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A good surge protector/noise filter like the $40 ones from Panamax. Anything more is usually snake oil and black magic. Most noise problems in audio systems are caused by ground loops which are NOT solved by any power line conditioners as they all pass the ground straight through.


Some filters may be useful in getting rid of light dimmer buzz and that sort of thing, but again, a $40 Panamax is usually just as effective as a $500 box from Monster Cable.


If you do buy a high-end conditioner, get one you can return and try this test: Have someone else randomly plug your system into the conditioner and plug it into raw power and see if you can hear/see any difference. You may have to leave the room while they move the plugs around. Everyone one I know who has done a true blind test with line conditioners cannot tell when one is in the system (assuming there were no obvious noise problems to begin with). The differences most people think they hear/see are psychological. This has been well documented elsewhere.


If you DO have a noise problem that's not solved by fixing ground loops or an inexpensive filter, I'd suggest a true isolation transformer with a faraday shield. These are what are in some of the really expensive big heavy audiophile line conditioners. They're a balanced transformer and they almost completely eliminate any type of common-mode line noise. Instead of paying more than $1000 for the audiophile versions, you can buy one for $100 - $200 from Tripp-Lite in their IsoMax line. They have 250watt, 500watt and 1000 watt versions.
 

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I bought one of the Monster HTS 5000 power centers. I personally measured a 6-7dB improvement in SN ratio using a digital oscillscope. The delayed remote power up switching is also a very nice feature not to be underestimated.


~HappyListening

~Don
 

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I agree the delayed switching can be nice... in fact having a box that will automatically turn on your power amps with a remote trigger (or by other means) from your pre/pro is nicest of all. But the person asking the question here has a receiver so he doesn't have external power amps to worry about so that's of little use to him.


As for the 6-7db improvement are you talking about on the AC power line or at the speaker leads or what? I won't deny a conditioner can remove some kinds of noise (as my post above states) but if it wasn't audible to begin with, what use is it? The fact remains, power conditioners fail to solve the majority of noise problems (because they're caused by ground loops) and if you don't have noise problems to begin with, they're just overpriced surge protectors/switches/power strips.


Retailers are pushing them hard because they're a high margin accessory that most people can be talked into buying with an expensive system--just like expensive cables. The reality is, 95% of systems cannot benefit from an expensive conditioner compared to a $40 Panamax device (which can also reduce some kinds of noise and provides all the protection you need).


I took apart a $350 conditioner and it had about $20 worth of parts inside (some caps, chokes, relays, LEDs and MOVs). The needlessly big case and expensive looking front panel probably added another $30 to the wholesale manufacturing cost. They're a rip off.
 

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Delayed power switching is also useful in avoiding thumps from some subwoofers.


IMO, protection should come first. Noise filtration second.


Buy what's appropriate for your equipment. If you have $2000 worth of gear, don't spend $500 on a power conditioner. If you've invested $10k +, then $500 might be worth it to get some added protection/filtering. I agree that most of these things are overpriced. But then again, there are a lot of things that are overpriced once you start looking at the so-called "higher-end".


Additionally, some homes have very clean power to begin with, while others are more noisy. Again, each situation is a little different. There is no one-size-fits all answer for anything.
 

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PlasmaSquid hit it right on the nose regarding your investments. I use the Monster Signature HTPS 7000.
 

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Balanced Power Technologies, balanced power is the way to go for the best db noise reduction and BPT makes the cheapest, quality isolation transformers to get the job done. www.b-p-t.com for more info . This is from a satisfied customer of a 2400 watt BP2.5 for 9 months before having my unit FULLY modified just recently. I am now even MORE satified. Definitely recommended! Robin
 

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Check out the 20 amp balanced conditioner from Furman. It provides two legs of 60v each referenced to ground, instead of 1 120v, 1 nuetral, and 1 ground.


Bob
 

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The Tripp Lite IsoMax series I mentioned above does exactly the same thing as the Furman mentioned above for a lot less money. One is aimed at the price conscious computer market, the other at the less price conscious audio market. Neither, however, is necessary in 98% of the systems out there.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by nw_avphile
Neither, however, is necessary in 98% of the systems out there.
Well, 100% of the home A/V systems out there are not "necessary". I'm not sure what's special about the remaining 2%.


To each his own.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by gotapex
Is the Tripp Lite IsoMax series able to pass more than 15 amps? I'd love to be able to save some money.
Well if you're talking about musical peaks, the 1000 watt version might be OK, but it will likely restrict the peak output of a power amp as will most such devices. There are industrial 2 kva versions available that will handle 15 amps continuous without a problem but not a $200 IsoMax.


Generally, they're good for smaller receivers and all equipment besides power amps and big powered subwoofers.


PlasmaSquid: I was trying to say that even an isolation transformer won't make an audible (or visible) difference in the majority of systems out there as they don't have AC power problems to begin with. Beyond the surge protection and filtering you you get with a $40 device, most people don't need anything else and can't tell the difference if you do a blind test with and without an expensive line conditioner of any type.


There are a very few folks who have AC power that's bad enough to cause problems that can be cured with an isolation transformer or other conditioner. They're the 2% I was referring to. If you're worried you might be one of the 2%, do the blind test I outlined above. If your conditioner makes a difference, keep it. If it doesn't, take it back. That's all I'm suggesting.


Very very few people, however, ever bother with a blind test. They spend $300 (or more) on a conditioner, install it, and believe they hear and/or see all sorts of benefits. All those ads they've read, the tweak audio reviews, things they've read on forums, their salesperson at the local dealer, etc., conspire to set their expectations and they usually hear and experience something like what they expect to. Books have been written on the psychology behind this. What they think they see/hear doesn't mean the device is really making any meaningful difference in their system. A blind test proves if the differences are real or imagined.


I'm not being critical of anyone for having bought a line conditioner--you're in very good company. I bought one a long time ago and figured out it didn't do anything long after my chance to return it. I've since done a lot more research and some blind testing with a number of people and systems. In every case, people can't tell if the conditioner is sitting on the sidelines or doing its job. I'm just trying to share my advice with those who *haven't* bought one yet.


You don't read about this stuff in magazines because they sell lots of ads to the people selling line conditioners. Likewise, your dealer makes a tidy profit selling them as well. I'm not saying it's a conspiracy or anything, but it's not much different than herbal supplements, gas additives for your car, or countless other things that rarely provide any real benefits but have the power of marketing behind them and sell well anyway.


When it comes to AV systems, blind testing shows what makes a difference and what doesn't. There are still plenty of areas where spending more money gets you better sound and a better image, but line conditioners usually aren't one of them.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by nw_avphile
Well if you're talking about musical peaks, the 1000 watt version might be OK, but it will likely restrict the peak output of a power amp as will most such devices. There are industrial 2 kva versions available that will handle 15 amps continuous without a problem but not a $200 IsoMax.


Generally, they're good for smaller receivers and all equipment besides power amps and big powered subwoofers.


PlasmaSquid: I was trying to say that even an isolation transformer won't make an audible (or visible) difference in the majority of systems out there as they don't have AC power problems to begin with. Beyond the surge protection and filtering you you get with a $40 device, most people don't need anything else and can't tell the difference if you do a blind test with and without an expensive line conditioner of any type.


There are a very few folks who have AC power that's bad enough to cause problems that can be cured with an isolation transformer or other conditioner. They're the 2% I was referring to. If you're worried you might be one of the 2%, do the blind test I outlined above. If your conditioner makes a difference, keep it. If it doesn't, take it back. That's all I'm suggesting.


Very very few people, however, ever bother with a blind test. They spend $300 (or more) on a conditioner, install it, and believe they hear and/or see all sorts of benefits. All those ads they've read, the tweak audio reviews, things they've read on forums, their salesperson at the local dealer, etc., conspire to set their expectations and they usually hear and experience something like what they expect to. Books have been written on the psychology behind this. What they think they see/hear doesn't mean the device is really making any meaningful difference in their system. A blind test proves if the differences are real or imagined.


I'm not being critical of anyone for having bought a line conditioner--you're in very good company. I bought one a long time ago and figured out it didn't do anything long after my chance to return it. I've since done a lot more research and some blind testing with a number of people and systems. In every case, people can't tell if the conditioner is sitting on the sidelines or doing its job. I'm just trying to share my advice with those who *haven't* bought one yet.


You don't read about this stuff in magazines because they sell lots of ads to the people selling line conditioners. Likewise, your dealer makes a tidy profit selling them as well. I'm not saying it's a conspiracy or anything, but it's not much different than herbal supplements, gas additives for your car, or countless other things that rarely provide any real benefits but have the power of marketing behind them and sell well anyway.


When it comes to AV systems, blind testing shows what makes a difference and what doesn't. There are still plenty of areas where spending more money gets you better sound and a better image, but line conditioners usually aren't one of them.
:LOL: I love listening to ppl like you, hell I was once like ya. That`s until I tried a BPT power conditioner with a 30 day money-back guarantee. I can understand why Chris Hoff offers this assurance as I`m sure he gets few back. First off, there`s not one system out there that couldn`t benefit from a high quality power conditioner. As far as your $200 brands (you know who you are), you get what you pay for. But every system is going to have some ground noise, that`s a fact of life. And removing that ground noise can only help one hear what should be coming out of them speakers. And as far as video quality being improved by a balanced power conditioner, I`ve been a C-Band satellite owner for 17 yrs now and I KNOW quality video and I`m here to tell you that BPT`s conditioners WILL improve video. Granted, it`s not much as my signal quality is exceptional but there`s an improvement in the sharpness and especially in the glossy dark blacks. I ownd my BP2.5 for 9 months and just recently went 2 months without it as I had it fully modified to squeeze everything this unit can do out of it. I`ve had my modified BP2.5 for 2 weeks now and the audio/video gains are unbelievable. To anyone that refuses to believe this, spend the $45 return shipping and try one for 30 days, then send it back. If you can!!! :D Robin
 

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Man! I'd love to jump into this topic, but it's too late to be a tail-gun charlie. It gets confusing because we never define our terms here. Tthe very phrase "power line conditioner" can merely mean a lowly surge suppressor to the unwary or a big black box upwards of $2000.


Let's look at where the original poster sez he's from -- GUADALAHARA, MEXICO - perhaps one of those nice retirement communities there.


Point is, Chepo61, define what you'd like to achieve. Got unstable power delivery; sags and overvoltge; minor daily voltage fluctuation? There are power boxes to throw at such problems electrically.


Just thinking about "clean power" cause you've seen a MonsterPower ad? As suggested above, may be that you don't need it. Got extra cash? Then yes, the B-P-T balanced power transformer cant hurt at all.


bill
 

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avphile,


You refer to the Tripp Lite "Isomax" but do you mean "Isobar?" I cannot find a Tripp Lite Isomax but I do bind the Isobar. And "Max" is a term I think common to Panamax. I am looking at these so I need to know if there is a Tripp Lite Isomax that does more than the Isobar. Thanks.


PS, After further research I see the Isobar has isolated filters but not an isolation transformer. Tripp Lite does make an isolation transformer in several sizes, called "Isolators."


Dsmith
 

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Sorry for the confusion. I swear they used to call them IsoMax, but looking at the website, I don't see that term. But here's the link:

http://www.tripplite.com/products/co...rs.cfm#general


These are full blown Furman style isolation transformers where the primary and secondary of the transformer are isolated with a Faraday shield. A Faraday shield stops capacitive and electrostatic noise coupling between the primary and secondary.


The secondary is then wound with two 60 volt windings in a balanced fashion to "regenerate" the ground and further cancel out any noise on the line. This technology is the most effective practical method of cleaning up AC power without regenerating it from scratch.


These are serious products. The 1000 watt version weighs 38 pounds and 95% of that is the transformer not some fancy oversized rack enclosure. They draw insignificant power by themselves and can be left on behind your equipment rack 7 x 24. They also have surge supression and other filtering circuitry. Web prices range from about $100 to $200 for the 250w - 1000w standard (non-hospital) versions.


If you do have noisy power, one these isolation transformers will put ANY of the Monster/Panamax/etc. products to shame. To get isolation transformers like this, you have to spend close to $1000 or more in any audio/video products I'm aware of.


The IsoBar series are just surge supressor/noise supressor power strips and not much different than anyone elses.
 

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As a point of interest, I see nothing for the Tripp IS-1000 in the recommended applications listed concerning audio/video systems. Everything but tho. I think we`re talking apples and oranges here. When you get away from standard electrical equipment and enter the audio/video realm, the price tag goes up accordingly I`m afraid. Robin
 

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Yeah, I even talked to the Tripp-Lite folks at CES and they said they have several A-V installers using the IS series isolators but they've yet to get on the marketing bandwagon. They make a zillion different products, most of them aimed at the computer industry.


Trust me, electrically there's no significant difference between the Tripp-Lite units and the Furman Audio versions which are 4+ times the price. The big difference is the Tripp-Lite units are made in Taiwan just like lots of other consumer electronics and they're in a small plain enclosure. I believe the Furmans and most high-end AV conditioners are made in the USA. That alone explains the 4X price difference.


Cleaning up AC power isn't black magic like some conditioner manufactures would like everyone to believe. It's not hard to put a scope and spectrum analyzer on the input and output of a conditioner and see what it's doing (or not doing).
 

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You obviously know more bout the Tripp IS models than I. BTW, their website doesn`t list the price tag, what is the price for the IS-1000? I do know that there`s a 1000 watt BPT conditioner at Audiogon for $580 /regularly $700. Robin
 
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