You should do BOTH if you have the money. If you have budget for only one project, get a GOOD power conditioner FIRST, like the PS Audio's Duet and Quintet.
Mind you that you need quality power cords from the power conditioner to your components, otherwise, it is a waste of your money.
I agree that you should do both. Be sure to use top quality AC receptacles that grip your power plugs tightly. Regarding the power conditioning issue, you might consider the PS Audio Premier Power Plant now being sold at $500.00 off list price. Why condition, when you can regenerate clean AC??
Sorry, I will give you just the opposite advice. Always start by first running dedicated AC lines in a single home run pull from your circuit panel to each receptacle. Keep the cables as close to the same lengths as possible. Upgrade each receptacle to a high quality all brass/copper alloy, non-plated, 20 amp receptacle like Hubbell 5362 or 8300, Portport (a cryo'd Hubbell), or Synergistic Research TeslaPlex (best, most expensive).
Only once you have good AC coming to your equipment is it worth experimenting with power conditioners.
You should do both, but follow the path that Rushton suggests. Been there, done that and wish I'd done the double run of 10AWG & high grade outlets first. And an emphatic YES; high quality power cords are part of the equation also. I'm using an Audio Magic Stealth XXX, and have found it an excellent conditioner, coupled with Synergistic Research's power cords
I did both at about the same time. I bypassed outlets completely by running three 15' runs of JPS Labs IN WALL AC cable directly from three separate 20 amp circuits in my panel to my equipment. One to each of my mono block amps (through the floor and terminated with a high quality Furutech IEC connector) and a third through the floor to my EquiTech which distributes the power to components on my rack. I do use fairly good power cords from the EquiTech to my components. There was a dramatic drop in the noise floor and a big improvement in the sound of my system. If you can only do one, I would start with the AC from the panel.
Both are great if you can afford it, I need to have some dedicated lines run myself. If you can only do one, I would get an excellent power conditioner such as the mentioned, PS Audio is a good place to start. I have PS Audio and APC, like them both.
As for the "MAGIC" power cords?? Just get some good aftermarket cords once your power situation going to the gear is stable. I like the Signal Cable ones I started with, and went back to after trying the Harry Potter method of power cord purchasing, you know it's all MAGIC.
If you feel the need to buy a Nordost power cord, spend the money on new sources/amps/speaker upgrades and your system will sound better.
Any more comments from the Wizards of Power Cord Magic out there? Hey, I have some great land in Florida for you guys.
So I would like to know if a conditioner will do the same thing as new wiring?
The answer to your question is,no,they will not do the same thing.If you do one,the other or both, I'm sure you will hear some improvement.How much,I can't say.Good luck.
I agree with Rushton and Rodman99999.
If you check out my power filtration system set up in my system on Audiogon you will see that I filter all AC power with two 5 KVA isolation transformers before the AC gets to my dedicated lines. That power feeds three different high end audio systems in the house.
I started with dedicated lines and liked what I heard with in the music. Added the Isolation transformers and the sound improved more so.
So, if you own your home I'd start with dedicated lines and good AC outlets, and then add to it as money is available.
Do both. But if money and laziness is a factor, get a regenerator and good power cables, especially to use as input to the regenerator.
The best way forward ultimately has already been outlined above. (dedicated single runs of good quality cables from your main box, with good quality outlets and conditioning/regeneration.) It all adds up in both price and performance but once it is done you can forget about it.
I think getting a dedicated circuit is undisputed, everyone agrees it is a good thing. Power conditioners are not liked by everyone and more of a matter of personal taste so I think you should wire your house first, and IMO getting the basics right is always a good start.
Thanks for all the comments. I think I will wire the house first.
Do I use the wire from off the electicians truck, or buy special (expensive?) 10ga wire? Also where can I get the cryo'ed AC outlets?
I have also read that you shouldn't staple the wire under the house. Is that important?
You can carry this to any extreme of excess you're inclined to pay for. In my experience doing this three different times in different houses, you'll get very good improved results by using a standard 10ga solid copper wire. The biggest improvements will come from
- pulling direct home runs from the breaker panel (no intervening breaks or splices),
- using a separate home run cable for each receptacle,
- having your electrician apply Walker Audio Extreme SST
contact enhancer on each connecton from the breaker to the receptacle (not kidding here),
- having the electrician clean and tighten the connections at the grounding rod and at grounding bar inside the circuit box, and if there is any question about the grounding rods, driving new replacement copper clad grounding rods, and
- installing cryo'd Porter Ports
or Synergistic Research TeslaPlex
receptacles. If you can install non-ferrous boxes for the receptacles, do this too.
Keep the runs separated by about six inches, over their total length, to avoid any induction.
Wire off of the truck is fine . Just make sure that it is copper , not aluminum .
Your electrician will be happier with 12g. wire than 10g. when it comes time to make the connections at the recepticles !
Another consideration , that I like , is to have the new circuits installed with an 'isolated ground'. This will make sure that you do not get any noise/interference from anything else in your house . This is how hospitals and computer rooms do their sensitive stuff . While it is not difficult it is different and will probably require the services of a commercial electrician rather that a residential one . Just google isolated ground systems and get a rudimentry knowledge of it so that you know what you are getting . As I said , it is not difficult .
This way should be cheaper and longer lasting than a conditioner . As above , you can go to any extreme that your wallet will allow !
I bought a brand new, American made, 250' spool of 10/2 Romex off eBay, for $75.00(shipped). That was about one third the price locally. It's YOUR aural satisfaction that's important, not your electrician's happiness! Use 10 AWG for your dedicated runs.
Agree you should use 10ga wire, and yes some electricians may grumble a bit.
As to installing isolated ground circuits and receptacles, I've become convinced that in residential construction with wood stud walls, or solid masonry, isolated grounds do not add any benefit.
Isolated grounds are used in commercial construction because of the metal studs in all the walls makes the entire structure one big grounding grid with lots of potential for adding multiple ground loops and noise.
This is simply not an issue with outlet boxes nailed to wood studs. In the residential construction setting, the single home run pull of cable back to the circuit panel makes for a single "isolated" ground wire connection. (But if your walls are built with metal studs, by all means use an isolated ground wiring installation and receptacles.)
Power conditioner first;the amount of money involved will be far less than dedicated lines. If whatever problem you think you have is still audible, take the next step. I think it is odd not so long ago "ultra" cables,cleanpower,outlets,power cords, etc. were never a concern. Input, amplification, speakers were it. Once the basics are covered, someone somewhere will tell you about a problem you didn't know you had and offer a solution to your newly revealed system flaw. Spend as much as you want, convince yourself that it makes an audible improvement. Good Luck. I'm spending my money on music.
Interesting view on isolated grounds . Your method may be less involved .
How would you address the noise/interference issue , transmitted through the lines , from things like digital equipment , electric motors and flourecent lighting ?
I don't understand how you are 'isolating' the dedicated lines from the rest of the household system if you are connecting everything to the same ground .
Oh , and a happy electrcian often does better & 'more' work than an aggravated one ! And may charge less !
However , I will admit to running my lines with 10g. wire , which did receive a comment !
But I also fished all of that wire from the panel to the box's and pounded the ground rod , in the middle of a Florida summer !
No flames , just knowledge .
what's the best bang for buck power conditioner? PS audio?
I like the APC s15 or s20. PS Audio's are great too, but don't have the batter back up.
Saki70, as explained by an Audiogon member who is an electrician in another Audiogon thread several years ago (that I can't find now), what the isolated ground does is prevent the ground from being connected to the chassis of the receptacle. With both isolated ground and a non-isolated ground installations, the ground comes back to exactly the same place on the bus bar of the breaker panel. The only difference is in whether the ground is connected to the chassis of the receptacle.
If the receptacle and enclosing outlet box are attached to metal studs in commercial construction, the chassis is now making contact with the metal stud and hence to the rest of the building structure. With the ground being connected to the chassis (not isolated), your ground is now connected to the entire building structure. That can make for all sorts of noise, interference and hum possibilities. So, in commercial construction, you'd absolutely want to isolate the ground from the chassis: i.e., use an isolated ground receptacle and wiring installation.
On the other hand, in wood stud construction, the outlet and chassis are nailed to the non-conductive wood stud. There is nothing from which you need to isolate the ground. It no longer matters that the ground wire is not isolated from the chassis of the receptacle.
There is one other possible factor and that is the possibility of the fourth wire in the isolated ground installation providing some EFI drain or shielding for the length of cable back to the circuit panel. I don't know about that contention. I think you'd be better served by taking the trouble to twist the wires which make up the cable if you're trying to get maximum EFI rejection along the length of the cable.
I am not trying to argue with you . You seem knowledgable . I am just trying to learn and maybe help others too .
Does that explanation also apply when you connect the isolated circuit grounds to a seperate grounding bar inside of the panel ?
This grounding bar is mounted using rubber insulater pads and connected to a seperate ground wire that goes to a seperate ground rod installed 6 ft. away from the original rod .
It has been a while so I may be reaching now , but I seem to remeber that the recepticles are also different for an isolated ground system . Mine are red , which I believe denotes hospital grade , and have a green dot and an upside down black triangle on them .
This is the procedure that I found when I googled 'Isolated ground' and it is the way that my two circuits are installed .
As I stated before , when I called an electrician company , they sent out a residentual electrician who stated that he knew what I was talking about . When I gave him the parts that I had purchased , it was clear that he did not , and he called a coworker who did commercial installations . It was that coworker who came out and did the installation at my house .
Hi Saki70, I don't consider you being argumentative at all. You're asking good questions and this is a confusing topic.
I'm starting from the assumption that one will be following standard code installations as provided in most jurisdictions in the U.S., so pardon me being a bit parochial in my assumptions. "Code" requires the ground and neutral to be bonded to to a single common ground at the circuit panel and then to the grounding rod. What you describe does not match "Code" as I understand it, but I'm no expert.
In my last home, I had a commericial electrical company that understood hospital grade installations do the re-wiring of my circuit panel and install isolated ground outlets and cabling. They did so and the grounding at the panel was exactly as I described above: bonded to a common point at the circuit panel and then to the grounding rod.
Are you saying that creating a 'new' common point inside the panel is incorrect according to code ? Or is that 'common point', that you mentioned , something different than the additional grounding bar that is installed inside the panel ?
Oh , and the triangles mentioned above would be pointing 'up' if the recepticles were installed in the other direction ! DUH !
And I believe that the green dot refers to hospital grade and the red recepticle refers to emergency power .
Hi Saki70, the issue of installing a second and separate ground in a household system has been discussed extensively in the forums. Some knowledgeable contributors say doing so violates Code and creates a potential for a dangerous situation. Others say its the best way to improve your sound. From what I've read, I'll not do it. Bottom line, if you had a licensed electrician make the installation and the electrician got the work inspected and approved, it must be okay in your locale. If the work was not inspected...
For those who are looking for more information about the installation of a separate ground for the audio system, here's a thread with more discussion: http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?htech&1193750975&openfrom&1&4#1
I recommend paying particular attention to the contributions from Gs5556
And this is all I know on the topic, so I won't be able to carry this any further - just offering the caution because so many audiophiles have gotten carried away on this isolated ground topic, and I find the potential for danger pretty frightening.
Okay guys,back to my question. Where can I get cryo'ed
receptacles and is it important to not staple the wire
under the house but rather to hang it? I read this on a
thread here way back when.
Abbeydog, I gave you links to two sources of cryo'd receptacles in an earlier post to this thread before we wondered away from your topic. Here it is:
- installing cryo'd Porter Ports or Synergistic Research TeslaPlex receptacles. If you can install non-ferrous boxes for the receptacles, do this too.
Another source for cryo'd silver-plated outlets is Acme Audio. $35. Happy owner here.http://www.acmeaudiolabs.com/products.htm
Okay, thanks guys. I got it all now!