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Confused About Power

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Alright, for high-end power conditioning, which really makes a difference, what do people recommend?

Balanced Power - Equitech and Furman
Torodial Power - Torus
Regenerative Power - PS Audio

The seemingly very knowledgeable engineer at Torus told me that balanced power is a myth sold to audio engineers and that the only real quality increase is due to a high quality toroid.

PS Audio seems to think all power is bad and needs to be regenerated.

The guys at Richard Grey seem to agree with Torus, but use an older tech to accomplish good power with a low noise floor.

I am VERY confused!

Please help!

post #2 of 13
Just listen to Arthur- he's the best.
Look up his background his company is Ground-One
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Anyone else.

Looking for experience with the following:

Richard Grey
PS Audio

with regards to Power Conditioning.

post #4 of 13
I'd vote for isolation transformers any day over regenerators. Regenerators have a hard current output limit and historically average reliability...witness the number of b stock pa audios out there.

Furman have a limited selection of transformer models.

That leaves Torus and Equitech. Torus have a very wide range of products from 5a rack mount to whole facility units (290a!). Plus they incorporate series mode surge suppression technology which is IMO best out there.

Fwiw I looked at which brands to carry a couple of years back and chose torus and SurgeX. Everyone whose used torus has been extremely happy with them and if you take a look around online you'll see feedback is only positive

To learn more check out my power blog http://www.acousticfrontiers.com/power
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
So, why do I need Voltage Regulation. Is this something recommended?
post #6 of 13
Originally Posted by Nyal Mellor View Post

I'd vote for isolation transformers any day over regenerators. Regenerators have a hard current output limit and historically average reliability...witness the number of b stock pa audios out there.

I agree... I use isolation Transformers from EQuitech. Each is 20 amps. Plug everything into them except my subs. N o voltage regulation needed.biggrin.gif

*AC compressor there that cools my equipment / projection room.

post #7 of 13
Originally Posted by PeterS View Post

So, why do I need Voltage Regulation. Is this something recommended?
You don't "need" voltage regulation. My view is it depends on where you live and the voltage stability of your electrical supply. If you live in an area with long periods of over or under voltage (brown outs) then I would advise voltage regulation. At least with Torus the models that include voltage regulation also offer some additional functionality which may be useful depending on requirements.
post #8 of 13
Balanced power is the icing on the cake. It does work but the advantages are very small and it is usually only needed on large HT system with many devices interconnected. IMPO, the best power conditioner for HT use is a simple isolation transformer. Note that balanced power is also an isolation transformer with a different secondary grounding configuration. - The Bland's system is also balanced BTW. I too run balanced on my HT but I got a lot of stuff hooked together.

As for regulation, today's electronics has very good internal regulation. In fact most source gear uses switch mode power supplies that will work from 87 to 250 volts. That's quite a range. Power amplifiers are not typically regulated and you don't want them to be either. Regulation limits dynamics on power amplifiers.

UPS units are good for satellite and cable boxes as well as anything else in your HT with hard disks. Putting the projector on a UPS is also a good idea.

My advice is a good basic isolation transformer and run your power amps directly off the line. Since you are in the $20K plus forum, spend the few hundred dollars for a house wide surge protector installed at your breaker panel. These are much better than the power strip versions.

Also note most audiophile power conditioners are overpriced. If the appearance in you rack is important, then go for it. But if the unit is not visible, commercial grade isolation transformers are just as good if not better and cheaper.

On a final note, stay away from the "multiwave" technologies. This is audiophile voodoo and in some cases may even be damaging to your gear.
post #9 of 13
Originally Posted by PeterS View Post

PS Audio seems to think all power is bad and needs to be regenerated.

The guys at Richard Grey seem to agree with Torus,


And the people running Vicks Pharmaceuticals think every American should have a cold!
post #10 of 13
ISO xfrmers like the rest say. What you are getting a clean independent neutral and that is the cleanest power you can get. In my preference from working as a power guy in rock n roll for over more years then I care to count is that it is ok to keep video and audio on the same run but you never want to mix lighting with it. Its dirty..
post #11 of 13
Agree for the most part with Glimmee and what The Bland did in his configuration [for the exception of having amps and subs on balanced power] I do not want to restrict or choke the amp during transient peaks. I just don't see the transformers working that fast electrically to supply the amps during peaks. Again this is opinion. Can you hear it? Dunno...

As far as all the digital gear by all means transformer away. Neutral to Ground [common mode noise] is death on digital electronics of all kinds. I use the Equitech standalone units. Now there are lower budget alternatives. I use to sell PowerVar and OneAC in my old networking business. These are cheap on eBay and would be a good investment on surround processors, DVD/BR players, video processors.

The rock and roll gent said you can have audio and video on same circuits. Agreed for the exception if your amps can take 220/240V go that route. A 120V 20a residential circuit can only provide 2400 watts. Class H and Class D amps are about 80% efficient whereas the Class A and Class AB amps are sometimes half that.

A "always on UPS" [no battery switchover] is always a good idea on a projector especially for brown outs and very short interruptions of power. This may save you a popped bulb or even two over time.

For the most part most residential power is not bad. Well at least in my neck of the woods.
post #12 of 13
Ps audio regenerators worked miracles in my system. Furman elite was a waste of money. Used another expensive conditioner (brand escaped me) with zero impact on sonics. So I'm sticking with ps audio.

Hearing good things about the new shunyata conditioners as well.
post #13 of 13
I have a Furman P-2400 IT which is their rack mount "pro audio" power conditioner that retails for about $2500. It has worked for the last couple of years and did have to be turned back on a couple of times (it must have shut off due a power surge or brown out). The power in our area used to be quite a bit messier with brown outs during peak air conditioning usage in town. This seems to be less of an issue these days as the voltage readout seems to be fairly constant and I haven't had the unit "pop off" in over a year.

I have like 80 amps of power specifically coming into my equipment closet and all the outlets that lead to TV walls in the house as well as all my home automation crap is connected to this same power main. I did this to try and reduce ground loop issues in our house.

All my equipment in the media room / critical listening area, including the projector is connected either to the 80 amp branch or to my Furman P-2400 IT which is plugged into it.

I tried plugging my amplifier (Pass Labs Class A type amp) and pre-amp in the regular outlet vs. the Furman power conditioner but can't notice any obvious difference. I have 107db sensitivity speakers and which can reveal every hiss or hum in the universe even at the listening position. My Marantz 8801 has a hiss from it that is quite prominent with my particular speakers but the amp had NO audible hum or hiss whatsoever no matter what it was plugged into.

Nelson Pass (Pass Labs) amps are amazing Class A super quiet amps that have minimal circuitry and specifically designed for high sensitivity speakers. No amount of plugging my Crown XLS amps into the power conditioner made any difference in getting rid of the hum or the "veiled" / poor imaging sound they produce.

Basically no amount of power conditioning will make a crappy amp or crappy pre-amp circuit sound "more transparent" or "less hiss". These are characteristics of individual circuits and transistors, etc that can't be corrected with external equipment. I think a lot of us are buying power conditioners to solve problems that we can't solve with power conditioners and then we are justifying the money we spent by "hearing a difference".

Having said all that, I do appreciate power equipment with a few useful features:

1. sequential power on - to prevent a bunch of high power stuff turning on all at once and causing your circuit breaker to trip. Not a problem for everyone... but an issue with my pro-amps for surround sound that don't have soft start circuits.
2. 12 volt trigger circuits - the more the better - to allow a variety of power configurations such as pure stereo or surround sound. I have 12 volt circuits only turn on all my surround amps when I am on a movie input so that they don't produce any hiss the rest of the time.
3. A circuit that will kill ground loops without any other fancy house wiring - which is basically what Furman is claiming it does. Furman generally doesn't make extreme fancy claims but in the pro-audio setups, ground loops are a distinct possibility.
4. voltage regulation for areas with severe poor voltage swings - particularly to protect sensitive equipment. I do prefer that audio gear is built to handle brown outs to some degree however.

Say what you will about PS Audio stuff but they do give you a consistent current and voltage. If you have regenerated power, the problems such as ground loops should be eliminated with anything plugged into that device. Their new products do have a lot of options for automation that just about nobody else has that I have seen on the market. Do I want to turn off my power strip from my cellphone app tho? (no.... wtf). I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with PS Audio stuff, just that there is no reason to believe the claims of miracles. Most placebo / snake oil vendors on radio and television offer the "money back guarantee" or the "free trial" so you can notice a "difference". Their products are usually 1000% markup so they can eat the cost of the "free trial" because they only need to sell a few to make a profit with long term customers. PS Audio current conditioners look reasonable and well built and I would gladly pay less than $1000 bucks for them because they look functional and have capabilities that might help me. Paying $5000 retail... I'm pretty sure that would be insane and would be better spent trading in/upgrading my speakers.
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