Do switch mode power supplies respond to power conditioning?

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Folsom

Re: Do switch mode power supplies respond to power conditioning?
« Reply #40 on: 29 Aug 2014, 05:18 pm »
I'm not sure a power conditioner that works on one would be cost effective, compared to just replacing with a linear? How much does that cost?

dBe

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Re: Do switch mode power supplies respond to power conditioning?
« Reply #41 on: 29 Aug 2014, 05:27 pm »
I'm not sure a power conditioner that works on one would be cost effective, compared to just replacing with a linear? How much does that cost?
You are missing the point.  Batteries done right sound better IME.  I build very high current low impedance linear supplies, too.  It is all about getting the best sound, not being in one camp or the other.

Prices are all on my Circle.  This is getting too far off topic from the SMPS question, methinks.

Once again: problems with SMPS are:

     They feed noise back into power lines

     They are radio transmitters

     They may or may not provide 'clean' power to the device

To each, his own.

Folsom

Re: Do switch mode power supplies respond to power conditioning?
« Reply #42 on: 29 Aug 2014, 06:40 pm »
Easy! I was referring to Eric who said he would like a product that doesn't require replacement of the PSU. I think your success with the BatteryBuss (and Uber) is pretty well know on the board, by the way.

Linear or batteries seems like the route to take. Modifying the stock SMPS or using a $5k conditioner seems excessive for someone looking for a simple solution.

werd

Re: Do switch mode power supplies respond to power conditioning?
« Reply #43 on: 29 Aug 2014, 07:10 pm »
You are missing the point.  Batteries done right sound better IME.  I build very high current low impedance linear supplies, too.  It is all about getting the best sound, not being in one camp or the other.

Prices are all on my Circle.  This is getting too far off topic from the SMPS question, methinks.

Once again: problems with SMPS are:

     They feed noise back into power lines

     They are radio transmitters

     They may or may not provide 'clean' power to the device

To each, his own.

So noise, hash amplified in the high frequency range.... thats it?

dBe

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Re: Do switch mode power supplies respond to power conditioning?
« Reply #44 on: 29 Aug 2014, 07:26 pm »
So noise, hash amplified in the high frequency range.... thats it?
Not entirely, but a large portion of the noise spectrum is > 100K.  Part of it it is the reflected EMI on the power lines.  That plays hell with all of the other noise on the powerlines and creates harmonic distortion.

Common argument is that a "properly designed" and I might add: properly executed; should take care of that noise.  Should but all too often don't.  There is a lot of noise on the ground, too.  Remember the bond at the panel.

Odd harmonic distortion = glare.

werd

Re: Do switch mode power supplies respond to power conditioning?
« Reply #45 on: 29 Aug 2014, 08:22 pm »
It reminds me of those super tweeters you put on top of your speakers. On their own typically not audible but when added to an amplified source they blend in.

With out reinventing it the only thing you can use is a good quality, long usb cord. Along with the Mac Mini plugged in (outside and away) from the system. In a different room even. Then run it off mpod from an ipad. 

I have a 7200 rpm HD that i tried with my BDP.  When plugged into my BDP using a stock usb cable and plugged into my conditioner (due to usb length) the results were horrific. It literally had the same sonic characteristic that of my dot matrix printer at work. That printer wails a mechanical treble with every letter hit. My system had that same treble clammer that rode over the entire soundstage. The similarity was really weird.

This was substantially fixed by a 7 meter Wireworld Usb cable. And further repaired by plugging it in off the stereo circuit. In the end self-powered 3.0 HDs were the answer.

Folsom

Re: Do switch mode power supplies respond to power conditioning?
« Reply #46 on: 29 Aug 2014, 09:06 pm »
It reminds me of those super tweeters you put on top of your speakers. On their own typically not audible but when added to an amplified source they blend in.

With out reinventing it the only thing you can use is a good quality, long usb cord. Along with the Mac Mini plugged in (outside and away) from the system. In a different room even. Then run it off mpod from an ipad. 

Have you tried a USB transformer, or power splitter?

Super tweeters might be affecting a lot of the other frequencies, and that's what you hear. Hell if I can remember exactly what the formula is, but every so many octaves a frequency modifies another to a degree. The questions are if the effect is recorded, and if we need it reproduced in the air rather than when recorded in order to get the benefit, when I think about it.

But you'd be right in an interesting way. Rarely do you hear artifacts and noises in playback, but the effects of the noise on the music itself are readily obvious the minute you plug your gear into something that reduces it. Maybe they're more audible, maybe they are not, what's clear is when they're gone it's crazy how much it can be like thinking coffee doesn't get much than Starbucks, and then having a pour over that's $5 at some local place that get special beans from Kenya...

To be on topic! One of the biggest issues with SMPS's is that there frequency range is extremely susceptible to problems with induction. While you might have big fat cables, they often see the path as looking like higher resistance because they recreate a field that incurs this... they're going to voltage drop somewhere, but the longer the path the more of a problem. That's why even inside the SMPS they do their best to decouple these frequencies as close as possible to the switch device. This is true in class D as well. But there's limits to how much, and how well you can. Plus from one engineers perspective it probably looks fine on paper, because they aren't feeling it on their ear drums. *This doesn't mean extremely low induction cords are an optimal choice for all applications, in fact you can create an antenna.

In order for any power conditioner to work with a Mac Mini at all, the cheapest mod possible might be shortening the AC cable to a knub. A problem however if you look at many specs on certain conditioners is that they concentrate more on the mhz range, than the khz range.

dBe

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Re: Do switch mode power supplies respond to power conditioning?
« Reply #47 on: 29 Aug 2014, 10:57 pm »
In order for any power conditioner to work with a Mac Mini at all, the cheapest mod possible might be shortening the AC cable to a knub. A problem however if you look at many specs on certain conditioners is that they concentrate more on the mhz range, than the khz range.
That's the problem with most "conditioners".  Even 100K is way too high to be really effective.

As far as AC power for the Mac, shortening the cable doesn't work IME.  Been there, done that.  It needs a 1.5m cable to sound its' best.

Folsom

Re: Do switch mode power supplies respond to power conditioning?
« Reply #48 on: 29 Aug 2014, 11:03 pm »
That's the problem with most "conditioners".  Even 100K is way too high to be really effective.


What do you mean exactly? Like power conditioners need to affect a lower range?

dBe

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Re: Do switch mode power supplies respond to power conditioning?
« Reply #49 on: 29 Aug 2014, 11:29 pm »
What do you mean exactly? Like power conditioners need to affect a lower range?
Was I unclear?  It was a statement, not an equivocation.  I'm sorry, but you seem to ask questions on things that are pretty clear cut in posts.

Power treatment is a well done, many times over subject.  I guess it all boils down to how far does one care to lower the filtration bandwidth.  One of the things that separates power conditioners is that low-pass corner and how you get there.

Folsom

Re: Do switch mode power supplies respond to power conditioning?
« Reply #50 on: 29 Aug 2014, 11:49 pm »
Sorry, but in my mind it seemed like you split on thought into two, expressed as sentances. In my mind most conditioners don't filter low enough, so to say "too high" is an expression that maybe brought something with it I didn't get.


dBe

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Re: Do switch mode power supplies respond to power conditioning?
« Reply #51 on: 30 Aug 2014, 01:42 am »
Sorry, but in my mind it seemed like you split on thought into two, expressed as sentances. In my mind most conditioners don't filter low enough, so to say "too high" is an expression that maybe brought something with it I didn't get.
It was an answer to your statement: " A problem however if you look at many specs on certain conditioners is that they concentrate more on the mhz range, than the khz range. "

I was agreeing with your statement... didn't mean to confuse the issue.  I meant they start filtering at much too high a frequency to be really effective.

werd

Re: Do switch mode power supplies respond to power conditioning?
« Reply #52 on: 30 Aug 2014, 03:37 am »
Have you tried a USB transformer, or power splitter?



But you'd be right in an interesting way. Rarely do you hear artifacts and noises in playback, but the effects of the noise on the music itself are readily obvious the minute you plug your gear into something that reduces it. Maybe they're more audible, maybe they are not, what's clear is when they're gone it's crazy how much it can be like thinking coffee doesn't get much than Starbucks, and then having a pour over that's $5 at some local place that get special beans from Kenya...


Don't do USB. I don't like it and i don't believe it to be suitable for audio. I play files but use Xlr or spdif.

An interesting thing regarding noise and distortion I've noticed. As soon as the noise and distortion has been reduced. The remaining THD+N is far more easier to hear. IOW it teaches you how to hear noise and distortion.  Or like tasting and appreciating Kenyan coffee for the first time.

stehno

Re: Do switch mode power supplies respond to power conditioning?
« Reply #53 on: 9 Nov 2014, 08:02 pm »
Do swithmode power supplies respond to line conditioners?

Based on my experiences limited to a number of class A/B amps and several class D amps all using superior line conditioners, my answer is absolutely yes.  More importantly, they respond positively under certain conditions.  Some of those conditions are related to the SMPS and some are not.

You also said, "I realize that the best SMPS is no SMPS". 

I can see why some might think this but like anything, it depends on one's experiences and the extent to which one is willing to address potential problems.  So I'd like to offer a few thoughts on SMPS in general.

1.  SMPS is digital and therefore by their very nature anything digital will induce a small audible amount of bi-directional digital noise back into the AC outlet.  If other components are sharing that same circuit, they will be contaminated with that digital noise.  Not the end of the world but it is audible and I presume the more components sharing that same outlet, the worse the amount of digital noise. 

2.  To the best of my knowledge, most/all SMPS' are mounted on cheap PCB boards and then the PCB board is mounted to the chassis.  Unlike traditional power supplies that a heavier, more stout, ridid, etc. that are often times mounted directly to the chassis or mounted to a rigid plate that is mounted to the chassis.  This implies that any vibrations induced by the SMPS itself, or from a neighboring source within the PCB board and/or chassis, or simply any air-borne vibrations captured elsewhere in the chassis can have a potentially greater effect on the SMPS because such vibrations become more trapped in/around the SMPS.  IOW, if any vibrations in/around the SMPS are not free to travel elsewhere, they will begin their lengthy dissipation right there.  IOW, cheap, thin, fragile PCB board material is problaby far worse than MDF which is a horrible conductor for allowing mechanical energy to travel.

That said, line conditioning theoretically has more to do with universal noisy AC inducing its harm (distortions) on anything plugged into the wall.  Whether it be a refrig, an electric oven, an audio component, a traditional PS, or SMPS.  Since most of us are not anal about the performance of our refrigerators and ovens the distortions induced by noisy AC there go unnoticed. 

However, in a well-thought-out playback system it is easily noticeable.  But then again, it can only be easily noticeable if one is able to hear that playback system with and without proper line conditioning.  Proper being the keyword here, because there are plenty of line conditioners that do little or nothing, or worse will induce their own sonic harm.

Which leads to the point of my answer to your question.  If, per chance, you're able to employ line conditioners worth owning, the level of improved musicality should be pretty tremendous, whether traditional power supplies or SMPS.

But you still have the added problem of bi-directional digital noise generated by the SMPS that still will go back out into the AC outlet and infiltrate your other components.  Therefore, you either need to ensure your line conditioner of choice is capable of bi-directional noise filtering, and/or you need to ensure every component has its own proper line conditioner.

Some may say that dedicated circuits/lines will cure/prevent this bi-directional noise from infiltrating the other components, but there are enough in-the-know who also will claim that bi-directional digital noise is capalbe of going all the way back to the AC service panel and then infiltrate other circuits/lines and other components.

There are also two other aspect to keep in mind with class D stereo amps and class D int. amps: 

1) If there is only one AC inlet to the stereo or int. amp, this bi-directional noise will be shared between the L&R channels at the single AC inlet and there's not a external line conditioner in the world that can cure this internal problem.

2) Similar problems occur with an int. amp and the active pre-amp section.  The active preamp section must borrow AC power from one of the 2 channels to function.  Since both channels are already generating bi-directional digitial noise, that will carry forward to the preamp section of the int. amp.

Having experienced these situations myself, knowing what I think I know and the tremendous audible improvement potentials, I would not own a stereo class D amp, nor a stereo class D int. amp.  But I do own a pair of class D monoblock amps and I have some fabulous performance-oriented dedicated, passive, and bi-directional filtering line conditioners on every component.  And just like my previous class A/B amps and int. amps, my class D amps benefit equally from proper line conditioning.

Finally, there's the issue of potentially more inferior / less proper vibration control with SMPS modules, but that's outside the scope of this thread.

With regard to your statement about the best SMPS is no SMPS, I recently swapped out a highly rated $8k class A/B int. amp for a pair of small mono block class D $2.4k amps and with careful consideration and solutions to their known issues, that highly-rated $8k int. amp now sounds like a $200 BestBuy receiver in comparison to the level of musicllity I'm now able to achieve via the class D mono blocks. 

I've also owned other class D amps from 2006 - 2011 with not too dissimilar experiences and successes but recent revelations have allowed me to take class D much further this time around.

In sum, SMPS technology brings a bit more baggage that needs to be considered, analyzed, and addresssed and if they are properly addressed, there are potentially huge musical gains to be had.  Yes, I said huge as in larger than large.



Folsom

Re: Do switch mode power supplies respond to power conditioning?
« Reply #54 on: 9 Nov 2014, 08:44 pm »
SMPS's are switching devices and not any more digital than class D amplifier that's not digital at all.

You could say because they operate on a on/off switching they're like digital 010101, except that class D creates a sign wave, and SMPS's don't send data, just a 0-1hz DC.

However they use very small transformers so they're much more likely to make common mode noise, which I discussed some in another post you've read. But also the power supplies tend to be pretty low impedance, which is good and bad. The funny thing is on the output you get filtration that typically starts at the input, but some tend to lack the same amount of filtration on the return paths; if any at all. It's relatively easy for noise to leave the device, in other words. This is very simplified, and not entirely universal. Basically AC (noise) seeks a low impedance path, and SMPS's may provide one that isn't through the filtration.


Agisthos

Re: Do switch mode power supplies respond to power conditioning?
« Reply #55 on: 31 Jan 2015, 05:38 am »
Regarding SMPS with a conditioner, I will give a different take. An SMPS will sound better with a power conditioner, but only if the SMPS is the only device connected to it.

When you have a full system connected, any SMPS individual gains are crossed out by the SMPS itself feeding hash and noise back into the local system that effects other components.

That is why you are always better off having the SMPS isolated and in the wall.

Better yet get upgraded LPS in place of SMPS, it makes a vast difference.

tarquineous

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Re: Do switch mode power supplies respond to power conditioning?
« Reply #56 on: 9 Jul 2017, 11:47 pm »
Powervar Corp. claims the best way to condition SMPS is by using a low impedance isolation transformer, with built in noise filtering. They claim the main factor is the isolation transformer. Makes sense to me.
You could use a power strip for convenience.
I see they make a new series called "Ground Guard". I may get one soon, and they are available in several sizes.