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    Audio Bull$hit

    deepee99
    deepee99

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    Post by deepee99 on Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:02 pm

    "The science of AC power delivery is not a simple one; it demands focus, and the devil is in the details. In fact, the great increase in airborne and AC-line-transmitted radio signals, combined with overtaxed utility lines and the ever-increasing demands from high-definition audio/video components, has rendered our utilities’ AC power a somewhat antiquated technology.

    "Where Alternating Current (AC) is concerned, we’re relying on a century-old technology created for incandescent lights and electric motors—technology that was certainly never meant to power the sophisticated analog and digital circuits used in today’s premium audio/video systems. To properly accommodate the promise of today’s ever-increasing bandwidth and dynamic range, we must achieve extraordinarily low noise across a very wide range of frequencies.

    ""Further, today’s power amplifiers are being taxed for instantaneous peak-current demand, even when they’re driven at modest volumes. Although we have seen a substantial increase in dynamics from much of our audio software, the loudspeakers we employ to reproduce them are often no more efficient than they were two to four decades ago. This places great demands on an amplifier’s power supply, as well as the source AC power supplying it.

    "Our systems’ sensitive components need better alternating current . . ."

    ~ Audioquest's pitch for its new $8,000 "power conditioner." (https://www.needledoctor.com/Audioquest-Niagara-7000-Power-Conditioner)
    Not a typo. Not $800. Eight kilobucks. I could build a hydro-electric dam on the creek running through our place for less than that, if FERC would let me. Makes a $75 Chinese-built Variac from Circuit Specialists look downright niggardly.

    I dug up the Audioquest BS on my own, but there's a new Facebook chat group I think everyone here might enjoy reading and posting to. It's San Francisco-based Audio Bull$hit. AB's (not to be confused with A-B, Holger) mission statement reads thusly:

    "Discuss the bull$hit that is High End Audio and other random musings (audio reviews and products you believe are story telling bullshit, psycho-acoustics, placebo effect, jokes, bad album covers, vintage ads, music news, equipment, setups, what you are listening to, Q&A). Maybe even learn something along the way all while having fun!") There are no required entry creds. They even let me join. Enjoy!
    deepee99
    deepee99

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    Post by deepee99 on Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:24 pm

    Peter W. wrote:All good, but for one thing:

    The price of admission to Facebook is far, far too high.

    Seems like fun, however!

    Too late for me, Peter, regrettably. They've had my number since about 10 years ago, so I've nothing more to lose.
    sKiZo
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    Post by sKiZo on Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:37 pm

    clown


    Last edited by sKiZo on Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
    deepee99
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    Post by deepee99 on Mon Jun 10, 2019 5:49 pm

    sKiZo wrote:I didn't see tube rolling on your list ... oversight?  ;-}

    And yah ... the most fun I had with FB was the month I spent trying to cancel my membership a day after I started it ...
    And how did that work out for ya, Skiz? I'm still getting bills for my cancelled (in 2005) cell carrier.
    bluemeanies
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    Post by bluemeanies on Tue Jun 11, 2019 4:50 am

    Right on with FB. 
    Who knew BIG BROTHER would enter into our homes so easily masquerading as your own album of "friends and family". I think it is the worst and while I welcome intervention from the government I have apprehension about "IT" becoming uglier. It's to late for me also as I already have taken a bite from the apple.
    I join "audiobull$hit" about four months ago and find it very satisfying that I have met people walking down the same street as myself. The idea of spending $10,000 for a meter length of audio cable is ridiculous and shameful from both the seller and buyer. I look at the value! What value is there in such vocabulary as cryogenic cables and oxygen free?
    Bull$hit....AUDIOBULL$HIT!!
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    Tom

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    Post by Tom on Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:06 am

    Why stop at oxygen free cables? I think an oxygen free, superaudiophile listening room would be amazing!

    Heck, if a pure nitrogen atmosphere is good enough for the inside of your tires....

    cheers
    deepee99
    deepee99

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    Post by deepee99 on Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:24 pm

    Thank-you Cap'n Bob. I had left the screen on Skiz's bodily parts and wife damned near shot me when she came into the den. However, let's give Skiz a pass. He's obviously been off his meds awhile.
    Back onto the "audio" business. My OP wasn't just aimed at drawing a few chuckles; I'd hoped to prompt a discussion on the whole business of AC power as it relates to tubes and hi-fi in general. I'm full aware that Audioquest and several others have waded into this arena with carloads of snake-oil bull$hit, and they and their prey are fun to laugh at. But in our smugness, are we doing all the necessary things to extract the best sound and longest lives from our tubes? Does where we live within the Grid influence how we should treat those electrons blowing at us from the wall? My guess is as good as yours, but I'm welcome to better-informed views than my own.
    Power is a weird thing. Bob Carver stuck a length of lamp-cord out the end of his famed Phase Linear 700 "Superamp" and no one thought much of it back then. That would be a deal-breaker for even the hardest of skeptics these days, Methinks.
    Since I only know what I know, I'll start with my piecemeal approach, trying to turn variables into constants where possible.
    Source of Power: Hydroelectric dams on the Spokane River near Post Falls, Idaho, and Noxon, Montana
    Grids: 2, one tied to each dam, overlapping in order to provide redundant power for operating deep-shaft silver mines nearby here. The mines run about 5,000 HP each through MG sets to power their mile-deep hoists, which double as primary escape-ways.
    Weather: snow- and lightening-related outages on our above-ground distribution centers, leading to surges and brown-outs. Not frequent, but all it takes is one.
    Voltage at the wall: 121-124 VAC depending on load. A 20-amp breaker at the panel is dedicated to just the hi-fi.
    So that's the power constant in my equation. How noisy it is depends on time of day.
    From the wall, I go directly to a 15-amp manual-reset GFCI ($15.00);
    Thence to a 20-amp Furman SPR-20i which will clamp just about any conceivable voltage to  121 VAC (+1/ -1 volts). ($900-$2,000)
    Furman's output of 121 nominal VAC then fed to a 20-amp Variac ($100)
    Thence to the tubes, Variac set to 117VAC so the effective output is 116-118VAC thereabouts. The solid state equipment (TV, DAC, etc.) just get the Furman's 121VAC output.
    Why the 15 amp instead of 20-amp GFCI? Theoretically, it should fail first, thus is the cheapest component in the circuit.
    The 31-lb Furman and the 25-lb Variac are basically just big heavy autoformers. The switching necessary for the Furman's voltage control is upstream of the autoformer, so what comes out of the box is just a sine wave. Variacs have no switching, just the pot on top of the autoformer, so again the output is just pure sine wave.
    Second thoughts: I overspent on the Furman. They have far-less expensive voltage-regulating boxes that would be sufficient for anyone's needs (provided a Variac is downstream) to act as a noise filter.
    That's all she wrote here. I think I'm providing safe and very clean power to my tubes, and the high-priced Furman does have 12 hospital-grade 15-20 outlets on the back, but a measly power strip plugged into one of the cheaper ones would do just fine.
    So what am I missing here? What's overdone and unnecessary, and what's lacking?
    That's really why I started this bull$hit thread.
    pichacker
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    Post by pichacker on Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:18 am

    Well, if the PSU in your audio equipment is doing its job properly then as long as you have enough coming from the wall to your equipment the audio signal should not be affected...

    But we all know that nothing is perfect. I can quite believe that even in the best designed product EMC effects will be hard to fully suppress. With miles of cables up in the air between us and the power station of course there are going to be some nasties induced into it. Lightning, Radio Hams, PMR, Chinese LED SMPSU's, Thyristor lamp dimmers are all in there. A good power filter can see to these if supply bourne.

    The issues start to creep in when the supplies are unregulated. We then need to ensure that our equipment is fed within an acceptable range. Too high and too hot or too low and too cold...

    We just need to be realistic on what will make a difference to the sound / equipment longevity and what is pure tosh.

    We all have our own ideas and we've all seen topics stray due to Audiopholery.
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    Frank111

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    Post by Frank111 on Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:25 pm

    One factor that I think is more important than any of this is the way we are hearing at any one time. I know that my system sounds different even from one day to the next, and nothing with any of it has changed. I believe that the quality in the way I hear varies. I don't know why, but I think it does. Sometimes, I'll listen late at night when I'm tired. Then the next day, listen again and it's different. Hate to admit it, but I'm like a lot of us who are not exactly 25 anymore, and how can one not factor age into all of this. Just another take on all of this, and really, I do think about it more now than I ever did.
    Peter W.
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    Post by Peter W. on Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:56 pm

    Frank111 wrote:One factor that I think is more important than any of this is the way we are hearing at any one time. I know that my system sounds different even from one day to the next, and nothing with any of it has changed. I believe that the quality in the way I hear varies. I don't know why, but I think it does. Sometimes, I'll listen late at night when I'm tired. Then the next day, listen again and it's different. Hate to admit it, but I'm like a lot of us who are not exactly 25 anymore, and how can one not factor age into all of this. Just another take on all of this, and really, I do think about it more now than I ever did.

    Absolutely true!

    And, in addition, further dilutes any of the blandishments of audiophoolery.

    As long as we are enjoying what we listen to, and how we listen to it - that is, and should be, enough.
    deepee99
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    Post by deepee99 on Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:36 pm

    Peter W. wrote:
    Frank111 wrote:One factor that I think is more important than any of this is the way we are hearing at any one time. I know that my system sounds different even from one day to the next, and nothing with any of it has changed. I believe that the quality in the way I hear varies. I don't know why, but I think it does. Sometimes, I'll listen late at night when I'm tired. Then the next day, listen again and it's different. Hate to admit it, but I'm like a lot of us who are not exactly 25 anymore, and how can one not factor age into all of this. Just another take on all of this, and really, I do think about it more now than I ever did.

    Absolutely true!

    And, in addition, further dilutes any of the blandishments of audiophoolery.

    As long as we are enjoying what we listen to, and how we listen to it - that is, and should be, enough.

    CAN'T QUITE HEAR YOU
    WHAT DID YOU SAY?
    SORRY. WOULD YOU PLEASE REPEAT THAT?
    "Four thousand KhZ/s. That's the speed limit.
    "FOURTY THOUSAND KILOCYCLES? COOL. MY STEREO SHOULD WORK FINE, THEN.
    deepee99
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    Post by deepee99 on Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:41 pm

    I wrote a spot more on Audio Bull$it after my original post, in response to others' concerns about additional power cord anomalies, such as one writer's worry about gamma radiation.


    Have no fear. Audioquest (I have it on good authority) has been working on its LSD (Lead Shielding Device) project since 1948 and is about to offer it to discerning Audiophiles through Selected Dealers. LSD envelops the entire home with a fine shield of Pb in designer colours to protect us from grid anomalies such as Joe Mallis describes. As a side benefit, it will protect your valuable equipment from EMPs and from neutron bomb blasts of <20 kilotons beyond a 5-furlong circle around the Audiophile's compound.
    Robert Harley, editor of The Absolute Sound, reports that after 50 years of home-testing with a free and routinely updated LSD prototype:
    'Without LSD, the colourations of sound induced by grid gamma rays and black helicopter emissions defy description. With LSD," Harley continued," the Discriminating Audiophile may experience the truth of colours and the very intimate nuancing previously available only to ultra-rich owners of a discontinued Turbo-Encabulator."
    The LSD will be brought to market at an MSRP of GBP 299,999 (approx. CAD$500,000) and comes with a 90-day non-transferable replacement warranty.
    deepee99
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    Post by deepee99 on Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:20 pm

    pichacker wrote:Well, if the PSU in your audio equipment is doing its job properly then as long as you have enough coming from the wall to your equipment the audio signal should not be affected...

    But we all know that nothing is perfect. I can quite believe that even in the best designed product EMC effects will be hard to fully suppress. With miles of cables up in the air between us and the power station of course there are going to be some nasties induced into it. Lightning, Radio Hams, PMR, Chinese LED SMPSU's, Thyristor lamp dimmers are all in there. A good power filter can see to these if supply bourne.

    The issues start to creep in when the supplies are unregulated. We then need to ensure that our equipment is fed within an acceptable range. Too high and too hot or too low and too cold...

    We just need to be realistic on what will make a difference to the sound / equipment longevity and what is pure tosh.

    We all have our own ideas and we've all seen topics stray due to Audiopholery.

    Well, there is this:
    (From the history given by Quora)
    https://www.quora.com/Is-the-power-system-in-the-US-technically-110-115-or-120VAC-How-about-220-or-is-it-240-or-235VAC

    "The one constant variable is the AC at the wall-plate. The optimum has creeped steadily up from 110-115-120 VAC currently:
    The first power systems were 110 volts. Edison chose that as a good compromise voltage to make his light bulb work well (this voltage was high enough that the bulb gave off a good amount of light, but this voltage was not so high that it caused the bulb to burn out quickly).

    "The 110 volts system meant that about 100 volts would actually be delivered to the point of use.

    "By the 1930’s the voltage had increased to 115 volts. (I don’t really understand why — I just know that it happened.) In 1968 the National Electrical Code (NEC) finally changed the values for motor ratings to reflect this voltage.

    "In the early 1970’s document C84.1 from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) included a maximum deviation from standard voltage.

    "In 1984 the NEC was changed so that the standard voltage used for load calculations was changed to 120 volts. (Again I don’t really understand why the change happened, just that it did.)

    "Today utilities are required to supply you with voltage that doesn’t vary from 120 volts by more than 5% either way. So that would mean your voltage should be between 114 and 126 volts.

    "For some larger appliances you’ll use the two different legs of 120 volts to ground, so those appliances operate at 240 volts."
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    scrotuss

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    Post by scrotuss on Sat Jun 15, 2019 2:23 pm

    I might add:  Where 120-125V line voltage is not welcome for our vintage audio equipment containing components that were sometimes spec'd with very little wiggle room, the flip side is that 115V would NOT be welcome in any large electric motor-driven device that ain't connected close to your incoming service (e.g. my radial arm saw in the basement, my air compressor on a 50' extension cord, my 5 ton A/C compressor located on the opposite side of the house from the service box). Huge starting inrush currents create voltage drop adding to more current inrush from the poor motor trying to compensate, then locked rotor and a popped breaker.   IMHO, a variac is a small price to pay to keep our tubes and caps happy.  Plus, it gives us another thing to fuss over!
    deepee99
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    Audio Bull$hit Empty Rhodium-plated wall outlet

    Post by deepee99 on Sun Jun 16, 2019 2:44 pm

    https://www.parts-express.com/wattgate-381-tr-rh-grey-rhodium-plated-audio-grade-ac-recepticle-outlet--110-4394
    I'm waiting for the solid-rhodium version. This PGM group metal closed Friday at $3,250/oz. Should make a lot of difference.
    Bob Latino
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    Post by Bob Latino on Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:08 pm

    About 10 years ago, I made a post here about ridiculously priced audio gear. (Link below) Others chimed in .. Believe it or not, Reference Audio Mods online still sell their "$485 Silver Rock Signature wooden knob". The $400 super tweeter with response to 1 GHz is now gone but Geoff Kait of Machina Dynamica still sells a lot of shall we say "questionable value audio items" on the page at the second link.

    2009 forum post on earlier audio BS

    Other strange "audio gear" from Machina Dynamica

    Bob
    Bob Latino
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    Post by Bob Latino on Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:37 am

    Audio Bull$hit Furutech-cable-holder

    Another audio item of questionable value .. A Furutech cable holder with "NCF: Nano Crystal² Formula: Developed by Furutech, NCF features a special crystalline material that has two 'active' properties. First, it generates negative ions that eliminate static. Second, it converts thermal energy into far infrared. Furutech combines this remarkable material with nano-sized ceramic particles and carbon powder for their additional piezoelectric damping properties."

    Furutech NCF Booster Performance-Enhancing Connector & Cable Holder

    Only $350

    I am surprised that Amazon doesn't pull the plug on this item.

    Bob
    vtshopdog
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    Post by vtshopdog on Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:28 am

    Bob Latino wrote:

    Another audio item of questionable value ..

    Second, it converts thermal energy into far infrared.


    Only $350

    I am surprised that Amazon doesn't pull the plug on this item.

    Bob
    [/size]


    I can’t comment on the other properties, but the claim of converting thermal energy to infrared is a legit but unremarkable property of most all matter, commonly called radiant heat loss.  The hood of your car and embers in in a fireplace do this as well.   It does appear to be very well made, but severely overpriced and useless nonetheless.

    The most powerful marketing claims begin with snippets of truth and language designed to impress.  Anybody remember that old Tom Waits song “Step right up”??
    vtshopdog
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    Post by vtshopdog on Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:35 am

    “nano-sized ceramic particles and carbon powder”

    Hee Hee
    On second reading, above is likely a long winded way of saying “powder coat” paint.
    dalemurray
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    Post by dalemurray on Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:09 am

    Peter W. wrote:
    Now, a single-phase two-leg 100 A service was considered the minimum for good practice, and 200A became the gold standard.

    NOTE: A 100A/240 VAC service delivers 6.7 x the power of that original 30 A service. A 200A service delivers over 13 x the power (in amps). Over 4 x the power in watts from a 30 x 110 to a 60 x 230. Over 7.3 x to the 100A, 15 x @ 200A.  

    As a relatively new, first time, home owner I did have my electrical upgraded - the original 1963 push button breakers in the 16 space box was not going to cut it. My electrician and family friend advised against 200 amp power so I went with 100 amp - he thought it would be foolish.

    His logic, and I agree, DAMN NEAR EVERYTHING IN THE MODERN HOUSE IS HIGH EFFICIENCY.

    Think about homes in the 80's.
    HVAC was not nearly as efficient as today.
    Televisions, stereos, light bulbs, laundry equipment, etc etc. All use less power now than they did then - minus our tube gear.

    I hesitated when he said I only needed 60 amp 220 in my garage/workshop. He was right. I have yet to tax the system even with a 3hp 220 table saw, 1.5hp dust collector, 12 4' FL lights, 1.5hp 220 air compressor, and a furnace fan converted to air cleaner all running at the same time.



    The one gripe I do have about my electrical is the wide swing in voltage - I've measured more than 124v (maybe 126v) and well under 118v. This results in regularly adjusting my variac.
    One day I'll have it set to 120v.
    The next day it will read 126v at power up; I adjust to 120v.
    The next day it may read 113-114v; adjust to 120v.

    I am the first house off the transformer - literally in my back yard. All the wire from the pole to my panel are less than 5 years old.
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    Frank111

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    Post by Frank111 on Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:30 am

    I think you got some bad advice about that 100 amp service. I would not go through the trouble and expense of upgrading an electrical service and just taking it that far. In fact, I am seeing some new construction with two 200 amp service boxes installed. All of the houses I have owned had 200 amp service, so I don't know how much it costs to have an upgrade done. And there is also the resale factor where another buyer might expect having 200 amp service. But whats done is done, and time will tell.
    dalemurray
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    Post by dalemurray on Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:01 am

    Ultimately, 200amp I would require new wire from the pole to the my outside service panel, given the cost and his advice I did not pursue that route.

    Three years later I had to replace/relocate my outside service due to aluminum wire rotting it the connections. Oh well.

    I still believe 100amp is more than sufficient for our needs. Heck, we were at 60amp service for 1 year and never had a problem with that.

    I think 100amp or 200amp is akin to a truck that has 350hp or one with 500hp; whats the point if it will never been needed?

    For the record, its not like we are Luddites; we a server and NAS running 24/7, a few laptops, two stereos, etc.

    Just glanced at one of our laptop power supplies - it draws 1.8 amps.
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    Solder Slinger

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    Post by Solder Slinger on Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:29 pm

    Ok, I read the Audio Bull$hit comments about the PS Audio Power Regens... I own one (Model P12). I refuse to use Facebook (work in Info Security).  I live in an area where a large portion of the AC power comes from solar, the typical THD of the incoming AC power is between 2-3%, I've seen AC as high as 125 VAC, as low as 116 VAC, usually 122 VAC . The so called AC sine wave forms, as displayed on both my Tektronics scope and the P12 Regen leave something to be desired...

    My audio system is tube based and home built with very high quality components, no regulation in the power supply, only solid state in the system is the power rectifiers. When I built the preamp and amp, I included X and Y type caps on the power lines to minimize noise, etc.

    The P12 Regen has configurable output voltage. When set to a regulated output of 119 VAC, I get exactly the 6.3 VDC required on my tube heaters. Plus 119 VAC seems to "sound best" on my system. When I say "sounds best" I mean that the background is blacker and the channel to channel separation is better. Plus the sound doesn't vary as much depending on the time of day, the weather, the power load, etc.

    I agree with those that talk about $10K per meter audio cords and many of the snake oil "objects" that the audiophools are offered; but the PS Audio P12 is a genuine improvement in locals with questionable AC power. For those who are not familiar with the P12, it converts AC power to DC, stores it temporarily then creates new, accurate AC power from the stored DC. Along the way, it drops injected noise, bad wave forms and other "crap" from the AC supplied to the audio equipment.

    Is it for everyone? No, but it ain't no Audio Bull$hit either.
    Peter W.
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    Post by Peter W. on Mon Jun 24, 2019 2:54 pm

    $5,000 is not overly much to pay for a good True RMS power-conditioner. There are Furman devices well over $4,000.

    In this case, I do believe that there is definitely a yiches factor that may account for say.... 20% of the price, however.
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    Solder Slinger

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    Post by Solder Slinger on Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:58 pm

    Just remember, there is a difference between a "Power Conditioner" and a "Power Regenerater".

    A "Conditioner" pulls what noise and other artifacts (junk) it sees off the line (As best it can and according to its design parameters) and sends that on to your equipment. But it outputs the original AC power (cleaned up).

    A "Regenerator" takes the incoming AC, converts it to DC, stores the DC temporarily (batteries, capacitors?) then creates new AC from the DC stored in the batteries / capacitors. The result is no noise or junk is passed on. The outgoing waveform can be adjusted for voltage and depending on the mechanism used for recreating the AC, can have extremely accurate sine wave output at any desired voltage.

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