Advice with plug in of SMPS please

In short I have two mains blocks, each plugged into the same double wall socket. A Chord S6 which runs CD player, amp and a Melco N100 with linear power supply. The other block is a cheaper Atlas block into which is plugged Sony Blu ray player, Apple TV box and floor standing lamp.

I also have a Melco D100 ripper with it’s SMPS. I don’t want to plug it into the Chord block for obvious reasons, but neither do I want it plugged into the Atlas block if it is ‘on’ all the time, which it will be as there is no switch. So I was thinking to plug it into one of those Masterplug Cube 3 way switched adapters plugged into the Atlas block. This means that I can switch it on only when needed. The Masterplug adapter is of course fairly nasty and also has neons on the switches! This worries me! Will it adversely affect the quality of rips I make from CD’s? Or am I being a little obsessive and worrying needlessly? The only alternative I can think of is to fit a 6A in-line switch to the ripper’s SMPS figure of 8 lead.

What do people think? Am I worrying needlessly?

Pete, as you’re not going to be using the ripper all the time, so rather than add the additional mains block (with neons etc), just unplug the D100 PS when not using it ?

Switching supplies are not all bad. I would start by trying to identify any that are pushing out noise and deal with those. Most Apple stuff tends to be a bit noisy, as do many lights if they are LED or fluorescent. Ideally you want a dedicated supply for the HiFi to keep it separate from any noisy stuff.

Testing appliances can be quite an eye opener. Easily done if you have a small portable AM radio, turn it on, tune it away from any stations, point the aerial at any applience, lightbulb or SMPS and you’ll hear it clicking and buzzing like crazy near the noisier devices. Whether this noise actually travels to your hifi and affects the sound is another matter. It may not, but these days we tend to have many such devices around the home so I see it as a matter of good housekeeping to deal with the problem at source where possible.

I would look for a mains block with no switches or lights on it. A fancy Chord one might be a bit OTT for your wall warts but you can get very cheap ones.

Electrical noise isn’t going to affect the quality of your CD rips, but it may couple into your DAC and analogue electronics where it can affect sound quality.


That’s what I would do but my other half likes to rip her CD’s and she insists on having the ripper easily usable. No plugging/unplugging allowed!

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Does the ripper really need to be anywhere near the HiFi? If you run a UPnP or Roon server it can be in any location that has a network connection, arguably the further away from the streamer the better.

This is what I am concerned about. If it’s definitely the case that using the switched master plug cube plugged into the Atlas block (the only available place apart from the Chord S6) won’t degrade the CD rips then that is the answer. The Melco ripper can be turned on or off via one of the 3 switches on the adapter so when not in use will just sit there idle. I was concerned that the neons in the cube adapter may cause noise when switched on and degrade the rips.

Ahh… yes I can understand now !

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If you were using a combined ripper/server I would be more concerned, but as I understand it your Melco is a separate ripper only so I really don’t think you need to worry about it.

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Thanks Chris. Yes the ripper is entirely separate so will be switched off when not actually being used to rip anything. I want to keep things as simple as possible so this seems the best solution. I know that ideally I should be looking into more wall sockets or a dedicated mains but to be honest I just can’t face the upheaval so this will just have to do. I feel that lately I’ve invested enough time and money in the hi-fi and I just want to forget all about it and enjoy the music. Which is what it’s supposed to be for after all!

Surely it is simple enough to try with the SMPS in one block, doing a rip of the same CD each time, and compare the two? Best pick more than one CD, with different music. If you think you can hear a difference then you could even repeat your comparison blind, simply by having someone else swapping between the three versions of key tracks.

Well the SMPS itself isn’t the issue - it’s the cheap switched adapter with neons that it’s plugged into in order to allow easy switching on or off (it doesn’t have it’s own switch). OK yes I could do comparisons if I could be bothered but really I can’t! Yes I’m lazy etc. etc. Just looking for the easy way forward without any bother! Your get like that when you reach a certain age…

Unless other people have used the same combination of ripper and block with neons their opinions may not necessarily translate to reality in your setup, so it may be more useful to ask Richard to close this thread invites comments about SMPSs, and instead start a new one with the specific question of power block with neons used with a Melco ripper.

Given that your Melco gear has switches on the front of the boxes, I think you first need to establish whether or not their PSUs are actually causing you any problems when they are plugged in but not in use. My guess is that they probably aren’t, in which case you could just get a simple unswitched block with no LEDs and leave it connected up.

I take the point that I’m not going to get definitive answers here - I was just inviting people’s opinions to help me make a more informed choice. Yes I could leave the ripper PSU switched on but given that it will not be used very often (we’ve already ripped our collection and probably won’t be buying too many more discs) it seems prudent to switch it off as it will undoubtedly be introducing some noise into the mains.

There’s no absolutely ideal solution here. I accept that anything will be a compromise but I’ll stick with my switched 3 way cube. Thanks for your advice and help - appreciated.

This is an assumption people often make, but I am not convinced that it’s always the case. Most homes have dozens of noisy switching supplies all over the place and even if they are noisy, which is not always the case, that doesn’t necessarily mean that this noise will reach the analogue bits of your hifi (starting at the output stage of your DAC) where thay can alter sound quality, perhaps audibly, perhaps making it worse rather than just different. Or not!

It’s easy to tie your brain in knots fretting about this stuff, and maybe not so easy to make accurate judgements about whether or not you can really hear a difference.

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Absolutely agree with this Chris. At the end of the day we have to deal with real world situations that inevitably will involve compromises. It’s easy to make all sorts of assumptions about what’s good and bad and as you say these may well be overshadowed in any case by other factors. In the final analysis if the music is enjoyable then so what?!

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