When is it time to use a power conditioner?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by EdNichols, Jan 23, 2004.

  1. EdNichols

    EdNichols Second Unit

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    I have what I would call a "Mid Fi" system with NAD components. Would a power conditioner do anything for to improve the sound? I know some people have said that with a high dollar system that a conditioner makes a difference since they have "clean" power but what about the "average" system. Anyone have experience with these?
     
  2. John S

    John S Producer

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    I don't use them. I always thought it just introduced another possible point of failure into a system.

    With that said, if you were to truly monitor the quality of the power provided to the average american home, I am sure you would be horrified.

    So I would consider it. While I know there should be some great products available out there, I would think what most people are using really isn't doing all that much for nasty power periods.

    I run some pretty hefty power requirements, I am sure that for any serious power conditioner, I'd be looking at some pretty big bucks.
     
  3. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Well the short answer would be when your equipment has a problem with what it's being fed. Consider my response in a related topic here.
     
  4. Ernest Yee

    Ernest Yee Supporting Actor

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    Good post and good read! How much do you think the house surge/install would normally cost?
     
  5. Neal_C

    Neal_C Second Unit

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    I had an Intermatic unit installed along with two dedicated 20 amp outlets. Those and labor cost me $211 I think.

    I think the cost on the Intermatic was about $75.


    Neal
     
  6. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    You're in California...everything's expensive over there! You could start by asking your local utility company if they'll put one in (make sure it handles all incoming lines) and then you lease it. Otherwise you'll need to contract with an electrician (get 3 quotes) who'll suggest a unit. Not too long ago a fellow had one installed and also got a separate line run for the HT. I think it came to around $200. Now take that price and divide it by the # of electrical things you've got in your home. All of them. Comes out cheap. I've posted on whole house systems a variety of times. Do a search on my name and that term and you'll get some additional insight.
     
  7. Cary_H

    Cary_H Second Unit

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    The only thing I can add to what's already posted is to go over your home's electrical system first.
    At every seminar I attend around power quality I'm always the guy that brings up power conditioning/filtering.
    The response is always that 90+% of problems show up after you get it. Bad connections primarily. Resultant hotspots inflict heat damage to conductors, breakers, and connection points. Overloaded neutrals are commonplace.
    We conduct annual heat scans on anything and everything that makes up our systems annually without fail. Any and all problems are dealt with.
    I can't imagine a scan on your home's panel would be all that expensive. I'd wanna start there.
     
  8. Iver

    Iver Second Unit

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    You don't necessarily have a problem with your wall power.

    Try this. Set your receiver or pre-pro to an unused analog input. Then turn the volume up until you start to hear some kind of noise. If the hiss is very light and not even audible until you're a few clicks away from maximum volume, you're not likely to have any kind of power problems that are having an impact on your actual performance. Remember that the noise floor is inherent in audio gear so the small amount of noise you do hear may not be from power impurities at all but just from the noise found in most audio amplifiers.

    If, on the other hand, you hear actual spikes, increases and decreases in the noise floor, then you may have a problem induced by your wall power. After years of operating audio gear in a variety of locations, I have never heard anything like this.

    Equipment designers are aware of the quality of power with which their gear is used. Power supplies are designed to filter out impurities, keeping them below a point where they make an audible difference. But if you want really pure power, you can take the approach, as is done with some audiophile gear, of using batteries, allowing you to have pure DC. It looks kind of silly to have a chassis with two rows of eight D-cell batteries, but that's what people will do if they're determined to have truly pure power. And you can't argue with DC for purity.
     

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