Power Discussion: Power cables, conditioners, regenerators, surge protectors, outlets, dedicated lines

This is good info, Im also a noise floor chaser, so anything that increases that is anathema to me. Even if its just an idiosyncrasy of your specific unit it is still a flag to be noted.

One of the curses of being blessed with a sensitive system is noting these “small” differences more easily and they are not always positive.

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@perogie and @andris , when you’re testing noise floor, do you have specific tracks you use? What do you listen for?

It’s easier to recognize as a hard to practically define background characteristic if you put something noisier in. Like changing interconnects or something. Ive tried to describe it before but it’s a nebulous audiophile term that is insanely relative to the listener. Some components just add a “fuzziness” to the background.

Indirect ways that a lower noise floor may present are increased dynamics, smaller dynamics changes may be more audible, as well as being able to pick out more details deeper in the music. To my ears it can have a large impact on the smaller stuff that you may hear.

It might be a very individual sensitivity as well. Some dont believe in the possibility of “greyness”, backgound is background.

I dont think there is one set thing I listen to to test noise floor, its more a perception across the board.

Ha! I was just completely unhelpful. Forgot why I dont post much here anymore!


As @perogie said, it’s a bit difficult to describe, but I’ll try. Like he said, there are small details, textures, and reverberations that you are used to hearing that start getting blurred or disappear altogether (or the opposite, as you lower noise floor). One will notice with any half-decently recorded track, but I find it the most obvious and easy to pick out with really well recorded drums. Instead of just the initial attack, as noise floor goes down, you start hearing the whole drum head and even micro-reverberations in the room or space around it. As @perogie put it, “more details deeper in the music”.

To attempt a metaphor, think of a track of music as a partially submerged sculpture. In a normal system, it’s 90% out of the water, and in no system is it 100% out of the water, but there are little details and frills in that last 10% that aren’t by any means critical to the song as you go from 90% uncovered to 95% uncovered, but you can definitely tell, and I personally find that extra dimensionality to be super appealing.

To extend that metaphor to the Hypsos, I’ll even grant that the Hypsos makes the above-water sculpture just a tick more sharp and defined, but it raises the “water level” from, say 3% to 7%, and I’m not willing to make that tradeoff.

My favorite track to use is on an album called “Polarity” by the Hoff Ensemble, which is incredibly well recorded, and even available in true 24/352 as a download. The first track, “Innocence”, starts with this incredibly delicate piano and drum intro that becomes outright magical with a super low noise floor. It sounds like I can hear through the drumhead and the little taps bounce off the walls. Another track that is likely more widely available is on an album called “The Gershwin Connection” by Dave Grusin, and the track is “Fascinating Rhythm”. It’s not quite as delicate as my first example, but changes to noise floor (and transient attack, for that matter) will be obvious enough.

Hope this helps!


I appreciate @andris documenting his mis-advenure with the Hypsos. It’s one of those occasions where something nominally good failed to happen. It’s rare, but it’s good to remember that not all changes are a positive.

BTW, that Hoff Ensemble recording is very good. It’s one of the few higher definition recordings I’ve downloaded.

Mark Gosdin


One final (I think) follow-up on the Hypsos. I reached out to the Ferrum folks and told them about my observations, and asked if I had missed something I should try. They were super kind and quick in responding and did provide some suggestions. There were two options I tried toggling that I did not know about before, and I also tried adjusting the voltage (given that the Roon NUC can accept 12V - 19V). I also put in an even better power cord - AQ Thunder - to give the unit its best chance possible.

The better power cord did improve the sound, overall, but that alone did not match the stock SMPS. The modes and voltage adjustments also made very minor, but audible differences, but again, not enough to have the unit outperform the stock power supply in terms of noise floor.

With those options exhausted, I have indeed decided to move on from the Hypsos.

I want to close out by saying that there were audible benefits to the Hypsos - only with tradeoffs in my system, that I didn’t find satisfactory. Still, I read too many glowing reviews from folks I generally agree with and trust to believe this unit wouldn’t perform really well in other systems.


Thanks for the feedback on the Hypsos and the willingness to experiment. Goes to show how some power is different than others and you need to take the time to find the right fit.

Hopefully, this will help someone out who does land on the Hypsos eventually.


Hello all!
So, need some newbie advice…
Remodeling (thanks to hurricane Ian), and I am having the contractor put in a dedicated outlet for current and future plans of equipment. (at this time all I have is an iFi Gryphon and Focal Radiance)
They are using the yellow 12/2 wiring. Will go to a dedicated 20 amp breaker - with a basic electrical panel surge protector that was already there.

Q#1: is this a good enough wire to use (resistance issues, other, etc.)? And do I need to do anything else with this run from panel to outlet?

Q#2: What other not-crazy-$s surge/conditioner unit do you recommend for the equipment to plug into? (Audioquest, etc)

Thanks for your help!!

I don’t have a damn clue, so mostly leaving this alone. I do think Furutech makes specialty in-wall cable, but given the virtual impossibility of A/B testing such a thing, you’ll probably struggle to get sound (ha) advice on this one. At $60/meter, it isn’t cheap either. I’m sure there are other options to explore.

Not sure what you consider to be crazy money, but there is a pretty wide range of products. If you just want quality surge protection with some outlet-to-outlet isolation (though you may not hear a difference), you can get something like an Tripp Lite Isobar ($90). Double that price, and now you’re into AudioQuest’s PowerQuest lineup, which I understand to have some filtering, but I don’t think you’ll notice much difference here either in terms of sound quality.

Then, there’s a decent leap to more serious products like the iFi PowerStation ($750) or Audioquest Niagara 1200 ($1,200). These are where you’ll probably start hearing some differences in terms of blackness of background, and the associated benefits (better dimensionality, depth, and separation).

Onward from that, the next level would be gear like the PS Audio PowerPlant P3 (~$2,600) or AQ Niagara 3000 ($3,900). Here, you’ll start noticing pretty meaningful differences - just more of what I outlined in the paragraph above. I have a PS Audio PowerPlant P3 myself and think it’s fantastic.

Especially for the stuff in the four-figure range, you can often get serious discounts by going to the used market.

I frankly wouldn’t touch anything beyond the first two suggestions (Tripp Lite Isobar / AQ PowerQuest) until you’ve gone much deeper down the rabbit hole and have a very revealing system. Power products, while absolutely influential, probably shouldn’t account for more than 10-15% of your audio system’s budget.

After my Sansui got the frying treatment, I picked up the AudioQuest PowerQuest from (ahem… headphones.com) and it seems reasonable. Has some line conditioning and non-sacrificial surge protection. At home, on my main system I have a Furman Elite 15 and an older Monster Power protector that’s somewhat similar and no longer produced. I figured it was good enough for Tweeter to use to protect it’s own equipment, and I got a steal price on it when they went out of business. Picked up the one they were using.

To give you an idea… The Sansui AU-919 just got it’s diagnosis today. The power switch that went out seems to be mysteriously working after 2+ months of just staying on. It will get a cleaning and deeper examination. One of the main filtering caps died about 45-50 days after the power incident. Don’t know if that is related. They tested fine last spring - all 8 of them.

Cost to repair/replace/upgrade will be about $400. 8 new quality caps, and labor to build them into the weird oval Sansui cans. This keeps the original look, but upgrades the power filtering. It will also cause a modest increase in voltage, which in turn should boost power output a bit.

As the previous restoration last year was board level and anything slightly junky was pulled and upgraded it should be good. But you need to put in the new caps before you can test and be certain.

Given the above, and a modestly nice set of components, some degree of protection and line conditioning seems like not such a bad idea.


Took my first foray into upgraded power cables finally.

I’ve debated this subject and read a ton of reviews, articles, impressions and such for quite awhile now.

After going through incremental upgrades for the last few years with my system, I’m now trying to get my endgame and be done…. I know, I know. No such thing but I’m at the point where I’ve decided that I might as well save myself the trouble of incremental upgrades and go for what I’m going to end up wanting and what’s the limit I’m willing to invest and go for it. So I’ve been trying to figure out how far into this power cable thing I was willing to dive into.

Not far it turns out…I just wasn’t convinced when it comes to this subject. :face_with_raised_eyebrow::laughing:

So I just dipped a toe in…

I got four of these… 1 for the Envy, 1 for the Folkvangr, 1 for my Bifrost and 1 for my power conditioner that I got a few months back . Also from WAudio

At first I just replaced the cord on the Envy and listened….
I didn’t hear a difference.

Then I took my whole setup apart and replaced all the cords…
Definitely hear a difference.

First off, I hadn’t changed my volume settings but it was louder. Too loud… I had to turn the Envy down a few notches. Is that possible ?? I know about conductance and all that. I mean that’s one of the main factors I chose these particular cables for (as well as shielding) but would that affect the volume coming out of the amp?? I wouldn’t think so, so maybe I moved it but I don’t think I did. I don’t know :person_shrugging:

Initial reaction is it sounds cleaner/clearer. Just more crisp with more clarity and definition. It’s that “looking through a cleaner window” analogy. Is this the result of lower noise floor that people talk about?? It really reminds me of the difference I heard when I was a/b ing between Spotify and hi-res Qobuz but perhaps a bit more apparent.

Now I’m curious which component made more of a difference than another but I’m sure the hell not taking it back apart and listening to it piece by piece :laughing: All together it’s definitely different compared to just changing the Envy. Which, like I said, I couldn’t tell any difference.

I haven’t listened to the Folkvangr yet.

Wasn’t expecting much. Need some more time to really evaluate but I’d say it was worth it (<$200) and should be even more of a benefit as I upgrade to more resolving source and dac


Is this what you got?
I am also rather skeptical, but this is a fairly small amount of $…

This is a whole rabbit hole some go down. My issue is that I have a hard time seeing how the final 6ft of power delivery can make a difference.

Power conditioning is another matter, I have heard it make a difference, starting with dedicated circuits and all that stuff. Most all of it is out of my $ range at this point, but these cords aren’t :smile:

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No, I liked the look of that one better though. I like the color and smokey connector.

I got these…

They are just a little more expensive (a few bucks a ft) but from what I could gather they have
better quality connectors and better shielding.

I used 2- 5ft and 2- 3.3ft in my setup.

Folkvangr is warming up now while I make some coffee…we’ll see how that sounds this morning. :thinking:


Same. My rationale was that I might not necessarily improve it but to not lose more from the wall to component with crappy stock cables. My basic focus was on gauge and shielding.

When I first got the Envy I was having some type of noise issue where everything sounded grainy like bad old timey radio. The combination of SU-6 and power conditioning resolved it. Sometimes everything sounded super sibilant…all S’s sounded lispy. It was weird! Maybe a combination of tubes burning in as well :person_shrugging: but it’s gone now.

Looking at the jumble of cables behind my rack and how much they were on top of each other, running in parallel made me think it couldn’t possibly hurt to have better cables. Actually hearing an improvement is a bonus as I didn’t expect anything discernible.


Yeah, for sure. I’ve noticed similar results. My guess for this one is that it’s most likely due to the heavier gauge of the cable, and your system just gets more of what it wanted all along.

Yes, sir!

Probably at the power conditioner. This is where upgraded power cables typically make the biggest difference, as this component is the one feeding everything else. It seems a bit counter-intuitive, as the conditioner/regenerator is theoretically doing the bulk of the heavy lifting, but whatever the reason, that seems to be where the upgrade makes the biggest difference. That’s where it made the biggest difference for me, and I’ve read several sentiments from others who I generally trust. As such, that’s where I place my best power cable. If you can pick one spot, this is the one (but can’t hurt to try others, of course, as all systems are different).

Welcome to the power products club, @Audiophool! I REALLY wanted it all to be snake oil, but unfortunately, I’ve heard pretty obvious differences with every upgrade to the point that I actually would rather give up my best analog interconnects before my best power cord.


It made absolutely no sense to me getting into it, and yours is the most common criticism/challenge that is hard to simply explain away. In the end, I don’t think anybody fully understands what’s going on, but I can share some explanations I’ve heard that are probably at least partial contributors to the whole pie. At the end of the day, though, hearing is believing, and if you ever get the chance to demo a really nice power cord, especially into your conditioner, it’s unlikely you’ll ever go back.

1) Gauge - Audiophile power cables tend to be heaver gauge than stock cables, and I think this one is the easiest to wrap your head around for difference making. Your components just get the juice they want and need more easily. What’s interesting is that many companies offer lower and higher (smaller / source) gauge variants of their cables, but I’ve read that many people get better results from the heaver gauge, even for components that don’t theoretically “need” it.

2) Connectors - Every connection in your chain is an opportunity for loss and distortion, and power is no exception. Audiophile power cables simply have better connectors with better conducting materials, built in a better way (ideally, at least). Take this Furutech male connector at a whopping $374, for example. As you go up in quality, you just get better materials with better construction, which mirrors many of the other components in your system. If the power cable connectors weren’t enough, I’ll throw another piece into the puzzle by noting that a better wall plug itself also helps, in part, by gripping the cable better, but also with better materials. That’s right folks - I heard a very real improvement from an upgraded audiophile outlet. “Ugh” is right…

3) Noise Rejection - Whether by shielding or by noise-rejecting winding patterns (neither or which are considered particularly controversial, AFAIK, at least in analog interconnects) or both, power cables can pick up noise and transfer that noise into your system. Keeping it out of the cable in the first place helps.

4) Noise Drainage - As I understand it, one can manipulate attributes of a cable (any cable) to better facilitate draining things like RF interference to ground. Think of it as a better functioning drain in a bathtub that’s trying to constantly fill up with distortion that could affect the sound.

At the end of the day, it seems that the affect of these individual parts is only moderately understood, but taken together, the difference is obvious if you just trust your ears.

One of my biggest criticisms of a big chunk of the audiophile community is actually having way too much hubris in terms of thinking they understand, or even thinking they need to understand the detailed mechanisms or reasons a given component could make a difference to accept that it does indeed make an audible difference. It’s touted as being “objective” or “scientific”, but it’s actually quite un-scientific (I’m looking at you, Audio Science Review). To be clear, I think it’s well intentioned, and I absolutely support the effort, but saying a power cord can’t make a difference because we haven’t found the right measurement or reason(s) is akin to our far-gone ancestors saying that aloe vera can’t possibly be a soothing plant because they haven’t established the molecular pathways by which it works yet. At the end of the day, if it’s obvious that there is a difference between a bad power cord and a good one - which almost anyone with a sensitive system and ears will tell you there is - then you don’t shut them down because your current measurements don’t show it (e.g. frequency response), but rather, you look for a better measurement. Put simply, “try to explain, conclude” is not scientific - “test, conclude, then try to explain” is.


Bah humbug.

I’m just going to wireless power transmission instead.


Sure, just use your Tesla coil to power your Flux capacitor! :laughing:

BTW, I realized my Flux capacitor solves any time domain and jitter issues. It brings everything into perfect alignment and harmony. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :nerd_face:

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Well, that is unfortunate, because between Bill and you I ordered a couple power cables to try with my DAC (Yggy) and the Flux amp I got recently. My Burson uses a 5A Supercharger (Soloist GT), so no replacing that.

If I hear a difference I will let you know, either way in fact. We’ll see…

I will try and keep an open mind, as I put some IsoAcoustics pucks under my Yggy since its’s stacked on top of something else to provide better cooling. Coincidentally, I could swear everything sounded slightly better too! Like improved soundstage and detail (?). It was subtle, but noticeable. Perhaps the isolators helped…


Let us know what you think!

Yup! Same here. We’ve been sharing thoughts in this isolation thread.