Power Line conditioners

Wharfedale EVO 4.1 4.2 Speakers

mekr

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Which are best power line conditioners for local voltage are available in Mumbai or abroad,which may be best for Hifi equipment,Further i am currently using direct power from my residential power line,what measures can be used for enhancing and improving the sound of my Hifi
 
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SuhasG

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Which are best power line conditioners for local voltage are available in Mumbai or abroad,which may be best for Hifi equipment,Further i am currently using direct power from my residential power line,what measures can be used for enhancing and improving the sound of my Hifi

This topic is discussed on this forum for umpteen times in the past.

If you are talking about Mumbai then you don't need any power conditioner.

Power conditioners, stabilizers, UPS etc at the best can be considered to protect your expensive HiFi gear from over voltage / surges and spikes and brown out conditions. These devices won't contribute much towards enhancing and improving the sound, less than 1-2%.

Power cords also fall under this category, you may notice a minuscule difference but mostly it is a placebo effect and nothing else. if it is not reasonably priced (Rs 500-1000 at the most for a 1.5 m power cord) then it is a snake oil.

Clean power helps but for that you need to invest in Power regenerator and that might cost more than your entire system put together.

Changing tires of Maruti M800 will increase its safety rating but it won't convert it into a Ferrari (or Honda at least).

Hope this helps

SUhas
 
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sandhutar

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Hello mekr

Pls check SU-KAM Line Interactive UPS on web and talk to their engineers , im sure this will help you & you dont need to worry much for after sles service !
hope it will help
 

awedeophile

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Power cords also fall under this category, you may notice a minuscule difference but mostly it is a placebo effect and nothing else. if it is not reasonably priced (Rs 500-1000 at the most for a 1.5 m power cord) then it is a snake oil.
SUhas

Although I agree with most of SuhasG's post, I disagree with the statement above as my experience is different. IME the amount of difference a power cord will make is directly related to the quality of power and RF/EMI in the area, to begin with. If your power is already perfect and you don't have RF/EMI issues, you won't find any difference between a $50 and $1000 power cord.

Most people believe that power conditioners actually degrade the sound and recommend against using one. This again depends on the per quality. If your power quality is poor and there is risk of damage to your equipment, then you have no choice but to use one. Again, the amount of difference it will make totally depends on your existing power quality.

I personally use a regenerator as we have horrible power in my area with frequent spikes, surges, brownouts, etc., etc. and have had many blown power supplies in the past. I too feel that a regenerator is the best thing for bad power but it is expensive. The best part though is that power cords connected after the regenerator make little or no difference.
 

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Although I agree with most of SuhasG's post, I disagree with the statement above as my experience is different. IME the amount of difference a power cord will make is directly related to the quality of power and RF/EMI in the area, to begin with. If your power is already perfect and you don't have RF/EMI issues, you won't find any difference between a $50 and $1000 power cord.

Most people believe that power conditioners actually degrade the sound and recommend against using one. This again depends on the per quality. If your power quality is poor and there is risk of damage to your equipment, then you have no choice but to use one. Again, the amount of difference it will make totally depends on your existing power quality.

I personally use a regenerator as we have horrible power in my area with frequent spikes, surges, brownouts, etc., etc. and have had many blown power supplies in the past. I too feel that a regenerator is the best thing for bad power but it is expensive. The best part though is that power cords connected after the regenerator make little or no difference.


I too agree with the power cable aspect, have experienced pretty significant differences. As mentioned above it also depends on how much EMI/RFI you have and whether your power cable has this shield or not, believe it or not, not all power cables have this shield to start with. My recommendation - instead of buying a good power conditioner, but a good double conversion online pure-sine wave UPS such that it always runs of the battery and this will sound much better than any good power conditioner as your power source (batter) is next to your equipment.

cheers
 

sandhutar

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I too agree with the power cable aspect, have experienced pretty significant differences. As mentioned above it also depends on how much EMI/RFI you have and whether your power cable has this shield or not, believe it or not, not all power cables have this shield to start with. My recommendation - instead of buying a good power conditioner, but a good double conversion online pure-sine wave UPS such that it always runs of the battery and this will sound much better than any good power conditioner as your power source (batter) is next to your equipment.

cheers

Hi, as mentioned above regarding SU-KAM Line interactive UPS , its Sine wave based UPS only and should be vital to have pure lines which intern should enhance the audio quality ! Their dealers are in most of the cities & may be they can provide the house demo if we negotiate well !!
 

SuhasG

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I too have experienced some minute changes brought in by a well-made power cord from Cadence Bangalore based dealer. But...this But is very important ...those changes are very very minute in nature or could be a borderline case of placebo effect.

I use HP printer cables costing Rs 300 (each) instead of stock power cords and that serves my purpose well, no need to spend even Rs 1000 on power cord and make those special efforts to listen those very minute scale changes. I wrote a small review (in a hurry) on that (Cadence Bangalore based dealer??s) power cord (on the other forum) but now I openly confess, it was nothing but a Placebo effect.

My hearing is good, my system (all Cadence) is revealing enough, my listening room is appropriately sized, my music is well recorded and I got training in Indian Classical music by Pandit Arvind Gajendragadkarji so I know how and what to listen in a piece of a music.

In my case it was Rs 1000 (+100 towards shipping) so I really don't care much for the money I wasted like this. But when people claim power cord to be a system-improving tool then that becomes a snake oil for me.

I have seen, people putting $1000 power cord for a $400 CDP! If at all they are so much bend to spend , they are better off by a $1300 CDP and at the most $100 power cord for it.

Being an Electrical Engineer by training I can short list here, what is needed:

  1. Conductor should have sufficient thickness to carry required current w/o getting hot.
  2. Conductor with high conductivity to minimize self-heating
  3. Proper Insulation and shielding to avoid electric hazards and filter out EMI/RFI to some extent.
  4. Cord must have a proper termination with good contact strength, which is made up of non-corrosive metal parts.

If existing stock power cord is not meeting the above mentioned criterions , then do replace with one that meets but spending in tune Rs 5000 to Rs 20000+ is outright insane.

Now regarding power conditioner / Servo Stabs/ UPS. I myself use KryKard 3 KVA Servo Stab with built in EMI ??RFI filter . I have taken care that current capacity of my Stab is atleast 3 times more than worst case current requirements of my amp. I would have loved to have a UPS here but the cost of Pure Sine Wave UPS with required current rating is prohibitive. My sincere appeal to those advocating an UPS (Venkat it is you!) please go that extra mile , contact UPS manufactures (NO SUKAM please) , find out prices and publish that data here so people will have a clear cut idea of what it takes to put an UPS in the chain.

Same is true about Power regenerators, can anybody put forward information about brands , availability in India , Service support position and ball park pricing?

Stand alone Power line filters or terminal strips with small filter devices. If you are looking at Made In China thing, may God Bless You. That??s all I want to say.

Other brands Monster included , mostly use cheap components and MOVs. MOV can protect your system from voltage surges and spikes but not for long. After every such surge attack, it weakens and one fine morning it simply fails and exposes your system to those spikes again and that too without you knowing it. Other filter components are mostly RC networks but such simple networks won??t provide much of a protection. You need to spend quite a lot to get some real protection.

In most well made HiFI gear such care is already been taken and that??s why reputed brands don??t recommend any Power conditioning devices, they simply say, connect the equipment direct to your wall socket.

Audio and HiFI is very subjective and many times what we call as a difference is in fact a Placebo effect. There are enough Double blind tests carried out all across the globe to substantiate this point.


Hope this helps.

SUhas
 
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venkatcr

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SuhasG:

I was propagating the use of an UPS as a via media between a expensive stabiliser/line conditioner/isolation transformer on the one hand and an inverter on the other. An UPS with a 15 minute shutdown will suffice for audio and video. At least you can shut down a movie at an appropriate place, and allow the DVD player to remember where the playing was stopped. Similarly with music, you can stop the song, remove the CD, and start the shutting down process of all the equipment.

Regarding power cords, I am bit skeptical to say the least. In my mind it is a very simple logic, When the power reaches the supply point cleaned, stabilised, and filtered, how can a power cord which is just a passive unit make any difference? Does it have any internal electronics to clean the power some more, unless just passing power through those cables does something to the power? If such a material were really available, it's specifications will be available to all physicists. The only thing the cable can do, and this is simple physics, is absorb some energy from the power flowing through it.

If you remember, I had mentioned about Bryston's claim not to do anything, but connect directly to the mains. They claim all the stabilising and cleaning is done by their internal power unit that converts to DC and requisite voltages. I have read innumerable articles on this, and including blind tests, I have not read any scientific and believable data. Again, please remember, power passing through a cable can be very accurately measured at both ends. It is the lack of these measurements that have forced blind tests, and even they have not resulted in any acceptable percentages. According to Stereophile and other magazines, blind test results on power cords are less than 49% consistent, and that is a statistical no no.

I don't want to argue this point. In my mind, I need to see something with my eyes that is logical before I can believe my ears.

Regarding prices for UPS, here is what I have been able to find in the market. It is not as bad as we thought it will be.

APC - 1KVA - Rs.5,850
APC - 2KVA - Around Rs.15,000 (Can be reduced with lesser batteries)
Microtek - 1KVA - Rs.3750
Microtek - 2KVA - Rs,12,000

Emerson - 2KVA - Rs.32,400

All are 15 minute back up time. In UPS, the prices depend upon the back up time.

Numeric and Krykard also have similar prices, though Krykard does not favour the consumer market any more. I mentioned the Emerson for comparison. They are for industrial use, and have very fast switching time, plus RS232C interface for continuous data logging, a fancy digital screen, etc. Under pressure the Emerson dealer I spoke to was ready to cut some 4 or 5 K. So for around 27K you get real time protection.

Cheers
 

SuhasG

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Venkat, Thanks for the detailed reply.

Let us take that UPS thing first because that was my straight question to you. Your price list seems to be inclusive of Batteries. Get prices w/o batteries. Further UPS can be of different types On-line, off Line, Line Interactive (they call it so) prices and performance varies accordingly. Mere prices won't help here complete specs are also needed to carry out some evaluation.

Out of the list you provided only Emerson - 2KVA - Rs.32, 400 sounds Okay provided it is true/pure sine wave type.

But 2 KVA rating is misleading or rather insufficient to determine its suitability. I guess it is steady state rating. What about In Rush current ratings? Further 2 KVA rating may not be sufficient for moderately rated power amplifier. I remember somewhere we two discussed KVA rating required w.r.t. Amplifier ratings. Regarding APC and Microtek I am doubtful.

My idea of having an UPS in the chain is to run HiFi gear entirely on battery power. In such an arrangement I need just an Inverter but of Pure Sine Wave type. HiFi gear will always run of that Inverter as if AC mains is failed. Mains is used only to charge batteries. While playing music Inverter is physically disconnected from mains. Music will play as long as batteries are having enough juice. But I am yet to find such an Inverter that can do this job w/o costing me a bomb!

Anyway, on Power cord it seems you agree with me.

Regards

SUhas
 

awedeophile

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Cost is relative at not the point - the point is whether a cable makes a difference.

These threads on "cables making a difference" always amuse me because most people rely on what they have heard from reviews and "scientific data" they have read, but most have not experienced it. And the funy part is I used to say the same things before I "heard" the differences.

Anyways, seeing where this is headed and having been there many times, I will not comment further on this subject. All the best!
 

odyssey

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Suhas
what you have described is exactly what I mentioned above and before - online double conversion sine wave UPS. You can get this at power one in Bangalore. I got one made for about 20k

Cheers




Venkat, Thanks for the detailed reply.

Let us take that UPS thing first because that was my straight question to you. Your price list seems to be inclusive of Batteries. Get prices w/o batteries. Further UPS can be of different types On-line, off Line, Line Interactive (they call it so) prices and performance varies accordingly. Mere prices won't help here complete specs are also needed to carry out some evaluation.

Out of the list you provided only Emerson - 2KVA - Rs.32, 400 sounds Okay provided it is true/pure sine wave type.

But 2 KVA rating is misleading or rather insufficient to determine its suitability. I guess it is steady state rating. What about In Rush current ratings? Further 2 KVA rating may not be sufficient for moderately rated power amplifier. I remember somewhere we two discussed KVA rating required w.r.t. Amplifier ratings. Regarding APC and Microtek I am doubtful.

My idea of having an UPS in the chain is to run HiFi gear entirely on battery power. In such an arrangement I need just an Inverter but of Pure Sine Wave type. HiFi gear will always run of that Inverter as if AC mains is failed. Mains is used only to charge batteries. While playing music Inverter is physically disconnected from mains. Music will play as long as batteries are having enough juice. But I am yet to find such an Inverter that can do this job w/o costing me a bomb!

Anyway, on Power cord it seems you agree with me.

Regards

SUhas
 

venkatcr

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suhasG said:
Let us take that UPS thing first because that was my straight question to you. Your price list seems to be inclusive of Batteries. Get prices w/o batteries. Further UPS can be of different types On-line, off Line, Line Interactive (they call it so) prices and performance varies accordingly. Mere prices won't help here complete specs are also needed to carry out some evaluation.

In most consumer UPS, the battery is fitted inside the box, and they will not sell without the battery. Only in large UPS such as 5KVA and for longer backup time, because of the size of the batteries, they are kept outside the UPS. There the pricing is separate.

suhasG said:
Out of the list you provided only Emerson - 2KVA - Rs.32, 400 sounds Okay provided it is true/pure sine wave type.

But 2 KVA rating is misleading or rather insufficient to determine its suitability. I guess it is steady state rating. What about In Rush current ratings? Further 2 KVA rating may not be sufficient for moderately rated power amplifier. I remember somewhere we two discussed KVA rating required w.r.t. Amplifier ratings. Regarding APC and Microtek I am doubtful.

I agree. These UPS are made for computers that do not have a huge spike in input. None of the above will serve that end.

suhasG said:
My idea of having an UPS in the chain is to run HiFi gear entirely on battery power. In such an arrangement I need just an Inverter but of Pure Sine Wave type. HiFi gear will always run of that Inverter as if AC mains is failed. Mains is used only to charge batteries. While playing music Inverter is physically disconnected from mains. Music will play as long as batteries are having enough juice. But I am yet to find such an Inverter that can do this job w/o costing me a bomb!

Generally UPS deliver only quasi sine wave or square wave. But APC does have specific models that deliver pure sine wave. I also checked with an Emerson representative. He said they have a way to completely disconnect the output from the mains, and feed power to the output transformed from the batteries. The mains will be used for just charging the batteries. They call these special applications, and deliver against specific orders. I believe hospitals use this type regularly to monitor patient data.

Since UPS are not meant to handle input spike, what you may have to do is enhance the power factor by maybe 50 to 100% over your normal state rating. That should take care of your rush current requirements.

Your specific requirement can only be met against an order by a company such as Emerson or maybe APC. Emerson did tell me they can do it. I am not sure companies such as Microtek and others will be able to help you.

Cheers
 

SuhasG

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Venkat if Computer type UPS is what you are recommending instead of a servo Voltage Stabilizer then stop recommending it any more because such computer type UPS is:

  1. Not a pure sine wave type or at most quassi sine wave type :: This may damage a HiFI gear.
  2. When AC mains is present this UPS will feed it as is w/o any processing mean it won't even perform the job usually carried by a Servo stab. At the most it comes fitted with Over voltage/Under voltage / Short circuit protection.
  3. Since such tiny UPS can provide backup only for 15 minutes means it is no good to listen music when AC power is not present
  4. Then if the UPS is meant only for graceful shut down of HiFI system then it is a over Kill , for Computer it is required (to protect Hard Disc from crashing / avoid data corruption) . If AC mains fails and HiFI gear gets switched off abruptly while playing music , no much of a damage will happen

Then why any such UPS is recommended over and over again which lacks protection, despite being called an UPS lacks power backup and no way comes cheaper than a typical Servo voltage stab ?

Now you yourself had verified the facts that an UPS which can serves some REAL business / purpose , comes with a hefty price tag (special order?) . That's exactly what I was suggesting since long.

I view an UPS on the lines of Power Regeneration principles. It is as if you have your own power plant running off the batteries. PS Audio makes such systems and are pretty expensive. A pure sine wave Inverter can serve this purpose at much lower cost because switching circuitry is not needed, DC rectification is limited only to Battery charger.

If one afford this , well and good, go ahead with it by all means otherwise one is better off with a well made Servo voltage stabilizer rather than putting a inappropriate UPS and remain under some wrong impression that the UPS is protecting the HiFI system.


SUhas
 

venkatcr

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Suhas:

I think there is an ocean of difference between what your requirements are and what I am saying. Yes, for your specific requirements, the UPS will not be useful.

For stabilised voltage to a music of video system, I fail to see why a UPS cannot be used. I have gone through the specs of three or four companies and spoken to a few technical guys. Look at the typical specs of an UPS from Vertex, Krykard, Numeric

1. Input voltage from - 170 to 270
2. Input Frequency - 50Hz +/- 5 Hz
3. Output Voltage - 22/230/240 depending upon your setting +/- 1 or 2%
4. Waveform - Sinusoidal
5. IGBT based switches
6. Typically correction is something like 200 milliseconds
7. THD of less than 5%
8. Noise factor of less than 56dB at 2 meters.

You will get similar specs from a servo controlled stabiliser.

If we calculate the power requirements correctly and add a 25% excess for overload, they will serve well. Mind you these are for very simple systems. Some of these manufacturers claim they can handle upto 150% of stated power specifications.

Of course these will not be in the same price range as the computer UPS. But they are ones that can be used in residences and will not be as expensive as the industrial ones.

Cheers.
 

SuhasG

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Venkat, for one argument especially when price is concerned you use examples of cheep computer UPS (no protection, no sine wave type) and when it comes to output wave-form, protection and performance issues you start giving examples of some Hi End UPS names with no mention of prices (with are hefty by all means!).

Be consistent man! In your over enthusiasm in answering each and every post on this forum, you have many times in many threads , jumbled up and later had to admit the errors / oversights.

This is endless, so to conclude I put forward my thoughts based upon my observations, market research.

  1. El Cheapo UPS meant for computer are no good for HiFI gear when viewed in terms voltage regulation, As all such UPS just feed forward AC input as it is. Output waveform is just horrible and may cause damage to HiFI gear during that so called 15 minutes back up period.
  2. In better UPS (Hi End ) , provides protection, better waveform every thing is nice but then the price is also that big.
  3. A 5-8K Servo stab is far better than 3-5K El Cheapo UPS. By putting an EL Cheapo UPS one is throwing his/her hard earned money into a dustbin and not only that S/he is putting the Hi FI gear at risk.
  4. I don't recommend an UPS costing Rs 30-40K for a system costing even up to 100K-150K. Either put a Servo Stab or nothing.

For those who want to add an UPS, just check following aspects:

  1. How normal AC is delivered at the output: Feed forward or through AC to DC and then Wave shaping.
  2. Check the output waveform under both conditions: AC main present and not present. And Check this waveform at full load condition, this is important.
  3. Check additional protections provided
  4. Check current ratings both In rush and Steady state.
  5. Price

And then take a decision.

Hope this helps.

SUhas
 

venkatcr

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Venkat, for one argument especially when price is concerned you use examples of cheep computer UPS (no protection, no sine wave type) and when it comes to output wave-form, protection and performance issues you start giving examples of some Hi End UPS names with no mention of prices (with are hefty by all means!).

Be consistent man! In your over enthusiasm in answering each and every post on this forum, you have many times in many threads , jumbled up and later had to admit the errors / oversights.

This is endless, so to conclude I put forward my thoughts based upon my observations, market research.

  1. El Cheapo UPS meant for computer are no good for HiFI gear when viewed in terms voltage regulation, As all such UPS just feed forward AC input as it is. Output waveform is just horrible and may cause damage to HiFI gear during that so called 15 minutes back up period.


  1. SuhasG, I have clearly mentioned in my post that the prices are different. I have also mentioned that these companies do make UPS with different capacities and capabilities. My attempt here was not to recommend anything, but to understand the use of UPS.

    I am not recommending anything here. I am just trying to understand why, if the price/capacity is reasonable, we cannot use an UPS for audio/video systems against, say, a stabiliser.

    I am going to talk to few people in the industry and see what they say. I don't think it makes sense to write off UPS that easily for audio/video systems.

    There are lots of people who cannot afford expensive power conditioning system with a stabiliser, isolation transformer etc. If they can get an affordable power conditioning system, why not?

    Cheers
 

SKR

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I have used Online UPS for my hi-end system in Delhi but it was primariliry for protecting my system from voltage fluctuations and sudden black outs because till a few years back power supply in Delhi by DESU was very very bad. So i had to use an Online UPS as my system was expensive. Now as the power distribution in Delhi has been given to a private company and power supply has improved a lot I have got a Servo stabiliser to supply power to my system which i think is better.
Basically UPS's are designed for computer applications in mind and their output connectors are very cheap and it may not fully support sudden demand of current while listening to music even though it supply a stable voltage and stable frequency.
That is why APC a leading UPS manufacturer in USA (also selling UPS in India)
has come out with Special power conditioners for Music and Vedeo applications. But unfortunately they are selling this in USA only for the moment for 110 Volts.
 

reignofchaos

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Regarding prices for UPS, here is what I have been able to find in the market. It is not as bad as we thought it will be.

APC - 1KVA - Rs.5,850
APC - 2KVA - Around Rs.15,000 (Can be reduced with lesser batteries)
Microtek - 1KVA - Rs.3750
Microtek - 2KVA - Rs,12,000

Emerson - 2KVA - Rs.32,400

All are 15 minute back up time. In UPS, the prices depend upon the back up time.

The prices you quoted are not for pure sine wave UPS systems. They cost lots more. I paid Rs 18,000 for a 1.5 kVA APC Smart UPS. This is one with an internal battery and is a pure sinewave online UPS.

The ones with external batteries are significantly more pricey. That is the Smart UPS XL range and they start off at 2.2kVA for the UPS at ~25000 plus there's the cost of a battery pack (~15k).
 
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arj

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This is the APC smart UPS right ? the 2KVA version is around 35K. these give a Pure Sine wave and are always on in terms of output wave shaping
the equivalent one from SUKAM is also around 35K.

These are really Good .

the lower end ones (Even from APC) DO Not give a pure sine wave. they give a Triangular wave which approximate a sine wave. Also they come into picture only when the power goes OFF which does not make sense if the objective was power conditioning .
so When power is ON they pass on the power as it is
Power is OFF they give you a "approximate" sine wave.

either way it does not make sense ! better to get a servo stabiliser !


I do have an 800VA APC UPS..the sound is worse when the power is off so use it only for the lights/fan etc. (My system doe not take more than 500W)
 
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vea

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I was reading all the posts on this issue as I am right now thinking of upgrading my mains cables. It has become slightly confusing over here..so let me ask all of you some basic things?

I believe equipment worth a couple of lakhs will have better input power management systems than stablizers and UPSs worth a few thousands. Am i wrong? In that case, will it be better if i plug those equipments directly into the wall socket? (ignoring the problems with spikes).

I believe its worth spending a few thousands on mains cables to connect equipments worth few lakhs, so that a cheap, inefficient power cable is not the weakest link in my system which restricts me from tapping my relatively expensive equipment's potential to the fullest.

If i use a power conditioning system for my equipments, i think its not worth spending on expensive power cables to connect individual equipment to the power conditioning unit. Its either the power conditioner or the cables. Agree with that?

And finally the million dollar question..is there any real (audible to human ears, not testing equipments) difference between a stock cable and a moderately (say $100-300) expensive cable?

Your comments Please.
 
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