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Theories on optimising mains power, conditioners, balanced etc

Thomas savage

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#1
I want to understand the various merits of mains power conditioning. I use a balanced tx but this caused problems introducing high gain! Why did that happen?

What's the best approach for your advantage audiophile? What's going on between the power socket and your system.

Try not argue, this is a resource thread not a pissing contest:)

Thanks:)
 

Ethan Winer

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#2
I won't argue as I tell you that problems attributed to "power" are grossly overstated. Unless you live in a third-world country, or have frequent brown-outs etc. Obvious clicks and pops can be filtered, but the notion that audio quality is subtly improved by "power conditioners" is pure bullshit.

--Ethan
 

Speedskater

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#3
Well 'power conditioner' is an undefined term. So each marketing department is free to have it mean whatever the like. But for most people in most situations in the real world and power conditioner is nothing more the a money drain.

Almost everything that you need to know about AC power and audio/video systems is in these three papers:

An Overview of Audio System Grounding and Interfacing
by
Bill Whitlock, President
Jensen Transformers, Inc.
Life Fellow, Audio Engineering Society
Life Senior Member, Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers

http://centralindianaaes.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/indy-aes-2012-seminar-w-notes-v1-0.pdf

Power and Grounding For Audio and Audio/Video Systems -- A White Paper for the Real World
by Jim Brown
http://www.audiosystemsgroup.com/SurgeXPowerGround.pdf
 

RayDunzl

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#5
I use a balanced tx but this caused problems introducing high gain! Why did that happen?
You'll have to tell me, because it didn't happen here, and I can't imagine how it would.
 

Thomas savage

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#6
You'll have to tell me, because it didn't happen here, and I can't imagine how it would.
Well if I put the system on normal power and set the volume then change nothing but change to balanced its notably louder.. And seems to distort at least subjectivity( sign of increased gain?). I can't see any psychological reason for this, but alas maybe I am imagining it.
I did read something confirming this possibility but can't find it now doh!
 

Purité Audio

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#8
Your equipment should already have properly designed internal regulation, nothing else required unless as Ethan states ... although you do live in Devon!
Keith
 

RayDunzl

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#9
Well if I put the system on normal power and set the volume then change nothing but change to balanced its notably louder.. And seems to distort at least subjectivity( sign of increased gain?). I can't see any psychological reason for this, but alas maybe I am imagining it.
Can't you take a measurement?

Ray why do you use balanced power?
I had some mechanical transformer hum issues crop up with my (then) new (used) amplifiers. That can (as I read) be caused by even a small DC component on the AC. I stared at the AC coming into the house, found some issues. The Utility measured for a few weeks and then replaced the local transformer.

In the meantime I read up (as best I could) on AC power and Isolation techniques, and I looked at isolation transformers. It led me to balanced power, which would be a subset of isolated.

I read through the information provided by Equitech during that time. A used balanced Equitech Q series came up on eBay for a price similar to what a new Triplite (unbalanced) would cost. Shock City Studios was the vendor, replacing small units.

And here we are. All the transformers in the rack have gone dead silent, unless you use a stethoscope, and then the transformer hum is dwarfed by the hard drive noises in the cable box. The Equitech draws 7 watts when idle.

There may be other effects, but I don't have instruments of sufficient sensitivity/noise rejection, to make any claims about that. Sounds good though, totally quiet, properly dynamic, no harm done, some help given. It went in, it hasn't come out.

 
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Thomas savage

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#10
All I need some s a simple volt meter? Measure the Rca out puts?

Or am I being spastic?

I use a hard wired balanced tx as well. As I understand it it's impossible for DC to get past it but that don't mean the iso tx could not suffer saturation from the DC. I had hum, but no longer.

If there is DC blockers in your amps could we then take them out? Any advantage to this?
 

RayDunzl

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#11
If there is DC blockers in your amps could we then take them out? Any advantage to this?
My limited experience does not remember seeing any DC blockers (capacitors) coming before the Power Transformer. It's a straight shot (though through possibly a switch, fuse, circuit breaker) to the wall outlet.
 

RayDunzl

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#12
All I need some s a simple volt meter? Measure the Rca out puts?
Why don't you go buy a UMIK-1 and install REW and get a clearer sense of what you are listening to?

$100 or so, which you recoup by not wasting on something else.

And yes, if the voltage out (using a steady sinewave, like 60Hz, or any frequency the meter is designed to measure) changes, that would be indicative of a "gain" change. Measure before and after at the speaker terminals.
 

Fitzcaraldo215

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#13
My limited experience does not remember seeing any DC blockers (capacitors) coming before the Power Transformer. It's a straight shot (though through possibly a switch, fuse, circuit breaker) to the wall outlet.
I dunno, Ray. I think most stuff has DC blocking capacitors on the AC input. I do not see them causing a sonic disadvantage in normal use.
 

RayDunzl

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#14

RayDunzl

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#16
Ok, I see where diodes can be placed inline with the transformer to block low levels of DC, so I stand corrected.

 

RayDunzl

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#19
If there is DC blockers in your amps could we then take them out? Any advantage to this?
With diode blockers removed, you'd gain about a volt on the input side, which I would deem immaterial, within the normal variation of power delivery during the day.

You'd lose some, uh, lets call it "crossover distortion" on the input to the transformer, since there will be flat spot around 0V on the input side due to the diodes, probably irrelevant, though.

I'm not a modder by heart, if something is there, and put there by someone competent in their skillset, I go Hmm... and maybe think about it a while, but seldom change it.

Ask fas42 if you don't like my answer.
 
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#20
I’ve always been intrigued by balanced power, but not enough to stomach the price of admission. IIR Thomas W (of Cult of the Infinitely Baffled fame) claims it made a visible improvement in his video signal chain – don’t recall if he claimed the same about the audio. There’s a build thread at HT Guide that he put together about the one he DIY’d.

Used to be when you searched on balanced power for audio purposes, there was a thread on a forum somewhere where Frank Van Alstine adamantly claimed that balanced power was dangerous, as it wouldn’t work with a common safety ground.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 
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