Power Cables & Conditioners
Power Cables & Conditioning Guide
Don’t forget that HiFi source components are very sensitive to electrical pollution and mains voltage fluctuation because the audio signal they produce is at a very low voltage, and this signal must be amplified in order to drive the speakers. Amplification is achieved by using the incoming mains supply to electronically boost the signal, and a polluted mains supply will prevent the electronics within your HiFi equipment from operating as intended. This causes a cascade effect within the electronic circuitry, resulting in a polluted amplified signal. Brands such as Isotek are specialists in design and construction of mains conditioners and have one of the best ranges of both Mains conditions and Power connectors for the discerning audiophile use both. Other brands such as Chord and Nordost have a range of Power connectors with built in filtering circuitry.
Your Electrical Supply
Electricity demand is subject to fluctuations on a seasonal basis, across the week, and during the day. Demand can also be influenced by irregular events, such as particularly extreme weather conditions. So for example during cold weather and during peak demand times, your mains supply will vary considerably. Voltage variation in the UK is ridiculously high and very common and unfortunately it’s also getting worse. Government regulations force the electricity generation board to maintain a 240 volt 50 c/s plus or minus 10% so a peak maximum of 264 volts and a minimum of 226 volts are allowed so appreciate how your sensitive Hi Fi products are going to behave with this variation, and this variation will only get worse as the supplies gets more eroded.
Transients and Mains Spikes
Mains conditioners will compensate for the high voltage conditions and protect your equipment from high transients and spikes due to stormy weather conditions preventing these transients from reaching your equipment. Another benefit that a conditioner provides in a system is to isolate each component from each other, A carefully designed filter, isolating each individual component in your system, will provide superior, more predictable performance.
Mains conditioners work in a way that provides a clean a/c supply to separate parts of your system and is beneficial to sound enhancement as well as a form of protection from the raw mains that an average home is supplied with. Mains pollution is varied but a good quality main conditioner is an essential part of protecting your system and enhancing quality. The electrical supply to your home is full of electrical pollution not just Radio Frequency interference (RFI) but transient’s and voltage spikes, Transients typically last for only a few micro seconds but often they have hugh current capability, and it’s this that causes the damage to amplifiers and other parts of the system when they happen, Power supply Conditioners prevent these sort of events by filtering out the spikes and transient’s before they get to your system.You cannot hear mains noise directly when listening to your Hi Fi, but you can hear the effect - mains noise adds a grainy 'mush' quality to the sound that hides detail, the sense of air and space, and robs the music of its emotion and impact.
Most mains conditioners are passive devices so do not increase mains impedance and the subsequent reduction in dynamic range this can bring. They are designed to be plugged in close to your system; a spare socket in your mains extension is ideal and nothing needs to be plugged into them for them to work.