What exactly is a power conditioner? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 01-12-2010, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
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What exactly is a power conditioner and what does it do? I've seen some in the range of $2k down to $100. I am in the process of setting up a small home theater. 46" plasma, onkyo s6100 surround sound system and blu-ray. nothing too extravagant but should I get a power conditioner? If so, is it possible to get one in the range of $150?

thanks.
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post #2 of 14 Old 01-12-2010, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by rawlesawh View Post

What exactly is a power conditioner and what does it do? I've seen some in the range of $2k down to $100. I am in the process of setting up a small home theater. 46" plasma, onkyo s6100 surround sound system and blu-ray. nothing too extravagant but should I get a power conditioner? If so, is it possible to get one in the range of $150?

thanks.

Power conditioners are meant to 'remove electrical noise and provide clean and clear power'. They are also meant to be able to isolate components in the system and to try to avoid ground loops. Whether this works is a secondary issue though lol. Most do offer decent surge protection which is never a bad thing.

I think you can grab a Belkin PF60 for about that price in the US. I'm not sure that they do anything apart from offer decent surge protection. I do own a PF60 myself and have not noticed MASSIVELY better picture and audio as the sales blurb would have you believe

Then again, in Australia, our electrical grid is supposedly relatively 'clean' compared to the rest of the world whatever that means.

One power conditioner that I have found to be quite helpful is a Thor PS10 - it acts as a voltage regulator. In the states, you have AC regenerators from quite a few companies like PS audio, PurePower etc that would do an even better voltage regulation job. Some equipment I have noticed prefer stable voltages. However, that sort of stuff is usually a bit more than your $150 budget would allow unless you score it as a used bargain
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post #3 of 14 Old 01-12-2010, 08:49 PM
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Also look for Panamax if you do an eBay search. They seem to work quite well, and have a large number of receptacles for all your equipment.
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post #4 of 14 Old 01-12-2010, 09:25 PM
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I've got a couple of them, a Monster HTS-3500 and a Panamax 4300. I have never noticed any improvements in video or audio. I bought them because they allow my amps without trigger inputs to be switched on by remote, may offer some surge protection, and convenient outlets for all my equipment.

Looks like the only feature you need is surge protection, a decent Tripp Lite surge protector should work fine, and less than $20.
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post #5 of 14 Old 01-13-2010, 04:41 AM
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A power conditioner is whatever you want it to be. If your 'problem' is that your equipment is especially sensitive to line-born noise of a particular frequency strength and distribution, then a device that addresses that can rightfully be called a power conditioner. If you've got a device whose performance is compromised by voltage fluctuations (let's say a particular tube amp) then a device that tightly regulates the voltage can be called a power conditioner. It all depends on what your needs are and that definition can change when it depends on your wants.

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post #6 of 14 Old 01-13-2010, 06:07 AM - Thread Starter
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thanks for all your great advice.

one other question, if I do use a power conditioner would it eliminate emi (i think that's what it's called, from speaker lines being too close to electrical cables). I aven't run any wires yet but that is one of my main concerns with having a living used as a home theater as well. i will have many recessed lights and am concerned about that.

For what it's worth, I started another thread about this and they said that I should use mc cable (three wires all insulated, hot, neutral and ground) which I will.

thanks again for all your responses.
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post #7 of 14 Old 01-13-2010, 07:23 AM
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Most people when running speaker lines in the walls look to keep some distance from the romex but IMO this is not especially critical. To see for yourself you can do a little experiment in the comfort of your home by running an extension cord in close proximity to your speaker wires and determine if there's an audible effect.

Virtually every surge suppressor or power conditioner you buy is going to attenuate (lower) any noise you have in your AC lines. It doesn't attenuate all frequencies by the same amount because of the nature of the circuits and components involved and frankly, there usually isn't all that much noise on the AC line to begin with. In your situation with using recessed lighting I'm assuming you'll either be using low voltage lights or 120 volts lights that can be dimmed. In that case, there is a possibility that the dimmer switches can generate EMI that doesn't pollute the AC line so much as it pollutes the air and that does have the possibility of causing interference in your HT setup. Simply spend a little extra and get good quality dimmers like from Leviton. You can talk to your contractor, electrical supply house, or even use the company's toll free line (1-800-824-3005 Mon.-Fri. 8:30AM to 7:00PM ET) to speak to a specialist.

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post #8 of 14 Old 01-13-2010, 07:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

Most people when running speaker lines in the walls look to keep some distance from the romex but IMO this is not especially critical. To see for yourself you can do a little experiment in the comfort of your home by running an extension cord in close proximity to your speaker wires and determine if there's an audible effect.

Virtually every surge suppressor or power conditioner you buy is going to attenuate (lower) any noise you have in your AC lines. It doesn't attenuate all frequencies by the same amount because of the nature of the circuits and components involved and frankly, there usually isn't all that much noise on the AC line to begin with. In your situation with using recessed lighting I'm assuming you'll either be using low voltage lights or 120 volts lights that can be dimmed. In that case, there is a possibility that the dimmer switches can generate EMI that doesn't pollute the AC line so much as it pollutes the air and that does have the possibility of causing interference in your HT setup. Simply spend a little extra and get good quality dimmers like from Leviton. You can talk to your contractor, electrical supply house, or even use the company's toll free line (1-800-824-3005 Mon.-Fri. 8:30AM to 7:00PM ET) to speak to a specialist.

Nice post with lots of helpful info. Thanks.

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post #9 of 14 Old 01-13-2010, 07:44 AM
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You're welcome. The new meds I'm taking seem to make me more calm and docile which is something the moderators will probably appreciate.

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post #10 of 14 Old 01-13-2010, 06:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

Virtually every surge suppressor or power conditioner you buy is going to attenuate (lower) any noise you have in your AC lines. It doesn't attenuate all frequencies by the same amount because of the nature of the circuits and components involved and frankly, there usually isn't all that much noise on the AC line to begin with. In your situation with using recessed lighting I'm assuming you'll either be using low voltage lights or 120 volts lights that can be dimmed. In that case, there is a possibility that the dimmer switches can generate EMI that doesn't pollute the AC line so much as it pollutes the air and that does have the possibility of causing interference in your HT setup. Simply spend a little extra and get good quality dimmers like from Leviton. You can talk to your contractor, electrical supply house, or even use the company's toll free line (1-800-824-3005 Mon.-Fri. 8:30AM to 7:00PM ET) to speak to a specialist.

Man, that's really interesting, Chu. Thanks. If it's not too much trouble, would you mind explaining a little bit about how that works -- how a dimmer switch can pollute the air and the air in turn can transmit that EMI to your HT?

If you don't feel like it, of course that's cool.
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post #11 of 14 Old 01-13-2010, 06:55 PM
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This is a reasonable enough explanation and not really hard to understand. Probably more than you want to know, but hey, I'm not a EE.

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post #12 of 14 Old 01-13-2010, 07:03 PM
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I bought a real nice one and it dramatically increased my audio and video fidelity. The sound stage 'opened up' and my video was much clearer.





























j/k

I never heard or saw any differences whatsoever. I bought mine mainly as a power surge protector with lots of plug inputs. Works great for that.
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post #13 of 14 Old 01-14-2010, 06:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

This is a reasonable enough explanation and not really hard to understand. Probably more than you want to know, but hey, I'm not a EE.

Thanks for the link. I'm not sure I get the polluting the air business, but that site kind of made my head spin and it was already spinning because I have a stuffy head, a bad cough, and a little fever. I'll try it again later.
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post #14 of 14 Old 01-15-2010, 07:53 AM
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[quote=Chu Gai;17915367]You're welcome. The new meds I'm taking seem to make me more calm and docile which is something the moderators will probably appreciate.[/Q]

Everyone is entitled to exorcise a demon everyone once in a while. Keep taking the meds. I have always enjoyed your contributions in these forums.
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