Richard Gray's 400 Pro = Emperor's New Clothes??

Category: Accessories

I just purchased (for $800) a Richard Gray's Power Company 400 Pro. I was not in the market for an AC filter, but when I purchased a new system the dealer gave me a hard, hard sell, promising wonders. This is a reputable dealer, so I trusted him, and he gave me a week to try it out. After using the device for a week, and after ensuring the new system (all Rotel with a Rega TT) was broken in, I followed the manufacturer's instructions to demonstrate the effectiveness of the device (ie. plug the decide into a jack on the circuit and all other components into a power strip) then pulled the plug on the 400. Nothing. Despite trying a variety of source material, I could not hear ANY difference with the 400 in or out. I do not have a tin ear and have been able to discern differences with various interconnects, etc., but this device registered no change whatsoever. I'm returning it to the dealer today. Anyone else have a similar experience? Views?
My buddy also has one and we could not hear any difference in his two systems either. Maybe we are all hard of hearing.

Happy Listening.
I used to run a RGPC 400 mkII on several of my components. I now have them...gasp...plugged straight into the wall sockets. They are on a 20A dedicated circuit though. Sounds great, perhaps even better than before.

I compared the 400 to a Shunyata Hydra 2. The sound with the Hydra 2 in place was MUCH more favorable. AC line conditioners/filters are very system (actually household wireing is more accurate) dependent.

Thats my $0.02.
I used to own RGPC 400 MkII and it resulted in a better focus but slightly leaner sound. It did great things to video/tv but I sold it having hard time to justify its sonic.

Later I got the original RGPC400 and it had zero effect/benefit like it wasn't there at all.

I agree, Shunyata might be better.
I agree with Dlwask. It all depends on the quality of power coming into your house and the quality of internal circuits. I could not hear any difference when I tried the 400 Pro in my system, but I have dedicated lines and plug staight into the wall. Others do find a difference and I don't doubt them or their ears. But I suspect many of these would find far less, if any, difference if they had dedicated lines. It is definitely the first place to start with power issues, and actually usually costs about half what a RG 400 Pro does.
Newman -- By "dedicated line," do you mean a single circuit? My system is on a single circuit with a 15A breaker shared by no other outlets in the house. Perhaps that's why my AC seems clean.
Yes - that is what I mean. And the fact that you have one is likely why you are not getting much out of the RG 400 - you have already done something sonically much more important. Now, I will say I did not hear a worsening with the RG 400 Pro plugged into my circuit, and if you don't either it may still be a good idea to have one for surge protection. Right now I am running naked. Sonically arguably the best idea, but it makes you sweat when you’re at work and you see lightening and then realize your system at home is still plugged in.
Going from memory...the MKII added the little green light and the Pro uses a fixed power cord with alternate mounting options. Or something like that.
I got rid of my R.G.400 after I tried the PS Audio P500. I have a dedicated 20 amp line and live in a more rural area that does not have peak hour current problems. Even given this, there is no comparison in the improvement to the sound I'm now experiencing w/ the P500 vs. the R.G. 400. Even my wife (who does not like my audio hobby much) appreciates the difference.
I have dedicated lines and find that my RGPC's still make a big improvement to my system. That said, I have a friend that cannot hear any difference with his RGPC's, however he lives on the outskirts of the city and I live right in the middle of it. I'm convinced that they work, but I am also convinced that their effectiveness depends on the condition of the power being fed to your house.
I find that higher the resolution of your system gets, more you will find power conditioner useful.

I am using 400MK II. I am very happy with it. I have 2 dedicated lines. 1 for analog and 1 for digital. I find 400MK II is more suitable for analog equipment. Not suitable for digital. I have PS Audio Ultimate HC for DAC and Chang lightspeed 6400 for transport. When I first put the 400MKII into my system. I plug it into the wall and didn't plug anything in it, just the bass amp(I use bi-amp) on the same receptacle. The bass is more powerful and better control, even the sound is much smoother. Then I plug preamp and high-mid amp into it and get good results.

Even I have 2 dedicated lines and these 3 conditioners in place. Also 2 Quantum Symphony Pro, 1 Symphony and 6 Audio Prism Quietline on TV and computer circuit. When the laundry dryer is on or Brother Laser printer is on. My system sound quality degrade by at least 10% and have some annoying high frequency ring to my ears. I will try Exact power in the future. Hope it helps.
I think you will know what power conditioner is powerful in the HIFI system
Please upgrade your present system
Not nice, There is nothing wrong with a solid system that you can afford and that is still a big step up from mass market gear, which I think well describes Rotel (very good headphone outs, by the way). And Rega makes great turntables at their various price points. Enjoy your system, Robreuland.

I took your advice and upgraded my system and agree with you, power conditioners like RG 400 Pro are very audible.

Definitely made my system worse. (Not a joke).
Albert, when you feel up to it, try a Furman IT Reference 20 (or 15). I heartily agree with your general skepticism about power conditioners, but the Furman actually works and makes a very notable difference (for the better) in my system. I know you’ve heard this sort of claim many times before, but lo and behold, someone finally delivered.
FWIW, I have the RIchard Gray stuff hooked up in my video system, which is totally separate from the hi-fi system.
The hi-fi uses 20amp dedicated lines and shunyata hydra/anaconda, etc. One noise I simply could not eliminate was a electrical snapping sound whenever the air compressor for my airline arm kicked on- the compressor is located in a separate room (more like a large closet) with separate power lines. But, even after adding an expensive relay supplied by Kuzma for the compressor, the zapping noise would still appear. Almost sounded like the stylus being pulled across the record.
The solution was to plug the air compressor power cord into the Richard Gray step-down transformer, which is a big ol thing, takes 220volts from the wall and brings it down to 120v. This may have nothing to do with the quality of Gray's 'proprietary' conditioning technology, and everything to do with the use of an what I guess is simply a big isolation transformer. But, damn thing works. It is also used to power the projector and a host of tube amps, processors, etc. for the video system.
I went from a mid-fi higher powered system with 90dB speakers to a low-powered SET system with 97dB speakers. I first noticed a fairly loud 60Hz hum when I simply connected the higher-eff speakers to the older setup. It was even more noticeable when I added in my 6 wpc Art Audio PX-25 amp. The hum from my new speakers was audible from listening position 14-17 feet away.

I tried several obvious things to get rid of it - I cleaned up the contact and re-grounded the breaker panel to it's connection with my copper water pipes. I replaced all the outlets in my house and grounded those to the romex line, etc. etc. Nothing worked.

A dealer loaned me his RG Pole Pig and RGPC 400. Cleaned everything right up. Musical background was dead silent. Individuals notes stood out with greater clarity - yada, yada. Pretty amazing and no noticeable loss of dynamics.

Ultimately, though, I couldn't justify the cost of the RG equipment. I bought several surplus industrial 2.4KVA Topaz Ultra-Isolator isolation transformers and wired them in balanced configuration yielding 120dB common mode noise rejection. Worked out just as well as the RG products at a fraction of the cost. I plan on adding some filter units to the mix for even better AC.
The tale of the Emperor's new clothes describes people who pretend to see (in this case hear) stuff that's really not there.

Well I just got a RGPC Pro yesterday and I can tell there is a difference as far as the soundstage, resolution go. I recently added a PS Audio Harvester and this was blinking continously but after the addition of the RGPC not a peep from the device.

As every system is different if the device works great if not don't blame the RGPC chances are its your system thats not up to mark.
As every system is different if the device works great if not don't blame the RGPC chances are its your system that’s not up to mark.

Or, some systems do not have electrical problems where the "band aid" of power conditioning is an improvement.

It would take two pages for me to list all that I did to get my electrical right. Lets just say that the stereo alone has 14 dedicated runs with preferential grounding and a 750 amp (Commercial property) Trans Socket meter from the local power company.

Seem ridiculous? Well, my electrical cost about $3800.00 to get it right, about the price of two aftermarket ultra high quality AC cords.

Lots of ways to get the power supply right, I believe it's best at the source.

I have no use for conditioners which compress dynamics, slur high frequencies and alter the phase of the music. If you have problems of operating off a terrible local electrical grid, live in an apartment or high rise where everyone in the building is beating on your stereo, then yes, maybe conditioning is preferable to having none.
Your power solution is obviously vastly superior to mine, and I feel pretty foolish having recommended a Furman Reference to you. It represents a big improvement over the 2 (not 14) naked dedicated lines in my system, with my electricity, but I should have known better than to think our overall audio environments or level of experience have anything remotely in common. : )
Newmanoc, my comment was not aimed at your suggestion of the Furman, that comment by you was a general opinion and I welcome those. I would indeed try the Furman if I had the opportunity.

What caused me to respond was the statement "don't blame the RGPC-it's your system that’s not up to mark."

I wanted it clear that some of us have worked very hard on our systems and power supplies and (so far) power conditioners have proven worse rather than better. I print this comment fairly often at Audiogon because I think most of the high end systems here would benefit greatly from a super dedicated electrical system like I've done.

The price is certainly right, I did mine for about $3800.00 and many members have more than that already invested in conditioning that may not be needed if everything else was right.
AlbertPorter have you tried an RGPC? Does it indeed compress dynamics, slur high frequencies and alter the phase of the music as you suggest? A look at all the companies that use the RGPC technology as well as their list of customers would suggest otherwise.

My statement "don't blame the RGPC-it's your system that’s not up to mark." was only to say the the RGPC would only make a good system better and not to expect miracles from a $800 band-aid as you put it.
I know Richard Gray personally, he's been in my home several times and even repaired one of my amps. I flew him in from New Orleans and picked him up at the airport.

I know what his conditioners sound like and they are not beneficial in my situation.

My electrical has been redone all they way from the (dedicated) transformer in my alley to dedicated lines to EVERY piece of equipment. By that, I mean the four power supplies of my Aesthetix Io and Callisto have four breakers (one for EACH power cord-20 amp rated with preferential ground).

This follows every piece in the system, 14 dedicated circuits and 2 each 240 volt circuits for testing European equipment.

have you tried an RGPC? Does it indeed compress dynamics, slur high frequencies and alter the phase of the music as you suggest?

I guess I should ask: Have you maximized your electrical to the potential limit and then compared that against power conditioning? If not, you have a one sided reference and your certainty of the outcome is supported only by the fact that it IS BETTER than where you were.
I want to and will at some point get a proper dedicated line for my system, even plan to use DH Labs cables. However its very unlikely I will spend anywhere near as much as you have, which is to me more than the cost of my Bryston 4B.

The point is everyone can't or won't be able to do what you have done to the level you have done. So you may be able to say I don't need an RGPC but most of us would have to do with $800 band-aid.

I think Albert qualified his statement fairly well by ending his post with this:

"If you have problems of operating off a terrible local electrical grid, live in an apartment or high rise where everyone in the building is beating on your stereo, then yes, maybe conditioning is preferable to having none."

But, he is right, for less than the price of a $700 RGPC Power 400 and $1,500 Pole Pig, most homeowners can add at least 2 dedicated lines and breakers. Make that a $2k RGPC 1200S+ Pole Pig and dedicated lines in a home become a much more affordable option with better results, too. Obviously this may not be an option for those in rental units, condominiums, or in situations like my house where it will take major work to run new lines to my living room.

Regardless, I did find the RGPC units did a great job of quieting my noisy AC system. Of course, my surplus isolation transformers work just as well at <20% of the cost.

Regardless, I did find the RGPC units did a great job of quieting my noisy AC system. Of course, my surplus isolation transformers work just as well at <20% of the cost.

Well said.

I don't hate power conditioning, I just want to make everyone aware that a good solid electrical grid is vital to maximum performance and that should come BEFORE investing in add on equipment.

I suppose it's possible to invest in the total reconstruction of your electrical and still need conditioning, but for me and several in my audio group, that is not the case.

The quality of your electrical power sets the stage for every piece in they system. Improve power supply at the source by even a little and reap the rewards at every gain stage.
Another way to look at it is that your Rega and Rotel gear is already handling power supply issues/variations as par for the course (as any highly respectable electronics really should)

Perhaps your results simply reflect the high quality of your orginal components?
Albert Porter's comments have piqued my interest on this complicated question, and I'd like to ask about how to help me figure out what to do about my power situation.

I live in a quasi-rural area with a far lower population density than most suburban communities. Our road has about 18 houses spread over a little over a mile. My house is the end of the line, with approximately 800' run of underground electrical cables. A vented underground transformer serves my house alone, since the nearest house to mine on the same lines is approximately 1000' away and closer to the line run on the road.

Still, I have brown outs at times, and I think I have detected power surges as well. The music room has 2 outlets on the same circuit and a ceiling fan. When listening, I have on one or two incandescent lamps. Tube power, tube pre, tube CD, turntable with vac holdown, transistor step-up and electrostatic speakers are on the 20 amp circuit. The power amp is plugged into the same outlet as the power conditioner that has the rest of the components plugged into it. The overall quality of the sound improved when the power amp was plugged directly into an outlet rather than going through the power conditioner. The conditioner sound is better than with a power strip.

Running dedicated lines to the music room seems quite difficult with the construction of the house since there is no basement and the wiring is in the walls.

My 200 amp service box definitely needs replacing. If dedicated outlet rewiring is not in the cards, what recommendations might be made here?

I don't know where you live or what standard the PUC holds over your electrical supplier so my answer may not apply to your situation. I'll describe my situation and the experience I gained from going through the chain and hopefully that will help.

Where I live (in Texas) if power is NOT up to specification or you have potential demand that exceeds what can be supplied, the power provider must upgrade your service to match your needs.

I had a commercial electrical contractor that worked with me and he knew people at the local power company. We requested an upgrade when I was running my 14 dedicated lines for stereo and the provider complied with new transformer, new heavy drop, new Trans Socket meter and all labor (for free).

I paid the electrician about $3800.00 to rewire and the contractor and electrical provider worked out the details. Even if the provider will not do a new meter base for free, it would be worth paying for an upgrade.

That's all I can tell you, unknown what the rules are where you live but it's sure worth fighting for to get the power right. Otherwise everything else you do is after the fact and in my opinion, impossible to make 100% right when you're starting out wrong.

My comments probably sound over the top, but understand that most peoples idea about good power is the lights light up when the switch is turned on. The electrical supplier is not going to upgrade unless they have to. It's your job and your contractors job to convince them you need better. I got that accomplished but then again, I could have been in another state or another time of year and gotten nowhere with these guys.

I will say though, another guy in my audio group who lives in another part of Dallas completely rewired his stereo room about a year ago and he went even further than I did. Larger meter, more runs and even a solid copper drop from his own transformer.

Again, he used a commercial electrical contractor that's accustomed to doing office buildings and businesses and our home systems seem simple to them. All a matter of perspective and experience.

Thanks for the info. I will be investigating what is required of the power company. I assume that I will need some sort of power audit (from the contractor?)to document the brown outs and surges.
Definitely get help from a big commercial electrical contractor, sit down with the lead man or manager and let them know up front, exactly what your goals are.

If the contractor argues, says you don't need it or does not care, then shop until you find an ally. Your contractor has to believe it's important to get better service for you and then work with the service provider to get your service upgraded.

It was contractor number three here in Dallas that hit the home run. McBride Electric, the same contractor that does Texas Instruments and Raytheon as well as countless commercial properties.

There must be a company like that near you. Do your homework via phone first and don't be afraid to tell them what you want in your electrical system.

To win them over, I got extra support by dragging in the fact that my photography lighting and multiple computers are reliant on great power and no down time.

Sad tales of losing business and clients due to bad electrical immediately got their attention even though they are not responsible to deliver perfect power, if they perceive you have a real need they push it through.
This is an interesting thread to me...Since buying one of Alberts' outlets, and installing a dedicated 20a for my amp it has caused me to question all my efforts for conditioning etc. I personally own an RGPC and at this point I consider it nothing more than a boat anchor. I would second AP's overall point here, which is the real results can be achieved at the source much more effectively than through some metal box. Up to this point in my audio career I hadn't dedicated a cicuit, and since doing so, I am very happy with how quiet it is. Before, shared ground, lots of dirty noise, ground loops etc.

I personally am at a crossroads, and I am going to attack the problem of power once I get my new speakers. I will most likely sell my RGPC 600, shortly after I A/B the system, with it, and without it. I fairly certain I will hear no difference, since there is no shared ground on this circuit anymore. I may look for more ways to improve at the source rather than buy another PC. Any suggestions appreciated.
I called my electric company and asked about ways to improve it at the source and they had no idea what I was asking.
If you re-read my post of 2-21-07 you'll see my suggestion was to get help from a big electrical contractor.

If you can find the right contractor, a company that works with high end commercial properties, government buildings, computer rooms and such, they can help you. Getting them on your side is a bit of work, but I managed to do this on three occasions now in my area.

There's no telling who you reached when you called your electrical provider, likely some person who's accustomed to dealing with irate calls about billing errors and complaints about power going out.

Big electrical contractors deal with your electric service providers linemen and supervisors, the guys in the field that go on site when big service drops are being installed on commercial sites.

A friend of mine here in Dallas just had his own utility pole and transformer installed that services his system. Granted that was not a freebee, he had to pay since it was such a specific request.

So, It is possible to get this kind of work done, at least in this market. I don't know about other areas but I thought it would have been impossible here until we managed to get it done.
I've read several posts where your equipment is plugged directly into the wall and with no mention of any surge protection.
What about the surge protection benefits the 400 pro can offer? If not for the power conditioner, wouldn't this be a good surge protector?
I've owned a 1200C for years and I definitely can tell a difference in my audio. I know others that will say the same that own his products. With that being said, the 400 Pro is basically JUST a surge protector, not really a power conditioner, from what I can understand from his website. Maybe this is the situation with some who are expecting more. I own a Rolex but for the life of me I cant get it to tell me the temperature.