Power conditioners/regenerators advice

Discussion in 'Advice Threads' started by elmoe, May 25, 2019.

  1. WoodyLuvr

    WoodyLuvr Acquaintance

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    Concur; all very well said and thoughtful.

    In regards to protection, if I may I offer my experience.

    Being overseas, I have battled with black outs, surges, spikes, brown outs (sags), overvoltage (swells), line noise, dreaded lightning strikes, bullets and... to no avail. Nothing, absolutely nothing, that I ever bought or did to protect my equipment worked. In the end of such an event the equipment got toasted no matter what I had put in place before them to protect them. For me it was a complete waste of money and time. Bad luck? Perhaps. Shit happens? Most definitely!

    In regards to power conditioners and isolation transformers.

    I have owned a number of different brands over the years but I honestly don't think they did anything for me... the last being a FURMAN AC-210 something or other p-conditioner that I returned as I thought it was introducing noise (might have been in my head though or coming from another unsuspected naughty source). I have had a few noise issues (mostly white noise) in the past that both p-conditioners and iso-transformers were unable to solve but were solved immediately, to my great dismay, when I simply used a different outlet; rearranged my components; and/or moved my system slightly over by a meter or so, go figure?! So I definitely concur that a dedicated line in some shape or form is probably the strongest option but even more so to simply try a different outlet and/or shift your system around slightly.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 25, 2021
  2. dasman66

    dasman66 Self proclaimed lazy ass - friend

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    I can only assume you've never faced a real power problem. I will wholeheartedly agree that less is more and that a person should only try one product at a time to narrow down what the actual problem may be that they are trying to fix. Don't string 3 things together unless you have to.

    But please realize - people may not have the option to run a dedicated line at their location (workplace, apartment bldg, historic home, etc). The power in many commercial office buildings is shit... heavily polluted by all sorts of stuff that you have no control over and can't do anything about.

    Are many of these products overpriced, audiophoolery that are trying to convince people that they have a problem when they don't? Most certainly.

    That said, many of these items can offer a solution when someone really does have a power problem. The iFi DC blocker solves a problem at a decent pricepoint. Balanced isolation transformers can be had for under $300 and can also solve a problem at a decent pricepoint. As for surge protection... I agree, run shit straight into the wall and up your insurance policy... that works perfectly well if you have mass market audio gear and you're at home where your insurance policy actually does something. If you're at work, or if you have non-mass market stuff that you don't want to replace (eg., DNA, Ampsandsound, EC, ECP, etc), then a good non-MOV surge protector can be had for a $200-300.

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    Last edited: Aug 25, 2021
  3. Garns

    Garns Friend

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    Just want to put in a word in for Pi Audio power products. Since I live in a major conurbation with pretty crappy power, some kind of conditioning is more or less necessary for me. I messed around with various power products all of which degraded the sound in various ways. The Pi ones I have now do not. There are three products, Minibuss, Digibuss and Uberbuss. The Mini and the Uber are not current limiting as all the filtration is in parallel. I think the Digi might be limiting (it's designed for low power digital components). In absolute terms they are not cheap ($300/$500/$1200) but bang-for-buck is high: I have the Digi and the Uber in my system and although the cost is like 25% of the rest of my chain I consider this proportionate for the level of improvement in sound quality. It's one of those things, you don't know you need it until you try it out. I would estimate that the Uber removes about 5x more crud than something like a Furman and without constricting dynamics. Haven't heard the Mini but I would expect it's a good place to start.
     
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  4. Mystic

    Mystic Mystique's Spiritual Advisor

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    Living in the Midwest I am all too familiar with power surges and outages as our houses play chicken with tornados and extreme lightning storms. For some surge protection is a necessity. Sure upping the home insurance might cover your monetary loss in the event your gear goes up in smoke, but my EC Studio isn’t getting replaced regardless of how much money I get back.

    I went through all this a few years ago. Looking into the tech used in various types of power conditioners. Avoiding MOVs, etc.

    I was told to stay away from Furman and other mass market products. They all sacrifice themselves (and potentially your gear if it’s a big enough surge) and have MOVs in the signal path.

    I decided to go with the tech Zero Surge developed. They mostly do commercial/industrial protection but also have a line of consumer products. They licensed out the tech to SurgeX and Brick Wall. The later of which has some dedicated to home audio/video. Can get an 8 outlet Brick Wall for $289.

    I picked up a used Empower em2100 (made by SurgeX) from eBay for $300 around 3 years ago and it serves me well. I didn’t really notice any sound quality change vs directly plugged into the wall (I didn’t have any power related issues to begin with). These things are rated to withstand thousands of surges without dying and should last you many years. Absolutely zero MOVs are used.
     
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  5. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    So I put in a dedicated line, one outlet, only for my audio equipment and even used a fancy Pangea XL outlet.

    I also bought a Zero Surge and this balanced isolation transformer from Ebay (with 6 outlets instead of 4). All my gear is quiet out of the Zero Surge. When I got the transformer, I plugged everything important (ie not my Lokius, that stayed in the Zero Surge) into that and I thought it all actualy sounded better. But there was a ticking sound in a repeat rhythm like a metronome in the background, along with a high pitch whine that changed loudness and pitch. The ticking was so loud I could hear it at normal listening levels. The whine could only be heard when I turned the volume up a bit.

    Any ideas what is going on here? A defective transformer build? Or maybe it needs time to warm up and I should try it again? (I don't want to keep turning off my yggddrrasil without reason).

    Maybe less is more and I should just stick with the Zero Surge and get a second one if I need more outlets? But I really did think my setup sounded better out of the transformer despite the noises.

    It's odd that a device meant to eliminate noise would be introducing it. All of this is ridiculous. There seems to be no end to my noise issues.
     
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  6. dasman66

    dasman66 Self proclaimed lazy ass - friend

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    Is the transformer plugged into the zero surge, or directly into the wall?

    FWIW, my transformer hummed/rattled noticeably at the office when plugged directly into the wall. It disappeared when I plugged the transformer into the Emotiva CMx2. Apparently DC in the line causes problems with any transformer...
     
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  7. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    directly into the wall. The zero surge is in one socket and the transformer is in the other.

    I imagine if I had DC offset issues I would notice it with the zero surge right?
     
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  8. Garns

    Garns Friend

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    Probably you would hear DC offset already through the Yggdrasil transformers if you had it. Ticking/whining could be SMPS related? PI2AES power supply? Are the odd sounds coming through your chain or mechanical in nature?
     
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  9. dasman66

    dasman66 Self proclaimed lazy ass - friend

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    Yeah, you're right... had a brain cramp. I would limit what you plug into the isolation transformer... especially if the duplexes aren't isolated from each other.

    The only thing I have plugged into my iso transformer is my tube amp. Everything else is plugged into the zero surge. And if you have the ZeroSurge with isolated duplexes, then you can further isolate SMPS from other stuff by keeping them into their own duplex.
     
  10. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    I have a variety of gear in two locations in Northern California. At my previous Palo Alto house, I needed an Emotiva CMX-2 to kill the transformer hum in a Hegel H360. I'm not nearly as discerning as some of the experienced folks here, for sure, but I've not experienced any other audible power issues since then (well, maybe a faint issue with one of my EC Af that is still hard to pin down), even though I'm using mere Furman conditioners. I've just ordered a Zero Surge 10R-1U-15W-I to compare and also to simplify my current wiring (4 digital + 6 analog is perfect with some headroom for my larger headphone setup).
     
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  11. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    This is all very weird. I tried plugging in my Yggdrasil and SOHA amp into the isolated transformer again and there was no clicking noise, but there was a loud buzz out of the SOHA. I switched back to the Zero Surge, and it's absolutely silent. I figure if it does that to the SOHA, my Yggdrasil should be plugged into the Zero Surge too.

    I bought the 8R15W-I with isolated duplexes. Ive got the Yggdrasil plugged into the always on duplex by itself.. I just bought a second one, and I guess I'm going to return this massive isolation power transformer I bought. I like the idea of the thing, but if it is introducing noise, and the simple Zero Surge is dead silent, I guess I'm going with that.

    I'm in Palo Alto currently too @earnmyturns :piratemug:
     
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    Last edited: Sep 13, 2021
  12. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    The power seems relatively clean on this house. In previous places I've had a lot of high-frequency noise or DC offset. The power at our place in Sonoma seems also fine except for when PG&E shut down the main transmission line because of fire hazard, or winter storm outages.
     
  13. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    The power of suggestion: thanks to some here (@rhythmdevils and @dasman66 I'm looking at you...) I decided to try Zero Surge (10R-1U-15W-I is the form factor that works for me), where I had a Furman 15i before, and even though I wasn't expecting anything in particular, the sound coming out of OG Yggdrasil A2 > DSHA-3F (nickel) > ZMF Verité closed (monkeypod) seems a bit more limpid, as if some very fine grit had been gently blown away. Of course this must be suggestion, but I can't resist the feeling....
     
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  14. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    with the possibility of the Aficionado and now Vali 2+ (and tubes) catching some very low level clicking pattern in my environment, will be talking to iFi about their PowerStation (replacing a Furman PowerStation 8) in hopes of electrical cleanup on aisle #4.
    more then.
     
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