PS Audio Noise harvester Does it Work?? - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

View Poll Results: Does the PS Audio noise harvester really work?
Yes, I own it and it works great! 1 100.00%
I own it but have not noticed any effect. 0 0%
Voters: 1. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 63 Old 06-05-06, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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PS Audio Noise harvester Does it Work??

Recently saw the boys from PS Audio have put out a noise harvester, do you think that it works. Also I'd be interested to hear from anyone who is (or has) been using this. Here's the link
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post #2 of 63 Old 06-05-06, 08:14 PM
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Re: PS Audio Noise harvester Does it Work??

Mine are on their way - should be here in a couple of days.
A couple of us are going to try them out in different properties and see how they work. I'll feedback the results.
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post #3 of 63 Old 06-06-06, 12:16 AM
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Re: PS Audio Noise harvester Does it Work??

I'd be curious to know myself if they work.

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post #4 of 63 Old 06-08-06, 11:07 AM
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Re: PS Audio Noise harvester Does it Work??

They arrived today and plugged in - flashing like crazy on some circuits and slow flashing on others, so there's something going on.
Already have an idea on how they affect the sound but will post feedback after more prolonged listening tests.

I'm OK with the vote based on pollers trying the Harvesters out, but feel its unfair to vote based on opinion, predjudice etc. It' s unfair on the manufacturer and just an opinion to vote with no experience, and adds no value.
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post #5 of 63 Old 06-08-06, 08:55 PM
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Re: PS Audio Noise harvester Does it Work??

I wait patiently for your review oh great one.
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post #6 of 63 Old 06-08-06, 09:35 PM
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Re: PS Audio Noise harvester Does it Work??

Phil, you now have Zealots following you J/K Totally loved those part from Toy Story and Toy Story 2.

Welcome to the forum Laserman.

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post #7 of 63 Old 06-10-06, 04:04 PM
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Re: PS Audio Noise harvester Does it Work??

I've spent the last few days staining my deck and just reassembled my system - I wanted to try the Harvesters with my Richard Grey.
When I first plugged 3 into a group of outlets they all flashed at a similar frequency, the last 2 went into a seperate group of outlets and flashed at a lower frequency. Being a sceptic I thought that maybe PS Audio tunes them in the factory to flash at a pre-determined frequency to fool us into believing we had 'noise' in the supply. I swapped them over and confirmed that they are not pre-set.

I'll need a few days to recover from them strobing at me all day, and give them a fair trial. I also will have a friend come over for the blind trial, to eliminate the 'these cost $400 so they must do something' syndrome.
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post #8 of 63 Old 06-11-06, 08:44 AM
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Re: PS Audio Noise harvester Does it Work??

Harvesters - Initial Impression

I've had my system offline for the last week and a half waiting for a new 3 channel amp to arrive, I noticed that during this time I wasn't completely happy with what I was hearing so wanted to reinstall everything before giving the Harvesters a fair crack of the whip. The key component missing was my Richard Gray RGPC1200, don't know what it does but my system is sweeter to listen to with it in place. And from this reference point it was the right environment to give the Harvesters a workout.

Equipment used:
Modwright Sony NS999ES CD/SACD/DVD player
B&W N803 speakers
Musical Fidelity KW500 integrated amp
Richard Gray RGPC1200

Under test:
5 PS Audio Harvesters

Tests disc used:
Steve Reid - Bamboo Forest
The Coors - Talk On Corners
Sweetbottom - Live The Reunion
Seal - IV
Alan Hull - Pipedream

I plugged the Harvesters in different locations in my HT room, which has two seperate 20amp circuits, and did see the Harvesters flashing away at different frequencies in different locations at different times of the day. The discs chosen are ones that my local buddy Lou (free plug for his jazzsite and I use to get a first impression of a piece of equipment. These discs (except for Pipedream, which is one of my old favs) are very revealing and can quickly give an indication of soundstage, male and female vocals, instrument separation and 'musicality'.
First impression with 1 Harvester plugged in - no significant change, all 5 Harvesters - no significant change.
By no significant change I'm talking about a 1-3% difference with and without them, which at $400 does not represent for me a good price performance equation. In addition the 1-3% range is in the land of 'psycho acoustics' or 'I thought I heard something'.
The next step is to give them a week in my system to see if the change is subtle, and finding out what changes take place after getting used to them . I will then go over to Lou's place to try them in a different environment, and report back.

I had planned to wait until the Harvesters had been in my system, and at a second location before posting: but decided to post an interim report as their is a lot of interest. With this in mind the final verdict isn't in yet - so please bear this in mind before drawing any conclusions.
Acid test, will I keep them? The jury is still out
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post #9 of 63 Old 06-11-06, 01:53 PM
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Re: PS Audio Noise harvester Does it Work??

These are basically filters to create a load at frequencies other than the line frequency and dissipate The problem that I see with them is that there is a lot of noise in electrical systems that does not effect problems with sound nor pix in most systems. Some systems may have problems that do affect the sound or pix, but most do not. I have done lots of experimenting to try to find what kinds of line noise is actually visible in video systems and found that in most video components, the power supplies eliminate most problems with line noise. Ground loops are another matter. With audio systems, there is more liklihood of a.c. noise creating a problem but it is relatively rare.

Consider how most video components power supplies operate. Most use a switching supply that takes incoming a.c., rectifies it (as does a conventional power supply) to d.c. and filters it with relatively large capacitors(though nothing like the capacity in a typical audio amplifier, maybe 680 uF). At this point it could still have a fair amount of noise on it and more likely significant ripple. That d.c. with noise is then switched on and off at a rate of perhaps 50-125 khz. This switched d.c. looks like a distorted square wave that is input to the primary of a transformer, inducing a current in the secondary. This current is rectified, typically by high speed or barrier diodes and fltered using caps approriate for the load. Typically there are multiple filter caps and multiple supplies on the secondary at different voltages. More regulation is applied on most supplies, folowed by filter caps on those lines.

The bottom line is, in most video components that work this way, it is nearly impossible for low level noise on the original a.c. to survive the several stages of rectification, switching, and filtering. More conventional power supplies typically used in audio components are more likely to allow low level a.c. noise to pass, but also do a pretty good job of filtering it.

Devices like the PS filters are likely doing something. The question is whether it is of value and whether it represents a value to the user. I suspect that in most cases it does not. In some rare cases there may be noise that they might affect. I would be interested in the conditions that might make such devices useful.

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post #10 of 63 Old 06-11-06, 03:07 PM
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Re: PS Audio Noise harvester Does it Work??

it is nearly impossible for low level noise on the original a.c. to survive the several stages of rectification, switching, and filtering.

Phil, I'm pleased to see you've remained neutral and have an open mind about the efficacy of the Harvester. I'll offer an opinion.

I have to give kudos to PS Audio for their marketing ability with this product. Devices that don't have moving parts need some sort of visual boost to let the user know that it's working. What better than a flashing light and reciting the law of conservation of energy to prove the job's being done.

AC line filtering is a well understood science. There's nothing new in that department. The tried an true method of EMI/RFI noise filtering is to employ a low pass filter made up from a series/parallel ladder of inductors and capacitors that attenuate and bypass high frequencies, so as to restrict them from arriving at your equipment. They do a good job, although most electronics equipment in your system have very high EMI/RFI noise rejection already built in. The power supply transformer, bypass capacitors, filter capacitors, voltage regulators and the chips themselves all provide a high frequency noise rejection that could easily be as much as 100dB from line cord to chip. The assumption that we even require filtering is overstated.

I'm sure the Harvester is a fine parallel filter and works as advertised, although detailed claims are absent. The Harvesters parallel impedance (frequency dependant resistance) will lower for high frequencies and be insignificant at 60Hz just like any other simple parallel two lead filter. The high frequency energy will be diverted to a capacitor and then some electronic arrangement will fire the light until the capacitor is suitably discharged. A typical parallel filter will divert the energy to the neutral line. Both methods are effective, although it's really better to provide a combination of series and parallel filtering such as a power conditioner will possess. Note PS Audio agrees with this conclusion since they recommend a standard series/parallel conditioner also to be used in conjunction with the Harvester.

Most EMI/RFI filters provide insertion loss tables so you can choose the size you want to employ. If I look at the filter I use in my own system it spells out all the necessary specifications to understand what the device does in the circuit. I use a standard CORCOM V-series 30 amp line filter 30VK6. It uses a tried and true impedance ladder shown below with associated specifications on insertion loss.

This tells me a lot.
I know what this filter is going to do before I use it.
Would I buy it without the specifications - no.

Here's the marketing hype from PS Audio on their product.

Here’s the dirty little secret none of our competitors want you to know.  
ALL power line filters - regardless of design – do not actually eliminate noise from the power line.
Instead, they only shift the noise around from one place to another!

So noise that comes in the hot side of the line may be sent over to the neutral or ground side.  

But it most certainly is NOT removed or reduced.  Even so, there is nearly always SOME benefit.  
Just not all you paid for.

Physics 101

Energy can neither be created nor destroyed.  
Unless we choose to ignore it, we only have two choices:
It can be rerouted or it can be converted to another form of energy.  
It cannot be destroyed as some marketing materials might suggest.

So let’s assume we definitely want to eliminate the noise, 
not just hide it somewhere where it can still cause trouble.
Seriously, whether we divert the noise to neutral and ground or turn on a light bulb, it matters not.
What's important is that it doesn't arrive at our equipment. I would have rather seen a spec sheet on the Harvester rather than lesson 101 and then we could have decided how well it worked before purchase.
As I said before, this is a well understood principle - no magic here.

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