Mains - the second best upgrade

I’ve wobbled on elsewhere, so I’ll keep it short…

  1. If your listening position vs domestic bliss is compromised, get PTFE sliders - move you/them temporarily

  2. Do not buy another bit of kit until you run clean mains to what you already have


Decoupling gliders from Herbie’s Audio Lab are great for making speakers easier to move around. Inexpensive PTFE furniture glides should work fine for seating, if your chair is not already on wheels.

On power conditioning, it would be great if there was a standard approach for measuring the quality (THD?) of existing power to help decide what treatment options make sense. Some situations may ecall for regeneration, while others may be fine with active cancellation or filtration of high-frequency noise.

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I’ve completely upgraded my Audio system over the past year or so. One of the most recent improvements I’ve made was to install a regeneration unit (PS Audio PowerPlant 12). Noise floor is now non-existent and soundstage is improved from what I’d considered was already good.

Yes, they’re excellent, I use two - and dedicated mains made them excellenter! :grinning:

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My kind of word; which I join David Snyder in applying to Herbie’s anti-microphonics products. Try my sandwich of three Baby Booties under a sensitive streamer, for example, and three more on top with a weight like a Darko doorstop to suspend your equipment between vibration-absorbing material…

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Most of my gear sits on Mana Acoustics racks and PS Audio Power Bases - the latter have various durometers of sorbothane to give a range of frequency damping

Have to agree clean power makes a huge difference even though I was not a believer until I tried an EquiTech unit in my system. There are lots of good articles on balanced power that google will help find for those who are technically minded. Enjoy!

Sorry to go on, and I’m sure your power device works, ( I have regeneration and every cable is ‘HiFi’)

However, simply going mains distribution board to your stereo is an immense and cost effective upgrade

I’ve no advantage in this, it’s relatively cheap and an an amazing upgrade

I used an EMI meter to check my house power and can verify it to be true. The house power all around my media closet read high on the meter, up in the 300s. Readings below 50 is considered low noise. In my media closet with an isolated separately grounded 20 amp circuit the meter showed 18 at the wall plug and 14 coming from the Panamax power conditioner.

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Hi Mike,
1. What’s an EMI meter ? Have not heard of this, except at the lab I use they have a super costly power analyzer about the size of a 30gal fish tank.
2. Do you think a ‘power cleaner’ accessory makes sense without first improving the AC mains distribution to your audio system ? I’d think the ‘garbage in garbage out’ theory would at least have some bearing on the result you get from a cleaner accesssory.

Someone posted a link on another thread that showed one of these small meters being used to check the power at the wall plugs for noise. So I’ve only been aware of them since that time, a month or so.

The meter measures dirty electricity (EMI) frequencies with the results displayed on a small screen with a bar indicator, numbers and sound.

I’d read numerous posts/threads here advising to run new mains to the system locations for clean power and decided to have a look. Found a couple of meter(s) online for $130-$149 and thought that was a worthwhile investment to check my power. Here’s a screen shot.

The info says 50. is considered low noise. The wall plugs in my house read high, over 1200 in my living room where my surround system is.

Lucky for me that I had to have new mains run during a remodel in 2015. My media closet has an isolated 20 amp circuit for the equipment. The meter reading in that closet was 18.

I have a Panamax Power Conditioner for the equipment that is plugged into a UPS system. The meter reading from there was 13. to 14. It was interesting to see the Power Conditioner had a lower reading, and the UPS system was not adding anything bad to the power.

Based on what I found it makes sense to check your power first then decide if you need new mains and/or power regeneration or conditioning.


That seems like a really good idea Mike, I just ordered one. Thanks for sharing!

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Just had my dedicated mains taken back to the main house input - so it’s not now on a spur from the house consumer unit

It’s heavy duty armoured cable, hence the rather large radius, but it’s in the garage so no bother

Just fired up the rig and couldn’t resist a peek-listen (the Quads and SOtM clock take a good hour to settle in…)

Initial impression is the bass; richer and fuller, more heft
I don’t think it’s as significant a change as the first mains upgrade, but I would’ve been happy with a ‘peace of mind’ outcome if there were no SQ changes

I will stock up on a few audio beers and give it a proper listen later

Interestingly (I think) the electrician was interested in the earth rating (not exactly sure what he was testing) - it had been intriguing him since last time
The house ring main was 0.54
The dedicated mains on the spur was 0.38
After the extra cabling it dropped by another 0.04

Lower is better, seemingly :nerd_face::+1:

PS. The armour is steel wire, that’s been given its own Earth line to improve shielding

Has anyone compared regeneration units like the ones from PS Audio versus passive units like the ones from Equi=Tech? I have an Equi=Tech 5Q and it works great with a very noticeable improvement in SQ. I picked the Equi=Tech because it was passive (and so nothing to break) and because I had read it is able to delivered more power to amps with high current draw. What are other’s experience?

I presume you are in the UK. SWA (steel wire armour) armour has to be earthed as part of the wiring regulations. It is part of the earthing circuit. Connecting it to earth is nothing whatsoever to do with shielding, just ensuring a low impedance path to earth for that circuit.


As long as it’s better than nothing, I’m a happy bunny :grinning:

I’m rating this:
Significant Upgrade

Not ‘Major Upgrade’ like the first dedicated mains. But, let’s be fair, that did the heavy lifting

Soundstage separation is clearer

Speakers are less attention-seeking on niggly test pieces… and this is crucial
Forward mixes in the speaker are more 3D

That’s a significant improvement on its own

It’s generally more relaxed (can’t think of a better way to describe it)

Utter, utter bargain
Very pleased :nerd_face::+1: