Would Power-Lines be pointless?

I have just returned to Naim after a two year break, having suffered a bout of upgraditis. I am starting afresh, with new purchases in the pipeline.

My previous Naim set up consisted of a dedicated mains supply. However, I have since moved house, and unlike the old house, the meter cupboard is a very long way from my music room.

So my question is, would Power-Lines be a waste of money if the mains supply is a tad 'dirty'? The source that I intend to purchase is a NDX 2, which actually comes with a Power-Line Lite.

Thanks

Original Post

Thanks Michael_B. Once I have purchased my black boxes, I'm sure they'll lend me one or more to demo. The only downside, I won't be able to compare how they would have sounded with a dedicated supply. I guess that's the deal with those that have Power-Lines, but no dedicated supply.

Michael_B. posted:

FWIW I went the whole hog on a dedicated supply in my old house and it made not a jot of difference.

🔹 Michael_B,....Ooops,you're the first one I've heard of,that didn't hear any difference.
I drew dedicated electricity the first time in 1986,and it was a big difference.

Then I have done it in 3 places to when I have moved,it has always been a big difference.

Can you briefly tell me how you made,because it feels like something is not right here....you should hear the difference.!

/Peder 🙂

Powerlines definitely make a sonic difference in the system. Enough so that I tend to view them as filters. Good or bad? Worth their cost? Only one way to find out and only the end user can determine their true valuation. Exactly why I've always bought PLs s/h. That way I can move them on with little monetary loss.

No dedicated mains supply on my end. This seems to be a far greater concern for those in Europe and Asia. I'm in the US and my power supply plays clean to my ears with no transformer humming. I formerly had three s/h PLs in my system and sold them as I discovered better options at less cost from a US manufacturer.

A new Naim Powerline is £600. For around the same price (more or less depending on work required) you could put in a dedicated supply (Consumer unit and Radial) which will give your system an excellent foundation you can build on. Add power lines (or whatever flavour of aftermarket float your boat) later if needed. Obviously you're still affected by what goes on in your locality as you'll probably share the feed from your local substation with a number of others, domestic and light industrial, but getting the Hi-Fi supply fed from as close as possible to the incoming house electrical supply is a good move.

Peder posted:
Michael_B. posted:

FWIW I went the whole hog on a dedicated supply in my old house and it made not a jot of difference.

🔹 Michael_B,....Ooops,you're the first one I've heard of,that didn't hear any difference.
I drew dedicated electricity the first time in 1986,and it was a big difference.

Then I have done it in 3 places to when I have moved,it has always been a big difference.

Can you briefly tell me how you made,because it feels like something is not right here....you should hear the difference.!

/Peder 🙂

I’ve heard the same from others. I followed all the advice here and in the fishie forum, including the electricity company meter and meter tails, a dedicated consumer unit, very fat wires (can’t remember the diameter any more but at the very top end) all leading to Crabtree sockets. When I was evaluating conditioners, power blocks, Powerigel etc. with James from TomTom, we decided to have a little fun and compare the performance with them (particularly the deterioration in sonic performance with some highly-renowned conditioners) by also comparing the dedicated supply to the house ring main. The difference was minimal (a very slight increase in dynamics and separation) or non-existant, depending on what was being used between the wall sockets and system. The only thing worth noting is that the wiring of the ring main was also new. I sometimes wonder whether the improvement people hear after all this work is due less to having a dedicated supply than to having simply improved the earthing and conductors with new components in an otherwise old installation.

I think a lot will depend on how good the existing wiring is. The main motivation for me to get a dedicated spur was to stop clicks over the speakers every time someone switched on a wall light in the sitting room. The improvement in sound quality was really a bonus. Initially the earth for the hifi consumer unit piggy backed off the existing one. When I later changed this so that both earths went right back to the meter, the whole sound became clearer. Just because some people hear no difference is, in my view, no reason not to try it. It’s cheaper than a Powerline and is likely to give a bigger improvement. At the very least, you know that the system has firm foundations. 

Michael_B. posted:

. I sometimes wonder whether the improvement people hear after all this work is due less to having a dedicated supply than to having simply improved the earthing and conductors with new components in an otherwise old installation.

Yes good point. You're also removing a lot of joints on a typical ring. We did a lot of decorating a few years back and I took the opportunity to clean and tighten all the connections on the lounge ring sockets including at the house CU which proved beneficial. My own motivation to finally get a dedicated supply was that we have a fair few switching supplies sat on the lounge ring and our plasma, even on standby, introduced a slight degradation in SQ - given the cost it was a no brainer, made more of a difference than I expected and will be beneficial to whatever changes I make in the future.

Michael_B. posted:

FWIW I went the whole hog on a dedicated supply in my old house and it made not a jot of difference.

hungryhalibut posted:

I think a lot will depend on how good the existing wiring is. The main motivation for me to get a dedicated spur was to stop clicks over the speakers every time someone switched on a wall light in the sitting room. The improvement in sound quality was really a bonus. Initially the earth for the hifi consumer unit piggy backed off the existing one. When I later changed this so that both earths went right back to the meter, the whole sound became clearer. Just because some people hear no difference is, in my view, no reason not to try it. It’s cheaper than a Powerline and is likely to give a bigger improvement. At the very least, you know that the system has firm foundations. 

Michael & HH...The reason I may not be able to install a dedicated supply, is because the CU is miles away from where the black boxes are going. Whereas, in my previous house it was very close.

There can no doubt, putting a dedicated supply which is purely for the black boxes, will be great for the system. However, I have to put my hand on my heart and say, that I when I installed it in my previous house, I personally couldn't hear any improvement in the SQ. Perhaps it did, but I couldn't hear it.

Not wanting to turn this into another 'dedicated mains' thread, because as we know, there are dozens of them. I just wanted to try and establish, if not having a dedicated supply, would be an injustice to the Power-Lines. As people have suggested, perhaps try them and see.

james n posted:

I'd go dedicated mains first - probably the best VFM upgrade i've done. How far away is the cupboard as you may find an easy route to get the cable through without too much bother ?

james n...The CU is miles away. If I take the upstairs route, it means ripping up the floors of three bedrooms, then dropping down to the front room. The downstairs route would mean armoured cable, digging up the front drive and also the garden. Clipping it to the front of the house, and under the front door step, would IMHO, look naff. 

Meerkat posted:
james n posted:

I'd go dedicated mains first - probably the best VFM upgrade i've done. How far away is the cupboard as you may find an easy route to get the cable through without too much bother ?

james n...The CU is miles away. If I take the upstairs route, it means ripping up the floors of three bedrooms, then dropping down to the front room. The downstairs route would mean armoured cable, digging up the front drive and also the garden. Clipping it to the front of the house, and under the front door step, would IMHO, look naff. 

Ours emerges from the garage, goes under the doorstep (eek!!) and is buried under the flowerbed. It’s SWA too. 

Meerkat posted:
james n posted:

I'd go dedicated mains first - probably the best VFM upgrade i've done. How far away is the cupboard as you may find an easy route to get the cable through without too much bother ?

james n...The CU is miles away. If I take the upstairs route, it means ripping up the floors of three bedrooms, then dropping down to the front room. The downstairs route would mean armoured cable, digging up the front drive and also the garden. Clipping it to the front of the house, and under the front door step, would IMHO, look naff. 

Ah ok, understood. I took mine through the loft and dropped it to the lounge via conduit on an outside wall to solve that problem (lounge and meter on opposite ends of the house). All nice and neat.

Anyway sounds like Powerlines are worth trying once your new kit has settled in but the lite version you'll get with the new kit is not too shabby either

james n posted:
Meerkat posted:
james n posted:

I'd go dedicated mains first - probably the best VFM upgrade i've done. How far away is the cupboard as you may find an easy route to get the cable through without too much bother ?

james n...The CU is miles away. If I take the upstairs route, it means ripping up the floors of three bedrooms, then dropping down to the front room. The downstairs route would mean armoured cable, digging up the front drive and also the garden. Clipping it to the front of the house, and under the front door step, would IMHO, look naff. 

Ah ok, understood. I took mine through the loft and dropped it to the lounge via conduit on an outside wall to solve that problem (lounge and meter on opposite ends of the house). All nice and neat.

Anyway sounds like Powerlines are worth trying once your new kit has settled in but the lite version you'll get with the new kit is not too shabby either

"Lounge and meter cupboard opposite ends of the house" Ditto! 

Re the Lite version, yes I'd heard that.

hungryhalibut posted:

This is the definitive answer to your question: if you get a Powerline and can hear a difference that in your opinion warrants the expenditure of £600, then it’s worthwhile. 

Absolutely HH

james n posted:
Meerkat posted:
james n posted:

I'd go dedicated mains first - probably the best VFM upgrade i've done. How far away is the cupboard as you may find an easy route to get the cable through without too much bother ?

james n...The CU is miles away. If I take the upstairs route, it means ripping up the floors of three bedrooms, then dropping down to the front room. The downstairs route would mean armoured cable, digging up the front drive and also the garden. Clipping it to the front of the house, and under the front door step, would IMHO, look naff. 

Ah ok, understood. I took mine through the loft and dropped it to the lounge via conduit on an outside wall to solve that problem (lounge and meter on opposite ends of the house). All nice and neat.

Anyway sounds like Powerlines are worth trying once your new kit has settled in but the lite version you'll get with the new kit is not too shabby either

"Lounge and meter cupboard opposite ends of the house" Ditto! 

Re the Lite version, yes I'd heard that.

hungryhalibut posted:
Meerkat posted:
james n posted:

I'd go dedicated mains first - probably the best VFM upgrade i've done. How far away is the cupboard as you may find an easy route to get the cable through without too much bother ?

james n...The CU is miles away. If I take the upstairs route, it means ripping up the floors of three bedrooms, then dropping down to the front room. The downstairs route would mean armoured cable, digging up the front drive and also the garden. Clipping it to the front of the house, and under the front door step, would IMHO, look naff. 

Ours emerges from the garage, goes under the doorstep (eek!!) and is buried under the flowerbed. It’s SWA too. 

SWA? I had to Google that

Yes.

Spend  the money somewhere else on the system. I had two at one point and at first thought they made a difference but when I took them out I didn’t notice any change at all. 

And on the subject of dedicated mains I have spoken to maybe 20 electricians about this and then also a few dedicated Audio Visual installers and all of them thought it would make no difference. In fact on of the AV installers used to offer it as an extra but stopped doing so because of feedback from customers. 

Michael_B. posted:
I sometimes wonder whether the improvement people hear after all this work is due less to having a dedicated supply than to having simply improved the earthing and conductors with new components in an otherwise old installation.
Skip posted:

I actually hear more difference with the Powerlines on my dedicated circuit than I do on the main wiring.

Bob the Builder posted:

Spend  the money somewhere else on the system. I had two (PLs) at one point and at first thought they made a difference but when I took them out I didn’t notice any change at all. 

Good objective comments above, though probably only confuses the issue for Meerkat. Add to that some folks may tend to rationalize money spent on either PLs or dedicated mains to justify the expense. Tough to decide. The logical approach for me would be to try PLs (or other cables) before dedicated mains. Power cables are interchangeable and re-sellable. No return or cost recovery with dedicated mains.

joerand posted:

Power cables are interchangeable and re-sellable. No return or cost recovery with dedicated mains.

Yes - you can't really demo it before committing but given the money spent on black boxes, supports and cables, it seems sensible (well to me anyway) to get the mains sorted at relatively low cost.

James

Bob the Builder posted:

Yes.

Spend  the money somewhere else on the system. I had two at one point and at first thought they made a difference but when I took them out I didn’t notice any change at all. 

And on the subject of dedicated mains I have spoken to maybe 20 electricians about this and then also a few dedicated Audio Visual installers and all of them thought it would make no difference. In fact on of the AV installers used to offer it as an extra but stopped doing so because of feedback from customers. 

As I said previously, I really, really wanted to hear a difference, personally I couldn't.

joerand posted:
Michael_B. posted:
I sometimes wonder whether the improvement people hear after all this work is due less to having a dedicated supply than to having simply improved the earthing and conductors with new components in an otherwise old installation.
Skip posted:

I actually hear more difference with the Powerlines on my dedicated circuit than I do on the main wiring.

Bob the Builder posted:

Spend  the money somewhere else on the system. I had two (PLs) at one point and at first thought they made a difference but when I took them out I didn’t notice any change at all. 

Good objective comments above, though probably only confuses the issue for Meerkat. Add to that some folks may tend to rationalize money spent on either PLs or dedicated mains to justify the expense. Tough to decide. The logical approach for me would be to try PLs (or other cables) before dedicated mains. Power cables are interchangeable and re-sellable. No return or cost recovery with dedicated mains.

It doesn't take much to confuse me!  As you say, some very helpful comments. Thanks guys.

Jonas Olofsson posted:

I’ve done dedicated two times. First time no big deal, second time (and used now), like adding a Supercap. No clue why the huge difference. 

//Jonas

Likewise, just the other way round. In my case the difference appears to be down to a total, quality before cost, rewire of our current home. Installation carried out by my son (fully qualified sparks) who has a lot of experience in the AV field. His view is that, unless there are specific problems caused by wiring degradation, dedicated supplies can be a bit of a waste of money. He has installed quite a few, some using exorbitantly priced ‘hifi’ quality raw materials, where he has been unable to determine any significant improvement (albeit customers felt it was ‘night and day’!!).

I guess if you’re able to have a dedicated install done for the cost of a Powerline then it’s probably a punt worth taking.

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