Power conditioners and power regeneration

There are so many different options on this subject it’s unbelievable. But in the meantime it seems to me that between two companies that I’m comparing, they seem to do the same thing with power conditioning, and as far as I can tell there is no audible difference. Comparing two different conditioners, the elite 20 pfi and the aq pq2. On the other hand, I’ve heard that power regeneration is good, but it also can generate noise. Besides plugging into the wall, which I know works great, I still would like some protection to my amplifiers against brown out or surges. Has anyone else experienced any difference with these 2 products?


I only use Furman for my audio gear for surge protection.  I use a Furman voltage regulator upstream of the surge protection.  This gives me tight (5 VAC) voltage control along with excellent surge protection without the AC noise or expense of the regenerators.

Power regeneration is generally expensive and runs hot. Some folks like the results, others don't.

This reviewer has used both regeneration and filtration. You might find it interesting.

Puritan PSM156 vs PS Audio P20 Regenerator

Lots of sour grapes on regeneration. I have the PS Audio P10 and it has none of the problems that those selling other "conditioners" report.  When you're good enough that people have to make stuff up to defame you, then you must be doing something right.

My power into my house is 4% THD with chopped sign waves.   The output from my P10 is a perfect sine wave with 0.1% THD.

It sits there cool as a cucumber year after year.

I'm not saying there are no other "conditioners" that work but I know this one does and I know a lot of the "conditioners" on the market limit current and do more harm than good.



When it comes to power conditioning YES, it adds value to the chain AFTER you have your room acoustics dialed in. I would recommend changing the outlet first (about $100), the conditioner you plug your system into next (I use Black Lion Audio PG2, stellar results, about $400), and the actual power cables last.


Jerry is dead on the right. The best overall power conditioner you can buy is a PS audio regenerator, P10, P12, P15, or for big systems the mighty P20. I have tried all the big names and the only one that has stayed is the PS Audio ones, they do what the claim they did. One look inside shows you how your money is spent. 

Like most things audio-yes, no and maybe.

Demo is the only way to find out.

PP user here.


The best overall power conditioner you can buy is a PS audio regenerator, P10, P12, P15, or for big systems the mighty P20.

That is not accurate. If it were true those conditioners would be in use in every recording studio on the planet. 

Thx, I compared the aq pq2 which is like a conditioner power strip, with my elite20 power factor, which you know has the reserve tank in there, but if I remember correctly, the elite 20 shuts down with low voltage as well as high voltage, the aq only on high voltage.  I was considering adding the furman f1500 ups. Only other way to have ultra clean power is condition from the pole to your meter, which I’m not going there.

I have an Equi-Tech Son Of Q and it did help with hum, etc in my last residence .   My new place has surge protection at the panel and honestly I am not sure if it is OK to use with tube rectified gear .   It runs +60 VAC on the Hot lead and  -60 VAC on the Neutral lead of each AC recepticle on the rear.    Never had a problem with any gear , including my SS rectified tube amps.  

It definitely helped with transformer hum in the past on my mono amps .  Jjst not sure if it is safe for something with tube rectification so i plug it directly into the wall and unplug if there is severe weather or loss of power 

So @kota1 , we should just go to the recording studio, use what they use, and shut down all these forums as a waste of time?



Before I answer did you check out my virtual system yet? Very low on aesthetics, high on SQ. Studio's are built like tanks, practically bomb proof, they are work spaces. I agree that consumer gear is MUCH more practical. When it comes to power though what do you want? Something that's a work horse, bomb proof, and transparent enough to reveal the nuance in a master tape right? I have never auditioned the PS Audio power gear, no disrespect. But to claim its number one??
I chose to go with a pro power conditioner as the price was reasonable, it lowered the noise floor, and has so far survived two power/lightning surges. I would NEVER claim its best, better, whatevever.

The only issues with a regenerator is that Paul Magowan wrote me that it would not draw (appreciably.) It actually costs 100 watts (and heat) just to power it up. And if you compromise the input power (loose PC or a storm) while on stand by it can (and has) blown the fuse.

"Only other way to have ultra clean power is condition from the pole to your meter, which I’m not going there."

I'd be thinking the same way only IF at the very least a dedicated outlet is already in play.

I use BOTH.

the thought that there is perfect power on the poles is not just wrong, it's dead wrong.  most of the noise on the system comes from large industrial and combined residential loads and affects the entire system.  BTW, I've worked 40+ years for an electric utility.

the clipped sine waves and 4% thd I see doesn't happen after it leaves the pole.


Well, Jerry I guess among all the interference against us audiophiles, I have a dedicated line with a conditioner. So at least the voltage won’t be killing things. The other avenue I may try if I can find one to handle both my amps, is a ups. The furman seems to have 900w capacity,  so i guess as long as I’m not going full power on my amps it should handle it. The other thing is, would you plug the power conditioner into the ups? How can u run those together?

Some power products perform a function, some do not. :(

A very good surge suppressor: fast diode, spark gap, etc. does in fact help protect your equipment.  I suggest a whole house suppressor at the panel as well. Look at the response time.  Many out there just toss in a 50 cent MOV with slow response and no filtering.  I kind of like Trip-Lite products but there are many others. FWIW, I recently had my PC blow up from a proximity hit and it was plugged into a Monster strip. I can't actually blame it, but don't trust it either. 

A suppressor/RF filter may reduce noise injected through the power supply IF the supply is garbage and system grounding was not well thought out.   Any quality product should be designed to work on lines power and assume it is noisy.  Most mass produced stuff is, ironically some of the most expensive prestige stuff is the worst at this in the marketing "purity" game.  Some is really great. 

A DC blocker ( I have an Emotivia) will eliminate issues caused by DC on the line. I had issues with toroid transformer vibration on and off from dimmers and LED ballasts. 

I run a Pyle sequencer on my main stereo so the PC music server via USB brings everything up and down in a reasonable sequence. I used to have an active crossover that would cause a killer thump, so with this I could power it on first and kill it last.  Everything was fine until a power hit took it all down. The thump almost knocked me over!  Furman makes similar products. They are de-facto in the PA world.  When I ran 3 Parasound 1200's, I had to have one as the inrush from all of them at once would drop the 20A breaker on my dedicated 10ga circuit.  

Now, do these have any effect on the sound? No. None. Time after time this has been tested objectively.  You could run a square wave old school UPS into your stereo and not hear the difference. I did once.  It is a shame that some companies who do make true top notch amplifiers sell such total snake oil.   Of course, I do not discount the ego/placebo effect.  If you think it sounds better, then your enjoyment is the goal. 

Lines power is designed for  ight bulbs and motors. No other guarantee. Not distortion, noise, voltage, or frequency.  It is the responsibility of a consumer device to deal with that.  A big old IE core transformer does a superb job. So do switchers but they carry their own issues. 

Now, do these have any effect on the sound? No. None. Time after time this has been tested objectively ... It is a shame that some companies who do make true top notch amplifiers sell such total snake oil.

You can now profit from snake oil while serving your fellow audiophiles.

You Can Get Rich From ’Snake Oil’!

You’ve made the claim of snake oil here, now please take it to the next level. Take ’em to court. After all, "Time after time this has been tested objectively." You can’t possibly lose!

This youtuber uses a gizmo to test noise on the AC line and compares it to Furman and AQ Niagara. 

In my system, I recently traded out an AudioQuest PowerQuest3 for a Niagara 5000 w Tornado power cable. The sonic result was a substantial increase in realism, among other things. I expected to be disappointed with the results from the trial, thinking the cost of the Niagara couldn't warrant the price tag. I don't want to remove the Niagara from my system now. 

Interestingly, guys over on WhatsBestForm say that running two Niagara 5000 is better than one 7000. One dealer I know also runs two Niagara. 

In my TV space, I run a Furman PST-8D. Now that I have a freed up PQ3, I'll compare them to see if I can see or hear a difference. 

@oddiofyl - The rectification happens on the secondary of the transformer. Meaning it doesn’t "know" that the primary is balanced or not. It’s perfectly safe to use with tube gear.

Please keep in mind that whole-house surge protectors have high clamping voltages compared to the best point-of-use surge protection. About 600V vs. 200V. Whole-house suppressors are not intended to be the only surge protector in your home, especially for delicate electronics.  I've lost a laptop that way.

Having said that, tube gear by nature of the higher working voltages may be less susceptible to your average surge.

@erik_squires What Furman gear models do you use for voltage regulation and surge protection?

Many manufacturers ask not to stack surge protectors with their uninterruptible power supplies, but those UPS's are some of the only gear I've seen that will control voltage (or at least measure voltage). 

@classdstreamer There’s a couple of reasons for that. One is that UPS output often has a lot of harmonics which can trigger a surge protector, and most surge protectors use parallel protection which could short the UPS output. The other is the generalized fear of users putting low current extension cords downstream. The nightmare scenario which fire departments often have is a chain of unfused strips overloading. None of these issues apply to me.

You can get Furmans with both AR (automatic regulation) and surge protection (LiFT + SMP) , such as the P-1800 AR but in my case the voltage regulator ( https://amzn.to/3E5JesI ) is before the Furman Elite 15i. This wasn’t a great plan, but now I can keep my HT equipment on a different surge protector than my DAC/amplifier, and everything is voltage regulated.

Keep en eye out for open box deals, and know that Furman has made like 3 dozen models... so there’s a lot of other conditioners thave have these features (AR + Lift and SMP).

The reason I ended up with such a setup had to do with living in San Francisco and getting 130 VAC or higher regularly. The AVR has kept the voltage between 118 and 123 no matter what is playing or where I was.

Unfortunately my HT system shares an outlet with the porch and when the workers would start their circular saws the regulator kept engaging to keep the voltage at my equipment solid.

Thanks for sharing links, Erik. I haven't come across voltage regulation gear aimed at the HiFi market other than the PS Audio power plants. It makes sense to me that "AR" would be useful for HiFi, not just the pro market. 

I use a UPS for my home network, and the UPS shows that my voltage is pegged at 120V with rare deviations here in Dallas. So I'm not certain I'd benefit from AR gear.

I do like how you've daisy-chained Furman components together to reach your desired feature set. 

Having read all the reviews I can, have ordered a Puritan PSM156.

Suits all my needs.

After reading everything, I’m still a little confused. How can you safely daisy chain a ups with a power conditioner? 

After reading everything, I’m still a little confused. How can you safely daisy chain a ups with a power conditioner?

Sorry, if you are referring to my example I’m not using a UPS with a power conditioner. I’m using a voltage regulator with power conditioners. The VR uses a switched transformer, and therefore has no high frequency harmonics. The VR does not offer perfect 120 Volts, but rather a range between 118 and 123 VAC. After this I use surge protectors which use primarily series mode protection so even if they should activate they won’t short.

A UPS has a built-in battery. A VR does not and won’t supply power when the power is out or bellow a certain range, say 100VAC. A UPS will engage when the output is out of the correct range, and that output, often intended for PCs, may be quite noisy. They do make sine wave UPS’s, but the noise is still there and based on reviews they tend to be much less reliable than their noisy brethren.

All the UPS vendors I am familiar with have built in surge protection, of various levels of quality.

The one case when you might have to use both, when you need surge protected outlets, and a UPS for other outlets, you should put the surge protector first, UPS second.

The biggest fire danger is daisy-chaining cheap extension cords without fuses/breakers. That’s where your average home dweller or even office worker gets into trouble.

An outlet may provide 1800 W and those cheap extension cords, intended for lamps, may burn out after 600W. Try to daisy chain a few PC’s, printers, and a coffee machine and boom, fire.

Surge protectors want to be as close to the outlet as possible so that if they activate by shorting they dump as much current as possible through the home wiring. Any mediocre connections in between limit their effectiveness.

In addition, parallel mode surge protectors may short upstream components like other surge protectors, so having more than one surge protector in a chain is bad.

I get around all of this by:

  • Using a voltage regulator that does not produce harmonics or noise and has a breaker
  • Using Furman conditioners which have series mode (SMP) surge protection, and breakers
  • Using hospital grade plug on the wall
  • NOT using a UPS or regenerator

But like I mentioned, my gear was built up incrementally. If I had to do it again I'd have gone with the Furman with both voltage regulation AND power conditioning in one package.  

Been at this hobby for a long time trying all kinds of "improvements".  Other than protection from power surges, never thought much about power conditioning.  After all, each piece of gear powered by AC includes filtering to clean up the AC.  

Why did my system sound different in the daytime, evening, or day of the week?  It took a long time to be confident there really was a difference.  AC varied some, but surely a couple volts can't be the issue. 

Found a nice used PS Audio Power Regenerator to try.  Connected all my gear to the unit and picked a track with a piano passage harshness present every time.  Whoa - clear notes, no harsh edges.  Tried another track with some harsh edges.  Gone again, nothing but clean and clear notes.  Tried several more tracks. Same result.  Would not describe as jaw dropping difference, but no doubt harsh edges gone.  That was with solid state amp over several weeks.  During that period, time of day made no difference in the sound quality.

Switched to my tube amp. Spent a few weeks listening.  Again, no difference based on time of day.  Prior to the Power Regenerator the solid state amp and tube amp both sounded good, with not much difference.  After, the change in sound quality with the tube amp is substantial.  There is depth, body, and clarity not present previously.

As always, be your own judge of whether a different piece of gear or tweak works for you.



When the El Nino weather pattern began to really kick in a few weeks ago in my area, I began to notice a slight uptick in sound quality deterioration during the hottest parts of the day when everyone's air conditioners were going full tilt. Late at night when temps calmed down the problem abated. It was a subtle problem to begin with, but for audiophiles subtle can be not so subtle. Know what I mean?

Over the years , I owned several different brands of Power Conditioners and wanted to settle on a conditioner that I could keep for the long haul.  The AudioQuest Niagara 3000 won me over and I never looked back.

I use the transparent power isolator. It doesn’t limit power and reduces interference noise. Addresses magnetic interference. And then it’s up to me to get the power to the components and that requires very nice power cables. i use a 20 amp dedicated circuit as well, with 10 gauge electrical wire from the panel.

The isolator is built like a tank, it doesn’t have all the filter and capacitor crap other power conditioners do.

It cost about 6500 and comes with a really nice power cable. It's very aerodynamic

Seems fine to me.


Yeh, but some of that magic dust has really improved my system!

More to arrive.