You’ve got the Power (cables)!

Discussion in 'End-User Equipment Reviews' started by Tom Lehman, Feb 21, 2019.

  1. Negatron

    Negatron Moderator
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    Do you know if there is any kind of tool (hopefully inexpensive) that can measure interference? I am thinking of something that could tell me if Wi-Fi(would also be nice to know how bad my electricity is) is Interfering with with my audio cables, and also to see how much it affects my audio.
     
  2. Grayson Dere

    Grayson Dere Moderator
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    Here's an interesting device that will actually audibly output any interference from your AC socket...
    https://www.alphalabinc.com/product/plm/
     
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  3. Negatron

    Negatron Moderator
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    Thank you, I am going to put this one on my list of items to get.
     
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  4. Tom Lehman

    Tom Lehman Member
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    Hi Greyson and Negatron,

    That’s a neat little device that I was unaware of! Are you experiencing some kind of noise on your system?

    It strictly 60hz hum or more of a “buzzing” or a “Hash” kind of noise? Steady state or fluctuating in level of sound character?

    Most noise in your system is probably not coming in through the power line though. And the noise that is, is likely filtered completely by the PS of well designed equipment. Any device (like a Field Meter) to detect RF and the predominant band of RF in your area will be expensive.

    More noise is likely entering your system through RF induction and that is not as easily detected and sometimes, not easily filtered or blocked.

    If you are hearing noise other than 60hz hum let me know and I can send along some tips on getting rid of it that I learned the hard way :-)

    Cheers!

    Tom
     
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  5. Grayson Dere

    Grayson Dere Moderator
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    "And the noise that is, is likely filtered completely by the PS of well designed equipment."

    I visited a high end dealer some years ago that sold VERY expensive audio equipment. He demonstrated to me a similar noise generating device and told me if I didn't buy an expensive power plant from PS Audio then that noise from the AC will end up clouding my audio system. I didn't really know how to comment back to him since I'm not an engineer and his reasoning did make sense somewhat. Does most noise from the power line really get filtered through the PS in a well designed amp/pre-amp so it doesn't affect the audio quality much if at all? Thanks!
     
  6. Tony V.

    Tony V. Moderator
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    Turn on your system and Listen, do you hear anything? That won't change anything once you play music or whatever.
     
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  7. Negatron

    Negatron Moderator
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    Hi Tom, I just brought that up since I do not know what the AC quality is in Mexico. My last Home Theater was a fully treated room, and I was able to pick up sounds in Movies, and cds that was not heard before on other systems. I did have a Monster htps5000 that everything was plugged into, plus a dedicated line. Now I only have Furman power strips, UPS boxes, and we also have a Siemans whole house surge protector, with a pair of voltage regulators, and solar panels with no batteries. I do not know what affect the surge protector, and voltage regulators have (if any on the clear liners of power coming into our house).

    Where I live now I have a lot of acoustic treating to do. Plus get my new speakers built before I will know if I have AC noise. I def want to check before I buy a nice power filter...as good ones are not cheap.
     
  8. Tom Lehman

    Tom Lehman Member
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    Hi Grayson,

    I think the short answer to your question is yes, a properly designed power supply will filter noise from the incoming AC.

    The idea behind power conditioners is somewhat different than the PS Audio Power Regenerator. Power conditioners isolate, filter and regulate to some degree but big voltage swings can not be compensated for normally. They are also supposed to provide protection from voltage surges like lightning strikes. But a power conditioner only passes the same AC given to it albeit through a transformer (sometimes) and filtered with circuitry designed to pass anything above 60 hz to ground. Effectiveness always depends on design implementation of course!

    The PS Audio Power Regenerator literally changes the incoming AC to DC (nothing quieter than DC after All) and then converts it back to, according to the claims, a pure AC sine wave.

    https://www.psaudio.com/perfectwave-p5-power-plant/

    My only issue with this scheme is the cost and the possibility of current regulation restricting the potential of the amps.

    If your dealer were confident enough to arrange a demo featuring the same amp with the PS Audio device and without to demonstrate the difference I would be much more willing to buy into his claim. Or loan you the unit for a trial perhaps.....?

    It is my strong opinion that while power conditioning and certainly power surge protection may have a value... The power supplies in modern well designed equipment is well up to the task.

    Where we run into noise issues in this world of ours is the RF saturated environment we live in and the ground loops we inject into our own systems.

    If as Tony said you can’t hear any noise when you turn on your system to a unused (no signal) input then a power conditioner is unlikely to improve anything. If noise is clearly audible during moments of silence then it is time track down the noise maker.

    If you have “inky black” backgrounds already or hear no noise unless you ear is buried in your speaker no power conditioner or power regenerator or $10,000 power cord is going to improve your sound or “lift any veils”!

    That’s my two cents worth.

    Tom
     
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  9. Tom Lehman

    Tom Lehman Member
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    Hi Negatron! I am unfamiliar with the power grid in Mexico. I once had the chance to visit San Miguel de Allende... lovely place!

    I think your current setup provides sufficient protection against surges. It sounds like your electrical contractor went above and beyond on the surge protection regulation to compensate for known issues in your area.

    One question.... how do the solar panels work without batteries? Normally since solar panels only output low voltage DC they are used to charge a battery bank that feeds an inverter that feeds back into the AC grid (probably the need for regulators). Normally that is... I’m not an expert on solar... just curious! ;-)

    In your case I would just listen for noise issues when your set-up is complete and adjust from there. Depending on what you hear, or don’t hear, go forward from there.

    Read the response I just sent Grayson as well on power conditioners vs. power regenerators as well somewhere above.

    Cheers!

    Tom
     
  10. Grayson Dere

    Grayson Dere Moderator
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    Thanks for the explanation, Tom! When I put my ears up to my speakers and turn up the volume with nothing playing I can't hear anything...I'll just assume now that an expensive regenerator/ conditioner won't give me any benefits : )
     
  11. Tom Lehman

    Tom Lehman Member
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    Hi Grayson,
    Yes, I would agree with that! The only thing I would recommend is some kind of good surge protection and I think you ‘got it made’!
     
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  12. Negatron

    Negatron Moderator
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    We had our solar contractor install the voltage regulators, and surge protector. As far as the solar...what we are not using goes to the electrical company, and then it is credited to our electrical bill. I wanted to go battery, but it is just too expensive. We were able to get our whole solar setup I stalled including solar hot water for about $7k.
     
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  13. Tom Lehman

    Tom Lehman Member
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    Sounds like something I need to look into. I’ve always held off on solar because of the battery bank I thought I would have to install. I did a quick Google and find that the technology has indeed passed me by ;-/

    Thanks for your insight and experiences into something I’m going to have to educate myself on!

    Tom
     
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  14. Negatron

    Negatron Moderator
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    Def check and see if your local utility will credit you for excess energy generated.
     
  15. billrobbo

    billrobbo Moderator
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    Great write up. I can't imagine the amount of time you must have spent doing all this!
     
  16. Tom Lehman

    Tom Lehman Member
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    Thanks Bill!
    I’ve been told my idea of fun is a bit off :-) It was definitely interesting and enlightening!

    Since I am “retired” I have blocks of time that I can devote to my perversions without interfering too much with my real life, in other words what my wife wants me to do :greengrin:.

    Tom
     
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  17. billrobbo

    billrobbo Moderator
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    Ah yes, I am a couple of years away from retirement myself. Everyone says "you won't know what to do with yourself"...
    There are not enough hours in the day between trying to grow decent veggies, photography, cheese making and, of course, audio diversions. :)
     
  18. Tom Lehman

    Tom Lehman Member
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    Bill,

    Sounds like you will be plenty busy! All fun things.... what sort of photography? Film or Digital? Do you specialize in something like animals or landscapes?

    Have Fun!

    T
     
  19. billrobbo

    billrobbo Moderator
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    I purchased an Olympus OM2n in 1984 and still use it occasionally. My current camera is an Olympus E30 with various lenses and I like the convenience of seeing immediately if you have captured what you were after. I guess I do a fair amount of landscapes but I also like macro photography, insects, plants, whatever catches my eye and of course, pets.
     
  20. Tom Lehman

    Tom Lehman Member
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    The Olympus OM2 is a fine camera! I had 2 of them back in the same time period when I was really into film.

    I have since migrated to digital video and will stay there.

    Have fun, youve got some great hobbies!

    T
     

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