Power Conditioners?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by James Elvick, Dec 10, 2002.

  1. James Elvick

    James Elvick Supporting Actor

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    I'm looking at the PS Audio Power Director or maybe? What are you using and why?

    James Elvick
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    The PS units, as I'm sure you're aware of, regenerate the AC waveform. I believe it's AC > DC > AC. Output voltage is regulated fairly tightly and distortion components in the resultant waveform are also reduced.
    Examples of other units, that while not regenerating AC, do provide voltage regulation would be the TrippLite LC1200 which can deal with incoming voltages in the range of 87-140V to provide an output voltage range of 106-132V. EMI/RFI is reduced by up to 80dB although over what frequency range I don't know.
    Another commercially available unit are the SuttonDesigns NetSavers Line Conditioners. Output voltage is 117 +/- 5% with 40-60 dB reduction of EMI/RFI over 0.1-10 mHz.
    The usual claims for units such as PS Audio's have to do with blacker blacks, improved contrast, more vibrant colors, and a more 3D image. While PS Audio has gone to some lengths with their information and prominently display before and after pictures of the AC line, there is a noticeable absence of similar hard data with regards to the above mentioned claims. While it is interesting to examine the hotel pictures, one must temper that by considering the great number of components (lights, exhibitors, computers, visitors, etc) that are drawing power from the hotel power grid. It's not that harmonics in high usage systems are unknown (line neutral contamination) and can result in both performance issues and inefficient power consumption (consider industrial products such as those from http://www.harmonicslimited.com/ ), rather the question is what's the magnitude and severity of this in a home environment especially in situations where one is running a dedicated line to their HT setup or has taken efforts to remove things like home computers from the circuitry that the HT system is on. You could probably discuss this with a representative from HarmonicsLimited. In general, I've found these industrial companies generally generous with their time insofar as answering individual questions. Likely you'll be able to speak to an actual engineer rather than a 'spokesperson'. I noted with some curiousity, the curves that PSAudio produced did not show in greater detail what was happening between 0-1 kHz in the Hotel Picturs by expanding that region for greater examination.
    You're of course, free to make of that what you will. My understanding is that a unit like the 300 consumes the equivalent of a pair of 300 watt lighbulbs.
    As alternatives to such units, the installation of dedicated lines from the breaker box should be considered. One could always opt for shielded conduits and at a slightly greater cost, employ a star-grounding technique for the outlets.
    Additional information regarding harmonics can be found here and although its a 10 page pdf, it loads pretty fast.
     
  3. James Elvick

    James Elvick Supporting Actor

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    Thanks Chu,

    Actually the unit I'm looking at from Ps Audio is not one of their AC regenerators such as the 300,600 or 1200. The Power Director is their Ultimate Outlet X 4 with some other features. The Ultimate Outlets are based on a wound Balan technology to lower the line noise by 40db, not sure at what frequency. The big thing is they are not power limiting.

    I'm looking for decent clean power, protection from EMI/RF and surge protection.

    James
     
  4. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    James,
    You've been around HTF for a long time[​IMG] and I'm sure you don't have to be "sold" on finding a surge protector with RF/EMI AC line noise filters, which all provide to a close degree of dB specification. Some here will just respond to inquiries such as yours by merely advising to get a "Brickwall" or a "Surge-X" as if throwing in another black box will be the universal answer.
    If this is for your personal system, Chu and I like to suggest looking at the whole picture:
    * Do you really have "dirty power"? If so, what makes you think so -- voltage fluctuation (highly unlikely in public power); electrical EMF "backwash" on home circuit(s) (if so, go for the dedicated circuit); pesky high-level harmonics deleterious to a serious audiophile system (if so, look for an isolation or balanced power transformer).
    * What are your risk factors for electrical surge/spike conditions from external power supply -- Live where there are lots of electrical thunder/lightning storms? Power supply crashing many times during the year from storm/winds; power company switches substation feed in big chunks with wide voltage swings? (If so, look for the line voltage regulator perhaps coupled with a Series Mode surge stopper).
    * Looking to back up some nice, powerful amplifiers for full, less “contaminated” audio reproduction? Now we’re getting into the PS Ultimate Outlet, and even this, reviewers suggest, works best when plugged into a Power Plant.
    There are Equi=Tech, FurmanSound, ExactPower units, several reviewed by “Secrets” HERE and the Smart Garbage Collector, a $1,995 balanced power rig HERE
    These all are found in our AV catalog constellation, and there’s a certain price we’re asked to pay for them. Chu often likes to advise looking as well at industrial type units, or pro audio models, that may be less glitzy but perhaps at lower costs.
    So, after assuring we’ve got a good power delivery from the home main service box to the outlets with a solid ground, moving up to a power conditioner is an escalating game that only the user can decide what’s needed (and willing to spend) for his/her system.
    As if this wasn't enough to digest, there are other features possible just sticking with mainstream surge protectors such as the higher-end Panamax, MonsterPower, Adcom and Surge-X:
    * Sequential component turn on/off to minimize current in-rush and speaker thumps.
    * 12-volt trigger to power on/off components.
    * So-called High-current outlets for amps (and how big are the amps because there are limits here).
    bill
     
  5. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    It's peculiar when one contrasts say the 300 model with the Power Director. In the former case PS claims its the lower harmonics that are problematical and that the higher harmonics are inconsequential. Presumably it's the balun core that's responsible for attenuating common mode noise. Maybe they're running the neutral and ground wires through a double ferrite bead. Those are about 10 cents each if you and I were to buy them. Might make for an interesting thing for someone to incorporate into their power cords don't you think? I'm unclear as to whether they're using that or balun transformers also the nature of the surge protection is unknown to me.
    Least they've got a good return policy which ought to help you investigate its possible benefits.
    BTW, my earlier comment, regarding providing dedicated lines, is something I'd do, if I can, before I'd start off investigating other approaches. Best of luck to you!
     
  6. James Elvick

    James Elvick Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the replys, Bill and Chu.

    I've used Ultimate Outlets with good success IMHO for powering my amps and my RPTV seems to benefit a bit too. The Power Director would allow some conviencece and hook the rest of my system to what is basically more UO's.

    My area is not at a high risk for lightning and the power is not especially dirty as far as I can tell, just looking for the last % of sound quality. My use of UO's have yeilded positive things for my power amps it wouldn't probably hurt my sources and preamp?

    I've also looked at maybe a Panamax 5300 for its conveience features and just a UO for the amps. Thanks for help and responses.

    James
     
  7. Jeff_Galvin

    Jeff_Galvin Auditioning

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    I just bought the Richard Gray Power Company unit (both as a line conditioner and surge protector). Although my wall power was not particularly dirty, I saw immediate and noticiable improvement on video, and some on audio as well. My HT system is all Pioneer Elite, for reference.
    I have one unit from RGPC, the 400S (four outlets) for monitor, reciever, sub, and dvd player. It was about $700. Check out the website. My brother is a degree holding electronics/robotics engineer and I had him read the technical stuff on this unit, and he said "interesting" (in a good way). I had originally gone to my local high-end store all set to buy a Monster or a Surge-X. My regular salesman (I am his friend nowadays) says forget that stuff and pulls me behind his displays and points to this little 8 inch cude black box with not a light or switch on it, just one plug out and 4 outlets on top. He says "this is what WE use, and we are trying to sell these TV's" (i.e make them look good). At least worth a websearch and readup before you buy. Good luck.
     
  8. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    ask your brother about Grey's comments regarding star clustering those units and why that should prove to be beneficial especially regards providing a reservoir of power? also what does he think about what happens to Grey's inductors once they become saturated?
     

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