Now that I’m no longer a Naim owner and cannot have dedicated mains fitted I’m looking for help in getting the best from the mains power I do have and getting as good and as clean a supply as I can (without breaking the Bank) into my hifi I equipment.
Looking at various power conditioners etc by companies such a Isotek is a bit of a minefield to the uninitiated. Do these conditioners work and will they help clean up the no doubt dirty/noisy mains supply coming from my old terraced house?
Well they all address different things. Unless you have a full on main regenerator nothing is going to be a total fix for undefined mains issues.
A good starting point to simply block DC and provide galvanic isolation is a balanced transformer with an earth shunt. They are fairly benign as long as they are rated at the max current of the circuit or higher. If you cannot touch the mains, a standard shelf sized unit is required. An EI design would be better here than toroidal because if there was any mains offset to remove, a toroidal is likely to hum.
Beyond that, you really need to understand what the problem with your mains is and buy a device specifically for that. Buying a general conditioner is a bit like taking a car in for a repair for a problem that no one has identified.
I’d strongly suggest a sympathetic sparky that is willing to do a full reckie on your mains and report to you what deviations there are so that you can then look for devices that tackle that. You may even learn that none is needed and to save your money.
Bob - Something I found worthwhile doing before I went down the dedicated mains route was checking all the connections on the ring my Hi-Fi used to sit on. I took all the sockets out, cleaned up the connections and made sure they were nice and tight. They hadn’t been touched in the 18 years or so since the house was built. The bare copper oxidises over time and the terminals on the socket loosen off too. I also changed the Hi-Fi double socket to an un-switched MK one whilst I was at it. Make sure you isolate the circuit you are working on at the consumer unit first.
I have had great success with my Puritan PSM136. As far as I’m concerned, without listing all the technical stuff, it covers all the bases you will need.
I see you’re based in East Sussex, so there are a couple of dealers within reasonable distance for auditioning. I found it improves detail, sound stage, natural tone and micro dynamics and seems to allow a more consistent sound quality throughout the day. Transformer hum was reduced a little, although my Nova didn’t have much in the first place. I guess that the other thing is a certain peace of mind re surge protection and long term damage to your kit that may otherwise take place. It’s one of those purchases where your mileage may vary, so audition is essential. I guess if you appreciate the difference between filtered water and tap water the analogy may work for you.
Let us know how you get on.
I couldn’t get a dedicated mains fitted so have just bought an audioquest Niagara 1200. Super impressed with what it has done to my system and can’t recommend it enough
That’ll be another item added to an eBay watch list then
That’s an interesting analogy. I kind of have the same question as the OP, but indeed do not know if I do have an actual problem, or what it is. My HiFi is on a ring with tons of stuff on it, including a (small) fridge, so I guess something that just isolates devices from each other.
From the top of my head: Hi-FI, TV, Qbs (2 of them), small fridge, printer, switch, some lights etc.
Does that make any sense, or would you argue that if I’m not aware of any actual problem I should just leave it?
Another thumbs-up for AudioQuest’s Niagara 1200.
Absolutely. But that’s just my opinion. I have nothing against mains conditioners at all but to me, the following criteria must both be met:
- You have a problem you notice.
- You have accurately root caused the specific mains issue that needs addressing.
Not being able to pinpoint an issue isn’t reason enough to not try some of these products otherwise why have a dedicated mains put in if you can’t pinpoint some degradation of sound I suspect that most people who have one put in do so because they suspect it will improve SQ not because they have a particular issue.
I recently bought a Balanced Mains Unit from NVA and it certainly improved my system. Worth a look I believe @ £750.00.
Hi Bob, I have recently installed two Tacima 6 way mains blocks I got from Richer Sounds and I feel they have made an improvement to my system - LP12, Nait 5si, Rega CD, ATC scm20SL’s.
I initially purchased one (c £35?) and decided to get another because of the improvement.
The Niagara’s are good aren’t they and the 1200 a bargain !
Shunyata Research, cream of the crop!
They are indeed, I’ve been really pleasantly surprised by how good it is and, perhaps because I can’t fit a separate main, it does seem to have a good impact on the sound of my system especially with low clarity and soundstage
I found it helped dynamics also which used to be the worry . I had dedicated mains installed 3 years ago and admittedly there are a few other things on that ring ( nothing major ) but the Niagara has taken away any mains concerns completely .
Please don’t shoot the messenger, but do you know if you have a supply problem?
Much is made of such ‘conditioning’ products but always remember all companies are trying to sell us something. All hifi products are designed to be connected to a standard mains supply, I can’t imagine that any amplifier manufacturer has tried many let alone all of the possible conditioning devices with their products to check for compatibility. I doubt if it is just Naim who aren’t keen, it is just that other manufacturers don’t want to say for fear of alienating suppliers of such conditioning devices, especially as they may make them themselves.
If it was me and I had reason to suspect that my mains connection was especially noisy requiring conditioning I would seek help from a specialist with monitoring equipment who could monitor the supply conditions over a period and tell me what if anything was an issue.
And always, always check that the sockets are are dead before touching - never trust that any labelling on the consumer unit (fusebox) is correct!
Wouldn’t you be better off trying one rather than faffing with specialists ? Word of warning , you’ll probably like it .