The Power Supply Poll
Apr 29, 2002 at 4:32 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 20

Joe Bloggs

Member of the Trade: HiBy / EFO technologies Co
His Porta Corda walked the Green Mile
Joined
Oct 21, 2001
Posts
11,232
Likes
3,005
Location
Hong Kong and Melbourne
(moderators: I'm putting this poll here to avoid sampling bias. If this is not an acceptable explanation, move it back where it belongs
redface.gif
)

This really belongs in the Cables, Power & Tweaks forum, but I want feedback from anyone who's ever tried any power tweak, not just those who are still interested in it enough to frequent that forum
wink.gif


The poll question is: If you have tried power tweaks, (changing power cables, adding power conditioning, changing outboard PSUs...) how much difference did the tweaks make to the sound you get out of your system?

Please vote in the poll and elaborate in the sonic differences you heard in the reply. Also state whether you think the differences are due to more power or cleaner power signal reaching the components. I'm especially interested in how power tweaks have affected the background noise level in your system and how this correlates with other changes in sonic characteristics that you heard.

Thank you
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Apr 29, 2002 at 6:09 PM Post #2 of 20

dhwilkin

Headphone audiophiles are practically the stuff of legend.
Joined
Jun 20, 2001
Posts
4,426
Likes
11
B.P.T BP-Jr balanced power unit: Works absolute wonders on my Max, really makes the background quiet, increases sense of space, and gives the bass an extra kick. Doesn't help as much w/ source units, but there is still some improvement. In this case, clean power is incredible!

Replacing DI/O PS w/ Stancor: Admittedly, I didn't listen too long to compare differences here, but I'd say a reasonably noticeable improvement in dynamics and noise floor. Nowhere near as drastic a difference as balanced power. I'm guessing these effects are due to both more and cleaner power, since the base PS was kinda puny.
 
Apr 29, 2002 at 6:26 PM Post #3 of 20

Joe Bloggs

Member of the Trade: HiBy / EFO technologies Co
His Porta Corda walked the Green Mile
Joined
Oct 21, 2001
Posts
11,232
Likes
3,005
Location
Hong Kong and Melbourne
Hmm, I suppose the BPT is a power conditioner (and the PSU is still the one built into the Max) while with the DIO you changed the whole PSU?

By 'makes the background quiet, increases sense of space' do you mean that you could actually hear background buzz / hum without the BPT when no music is playing and that this was cured by the BPT? Or was the difference only noticeable when music is being played?

Thanks and keep the replies coming,

Joe
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Apr 29, 2002 at 6:51 PM Post #4 of 20

dhwilkin

Headphone audiophiles are practically the stuff of legend.
Joined
Jun 20, 2001
Posts
4,426
Likes
11
No, the BPT only makes a difference when music is playing. Kinda hard to describe until you hear it, but instruments seem to gain a sharper focus, and you can almost get a physical feeling of the space between them. You know how if a bunch of people are talking at once, like in a concert hall, the general noise level makes it hard to really separate out any one voice? That's what it was like pre-balanced power. W/ balanced power, there can be any number of people talking at once, but the general noise level is much quieter, so you can easily find the distinct space where each voice begins. I'm probably not explaining it very well, maybe jude or morphsci can draw better analogies.

For the DI/O, I mean I replaced the external power supply transformer (aka wall-wart).
 
Apr 29, 2002 at 6:56 PM Post #5 of 20

Joe Bloggs

Member of the Trade: HiBy / EFO technologies Co
His Porta Corda walked the Green Mile
Joined
Oct 21, 2001
Posts
11,232
Likes
3,005
Location
Hong Kong and Melbourne
No, I understand you quite well as I had the same feeling going from wall wart to battery on my pcdp...
tongue.gif


But this is actually quite hard to understand... no noise from the PSU with no music playing--music plays, in comes noise
confused.gif
But we'll leave the technical discussion for another thread...
tongue.gif
 
Apr 29, 2002 at 7:11 PM Post #6 of 20

dhwilkin

Headphone audiophiles are practically the stuff of legend.
Joined
Jun 20, 2001
Posts
4,426
Likes
11
Yeah, no in-depth technical discussions, since you didn't clearly stick a warning label on the thread.
tongue.gif


My un-scientific guesses would be either less noise comes in from the power, thus less noise manages to somehow jump into the analog signal being amplified, or the cleaner power gives better control over the headphone diaphragms. In the latter case, maybe it's the diaphragms being able to stop/start more precisely that lets all the distinct sounds have their own space, instead of seeming to bleed into each other.
 
Apr 29, 2002 at 7:27 PM Post #7 of 20

slindeman

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 25, 2001
Posts
792
Likes
11
Improving the power supply on one of my DIY amps made a noticeable improvement. Just changing the wal-wart from a 9V to 24V is noticeable to me, though less so than improving the internal power supply of the amp. I haven't tried any expensive power changes yet like cords or conditioners.
 
Apr 29, 2002 at 9:44 PM Post #8 of 20

BZed

New Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 29, 2002
Posts
1
Likes
0
Hi guys.

This is my first post here but I'm not new to this subject.

The biggest difference you can make to any audio gear is to improve the power supply. External devices will have unpredictable effects but may offer some help.

By far a clean, well regulated DC power supply in the Amp. preamp or whatever make the most difference.

With a good clean PS the amp will be able to control the load much more accuratly. Think of it this way; The power supply is the reference the amp works aginst to control the load. If the power supply moves then the amp will have less control over the load. Feedback can help but it can't cure the problem.

Well, that's my 2 cents

Later all
 
Apr 30, 2002 at 4:13 AM Post #9 of 20

bootman

King o'Ping
Joined
Jun 22, 2001
Posts
3,308
Likes
10
Quote:

But this is actually quite hard to understand... no noise from the PSU with no music playing--music plays, in comes noise But we'll leave the technical discussion for another thread...


Could be just a simple matter of having a lower noise floor which would translate to a better S/N overall.
This could account for the descriptions given.

As far as the power question, power supply design is what seperates the wannabes from the big boys in hi-fi.
very_evil_smiley.gif
 
Apr 30, 2002 at 4:34 AM Post #10 of 20

DanG

Headphoneus Supremus
Moderator
Joined
Jun 20, 2001
Posts
4,796
Likes
10
I've moved this to the Cables, Power, Tweaks, Speakers, Accessories forum because this is turning out to be a great discussion -- but not accessible if someone searches for, say "Power Supply" in the Cables, Power, etc. forum as they likely would do. I hope it's okay with you guys.
 
Apr 30, 2002 at 5:47 AM Post #12 of 20

Joe Bloggs

Member of the Trade: HiBy / EFO technologies Co
His Porta Corda walked the Green Mile
Joined
Oct 21, 2001
Posts
11,232
Likes
3,005
Location
Hong Kong and Melbourne
Quote:

Originally posted by bootman


Could be just a simple matter of having a lower noise floor which would translate to a better S/N overall.
This could account for the descriptions given.


No it could not
evil_smiley.gif


I asked dhwilkin and he explicitly stated that the BPT only made a difference while music was playing.

I would have preferred this to stay in the other forum at least until the votes have mostly settled down... oh well.
redface.gif
 
Apr 30, 2002 at 6:38 AM Post #13 of 20

DanG

Headphoneus Supremus
Moderator
Joined
Jun 20, 2001
Posts
4,796
Likes
10
Don't worry, people visit this forum too. The problem with keeping posts relating to things like Power in the E&A forum is that... well... that's why Jude created several different forums! We move all the posts that go into the Headphone Review forum which don't belong there out as well... it wouldn't do to play favorites now, would it?
wink.gif


Okay, to attempt to get into the discussion... none of my equipment has replaceable power cords, but I found that plugging my Melos amp and my Marantz CD player into the same power strip as my computer, monitor, phone, alarm clock, and electric toothbrush created a nasty beeping and booping in the left channel.
smily_headphones1.gif
Isolating audio components from my living/studying components proved to be a very effective "tweak."
 
Apr 30, 2002 at 11:11 AM Post #14 of 20

Joe Bloggs

Member of the Trade: HiBy / EFO technologies Co
His Porta Corda walked the Green Mile
Joined
Oct 21, 2001
Posts
11,232
Likes
3,005
Location
Hong Kong and Melbourne
dhwilkin,

Quote:

B.P.T BP-Jr balanced power unit: Works absolute wonders on my Max, really makes the background quiet, increases sense of space, and gives the bass an extra kick. Doesn't help as much w/ source units, but there is still some improvement. In this case, clean power is incredible!


What do you mean by 'doesn't help as much w/ source units'? Did you, like, try:

amp and source on regular wall power
amp on BPT, source on regular wall power
source on BPT, amp on regular wall power
amp and source on BPT

and from this conclude that the BPT makes more difference on the amp than on the source? Or what?
 
Apr 30, 2002 at 2:25 PM Post #15 of 20

dhwilkin

Headphone audiophiles are practically the stuff of legend.
Joined
Jun 20, 2001
Posts
4,426
Likes
11
I tried three of the four combinations. At this point, I must remind you that I use a transport + DAC for the source, and since my particular balanced power unit only has two plugs, I can't have the transport, DAC, and amp all plugged in at the same time. I haven't yet tried having the transport + amp combination. I'm flat-out not going to try the transport + DAC combination, because that amp will be unplugged from the balanced power unit over my dead body!
eek.gif
very_evil_smiley.gif


Here's what I heard w/ each combination (WP = wall power, BP = balanced power):

Amp(WP), DAC(WP): Before I got balanced power, this is how I listened. Sounded good, some haze in the background, not much depth to the soundstage, bass was reasonably tight but not too impactful.

Amp(BP), DAC(WP): Wow, what a difference! Increased dynamics, tighter and more impactful bass, huge increase in soundstage depth, more precise imaging, etc... No negative effects.

Amp(BP), DAC(BP): Certainly different, but not all good. Sound is smoother, though slightly less dynamic range, and slightly quieter in the background. Dynamic loss was the only negative effect. None of the benefits were as dramatic as when first plugging the amp into balanced power.

Also, you should consider other people's experiences as well. jude has both his source and amp in balanced power, and I don't believe he experienced negative effects from either. Don't know which combination made a bigger difference in his system, though. I know at least a few others, acidtripwow and morphsci, have balanced power units as well.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top