Line conditioner help

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeff Courcelle, Jul 31, 2002.

  1. Jeff Courcelle

    Jeff Courcelle Auditioning

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    I am looking to pick up a line conditioner for my system and would love some input from members who have experience in this area. I was looking at the Panamax M-5100 on the low end and the Equitech T1000 at the high end, but I am not sure how much I need for my system.

    My system:

    Processor: B&K Ref 30
    Amp: B&K Ref 7250
    TV: Toshiba 65X81
    DVD: Toshiba SD6200
    Fronts: B&W Nautilus 803's
    Center: B&W Nautilus HTM1
    Rears: B&W Nautilus 805's
    Subs: (2) REL Strata III

    I am looking to clean up some line noise, mainly coming through the 803's, and possibly improve the picture as well (I live in a very old building with VERY old wiring).

    Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.

    Jeff
     
  2. chung_sotheby

    chung_sotheby Supporting Actor

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    Jeff, let me be the first to say that that is one helluva system. Damn!
    Ok, now to answer your question, the line conditioner might be able to limit the amount of line noise, but in some cases the line conditioner will also seem to put a bit of a "veil" on the sound. Sometimes a good power cord with a RF filter (like the MIT Zcord) will do the trick. With this quality of equipment, I would look into a PS audio P300/600/1200. A lot of the times, the internal power supply unit of your quipment will be able to deal with a good amount of the line noise, but sometiems, with great fluctuations in line power intensity and frequency, these irregularities can cause the noise you are hearing. If you can find a dealer in your area, try to demo one of the PS Audio units. They are expensive as all hell (the p300 lists for around $1200), but with equipment like yours they might be worth it. Hope this helped
     
  3. Gerard Martin

    Gerard Martin Second Unit

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    Jeff
    I have both the Max 5100 and 5300, very similar in performance that are not line conditioners in a true sense but rather surge suppressors utilizing MOV technology with two banks of independently filtered outlets (4 per bank) for A/V equipment the banks are specifically designed to filter out electro-magnetic and radio frequency interference in both common and normal modes in addition cross contamination between the two banks. Also provided is a
    High-Current outlet bank fed by noise filtration circuitry that does not utilize coils and provides full, unimpeded power to your amplifier and powered sub-woofer. So they say.
    I have not seen any real video improvement with the Panamax's however have not seen any degradation either, as for audio performance I think I do detect an improvement. Living in Florida my main reason for purchase was piece of mind.
     
  4. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Jeff,
    Jerry above neatly descibes the features of quite good surge suppressor/power centers from Panamax. Other than the usual AC line noise filters for RF/EMI, surge suppressors like Panamax 5100/5300 really are not supposed to "make a big difference" in A/V but certainly not degrade it either.
    But "Power Line Conditioners" is a whole different ball game and gets somewhat esoteric. Equi=Tech is a high-end player in the Balanced Power field. Here's an earlier REVIEW.
    Balanced Power has a lot going for it, and even Monster has a high-end unit new to the game, I think the HTPS7000 for $1100. Balanced Power Technologies www.b-p-t.com is another. Do more more research here to decide what is your "problem" and what needs to be accomplished. Seeing as you are at the mercy of electrical delivery from your "very old building," balanced power may well be a solution, as long as any unit also incorporates surge/spike protection. One has to check for that, otherwise things get complicated like going to a Brickwall stop-it-all surge suppressor and plugging the Equi=Tech into that. What does Equi=Tech say?
    And study the PSAudio too -- they have their own proprietary "inventions."
    bill
     
  5. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I have an Equi=Tech balanced power unit. I have bought my last "AC improvement box," and that's after having had in my system for varying lengths of time an Adcom ACE 515, an ACE 615, and 2 Richard Gray 400s'.
    I heartily recommend that you check out the other AC box reviews at Secrets:
    http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/maste...ditioners.html
    If you read through them all, the reviews give you a really good idea of what each unit's pros and cons are. And, from www.b-p-t.com , you can get balanced power very cost effectively! [​IMG]
    I would also recommend you look at the following:
    http://www.psaudio.com/articles/power_conditioners.asp
    Simple "filters" like the Adcom's, a lot of the Panamax units, and the cheaper Monster units can actually *add* distortion to your AC line. They *can* degrade your AC as well as limit power to your amps if you have them plugged into them. (Some units do have specific outlets for power amps though.)
    Consider this: if balanced power didn't really have something to offer, why would Monster have just gotten into the game? (The new something-7000.)
    If you look around Equi=Tech's site, there's a section offering refurbs, dealer specials, etc. I got close to 1/3 off the unit I have just by diligently watching that web page for a few weeks... [​IMG]
    I don't like Monster, but the new 7000 is really nice too.
     
  6. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Just for clarifications of what one is getting into:

    The poster says he has a B&K 7250 -- 200 wpc x5.

    Equi=Tech says T1000 is rated 80 wpc. Next up, T1500 for 125wpc.

    Going up the line to the "flagship" Q series, it appears the 1.5 Model fully covers the poster's A/V system.

    Here are list prices:

    T1000 $989
    T1500 $1,489
    1.5Q $2,189

    Certainly, going Balanced Power takes a big chunk of cash for a lowered noise floor. And once tried, it may well be "the last box."

     
  7. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Bill- Go look at the PS Audio link. They have actual graphs showing the added distortion for a Power Wedge Unit *and* a Monster unit. Not anecdotal. I get the impression from other articles on "filters", that "you don't get something for nothing." In other words, filters may help "some" portions of the spectrum you're dealing with, but *hurt* others.

    Like I mentioned, I got my Equi=Tech for 1/3 off. And B-P-T offers balanced power for even cheaper. And I've seen Monster units for typically 20% off of list. Makes a nice price for their new one...
     
  8. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    You say line noise through the 803's in the front. Can you describe that a bit more...are we talking about a hum?
     
  9. Brian OK

    Brian OK Supporting Actor

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    You may want to consider the Jon Risch Line Conditioner w/ surge protection from diycable.com .... It has an IEC adapter, which is definately a needed option for aftermarket PC's.

    Well engineered, handles 4 outlets (cryo treated Acme Pass&Seymour 5242 outlets, if desired) and this conditioner simply blew away a VansEvers Model 83 unit which I had.

    I have the ACME unit and can attest to the performance capabilities of this JR conditioner. Short of a balanced unit, this is one of the cleanest line conditioners I have ever used. This JR conditioner outperformed a Monster AVS 2000 and the aforementioned VansEvers 83 with ease.

    I don't think Kevin @ diycable.com sells the assembled JR unit any more, but an e-mail and cash may get you on the list.

    This JR unit, for less tha
     
  10. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    For audio hobbyists, this stuff can be fatally fascinating. There is absolutely no doubt there are devices made that are effective for their purposes: balanced power; voltage regeneration for dead-on 120V output; voltage stabilizer and pure sine wave generation; and more superior line noise filters such as the Jon Risch.

    Throw is some surge suppression and start marketing for someone to buy it with all the fabulous claims of open soundstage, tighter bass, more saturated video display, ad nauseam.

    Then go to an online forum and watch hobbyists jump into “get this, get that.” No wonder it’s confusing to those just starting research into what they may need. Much less be persuaded to what they then “want.” Real-world, it’s virtually impossible to home test all this stuff without some persistence and difficulty.

    But that doesn’t stop people from recommending what they have installed: “Hey, works for me!” and leaving the original poster in the dust scratching his/her head.

    Big picture problem is, every single user is starting from a unique position of geographic location for storm/lightning exposure; local public power reliability for constant voltage; crappy household circuit configuration; owning more “revealing” systems or suffering from the weakest-link in the system syndrome. Toss in upgraditis fever and the decision-making process can crumble like a wet cookie.

    Still, it it weren’t for a forum like this, we couldn’t hash this out, and offer research links for others – and that’s great for the guy just trying to figure if he even has a problem of any magnitude. To lump all “power conditioners,” voltage manhandlers and surge suppressors into one category is a disservice. Who knows, maybe the cabletv ground loop in-line cable fix or the sub bass hum cheater-plug fix is all that’s needed.

    I think we agree that to protect investments in our systems, surge suppressors are the first thing to look at. I now am drawing the line at TrippLite Isobar 6 DBS ($60) at the bottom and no more than $300 at the top (perhaps the Adcoms and Panamax Max 4300/5100).

    A surge protector is just that – we shouldn’t expect people to think it will “make a big difference” in audio-visual presentation!

    This all is a process and folks may gravitate to these more sophisticated AC power management tools. The sellers certainly are waiting. FurmanAudio primarily served the pro market and had a nice little voltage regulator (AR 1215) for around $500. Now they have a new Reference series for home theater, and price ranges for their voltage stabilizer, and a balanced power unit have ballooned to $1600&$1800!

    Tracing and attenuating line noise and unwanted harmonics can be as daunting as chasing ground loop hums. Just throwing an expensive piece of gear at the problem isn’t my bag. Yeah, I got some speaker hiss; but I will want to try every interconnect etc, hours of tedium, to see if it's traceable. After that I wud go to a dedicated circuit.

    Before I get an Exactpower EP-15 Voltage Stabilizer to filter and “ reconstruct the waveform” ($1800); plug this into a Balanced Power unit (say $800) and plug that into the wall, I’m gonna hold off until I bring in an oscilloscope and also hook my VOM meter to the wall outlet to record what’s happening.

    (And I’d still have to go back and see if there is any surge suppression going on in my imaginary daisy-chain.)

    bill





    .
     
  11. Nicholas Renter

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    Jeff,

    Have you posted any reviews of your system. I was looking at the same B&K components to match with my (4) B&W Nautilus 805s (1) HTM-2 and (1) REL Strata III, but I couldn't find many people on the 'net to comment on this pairing. I went with Rotel amps/pre-amps instead.

    I still would like to hear more about your system.

    Nicholas Renter
     
  12. Jeff Courcelle

    Jeff Courcelle Auditioning

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    Thanks for all the help. I am going to do some more research based on your input.
    The noise I am getting out of the fronts is best described as a "buzz" and tends to be loudest out of the tweeters. Whether this is because of the frequency the noise falls into or because the B&W tweeters are so well pronounced, I'm not sure.
    I have not posted any reviews of my system to date. I am a renter and the area my theater currently resides in is less than optimal for my componenets, and thus does not accuratly reflect the potential of the system (hard wood floors, giant non-enclosed space, odd angles). I think I will hold judgement until I can get the theater into a better location. [​IMG]
     
  13. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Judging by the 'buzz' that you're hearing it seems that some detective work on your part is needed to get a better handle on just why that is happening. Allow me to digress a bit. You rent and I don't know what your short/long term situation there is. I'm going to assume that the reasons for your buzz have nothing to do with the cable and that you've effectively ruled that out.
    Such buzz 'could' be ground loops but also you should consider the possibility of EMI hash being thrown to the lines from things like fluorescent lights (ballasts), cheap dimmer switches (got any of those in your house), and so forth. As a renter, things can be tough. I might start by listening to whether this sound is still present or diminished late at night (3 am?) when everyone is probably asleep and things are off.
    As something that you may want to try, take a look at the Belkin Isolators. You can get them at places like Office Depot, Staples (call first) and returns are never an issue. These use an isolation transformer between pairs of outlets and can also be effective in reducing noise. I'd guess they run about $65 or less and may provide an inexpensive patch to your problems. The Belkins also provide some surge protection and meet UL 1449, 330 volt guidlines. Maybe this will point you in a good direction [​IMG]
     

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