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?

Mullard EL34's picture

The local AC-power waveform delivered to residential customers is heavily distorted, particularly in terms of truncated peaks. The heavy clipping of the AC-power waveform results in fairly high levels of harmonic distortion of the AC sinewave. I use a PS Audio Power Plant (AC-power regeneration device) to power my source components and preamplifier; my power-amplifiers have to fend for themselves...

L.  Britja, La Jolla, CA's picture

Are you sure it's not your system, Gus? I realize that we live in an age where many people throw their money away on power conditioners that can cost upwards of $20k. It's always a good idea to carefully check one's components first. You would be quite surprised at the deficits which surface in the amp and preamp sections of many audio systems.

Dr.S.'s picture

I have no idea how's the power, but when I inserted the IsoTek Orion I got a solid increase of dynamics. Still there...

John Valvano's picture

I use a power regenerator with a very noticeable difference. I'm the last house on the line and the input voltage to my unit typically runs 125-6 volts. The regenerator, I feel, allows my equipment to operate at their optimum potential.

Laura in Spokane's picture

I live in an older part of Spokane—1900-1920 vintage homes. The power is a little dirty/noisy and fluctuates between 120V & 125V with some spikes. I solved my power problems by installing PS Audio Noise Harvesters in my listening room and purchasing a PS Audio Power Plant Premier. THD went from 4.2-4.7% to .2%; voltage went from fluctuating between 120V & 125V to a clean, noise-free 120V all the time. The PPP regenerates more than enough power to power my entire system. More importantly, I heard the difference. The background is blacker, cleaner with more clarity and detail in the music. The music seemed to come alive in new ways. The spike and surge protection the PPP provides are a bonus.

Postal Grunt's picture

I live in what can be charitably labeled "an RFI enriched neighborhood." I had no idea how bad it was until I installed eight parallel line filters in the outlets of my small (1184 sq ft) house. That cleared up a lot of noise on the AC power lines and started an equipment and cable upgrade binge that hasn't quite stopped after four years.

August T.'s picture

Living in an apartment building creates serious problems for AC power, as all apartments with their noisy electrical equipment are on the same AC line. For my audio system, I installed a PS Audio (PSA)AC outlet connecting to a PSA Ultimate Outlet (UO) via a selfmade AC power cord,the UO connected to a Power Plant Premier via a PSA xStream Plus powercord. The audio equipment gets its power from the PPP via PSA Plus power cords. The system sounds good to excellent. This is still variable as the AC power still varies of quality. Hey, I almost forgot the three Noise Harvesters in three different outlets.

GregAbarr's picture

I still use conditioners but can tell no difference.

tad's picture

Voltage goes up, and then it's down. It's dirty and brown!

Harland Yu's picture

There's a low-level hum if I plug my components directly into the wall as well as infrequent pops when the A/C or refrigerator kicks on. Got myself a Furman PL-8 Series II conditioner which took care of both problems and never looked back...

Will's picture

Significant under-voltage until power company made some improvements in my area.

Steve's picture

It's always an issue and has been the catalyst for moving to battery power.

mook's picture

Only real issue is clicks and pops from appliance and (especially fluorescent) light switching within the house, and occasional off-hours (usually early AM) voltage transients. California. Clicks and pops really bother only one older amp, not all of them (three systems counting the computer). Bigger problem is with static discharge due to carpet and low humidity.

Mike Colvin's picture

The focus of the system would "snap" into place suddenly around 8pm. Picked up a Richard Gray unit and no problems at all.

mike eschman's picture

I put in a dedicated circuit and bought a Richard Gray Power Company filter—problem solved.

Jacob's picture

Due to budget constraints, I must deal with my crappy power source. I hate my house. Need money to rewire!

Iqbal Mustafa's picture

All power sources are bad for high-end A/V equipment mostly because of noise generated by digital components themselves. Good sound and picture is not possible without power conditioning and good cables

Dimitris Gogas's picture

A UPS (mostly for stabilization purposes) is enough for me.

Cary's picture

I recently decided to do a low-tech test and found an almost perfect 118V delivered to my system. Although the thought of an even more "perfect" current from a power supply is tantalizing, I just can't rationally see any reason to jump in.

Robert C's picture

... or seems to be. How would one know they are having system performance degradation from AC power problems? Duh? If I need to ask, I have no problems. Duh? I do have AC filters but none have a voltage meter to watch. D'oh! What other problems exist, noise in the AC passed through to contaminate the music, I don't hear anything like that. I do have solid-state components and CD/SACD sources, that may not be high-rez enough to add, uhm, reveal, hum and hiss from the power line. D'oh! I do know there are several nuclear power plants on the local grid, is the power from them not as good as say coal fired power generators, can you hear the difference? Gotta be coal for Coltrane, is that true? The worst power-related problem I have now is the silence caused when the power is out. Seriously, I'm sorry if you have power related problems, but help me out a bit, I just don't know what they are. I can imagine that low voltage is a bad problem, the local utility not providing the product they are supposed to is a terrible situation to live with. I can only imagine some of the damage to components, and then they are not liable for it, that is horrendous. I'm interested in learning more.

fred k's picture

I have resorted to using my own regenerated power most of the time. It's a very simple use of storage batteries and high quality sine wave inverters. The battery banks are kept charged with charged with inexpensive automatic battery chargers, augmented by solar and wind power. Two 600W sine wave inverters feed high capacity extention cords and that's what runs my stereo. We notised a big reduction of noise and a very refined high frequency sound. The most expensive part is the batteries and the solar pannels and wind turbine. This set-up can be installed in two days, with a little help.The bonus is when the electric company has an outage, we still have music and lights. For less than two or at the most three grand, it's a lot of fun and green too.

BILL CRANE's picture

When I installed a power regenerator about six years ago, a considerable amount of grunge disappeared and has never returned. I use it to power my low voltage gear. We also have brownouts and blackouts, so I a have a computer grade USB ahead of it. If doing it now, I would get a PurePower unit that combines both USP and regenerator.

df's picture

Day-to-day, it doesn't affect my playback—no discernable noise on the lines. But there's been the occasional power out, brown out or spike that has hit my components causing anything from a slight pop/hiccup to actual power down/reboot and settings lost. Yikes! Really need to get a better surge-suppression system. Maybe a good UPS.

OvenMaster's picture

Except for a three-hour power failure two years ago due to a wind storm, everything's been just fine.

Kjetil Haaland's picture

Way below spec,and fluctuating too. I've complained all right. But all my boxes use SMPS, so I cannot hear it!

Peter Jacobsen, Shanghai's picture

I've lived in Europe and Asia for 40 years and I've never had a problem. Americans seem to talk a lot about it, though.

Jank's picture

Audiophiles are particular with contaminated power lines as these can be heard. Many products are sold to rectify this problem. Electricity flows perhaps hundreds or thousands of miles before it gets to your home and gathers grits and grunts along the way. Many products offer solutions by cleaning up the power lines. The question is the effectiveness and the cost involved. Use our ears to judge the effectiveness of these products and settle down to enjoy music.

Chris Kenney's picture

No real issues since I installed my VansEvers power conditioner years ago. Removed noise that I didn't realize was there until it was gone.

WalkerTM's picture

Spikes and brownouts galore! Had to invest a lot in conditioning and isolated circuits.

Xanthia's picture

No problems at all. Sure, I might benefit by dealing with it, but for the money I would spend, I'm better off buying and upgrading components in a more traditional sense.