I’ve reached the point where I’ll gradually upgrade my power cables.
But what should I start with: Individual power cables to my amps and turntable, or a central power strip?
Or do I have to get both to hear any difference?
While I’ve certainly heard improvements with power cords, I would suggest starting with a power strip.
You will hear improvements with either of them. Depending on your funds power strip may be better start to a) to lay foundation and b) have all components benefit at the same time.
You need to decide though if it is just passive strip / enhanced passive strip (like acoustic revive) or “active” conditioners + there are some options to also address DC issues.
If you go for the cords rather stay with one brand/line than get one or two fancy ones and “lower” ones for not so important deemed components.
Turntable though i would upgrade last (still you will hear a difference from the power cable). Vinyl is the only component that generates it’s own power (your cartridge is a generator) so here you do not end up feeding wall ac direct to your system (except you have a strain gauge or one of the DS audio pick ups’s).
The first step is to try to get your system on an isolated dedicated circuit. In apartment buildings this might not be as hard as you think. I cut down on the number of airconditioners in my place so in my music room it left me with a dedicated 20 amp outlet. I had a duplex outlet installed there, nothing fancy, but a hospital grade outlet. I figured if its good enough for life support equipment…you could go for better if you want. You are only going to use this outlet for HiFi gear. Do NOT plug your modem, router or other network equipment into this outlet.
I plugged this power strip into one socket of the outlet:
It’s decent, about $150 and it has 4 isolated outlets for digital equipment and 4 linear outlets for analog equipment. I honestly don’t know if this is a good or bad thing but I figured half may gear is digital and half is analog so why not? They also make a model that is all linear. Your call. Could you do better? Sure. Could you spend more? Absolutely. My professional music buddies use Furman. Yeah, I know, reproduction is not the same as production…I bought this several years ago. I think Audioquest has a reasonably priced line out there now. The sky is the limit…
I plug all my source components and preamp into this power strip. Not the power amp though. I plug my power amp directly into the wall, the second socket of the outlet.
Power cords. Hmmm. Most of my source components came with decent stock power cords. I did upgrade the power cord for the power amp. It is made and sold by the same company that made the power amp. I immediately heard a difference. If it was visual, I would say the blacks are blacker. So yeah, very quiet. Totally worth it even though that single power cord cost more than the power strip…what’s interesting is that my power amp is not a power hog, it’s a nicely designed Class D by Wyred4Sound. I guess next up is the power cords on the source components and preamp, but I’m not really feeling the urge to do that. I guess the first one would be the preamp…
I’m no expert here, just describing how I thought through this process. You can’t ignore power. It’s important. But you need to start from the source and build up.
Thank you for this.
I’m live in the countryside in an ooooold house with ridiculous electrical circuits. When I turn on my coffee machine the lights flicker in the bathroom; when I disconnect a lamp in our bedroom there’s a crunch in my speakers. It’s a challenge.
My hope is that to begin with a nice power strip will help. But maybe I need go all the way and get a power plant a la PS Audio Stellar P3?
Anyway, I’ll order a decent power strip from Wireworld at my local dealer and see where that takes me.
Thanks for the help…
in that case i would give +1 for Jim.
- Have a dedicated line from your panel to your listening spaces
- provide extra grounding for that outlet (rod in the ground)
If your supply is that sketchy anything you you hook up will be severally impacted.
A power plant type of device would also need some type of power storage to manage your fluctuations as it is not only about providing a clean wave as it seems.
I rented an office for a few years that had one circuit for the entire room. Everything was on that breaker, lighting, power outlets AND the air conditioner. It doesn’t sound as bad as the OP’s situation, but it was definitely compromised. My solution was to get a APS UPS (do they still make them?) and plugged all my sensitive electronics (computer, server, etc.) into the conditioned outlets. It gave me readouts of voltage fluctuations and interruptions. It saved my butt on more than a few occasions. Now I’m not sure if this would be a good solution for HiFi, but from what Mads describes it might be worth a consideration.