ANY general rules of thumb on UPS's, Conditioners, Surge Protectors, etc.

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Dillydipper, Dec 17, 2017.

  1. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark Thread Starter

    Because, the more I delve into it, the less it appears I know...and the more "experts" and know-it-alls can distract me from just gettin' it done.

    I finally finished getting ethernet cable into the house, along with a couple of dedicated 20a circuits:

    The computer room has (at least) 2 computers - this all-purpose one, and one that just streams mp3's into the ethernet. I also have a stereo hooked up the this workstation for playing TV shows and whatever I'm generating from my editing and mixing hobby. I've got a new dedicated circuit in here, and LAN cables going out...

    The front room is just a TV now, 5.1 speakers and lpw-to-mid-level receiver coming. No extra circuit here, but ethernet into the Tivo and the TV...

    The basement has the fun entertainment setup: plasma TV, Tivo, Oppo 103, 5.1 Denon and mid-level speakers; I think I want the media/music server down there, to have media stored in more than one room in the house. The other dedicated electrical circuit and ethernet are both in down there now...

    Tracking advice threads on AVS is like watching the whiz-kids out-do one another on what the thread-starter should do. You know, "surge protector is fine"/"yeah, but I'd add a power conditioner to the Lava Lamp"/"make it simple, I have a $4000 coffee grinder that also does surge protection...but only if your house is solar..."/"are you sure you can't have the contractor come back, rip out the walls and line the conduits with spinach leaves first...?"

    Using just the room descriptions in paragraphs 3, 4 & 5, where would you suggest hooking up what, before plugging in stuff?
  2. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Syracuse NY
    I think there's a lot of voodoo around audiophile approved power conditioners. Other then solving ground loop hum issues I haven't heard any kind of power conditioners, that do not have isolation transformers, make an improvement in the sound of a stereo system.

    I have heard some cheap surge protectors make the sound worse when power amps we're plugged into them.

    The Torus units are pretty great and I believe the Bryston units are made by Torus. I've heard a nice improvement when it comes to background noise with them but they start close to a grand for a small unit.

    I use a Brickwall surge protector. Allows me to to plug everything into a central unit and turn it all on and off with one switch. Really nice for my vintage Fisher receiver. It also provides piece of mind and it doesn't deteriorate the sound vs plugging into the wall. Mine cost 220.00.
  3. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark Thread Starter

    I see a reference to "MOV"'s here and there; not familiar with the term.
  4. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Resident

    Buffalo, NY
    That's the bit that slowly deteriorates and begins to make a mess of things. There are some units, not audiophile, that don't use this technology. I'd look there.
  5. krlpuretone

    krlpuretone Forum Resident

    Grantham, NH
    I use an APS unit with a battery backup on my computers.

    I use a more standard decent quality (but not digital) surge protector on the stereo equipment.

    Had a battery unit on the stereo, as we are in an area prone to power flicks/outages, but after A/B'ing found it really hashed up the sound quite audibly.

    Do you need a $5K protector/transformer/cleaner?

    Not sure but it never hurts to measure and get a baseline reading...houses I've done installs at wildly vary in terms of what is actually coming out of the sockets, some low and others quite high (almost 126V in one place!)
  6. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Forum Resident

    Mid Atlantic
    In dealing with home electricity there really is no one line rule. You just need to go through a checklist to determine problems and solutions. The first question: do you hear a difference depending on the time of day or the room you are in?
  7. davmar77

    davmar77 I'd rather be drummin'...

    clifton park,ny
  8. Catcher10

    Catcher10 Forum Resident

    I had a power conditioner once.......never again. Any power strips I have used, I make sure have no limiters or anything to limit current.
  9. ralf11

    ralf11 Active Member

    you want an isolation transformer - you can get them used as they are removed from hospitals and then sold by aggregators, usually $300 to $700
    two factors to consider:
    1. inter-winding capacitance needs to be very low (if it is not stated then assume the worst)
    2. the unit needs to be sized for the current demand of your system when playing loud bass notes - get a Kill-a-watt or other meter and go thru your music collection

    get a simple power strip with no MOVs in it - not (NOT) a surge protector - Tripp-Lite makes some with nothing else in them
    - plug everything into that power strip and plug it into the isolation transformer
    sturgus likes this.
  10. Shivermetimbers

    Shivermetimbers Forum Resident

    Good call. How do you make sure of that?
  11. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Resident

    Buffalo, NY
    SurgeX is the no-MOV, relatively inexpensive brand I was thinking of. I've not used them, but it is a different technology.
    beowulf likes this.
  12. Catcher10

    Catcher10 Forum Resident

    Just read the specs or send email to mfg........
    Shivermetimbers likes this.
  13. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark Thread Starter

    See what I mean? Ask a simple question, and suddenly I have to go to night school for clarification.
  14. ralf11

    ralf11 Active Member

    well, maybe I can answer any questions you have?

    Getting HiFi sound is a non-trivial exercise - dealers are clueless, and sorting out the various claims (some unscrupulous) made for gear can require a background in some very specific areas of electronics, not to mention psychology, biology and acoustics.

    OTOH, it is really easy to get pretty good sound these days.
  15. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Syracuse NY
    Brickwall is also no MOV. Surgex, Zero Surge, and Brickwall are all pretty similar from what I've seen and read.

    Eight-Outlet Audio Surge Protector | Brick Wall

    That's the model I have. Works great and makes zero noise unlike some UPS devices, cheap isolation transformers and other power strips / surge protectors.
  16. amgradmd

    amgradmd Active Member

    Richmond, VA
    For sure power conditioning and surge protection is fraught with peril. I had a decent Furman unit for a while but ultimately decided to upgrade to power regenerator with surge protection built in. I got a PS Audio P10 on sale for $3k (usually $5k) and jumped on it. I connect all my most important components into it and it's fantastic. This provides 1500 watts of continuous power. It reduces noise on the line by about 20 fold. I usually get around 2.2% THD from the outlet and it outputs about 0.1% to my components. Noise floor much lower with no loss in dynamics I noticed with the Furman unit. Plus surge protection is guaranteed. This unit has improved my system as much as any other single component. If you can wait a couple months, you could check out the upcoming P20 which connects to 20 amp line and has 16 outlets to plug into. That unit will be $10k, I believe. When it comes out, I'll bet the P10 is put back on discount to $3k, so there's that option too. It's crazy to say, but at $3k, the P10 is an absolute steal. Just ask anyone who has one. Good luck!
    F1nut likes this.
  17. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Portland, OR, USA
    UPSs (battery backups) are not very useful for a stereo system, unless you want an extra 10 minutes of music enjoyment when the power goes out. They are out-of-circuit when power is good, just letting electricity pass through. When the power goes out, they kick in (sometimes with a small interruption that most device power supplies can tolerate), but generally put out a dirtier stepped waveform with more sag than what the utility provides.

    UPSs can be beneficial to protect against short interruptions. They can prevent your media center with hard drive from rebooting or having its drive scrambled when you lose power while copying. They can prevent the embarrassment of you needing to go turn all your components back on when entertaining and the power blinks.
  18. jfeldt

    jfeldt Forum Resident

    SF, CA, USA
    Buy used

    Experiment a lot

    Trust your ears
  19. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Portland, OR, USA
    For voodoo things like power cords and speaker jumpers, that's the worst advice. Ears (and especially your memory) lie, and will tell you what you want to hear.
    Higlander and russk like this.
  20. ralf11

    ralf11 Active Member

    Trust your ears when doing a valid listening test - double-blind; matched SPLs; 20 guesses or comparisons - 18 or 19 correct and you have something.

    But I agree, voodoo is doodoo
    Higlander likes this.
  21. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Forum Resident

    Mid Atlantic
    Haha, well at least I answered your simple question with my own simple question.
  22. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark Thread Starter

    I have pretty smart people I could ask to help me to try and sort out my questions...but they want me to go solar, switch to a Mac, and eat glutin-free - "see, that's your problem..." (really; these are the actual sort of irrelevancies they bring up when I ask them about power conditioners!). Sometimes it's better to just get answers online, and slog through the translating, rather than get my friends involved.
  23. Grant

    Grant A Musical Free-Spirit

    UPS are OK if you have frequent power outages. They only last two or three years.

    Power conditioners/surge protectors are a good idea if you know that the power to your home is unstable.

    What's more important are the transformers inside your electronics. Computer hardware (processors, ect) like clean power.
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  24. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark Thread Starter

    Both my computers have beefed-up power supply units in them. Learned the hard way, in the Great Hard Drive Fry of 2008.
  25. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident

    Los Angeles CA USA
    How ridiculous and stupid, any fool knows wind power is the best bet, Linux kicks the Macs @ss, and gluten prevents cancer and keeps your hair from falling need a wind-powered Linux gluten-containing power strip.

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