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Hey all, looking for feedback and other thoughts on the various power conditioners? You see these going for as little as a $100 or so upto many thousands of $$$.
I have two surge protectors connecting a variety of audio/video gear into each. These are your typical $30-$50 ones with their multiple inputs and protection for phone lines etc. They offer the protection guarantees and I have no problems with these in feeling good confidence for surge, rfi protection. BUT! how about the units that offer power line conditioning? I believe these offer surge protection but are they as good as some comments made by their makers say in improving sound and picture quality over not using one? I see units from makes like Panamax and Monster etc. in the $100-$300 range, some designed to sit in your shelving unit/rack. What are any of your thoughts on the benefit to first audio quality and second picture quality? Or is it just well enough to keep using a standard $30-$50 surge protector?
I have began looking at various brands and in my local I have access to PURE AV models from Belkin. I am looking closely at this one.
clickable link below
But also am looking at models from Panamax
The Furman brand is another I find but as much as I would be ok ordering from the USA, with shipping costs, taxes , brokerage fees and possible duties I am less so, unless a Canadian retailer sold them.
So between Panamax and Belkin (PURE AV) anyone here have thoughts or experience with these?
I have been testing a number of power conditioners lately. I was not fond of the APC h-15, compared to my references, but I use it to power the video side of things. I have been VERY impressed with the latest Furman products both from a surge perspective and a filtering perspective.
The Digital Power Station Series is well priced, and provides better filtering than most any 'audiophile' products. The Elite series with power factor correction are better than any other conditioners I have tried, and they are a fraction of the cost of my 'audiophile' references.
What does the referenced unit cost at retail?
Well, I guess what you get with a Furman is a bunch of engineers that have spent ten plus years figuring out how to improve power for pro applications using a bunch of professional measuring kit, so I have a bit of faith in their products. Plus they seem to have ears, because they are the only non-high-end compnay that clearly states that their products take 200 hours to burn-in and sound their best.
The prices for the non-balanced conditioners are really good compared to high-end pricing. Retail for the Elite 15PF is $579, The Elite 20PF is $995. The power stations are $150 to $250.
u hv great system. i went the Kondo route and love my sound too. but got voltage fluctuation. 113 to 119 in an evening. can we exchange some experience?
See u hv a Sound Application unit. Did you ever try his Reference line?
Or the Accuphase, which hideously expensive? Really like to know what others compared Furman to....... This takes so long to compare everything..., doesn't it?
I relly like the Sound Applications. I have a Reference Line Stage, and it is indeed my reference. I am trying the Furman IT Reference 20, and it's the best conditioner I have tried, betting the Sound Applications. However, I don't care for the balanced power outlets. It has four outlets that bypass the balanced power transformer and that perform basically as the IT Reference 20 PF, so I think I will get the Furman Elite 20PF.
I also have an Equitech 2Q which is a balanced conditioner, and I don't like the sound of it's balanced power either. Balanced power sounds rounded off and a bit too soft for my tastes. You lose some dynamics on balanced in my experience.
But the power factor correction really juices my system, and the bass is MUCH tigher and more tuneful, dynamics been turned up. It sounds like a very good subwoofer has been added.
I have tried a couple of voltage stabilizers including the new PS Audio Power Plant Premier. There is a signature that happens to the sound I don't like. If you turn off the Premier you can hear it's passive conditioning without the AC regeneration. In my system the regeneration sounded worse than the passive. But I don't have a lot of voltage fluctuation. I did live in a place with a nightly brown-out, and at that location the sound of the brown-out (usually around 105 volts) was worse than the signature of voltage regulation of the early Exact Power I had. When I moved to my new place that does not have voltage swings, the ExactPower sounded mechanical and grainy.
I have no experience with the Accuphase. I know some Kondo people who have used it and like it for power in New York (you probably know them too!).
I am reading this thread with great interest given that you have first hand experience with many of the conditioners I have used or are considering. It is reassuring to read that what I think I hear is similiar to someone else. I've had the Exact Power and found it stiff and mechanical in my system (I have Horning Alkibiades too -- driven by SE amplification). I need voltage correction. My wall puts out a steady 127V reading. One of my amps (Loth X JI 300b) auto shut offs above 125V. I currently use an Audiophile APS unit for voltage correction. It's OK. But I'm drawn to the experience of Furman in engineering power products for the professional market.
This may be a stupid question, but does power factor correction mean that the Furman unit corrects the voltage to a stable 120V? I know that Furman makes voltage regulators. I'm just not sure if their Reference power conditioners are correcting the voltage. If it does, and you find the Furman units to be better than a Sound Application Reference Line Stage (which I own as well) in your system (which is similiar to mine), then the Furman unit may be just the right thing?
why getting furman if have sound application and like it! what will the furman do additionally that not getting?
I agree with Jim, I haven't heard much change in that range. The range in my old place was much bigger. My power is typically 116 in my new place.
If your power suplies are well designed, I don't think the range you state would make much sonic difference. It's the other nasties in the line that make much more difference.
I do like the Reference Linestage, and it is my current reference. I'm still evaluating the Furman, but it is doing a great job so far.
I can only give you my subjective experience, but I tried a Monster HTS 2000 surger protector/conditioner and did not care for it. Although it has an outlet for amplifiers that is supposed to be non-current limiting or at least less current limiting, I found the sound unsuitable for use with my amp. Way too constricting in dynamics. Ultimately, I did not care for the sound with other components as well. I also tried the Brickwall surge protector for high current audio products. The Brickwall does not use MOVs for its surge protection. It did not constrict dynamics, but still uses an EMI/RF filter that does alter the sound a bit, though not dramatically. So far, my $35 Radioshack surge protector has proven to be my strip of choice for the moment. It also provides EMI/RF filtering, but alters the sound the least of all that I've tried. Will the surge protection work when I need it? Who knows. I hope I don't have to find out, but it does provide some peace of mind over not using one at all, though I've been recently contemplating that route and been looking at some of the products offered from VHAudio. I know some may say that I must have unrefined taste to prefer the RS surge protector over some of the better quality products, but that's what my ears hear. Its just my experience in my room, system and tastes.
You might try a little searching as this question comes up periodically and there have been some good discussions on technical points in the past e.g.
But (1) to echo ppopp below, much depends on what the AC is like in your locality and in your house and how your particular gear reacts, so nobody here can tell you definitely what'll work; (2) depending on the design of your amp, power conditioners may limit its dynamics, so some folks prefer to plug amps right into the wall; (3) standard products made for surge protection are not aimed at audiophile power-conditioning.
The Monster "power bars," though arguably overpriced, are not bad things and if you can find a vendor who will let you return it, you could try one out. There are a number of good audiophile conditioners out there, but they're quite a bit more expensive and if you're not aware of a problem (you don't specify a problem you're trying to fix) you might hold off.
You only know how effective power conditioners are in your system when you actually try them out. I've seen some make a huge difference and some make no detectable difference at all.
A couple of points to make on your questions:
1. I wouldn't place too much confidence in surge protection strips to connect your expensive audio and video components. The failure rate of these strips, I've heard, is scary, especially if you have expensive components.
2. POwer conditioning is important because it tries to remove the inherent noise in standard AC lines and power. A conditioner can provide consistent, clean power to your components that will provide a noticeable improvement in video quality and audio performance.ou will benefit with a sharper video picture and a lower noise floor on your audio. This means that the audio will sound clearer, more dynamic, open with an expanded soundstage.
The solution would be to get a power conditioner that provides surge protection, that has storage capacitors which store electrical energy from the wall and feeds it to your components.
Some other issues to consider are: separating your video ac line from your audio and analogue ac by using a second condtitioner, or buying a conditioner that isolates the ac recepticles and plugging video into one outlet and digital and analogue components into a separate recepticle. Same goes for separating digital from analogue components.
This is insurance, IMHO, that is worth the cost. You may never need it, but you will be gald you have it the next time you are in the middle of an electrical storm and you have a power failure or surge due to lightening strike.
Hope this is helpful.
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