Can you measure the need for a power conditioner or power regenerator?

Is there a way of measuring to see if you actually even really need a power conditioner or power regenerator? I have a 20 W dedicated line to my stereo and, aside from buying something and trying it out to see how it sounds, would like to know if there is a way of knowing in advance.

Hence, I was wondering if there is a way to measure if there is noise (and the need for a power conditioner) or unstable power (and the need for a power regenerator).

I only have a Strata integrated amp and CD player that does not matter anymore since I have Tidal and Spotify Connect as a backup.

On another note but not as a main thought, I’m curious if there is a small unit (2 or max 4 outlets) that is affordable.

I tried a Furutech conditioner over a decade ago and it made no sonic difference. And I used to have a Surge protector as part of my 20 amp dedicated line in my old house 15 years ago.

Thanks in advance

No. :cowboy_hat_face: :metal:t2:

There are devices you can get to measure this but it’s likely not cost effective. You’d need something that measures voltage stability over time, impedance, a visual of the sine wave and something to measure THD on the line. The reality is no home has perfect or even nearly perfect power. Some homes may be ok on a few of the items I listed but never all of them. And power conditioners only help with one of those which is line noise and actually can do some things worse like impedance. A regenerator is one of the very few items available that do it all. I know they are expensive but they are truly worth it if you’re trying to squeeze every bit of performance from your system. And use our 30 day trial that’s what it’s there for.

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I was able to. My handheld oscilloscope showed a distorted sine wave and my digital multimeter showed that the voltage was constantly moving up and down, by a volt or more, and at times the voltage was down by a number of volts. I bought a P12 and it indicates that the typical incoming THD is over 6% and shows the same distorted sine wave, and confirmed the unstable voltage. The P12 significantly improved the performance of all my audio AND video gear. Well worth the money for my situation.

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Here’s a good reason to use a regenerator. There is a similar improvement in output from whatever is plugged in to it. Make sure there is nothing between the regenerator and the outlet except a good power cord if it is in the budget.

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Just curious on such high THD, where are you located?


I am in Houston area, my THD in rarely exceeds 1.5%.

I am in SW Michigan and on I&M power here. The THD was around 2-3% until early December when it went to 4-6%. I don’t know why and haven’t found an obvious source. Here is the date with the change:

Wow! A sudden jump.
My opinion that to have regenerator to ensure a very good power source into hifi gear is important. I have several PS Audio gears, and was skeptical why I need to spend $5k for P12 for nothing? But decided to pull the trigger to get it (for a simple reason that PS Audio voicing its gear with its regenerator, and if I want to squeeze out the best sonic performance of PS Audio gears, I might just add a regenerator.). Today, I don’t think I can live without it. :slight_smile:

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You can use an oscilloscope and a spectrum analyzer to gain the down and dirty of your AC line. To be honest with you, if you have a system you really want to get the best audio quality available, then regeneration is truly a needed item. If you don’t have a large budget, then you can get started, as I did some years back, by picking up a P600 and have it recapped. Or keep your eye out for a deal on a P5 or better. You’ll notice an immediate improvement, even if you have fairly decent AC at the service entrance.

Here is some reading info: How to measure powerline quality with an oscilloscope

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Distortion is quite low in my power lines, but it was voltage fluctuations that hurt. Depending on time of the day or night, I could have 224V or 239V. This caused my power conditioner(s) to trip a lot. I needed something that could better protect my system and allow for uninterrupted listening. The P15 was recommended to endure voltage fluctuations and provide clean stable power to my audio gear. The improvement in sound quality exceeded my expectations. There is no turning back.

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@Barsley thank you, this was particularly helpful (and May thanks to others too). Thanks for the previous product awareness.

I’m wondering how the P5 would compare against the Stellar Power Plant P3. In case anyone knows please share.

I would rather buy new from PS Audio at my age but spending 2k to support a 3k Strata makes me feel imprudent.

I can’t go for the big power plant but I do see P600 for $875 on the Gon.

Recent products are more efficient and deliver better results. You can wait for PSA special deals which are available from time to time. P3 would work fine with the Strata.

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I’ve used both and found their benefits, if any, depend on the type of equipment and well as mains noise and stability. There is wide range of opinion.

A major issue is cross-contamination. You can plug a load of things into a strip and they get treated mains, but can still pass a lot of noise from one to the other.

A budget device that has proven very popular is this one (not tried it myself):

If you have a single product, a single good supply can be provided by something like this, at a good price:

With regard to @kevinjackson, you will find that good conditioners will have very low impedance. You don’t need a visual plot and the PS Audio regenerator I had did not have one. The assumption that all audio equipment is sensitive to voltage swings is not proven and certainly incorrect in my case, as my system can take any voltage from 50 - 270v. Some components have good power supplies and internal mains filters and don’t need any mains treatment at all.

@Serhan thanks! That’s good info. Any idea when those “special deals” emerge?

There was one in October. May be you could send @jamesh or @kevinjackson a message to check and gain better insights.

@stevensegal. Thank you. I’ve seen some of your prolific posts.

This is a valuable perspective and thank you for the product references. Very kind of you to share these links.

These products are a non regeneration approach products. I will read up on these I had a Furutech ~14 years ago and it made no difference. I tend to want to think that supplying a steady current via regeneration would be beneficial especially if you are playing dynamic music at higher volumes.

As far as removing noise. The AudioQuest Blizzard power cable PS Audio sold me at a generous price does make a difference above my ~12 year old hand-made power cords. Only gripe is they are not flexible (the Audience cables are flexible but hard to find pre-owned / affordable).

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The Belden / Iconoclast power cords are not too expensive and also work really well.

Every comment on these things should come with the preamble:
SYSTEM DEPENDENT and MAINS DEPENDENT

Some manufacturers tell you there is no need for mains treatment and it turns out the be a benefit. You just never know.

My advice is:

  1. Buy on sale or return. Most people do that these days.
  2. Be honest - if you can’t hear a difference, return the product.
  3. Avoid cross-contamination. If ifi can do it for under $1,000, so can everyone else. Check that is a feature.
  4. Try and keep things in proportion - do you need a $10,000 mains product for a $3,000 audio system?
  5. Make sure the unit has good mechanical connections and plugs don’t fall out. I prefer units with the plug sockets on top.

p.s. I like products that are popular and award-winning is a good sign, it means people have bought them and liked them and someone has staked their reputation on recommending it above other products. I don’t really like “rare” or “esoteric”, usually means overpriced or not very good.

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The vast majority of posts should begin, "In my opinion . . . "

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(tongue firmly in cheek)

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