Thursday, August 8, 2013

Why I hate conditioners

Well, I have had a major system meltdown over the last few days. Trying out a new conditioner, from a company that shall remain nameless, the power up produced smoke and crackles, literally rather than metaphorically, with the result that one of my monos is out of service and on the way back to the manufacturer (at my expense). Seems also to have blown an output stage in another component. The last 48 hours have involved a lot of cable swaps, amp swaps, rejigging of connections etc to determine what is broken where, but basically I am down to one channel and now one mono amp.

Luckily, the Spectron monos can be reconfigured at the back to drive in stereo using the single-ended connections rather than my regular XLR cords, and I've managed to get music back up and running in this manner today but I am, I confess, just worn down by the complexity of trying to get it all to work so as to hear some music. It's almost enough to make me want to jack all this gear, go simple with an integrated amp and forget audiophilia. Almost.

No names as it's hard to know what caused all this but I would encourage you, if in the market for a new conditioner, to ask the manufacturer if they have customers with the same amps or gear you plan to use. The Spectrons are funny like this, they really don't enjoy a lot of line conditioners and despite protestations otherwise, definitely never worked well with my PS Audio P5. But at least the P5 didn't cause a system meltdown either.

All told - a house without music is a diminished space -- this much is confirmed. For now, I am just grateful to be hearing, in stereo, Kenny Burrell's new live album Special Requests


Anonymous said...

I sure hope the truth comes out about this product. Don't recall seeing much bad press of power conditioners. With the exception of PurePower's regenerators having hum issues and that company having terrible customer service for repairs. Couple of Audiogon threads with multiple examples of that.

Guy La Rue said...

without naming the company maybe you could give us 'hints' so we the educated audiophiles can deduct who you're talking about!! I'm usually good at that...


PatrickD said...

Guy -- I know folks would like to know but in this case I feel that it's just not fair to the manufacturer if the mistake might at all have been partly mine. I was in a hurry, big mistake, so who knows for sure. All I know is I don't want to try it again.

Now of course, there is another interesting case of not naming going on here at Soundstage:

And don't forget, when I once reported here that I did not get a reply from a known slow-responding company, the owner of said company actually mailed me directly and literally told me I was destroying American audio business by publishing such comments. Sheesh....

trust me, where I am sure there is sloppiness in design or manufacture, I will say so without worry. In this case, I am just not sure where the draw that line.