor. The furman I have is a rackmount unit, so ill have to take a look at their other options.
As to power cords, they sound quite different to me but vary considerably with application and system; still a lot there not fully understood. Worth spending some money on or making up yourself but some of the prices are very high.
No, I have not tried that one. The most expensive one was a regenerator which converted AC to DC and then generates a "perfect" output. It actually improved the CD but when we added the turntable and six box Aesthetix phono and preamp it smoked the regenerator.
I was happy the regenerator belonged to a dealer and the test was at his insistence. I cautioned him about hooking to my (then) Aesthetix due to power draw.
I think the question is, do you NEED a power conditioner?
My comment about the high rise hinted at that but if you don't have a problem the conditioner can make things worse than doing nothing. Again, people are going to report their findings and even if accurate do not mean it applies to us.
That means every ones experience will differ, depending on where they live, the quality of their power and even their equipment. So far I've been better off with lots of dedicated copper runs to high quality equipment with no conditioner.
Some manufacturers I've approached lost interest in my trying their conditioner after learning how "over the top" my electrical is.
I have 3 phase at my residence and it's all copper, triple double zero runs with a 750 amp service drop with a trans socket meter (for a commercial building).
This route fixed a lot of problems and cost less than patching up afterward with a bunch of plug in processors. The problem is finding a commercial contractor that will do this on a home and then getting approval from the utility company. It requires an additional transformer (expensive) and a lot of labor.
Albert, what you did is very impressive. Unfortunately, some of us who live in apartments, condos and rented houses cannot do it. You also mentioned the difficulties that this approach may encounter. What I need first of all is to stabilize the power and only then think about conditioning. So I thought that something like better Furman or PurePower might work well in my modest system and do both things at the same time. For now I only have a turntable, small phono stage, tape deck and 60watt/ch integrated to plug in. And in my experience power cords can sometimes do wonderful things, by the way.
Albert, what you did is very impressive. Unfortunately, some of us who live in apartments, condos and rented houses cannot do it. You also mentioned the difficulties that this approach may encounter.
No doubt, just saying even if a person could afford all those conditioners it probably cost more that what I did. I spent about $3800.00 for everything listed.
What I need first of all is to stabilize the power and only then think about conditioning. So I thought that something like better Furman or PurePower might work well in my modest system and do both things at the same time.
Yes, each situation is different as I posted previously. Since you cannot change what you have it makes sense to improve with add ons.
And in my experience power cords can sometimes do wonderful things, by the way. Inna
Agreed, I've been using aftermarket AC cords for over 25 years. Many offerings today are extremely good.
are you saying that a dedicated line will produce "better" sound than a line which has multiple sources plugged into it ??
thus , you would be saying that i would get better sound if i plugged my amp into a dedicated line than i would if i plugged my amp into a line that , say, had several lamps, or at least someother appliance sharing the line with the amp.
i may have misunderstood your statement, but if i accurately represented your connotation, wouldn't one's preference be idiosyncratic and thus unpredicrable.
since a stereo system has multiple "colorations", a dedicated line would not necessarily be preferred.
In general, there are two camps, one that believes in using a power conditioner and other that doesnt. The second category will always go with the best power cord and no power conditioning while the first will tell you to first get a good power conditioner/regenerator and ONLY then evaluate other cables (that includes power cables as well).
While I cant say about conditioners because I am yet come across one that is neutral but I strongly believe and suggest using a good AC regenerator. I say this because I have heard some of the best in the business extensively. The APS Purepower and Monarchy Regenerators. Both are super products and only improve every aspects of music reproduction. The only limitation with Monarchy is its capacity to support power draw of max 150 watts. So it is suggested for digital equipments and low powered amps. But then it is also very reasonably priced at $700. I can say without any disclaimer that you will need an extremely good power cord costing much much more to beat the Monarchy regenerator, say something in the range of 5k USD. And yes, I have also noticed that after adding the Monarchy the difference between various power cords diminished, they were clearly audible but the incremental improvement going from a decent to a very good cord was not as significant as it used to be without the regenerator. Music takes on a new meaning with this device.
From my experiences, a good power cable does NOT replace a PC.
I have 2 dedicated lines for my sound system.
- my current mono amps sounds best plug direct into the dedicated wall outlets. - preamp sounds best plug in the unfiltered outlet (this is essentially plug direct into the wall outlet) of my EquiTech 2Q. - the DAC and SACD player sounds best plug into the digital filtered outlet of the 2Q. - the HDTV best plug into the digital filtered outlet of the 2Q ... unbelievable improvement!!
i previously used power conditioners. i noticed that each one changed the sound spectrum. so, i eliminated all power conditioners, and use cables--power, interconnect, digital and speaker as tone controls.
in fact, in my opinion preamps, amps, dacs, transports and phono systems, being imperfect, impose their own sonic signature.
thus i believe power conditioners may be superfluous.
Interesting discussion. I have ended up using a "hybrid" approach plugging my preamp (which has a built-in DAC and phono stage) and amp directly into a dedicated 20 amp line with Oyaide outlets while plugging the front end equipment and the class D subwoofer amps into an Audience aR6-T conditioner also on the dedicated line.
To my surprise, the built-in subwoofer amps sound cleaner, faster and more articulate throughout the conditioner while the preamp and amp, which runs the main modules of my speakers sound reticent if run through the aR6-T.
So will a good power cable replace the need for a PC? I can certainly conceive of circumstances in which it could.