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Power conditioners

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Power conditioners

Postby brett1212 » Tue Apr 13, 2021 9:21 am

Hey guys/girls:

Anyone have any feedback on power conditioners? I’ve got a Furman AC-210A I’m looking Into buying, because I’m trying to eliminate crackling and ticking sounds thru my headphones. Do power conditioners really work?
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Re: Power conditioners

Postby Mike Stranks » Tue Apr 13, 2021 9:34 am

brett1212 wrote:Hey guys/girls:

Anyone have any feedback on power conditioners? I’ve got a Furman AC-210A I’m looking Into buying, because I’m trying to eliminate crackling and ticking sounds thru my headphones. Do power conditioners really work?

If you're in the UK you almost certainly don't need a power-conditioner.

The noises you're hearing are likely down to dodgy connections and/or some form of ground loop.

Tell us a bit more about your set-up and how everything's connected, including mains connections.

Thanks!
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Re: Power conditioners

Postby Luke W » Tue Apr 13, 2021 9:37 am

It depends a lot of on whereabouts you are in the world and what the mains supply is like, but certainly over here in the UK they're not usually necessary and any audible issues with equipment are usually cleared up by sensible wiring/earthing arrangements. I'd definitely be looking at other solutions first.

There are also a lot of devices that call themselves conditioners that are not really much more than a plug board in a nicer case, so it can be an expensive way to gain very little.

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Re: Power conditioners

Postby Wonks » Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:24 am

They are really meant to protect equipment from big power spikes, and do almost nothing for reducing noise in your audio system.

I'd have someone look at your power supply with a scope or mains analyser before buying one of those, to see if you do have power supply issues. Obviously you'd also need to make sure that it wasn't anything you own that's creating the electrical noise.

If you have got a lot of electrical noise on your incoming power, then apart from getting the power company to improve it (if they can), then you'd really need a conditioner containing a true sine wave inverter, which converts AC to DC and back to AC again, but this time without any noise. Not cheap though.

Noise in audio systems is normally down to grounding issues; either a total lack of a ground or ground loops. And sometimes from using unbalanced cable connections when balanced ones are available.
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Re: Power conditioners

Postby ef37a » Tue Apr 13, 2021 11:04 am

Totally agree, UK juice might be expensive but it is probably the cleanest in the world and, for me at least, very reliable. I average less than one outage a year and then rarely more than a few minutes.

Power "conditioners" can come in many forms or combinations. As mentioned, surge supression, removing voltage spikes. This is done with Voltage Dependent Resistors and what they don't tell you is that these devices are 'consumerable'. I am not sure of the exact mechanism but every time they clamp a spike it 'knocks bits off' and ultimately, one day they go O/C and obviously then don't work any more. In extreme over volts they just explode, usually taking out a fuse or breaker and all you find left is two wires!

Next bit of circuitry is a more or less complex LC filter. These stand watching as the common form is with two capacitors in series with the junction taken to ground, thus injecting mains borne crap into your ground circuit!

One of the best forms of mains 'cleaner' is a nice big 1:1 mains isolating transformer with a grounded inter-winding screen. Heavy, expensive and MUST be installed by a lekky who really knows his onions.

The sort of good news is that IF you are outside UK (EU?) an EXPENSIVE conditioner will probably do some good but, again as already stated, eliminate all other sources of noise first.

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Re: Power conditioners

Postby CS70 » Tue Apr 13, 2021 12:16 pm

brett1212 wrote:Hey guys/girls:

Anyone have any feedback on power conditioners? I’ve got a Furman AC-210A I’m looking Into buying, because I’m trying to eliminate crackling and ticking sounds thru my headphones. Do power conditioners really work?

What Mike says. It's very unlikely that the cracking and ticking sounds you hear have anything to do with the power supply. The Furman will do no harm (and it's always good to have a power surge protector) but won't alleviate them.
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Re: Power conditioners

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Apr 13, 2021 3:29 pm

'Ticking' is most often a symptom of something not being correctly synchronised to the master word-clock.
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