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Break your power supply challenge
#1
I just got this idea whilst posting on the power conditioner thread and I thought it would be great fun to have a challenge! 

There are those who swear the improvement in sound quality by using a power conditioner is huge and there are those who think it's all bullock. To discuss that please go to the power conditioners thread https://devialetchat.com/Thread-Power-di...onditioner

I started this thread specifically to have us all have a go at 'proving' the power supply can be 'cracked'. So, get out your blow driers, connect your blenders up to the same power points as your amps and hear the sound quality drop. Come to think of it, the blenders and blow driers are most likely going to make so much noise you won't hear your Experts. But you get the idea; try to degrade the sound quality of your Experts by adding 'dirt' to the power supply.

Some ideas are:

Cheap switch mode power supplies.
Fluorescents. Especially the you've just turned them on.
LED lighting.
Anything with electric motors. For instance try an electric drill plugged into the same power point as your amp via a long lead so you can have it run in a different part of the house so the sound of the drill itself isn't an issue.


Good luck everyone! I'm exited!
                                                    Lifetime Roon, Mac mini, int. SSD, ext. HDD, tv as monitor, key board and track pad on bean bag as remote,Devialet 200, Od'A #097, Blue jeans speaker cable,                                     
                                                                                                                                                                            Dynaudio C1 MkII.
                                                                                                                                                                              Jim Smith's GBS.
                                                                                                                                                                        Northern NSW Australia.
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#2
When I switched on the air conditioner in another room, I can hear a slight dip in soundstage a few seconds later.
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#3
You left out the obvious "test" which is often mentioned as showing a difference and that is whether the system sounds better later at night when demand, and noise, on the grid is lower than it is during the day.

Another day/night factor I've been told about is for people with solar power setups. Do they hear a difference when the solar cells are producing power and the inverter is active compared to when their cells aren't producing power and the inverter is inactive.

I hear day/night differences without a power conditioner that I do not hear with one.

@Pim : Please read your last sentence above. I'm sorry to see that you've left the discussion since you say you have "exited". It would be more interesting if you were actually "excited" :-)

The big problem with this challenge is that it doesn't involve "real world" conditions. If we want to know whether power conditioners make a difference, we really aren't interested in knowing whether we can make our sound worse by running devices from the same power circuit as our audio systems that we are never going to run while the system is playing. If you can generate audible noise that way, you don't need a power conditioner to fix that problem, you just need to stop running those devices from the same circuit as your system when you're listening to music. The real question is not whether you can add noise. The real question is whether the quality of the sound you hear under normal conditions is negatively affected by noise on the power line that you don't notice because that noise is always there and you don't normally hear your system without the presence of that noise. Day/night differences are one situation which indicate that noise on the power line can make a difference but it's not an A/B test and therefore many will say that the reported difference is due to other factors such as lower ambient noise levels (less traffic, etc) at night or differences in mood. There's really only one A/B test that counts and that's whether or not you hear a difference when you put a power conditioner between the wall and your devices but there is still a time delay involved there, you have to power down the system, unplug everything from the wall, plug them into the power conditioner, plug that into the wall, turn the conditioner on, and then power up all of your system components again. That time delay is enough for some people to discount the comparison on the basis of the short term nature of audio memory.

I've had mixed results with power conditioners. The first few I tried didn't help in the audio system, they robbed the system of dynamics which is a common complaint. I do, however, run a separate video setup in another room which at that time was not on a dedicated circuit as my audio system is. When I used a conditioner that I thought made things worse in the audio system in the video setup, I tended to find it made an improvement which I put down in part to the fact that there were a lot more digital devices in the video setup (flat screen TV, AV receiver, DVD/BD player, Apple TV) while my audio system only had a CD player (I didn't have my Devialet back then and was using a totally analog integrated amp) and in part to the fact that a lot of household devices such as a refrigerator were connected to the same circuit. It wasn't until I tried a PS Audio power plant that I found a conditioner I thought didn't rob the audio system of dynamics and actually improved dynamics but then the PS Audio conditioners have storage capacity that enables them to deliver more power than they can draw from the wall for short periods when required, just as our amps have storage capacity that enables them to deliver more power than they can draw from the wall quickly when power is needed for loud transients.

One of the interesting things about the PS Audio power plants is that they have an info screen which displays things like incoming and output voltage (they also provide voltage regulation) and a figure showing incoming and output noise on the power line as a THD percentage. Both the incoming voltage and noise levels reported do change from day to night and the noise figure drops from around 2.4% during the day and early evening to around 1.4 to 1.8% later at night while the output figures are constant (0.1% for noise on the outputs). I'll accept that as proof that the power plants do make a measurable difference to the power being fed to the system. Whether or not that difference makes an audible difference to the sound you hear is another matter because, as has been pointed out in other threads here, the power supply in your components is supposed to deal with power "problems", and then there's the issue of what threshold level any noise has to be at before we can hear it. My personal experience with noise and also with the gradually lowering levels of all forms of distortion from our gear over the 5 and a bit decades I've been involved in this hobby is that we aren't aware of noise and distortion that we've always lived with, we only notice that we have been hearing sound affected by noise and/or distortion when that noise/distortion is removed. It's like eyesight, I didn't realise that I had mild astigmatism until I got my first pair of spectacles which included correction for that astigmatism and suddenly noticed that circles and squares looked different.

In the end, based on experience with a few power conditioners in both systems and taking into account the fact that my audio system has changed from having a CD player as the only digital device in the system to a system in which every powered device is now digital, I'd say that noise on the power line does negatively impact the sound that we hear and that power conditioners can make an improvement but many power conditioners aren't capable of meeting the power requirements of amplifiers. I'd also say, based on the increasing count of digital components in my audio system that while removing noise from the power line is beneficial, I think a bigger improvement comes with conditioners that actually isolate the components in your system from each other and prevent noise generated by one component being passed to another. Not all power conditioners are equally effective and while I believe they make a difference in my system I also think that if you're interested in trying them then you should borrow before you buy and try a few different models from different manufacturers. Depending on your local power grid and the components in your system you are likely to find that some conditioners are more effective than others.

YMMV
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#4
(26-Sep-2020, 10:56)Pim Wrote:  To discuss that please go to the power conditioners thread https://devialetchat.com/Thread-Power-di...onditioner
                                                    Lifetime Roon, Mac mini, int. SSD, ext. HDD, tv as monitor, key board and track pad on bean bag as remote,Devialet 200, Od'A #097, Blue jeans speaker cable,                                     
                                                                                                                                                                            Dynaudio C1 MkII.
                                                                                                                                                                              Jim Smith's GBS.
                                                                                                                                                                        Northern NSW Australia.
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#5
(27-Sep-2020, 02:48)Pim Wrote:
(26-Sep-2020, 10:56)Pim Wrote:  To discuss that please go to the power conditioners thread https://devialetchat.com/Thread-Power-di...onditioner

Most of my comment above was directed to the point that your challenge will not prove anything.

Showing that if you go out of your way, you can add noise to the sound you get by plugging lots of noisy devices into the same power circuit as your audio system does not tell you whether the power you feed to your audio system normally, ie without all those noisy devices added, will benefit from a power conditioner.

If you want to be able to show that a system benefits from power conditioning, you do not need to show that you can add noise to it's output by running devices you don't normally use while listening. What you need to show is that removing noise from the power you feed to your system under normal conditions makes things sound better, in other words you need a way of demonstrating that subtracting noise that is normally present on the line makes an audible difference, not that you can make an audible difference by adding noise to the line.

The result of this challenge will prove nothing at all because even if everyone who tries it reports that they can do something to add noise and make the sound they hear worse, that does nothing at all to show that there is normally noise present on the power going to their system which has an audible effect or that adding a power conditioner under normal conditions makes an improvement and those are the 2 questions which need to be answered to everyone's satisfaction. The results of this challenge do not do anything to help us answer those 2 questions.
Roon Nucleus+, Devilalet Expert 140 Pro CI, Focal Sopra 2, PS Audio P12, Keces P8 LPS, Uptone Audio EtherREGEN with optical fibre link to my router, Shunyata Alpha NR and Sigma NR power cables, Shunyata Sigma ethernet cables, Shunyata Alpha V2 speaker cables, Grand Prix Audio Monaco rack, RealTRAPS acoustic treatment.

Brisbane, Qld, Australia
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#6
take this analogy, with out the mains you can't hear anything,no matter what you spent on the kit you use.
Now for those in the know, put the mains through some good measuring equipment an oscilloscope and first measure the incoming voltage to your premises, then again at the point you plug your system in, in the first case is the voltage within the regulations for the supply, 2nd does the voltage differ at the socket, and by what margin.Then with the system plugged in playing as you would normally, take the volt readings again. If a significant volt drop occurs at either you need a competent electrician to check your home installation for cables sizes lengths, resistance/impedance testing, then correct load testing.
You may find if it's external then they could supply a larger csa infeed or adjust their transformer tappings to a line the voltage/load on it.
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#7
In part, I agree with @David A , the "Pim Test" will not actually prove that power conditioner will or will not improve performance of an amplifier. 

That said, I think it is a valid test, because you could load up a power strip will all kinds of SMPS powered devices, or motor driven items.  Then switch the power strip in and out, and see (hear) if there are any audible differences in your system.  So even if this does not ultimately prove anything, it is a relatively easy way to get some information, and hear something (or not) with your own ears.

Consider, if you cannot hear anything via the Pim test, it might give you some insight that all this power conditioning is perhaps not worrying about, to your ears at least, but if you did clearly hear something it might educate you as to what exactly you should be listening for if you did try one.  As far as I can see the test will just take a little time, it will not cost anything, so why not give it a try? If nothing else, it could give you some insight as to how much you need to worry about the very many SMPS powered devices you might have lurking elsewhere in your house, I know I have a few.

When I have the time I will try it for myself.

I stumbled across this video yesterday, and did wonder if this was footage of Pim trying the test himself?  Angel Although these are UK sockets shown, so maybe this what the test will look like when I give it a try?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iC9JDwCCimA
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#8
(26-Sep-2020, 14:20)tategoi Wrote: When I switched on the air conditioner in another room, I can hear a slight dip in soundstage a few seconds later.

I had a go at trying to replicate this last night. I used Joe Bonamassa's Athens to Athens on the An Acoustic Evening album. It's one of those songs that can give a sound stage that's wider than the speakers, by about a meter to the left and 0.8m to the right. It's easy to pin point where the instruments are and it's repeated / long term. 

I was using the air conditioner in our living / listening room so I didn't want the fan to be on. To achieve this I turned it to heating; this way it does a few minutes of 'prep work' on the outside unit before it starts the fan. I also pre-heated two ovens (fans off) to pull away even more power from the amps.

I couldn't hear any change in sound stage but I did have a feeling there was some difference in how the instruments sounded at first (Strings seemed to sound more accurately like strings) I repeated the test and found I couldn't hear that difference again.
                                                    Lifetime Roon, Mac mini, int. SSD, ext. HDD, tv as monitor, key board and track pad on bean bag as remote,Devialet 200, Od'A #097, Blue jeans speaker cable,                                     
                                                                                                                                                                            Dynaudio C1 MkII.
                                                                                                                                                                              Jim Smith's GBS.
                                                                                                                                                                        Northern NSW Australia.
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#9
Strange thing is that the Mk I Human Being, as far as HiFi is concerned, comes with endless variations.

Before you sat down to give that very expensive piece of kit an airing did you think to give your ears a good clean in the shower that morning? Did you have a nasty, congesting cold, or Covid as some might call it, muffling your experience? How was your mood? Did you have some troubling incident interfering with your ability to concentrate? That £2,000 piece of wire or £500 plug has to make a difference, doesn’t it? Was that ornament on that table last time I played that piece of music? Did your wife or husband interrupt your revelry with a cup of coffee and did the flavour add or detract to your listening experience?

Did you ever think that subjectivity is infinite and very imaginative?
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