Yet Another Post About Power Conditioners!


OK, OK, so I know there are eleventy billion posts about what power conditioners are better than others. I've read them all...yes, all eleventy billion! But, I am still wondering which one I should chose.

Here's the backdrop: I have four dedicated, 20-amp outlets. There's a bunch of noise on them. So bad I can hear a local hip hop station clearly playing through my Greenwave Dirty Noise Filter w/speaker. I use an assortment of very high-end, and expensive power cables,. I use very expensive, high-end outlets. My system consists of a Mobile Fidelity Ultradeck, a PS Audio GCHP phone stage, an AudioLab 6000CDT transport, a Burson Audio 3x Reference headphone amp, and Focal Clear headphones. Everything is connected with really good interconnects, most of which are balanced. Having downsized from a much larger, much more power system, these nuggets suit my current needs just fine.

Still that AC noise. Given the size of my system, it's silly to spend mega-bucks on a regenerator, or the expensive balanced isolation transformer PCs. Based on my research, I've narrowed my choices to these in the $1500 and under price range:

Furman Elite 15 or 20 PFi (used)
AudioQuest Niagara 1200
PS Audio Dectect
Core Power Equi=Core 1000 or 1800 (no return policy, ugh)
Shunyata Hydra 8 (used)
Decware ZLC (10-12 month wait, ugh)
NuPrime Pure AC-4
Toroid BTE500E or 1000E Balanced Transformer
Tripplite ISO500 or 500HG Isolation Transformer
Torus TOT Mini Balanced Transformer

Yes, that's an extensive list, but my search reveals these are the top choices by many folks, as well as a few, little-known contenders.

If you have actual experience with any of these--and have compared them to other PCs, your opinion or recommendations would be appreciated greatly. You're welcome to suggest others, too, if you've done hands-on comparisons.


Ag insider logo xs@2xoutput555
You missed likely the best choice, a Puritan 136 or, with a little stretch, the 156.  Search threads on them on this site.
I’ve read about them. Do you own one? If so, why do you think it beats the others?
@twoleftears ,

Do these come up on the used market? I sent the company an email, only see a single distributor in the US and wondering if any audio dealers may have the 136?  

To OP, if it helps, I use 3 Shunyata conditioners in my main system. I use two Hydra 4 and one Hydra 2.  My system which uses a tube preamp, and the system is dead quiet.  I used to have a radio station cut in and out on my system but they shut down 7 years ago, thank God. If it were I, I would get a Niagara 5000 or 7000 and I know it is a lot more than you want to spend.  I would contact each manufacturer by phone and ask if their product will cure your problem.  Only then would I make any kind of decision. 
To Fuzztone: Dunno, maybe. The electrician installed them when I built my home. They have their own grounding rod. The PS Audio Stellar 3 is out of my range, but thanks.
To stereo5: Lots of folks seem to like the Shunyatas. My only hesitation is so much of what they make has the smell of snake oil and mystic voodoo, not hard science. Then again, if people like what they hear, that’s what counts. As for the higher-end AQs: Way too much $$$ for my needs. Garth Powell was the designer for both AQ and Furman, and the Furman are a much better value. I've found calling dealers and manufacturers yields little. They tend to push what they sell or make, belittle the competition, and wish you a good day.

I’ll play the contrarian. I’ve done a number of dedicated rooms, with dedicated lines, and over the years tried various power conditioners. My preference is minimal filtering. If you have noisy electrics, the first question is whether it is something within your house, after the service connection, that you can do something about, without the need for filtering.
At present, I have a whole house surge and a dedicated subsystem consisting of a 10kVA isolation transformer, with additional surge protection, that feeds dedicated lines in the listening room. That system is isolated to the degree possible consistent with code, and shares a ground with the main household system.
Sometimes, more is needed. If for example you live in apartment or flat where you are sharing electricity with other living units, or are in a service area where the power is compromised due to other stuff on the line, you may need to deploy more filtering or regeneration. My ideal is to minimize the need for that since filtering for noise or gremlins will necessarily filter out information that may be part of the musical experience. It’s all trade-offs. If you have a good source of power to start with, I’d try to keep the black boxes to a minimum.
No doubt that power conditioners can do something. The question whether it is a net improvement is different, and in my view, risks compromising the signal to the extent you need to rely on more intensive power conditioning measures. (I rely to a large degree on high quality power supplies in amps, the line stage runs on batteries, the phone stage has had attention and all runs through the big iSo transformer mentioned above).
If you can try before you buy, that’s good. Do not base your buying decision on the immediate reaction to what you hear, but if you have time to evaluate with a wealth of material over a period of time, you should be able to get a handle on what you are improving v. what you are losing.
I have the Vibex  Platinum better than all the above by a wide margin.Enjoy!
before you throw money at the second, third and fourth things.......try the first thing first. watch this video and see whether your money is better directed here.....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGhfdpn9bsY&t=10s

Ed and Rex are local friends from Seattle.
I don't think this is an AC noise problem at all... but you do you.

The Furman Elites are really good at filtering out RFE/EMI and audible noise, if you still suffer from it chances are good your problem is your interconnects not being fully shielded, or just being way too close to a transmitter.

Try cheap professional shielded cables before you blame this all on AC problems.
@output555 - I hear you, it is a question of spending money on electricians and dealing with what may be system wide (power not just hi-fi) issues.
@mikelavigne - not being one for watching long videos (nice plug for Rex though), did Fremer do a splitter on the power after the meter to feed the system panel directly and then, on the other stem, run the transfer switch to the main household panel so the ATS is not connected at all to the hi-fi? I assume the issue isn't running the system on generator, but eliminating the noise from the presence of the switch in the same circuit as the hi-fi power. As I understand it, splitting the power before the main panel and connecting the Generac downstream of the system should eliminate that issue, aside from aluminum cable, corroded contacts, etc. I know you did extreme power. Me, I just hope the Texas grid is sustainable. Man, talk about a loss of faith! :)
Bill
@whart

As I understand it, splitting the power before the main panel and connecting the Generac downstream of the system should eliminate that issue

much more involved than just splitting the power, although that is one thing they did. in essence the problem was a 40 year old collection of power grid parts which used less than ideal materials and lots of splices and corrosion. and replacing a poor ground rod with a high performance version. valuable measurement data points. and seeing the visuals conveys a very valuable set of data points for anyone serious about sound.

i strongly recommend watching the 30 minute video; lots of valuable insights.

and other than the challenge of finding a competent local electrical contractor; the cost of fixing your power grid delivery system is peanuts compared to many audiophile stand alone boxes and takes you further. and you can always contact Ed and Rex.
@mikelavigne: Mike- you preachin’ to the choir. I am also of the view that sorting basic power issues before applying what may amount to band-aids is not only more effective overall, but pretty cost-effective. I had an intermittent noise in my system and after replacing every tube, a bad XLR connector and and a bad tube socket, the noise wound up being caused by some dust on the contact plate for one of the battery panels in the line stage. But, having gone through a ground up electrical system "audit" and upgrade when I first moved here, the "noise issue" was independent of all of that. I guess that is to say we are dealing with "systems" and there are many parts to same. Basically, I agree with you in terms of where to start. Where you end up may be a different matter depending on the problem.
As to finding contractors, oy. My favorite was sent to prison in NY but that’s a whole other story....
If you are hearing a radio station through your AC that is a first. More likely it is RFI getting into the phono stage. If so it can probably be fixed for free. Clean and treat phono leads, check ground, experiment with moving the phono leads coming from the arm to the phono stage. 
Thanks to all who are trying to problem-solve the source of my common problem. I really do appreciate your efforts and thoughts. However, we are straying off-topic. I have done a lot of research about everything related to power conditioning, including what causes noise and hum (Remember I’ve read all eleventy billion posts on this subject). Where I am at now is simply looking for an additional component, or "band-aid," as some have commented, to take my audio quality to a higher level. So, if we can, let’s just keep the discussion focused on your favorite power conditioners, preferably from the list above.
@output555  In answer to your question a while ago, yes, I other threads on the Puritan I posted how I compared them over a period of time with a substantial number of other respected units, most of them costing more, and the Puritan came out as the winner.  Once you see the way ahead clear, they are definitely worth checking out.

@phcollie They rarely appear on the secondary market because most owners hold on to them!  There are a number of stockists on the U.S.  Check out Verdant Audio who regularly posts on this site, as well as Holm Audio and Audio Archon, among others.
Yes the Puritan after some two weeks of break in is very good. The video posted above by @mikelavigne had some great info. Thanks. It did mention the Puritan, but unfortunately they said some things about the Puritan grounding that is misleading at best. I use a second grounding rod with the needed Puritan Ground Master making the use of a second grounding rod, separate from the home, completely safe. No lightning issues etc…. Wonderful additional sound quality improvement with the Ground Master unit. 
’audio science review’ occupies an alternate universe.

best kept at arm’s length, possibly wearing oven gloves.

YMMV

see the first paragraph of my post on the Midfi-Hifi thread.....

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/hifi-vs-midfi
Since what you are asking about is the experience that we posters have with the list given, I will offer this. I liked the idea of the Tripp-Lite products, but in practice did not appreciate the build quality of their newer units. I did not feel that they improved the sound as much as they simply protected the audio equipment. Fair enough.
  As I recall, the Decware unit had some design aspects to it that I did not appreciate, though I have never owned one. Just to say that the front and back panel were not layed out in an easy to use manner. The voltage meter was on the back side? IIRC, There may have been changes to it since then, but best to take a look for yourself. Also, I recall it not being able to handle larger systems by itself.
 I really think that AC problems are as unique and common as the AC public AC system feeding them. True they have to live up to standards, yet environment age of public system and it's condition go along with possible problems unique to your experience.
  MC still has a good point about the phono pre being suspect here. My thinking here is that there is something amiss INSIDE your system, and not coming from the AC feed itself. That fun experimentation that we all abhor is inevitable.  Best of luck sir. 
output555 OP70 posts

10-16-2021
7:17pm

To Fuzztone: Dunno, maybe. The electrician installed them when I built my home. They have their own grounding rod.

"Their own grounding rod"...

@ output555,

Any idea how the electrician wired the new ground rod to your 4 dedicated 20 amp audio outlets?
Is that one 20 amp dedicated branch circuit with four 20 amp outlets, (two duplex receptacles), connected to the one branch circuit?

1) Did the electrician only connect the ground wire from the dedicated, isolated, ground rod to the duplex receptacles equipment ground terminal, therein not using the dedicated branch circuit wiring equipment grounding conductor for the primary safety equipment ground?

Or

2) Did the electrician connect/splice the dedicated ground rod ground wire to the 20 amp dedicated branch circuit wiring equipment grounding conductor, and from the same connection/splice use a grounding pigtail that connects to the ground terminal of each duplex receptacle?

IF the electrician only wired the new dedicated, isolated, ground rod as I described in 1) not only is that electrically dangerous it can also cause noise on audio equipment that use the safety equipment grounding conductor. Is that the source of your radio station RFI? Probably not.
(Note: It only takes one piece of audio equipment, that uses the safety equipment ground, to connect all the chassis of all connect pieces of audio equipment by wire interconnects.)

FYI, lightning especially loves dedicated, isolated, ground rods that are not bonded, connected, to the main electrical service earth grounding system. Therein the electrical service Grounding Electrode System.

/ / / /

Just curious, what type of branch circuit wiring did the electrician install?
Example 2 wire with ground Romex cable? (NM cable)
Other?  

.
whart2,390 posts

10-16-2021
10:48pm

@output555
- I hear you, it is a question of spending money on electricians and dealing with what may be system wide (power not just hi-fi) issues.

@mikelavigne - not being one for watching long videos (nice plug for Rex though), did Fremer do a splitter on the power after the meter to feed the system panel directly and then, on the other stem, run the transfer switch to the main household panel so the ATS is not connected at all to the hi-fi?

did Fremer do a splitter on the power after the meter to feed the system panel directly and then, on the other stem, run the transfer switch to the main household panel so the ATS is not connected at all to the hi-fi?


@whart ,

Go to time marker 11:23.
A feed through 200 amp main service panel with a 200 amp main breaker was used. Note the lugs installed on the two hot buses near the bottom of each bus. Those lugs feed the utility power to the ATS. FYI, this is a Square D QO factory built UL Listed panel.

For the audio room sub panel a single pole breaker is plugged on to one of the two Hot buses to feed the 120V only sub panel.
Note the electrical inspector made the electrician rework the feeder wiring to the sub panel. The electrician had to install the other Hot Line, conductor, (not hooked up), for future use if the panel was ever reworked for single phase 3 wire 120/240V.
I don’t think that is required by NEC. But the AHJ has the final say. It could be a requirement there...


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGhfdpn9bsY&t=10s
@jea48 +1.
@output555 - sorry to have derailed your query. 
@output555 - From you list I think I would go with a new PS Audio Detect. It seems very similar to my PS Audio Quintet which has been in my system for at least 10 years. Bought it new directly from PS Audio. It has been faithfully doing its job all this time and I have have never had one issue with it. Personally, I have found PS Audio very easy to work with. 

Another benefit of PS Audio is if you ever decide to upgrade to one of their regenerators you will receive a very generous allowance for trade in. I was shopping a few months back and they would have allowed me the full purchase price on my new regenerator purchase.

Now Shunyata makes very interesting products and the Hydra's would be worth exploring.If your budget was a bit higher I would say to look at the Venom V16 Power Conditioner or the Delta D6.

The V6 is just a tad bit more than your budget so worth considering.

I know some say Shunyata seems like they sell snake oil, but when you see their results in the field of medicine and the founders background in making nuclear submarines electrically quiet, I feel there technically is backed by results.

Summary:
Lower cost:  PS Audio Detect
A bit more: Venom V16 Power Conditioner

output555 OP Said:
The EMI noise and RFI are being measured straight from the outlet. The system behaves nicely.

@ output555

What type of meter did you use to measure it?
.
I have been using and enjoying my Shunyata Triton/Typhon for years. As mentioned, Shunyata has a separate division making products for medicine, science and military. They are not alone in these markets but, I believe, they are at the cutting edge of power technology. I would not second guess a decision to get that used Shunyata Hydra.
@output555 

The Venom V16 is their entry level power conditioner. It will have 16 outlets. This is the direct link

https://shunyata.com/products/power-distributors/venom-line-power-distributors/venom-v16-us/


For the Delta D6
It will only have 6 outlets but more tech

https://shunyata.com/products/power-distributors/venom-line-power-distributors/venom-v16-us/

When looking at this one read the sections about 
- NICTechnology
- GP-NR Noise Reduction
- The ZR-71 outlets - built by Hubble to a Shunyata design

These will be some of the main differences beyond price which is $1,998 vs. $3,250. I thought the V16 might be a mild stretch to your budget and offers 16 outlets compared to many of the other options.The D6 is sort of a baby Denali 6000 and more than your would want to spend. But use it for a comparison of the technologies. 

One more bit of advice. Buy it once rather than buy something, sell it, take a loss, and upgrade to something else. If you are able, stretch a little so the gear can last your a very long time rather than getting the urge to replace sooner or have buyers regret. But do keep the budget reasonable for you.




You hear a hip hop radio station playing? I bet that was pun intended ... I can’t imagine your amp has a hidden AM/FM receiver built in. :)

Is it proven as a fact that the ’lousy’ mains cabling in you house is the source of the interference, or is that still an assumption? Mains cabling is lousy in any house ... long unshielded copper wires in a plastic tube.

Do you still hear it with all cables unplugged but for the speakers? Do you hear it with your headphones?

It could be a costly mistake if after installing a PC the problem isn’t gone. I'd try to get one with a money back guarantee. Unless of course you like to expand your setup with a PC anyhow.
@ rudyb

The Entech Broadband Noise Analyzer picks up the AM radio station.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FU_MV3GWSQ

.
Can’t this RFI problem be addressed on the AC lines running between service panel and receptacles? They are possibly acting as antennae.

A RF analyzer should be used as suggested by jea48.
I bought a cheap one on Amazon, very effective.


@ lowrider57

The Entech Broadband Noise Analyzer is what @output555 used for his test.


An earlier post of mine:

jea483,683 posts   

10-17-2021  
 2:20pm 

output555 OP Said:
The EMI noise and RFI are being measured straight from the outlet. The system behaves nicely.

@ output555

What type of meter did you use to measure it?


@output555 response:

output555 OP75 posts   

10-17-2021   
 5:43pm  

To jea48: The Entech Broadband Noise Analyzer.


@lowrider57,

If it were me I would hire an electrician and have him check out the "dedicated" ground rod the electrician installed 25 years ago for the audio system. If it is a dedicated ground rod that is connected directly to the duplex receptacle outlets, (equipment ground contact terminal), that could very well be a source of electrical noise.

To lowrider57: That makes sense. Although @ $150/hr. I'd spend well over the cost of a PC for someone to test and replace the dedicated lines. For under $230, a Tripplite IT cleans almost 100% of the noise and RFI. A basic bandaid perhaps, but effective.

The reason for my post is not to dig into my AC lines, but rather to find the best band-aid for under $1500. Some may think that's stoopid, but I'm content in my willful ignorance. :P
To rudyb: Definitely an issue with the cheap copper in rubber tubes. No radio station in my components, it resides deep inside my walls. As I've mentioned, a cheap-o PC cures my woes. Now, I'm just looking for a really good one, that's not so cheap-o.
@output555


**IF** the dedicated ground rod is all the electrician used for the ground for the duplex receptacle outlets then there is not a safety equipment ground connection back to the electrical service electrical panel equipment ground.
What you have is no different than using ground cheaters at the wall outlets that your audio equipment that use the equipment ground for electrical safety.


Actually if that is what the electrician did what you have is worse than just using ground a cheater to lift the safety equipment ground at the wall outlets.


If you have a multi meter set the meter to auto AC volts. measure for voltage from the neutral contact to the equipment ground contact at one of the wall outlets. If the branch circuit wiring equipment grounding conductor is connected to the ground terminal on the outlet you should measure zero volts nominal. The reason the voltage should read zero volts nominal is because the equipment grounding conductor is connected to the grounded electrical service neutral conductor. That is the common ground point for the building structure.


Of the units on your list I’d go with the Hydra 8. I preferred it to the Equi=Tech balanced unit I demo’d because it sounded better in my system, it sits quietly doing its job without any noise or hum and has no indicator lights or meters.
@output555

It doesn’t matter if the breaker is on or off. By the way the T slot on the 20 amp outlet is the neutral contact.

IF the electrician only connected the ground rod to the outlet equipment ground terminal you will be measuring for a difference of potential, voltage, from the dedicated ground rod to the grounding system, (Grounding Electrode System), of the electrical service of the house.

The electrical service main neutral conductor is connected to earth by what is called a Grounding Electrode Conductor that is connected to all earthed Grounding Electrodes.

Audio dedicated ground rod >> to equipment ground contact/terminal on wall outlet >> volt meter >> neutral contact/branch circuit neutral conductor >> to neutral bar in main electrical panel >> Grounding Electrode Conductor >> to earthed Grounding Electrode(s)

FWIW there are multitudes of multiple stray voltages potentials in the earth. The common electrical source is the Utility Power Company.

I did not say to check for continuity from the equipment ground contact to the neutral contact because you don’t know for sure what the electrician did 25 years ago.
IF the dedicated rod is only connected to the ground terminal on the outlet, therein not also connected to the branch circuit wiring equipment grounding conductor, a difference of potential, voltage, between the two contacts could possibly damage the meter if it was set to ohms to check for continuity.
.
@output555 
Try an ADD-Powr Sorcer or Wizard. Inquire with addpowr for a "B" stock unit. I use it with a dedicated ground. Amazing results,