Audio Power Conditioners. Snake oil, garbage or the real deal?

Check this out. An audio “power conditioner” for $2,000 that will make your system actually sound better. You’ve got to have it!

I smell BS but I would like to get some factual input.

I stopped reading after that line. Though now I’m quite interested in getting some dirty power.

Well, there’s no question that a device can do what is claimed, i.e., generate a clean AC sine wave powered by a standard wall outlet. Whether it will offer the benefits claimed is another matter; I’ve had multiple opportunities to observe AC line power on an oscilloscope, and I’ve never seen anything I’d expect to get by the normal filtering found in all audio electronics’ power supplies. After all, it’s all ultimately converted to DC–in high-end audio equipment, linear power supplies once dominated since switched-mode supplies historically tended to be electrically noisy, and linear supplies use huge honking capacitors to filter out line noise. New designs have made switchers much more friendly to audio equipment and guess what switchers do? Yep, they do pretty much what the device in question does as a fundamental operational principle. So, yes, it probably does what they claim but, no, you don’t really need it.

Wouldn’t you get the same filtering effect with an on-line UPS for a fraction of the cost?

Pretty much. But Q.E.D.'s point is that you get the same filtering built in to your audio device’s power supply unit for zero extra cost.

I’d have to say that as audio snake oil goes, power conditioners don’t really raise much ire in me. After all, they do perform as advertised, even if such performance is unneeded.

I save my hatred for things like speaker cable lifters.

Philistine :eek::eek::eek: (although mine only really started to work correctly when I combined them with some Dots)

Requires real components - two power transistors are useless withour power supply. I want to see the transformers and capacitors required to handle power. But then again, anybody who notes they can produce more power out than they get coming in is either hoping to deceive (just what is this “peak” at which it produces 50 amps when connected to a 15 or 20 amp line?) or are delusional.
That unit is how high? A decent power rectifier is how big? A decent inverter is how big? The thing is a filter - as noted, your components have power supplies which do the same thing as this, and probably do a better job for the current(s) it actually uses.
The snake oil in audio gear never ceases to amaze. Fools and money…
By comparison, the Monster cables (gold plate the connectors - brilliant marketing, but the copper wire between them kinda limits the output, doesn’t it?) were actually good value. I paid $8 at the surplus shop for 100’ of 16 ga stranded cable with the cute stripe on one conductor, thereby making it “speaker wire”.
Wire is wire, folks - you want good wire, buy Belden - not found in big boxes. Decent soldering stations are sometimes found in big boxes, but at obscene prices - find real stores and frequent them - they are failing fast.
(tempory) end of rant.

Wrong. Power, which is measured in Watts for electrical devices, is a conserved quantity, current is not. I can get hundreds, or even thousands, of amps out of a 15-amp receptacle by simply using an appropriate step-down transformer. Work out the power (we’ll assume a unity power factor for simplicity): 15 A x 120 V = 1800 W. Now, given 1800 W, work out what voltage will deliver 1000 A through an appropriate load: 1800 W / 1000 A = 1.8 V. The load resistance must therefore be: 1.8 V / 1000 A = .0018 Ohms. All of these values are perfectly reasonable and attainable; in fact, light-duty spot welders operate in this general order of magnitude.

The rest of your rant, while disjointed, is basically correct.

Absolutely. Typical load resistances in the auto body industry are less than 200 micro-ohms. You can assume unity, since we use inverters almost exclusively. Probably the most secondary amps we generally use is 18,000 amps or so for steel, but typically “only” 8,000 to 14,000. We can get up to 30,000 amps out of a 400 amp inverter, depending on the duty cycle. And transformer. And diodes.

And although this won’t amaze Q.E.D., we can do it while holding on to the secondary conductor while standing on a wet floor.

I came into this tghread mostly to find out the difference between snake oil and garbage. Isn’t that like The Daily Bugle’s “Spider-man: Threat or Menace?”

But then I read “Though now I’m quite interested in getting some dirty power.” and I can’t get this tune out of my head:

With apologies to the Standells.

Sorry to be disjointed. I maintain it is a factor of age, and therefore a mark of… (mutters something) - DAMN LAWN!

However, this device seems to be producing the same voltage as is input, or real close. Last I heard, wattage out had to equal wattage in, and, if voltate out = voltage in, amperage also had to be equal - maybe a capacitor discharge might boost output power, but then again, the silly thing isn’t big enough to contain (and cool) much in the line of power capacitors. Hence the “50 amps out on 15 or 20 amps in” is, at best, misleading - that “peak” has to be in nanoseconds, and of absolutly no use to anything downstream. Anybody thinknig $2000 for a power supply for audio gear is probablly weak on basic electric theory, and throwing such nonsense around should tip off any/every body that snake oil is still in production…

Audiophiles are notoriously easy to sucker. Someone (and if anyone’s interested, there’s a thread here on the Dope where I mention the test and someone posts a cite to the article detailing it) did a test with various speaker cables and freakin’ coathangers and the audiophiles were utterly incapable of telling that the sound they were hearing was coming from coathangers and not uber-expensive Monster Cable speaker wires.

I once saw an ad for some $1K+ speaker connectors and quickly realized, from reading the description of them, that the material cost of the things couldn’t have been more than about $1.90. People were more than happy to pony up the big bucks for those things. Suckers.

I’m having trouble finding where it says that. In any case, a 50-amp inrush current on a 20-amp residential line would not be unheard of, and most likely would not result in a breaker trip; a typical Square D 20-amp breaker, for example, can nominally handle 5-6 times the rated current for a couple cycles before tripping. Inrushes typically last a cycle or two for heavily inductive loads–I occasionally perform inrush testing on some of the transformers which go in our power distribution equipment, and inrushes of over 5 kA are not uncommon on a 300 kVA, 480-volt three-phase transformer. I can see the inrush curve on the scope (and hear it, too–the high current makes the whole thing thump.) The point, is pulling 50 A out of a 15-20 A circuit for short bursts is not an unreasonable claim. That’s the least problematic part of the whole ad, IMO.

The worst offender is this bit:

Wha…? Sure, there are components which can become magnetized in normal use resulting in degraded performance quality such as CRTs and audio and video tape heads. But, these components are so isolated from the line power by various power supplies and driver circuits that nothing can conceivably get through to work this magic. Even if it did work, well, other things, like speakers, don’t generally work quite as well when demagnetized. :dubious: