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DoggyDaddy's picture
Last seen: 1 year 9 months ago
Joined: Mar 24 2013 - 9:06am
Power conditioning / surge protection (on the cheap)

I have some decent Rega stuff.  It's currently plugged into one of those surge protectors you get for 20 bucks at Staples.  The odds are against it (and I'm insured), but I want to be sure a surge doesn't wipe out my gear.  And also, if I can get a better sound by "conditioning" the power, then great.  Although I have no way of knowing if there's anything funky about the power I'm getting from the wall.  One hears a lot of claims, and I could easily spend $200+ if I wanted to.  So I'm asking for general advice along these lines - thanks in advance.

commsysman's picture
Last seen: 7 hours 43 min ago
Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am

I have used the APC Backup 1500 units for all of my gear for quite a few years now.

One of my houses is where there are frequent lightning storms in the summer, and nasty surges and frequent outages.

I have one for my computer, one on my stereo system, and one for my video system. They will give me from 10 to 25 minutes of power backup to keep things running for a while. Usually, the power is back up in a couple of minutes anyway, so my gear operates off of the backup battery with no interruption.

They run about $200 or so, but they will prevent power loss and equipment damage when a CD or record or TV is playing and give you time to shut things down in an orderly fashion.

I am sure that they have saved my gear from damage many times over the years, and easily paid for themselves.Power "conditioners" are pure bullshit, and usually cost over $500.

They have 3 or 4 outlets for full power backup, and more for surge protection only (VERY high-quality protection). I plug a couple of power strips into the backup outlets and have about 10 things backed up; There are seldom more than 4 or 5 actually on at a given time, and nothing takes a lot of power.

I plug everything into them except my big power amp, which draws too much current and should not be real sensitive anyway.

If you want cheap, you won't get any meaningful degree of protection. There's an old saying: "penny-wise...dollar foolish". You figure it out,

Cheap surge protector...expensive repair bills.

DoggyDaddy's picture
Last seen: 1 year 9 months ago
Joined: Mar 24 2013 - 9:06am
Got it

Sounds like good advice, thanks.

Just curious re your opinion on power conditioners as BS.  For example, why not a sine-wave UPS, wouldn't that be purer, "better" power?  But hey, I'm no engineer...

Glotz's picture
Last seen: 1 week 3 days ago
Joined: Nov 20 2008 - 9:30am
Read some reviews... and audition.

The only way for YOU to figure out what is bullshit or not. 

His 'opinion' on power conditioners is completely, totally wrong.  Audition and hear for yourself. 

Don't want to?  Get a Monster Cable surge protector for cheap and be done with it. 

I found one on clearance from $400 to $200 that does the job with surge, and no, it doesn't do much in the way of conditioning.  I don't expect Monster to do that. 

Audience, Shunyata, PS Audio and many others DO make conditioners that make a HUGE difference, no question, to my ears, and many thousands of others. They are very expensive, and require better equipment in the first place to hear substantial differences.  I am saving for a respectable unit this year. 

Don't bother with conditioning Power Amps on a tight budget. Current-limiting is the culprit 9 times out of 10. 

Again, listening to a few reputable makers at a real audio dealer is the best way to find out.  Just don't expect to find a great deal under retail.  There is a price for expertise. 


DoggyDaddy's picture
Last seen: 1 year 9 months ago
Joined: Mar 24 2013 - 9:06am
"Current-limiting is the culprit 9 times out of 10"?

What do you mean by your statement re current-limiting?

BTW, I bought a Furman PST-8 ($150), and I think it definitely made a difference in sound.  Clearer overall, and "blacker blacks."  I spent a fair amoutn of time w/ a tech on the phone at Furman, and he said, basically, that's about the cheapest unit they have that has actual power conditioning.  The theory behind PC makes sense: after all, the whole thing is electric signals until the those signals are translated into mechanical action on the speaker end.

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