Mains conditioners

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by paul riley, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. paul riley

    paul riley
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    I recently visited a friend in Hong Kong who had upgraded his very high end system with a mains conditioner and who was delighted with the difference in clarity and soundstaging that this conditioner achieved. He paid the eqivalent of £3500 for a specialist Japanese unit.

    Can anyone point me to any discussions or threads or share experience. I have a budget of circa £1500. I would prefer a UK based supplier.
     
  2. BlueWizard

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    It depends on what you mean by a Mains Conditioner. Yes, I know it should be very straight forwards, but there are very different type and levels of 'mains conditioning'.

    The most basic is the surge suppressing outlet strip. These have Surge Suppression rated in Joules, the higher the Joule rating the greater the power surge it can absorb. Most of these strips also have some noise suppression, but these are simple filters that cut RF (radio Frequency) noise above 100khz.

    The next level are simply more complicated and more expensive Surge/Noise Suppression systems. These can be quite expensive.

    The next level is the Uninterpretable Power Supply systems. The take the line voltage, convert it to DC, then convert it back to AC again. Because they are generating there own AC, the can control the quality of the signal. That is, the can better control the stability of the final voltage and suppress noise. Plus, they have the addition of a battery back up.

    These are most often used on Computer Server systems when you can't afford to have the system randomly shut off during a power failure. The U.P.S. sense a signal to the Server telling it the power is lost, and the server begins and orderly shutdown, thus saving data and properly closing application. This is also of some value to Home Cinema System, as it puts less stress on the components to be shut down in an orderly fashion during a power failure.

    Lastly are Regulated AC Power Supplies. Though just because your Power Devices has LED read outs on the front telling you the line voltage, that doesn't mean it is actually regulating the line voltage. With true AC Line Regulation, one of the most common methods is to use a Ferro-Resonant Transformer. This is something of a magic transformer that can actually feed voltage into or subtract voltage from the system output. If the actual line voltage drops to say 210Vac, then the Ferro-Resonant Transformer will boost it back up to 230V. If the line voltage rises to say 250v, it will pull the output back down to 230v. Thereby regulating and stablizing the power line voltage.

    However, this type of regulators is all transformer, and the regulation is at it peak when you are drawing close to the Power Limit of the Transformer. For example, if it is a 1000w transformer, then you get peak regulation running in the 700w to 900w region. That doesn't mean it doesn't regulate at all power levels, but it is at its peak at higher power draws.

    This type of device probably needs to be supplemented with some type of Surge/Noise filter. This type of device also has the advantage of isolating you from the actual Power Line, which can help reduce ground loops and similar problems.

    FURMAN is a pretty substantial brand of Power Conditioner, and they are available around the world. A quick search of Google-UK Shopping for "Furman Power Conditioners UK" turns up this list -

    Google-UK - Shopping Search - Furman Power Conditioners UK

    Notice they make everything from simply surge/filtered outlet strips, to some pretty expensive and sophisticated Power Conditioning Systems. You can also search for "Mains Power Conditioners" and get a wider selection.

    Other brands SurgeX, Tripp Lite, Isotek, PS Audio, StudioSpares, TriChord, and many others.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2012
  3. Doomlord_uk

    Doomlord_uk
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    One thing worth pointing out is that AC re-generators don't necessarily produce 'noise free' AC... you need to avoid ones designed for PC/server use unless you can verify they produce a clean sinusoidal waveform.

    I would also suggest you 'try before you buy' as £1500 is a LOT of money for what is almost certainly a needless 'upgrade'. If you don't have an issue with noise on your mains then there is nothing to 'condition'. And pretty well any modern component should easily and adequately filter out mains-born RF anyway.
     
  4. paul riley

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    Thank you

    The quality of the mains can often vary at different times of the day dependent on load on the substation - the purity of supply has long been a subject of debate and I am sure that that is the type of improvement I seek - not merely the suppression of RF or 'spikes' I am going to look at the Transformer based AC regulation type of supply and will report back to this forum my findings
     
  5. Craig uk

    Craig uk
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    I recently upgraded my mains supply. All my products were bought from mainscablesrus. I purchased a wall socket, a four way mains block & New power leads for my amp & cdp. I couldn't believe how much better my system could sound for £300!!

    I didn't go for a conditioner though, from what I've read they can starve amps of power.
     
  6. daytona600

    daytona600
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    get a demo before spending any money & only works if your system already finely tuned
    you can,t polish a turd
    i went belt & braces mains passive conditioner - running springs elgar mains regen AG1500 powerinspired
    1.5kw ( 1500watts ) remember to over-rated the gear add all components power consumption together
    then at least double it or will limit dynamics or your amp
    demo best some work some don,t if they don,t
    spend the dosh on the a better source cables supports speakers etc
     
  7. Craig uk

    Craig uk
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    Yes I agree..
    Of course demo the products before purchasing..all good specialists will have demo item's available. Im currently trying some of tellurium Q's speaker cables which I have on loan.
     
  8. daytona600

    daytona600
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    Tried the tellurium Q ultra black & graphites very nice both of them
    but preferred the black rhodium ninja Dct +++ which are cheaper and you can tow your car with these
    i use Q black interconnects & mains cables , but these will be up for sale soon
    But ended up with a custom set hand made by a friend
    Flat conductors silver plated massive copper with wooden phono plugs Cryo treated open sheathing
    complete one of a kind , have a extra pair if you want to try them out craig
    These where the cheapest & the best sounding by a large margin
    about $1200 for a 2.5metre pair
    waiting on him to send me some mains cables & interconnects to try them as well
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2012
  9. Craig uk

    Craig uk
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    ul
    I have set of the black & ultrablack on demo, these are the best cables I've had the pleasure of listening to. As much as I would love to buy the ultrablack I can't justify the extra cost. So I will be getting a pair of the blacks. I have heard the q black interconnect and would certainly be interested in yours if you sell!!

    Regarding your custom made ones...I'm always open to trying new cables!
     
  10. daytona600

    daytona600
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    have you any details craig and what size do you need 2.5m pair @ $1200
     
  11. Craig uk

    Craig uk
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    A little out of my price range...had to bend the truth regarding the tellurium black price to the missus!!
     
  12. Trollslayer

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    Is it worth making sure the amplifier/receiver goes straight into a wall socket and not through a power strip?
    This would eliminate connectors and cable.
    Especially as the amplifier/receiver is the piece of equipment with the nasty power surges when in use.
     
  13. BlueWizard

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    PS Audio is highly rated in Stereo/AV Power Conditioners. PS Audio also make Audio equipment, though neither the Audio Equipment or the Power Conditioning is cheap.

    Here is a link to the PS Audio Power Conditioning -

    Power | PS Audio

    The PS Audio P3 is a Power Regeneration system similar to the Uninteruptable Power Supply, but minus the batteries.

    P3 Power Plant | PS Audio

    If you scroll down on this page, you will see two large heat sinks on the left, with very large banks of output transistors.

    I can't find it in the UK, but the USA price is a substantial US$2,995. Using currency conversion, that is about £1910.

    Again, referencing my previous post, you need a Conditioner that does what you need done. If stable voltage is most important, then one of the UPS, Line Regulators, or Power Regenerators is the best bet. If noise is most critical, the heavy filtering and surge suppression are more important.

    The Furman AR-1215 is billed as a AC Voltage Regulator And Conditioner 15Amp. This is a very compact unit for a very modest price. Here is a link to an USA site for this model -

    Furman AR-1215 AC Voltage Regulator And Conditioner 15A 248-756

    Of course, you need European Voltages, but you could check the Furman Website to see if the is a EU model.

    FurmanSound.com - Home to the Leader in Power Conditioners

    Perhaps even email the company to find the appropriate EU model for you needs. There are 220Vac/240Vac models listed on the Furman website.

    Again, my central point is to know what you need, and buy accordingly.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  14. krlock3

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    Another vote here for the Running Springs Elgar.... I feel it has made a very appreciable difference to my Cyrus setup. I best describe the result as "cleaner" sound. I had read that the main drawback of power conditioners can often be reduced dynamics. Having read that Running Springs are one of the few conditioners that do not reduce dynamics, I did a home demo. To my ears, dynamics are actually increased with the Elgar. So I kept it!

    Daytona600, what are your impressions?
     
  15. daytona600

    daytona600
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    KLrlock tried about 5 brands of main conditioners liked the running springs elgar the best & it was the least expensive the elgar is the baby of the range wonder want there top ones sound like only one i could not get to hear was the gigawatt range heard good reports about these but the uk dealer would not let me have one to try
    i did want to try them before a bought - As my monoblocks need 700watts to run them 16x300b
    need a lot of juice
    Don,t like buying blind on £1000 + items contact gary at analogue seduction he sent me one to try It never went back
     
  16. krlock3

    krlock3
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    Sure, I could demo one for a week as well and, like you, it never went back.
     
  17. Steven Segal

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    PS Audio regenerators are now available in the UK.
    Contact Kevin at Signature Systems, the distributor, for advice and he will put you to your nearest dealer.
    I have a P3 which is more than enough, the only hungry item being my Bryston 4BSST amp. It also has a high output conditioned supply. I previously had an Isotek conditioner, for me the P3 is preferable. Some units like my TQ Iridium phono, have lots of noise suppression. If you do 'power', you have to do the whole thing, and it adds up.
     
  18. pistolpete1

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    The key is to plug only source components into the conditioner and the amps directly to the wall sockets.
     
  19. Steven Segal

    Steven Segal
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    Agreed, also with ac regenerator. Amp direct from mains, via a Furutech socket and a serious power cable.
     
  20. Mr_Sukebe

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    There is another alternative at far lower prices within the UK, ie. the Power Inspired range, e.g. here:
    AG1500 AC ReGenerator 1500W PSU, Power Inspired
    A number of the guys on the UK forums have them. I bought an AG500, which was actually cheaper than some of my other power cables. Bit of a no-brainer to try one if you're in that market area.

    As a unit, it's a power regenerator, so creates a new sine wave. In theory, should have the edge on filters.
     
  21. Steven Segal

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    The AG1500 has a much higher power rating than the PS Audio P3 and P5, but my system rarely draws more than 200W, mostly a Bryston 4B amp. The PS has three regenerated outputs and a high level conditioned output. AG1500 seems to have only one regenerated output. I run my sources off the regenerated and everything else off a block from the conditioned supply. The P3 makes some noise when you start it up, but is then effectively silent. Component needs vary. My MC phono stage, probably the most critical component, has loads of noise suppression and could just as well be run direct from the mains.
     
  22. Mr_Sukebe

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    Not sure about the AG1500, but my cheaper AG500 has at least 4 outputs on it. Might be worth putting just your sources on it, as they tend to use very little power. As it happens, I have my power amp running from my own AG500, but that's mainly because it's a tripath unit (uses virtually no power under light or no loadings) and is never really that pushed as I have a pair of fairly efficient speakers (94db/w).
     
  23. ManBat

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    ImageUploadedByAVForums1385359461.393204.jpg
    ImageUploadedByAVForums1385359486.010114.jpg
    I had the opportunity to try out two PS Audio Products - a P5 power regenerator and a PS Audio Direct Power Centre
    In short I live in a house with mediocre wiring and in an area with known power issues. Two of my audio fool friends live in the area ad have reported similar issues. One has a PS Audio Direct Power Centre and the other a UK brand whose name escapes me.

    Therefore in the context of my environment the P5 was excellent. It made a difference to the sound - like lifting up a veil or curtain to reveal a more detailed soundstage with an enhanced presence. The issue is that the Australian version only has 4 sockets and at $4000 that's a grand a plug. Expensive upgrade. The P5 also had the ability to act like a 12v trigger switch powering on my amp just through the power cord. You can also remote access the P5 through an app, monitor the unit and switch your equipment on to warm it up!

    The power board however was another happy surprise and also made a great impression. I used a Nordost Blue Haven power cord (not pictured). It was so good I bought the PS Audio Direct Power Centre. The US version has 10 sockets the Australian has 8. It's a well built unit and albeit seemingly expensive - does a great job.

    There is a big however - these really need a home audition before purchase, as they won't make the same impact in all set ups, especially where your power supply is good, stable and you have modern wiring configured to eliminate such issues. These products are definitely try before you buy, and I am pleased I did.
    I was a tad sceptic, but now convinced that they do make a difference in some circumstances.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2013
  24. ManBat

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    Here is a pic if the Nordost Blue Heaven. Cheers
     

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