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Since its inception ten years ago, the Harbeth User Group's ambition has been to create a lasting knowledge archive. Knowledge is based on facts and observations. Knowledge is timeless. Knowledge is human independent and replicatable. However, we live in new world where thanks to social media, 'facts' have become flexible and personal. HUG operates in that real world.

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Cables, filters, interconnects ....

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  • #31
    Re: Mains: filtering, conditioning, regenerating....

    A few years ago I got my power conditioner and "believed" my sound really improved with it. Then one day I decided to connect my amp directly to the main and noticed harder bass and more dynamics. it was subtle and only noticeable at higher level of loudness.

    This prompted me to write to my Amp manufacturer ( A canadian Amp) who replied that the Amp came with a power supply that was adequate to meet the challenges of common household supply however whether to use one or not (conditioners) is up to the individual preference. My Amp got a huge 6 or 7 inch toroidal transformer and 4 x 33000mF capacitors that sucks up 1500W. Since I am not sure whether to trust my ears or reviews I experimented with various power conditioners and finally decided that my Amp is better off connecting directly to the main.

    However some of my equipments require 230V (my main is 240v) so I am using 2 huge transformers made for sensitive electronics equipments in the early 1980's. Both connected in series so that I can get a precise 230V for my pre, DAC, and CD player . But I do not think they make any difference to the sound. I am using the transformers just to ensure that the power supply do not exceed the stated specs.

    Other than that, I have discarded reference interconnects and power cables. Ever wondered why the high end manufacturers provide a standard commercial off the shelf interconnects and power cables. i am sure if they made a huge difference then the manufacturer would have included a better cable and they probably can get it at 15% to 25% of the retail price. IMHO.

    ST

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    • #32
      European mains voltage

      Originally posted by STHLS5 View Post
      However some of my equipments require 230V (my main is 240v) so I am using 2 huge transformers made for sensitive electronics equipments in the early 1980's. Both connected in series so that I can get a precise 230V for my pre, DAC, and CD player . But I do not think they make any difference to the sound. I am using the transformers just to ensure that the power supply do not exceed the stated specs. ...
      Be careful that you are not chasing your tail.

      The European spec for mains voltage is here, It says that: The nominal European voltage is now 230V 50 Hz (formerly 240V in UK, 220V in the rest of Europe) but this does not mean there has been a real change in the supply. Instead, the new "harmonised voltage limits" in Europe are now: 230V -10% +6% (i.e. 207.0 V - 243.8 V)

      All modern electronics sold in Europe has been designed to run happily and normally from at least a minimum of 207V to a max. of 243.8V. As you cannot be sure what your incoming voltage is, you may find that your double-transformer method is actually giving you well below 207V i.e your incoming is not 240V as you think but could be as low as 207V yet be in-specification.
      Harbeth PR,
      Harbeth UK

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      • #33
        Re: Mains: filtering, conditioning, regenerating....

        Originally posted by harbethpr View Post
        Be careful that you are not chasing your tail.

        ......
        All modern electronics sold in Europe has been designed to run happily and normally from at least a minimum of 207V to a max. of 243.8V. As you cannot be sure what your incoming voltage is, you may find that your double-transformer method is actually giving you well below 207V i.e your incoming is not 240V as you think but could be as low as 207V yet be in-specification.
        Thanks for the warning. My transformer specs says it should able to handle 207 t0 253V i.e 10% variance at which it was set to give a constant 230V. I think most transformer (Voltage stabilizers do just that). Anyway, two qualified electrician certified they are safe to use.

        ST

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        • #34
          European mains voltage

          Wait. Let me check this with you.

          The issue is not about whether your transformer can take the high/low voltage. I'm sure that it can! But is it actually regulating the output according to the input? Unlikely unless the transformer has lots of electronics associated with it. Transformers are dumb. They don't know what the voltage coming in is. You'd need electronics to sense the actual voltage. My point is this ..... you think you have 240V mains arriving at your home and you say you are reducing that to 230V. Right? So you are dropping the voltage by 230/240 = about 4% because you think your gear needs exactly 230V.

          In fact, the incoming mains is standardised in Europe at 230V, not 240V, and it can be supplied at +6% to -10% legally by your elect. company. It burns more fuel to generate 240V compared with 230V so it is unlikely that the elec. co. will deliver much more than 230V to you. They will almost certainly deliver less than 230V. And they can deliver as low as 230V -10% which is 207V. If they do send you 207V (which they legally can and will) then you are dropping that by 4% in your twin transformers and then giving your gear is 198.72V! So you have created your own voltage problem!! I'd get rid of both of those transformers and connect directly to the mains unless they are truly voltage regulators with electronics.
          Harbeth PR,
          Harbeth UK

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          • #35
            Testing mains - dangerous

            Please be very careful about live mains voltages. 200V plus will kill. Users may be tempted to measure their mains voltage but this should only be done by qualified people.

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            • #36
              Re: European mains voltage

              Originally posted by harbethpr View Post
              Be careful that you are not chasing your tail.

              The European spec for mains voltage is here, It says that: The nominal European voltage is now 230V 50 Hz (formerly 240V in UK, 220V in the rest of Europe) but this does not mean there has been a real change in the supply. Instead, the new "harmonised voltage limits" in Europe are now: 230V -10% +6% (i.e. 207.0 V - 243.8 V)

              All modern electronics sold in Europe has been designed to run happily and normally from at least a minimum of 207V to a max. of 243.8V. As you cannot be sure what your incoming voltage is, you may find that your double-transformer method is actually giving you well below 207V i.e your incoming is not 240V as you think but could be as low as 207V yet be in-specification.
              Well,
              this is exactly what both my technician and the McIntosh Labs N.Y. tech dept. told me about power conditioning.
              Which, finally, made me regret for spending so much for the regenerator/stabiliser I bought (see above).
              Their final comment was just to keep it for some extra safety in marginal conditions, given that, if I sold it, I would hardly get back half its price when bought.
              As for the sound, no matter if you have a conditioned voltage & sinewave, you'd hardly notice any difference, except if you've paid a fortune and your components are more than sensitive to incoming AC current.
              Their advice was found to be quite true after long listening experiments I did.
              Power supplies are very good and widely tolerant nowadays. Today I used my volt-meter at the AC wall socket where from I get the current for my system, finding variations of less 7% (low) and 3% (high), no matter if both fridges, washing machine and the boiler were working or not.
              One last detail is that I have drawn an independent line out and before my electrical panel board, to separately power up my devices, with an independent fuse and emergency relay of course. There, I also used a good quality shielded electric cable to come to the socket.
              Hope these help a little,
              Cheers,
              Thanos

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              • #37
                Re: European mains voltage

                You are right. They got electronics in it. The first transformer a Constant Voltage Transformer with 8 resonance capacitors accepts input 192 to 265V to output 220 or 240V. The second one also a British made voltage stabilizer which accept 195.5 to 241.5V to output a constant 230V but with more electronics and adjustable to required voltage. I have measured on a few occasions when the main is 248V and the lowest at 228V and on both occasions the output remained 230V.

                ST

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