Why I Rail Against Power Conditioners - AVS Forum
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Ultra Hi-End HT Gear ($20,000+) > Why I Rail Against Power Conditioners
Steve Bruzonsky's Avatar Steve Bruzonsky 11:14 AM 12-31-2006
If you are very skeptical and don't like power conditioners, please post here in this thread. Do not contaminate the PS Audio Power Plant Premier review thread. Thanks.

scorch123's Avatar scorch123 03:02 PM 12-31-2006
Hi Steve,

Can you elaborate some more about your experiences with power conditioners? I am surprised that you don't use them in your setup.

Thanks,

- Steve O.
ValhallaPC's Avatar ValhallaPC 03:12 PM 12-31-2006
I rather get crucified than listen to my audio system plugged into the wall. Yes, it's that painful for my ears!
lcaillo's Avatar lcaillo 03:14 PM 12-31-2006
I am more curious why people use them with such enthusiasm. I have evealuated may of them for years and found that while they generally do reduce line noise, it is very hard to find that line noise or the difference in the equipment beyond the primary of the power supply. I have yet to find a single instance where I could see line noise on the secondary of even a conventional power supply on my bench with a scope, while I can see it on the line. I can't even imagine a SMPS passing low level line noise. The power supplies themselves generate far more noise than what you see on the line.

I have had a couple of experiences with severe noise on a.c. lines in audio that I could not resolve without line conditioners, but these were far from the ordinary. I am also not a "it can't possibly be audible" nut who rejects the possibility. I have just never been able to hear the differences that so many people report, nor have I been able to see the difference in any video system. Nearly every modern video component uses a SMPS which makes it nearly impossible for low level noise to survive conversion. I have looked for it, but never been able to find it.

Does anyone have any data that supports the improvements that many report?
Curt Palme's Avatar Curt Palme 03:56 PM 12-31-2006
I'll take you up on why I rail against power conditioners.... all three rails. hot, neutral and ground...

Because of morons like the guy that wrote the testimonial right on the front page of PS Audio's site...

"I then connected the Premier to my 8 year old 26 inch Toshiba television. The TV had been plugged into a UPC-200, which was plugged into a $2100.00, 3 year old Exact Power 15A unit, both feed by 2 year old Statement power cables. I performed ABAB comparison tests using a $400.00 Philips 963A DVD player as a source which was not connected to the Premier. The immediately noticeable improved 3D imaging, crisper and more defined lines, greater focus, true velvety black, greater luminescence, decreased glare and haze, richer colors with greater shade variations made this a gigasmic and gratifying experience. I never knew my TV could achieve such black levels, plus the intelligibility of the dialogue improved. I found myself trotting out more and more DVD's.

OK, so let me get this straight: He has a $500 8 year old TV that isn't HD (they weren't 8 years ago). The set is now worth $100 on the used market. It sounds like he uses the internal speakers for sound. Yet he spends big bucks on power cords and $2200 for a line conditioner.

Yet read further down on the PS Audio webpage, and he 'yearns for a 50" TV. Well hey, Mr Gullible Consumer, why not take back the PS Audio unit, and you might well venture into the New Millenium because then you could afford a new TV! Idjit!


Back as you were, nothing to see here...
Art Sonneborn's Avatar Art Sonneborn 04:14 PM 12-31-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by lcaillo View Post

Does anyone have any data that supports the improvements that many report?


ValhallaPC's Avatar ValhallaPC 04:18 PM 12-31-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curt Palme View Post

OK, so let me get this straight: He has a $500 8 year old TV that isn't HD (they weren't 8 years ago). The set is now worth $100 on the used market. It sounds like he uses the internal speakers for sound. Yet he spends big bucks on power cords and $2200 for a line conditioner.

Same with me. Proper power, cables, vibration isolation and shielding make a bigger difference than upgrading a piece of audio gear because you can use it for the whole system.
He didn't buy the Premier just for his TV...
Steve Bruzonsky's Avatar Steve Bruzonsky 04:31 PM 12-31-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by scorch123 View Post

Hi Steve,

Can you elaborate some more about your experiences with power conditioners? I am surprised that you don't use them in your setup.

Thanks,

- Steve O.

I do. Read the PS Audio Premier Power Plant review thread here in this forum.
I created this thread so the anti-power conditioning folks can spew their pollution here instead of in the PS Audio thread. HA!
Steve Bruzonsky's Avatar Steve Bruzonsky 04:37 PM 12-31-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curt Palme View Post

I'll take you up on why I rail against power conditioners.... all three rails. hot, neutral and ground...

Because of morons like the guy that wrote the testimonial right on the front page of PS Audio's site...

"I then connected the Premier to my 8 year old 26 inch Toshiba television. The TV had been plugged into a UPC-200, which was plugged into a $2100.00, 3 year old Exact Power 15A unit, both feed by 2 year old Statement power cables. I performed ABAB comparison tests using a $400.00 Philips 963A DVD player as a source which was not connected to the Premier. The immediately noticeable improved 3D imaging, crisper and more defined lines, greater focus, true velvety black, greater luminescence, decreased glare and haze, richer colors with greater shade variations made this a gigasmic and gratifying experience. I never knew my TV could achieve such black levels, plus the intelligibility of the dialogue improved. I found myself trotting out more and more DVD's.

OK, so let me get this straight: He has a $500 8 year old TV that isn't HD (they weren't 8 years ago). The set is now worth $100 on the used market. It sounds like he uses the internal speakers for sound. Yet he spends big bucks on power cords and $2200 for a line conditioner.

Yet read further down on the PS Audio webpage, and he 'yearns for a 50" TV. Well hey, Mr Gullible Consumer, why not take back the PS Audio unit, and you might well venture into the New Millenium because then you could afford a new TV! Idjit!


Back as you were, nothing to see here...

Curt, please don't put me in the league with that above idiot. Please.
Steve Bruzonsky's Avatar Steve Bruzonsky 04:46 PM 12-31-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by ValhallaPC View Post

Same with me. Proper power, cables, vibration isolation and shielding make a bigger difference than upgrading a piece of audio gear because you can use it for the whole system.
He didn't buy the Premier just for his TV...

Curt, please don't lump me with Mr. Valhalla, either. He is definitely off the deep end. Power conditioners do have some merit in some systems for some purposes.
But Mr. Valhalla is clearly off the deep end.
Art Sonneborn's Avatar Art Sonneborn 05:12 PM 12-31-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

Curt, please don't lump me with Mr. Valhalla, either. He is definitely off the deep end. Power conditioners do have some merit in some systems for some purposes.
But Mr. Valhalla is clearly off the deep end.


Yes ,but without science where does that deep end start Steve ?
Steve Bruzonsky's Avatar Steve Bruzonsky 05:19 PM 12-31-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Sonneborn View Post

Yes ,but without science where does that deep end start Steve ?

Objective science and subjective listening are both important. One without the other is foolhardy. I'n not saying all power conditioners or power cords are worth the money or worthwhile - yes, some are in my opinion, but nowhere near all of the stuff thats out there. And some reviews are worthwhile, some are a load of crap. You pick your poison.

There's lotsa objective science behind the PS Audio Power Plants, such as:

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volum...plant-300.html

But yes, there's plenty of vodoo to go around in some power cables and some power conditioners, too. But that doesn't invalidate all of it.

But you poo pooers enjoy this thread. Poo Poo here all you want. Spend your New Year poo pooing if you like. But to say that regenerated AC or balanced power isn't scientifically proven is ludicrous from a scientific standpoint. Now to say that every power conditioner is worth the money to everyone in every application is just as stupid.
ValhallaPC's Avatar ValhallaPC 06:30 PM 12-31-2006
This Greek audiophile says power is 50% of his system and vibration is 20%.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xs1aUws0Lrs



This is my list:

60% Valhalla cables
13% Power conditioning
12% ERS Paper
12% Vibration isolation
2% Amp
1% Source
Jonomega's Avatar Jonomega 06:46 PM 12-31-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by ValhallaPC View Post

This Greek audiophile says power is 50% of his system and vibration is 20%.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xs1aUws0Lrs



This is my list:

60% Valhalla cables
13% Power conditioning
12% ERS Paper
12% Vibration isolation
2% Amp
1% Source

While thats great, speakers are important as well. Seeing as zero percent of your list (out of 100%) has speakers, i am not sure how you are able to enjoy audio

Are you plugging in your amp directly to your ear drums?
Philip Tan's Avatar Philip Tan 06:48 PM 12-31-2006
I use to pick them up long time ago at tower records, now I can't even go to tower records anymore.

http://www.theaudiocritic.com/downloads/article_1.pdf


Anyway, my Vansevers Model 85 and my PS300 don't do anything for video, but for audio I kiss my Vansevers.
Philip Tan's Avatar Philip Tan 07:01 PM 12-31-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by ValhallaPC View Post

This Greek audiophile says power is 50% of his system and vibration is 20%.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xs1aUws0Lrs



This is my list:

60% Valhalla cables
13% Power conditioning
12% ERS Paper
12% Vibration isolation
2% Amp
1% Source

"2% amp" Maybe you should look for a better amp with a well design power supply.
lcaillo's Avatar lcaillo 07:11 PM 12-31-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

Objective science and subjective listening are both important. One without the other is foolhardy. I'n not saying all power conditioners or power cords are worth the money or worthwhile - yes, some are in my opinion, but nowhere near all of the stuff thats out there. And some reviews are worthwhile, some are a load of crap. You pick your poison.

There's lotsa objective science behind the PS Audio Power Plants, such as:

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volum...plant-300.html

But yes, there's plenty of vodoo to go around in some power cables and some power conditioners, too. But that doesn't invalidate all of it.

But you poo pooers enjoy this thread. Poo Poo here all you want. Spend your New Year poo pooing if you like. But to say that regenerated AC or balanced power isn't scientifically proven is ludicrous from a scientific standpoint. Now to say that every power conditioner is worth the money to everyone in every application is just as stupid.

I am familiar with that review and find no measurements to back up the claimed improvements. Where is the science? The improvements may be real, but are they due to grounding changes or balanced output, or are they due to recreating the a.c.? How about some measurements on the supplies in each component to find where these differences are actually coming from, or even some S/N measurements or sweeps to identify that they are real? Where is this science that you talk about Steve?

I am not poo pooing anything. Just asking for you to give us what you are claiming to give us. You talk about the science being important, but in the other thread you make it clear that having your ISF guy proclaim that your system is great is evidence. And "that's that", you said. Here you say that one without the other is foolhardy...is that just lip service to the science or do you have something to offer?

I have been folowing Paul's work for years and have yet to find support for value to line conditioning used on units with swtiching power supplies such as those used in most video products these days. I can see benefits to improved grounding and perhaps even balanced power, if the grounding issues can be resolved safely, but I am still looking for reasons to justify the value of "clean power" for SMPS based systems. They essentially take this "clean power" and create some pretty nasty switching noise that they then need to clean up again. How is that not making the power conditioner irrelevant? Now a conventional power supply like you find in most amps and preamps is another matter. I am a bit skeptical there as well, but I can see how a case could be made.
ValhallaPC's Avatar ValhallaPC 07:15 PM 12-31-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonomega View Post

While thats great, speakers are important as well. Seeing as zero percent of your list (out of 100%) has speakers, i am not sure how you are able to enjoy audio

I was assuming everyone already have perfect speakers and room treatments.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonomega View Post

Are you plugging in your amp directly to your ear drums?

Almost. My speakers feel like part of my head. They are invisible too.


ValhallaPC's Avatar ValhallaPC 07:26 PM 12-31-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Tan View Post

"2% amp" Maybe you should look for a better amp with a well design power supply.

The difference between $39 T-amp and $5000 Krell power amp was that small, and that's the truth, read all my old posts at Head-fi. Both had something wrong with the sound, they were the complete opposites. They didn't improve the sound, they just gave the sound a different flavor, and that's the difference with all gear. PS Audio GCC-100 is both of them combined, good enough.

My first amp was an old Krell KAV-500i and it benefited the most from power conditioning. The improvement was crazy. Changing MultiWave settings with P300 Power Plant made a difference that took months getting used to. When changing from MWave1 into MWave4 it was like a using a completely different amp! The tight bass gave me a headache, I couldn't listen more than a few minutes.

I have found that Toroidal transformers benefit the most from MWave4. I use it with my DAC and can't be without it.


EDIT: Here are my old logs, MultiWaveII upgrade for my amp is at Edit8: http://www.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=128104
ValhallaPC's Avatar ValhallaPC 11:48 AM 01-01-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by ValhallaPC View Post

This Greek audiophile says power is 50% of his system and vibration is 20%.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xs1aUws0Lrs

This is what he says:

Audiophile: "Electricity is 50% of the sound, for me. You know that, everybody know that."


Audiophile: "It plays music, believe me."
Interviewer: "You think the rack actually..."
Audiophile: "Yeah, the rack is 20% of the sound...believe me."
Audiophile: "I told you, 20% from my sound is the rack."
Allen Fleener's Avatar Allen Fleener 10:45 AM 01-03-2007
Steve

Thanks for starting this thread


I am one who recognizes the value of good power and power line conditioning. I also recognize that it is not for everyone, as a good deal of the brands out there are little more than snake oil. the same for cables and speakers for that matter.

I approach the system of electronic components as just that, a system, made up of many parts which all bring to or take away from the overall experience.

It is a team that works well together and has no prima donnas'.

Synergy is crucial and can be difficult, and for many, impossible to achieve.

Think I'm crazy? Spend enough time ( about 2 hrs) truly listening to what most would consider high end systems and you will come to see what I mean.

I think that all should try to build a system that spends your money in equal proportions across the whole system. If I were to spend the the largest portion it will ALWAYS go towards source componentes, ie dvd, cd, sacd, dvd-a, and record players. From here you will try to balance your spending across the rest of your system. You should have in mind, roughly, where you want to end up as to performance and cost.

I approach the system this way (in no particular order)....

Source players
Dacs'
Preamp
Amp(s)
Speakers
Cables
Powerline conditioning
Room acoustic treatment
Vibration isolation
Rf and emf blocking
Contact cleaning and enhancement
Calibration and setup

ALL of these areas MUST be addressed. Remember a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link. Thinking that one can be left out is a sure fire way to miss out on the benefits it would bring to the overall presentation.

The real question is ... How much should each area need in order to deliver the necessary level of performance?
This depends on the value you place on the music you listen to. Some will spend $100,000+ others $10,000 and others still $200 for a small boom box.

I think you need to figure around $10,000 as good place to start for a 2 channel music system or a multi channel movie system.

If a bit more is available then this should be spent on acoustic treatments to further enhance the overall balance. I would continue to improve the rooms acoustics until it is dialed in and then and only then upgrade other items in the system. The room acoustics will have the single largest negative effect on the sound and thus should be the primary area of attention until it is repaired.

Yes ALL ROOMS ARE BROKEN acoustically speaking and MUST be repaired before the true nature of ANY system can be known. I would not follow the theater room treatments that are shown with all the walls covered with some form of treatment as this would harm the musicality of the room and would be far to over damped and sterile sounding. The main stream thoughts are sadly to heavy handed as a rule. These room treatments are like salt while to little is still on the bland side too much is unpalatable.

The best systems are just like the best sports teams. They are the ones that play well together, and are truly balanced. These yield a truly emotional and involving experience.
ValhallaPC's Avatar ValhallaPC 06:30 PM 01-03-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Allen Fleener View Post

Synergy is crucial and can be difficult, and for many, impossible to achieve.

I agree, I put an extra step of isolation feet under the components and it sounded completely messed up. It sounded wrong from the beginning and I had to switch back after a few hours. It sounded way too black and heavy, bass was emphasized and midrange was gone. The problem was that my power cords were too thick so I had to modify them until I could try extra isolation again. With modded Valhalla power cords I was able to use 5 steps of vibration isolation for my DAC.

The same is true for power conditioners, my Cary 303/300 transport uses 2 steps of power conditioning (Ultimate Outlet -> P300). I plugged it into the wall and it was the most horrible thing I ever experienced, my ears were hurting from the edginess after 5 minutes.
Later I plugged the Cary into the UO and it was about half the performance of UO + P300.

I also tried it with my computer transport which is connected to UO. I plugged it into the wall and it didn't sound that bad. Why? Because the Valhalla for my computer hasn't been modified to compensate for the extra power conditioning.

I found that for every power conditioner you add to the path you need to make the power cord thinner. The same is true for vibration isolation as well.

You need to compensate for everything, it takes lot of experience to know all the variables, even the temperature matters. I need to keep my headphones constantly burning in at 46dB volume to get the best sound. If I use 40dB then it sounds edgy with lack of detail. I listen at 60dB volume and need to write down into my logs whenever I listen to music, I also write down which albums I listen to because each one has different sounds in them. I listen 4+ hours a day.
If I only listen an hour a day I need to use 50dB burn-in volume to keep the drivers at acceptable performance. If I turn off the system it takes a couple weeks at 55dB to get the synergy back.
Star56's Avatar Star56 10:16 PM 01-03-2007
It is as if the scientific revolutions of the 16th-19th century never happened.

Peer reviewed evidence? Nah. Publications in refereed acoustic/psychophysics journals? Nah.

I wrap ancient vines around my preamp as purified air circulates in and around my components. Wow..opens up the soundstage to an incredible degree.

In fact, hanging ancient Mayan artifacts around the room creates a neural link directly to my auditory cortex.

It is the synergy of the artifacts and the vines that produce the audible difference that anyone with higher quality equipment can appreciate.

I swear this is all true.....I can hear it....that makes it so.......
Steve Bruzonsky's Avatar Steve Bruzonsky 11:11 PM 01-03-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by ValhallaPC View Post

I agree, I put an extra step of isolation feet under the components and it sounded completely messed up. It sounded wrong from the beginning and I had to switch back after a few hours. It sounded way too black and heavy, bass was emphasized and midrange was gone. The problem was that my power cords were too thick so I had to modify them until I could try extra isolation again. With modded Valhalla power cords I was able to use 5 steps of vibration isolation for my DAC.

The same is true for power conditioners, my Cary 303/300 transport uses 2 steps of power conditioning (Ultimate Outlet -> P300). I plugged it into the wall and it was the most horrible thing I ever experienced, my ears were hurting from the edginess after 5 minutes.
Later I plugged the Cary into the UO and it was about half the performance of UO + P300.

I also tried it with my computer transport which is connected to UO. I plugged it into the wall and it didn't sound that bad. Why? Because the Valhalla for my computer hasn't been modified to compensate for the extra power conditioning.

I found that for every power conditioner you add to the path you need to make the power cord thinner. The same is true for vibration isolation as well.

You need to compensate for everything, it takes lot of experience to know all the variables, even the temperature matters. I need to keep my headphones constantly burning in at 46dB volume to get the best sound. If I use 40dB then it sounds edgy with lack of detail. I listen at 60dB volume and need to write down into my logs whenever I listen to music, I also write down which albums I listen to because each one has different sounds in them. I listen 4+ hours a day.
If I only listen an hour a day I need to use 50dB burn-in volume to keep the drivers at acceptable performance. If I turn off the system it takes a couple weeks at 55dB to get the synergy back.

I can just see it now. New product line to be unveiled at CES. "Valhalla power and tweak accessories". Heavy power conditioners and thin yarn like power cords.
Heavy footers and light plastic component racks. What's next? Oh - I guess I should try one of my audiophile power cords (sorry, I use them only in my home theater system) on my PC so it will turn my old Pentium into a new dual core speed, and transform Windows Me into Vista.

Tweaks and power conditioners do work properly applied.
But that's the catch. There's a lot of crap out there. Not everything is Valhalla or the road to Asgard and sonic nirvana.
Curt Palme's Avatar Curt Palme 06:32 AM 01-04-2007
What's scary is that if Valhalla was put in charge of marketing and toned down his diatribe about 40%, he'd actually make a good sales rep for those that believe that cables and other esoteric tweaks make a difference.
Steve Bruzonsky's Avatar Steve Bruzonsky 06:48 AM 01-04-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curt Palme View Post

What's scary is that if Valhalla was put in charge of marketing and toned down his diatribe about 40%, he'd actually make a good sales rep for those that believe that cables and other esoteric tweaks make a difference.

What makes you think the guy doesn't have a real name, that he isn't the owner of some major cable company, and that he has a fictitious persona here at AVS full of BS! Do you really think that anyone really is the outragreous (far worse than me during my worst days) foolish outlandish rediculous tweaker than Valhalla portrays himself to be? I tell you Valhalla is simply a product of Curt's
anti-tweaking hatred manifested to life on AVS Forum, engineered to be so foolish outlandish rediculous that tweaking looks absolutely stupid, which is exactly the point Curt hammers home all the time. Heck, I'd think that Curt was a product of tweakers' imagination, except that his reburbished projectors actually exist.
Curt Palme's Avatar Curt Palme 06:54 AM 01-04-2007
1) Even a tweaker hater wouldn't go as far as butchering high end audio equipment with insanely poor soldering jobs, then go and post pix about it.

2) Tweaker haters don't go around posting pix of them making/eating food and wandering around in near nekkidness and post videos of it.

3) Have you SEEN the pix of Valhalla?

No, he's real.
lcaillo's Avatar lcaillo 12:00 PM 01-04-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

Tweaks and power conditioners do work properly applied.
But that's the catch. There's a lot of crap out there. Not everything is Valhalla or the road to Asgard and sonic nirvana.

So how can we sort out the crap from the effective? Seems like there should be some objective means to sort out someting as straightforward as power supply effects.
Allen Fleener's Avatar Allen Fleener 05:19 PM 01-04-2007
I find it interesting when folks don't understand or get a thing, their knee jerk reaction is to condemn and vilify those who have proven to themselves the reality of the thing.

I can not see how some unknown people doing an double blind test would be better FOR ME then doing the test my self. I have learned that since I will be paying for it I, darned well, will decide for my self if it is real or hype.

If it is hype I move on if it is real I then must decide if it is worth it TO ME.

Having someone else who doesn't get it trying to test it is usually self defeating.


Sadly in this industry like all others there are charltons who will try to get you to buy into their brand of hype. I mean really, do you honestly think that the $400 BOSE wave radio/ cd player can truly replace an complete rack of equipment all the while sounding better? Bring that bad boy over to my house and let's see.

As consumers we must always and continually be vigilant as to what, how and why we buy. This requires some effort and investigation before we sign on the bottom line. This is what a test drive is all about.
Minardi2's Avatar Minardi2 09:03 PM 01-04-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Allen Fleener View Post

I find it interesting when folks don't understand or get a thing, their knee jerk reaction is to condemn and vilify those who have proven to themselves the reality of the thing.

I can not see how some unknown people doing an double blind test would be better FOR ME then doing the test my self. I have learned that since I will be paying for it I, darned well, will decide for my self if it is real or hype.

If it is hype I move on if it is real I then must decide if it is worth it TO ME.

Having someone else who doesn't get it trying to test it is usually self defeating.


Sadly in this industry like all others there are charltons who will try to get you to buy into their brand of hype. I mean really, do you honestly think that the $400 BOSE wave radio/ cd player can truly replace an complete rack of equipment all the while sounding better? Bring that bad boy over to my house and let's see.

As consumers we must always and continually be vigilant as to what, how and why we buy. This requires some effort and investigation before we sign on the bottom line. This is what a test drive is all about.

This is the best post I've read in the slag that has become these threads about power conditioners and the like. If there was any doubt after reading them that opinions are like @ssholes in that everyone's got one, there shouldn't be now.

I have a PS Audio PPP on order and look forward to putting it in my home theater system to see what it can do. If the answer is nothing, I send it back, no harm no foul. For some to universally criticize conditioners is ignorant. But this is the internet and you don't need to be intelligent to use it.
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