Originally Posted by Tom W
My experience with line conditioners and the Audio GD DAC19-DSP is that they all sound different (I have 3 LC's and one of those has three levels of filtering). The DAC19-DSP sounds the best (to me) when it doesn't share the LC with anything else. If the NFB-10 doesn't sound great with your LC either try another one, or plug everything else (CD Player, Amp, etc.) into and leave the NFB-10 outside of the LC. IME CD/DVD players create a lot of noise and need to be isolated from Audio GD equipment. Of course the NFB-10 might be completely different from the DAC19-DSP.
Let us know how it goes.
Agreed....digital gear injects noise back into the AC mains line....it helps to look an LC that has separate sections (for digital and analog) with this noise in mind (and deals with it effectively with optimized sections). Since the NFB10 combines elements of both (digital and analog combined under one lid) it might be worthwhile to try both sections (digital and analog) and maybe the HC outlets of the LC if it has them separate from the digital/analog sections. My own system I use an LC for the small signal stuff (analog gear like preamps, tape decks etc) in the LC preamp analog filter section and all of the digital gear plugged into the digital filtering section. I have all my big amps plugged directly into the wall supply (which is dedicated 20 amp lines x 2 with 2 Duplex outlet's per line). I get zero noise issues this way and no compression with dynamics. My head fi setup uses a bog standard AR LC that has minimal filtering on it's switched lines but has a digital section separate from the analog outlets. An LC can make a big difference or no difference at all...it all depends on the quality of your AC mains and to a lesser extent the quality of the wiring/outlets at your location....if you have reliable steady AC mains on HQ wiring (no cheap stuff) a LC might be overkill if it wasn't for the fact that so many digital pieces of kit are injecting noise into your AC mains (likely inside and outside your home) as you share that mains supply with a number of other households that likely have just as many digital devices plugged in........It sounds like a bigger problem than it actually is but every little bit helps....a nice LC gives one some protection and piece of mind as long as the LC itself doesn't go haywire (that's a rare occurrence thankfully).
A good rule of thumb to follow is to find out which outlets in your dwelling have the heavy appliances on the circuit (and then avoid those for audio use)...that will solve 50% of your problems right off the bat. Other items like AC units, Microwaves, toasters, bathroom GFI's etc stove, dryer, fridge, freezer etc are all examples of appliances you don't want sharing a circuit with your computer and your audio gear...In fact I make sure my main audio system does not share with the computer since it's major source of AC noise injection itself (even top quality comp PSU's are noisy as hell compared to a linear PSU design). At any rate a comp running off a battery is the best of all but has limits for time before the charger kicks in which can inject a pile a garbage into the signal line and of course back into the outlet it's plugged into. All of this being said there are plenty of low cost options out there that will do a great job, some will alter the sound signature while others will not...there is no resource that I know of that would help one avoid the turkeys....for the most part though some Pro gear types are just as good as the audio types while others are simply awful ......Furman is a trustworthy Pro name, Monster Cable has some decent stuff that is overpriced at times...getting a sale item is a good investment (last years model for 30% off for example). Monster even has some Pro level LC's that are every bit as good as their HT line up ...PS Audio among other audio related types are strictly for those seeking the best of the best and need AC regenerating capability (apartment dwellers with horrid AC service, sags, noise, brown outs, no way to isolate from appliances on the same circuit etc). Even the Furman Pro gear AC regen units are pricey.....An AC regen unit is the last option if passive LC's fail to do the job.
You can certainly spend a little or lot of money on these things depending on what you need to get the job done. I would estimate that 95% of us don't need anything more fancy than a 300 dollar or less LC...beyond that other factors determine selection (budget, lack of a budget, gear level quality, expectation etc).
I would certainly not spare expense in the LC/Power delivery of an all out TOTL system (speaker of headphone based). At that level why limit options ? I hope this post has helped a bit.
Edited by Pricklely Peete - 4/9/11 at 2:56pm