Reader Gus Kund wants to know if the power where you live is so bad that you've had to deal with it?

Reader Gus Kund wants to know if the power where you live is so bad that you've had to deal with it?
Power's fine
46% (57 votes)
I've had some issues
33% (41 votes)
Sucks where I live
20% (25 votes)
Total votes: 123

After noticing his own system performance dropping over time from AC power-related problems, reader Gus Kund wants to know if the power where you live is so bad that you've had to deal with it?

Dickie W.'s picture

No problems. What more can I say?

R.  S.  Morgan's picture

The magic market forces of deregulation have resulted in lay-offs, stock falls, no dividends, and high prices for consumers in general. So by taking the workers out of the field where they monitored to keep quality up, they just call in crews when a total failure happens. The result is low voltage and spikes or surges, depending on your area. That's the market informing us about the game. Maybe we will beat the Global Warming thing by a total failure! Naturally the managers of this will depart with pots of something they did not earn by providing a service or take any risks for. Lay-offs for some and ruined equipment for the rest of us.

Dismord's picture

Power's fine out where we live. Being the only house supplied by a transformer that steps down to 240V (eat your heart out US residents) from the 22,000V line passing our county property, there isn't much chance of picking up noise, RFI, etc. We do however have surge protection at the point where power enters the house.

G.  K.'s picture

I could not take it any more. Some days my stereo would sound great, other days it would sound like something was broken. The bass was weak and the highs became harsh. I remember one evening listening to tunes from another room when slowly, as 8pm approached, the sound got thinner and more distorted. The difference between 6 and 8 was like going from my all tube system to a bad mid- fi sound. Everything was a challenge to my psyche …do I really want to listen to music now? How good or bad will it sound today? Am I not into this hobby anymore? It really messed with my head. I tried various power conditioners, and although they helped somewhat, the roller coaster of good and bad sound days (though not as much) was still there. The only thing that helped was a PS Audio Power Plant Premier. Now my system sounds better then it ever did, and I no longer have good and bad days. The big difference was a stronger deeper bass, a more open midrange more detail on top. Also, the harmonies are in tune now and it's much much easier to hear into complex orchestrations, lines riding on top of each other, etc. The sad thing is that I had to resort to this. That my own power company’s power sucks big time, I pay for this power and its of such crappy quality.

craig's picture

Other than a relatively simple surge protector between my equipment and the wall outlet, I am not aware of any "problems" with the quality of A/C coming into my home and don't feel a need to use more protection. A question to Gus: Does he own any shares in companies selling surge protection or electrical power smoothing gear?

FD's picture

What, are you kidding me? I live in Louisiana. Power outages or, more damaging, power surges, are common occurances. Circuitry takes a beating each time, either downgrading the electronics' ability to do its job or shortening the life of the circuits completely.

Scott's picture

I had one of the legs coming into my old home intermittently dropping to around 110 volts. The lights would also flicker for no apparent reason. The power company finally found the problem aobout 8 houses up the road. It turns out they were using aluminum connectors on the transformer with copper wires. Corrosion finally set in. That, combined with the fact my house was the last one on that transformer, led to the problems. My house was being affected by all the draw from all the other houses on the transformer. Our local electric company actually offered to put up a dedicated transformer just for my home!

DAB, Pacific Palisades, CA's picture

What kinds of AC power-related problems is Gus referring to? I've never had an AC problem.

Douglas Bowker's picture

It's messy living in the city, plus now everyone has wireless networks. I got a dedicated line and it took care of pretty much all my power issues, but appliances can still intrude on the ground.

Jason's picture

I live in a fraternity house, and when people in a few select rooms turn electronics on and off I get clicks and pops in my signal. There's a particularly loud one caused by the guy who lives two doors down, so I always know when he's home. Unfortunately, I have to choose between grungy power and money for food or cleaner sound and ramen for every meal.

Ivor Newsky's picture

Only ferroresonant inductive and capacitive based topology power conditioners are effective in my location's power grid.

Carter's picture

I put in a dedicated circuit, on the opposite side of the panel from all the motors, and with an isolated ground. Even without power conditioning this simple change improved the sound to a noticeable degree. It addresses, however, the problems with the power that come from my own dwelling, not the crap that comes over the lines from the power company. I am somewhat lucky to be right at our local transformer and it is brand new, for whatever that is worth.

pete's picture

Very seriously bad. Power line trash, plus it seems that living near the border exacerbates. I use a combo of four complementary items with substantial benefit from each. Experiment to find what works in your system; it needs it.

lawrie Allen's picture

I use Esopower products to make it tolerable. The waveform on a scope looks like the dog got at it.

Joe Hartmann's picture

I live in one of the two villages on Long Island which has its own power company. I am not subject the problems other Long Islander have. The biggest affect on my system is that humidity changes the sound in a very dramatic fashion.

E.  van Straaten's picture

Until I placed an Isotek GII minisub in my system I thought that my mains were fine. To my surprise this piece of equipment transformed the sound of my system from good to spectacular. My conclusion from this: even if there are no apparent symptoms of sub par power delivery in your system you will not know for sure until you test a mains conditioner or regenerator.

Jeff Egner's picture

I live in western NY near power plants and don't have a long run of increasingly poor power company wire. Clean your romex and your outlets with a good polish with the power off and you will notice big improvements.

Brankin's picture

I have not had or heard a noticeable issue to date. I've gone from shared power lines, to dedicated lines for stereo equipment to using a line conditioner & suppressor. I've "felt" better at every step, but I wouldn't bet the ranch I've heard better. But each step was fun to try!

Nodaker's picture

In my old house it was a problem but in the new place I had a couple dedicated lines run and I think I could live without my power conditioners—but I don't. Still use PS Audio P300 and Ultimate Outlet in one room with a VansEvers Model 85 in the other and a Monster 2000 in the basement (home theater system) and an old Adcom ACE 515 at work..

The Flap's picture

Noise has become a huge issue as well as the regulation of both p to p and freq. All my power equipment has been upgraded to full AVS

Cihangir Güzey's picture

It is interrupted frequently, voltage changes, etc. I use a big UPS for all home cinema stuff to keep them from troubles. However for my own listening room system, I use a Bryston B60R integrated. I asked to Bryston whether to use a UPS in the line or not (I was having a spare UPS in hand and mentioned about that). What I got as an answer was "plug it to wall socket and enjoy your music." I was a bit surprised. I don't care about electricity at all. Bryston seems not to care also. I plugged the spare UPS to saloon lampshade.

Ashim Zaman's picture

Working in a South Asian country like Bangladesh means atleast 100 days of blackouts a year. One time I went to work while leaving my Classe CD player on. There was a blackout and when the current came back, it was such a surge that it fried my voltage stabilizer, bypassed the IPS and destroyed the transformer of the player. Thank God the power amp was off for I do not know what damage it could have caused to the speakers. I do not relish the idea of carrying those 805s all the way to England in order to fix them. I must add that when I did take the CD player back to England, a person from B&W picked it up from the door, replaced the transformer for free, increased the voltage to 240V and returned it. Great service, because the warranty had just passed. I have an additional Isotek current regulator and filter now and make sure to shut the entire system off before leaving for work.

Mike Agee's picture

I clicked "I've had some issues" simply because my Equitech improved the sound, so there must have been something to improve upon. Or is it the inherent benefit of balanced power, with surge protection thrown in to help justify the cost? Very happy with it, by the way: Quieter more spacious sound, cleaner sibilants, less edgy and fatigue inducing, and fewer surge worries.

Johannes Turunen, Sweden's picture

Nothing more than some lamps fading a second when I'm powering up the monoblocks and, when playing really loud, they blink in time to the music.

Dave Williams's picture

I knew it was bad, but I did not know how bad until I started using decent power conditioners and regenerators. The improvement in sound and picture quality was amazing. When I got a front projector, I immediately put it on an UPS to prevent heat damage during the frequent power glitches. I recently upgraded all of my UPS units to the kind that keep track of the number of power incidents it handles which ends up being at least four a week. They seem to mostly occur during the day while I am at work. I also keep my cable box on an UPS because when I get home the program guide was more often than not recovering from the latest power outage. I live in the technilogical back water known as Southern Maryland, St Marys county to be specific.

TonyE's picture

Other than that my part of Orange County is considered a Third World Country for SoCal Edison and we'll lose power for hours on end a few times a year, no, no problems. Maybe I'll start writing audio reviews of portable generators.

zoykey's picture

The power blacks out for a few seconds sometimes two or three times a day Good ol' Pueblo, Colorado

jamesanubis's picture

I rent a four family conversion with old and new wiring. If the steam-iron, microwave, and stereo are on at the same time, it will throw a breaker.

Steve R's picture

The power where I live is 127V. A little high. The total harmonic distortion varies between 2.1% to as high as 3.8% depending on the day and the time. We have a lot of lighting strikes in the summer when the storms roll through in the afternoon. I wanted to protect my equipment. I bought a PS Audio Power Plant Premier. Between that and new Python power cables made a hugh difference in the sound of my system.'s picture

I guess it could be better, because when I use a power conditioner I get some improvement. Some conditioners make my system much worse, too. I need to find a system that runs on hydrogen. that sounds safe.