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Power conditioner: Monster or Panamax?


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#1 of 55 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted March 07 2002 - 03:43 PM

I am thinking of trying out a power conditioner with my main stereo system and home theater, which are in the same room. For $500, I could get the Monster HTS 3600 or the Panamax MAX 5300. Although I have done limited research at this point, I am a bit biased towards Panamax. For one thing, and I know that this should not influence my decision ultimately, the high-end dealer in my area sells Panamax, while I could get the Monster unit at Tweeter. Along the same lines, I guess I have a bit of a general bias against Monster. Still, which one would you recommend?



The Panamax unit looks good from the standpoint of warranty coverage. Panamax guarantees up to $5,000,000 worth of equipment (I'll get there someday Posted Image) and offers a three-year warranty. Monster guarantees up to $500,000 worth of equipment, but I am not sure of the warranty coverage (number of years). The $5,000,000 coverage from Panamax isn't a big deal, obviously, but the three-year warranty is. I am also quite sure that the Panamax MAX 5300 has a detachable power cord, which allows upgrading. Anyway, the Monster unit has a fixed power cord.



As for joule rating, the Monster unit seems to look better. Monster states the following on its web site regarding the HTS 3600:



"2960 joule rating provides highest level of surge absorption."



Panamax says the following about the MAX 5300:



"Single Pulse Energy Dissipation 1790 Joules"



I suppose that favors the Monster unit.



Overall, I feel better about the Panamax MAX 5300. I like the fact that Panamax has far more information on its web site (e.g., specs.) than does Monster. From an aesthetic standpoint, the Panamax model has a backlit analog meter, while the Monster unit has a digital display.



Again, which would you go with, the Monster or Panamax unit? Also, are there any major retailers that discount Panamax products? I found www.discountpanamax.com , but I don't know if they are legit. J&R sells Monster power conditioners, but they don't have the HTS 3600 yet (new model). I'm sure I could get the HTS 3600 from J&R for less than $500 (standard price), but I'm not sure about getting a discount on the MAX 5300.



Thanks for reading!
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#2 of 55 OFFLINE   Kevin T

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Posted March 07 2002 - 08:25 PM

keith:



you can get the monster 3600 unit for $340 delievered here. however, the 3600 only carries a 2-3 year warranty. i would suggest looking at the older 3500 model as it came with a lifetime warranty. it can be purchased at the same link as above for $285 delievered. i cannot comment on the panamax units as i'm unfamiliar with them. i owned a monster 2500 but sold it (now i wish i hadn't) so i'm familiar with the warranty on the older models. i never noticed any improvement while the unit was connected in my system...i basically bought it as an insurance policy / surge protector. i don't know what kind of gear you're connecting to it but $100,000 will surely be adequate to cover the gear i know you own.



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#3 of 55 OFFLINE   Tim Kilbride

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Posted March 07 2002 - 08:34 PM

I've got the Panamax 1000 (x2) and love them...clean, well built, and work well. I didn't spend a fortune and got everything I needed in surge protection/amp switching. Would recommend Panamax products without hesitation!!!



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#4 of 55 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted March 07 2002 - 09:13 PM

Kevin, Thanks for the info. The fact that Monster went from a lifetime warranty to a two- or three-year warranty is disturbing. I wonder if Monster was losing money with the lifetime warranty due to a lot of people coming to them with claims after storms and the like. Well, seeing as many of these products have not been around too long, Monster probably is taking a preemptive measure here. If they sell every power conditioner with a lifetime warranty, they could get socked with claims over the long haul. Whatever the reason for the change in warranty coverage, it doesn't sit right with this consumer. Above all, your experience certainly isn't a vote in support of a Monster power conditioner. One question though. Since you said you did not observe any improvement with your HTS 2500, why do you wish you hadn't sold it? What about it do you miss? Yeah, $100,000 would cover me. These coverage figures are ridiculous. I mean, $5,000,000 from Panamax. Please. Tim, Thanks for the info. on your Panamax units. Did you notice an improvement in sound or picture quality with them?
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#5 of 55 OFFLINE   Kevin T

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Posted March 07 2002 - 10:15 PM

the monster had the ability to remotely switch on my amps everytime i turned on my db930. now that i have just a plain jane panamax surge protector, i really miss that feature. i'll probably end up buying a 3500 sometime soon so i can have the switching ability back and be able to see what kind of voltage fluctuations i'm having. with all respect to the 2500, my house is brand new (built april 2001) and so is the subdivision so i imagine all the wiring and what not for the neighborhood doesn't have as much "crud" in the electrical system as older homes. from everything i've read re: line conditioners, i think they are basically hit or miss when it comes how effective they are at "conditioning" your power. kevin t
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#6 of 55 OFFLINE   Michael Lee

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Posted March 07 2002 - 10:23 PM

I have a Panamax MAX 5500 in my rack and I love it. The reason I went with it is because it comes with a nifty gooseneck lamp that plugs in the front!

#7 of 55 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted March 08 2002 - 03:38 AM

Michael, I've seen the lamp on the MAX 5500. What is the point there? Kevin, Thanks for the info. Note that the Monster HTS 3500 has been discontinued and replaced with the HTS 3600. The 3600 has a digital display of voltage or amperage. The 3600 came out recently, so you should still be able to find the 3500 if you prefer the analog meter. My townhouse isn't too old either (1994), so I would expect the wiring to be good. I'm sure there are power fluctuations throughout the day on my grid, and a good power conditioner may help stabilize power to my system. Just speculating.
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#8 of 55 OFFLINE   David Sorenson

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Posted March 08 2002 - 08:38 AM

I always see posts about Monster and Panamax. What about PS Audio's equipment?

#9 of 55 OFFLINE   AjayM

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Posted March 08 2002 - 09:09 AM

[quote]

My townhouse isn't too old either (1994), so I would expect the wiring to be good. I'm sure there are power fluctuations throughout the day on my grid, and a good power conditioner may help stabilize power to my system. Just speculating.

[quote]


Well, it's not always the powering in your house that's bad (that's usually pretty simple), but if you get surges or dips, or just bad power (kind of hard to tell without complex equipment). So it's always a toss up if you are going to notice a difference or not. Also a power flucuation will still happen with any of the HTS series power conditioners, they aren't voltage stabilizers, they are basically just big surge protectors with some filters built in.



Also about the warranty thing, I wouldn't read to far into it. Monster (and a lot of other surge protector makers) use some type of component in the equipment that can only take so many big spikes of power before they start to go bad. That is what the components (the name escapes me at the moment) are designed to do, so I wouldn't be crazy about dropping a lifetime warranty on the pieces if I were Monster.



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#10 of 55 OFFLINE   Joe Casey

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Posted March 08 2002 - 09:16 AM

Kieth,

Another possible contender to consider is Furman. They are extremely robust and are widely used in the pro audio world. I use one (the PM Pro) for my amps (Bryston 7B), and not only has it created a quieter darker background but shows me how much juice my 3.6's are sucking up (6-12 amps).
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#11 of 55 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted March 08 2002 - 03:40 PM

David, I've come across a lot of people who like PS Audio gear, though much of it is pricey. My local high-end dealer doesn't speak highly of PS Audio products, and not surprisingly, they don't carry any of it. A salesman I often deal with there told me that they had PS Audio come in and demo their products, and they found that the Power Plants and the like colored the sound terribly. Of course, this could just be a classic case of a dealer bad-mouthing a brand they don't carry. They carry Panamax power conditioners, and of course, talk down Monster's offerings. Ajay, That makes sense. I don't know if I get what would be considered good power in my place. Possibly the only way to tell is if I find a power conditioner yields any improvement to the sound or picture. I agree with you with respect to lifetime warranties with these power conditioners. A company could go broke. I have a good homeowner's insurance policy, so I guess I shouldn't be too concerned in the end. Joe, Thanks for the suggestions. I have never heard of Furman.
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#12 of 55 OFFLINE   Tim Kilbride

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Posted March 08 2002 - 04:04 PM

Keith...

My panamax units will switch the power amps on from my Denon 8000...that was one of the top features that sold me on the panamax.



TK



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#13 of 55 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted March 08 2002 - 08:42 PM

Tim, thanks for the info. I have an NAD C 370 integrated amp biamped with an NAD C 270 power amp in my main stereo system, and NAD provides a 12-volt trigger feature that allows me to turn on both amps with the C 370 remote.
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#14 of 55 OFFLINE   Earl Simpson

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Posted March 09 2002 - 03:45 AM

OK Keith//This is what i'm doing= Panamax in zeeee wall 3500 joule surge strip to my equipment out of the Panamax RPTV+DBS= Pananmax then UPS(600 watts) 3500 joule strip from SAMS I really think the Panamx is over priced for what you get. The Home theater strip at SAMS is an outstanding unit. And, the UPS is the best thing I ever did for those brown outs and surges. Power outs, I get up and turn zeeee stuff off.
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#15 of 55 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted March 09 2002 - 05:55 AM

Earl, thanks for the input. With no offense intended, it is difficult for me to get a straight answer one way or the other on these power conditioners. Everyone has different experiences with them. It depends on the nature of the power coming into your house and the conditioner one uses as well as the equipment one has. I might try a power conditioner from www.discountpanamax.com . They have some great prices.
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#16 of 55 OFFLINE   John Garcia

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Posted March 09 2002 - 11:02 PM

I'm doing the same research as you, it appears. What looks to be my deciding factor is that the Panamax 5300 has two outlets that are wired individually, with capacitors, to give a little more power as needed for amplifiers. After reading just the specs from each manufacturer, I am FAR more inclined to buy the 5300.
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#17 of 55 OFFLINE   Scott H

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Posted March 10 2002 - 02:13 AM

[quote]

I really think the Panamx is over priced for what you get.

[quote]


It seems to me that Panamax actually offers remarkable value (compared to like products) with it's lesser expensive component/rack models, and while I do justify the purchase of such items, I can't justify the costs of the more expensive models like the 5300.



Also, my perception of Panamax products is that they are superior to Monster products.
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#18 of 55 OFFLINE   Robert Cranwell

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Posted March 10 2002 - 05:23 AM

We use a combination of UPC for our computer equipment and Furman for our satellite receivers and other processors. I agree with Joe on the clean ability of Furman compared to other commercial products. A big thing to look for is zero transfer time for alot products,especially ups equipment. In order for alot products to meet the commercial UL rating this feature was incorporated. Rob

#19 of 55 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted March 10 2002 - 05:24 AM

Scott, I was just commenting on the relative joule ratings in and of themselves. That is, I was not considering them with respect to any other attributes of either unit. The Monster HTS 3600 covers equipment up to $500,000, which is more than suitable for me. John, Panamax's web site is far more informative than is Monster's. That makes me feel better about Panamax's products. I just feel better about that Panamax MAX 5300 than the Monster HTS 3600.
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#20 of 55 OFFLINE   AjayM

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Posted March 10 2002 - 07:42 AM

I wouldn't worry to much about the difference's between similiar price Panamax and Monster units, they are probably going to offer the same level of protection, go with whichever one has the most features you'll use, and then whichever one looks better to you. Oh, and don't really count on ever getting money out of either of those guys in terms of their advertised protection insurance, read all of the fine print and you'll see that it's a major hassle, and you have to follow their exact insturctions (in the fine print) in order to qualify for it. Andrew




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