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Power conditioners and amps

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by joel jocson, Jan 19, 2004.

  1. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    The DPS Plus Series in the SAD version such as this. There's a toll-free #. If you decide to call, there used to be an applications engineer over there by the name of August to whom you can direct specific questions.
     
  2. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Yes, Chu, I'd be interested - thanks. [​IMG]
     
  3. Felix_H

    Felix_H Stunt Coordinator

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    So from a dummy's perspective...

    Do power conditioners just clean the current going through while a Surge Protector protects against lightning strikes..etc.

    If one gets a power conditioner, would it still be necessary to get upgraded power cords for your components?
     
  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    send me an email Wayne. thou hast forbidden emails according to your sig.
     
  5. MikeTz

    MikeTz Stunt Coordinator

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    If you have a Bryston amp then you already have a power conditioner. It's designed into the amplifier's AC circuit. All you need now is a $10 Volex shielded power cord (or just use Bryston's cord, it's shielded) of the correct gauge and a surge arrestor (whole-house type is best).

    I have tested Shunyata and other power cords with my Bryston amp - no difference in sound. Same with power conditioners, I've tried API, Richard Gray, Monster, and Chang - no difference in sound or video.

    Make sure you can return any power cord or power conditioner if you get it home and there is no audible or visible difference. In many systems they make no differnce.

    MT
     
  6. HoiT

    HoiT Agent

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    Hi Everyone,

    Since we are on the topic of surge protection, has anyone used the Brick Wall protectors? The spec of these devices seem really robust - can withstand 6000V and 3000A. Can anyone comment?

    HoiT
     
  7. Kevin Beck

    Kevin Beck Second Unit

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    Anything on the Brick Wall? Zero Surge, and so on? I'm interested as well,....
    Thanks,...>>>--->
     
  8. Mike_Skeway

    Mike_Skeway Second Unit

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  9. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Every manufacturer is going to cast their product in the best possible light and their opposition in the worst. There's the lies and truths they tell you and the lies and truths they don't. That's the way of advertising and marketing.

    The BrickWalls and the others that were mentioned are what are also known as series mode devices. They operate on a different principal from MOV's or SAD's. MOV's and SAD's operate like dikes in that they divert a surge to ground. The Brickwall uses a large array of capacitors to store the surge and then release it over time down the neutral line. In this sense they act as dams as opposed to dikes. So long as the surge doesn't exceed the storage capacity of the capacitors (the water never crests over the dam) you're fine.

    No doubt you've seen the MOV horror stories and pictures over at their sites. Looks like compelling reasons to buy one doesn't it? Now what you don't know, and Brickwall won't tell you or likely doesn't even know, are things like
    1) was the unit undersized to begin with?
    2) was there a properly functioning ground?
    3) was the design incompetent to begin with?
    4) was the outlet wired correctly to begin with?
    5) did a surge come in a different way?
    6) did someone not notice the little light was on and just ignored it?
    7) was a whole house protection scheme in place to begin with? (I doubt it)

    It's been a while since I've popped over to their websites. One of the drawbacks IMO was that the units didn't have a self-check mechanism built in to tell the user if the unit was hooked up to a properly wired outlet. This might've changed. If it hasn't and you're considering one, the by all means buy that $4 tester over at Home Depot and make sure you're wired correctly. One should NEVER, and I mean NEVER, plug any sort of surge protector into an outlet that isn't wired correctly. Try emailing BrickWall or whomever as to what happens if the outlet is miswired. I still haven't received a reply and that was months ago.

    Brickwall types excel and I do mean excel at removing ticks and glitches on an AC line. All those capacitors and all do a good job at removing little transients. They are pricey but as I've stated earlier, on a per protected appliance basis, they're not cost effective. In conjunction with a whole house scheme they'd do fine. So would units costing 5 or 10% of that and you'd get the added benefit of providing whole house protection.

    The need for surge protection is very much playing the odds. Your odds are worse if you live in lightning ally Florida or certain parts of the midwest or if you happen to live in a particular micro climate where lighting activity, when it occurs, tends to be concentrated with respect to cloud to ground strikes. We all have different and personal levels of paranoia and concerns...some valid, some imagined. IMO, going whole house and modest point of use devices covers just about all bases in the most cost effective manner. If you go Brickwall, go whole house. Yeah, I know, I've read the government buys them. You really think government installations don't have a facility wide surge protection scheme in place?
     
  10. Brad_Harper

    Brad_Harper Stunt Coordinator

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    Cleaning up your A/C line going into your amplifier is a waste of time. All amplifier power supplies change the A/C voltage into a D/C waveform. They do this through a diode bridge rectifier. Ideal D/C voltage should be a straight line when seen on an oscilloscope. The waveform coming out of the diode rectifier is probably the farthest thing from this. The waveform will have huge ripples in it. Of course the DC voltage is then filtered using a series of capacitors to clean it up. The voltage rails of the amplifier even have some more filter capacitors on it for noise and anything the power supply filtering missed.

    My point is having a flawless A/C waveform going into your audio gear will have no effect on the ripples created in the process to change the A/C to D/C. Cleaning up the D/C waveform is by far more effective. Spend your money doing that by getting the best filtering possible in your power supply. Unless your running some type of A/C motor in your system cleaning up the A/C waveform is just marketing propoganda. The Bryston website had some old amplifier schematics on it. Check them out and you will see the filter caps I speak of.
     
  11. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    Brad, ummm... all the noise on the AC line is also present on the power rails after the bridge rectifier (plus diode switching noises, AC ripple, etc.) So, reducing that component of the noise is still effective in reducing noise on the power supply inside the amp. The large inexpensive capacitors in power amplifiers generally don't filter out high frequencies very well, so it can't hurt to increase filtering by other means. Of course, if you put active regulation on the supply rails... or a pi-filter or something... then the importance of AC line filtering would be decreased. But those things are really expensive and I don't think they are common at all.

    The quality of amplifiers' internal filtering does not change, yet many of us notice that our stereo systems sound better at night. There is a good chance this is because of variations in AC line noise.
     
  12. Brad_Harper

    Brad_Harper Stunt Coordinator

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    Capacitors make excellent filters regardless of their price! That is why most types of electrical filters use capacitors in their designs. The very large capacitors inside an amplifier are reservior caps. They help keep the rail voltage from fluctuating during high current transients.
    Lets say you have the noisiest AC line out there. The noise on the line is rectified just like the 60Hz wave and then fed to the voltage rails. The ripple created from the bridge rectifier easly dwarfs the noise on the line and generally the noise will be of a much higher frequency then the ripple. The filters inside the Amps power supply and on the rails are designed to remove the ripple (low frequency). By default the noise is removed along with the ripple via low pass filtering. DC waveform has freq of 0 Hz so designing a low pass filter is easy.
    So all the hard work that you did to clean up the noise on the A/C line is wasted. That is why I said spend the money cleaning up the DC line instead of the A/C. If you can hear a difference between day and nighttime voltage then your amp has lousy filtering built into its power supply. This is easily fixed with a soldering iron and some cheap capacitors.
    If you are really dead set on getting an A/C power conditioner then go ahead. Its your money afterall. Whatever helps you sleep at night!
     
  13. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    "The ripple created from the bridge rectifier easly dwarfs the noise on the line and generally the noise will be of a much higher frequency then the ripple."

    The first part is not necessarily true and the second part is true, but not a good thing (higher frequency noise is worse, since power supply rejection of audio circuits decreases at high frequencies.) Also, large "resorvoir" capacitors have a limited ability to filter high frequencies because of their resistive and inductive components.

    "If you can hear a difference between day and nighttime voltage then your amp has lousy filtering built into its power supply."

    I agree with that, but so does almost every other amp in the world. If you saw the size of the capacitors I'm using... [​IMG]
     
  14. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Oh yeah...got a one farad cap?...huh...well do ya?
    [​IMG]
     
  15. Kevin Beck

    Kevin Beck Second Unit

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    Chu,..
    I have seen many of your postings. You seem to be pretty well up on the AC thing, and more so with the series mode units than anybody else I have seen to date. I found the info you posted a couple replies back was great. What is the thoughts about the series mode units and current limiting? To date, I have come to the conclusion, both types of units do a good job of surge protection, at the level most of us need it. I'm still a little in the dark on the current limiting issue however. I have had conversation with a couple manufactures, and have been somewhat disappointed at the responses,....Whats your thoughts?
    Thanks,...GRCRY,...>>>--->
     
  16. Dan Sloane

    Dan Sloane Extra

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    Let me see if I am getting this. Line conditioners clean up the sound/picture, maybe. surge protectors just protect your equipment, based on lightening strikes and power surges. A whole house conditioner will even out the power surges sort of like a line conditioner but not necessarily protect unless it is also a surge protector. And do line conditioners go before or after your equipment? Obviously. whole house go before, so if I have a whole house do I also need to condition the DC current after the amps and other equipment and why?
     
  17. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    I ask a lot of questions Kevin and I try like hell not to ask them from the audio vendors.

    With regards to the series mode devices, you're going to find two camps here with regards to current limiting. The first says that any device that sits between your amp and the AC outlet that has anything whatsoever wired in series, like an inductor, is going to limit current. The other camp, especially if they've bought something like the Brickwalls, is going to say no way...I've never had a problem. Hence we have a dilemna here so where is the truth? The truth, as I see it, is you would need a rather unique set of circumstances for this to be an issue. Let's look at the following scenario. You have an amp hooked up to a set of speakers. You've set the volume at X. You pop in a CD and this CD happens to have some demanding lower frequency material on it. No matter, all is fine. Now you go and put in some series mode device because you want some plug-in protection. You go back to listening and something's not right. The drums are muddy. They used to be clearly delineated before. You could run a DBT but it's painfully obvious. Now you post on some forum. Joe responds and says, "Kevin, you're using a surge protector with stuff wired in series. When you take it out, does the sound come back?" Well hell yes. Now comes crunch time. What do you do? Do you go out and spend several hundred on a device that's supposedly not series mode? The answer is no. A correct analysis of this situation is telling you that your amp is borderline for your speakers/program material/room/listening position. You 'could' drop several hundred on a non-series mode device. That's just silly. Sell your amps and buy something with a set of balls for crying out loud. Pay some attention this time to continuous watts and see if you can determine what the short term dynamic headroom here is. Find out about 'dem capacitors and power supply. Don't get too hung up on this brand or that.

    Dan, a line conditioner means different things to different people. If you need a device that gives you 120 V +/- 1% then that's a line conditioner. If you need a device that's going to limit ringing to a certain level because of attached equipment, then that's a line conditioner. If you have equipment that has problems with ground leakage, then balanced power becomes a line conditioner. And so on.

    Most any surge protector is going to offer a couple of things in addition to dealing with somewhat modest surges. They'll filter out a percentage of any RFI that might be riding the AC lines. That's easy and cheap to do. They'll also have a couple of caps in there wired in such a way that they'll deal with any tiny voltage spikes that may pop up on the line. Put those together, and you can creatively say that's a line conditioner. Now this EMI/RFI circuitry can exist in several places. It can exist just before the AC hits the chain of outlets that are on the device. It can also exist between each pair of outlets. Heck, it can even exist between each outlet. In the latter situation, the further a device is from the cord of the surge protector (IOW, it sits at the end of the outlets) the more EMI/RFI is reduced since it's cumulative.
    So how do you know which flavor you need? This is where you make a decision to assess your own personal level of paranoia. If you think something like an SACD player is going to radiate RFI back down the AC lines, then you go with the latter approach. Belkin Isolators and Tripplite Isobars come to mind. You stick your TV way at the end and put your SACD player first.
    Now let's say you bought that Monster whatever for $300 and damn if it didn't clean up your picture. Or maybe you spent $800 for some audiophile line conditioner and it did the same thing. Hey that's great. Now what if you'd spent $50 or $20 and gotten the same effect? Try the inexpensive approaches first. Audiophile companies are great at selling you solutions for problems that you don't have or problems that can be more effectively fixed by removing the problem. Don't need to see a doctor to treat your pain if all you've got is a stone in the shoe. Take the stone out.
     
  18. Kevin Beck

    Kevin Beck Second Unit

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    Chu,..
    Sounds like you have reached the conclusion, everything creates current limiting, however slight, or drastic, Match you equipment otherwise, and don't worry about it.???
    Thanks again,,,>>>--->
     
  19. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    Yeah, I can't see how current limiting caused by inductors, surge suppressors, etc. would be a problem for audio equipment. The only thing I can think of is that an increased supply impedance could result inside the equipment which ... I'm guessing here ... could cause a minor increase in distortion.
     
  20. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    I'm talking about having a system that's on the edge of stability and I wouldn't think that all devices that had components wired in series would all behave the same way. Just depends on the values of things, what else might be hooked up to the line, and so forth. If you've got two amps that are otherwise identical except that one's got 10x the storage capacitance of the other I can certainly envision a scenario where both will sound identical with one type of program material while they'll sound different with another. And that's not because one amp has a different sonic signature if you will. It's that one amp didn't take it's viagra, or is it Extenz...maybe Alzare...damn, so many infomercials. Oops.
     

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