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Power Conditioning / Surge Protection

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 
What are you all using for power conditioning / surge protection? I currently have my SCD-C333ES and HeadRoom Max plugged into a Tripp-Lite Isotel surge suppressor. However, upon reading about MOV (metal oxide varistor)-based surge suppressors on Audio Asylum, and then at Brick Wall, I decided to order a Brick Wall model PW8R15AUD while it was still available for US$50.00 off for the month of June (I got it for US$249.00, down from US$299.00).

This picture shows the front (top) and rear (bottom) of the unit.
(Click on image to enlarge it)

Of course, I'll let you all know what I think of it after it has been in my system a little while. For their audio power conditioners/surge suppressors, Brick Wall offers a 30-day money back guarantee.

Though it also conditions the lines through filtering, my main interest is the surge suppression. My rig wouldn't be cheap to replace, so I wanted the best available surge suppression I could find that also had a reputation for not negatively affecting the sound quality of hi-fi systems. The Brick Walls are very well reviewed, and many even state that their systems sounded better after hooking them up to Brick Wall suppressor / conditioners. Once it arrives, I'll move my second-string Isotel to the office for my office rig.

Check out Brick Wall's site for some interesting reading on power conditioner / surge suppression.

Anyone else here have experience with Brick Wall units? Or any other power conditioner / surge suppressors?

Your input would be greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 44
I have a Monster Cable HTS-2000 line conditioner which I couldn't be more happy with. It has 12 outlets, 6 switchable and 6 non. 2 outlets for high power amps, and the rest for every other imaginable audio source.

Although if lightning struck, I figure everything will get fried, however the surge protection gives me some peace of mind knowing my mucho expensive audio gear is safe.

Also, it does help filter out yucky 60hz hum and nasties back in my apartment, where I'm sure we all share the same line, thus making power not always the cleanest.

I got it online new for about $130 shipped...and for me that's a good deal. I have no doubt heavier duty, more expensive conditioners may improve the sound more, but for the price, the Monster Cable does the job and does it well.
post #3 of 44
I use a graded system throughout the house. First, I have a whole house surge suppressor/filter that works before the main breaker box. Next each of the computers has a UPS/conditioner that protects each device and also limits the amount of EMI hash they can inject into the house mains. Each televison is on a tripplite conditioner/suppressor or a UPS/conditioner depending on the associated devices such as SAT receivers and VCR's. Again, this helps limit the EMI flow into the mains. Source components for music are pluged into an Adcom Ace-515. The 515 is plugged into a Tripplite line conditioner. Each circuit on the Tripp-Lite is isolated from the others so the home theater components are plugged directly into the Tripp-Lite. Since the HT processor connects through the preamp via a processor loop I can maintain a clean signal and power path when I only want to listen to music. The power amps are plugged into a separate ACE-515 which is also plugged into a seperate Tripp-Lite power conditioner. Additinal HT componnets are plugged directly into this conditioner also. I like the 515's since they can be interconnected to have auto turn-on and delayed turn-on of components with a single switch. Since my power amps and preamp do not have remote turn-on capability, this can be very nice. I was intrigued with the brick-wall info and may look into it in more detail. Thanks for the post.
post #4 of 44
I use 1400 & 2000VA true sinewave online UPSs. Big one for computers little one for audio gear. About $700-1000. But it's the cleanest power in this building. Unlike a conditioner it's always running off battery, not just boosting during sags. it's bascially a super-duper conditioner with battery power.

BTW, almost all nice surge supressors, even the $50 ones, have isolated grounds. Should tack $300 to them and the words "Ground Loop Eliminator" to the box and target them at audiophiles.

And hey, if the power ever went out it's a large enough unit to run a small fridge for 10 hours, or a radio and a couple lights for days.

Check out APC, MinuteMan, Tripp-Lite... lots of people make them and they're fairly competitive for a specific VA rating.

And you can always DIY one. Got a spare closet in the basement? With an inverter & charge controller and 100 12V car batteries you can build one SERIOUS UPS for under $10k Throw in a deisel generator and you're ready for grid failure!

(so I'm an isolationist in training)
post #5 of 44
Originally posted by Apheared
And you can always DIY one. Got a spare closet in the basement? With an inverter & charge controller and 100 12V car batteries you can build one SERIOUS UPS for under $10k Throw in a deisel generator and you're ready for grid failure!

(so I'm an isolationist in training)
ROFLMAO. You are the ultimate DIYer!
post #6 of 44
Thread Starter 

I know who'll be laughing if New York ever has rolling blackouts. You're just begging for a new funny user name.

Okay, now I've got a question for you. Did you check out the Brick Wall web site? Is there anything special about that device as a surge suppressor? Do you know of any devices that work on similar principles (and that are MOV-less) that don't cost, say, $250?

I was interested in a PS Audio power regeneration unit -- I figured it was similar to an online UPS in that it actually takes power from the wall outlet and cleans it up and then delivers it. I understand that the PS Audio products are not like online UPS's in that they don't use batteries, and shut down when the power goes out. What had me not selecting the PS Audio products was the obviously higher price of even their smallest unit, and that my biggest concern is the suppression of surges.

Apheared, your comments -- and anyone else here too -- would be very welcome. And if it's not too much trouble, if you could kindly review the Brick Wall site briefly to make some comments on their methods versus more standard surge suppressors, I'd certainly appreciate that too. Though I already ordered one, I'm still seeking opinions.

-- Jude --
post #7 of 44
My xcanv2 ( and my dvd/vd players) are plugged in my
Smart-UPS 700 by APC. It was onsale few monthes ago and I picked up 2 =) ( was like 40 bucks off reg price)

and I dedicate one just for my cdp/dvd player , xcanv2 and the SOON TO BE HERE Denon 370 will also be plug into this.

I dont know if the X-psu by MF is better than this, but I doubt it
This is why I basically gave up on hunting down a X-psu.

you can read more info on my universal power system here


I never worry when the light flickers or goes out =) I finish up that email or post then I shut down . It is great to have stable current flowing at all time with some extra juice fo reply more threads !

sometimes I even browse more threads since I can!

post #8 of 44
Thread Starter 

There are two types of UPS units that I'm aware of: the kind that kicks in when the power goes out, and the kind that actually does that and conditions the power through some sort of active power regeneration even when the power doesn't go out.

I believe the Smart-UPS 700 by APC is one of the former -- I also use Smart-UPS units for all my computers. There is line filtering, but I'm not sure that the Smart-UPS 700 does exactly what the X-PSU was intended to do (deliver regulated power specific to the demands of the X-CAN), especially when the power's not out.

From the literature:

The UPS detects line voltage distortions such as spikes, notches, dips, and swells, as well as distortions caused by operation with inexpensive fuel-powered generators. By default, the UPS reacts to distortions by transferring to on-battery operation to protect the loads. Where power quality is poor, the UPS may frequently transfer to on-battery operation. If the loads can operate normally under such conditions, battery capacity and service life may be conserved by reducing the sensitivity of the UPS.
So it reads as though there's switching involved, whereas an online UPS I believe is entirely regenerating the power regardless of line conditions in.

I would be interested in such a device (like the PS Audio units or Apheared's online UPS's), but they're quite costly, and some swear that such devices may actually have deleterious sonic effects, though I don't quite understand how that'd be if the units are regenerating a stable sine wave.

As a result, I decided to look for a more affordable option: a highly effective surge suppressor with a reputation for not negatively affecting the sonics of my headphone system (which is how I somehow ended up ordering a Brick Wall unit). It's easier with a headphone rig, as there are no gigatntic amps demanding loads and loads of current, but the way of the audiophile -- headphone rig or speaker rig -- is rarely inexpensive.

I'm no electrical engineer, so, again, I'd appreciate any comments about the design concepts behind the Brick Wall, and why, if for any good reason, it has earned a reputation for being a very good audiophile surge suppressor.
post #9 of 44
Jude you are absolutely correct. I use APC's and blackout busters at home and at work. They use line current when available and do not run off battery unless the line voltage drops below some predetermined level that is set in the unit. The units that do active regulation at all times, like those described and used by Apheared are usually much more expensive than the typical UPS.
post #10 of 44
I found a link for some online ups.
Prices are not bad.


Anyone have any experiences with this make?
post #11 of 44
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by bootman
I found a link for some online ups.
Prices are not bad.


Anyone have any experiences with this make?
Wow, bootman, that is quite an interesting link. I am looking at those very seriously, trying to find a reason to not buy one.

Can someone here offer any good reason why an online UPS/conditioner like these would not be good for audiophile equipment?
post #12 of 44
Thread Starter 
My Brick Wall just arrived. Very nice, simple unit. I don't know if there are any audible differences yet, as I've not listened to it at all (it just arrived).

One thing that is very impressive about it is that it emits VERY low AC magnetic field and AC electrical field emissions (as measured with my AlphaLab Broadband TriField Meter), which means I feel very comfortable putting this unit directly above my HeadRoom Max (about 3.5" above it actually). I mean, even with the AlphaLab meter placed directly against any of the Brick Wall's sides, there's virtually no reading above ambient at all.

It is also very quiet -- even with my ear directly on it, there is no detectable hum.

I'm going to take the ferrite cores and rings off my audio equipment power cords now, and see if this Brick Wall can also eliminate the noise from my sump pump and refrigerator (the sump pump being, by far, the biggest offender of all my appliances).

Now I feel safe leaving my stuff on all the time. Listening in a thunderstorm may be a reality now.

I'll report on any (if any) effects on the sound.
post #13 of 44
>I dont know if the X-psu by MF is better than this, but I doubt it
>This is why I basically gave up on hunting down a X-psu.

Except that they do two completely different things. The X-PSU is basically an outboard power supply for the X-components. It filters the power going to X-ponents, but it also stores up much more power than the wall warts so that your X-CAN can handle even the harshest transients in the material you're listening to.
post #14 of 44
jude: I wouldn't try that - lightnings are really fast. A direct hit into your house or the near neighbourhood usually results in both damaged equipment and damaged surge protectors. They are better than nothing, though. But for perfect protection you have to build cascaded transformers - that is expensive and waists a lot of energy. Oh, and by the way, the typical ups-kind is called line-interactive - it will only go online (= switch to batteries), when the voltage is below a certain limit.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini
post #15 of 44
jude: I've been thinking a while about two points, that might be worth considering.

I know that line-interaktive ups models produce a more rectangualar output in battery mode, whereas online ups models usually produce a nice sinus. But I don't remember, whether this is a must - maybe when it says line conditioner, too. So you'd probably want to make sure that your desired online model has a nice sinus output in order to avoid distortion.

The other thing has to do with grounding. I'd suspect that chances are good to get additional hum with an ups, if you can't connect all electrically connected devices in your audio-chain to that ups, because it might cause a slightly different ground potential. So you might also want to make sure that your model has enough wattage for that.

I hope that doesn't spoil the fun...

Manfred / lini
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