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#161441 - 03/13/07 04:09 PM A/C Line Conditioner
agentfox1942 Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 84
Loc: Hagerstown, Maryland
Has anyone used/purchased AC voltage line conditioners? I was reading SIRQUACK's thread on hum and static and was wondering if that would help. ( I didn't read the whole thing, honeslty). I've been looking at the APC H15. At $450 it seems like a great investment for expensive equipment. And I run an APC on my computer with monitoring software and I can't believe all the spikes and brown-outs in a 24 hour period. Thanks
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#161442 - 03/13/07 04:27 PM Re: A/C Line Conditioner [Re: agentfox1942]
SkiTaos Offline
buff

Registered: 06/01/06
Posts: 41
I have had a Panamax line conditioner for the past eight years and it has done its job. Another source of static/hiss is low end speaker/interconnects. check your connections first and then look at your cables. I'm telling you to spend hundreds of dollars on cables. Go to monoprice if that works for you. I myself, would go no cheaper than Kimber Kable. With Monster cable you are paying for the name/marketing mostly. It's up to you. Like many in this forum (possibly you) have made up their mind that a two dollar interconnect is the same as a $2000 interconnect.

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#161443 - 03/13/07 04:35 PM Re: A/C Line Conditioner [Re: agentfox1942]
PeterChenoweth Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 1349
Loc: Jacksonville, IL
I recently purchased my first dedicated amplifier and decided that my cheap $15 surge protector probably would melt if I ran the amp from it too. So I started looking into better power protection for my whole system and stumbled across a Belkin PureAV PF60 'Power Console' from eCost for $144. I was going to purchase a $70ish Moster Power surge protector from the local big box electronics store, so $144 wasn't really much of a stretch. MSRP on this thing is $599, so I couldn't resist that deal.

I really, really like it. Not only does it look cool (I'm a geek), but it does seem to provide some benefits. Some people say that a line conditioner is a waste of money, and they do nothing. I have experienced real, positive results in my system that they do. First of all, I live in an old house (c 1910). Most of the wiring was redone in the 90's, but there are still a few weird runs of ancient power lines. I also live in the rural midwest with a power company whos credit rating was just demoted to 'junk' today. Needless to say, if anyone's a candidate for 'dirty' power, I am. After I plugged everything into the PF60, I immediately noticed a few things. First of all, I had to re-adjust my TV settings. No, it didn't lose them because I had unplugged the TV, I mean the brightness and contrast settings needed to be changed. The TV was brighter after the PF60, and I swear the picture quality is slightly better (subjective, of course). Audio wise, I was having some static-like clicking/ticking from my Dish Network DVR when using the optical digital output from time to time. I tried several different cables with no effect. That ticking significantly decreased after the PF60 and is really all but gone.

I could be tempted to say that sound is more open and airy, but that's so completely and totally subjective that I can't really say that it is. During a power 'event', such as when my wife fires up a hair dryer, or she was using the microwave, or my neighbor's central air kicks in (our power lines run to the same transformer on the street....), I would occasionally hear a small 'pop' in my system. Doesn't do that anymore. Dead quiet, always.

I do know one thing for sure: during the day my power sits at about 124v and at night rises to about 128v, but varies down to 116v. I am happier knowing that my equipment is being fed slightly cleaner, slightly more regulated power.


Edited by PeterChenoweth (03/13/07 04:51 PM)
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#161444 - 03/13/07 06:30 PM Re: A/C Line Conditioner [Re: PeterChenoweth]
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13318
Loc: Iowa
This is a hot debate, like speaker break-in. Many will tell you that it is a snake oil gimmick, I don't totally buy that 100%. I have a Tripplite surge/isolated ac banks conditioner that everything is running through. It has a very high surge protection, and with the isolated banks seems to help. It also includes voltage and amperage readings so you can tell at a quick glance the status of your environment.

Works for me.
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#161445 - 03/13/07 08:27 PM Re: A/C Line Conditioner [Re: agentfox1942]
jakewash Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 12/26/03
Posts: 10398
Loc: Calgary, Alberta
Why stop with the HT equipment? They do make nice versions that will do the entire house and are genereally about the same price. They connect to the main feed at the box. A little harder to install than plugging in, but if you have dirty power, then you have lots of other things plugged in that could benefit.
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#161446 - 03/13/07 11:35 PM Re: A/C Line Conditioner [Re: jakewash]
Mojo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 3292
Can you refer me to a power conditioner that I can install at the service entrance? I have high frequency noise on my incoming AC. If I place my SPL meter by a power receptacle, it reads 95 dB. If I turn on the lights, it reads 85 dB. With the power off, my readings go down to a reasonable 40 dB. I have to calibrate my speakers with the lights off! I need a solution to this because the utility is not helping me.

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#161447 - 03/14/07 12:17 AM Re: A/C Line Conditioner [Re: Mojo]
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4788
Loc: western canada
This is a ridiculous thread. Try a search (in these forums) and listen to the tested experience from pros not shy to publish their results or scientifcally challenge those empty claims of others (too many true pros to count in this category but Axiom is one, OToole at Harmon is another).

Power conditioners do nothing for an audio signal. The power from your wall socket is controlled as it enters the power interface components of the amp section. Your tests of listening to a wall socket with a SPL meter are...umm...very amateuristic in attempting to determine factors that affect audio quality. My fluorescent lights hum but you think if they hum louder the light will be of less quality?

A UPS should help you somewhat with brownouts, but only that you can turn off your equipment before the UPS runs out of gas once a brownout occurs.
If you want to buy a 'power conditioner' then at least use one of three true reasons:
1) it acts as an expensive power surge bar
2) it has neat dials so you can watch power usage
3) you want your system to look uber kewl (the BrenR version of description)

Let's quit spreading the myths here people. If a newbie is sold on spending useless money, so be it, but put the right reasons out there, not the fake science nonsense. Home listening tests are useless unless done in a very controlled manner which virtually none take the time to setup properly.
Breaks my heart to see tidbits of science information annihilated by the masses in audio.


Edited by chesseroo (03/14/07 12:26 AM)
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#161448 - 03/14/07 04:53 AM Re: A/C Line Conditioner [Re: agentfox1942]
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10361
Mark, if you're referring to your audio equipment, no additional "line conditioner" should be necessary. The power supply sections of the units have transformers, rectifiers and filter capacitors which supply clean DC for operation, and the fluctuations which you mention are handled routinely. The AC which comes out of the wall socket isn't what winds up getting used. $450, or anything beyond $20-$30 for a surge protector strikes me as a waste of money.
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#161449 - 03/14/07 08:26 AM Re: A/C Line Conditioner [Re: JohnK]
Ajax Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 6246
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
Interesting contrast. Two people saying the same thing, yet one is able to say it without implying your point of view is ridiculous, you are amateurish, and you are spewing nonsense.
_________________________
Jack

"People generally quarrel because they cannot argue." - G. K. Chesterton

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#161450 - 03/14/07 08:42 AM Re: A/C Line Conditioner [Re: JohnK]
agentfox1942 Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 84
Loc: Hagerstown, Maryland
Thanks for all the input. I was more or less looking at protection for the equipment. $20 surge protectors that I know of can't handle the joules produced by even a small surge. We had a squirrel commit suicide by steping across the poles of a transformer and my neighbor lost his Sony power supply and his A/V receiver. I know - it could be anything along the way from poor grounding in the house to cheap equipment that caused it. But something like APC or Belkin would have paid to replace it if the surge wasn't stopped. I just thought four grand for a TV and 1500 for a receiver is a lot to skimp on a surge protection. Cables are important too. I am NOT one of those that think $2 interconnect is the same as a $1000 one like SkiTaos states. I know line stabilizers (like I like to call them) do make a difference in computers and other electronic devices. Not in the sound, but in the equipment.
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