Am i missing something without a power conditioner?

I need your advice on power conditioners. I know there is alot talked about with power conditioners. But let me explain my situation and what i have. First and foremost i upgraded all my stock power cords. I am using and have a Krell FPB 600 amp with a Shunyata Research Sigma HC power cord. I am using and have an Audio Research Ref 6 preamp with a Shunyata King Cobra Helix CX power cord. And have a Rega ISIS cd player with a Shunyata Sigma digital power cord. I have 1 dedicated 20 amp line with a 4 plug 20 amp wall outlet that my amp and preamp plug into. My question is with these high quality power cords do i still need a power conditioner? 
128x128Ag insider logo xs@2xtattooedtrackman
"... My question is with these high quality power cords do i still need a power conditioner?"

It depends on how stable your Power-Station source is, and what your 20 amp line connects to.

I'm in a condo. So I have to take neighbor usage into account, and thus have conditioners attached to anything electrical of perceived value. I have also learned to appreciate the inherent value of reference level Furman conditioners.

In addition, when I visit mom in CA, I can calibrate my watch every night at 6PM. This is when PG&E does some kind of relay swap that causes a brown-out. The lights dim and the UPS for her computer chirps. A dedicated line would make no difference here, because PG&E does what they do every night at 6PM.

That, and the point of the conditioner is to protect the equipment. I accept the slight decrease in sound quality to protect my gear. Your mileage may vary...
courant .  My power - station PSE&G is very stable. Very rarely will there even be a black out ,even in most severe storms. My 20 amp line connects to my breaker box. Also you say that there is a slight decrease in sound quality? Someone also said that putting a power conditioner on an amp is like putting a condom on it. 
Yes, if your objectives are enhanced system performance, better sound quality and greater enjoyment, etc. 

My question is with these high quality power cords do i still need a power conditioner?

Unfortunately, you ask an open-ended question that is system dependent and the only way to know if you will hear improvement is to try it and judge for yourself.
With that said, depending on which power conditioner you might try, results will vary. I believe that most likely with a power conditioner you will be able to hear more micro details however the percentage of improvement vs the cash outlay for the power conditioner might be marginal. I have four different types of power conditioners that I retate between two different systems and I hear improvement with all of them.
Like others said, you just have to try. I initially started by buying a used Audience AR1p (i think) for a couple of hundred. I plugged it into the wall and plugged my Wiremold power strip into it and I was very pleased with the result. So much so, I ended up with an AR6T that I’ve had since about 2009 with no regrets. I don’t follow the classifieds much, but I have seen AR6s (non-teflon) up at fabulous prices and it’s a first-class item, even without the T-caps. Maybe try one and check it out.  In fact, there is a 6T up for 2k, which is really a good price.  I know it's a lot of money, but cheap power conditioners can really ruin a system.  Good luck.
Dear Tatooed great name by the way.

Power conditioners are one of the most under apperciated and best things you can do for a system.

We have been doing this for over 30 years and have seen the countless times that adding a good power conditioner has made a stunning improvement in realism to a system.

We have also tried many of the major brands searching for the most effective units that would fit most of our clients systems.

We have tested over the years, Richard Gray, Exact power, Silver Circle, Audience, Shunyata, Isotek Gen 2, Isotek Gen 3, Audio Magic, PS Audio, Audioquest, Running Springs and I am sure a few others we have forgotten.

We are also running dedicated 20 amp lines with Furutech outlets as well.

Long story short the right power conditioner opens up a system's soundstage width and depth, lowers apparent noise blacker blacks, tightens up bass and aids in hearing and apperciating micro dynamics.

So in our tests even with really expensive power cords the right power conditioner makes a huge improvement.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
Well i really love my Shunyata power cords. And i definitely hear a difference. With that being said i was thinking about a used shunyata Deloni 2000t for about $2000 but then i would need a power cord for it. And knowing me it would have to be a Shunyata.. Depending on how much i am willing to spend on the PC , That might be another $ 1200 to $ 1500. So know we are up to about $3500. The more i think about it the more it would not be worth maybe the small amount of sonic improvement vs the $. I really have some great PCs already and i think ill stick with that for now.. 
Tattoed, sometimes another Shunyatta may not be the answer. Shunyatta
s products tend to add a lot of warmth which may or may not be exactly what you want.

We have found a mind blowing way of making a system a lot better for less than $3,500.00 

Isotek makes the Syncro a power cord with an active power conditioner built in, the Syncro removes any stray DC on the line, and wow you can easily hear what is does, they are $2,000.00 get a passive distribution box like a Furutech FT 609 and you will be out for a $1,000.00 less with a more neutral power improvement solution and you can upgrade from the Furutech to an even better power box later. 

The Syncro has made a huge improvement in every power conditioner and system we have tried it with.

What you hear is greater attack and micro dynamics. Makes the system come alive and sound more exciting. 

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
I will vouch for the Isotek Syncro. I paired one with an Isotek Aquarius EVO3 so that the Syncro feeds the juice to the Aquarius which in turn provides 6 outlets. I got both for about $4K new with a discount. But I was warned and I stand by the adage that with power conditioners, everything is system-dependent including the variables of locale and power coming into the house. I recently had an electrician over at the house to install additional dedicated lines into my listening room. We got to talking about isolation transformers and subpanels and fancy breaker switches and he was quite knowledgeable about all of these things and basically thought they were all unnecessary or overkill other than maybe a smaller isolation transformer in the listening room. He stressed that the major determinant of clean power is where you are in relation to the closest outdoor power transformer and how or if your neighbors are polluting the power before it comes to you. 
Post removed 
In audiophile terms it could be a dramatic, never going back, veils removing, you'd have to be deaf not to hear it change.  Or, it could be very subtle and possibly not even a positive change.  As others have pointed out it can be very system dependent.  Based upon your comments I would recommend you not go in the direction of power conditioners.  Picking the right conditioner (for you) and pairing it with the right power cord will be a time consuming endeavor.  Unless you really want to play with the equipment, why bother?
That is why you experiment, in the first place the Syncro does not alter the tonal balance the way some devices do.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
Here is an affordable unit you could find used on Audiogon etc, or buy new at a discounted price. Find a Core Power Technologies CPT 300 which has an attached power cord that works well and attach it to a power strip. This will give you balanced power and if you plug your front end components into it (not your amp) it will assist and give you a much quieter background yielding more details and depth to your music.
BTW; one of the power conditioners I use is the Shunyata Research Denali D2000/T.



* I have no idea why the first two website reviews arn't working?

you probably should try one.....only with the ability to return it.   I tried many, they always changed the tonality with an increase in something wrong.  You'll only hear the bugs after listening for awhile.
I second Core Power Tech units
I used a few cheaper units, names withheld as irrelevant but when I moved up to the CPT1800 it was a real eye opener.
Previously with other units I still had occasional dips in power depending on the mains supply and even sometimes when my ac kicked in.
With the CPT1800, nothing has ever dropped out since.
And I have EVERYTHING plugged into its 8 outlets, amp, tt, phono, tape deck the lot.
On previous units with the amp plugged in there was a slightly detectable softening of the music, on the CPT everything is etched as though in living colour! No I do not mean forward or bright but just completely alive and open.
The only caveat on the CPT is getting hold of
My question is with these high quality power cords do i still need a power conditioner?
Power cords do not do any power conditioning.

The best power conditioners were made by a company called Elgar. You can find them on ebay; the 3000 and 6000 series are likely the most practical for audiophiles. The 3000 series can run 28 amps continuous and so can handle some pretty large systems. Because of their age, they will likely need some service.

These conditioners are so much better than anything offered to high end audio that its really a bit of an embarrassment. At full power they can deliver a sine wave with only 0.25%THD and they can regulate line voltage without limiting current within their ratings.
@audiotroy how would you compare the isotek to a transparent conditioner & power cable. Esp what you feel it does to the sound?
Ralph, very few real audiophiles want an industrial, discontinued power regenerator, especially one that would or might need service from a company that really doesn't care about the consumer market way too impractical.

Also we have tested regenerators from Exact Power and PS Audio and none of them made systems sound as good as the best passives.

As per Transparent, never cared for their power products cable companies generally don't make the best power conditioners. 

Companies like Isotek do not sell anything other than AC products generally make the best power products. 

As per CPT we haven't tested them yet, there are people who seem to think that they are good.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
There are a lot of CPT users on there forums for sure, it is how I heard of them and then bought one based on research and recommendations.
I am sure they are not the last word by far but for $1500 for a unit that could handle everything I run it was worth a test.
Biggest holdup is that CPT are pretty backed up with orders so may not be a quick purchase and delivery.
Tattoo what you are missing is low noise floor to let the music pass thru with clarity, black background , speed, more 3D , why I am planning to get Niagara series and their new power cables, stormy series....If am not happy just return them, music direct has 60 days trial...
In 2003, we add a Panamax 5300 and without a doubt, perhaps the most significant system upgrade going back to the 60’s.

We auditioned other makes and models. Some were better but much more money and some were not so good for more and less money. Details here

As everything HiFi must integrate within a system, your mileage will vary so audition all devices. Take owner model specific advice as fan boy prattle.

Bonne chance.

I also feel like i wasted thousands and thousands of dollars upgrading all my power cords, and still need a power conditioner. So confused about this. 
Fan Boy Prattle?
So one is to assume that we include your recommendation of the Panamax in the same category then ieales?
@tattooedtrackman fear not you’ve not wasted a cent. The effect of improving the AC to your equipment is cumulative. From the breaker box all the way to the IEC on the component, upgrades at every step can pay dividends.

I will not not offer any opinion on which conditioner might suit you best, you can look at my system to see what I use. However I will offer that if you do get a conditioner you can further improve things by tweaking the feet and base it sits on. Conditioners and AC supplies in general are susceptible to vibration induced interference and using solutions to deal with this will pay back. In my case adding a Marigo sub platform under my conditioners was a very positive improvement. It’s certainly not the case that you just want to slap them on the floor and forget about it

sorry if this only adds to your confusion but the tweaks and anal attention to every detail are what makes this hobby fun
  • @tattooedtrackman, yes there is a lot to consider. I believe if you have good components you will benefit from upgraded power cords.
Ultimately you will also benefit from some type of good power conditioning. Here is one video on YouTube, be patient and put up with the beginning drab of Kevin Deal, once the video moves into his store he does a good job of explaining the need for power conditioning. A good sounding system begins with clean power and/or can’t be achieved totally without clean power.
Ralph, very few real audiophiles want an industrial, discontinued power regenerator, especially one that would or might need service from a company that really doesn’t care about the consumer market way too impractical.
The Elgars I mentioned are not regenerators. Plus you can get them cheap, and service isn’t that hard- we’ve serviced a number of them and so has Michael Percy (known for selling high end precision parts).

Here’s one that can do 1KVA:

The thing is, they are so much better than anything offered to high end audio that essentially the ’high end audio’ stuff is roundly embarrassed.

Of course you can’t know that if you haven’t experienced it. Sort of like trying to convince a 4-year old the value of brushing their teeth.

A passive conditioner can’t really do the job. The problems you are dealing with is of course spikes and high frequency noise, most of which is easy to filter, but also you have harmonics of the AC line frequency (distortion), DC on the line, and finally the raw AC voltage.

The 5th harmonic (300Hz) is known to be particularly troublesome (it is caused by transformers like those on power poles that are loaded past about 50% of their capacity). It causes power transformers to become mechanically noisy and run hotter, causes power rectifiers to become noisier and causes a reverse force to appear in synchronous motors (used in turntables and tape machines). Fluke Instruments published a paper on this over 25 years ago. Its not like its anything new, but most ’high end audio’ conditioner manufacturers won’t even know what you’re talking about if you bring it up. You can see though that just using an isolation transformer as part of your passive scheme can introduce harmonics if you load it too heavily!

That takes a bit of magnetics (very large chokes) to filter passively! There is an attendant voltage loss- so that technique is impractical.

DC on the line (often caused by electric heaters running at less than full power) causes transformers to become mechanically noisy due to core saturation. This also means their output waveform is distorted, which is not good for rectifiers. This is of course cheap to remove by itself.

Finally, if the line voltage sags, amplifier power can be severely curtailed and distortion higher. This can mess with the regulator overhead in preamps and sources like CD players. Modulation on the AC line can result in added distortion. Again this is something that no passive can sort out.

To add insult to injury, most passive units force the user to use the power cord supplied by the passive conditioner. Obviously the conditioner has to get power, but if it can’t compensate for the losses in the power cord, it isn’t helping.

This is why the Elgar is so good at what it does- it deals with all these problems. That no-one in high end audio has chosen to use their techniques is embarrassing. It would be expensive, but not if an audiophile is already willing to pay $1000 for a power cord or flush $$$$ away on ’conditioners’ that don’t do anything.
@uberwaltz - 

Fan Boy Prattle?
So one is to assume that we include your recommendation of the Panamax in the same category then ieales?

Absolutely. I stated I installed a Panamax and it was a significant upgrade. Other devices were better and worse. AND the user MUST audition anything.

As I've mentioned elsewhere, systems are as individual as a fingerprint. Identical systems in different rooms can sound vastly different. ALL components MUST be auditioned in situ. Device specifics are next to worthless in an absolute context.
Tattloe iam planning to connect my Dac, transport, CD player , and preamp. Lak Iam looking into the niagara 5000 n thunder pc....or maybe start with niagara 1000...
I tried the AQ N 1000 recently, and could not discern any difference with or without it in the system.  Hope YMV.

Just to add to the opinion mix. Most of my clients choose not to use line conditioning or heavy power cords.

Michael Green

I forgot to mention that power conditioners often have multiple circuits fit with different filters [and manufacturer twaddle to accompany].

The 5300 has two 'Regular' and 1 'High' current circuits. One  Regular switched and the other not. The Regulars are recommended for TVs, preamps, CD, etc. and the High ostensibly for Amps and Subs.

FWIW, my PrimaLuna 5 sounds best when connected to the Regular direct rather than High current outlet. OTOH, the NuPrime ST-10 loves the High current outlet. The PL5 has a much simpler higher voltage, lower current PS than the ST-10.

Bottom line is not only will power conditioners themselves have varying effects, various circuits therein, if fit, may react in audible ways with the load device power supply.
Then Ieales
By your thought process there really is no point ANYBODY making any recommendations then?
Makes me wonder why we are even commenting on this thread.

Surely part of the process is for readers to base an opinion of what they MIGHT expect ?
If say 95% of respondents state they had similar results with product X then it would be a safe bet to assume you would as well. Of course you could be in the unlucky 5% but sometimes you take that chance.
I base my purchases of peer reviews, recommendations, popularity and a good dose of common sense.
there really is no point ANYBODY making any recommendations
Pretty much sums it. In ancient times, a recommendation from someone whose system I'd heard and judgement I trusted would carry some heft. Your system gives you a slight uptick but "Sublime even on cassette" skotches it.<vbg>

A large problem is naiveté and owner enthusiasm for the latest and greatest which they of course own. The cost of my system wouldn't cover the tax on many, but no one who has ever heard it [or any far more costly predecessor] has failed to make complimentary comments about the precision, musicality and emotion. 

A miniscule proportion of posters have any iota of a musical reference other than HiFi and even then their reference is that it sounds better than their laptop, iJunk or smartphone. Even then some play severely bitrate limited incoherent MP3s and rave about the sonics.

After decades of being an audio recluse, recent auditions of popular/well reviewed/very expensive gear has left me non-plussed. An advantage of the modern era is stores can pull down almost anything. When I cannot distinguish multiple backing vocal tracks or piano solo instrument from tracking piano in a different studio, there is something seriously flawed in the playback. These demo's are supposedly optimized in single systems rooms. A great system draws the listener into the music. None did. Quite the opposite. I just wanted to turn it off.

in evaluating, they must be as rigorous as possible in establishing baseline conditions. It's patently worthless to insert one system, play for a while, then insert another and play different source material. My recommendation is to have a library of reference tracks, note ambient and electrical conditions,  play the system for N minutes with the same 'warm up' disc while out of the room. Only then evaluate, making notes all the while. Rinse and Repeat for additional units.

The most that anyone reading here should infer is that power conditioning MAY be beneficial and they MUST evaluate for themselves in their own system, preferably with multiple devices.

See there YOU go making a generalization about cassettes and then assuming I obviously am tone deaf and would not know hifi if it whacked me around the side of the head!
Granted there ARE a number of poor tape offerings but that can be said about EVERY medium tbh.

Taking again part of somebodys post and quoting just that one tiny part changes the entire meaning and context of said post. A very bad habit that quite a number do around here.

And FWIW on nearly every comment I make about equipment or tweaks (unless I forget) I will state in my system, in my room and to my ears, obviously EVERYBODY else will have differing results.
@atmasphere , does the Elgar give you any protection for surge, like a close lightning strike?

If not, what would be your suggestion to use along with the Elgar?

Quick answer... YES!  First, congrats for using good A/C cords.  Too many skeptics don't know what they're missing.  But a good power conditioner will still lower the noise-floor, revealing more detail and ambient information.

I am a big Shunyata fan, because I've found that their conditioners 'do no harm' (i.e. do not restrict dynamics or affect tonality/timbre in any way).  I use their Guardian conditioner, and still remember the dramatic improvement it made to my (already quite refined) system.

If you have the bucks, I'd suggest the Shunyata Denali or the new Audioquest Niagra (as I've heard some raves about it from reliable listeners).

assuming I obviously am tone deaf and would not know hifi if it whacked me around the side of the head!
I assume no such thing. <vbg> == Very Big Grin == Humor. Can't say I share your general taste in music but sometimes I rock out with Led Zeppelin, Queen, The Who... and sundry other retirees. Tommy "Underture" is one of my reference tracks. Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of that (TFIC) exalted status. TFIC = Tongue Firmly In Cheek.

Cassettes are terrible vis a vis almost any other media. Mechanically it cannot be otherwise. I fail to see the point of recent enthusiasm. In the studio, we referred to them as "crappettes". 

Taking parts of a post is an online hazard and one I'm willing to risk. I try to take enough so as to not change the context. What someone types is not always what they meant and the writer cannot fault subsequent users if the meaning was misconstrued.

Since we're bitching, far too often some late comer has not read the entire thread and chimes in unprimed and half-cocked.

@tattooedtrackman. A good dealer should sell you a Power Conditioner with a 7 day return option. Mine did and it didn't go back. That was quite a few years ago. Not only better sound but better picture on TV. Made SD like HD.

Hopefully your dealer will do this.
initforthemusic ..Yes that is what i would like to do is try it out in my system first with a return option. 
aalenik ..Yes i am looking into the Shunyata Denali 2000t for my preamp and cd player. I dont think i want to put my amp on a power conditioner.
Maybe I am not very bright but I do not see how putting an expensive 3 foot wire between a wall jack connected with likely 20 to 50 feet of 12 or 14 gauge Romex cable to a box with two low cost circuit breakers then thru many feet of aluminum cable to a transformer could be expected to do anything over almost any cable unless it is replacing too light a gauge cable with lousy connectors.   If one were to put a device, like a regenerator or at least a power conditioner to control spikes and dips in the line power between the wall outlet and the expensive cable, I can see where it may be of some benefit to have a better connection from such a clean source rather than the power coming from a line transformer to your wall outlet. 
Didn't read all the posts so hopefully I'm not repeating someone. If possible, I would add another dedicated line just for the amp. While you are at it, I would have a separate line for your analog equipment and a separate line for your digital equipment as well. Then I would decide about the power conditioner. That being said, I have always found power conditioners to help in my room, but the separate lines will make a huge difference on their own.
Good listening
Power conditioning (AC voltage regulator and RF noise eliminator) is a good thing to have provided:

1- the  AC power your utility supplies is not stable and not clean;

2- it must have capability to supply at least double (more is better) the current your system draws during listening.

How do you know if the power supplied is stable or not?

I use a vintage analog meter made by WIZ (Power Line Monitor) whose needle will tell me how the power is being supplied. 
This one here:

When the power supplied from your wall socket is very stable, there is no detectable benefit by using a power conditioner.

Important: the power conditioner I use not only supplies very stable AC voltage (1% regulation) but also have a very good RFI eliminator. 

How do I know whether there is lots of noise coming from the power line? I use a noise sniffer like this one made by Audio Prism.

Regarding the capability of the power conditioner, in my case I use one capable of supplying 50A while my system draws from 8 to 13A while listening. 

Also, my electricity is supplied by a 3 phase system and I use one phase to plug refrigerator, microwave, washing machine etc.

The other phase I use for air conditioning and the third phase for my audio system and lightning which are all using LEDs now.

How do I select the phase for my audio system? I plug the analog meter and watch for some time which one is more stable.

So, the question is do I notice any improvement by inserting the power conditioner in my system? The truth is, I don't, since the power I get from the utility is very stable.

But I leave it there anyway since it protects my system when there is an over voltage situation (very rare) or under voltage situation (also very rare).

Also it cleans the power from noise coming from the power line and that is good.

Re-read what Atmasphere said. He is an expert, and electronics is his field.

Industrial is always better than commercial, and commercial is always better than audiophile. Tradeoffs are cost, convenience, and noise.

I installed overlarge Plitron medical isolation transformers. They sell to the public. I compared four conditions: (1) factory power cords into dedicated 20 amp lines; (2) factory power cords into isolation transformer; (3) exotic power cords into dedicated 20 amp lines; and (4) exotic power cords into isolation transformer. (Statisticians will recognize a 2x2 factorial experiment.)

Results were: (4) = (2) > (3) > (1). That is, an isolation transformer is better than an exotic power cord, and further, eliminates the need for one.

When the electrical inspector came to examine my installaton, he said that he had never seen cleaner power, even at a power station.

That said, if I didn’t already use overlarge medical isolation transformers, and power supplies full of heavy iron (100 kg of chokes, actually), I would immediately go out and buy an Elgar, based on Ralph’s recommendation.

But of course, you can spend your money elsewhere.

@tattooedtrackman - I have my power amp going directly into the wall too.  Shunyata claims that their conditioners will not restrict power, but I've found that many amps sound better 'straight into the wall' than they do connected to a variety of A/C conditioners.

However... the Shunyata folks tell me that thee is a 'proximity effect' so that an amp plugged into the same duplex as their conditioner will also get cleaner power.  True?  I honestly don't know.  Happy Listening!

@billshenefelt - Good A/C cords protect your components from noise being generated by the other components in your system (and PCs, refrigerators, etc.) moreso than that coming into your house.  It's not the 'last 3 feet'.  It's the FIRST 3 feet. I understand your skepticism.  Just audition a high-end A/C cord, say on your CDP, and listen.  You won't care WHY it sounds so much better.

@ieales - If you meant me, I'm writing directly to the poster, giving him my best input on his question.  I don't care about your argument w/ @uberwaltz about cassettes.  Cassettes??