Power Conditioners?@ my first real solution

so, quick post here about a good investment and audio SQ come up that I've experienced recently//

i'm on rural power, Iowa, gravel roads.. power has been fluctuating out here and sometimes we get pulses that reset my gear, turns some off. the house wiring is 40 years old and it was installed by seemingly less skilled 'electricians' who used a bunch of junction boxes, with legacy wiring from outlets that have been decommissioned.. not an ideal audio situation.

that can't be good right?! i prefer to turn my gear off myself and then turn it back on, similarly in a volitional way.

i bought a Blue Circle Thingee as a stop gap, which I think helped some.. i used it for my front end, digtal units but ran my amps through an Adcom ACE unit.. purchased when I had my 565 monos, then stayed in service for all amps because- why not, right? mejor que nada.

so recently I decided to go all-in-one integrated.. Naim Nova and if I like it, I'll be pedaling off my digital front end.

to give the Nova the best chance to supplant my lovingly paired separates, I started to look at and research (rabbit hole) conditioners and realized that there's a steep step between 'audiophile' solutions and units like my Thingee.

Cut to chase- the Furman 1800 PF-R unit came to my attention and then I found one as a return on Ebay for $399// (there's another 1, same seller if you're fast with the click-finger). They usually run $900 something retail, i think. This one hit all the 'value' buttons on my elevator and I quickly selected floor 11.

The unit arrived last week in 'as new' condition w plastic still on the meter window in front. After reading the instructions (weird, right?) I plugged it in, plugged all my gear into it and let it warm up for 30 minutes.

Audible results, typical blah blah folk say about new gear, specifically conditioners but still generic:
  • lower noise floor in SQ that seemed to 'reveal' more detail at every range, more air up top, better bass extension.. not deeper but maybe better reach out into the room?
  • my Quicksilver monos have a little hum that is going to be 'looked at' end of month by my half-wizard tech, ran just a bit quieter
  • my 125w Class A amp delivered 'better performance' <intentionally vague- like the tube amps, everything sounded better.
  • more detail was apparent << main idea
Overall, outside of performance for high draw amps, i'm guessing every unit benefitted from cleaner, more consistent power.

End of day, I'm kicking myself for struggling for cable, speaker, gear gains, without addressing power, earlier. Like I found with better cabling, what you feed your system and how you connect the dots, is just as important, possibly more important than your gear selections.

Imo- choking gear with bad connects, cabling, was the other big 'lesson' i've learned, in 2channel audio. I think back to all the gear I bought, the pairings I tried, tubes etc without spending a similar amount, comparatively on cables.. and quietly wish I could go back to the start, spend on cables, interconnects and conditioning first.. those 2 things probably would have slowed the fever pitch habitrail of buy, try, sell- I was on for years.

with this all-in-one system, I'm getting rid of most of the cabling (for now) but power cables are still a focus- DIY DH Labs Red Wave- in use now and for the foreseeable.
 
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I have a client with a Niagara 1200 he is looking to move. It will come in more expensive but below the retail for the Furman. The only product I've heard under four figures that did some magical stuff was the Wireworld Space Port, but it has since been discontinued.
 
I think Kray has one of those units.. wish I knew yours was for sale but either way, I'm stoked with this Furman unit.. I'm also a huge Wireworld fan. Their entry level cables are leaps and bounds better than the monoprice/ Amazon Basics 'level' RCA and USB A/B I was using.
 
Sorry bud! I was distracted by kids while reading the OP. I thought you were sharing general experiences while considering a new option. Reading and all that….

If you see a space port come up used, don’t hesitate to buy. That was the only piece I kept stock of (outside of distributed products) because every time it went in, it never came back out. I’ve begged and pleaded for them to find a way to keep it alive but it just isn’t possible at this junction.
 
I've got a Monster Power AVS2000 Signature listed for $550. Non Signature version $450. I think they are listed here. For sure at USAudiomart
 
Yeah I have the Niagara 1200... mainly because I got a big ass amazon gift card at the time and decided to go for it. that was also before they raised the prices on them.

I can't tell you how much of a difference it makes since I'm in a new build house, new wiring, etc. but it's nice knowing all my audio rack is tied into it.
 
Yeah I have the Niagara 1200... mainly because I got a big ass amazon gift card at the time and decided to go for it. that was also before they raised the prices on them.

I can't tell you how much of a difference it makes since I'm in a new build house, new wiring, etc. but it's nice knowing all my audio rack is tied into it.
yep, that and the added protection for lightning, surges, etc. which we get around here, on the regular.
 
@Ingenieur any suggestions for a PC to replace my Niagara? I feel it's overkill for my setup. Could sell for ~$800 then maybe the P1800 like Monad has for around $400

I have new house, new wiring, and my outlet is a Cullen EMI/RFI outlet. I mainly need the extra outlets and surge protection firstly, conditioning second I guess.
 
I found noticeable improvements in my prior apartments using good power conditioning.
 
@Ingenieur any suggestions for a PC to replace my Niagara? I feel it's overkill for my setup. Could sell for ~$800 then maybe the P1800 like Monad has for around $400

I have new house, new wiring, and my outlet is a Cullen EMI/RFI outlet. I mainly need the extra outlets and surge protection firstly, conditioning second I guess.
What gear will be fed from it?
How large an amp?
 
What gear will be fed from it?
How large an amp?

Well generally I've ready just plug my amp directly into the wall, so that would leave
2 Subs
1 turntable
1 phono pre
1 streamer
1 network switch

I don't mind plugging the amp in with no degradation. I mean I probably should for the surge protection
 
@Ingenieur any suggestions for a PC to replace my Niagara? I feel it's overkill for my setup. Could sell for ~$800 then maybe the P1800 like Monad has for around $400

I have new house, new wiring, and my outlet is a Cullen EMI/RFI outlet. I mainly need the extra outlets and surge protection firstly, conditioning second I guess.

I'd strongly advise against getting rid of the 1200. It isn't overkill, though it might not be fully realized in your system (if that is what you are referring to). I'd also recommend trying the amplifier on the 1200 before making a decision. I imagine it will be a full improvement on your amp on the High Current outputs. On the Norma gear, I do find trade-offs as the 140 in particular is capable of 36 amps continuous current. The wall outlet provides more oomph, but you lose a lot of benefits of the 1200 on noise reduction. I choose to run it through the 1200.

When you get to the 3000 and 5000, the current no longer feels restricted like it does on the 1200. The 5000 and 7000 series are revelations, but also will make your wallet cry. I use one of each in my primary system as my monoblocks are capable of 48 amps continuous current and the 5000/7000 are limited to 90 amps peak.
 
Well generally I've ready just plug my amp directly into the wall, so that would leave
2 Subs
1 turntable
1 phono pre
1 streamer
1 network switch

I don't mind plugging the amp in with no degradation. I mean I probably should for the surge protection
These are my opinions, so be gentle:
I know a bit more about electrical power than the average bear. :)

A misconception is a properly designed device will 'choke' or throttle power.
It may, but not for audio loads.
A typical wall receptacle can deliver well over 400 A into a short circuit.
Even if cut in half, no issue, audio might draw 10 A (600 W) max. Due to rectification it may double that.
But normally, 1-2 A, peaks of <10.

I'd plug the switcher and subs into the wall or a cheap Furman. Just to avoid digital noise. Subs are mono and draw a few A.
The PST6 is a bit cheaper but the filter is not nearly as good.


Everything else including the amp (power rating in W?) into a commercial grade Furman.
This is what I use:
Luxman 509x max 5 A, nominal 1-2 A
Luxman phono amp <0.2 A
Luxman DAC <0.1 A
SL1200GR 0.1 A


I've measured V drop wall to receptacle on the Furman at very high volumes, much higher than I listen (ear muffs).
Both stayed within a few tenths of a volt.
I have a recording meter: max, min, avg
 
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We are all friends here, so there is no anger in my response.

It's not a misconception. It's audible. It is one reason why the Wireworld Space Port was so wonderful as it didn't seem to affect high current devices (amps). The Niagara 1200 does, as does every other unit I've tried under four figures does as well, EXCEPT that Space Port. I've even tried a handful of four figure units that have done the same. With that said, I still run my amp through the 1200 as I wouldn't in the other cases as their noise floor was too high to justify the loss of transient power.

Just like the Dragon cables I bought, I wish they didn't affect the sound as much as they do. No dealer wants to drop tens of thousands on 'accessories', but the differences they make are very, very audible.
 
An example
If a circuit is sized per NEC guidelines (not Code) for 5% V drop, 20 A, 120 V ckt, 6 V drop.
Z = 6/20 = 0.3 Ohm
120/0.3 = 400 A
I typically see 600-800 A
Rise time is 1/4 x 1/60 ~ 67 mSec

Typically the limiting factor is the PS transformer.
500 to 1000 VA xfmrs have a PU Z OF 5%+
We'll use 5% and 750 VA (mine is 600 VA)
Z base = 120^2/750 = 19.2 Ohm
xfmr Z act = 0.05 x 19.2 = 1 Ohm
3x the total from the util xfmr to the receptacle. It is the 'choke' point.

Under normal 1-2 A loads drop is 1-2 V
The rails float.

Another this to consider is power factor. The grid is lagging inductive because all the loads are motors. An amp is leading capacitive, so it helps pf and actually reduces the time constant to help it charge faster.

These are my opinions. There are many others. I am not debating subjective SQ, that is an individual ability.
Only the basic EE.
 
@Ingenieur any opinion on the Niagara 1200?

I have a Furman Mx8 I have my network rack equipment plugged into. But planned on getting a rack mount UPS to replace the Mx8. Then I could take the mx8 into audio room to plug the subs and switch into.

could still replace the niagara with the P1800 but curious
 
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@Ingenieur any opinion on the Niagara 1200?

I have a Furman Mx8 I have my network rack equipment plugged in too. But planned on getting a rack mount UPS to replace the Mx8. Then I could take the mx8 into audio room to plug the subs and switch into.

could still replace the furman with the P1800 but curious

The 1200 is fine. I would not mess with it.
The Mx8 would be good for the subs and switch.
You should be set.

I do want to explain why imo power flow is not an issue. I calculated typical current into an LR ckt, basically what serves us. I used a pf of 0.9 lagging at the receptacle.
I did not include the amp PS C which would increase pf a bit but negligible vs the mass of the grid. But again, we have no control over what goes on in the amp.

A linear PS draws I in pulses. It may be an equivalent frequency time based of 360 Hz.
And 6 x nominal I.
Assume 1000 VA, 500 W continuous.
I ~ 8 A, pulsed 50 A
Not realistic: V drop would be ~ 12-15 V.
Lights on the same ckt may flicker.
But we'll use this worst case.
A 20 A CB will carry 50 A for 1x minutes.

From the bottom of my scribble 120 A peak or 85 rms can be supplied at an equivalent 3000 Hz.
I can not envision a scenario where an audio component will be starved.

There are reasons to buy them, but that is the buyers to prioritize but imo current impedance is not one.

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Our power grid has become very unreliable over the last decade, possibly 15 years. It’s frequent in the summer and winter to lose power easily a few times a month if not a few times a week and sometimes numerous times in a day. This past fall one wind storm had us down over a week- maybe 9, 10 days.

The blackouts, brownouts and surges are frequently common too.

Now, this is not a deep woods isolated community but a well populated suburb of the city.

The sudden and quick off-back on events, or worse, the quick cycling of off-back on right back off then immediately back on then off then up again made for some horrible noises from the solid state amplifiers with no relays, jolts to the CD player and turntable, and for a stretch of time I shelved the tube gear in fear of losing valuable tubes (or worse, amps) to these events. Speakers protested with all kinds of abrupt noises too- unsettling whaps from the woofers, ungodly wails and chirps from the tweeters.

There’s no way I was going to continue running my gear this way, even if there may be some mild throttling of performance by incorporating some safety measures in the form of these power conditioner units.

I picked up a Rotel device (I’ll try to add info later as to model number) as well as an Adcom ACE 515 (I’ll need to verify the model number but I think that's correct) for preamp and source duty and a few Monster and Panamax units for the amplifiers.

Boy was that a good investment. Numerous times these devices have done what they were designed to do, shutting down my gear and time relaying their restart. I’m grateful for that. One time the surge was so brutal it took out the ceramic fuses inside the Monster unit. But my gear was safe.

If the sound was throttled due to these devices, fortunately at my typical listening levels it’s been benign if even perceivable, but the benefits of having this protection in my system at this point eclipses anything else- I’d be neck deep in fried tubes and cooked amps, blown speakers and circuit damaged electronics otherwise.

The Wireworld Space Port sounds like a great product and with your high compliment of it, it sounds like something to keep an eye out for. I don’t doubt the potential for these products to possibly hobble performance (a little to maybe a lot) and every addition to one’s system should be up to the task and of least harm and best quality one can swing.

My comments above are mostly how, in my neighborhood, these devices at any level are needed to avoid costly or permanent damage to gear and are paramount in my situation to anything else. If there are highly regarded products that are going to do a better job however, I’m eager to get tips and advice about them. It’s much appreciated.
 
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