Cheap power strips for best sound.

General HiFi discussion, using the Tune Method to evaluate performance

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RCA12314
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Cheap power strips for best sound.

Post by RCA12314 » 2019-08-03 18:08

I was wondering if anybody uses cheap plastic power strips. I tried them, and to my complete surprise they sound much, much better than the expensive power blocks I have owned. Maybe it's the simplified design, moulded parts, and plugs which contribute to the way they sound.

In my experience they sound very neutral. Almost seen but not heard.

What are others experience with power strips

Thank you

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Re: Cheap power strips for best sound.

Post by RCA12314 » 2019-08-05 21:34

This is the power strip I am using at the moment CPC Pro Elec 6 Gang Extension Lead, 3m - 1596. Very cheap, and I have found it to be good quality. I am sure that it is due to the simplified parts that contributes to the excellent sound.

Because there are no iec sockets on the power strip to plug a mains lead in to, and everything is moulded it reduces the amount of connections between the plug socket and the power strip. The more obstacles in the way of the current seems to mess with the sound.
Power strips that are fused, and have a power on light also mess the sound up in my experience. Simplified is better.

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Re: Cheap power strips for best sound.

Post by beck » 2019-08-05 21:40

....and I do think that most people on this forum agree with you. :-)
............in our thoughts.............

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Re: Cheap power strips for best sound.

Post by Charlie1 » 2019-08-06 09:06

Agree, simpler the better. I've only tried mainstream strips though, not the expensive audiophile ones.

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Re: Cheap power strips for best sound.

Post by lejonklou » 2019-08-06 11:26

You are so right, RCA12314.

So far all the best power strips I have listened to have been very simple and very cheap. Unfortunately the very best European (Shuko) one, made some time in the early 90's, is no longer in production. The current best ones look similar, are not as musical, but will do until we find something better.

You should be aware that there are quite big differences between the various simple power strips - they look alike but sound different. The one that Charlie has should be one of the best UK models. I can never remember its name, but if he lets us know, I suggest you buy one and compare it to yours.

Some advice:
* Usually the shorter the lead going into the strip, the better.
* My experience has been that 1.5 mm2 conductors in the lead going into the strip sounds best and a standard power cord of 0.75-1.00 mm2 is worse. Also bigger areas than 1.5 appeared to be worse when I did tests around 5 years ago.
* The cable direction of the lead going into the strip is important. Check which way the text is running, buy one of each direction and compare them. Usually the best sounding direction will be the same for that particular brand and model of the cable. But beware that the cable might be of a different brand in the next batch!

Please do share your findings if you find a better strip than your current Pro Elec!

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Re: Cheap power strips for best sound.

Post by RCA12314 » 2019-08-06 16:20

Thank you for your advice lejonklou

I have just checked my Pro Elec mains cable and the text direction is from the mains strip to the plug. Is it normally better if the text direction is from the plug to mains strip ?

I bought two of these plugged in to a double socket. I have used the full 3 metre length on one strip, as it feeds my TV, and blu ray player, and other hifi separates.

The other strip is being used for the amplifier, and cd player only. It does not require the full 3 metre length. But I am concerned about shortening the cable incase it causes an imbalance in the sound, because of the different lengths on each strip if I shorten it. The same as speaker wire should be equal lengths, does equal lengths matter on power strips ?

The only other plastic mains strip I have tried is by Masterplug. It was ok, but the Pro Elec is better balanced, with more delicacy to the sound. If that makes any sense !

I would like to try a shuko mains strip with a UK plug, but I am not sure if it is legal to do that here in the UK. This would be a better option as it eliminates fuses from the mains cables to the equipment. The only fuse would be the one used in the plug to the wall socket.
Has anyone tried this ? What were the results of listening tests ?

Charlie if you could let me know what mains strip you use. I would definitely purchase one and try it out.

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Re: Cheap power strips for best sound.

Post by Teemu » 2019-08-06 16:29

Clas Ohlson "Co/tech" is very good cheap EU power strip but unfortunately not available anymore (replaced other cheap model with with rounded edges)

Here is pictures:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-NkKfE ... p=drivesdk

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-KVMLu ... p=drivesdk

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-J6z27 ... p=drivesdk

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Re: Cheap power strips for best sound.

Post by Charlie1 » 2019-08-06 20:08

RCA12314 wrote:
2019-08-06 16:20
The only other plastic mains strip I have tried is by Masterplug. It was ok, but the Pro Elec is better balanced, with more delicacy to the sound. If that makes any sense !

----

Charlie if you could let me know what mains strip you use. I would definitely purchase one and try it out.
It's actually the Masterplug that I use. It has no LEDs, switches or mains conditioning. I think the cord is about 2m long. I bought it in Robert Dyas. I'll have to check out your Pro Elec one sometime.

I gave a 6-way one to a fellow forum member but it has a longer cable - 3m as I recall. I think he may have found a much more expensive alternative though - not sure if he stuck with it or not.

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Re: Cheap power strips for best sound.

Post by David Neel » 2019-08-06 21:31

Charlie1 wrote:
2019-08-06 20:08
I gave a 6-way one to a fellow forum member but it has a longer cable - 3m as I recall. I think he may have found a much more expensive alternative though - not sure if he stuck with it or not.
I'm still using it, thank you, and I think it's 2m. I did go down a very deep and dark rabbit-hole trying to improve on it, finding numerous incremental improvements until I took them all out, reinstalled the six-way and standard power cables and found it better still! A cautionary tale of many small sonic improvements hiding a loss of musicality, not to mention trying to do quick A/B comparisons involving switching off at the mains when we all know Lejonklou electronics don't sound their best until they've been running for half an hour.
The search for knowledge is not nourished by certainty, but by a radical distrust in certainty.

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Re: Cheap power strips for best sound.

Post by Charlie1 » 2019-08-06 21:50

David Neel wrote:
2019-08-06 21:31
I think it's 2m.
That makes sense. I just checked and my 4-way is just 1m long. I knew yours was longer (so to speak).

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Re: Cheap power strips for best sound.

Post by RCA12314 » 2019-08-09 14:43

Thank you for all the replies.

I am really happy with the Pro Elec mains strip. So for now I am going to stick with it.

I want to replace my switched double socket for an unswitched double socket.

Any recommendations would be most welcome.

Thank you

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Re: Cheap power strips for best sound.

Post by Charlie1 » 2019-08-09 16:31

I ordered the Pro Elec 4-way with 0.5m lead.

My sparky wouldn't fit switchless sockets cos they're not allowed. I never got around to getting some myself.

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Re: Cheap power strips for best sound.

Post by RCA12314 » 2019-08-09 16:51

Hi Charlie.

To be honest, I don't know how much of an advantage an unswitched socket would make, but it removes another set of switches from the equation.

Glad you purchased the Pro Elec. Hopefully it will work well with your system. Did you purchase from CPC ?

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Re: Cheap power strips for best sound.

Post by Charlie1 » 2019-08-09 17:24

Yep

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Re: Cheap power strips for best sound.

Post by RCA12314 » 2019-08-09 19:37

Charlie let me know what your findings are with the Pro Elec power strip.

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Re: Cheap power strips for best sound.

Post by Teemu » 2019-08-10 09:18

Thinking about cheap EU power strips, which are the best ones and available today? Please, make recommendations..

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Re: Cheap power strips for best sound.

Post by beck » 2019-08-10 09:30

You should look around and try what is in your home. I do not think anyone can keep up with what works best in this field.
To get a level comparison unplug what you are using now. Plug it in again and listen (record). Then try your other power strip and listen (record).
............in our thoughts.............

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Re: Cheap power strips for best sound.

Post by Charlie1 » 2019-08-13 12:45

Will add clips to Playground thread with Pro Elec mains block vs Masterplug.

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Re: Cheap power strips for best sound.

Post by RCA12314 » 2019-08-13 21:15

I will look forward to that Charlie. It will be interesting to see your comparison between the two.

On my own system, the Pro Elec is superior by far. But every system is different.

Thanks

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Re: Cheap power strips for best sound.

Post by lejonklou » 2019-08-13 21:49

I'd rather say that a better power strip is better in all systems. With very few exceptions (early Lingo's is one), the same applies to power cords. The intrinsic qualities usually outweigh any possible matching qualities.

Charlie's clips are already posted in 'Playground for practical listening exercices' - I'm going to give them a listen now.

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Re: Cheap power strips for best sound.

Post by Charlie1 » 2019-08-13 22:36

I suppose one other factor in my clips is that the Pro Elec is new whereas my Masterplug has had a few years regular use.

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Re: Cheap power strips for best sound.

Post by RCA12314 » 2019-08-15 21:55

Hi Charlie,

Having followed your adventures with the Masterplug and Pro Elec. It seems you like both, as they each have there own sound signature. I like the Pro Elec very much. I found the sound was much warmer, much more hi-fi. It is a sound I am really enjoying. I also found it removed the digital edge off my cd player, and with the added bonus of adding a Longwell mains cable it sounds very smooth indeed.

These days I try and listen for tone, and texture. Not so much transparency, and dynamics.

The Pro Elec is a very good power strip, but so is the Masterplug. If you could have the sound properties of both, then that would be the best of both worlds. If I had to pick one I would go for the Pro Elec.

What would be your final thoughts on the Masterplug v Pro Elec, and could you choose between the two ?

Thank you

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Re: Cheap power strips for best sound.

Post by lejonklou » 2019-08-16 20:52

Hi RCA12314!

Are you familiar with the Tune Method? I really recommend trying to get to grips with that method, as it is the basis for all our discussions in here. And also the basis for every decision I make when developing my products.

I've been meaning to mention this several times this summer when I've seen wording that leans heavily on impressions of sound. The Tune Method elevates the discussion to be about the music and how it's being reproduced.

One good rule in this spirit is that when you pass your judgement on a piece of equipment, your words need to make perfect sense IF there was no HiFi and no recording and you were commenting a live performance.

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Re: Cheap power strips for best sound.

Post by Charlie1 » 2019-08-16 22:48

RCA12314 wrote:
2019-08-15 21:55
What would be your final thoughts on the Masterplug v Pro Elec, and could you choose between the two?
Nothing has really changed since the Playground thread tbh. The Masterplug is more musically satisfying for me so that's the one I'm still using. I do like, and prefer, the sound of the Pro Elec, but as Fredrik says, the music comes first.

I understand where you're coming from though, ref making your CD player less irritating. I just don't like giving in and using a plaster to patch over things - I don't think it's the best long term approach either. I think you can get where you need to be without it. Beck has done a lot of work with an old Rega CD player, eventually turning it into a really engaging player - not sure exactly how though.

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Re: Cheap power strips for best sound.

Post by RCA12314 » 2019-08-17 13:48

Hi Lejonklu and Charlie.

I looked up tunedem, and to be honest I agree with the statement "The philosophy at Linn is very simple: if it sounds better, it is better."

What is interesting is that i don't own Linn or naim gear, yet using this principle my system does sound better with the very basic cheap Pro Elec. The Longwell and Baohing cables also sound right. So it seems these cables, and power strips including the Masterplug work universally across all different systems, and with different types of gear.

These accessories go a long way to achieving "The philosophy at Linn is very simple: if it sounds better, it is better.

This is having an impact on the way I am listening to music. Tunedem is going to take me some practice to fully learn. But I can hear more of the individual instruments that I hadn't really heard, or paid any attention to before through simply changing the way I listen. But I am tapping my feet, and really enjoying the music. So yes "if it sounds better, it is better.

If I have tunedem all wrong then maybe I don't get it.

Thank You

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