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A noob, a power cord, and the great debate?

 

Bronze Member
Username: Bigpoppaphile

SAINT CLOUD, MN United States

Post Number: 11
Registered: Mar-06
Hey all, have just got started in this forum and have been doing some reading about surge protectors and such. Apparently a surge protector does not imply power conditioning, but almost all conditioners are surge protectors? The other confusing thing I've found is that some claim conditioners are unnecessary and others say they are the best thing ever. And then there seems to be a middle of the road camp that recommends a good quality (ie not the $5 strip) surge protector but not the $500 monster centers.

So I guess where I am confused is to why people believe what they do. When someone claims it is the best ever, why? Is the sound that much better (and compared to what)? Or if they are not needed at all, why?

For me, I'm thinking about upgrading to something like a Marantz 5600 and want to be sure it is protected and can give me the best possible performance, so what are others plugging their power cords into? The wall? A cheapy strip? $500 dollars of flashing lights and a warranty?...........
 

Silver Member
Username: Praetorian

Canada

Post Number: 158
Registered: Dec-05
You answered your own question!

Your Question: "... Or if they are not needed at all, why?"

Your Answer: "and can give me the best possible performance"

The root of all the "tweek" industry is the ever elusive (and the more elusive, the better for sales) quest for audio nirvana. Read this thread, the thread on cables (search out "snake oil" and/or "cable myths"), the thread on amps, digital vs. analog, etc.

The human mind is an interesting morass of neurons and electro-chemical impulses. Some of its components are very tiny though, and in very close proximity, not to mention the effect a billion years of evolution can have on a computer, increased complexity = increased fuzziness. All this put together leaves one rather surprised we are not more screwed up than we already are!

The bottom line here, is that we are capable of convincing ourselves of anything, and as the fallible little creatures that we are, we are more than likely to convince ourselves of the worst. I believe Jan once wrote words to the effect that: one day you will wake up and think your music sounds like pounded dog-crap. I did not insert quotes because I am only paraphrasing, I don't even remember what thread it was in. The point in this case, is that we need constant reassurance that we are not stupid, naive, incompetent, etc and after blowing 10k on your sound system, the last thing you want to find out is it is a piece of crap, but we are deathly afraid that we will. Of course, ever-ready to assume the worst, we will read in a forum somewhere that Brand A has this problem, and OH CRAP, we BOUGHT Brand A, or egads, some kid from Spokane said your set up is ancient! But worry not fellow 'phile! The solution lies in the placebo. So, how do we reinforce the illusion, I mean fix the problem and obtain superiority in the face of overwhelming evidence of crappiness? First, you discount the actual reasons it sucks (easy to do if it doesn't actually) and target every other possible source of interference. Then you put up magical clocks, colourful tin-foil, quadruple shielded, 99.999999999999999999999% oxygen free nitrogen frozen professionally burned-in cables at 10k a foot, conditioners to clean the "dirty" power in your house, etc etc, the list is all-too endless. These tweaks are normally very expensive (denoting the high quality) and will usually take 20 - 30 days to take "full effect", but you SHOULD notice a difference right away! Trust me, try hard enough, and you will, also, if you don't, you are not welcome in the secret club of Audiophilia, and no one likes to be excluded. Then, after the return policy is expired, it will be fully "opened up" and you will once again sink into a Delphic trance of bliss, while noticing the huge improvement and the new "nuances" of your music.

In my not-so humble opinion, there IS something getting conditioned through all this, but it ain't your power!

Do you need surge protection? Yes... DUH. Do you need something that cost 500$ I dare say not. Ask an expert (say an electrician or an engineer) what specs a protector needs to adequately protect your eqpt, then buy one of those. Too cheap and you risk the surge jumping though it anyway and frying your system, too expensive and you find yourself in the land of diminishing returns (and who knows, it still might not work).
 

Silver Member
Username: Praetorian

Canada

Post Number: 159
Registered: Dec-05
http://www.csicop.org/si/9505/belief.html
 

Bronze Member
Username: Bigpoppaphile

SAINT CLOUD, MN United States

Post Number: 16
Registered: Mar-06
interesting response, which for the most part I agree with. I once had a class in college which dealt with some of the ideas found on the link you provided, it was called "science of the paranormal", which I found to be almost an oxymoron of sorts, and was why I took the class. I thought any fruit of a professor that claims in his class description he can prove the existence of ghosts, crop circles, etc was crazy and I wanted to see that. The exact opposite was true. He had everyone pick a topic that interested them and the goal was to prove to him the existence of our said phenomena through research. Until you've attempted something like that I don't think there is any way that one can appreciate how to logically approach things in the real world, especially as it relates to marketing and their crazy claims. Ever since that experience I have had a healthy dose of skepticism when it comes to dealing with things that are seeminly too good to be true. I especially believe that many people believe something works just to reassure their money spent, intelligence, and pride.

heck, some folks I think could be convinced they are addicted to a placebo.

But I have wandered off topic sort of and should get back on track. I just found out about this company doing some research on how surge protectors actually work.

http://brickwall.com/index.htm

They intrigued me so I emailed them a question to see what they are about. I'll let you all know once I hear from them.

We have gotten long winded haven't we?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Gtf

Sanford, Florida USA

Post Number: 15
Registered: Feb-05
http://www.elect-spec.com/acprot2.htm#Laboratory

Check out this one also.

GTF
 

Silver Member
Username: Eramsey

South carolina United States

Post Number: 462
Registered: Feb-05
Well said Michael C. This need of some humans for constant reassurance in spite of the often ludicrous amounts of money spent on such fairly mundane items as interconnect cables and speaker wire is largely indicative of a weak mind. In this manner such ridiculous amounts of money can be justified,at least to oneself, to form an viewpoint that is hopelessly flawed due to it's inability to supported by any physical or factual evidence or reported similar experiences by others with the same product in any considerable amount and thus purely opinionated. I, personally am dumbfounded, how a $10k audio system, when properly set up in a room with a reasonable acoustic quality could ever sound anything like crap. It really boils down to a matter of personal preference with the often incorrect assumption that a higher price will always yield higher quality, as if a $300 cable is worlds better than a $150 one when in reality they will probably come from the same source.
 

Silver Member
Username: Eramsey

South carolina United States

Post Number: 464
Registered: Feb-05
http:www.ecoustics.com/electronics/forum/accessories/205492.html
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