I see no improvement using Monster HTPS 7000 power conditioner !

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by MikeJN, Aug 12, 2003.

  1. MikeJN

    MikeJN Extra

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    I have a Sunfire Theater Grand III preamp and Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature amp, also a Mits. 65909 Diamond tv that has been professionally calibrated. I read a lot of reviews about power conditioning and balanced power and heard a lot of good things about the Monster 7000.

    Now I have to say that my picture was very good before using any power conditioning. I had no noticeable interference. My sound was also very good with no amplifier hum or hissing.

    I read so many reviews of people saying they seen a great improvement in sound and in picture, but I honestly did not see or hear any difference using the Monster 7000.

    I watched the exact same parts of Star Wars Phantom Menace dvd both with the HTPS 7000 and with everything plugged directly in the wall and I did not see the improvement. I just don't see how to justify the $1200.

    I also did the same test with music and the sound stage and dynamics sound the same to me.

    The only thing that worried me was the volt meter on the 7000 would go down to about 105 volts when I would really push my amplifier. I don't have a voltage regulator in use. Does anyone else see this kind of fluctuation when they really push their system ? Should I be concerned or is the electronics today made to handle these deviations ?

    Can anyone explain why I do not see any improvements ? Can it be possible that I have good power coming in already and there is not much benefit to using this unit except for the surge protection ?
    If I can not see or hear any improvements I might as well buy a good lower priced unit that has good surge protection with filtration and save money.

    Does anyone have any ideas for my situation ? I want to have good protection, but $1200 is a lot for no improvements.

    I have two more weeks before my 30 day refund is up. Any help is greatly appreciated
     
  2. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Very simply put, you are living in an area that has 'clean' power. Other areas are not so lucky.

    I have their 5000 unit and only took a moment before I knew that I should have one. I have my phone and CATV plugged into it too, and if Mother Nature should try and pull a fast one I feel a little better with it.

    This is outside of the 10 sockets in the back. Saves on power strips! [​IMG]

    Also, as life goes on, you may end up moving to an area where the power isn't as great, or the juice in your area may change one day.

    Glenn
     
  3. Ryan*Pr*

    Ryan*Pr* Agent

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    If you are not seeing any improvement, DON'T KEEP IT! That seems ridiculous to spend that kind of money for nothing. If you want a line conditioner, buy a cheaper one and maybe buy another amp, more speakers, or do some room treatment with the money difference. I think you will see more improvements that way.
     
  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Boy the the money that's made on great expectations, fears of the dark and things that go bump in the night, and misapplicaton of technologies.

    First let's talk just a bit about power in the US. One can always find some poor quality mains in this large country. Often though, the problem is very specific such as a misbehaving transformer down the street, poor wiring within your home, a bad ground (more about that later), some oxidation or corrosion around where the outlet and romex meet (most electricians take the quick, let's stab the wire through the hole instead of wrapping it around the screw and tightening down), or even just a crappy outlet that's making poor contact. On the other hand problems can be caused by halogens, noisy dimmers, certain appliances on the same circuit, etc. However, if we're going to generalize, it's more appropriate to look upon the US as a world leader in electrical distribution infrastructure. Standards for voltage, connections, very tight frequency control are in place. Not only are there other countries where this most definitely isn't the case, there are continents still struggling to agree on standards and even then are decades away from being able to implement them.

    Power born noise of sufficient magnitude to cause problems with electronic equipment is rare. In situations where this does happen the more likely culprit is your equipment which is either broken (has a problem) or has been designed poorly with respect to the power supply. In the latter case, whomever made it, and I'll wager more often than not, it's some high-end, 'highly respected' thing made by a highly repected designer that doesn't know how to properly take an AC waveform with a modicum of junk on it and properly design the power supply. Many in fact lack the proper facilities to even begin to test such issues.

    Noise though 'may' enter your system through the air waves. That could come from a cheap dimmer, proximity to a broadcasting station, etc. However that can be dealt with by using better shielded interconnects, ferrite bead, chokes, etc. All these are fairly inexpensive solutions. Given that is would be the more likely problem, what sense would line filtering, or in your case, a unit with balanced power do? Well nothing other than lightening your wallet by over a grand.

    Balanced power is a solution looking for a problem. Yes, it's used often in the recording and performing industry but this is primarily because much equipment there has ground leakage. In a home environment, while such a unit will do what it claims, lower the noise floor, if it's not a problem to begin with, so what? When one looks at Monsters site (http://www.monstercable.com/MonsterW...e_hts7000.html) there are graphs with no values or scales. We don't know how or under what conditions they were created. This leaves an enormous amount of speculation for those who read it. Enormous. Nor do we see something like an HDTV test pattern with a before and after. Nothing. We do have a little sidebar blurb by Bob Harley that doesn't say much of anything. It does though suggest very expensive solutions to problems that could be addressed cheaply. As I've stated before, better to remove the stone in the shoe instead of going to the doctor and asking for percocets.

    While many have stated dynamics and soundstage were improved by using some sort of conditioner, these must be looked at with an enormous grain of salt. Your finding that your voltage drops during demanding situations is normal. In fact your equipment is designed to operate within a voltage tolerance. You could find out simply by looking in the manual or contacting the manufacturer. In any event, I don't know how accurate the Monster's numbers are. An external VOM should be part of a homeowners arsenal as well as a simple $4 circuit tester from Home Depot. For example, RS sells a few recording Volt Meters that can plug into your PC and you could log the voltage of your home over a period of time. It's like basic diagnosis and gives you a bit of a handle on what's going on. If you see a problem and it's reproducible on other outlets, then your utility company can be contacted and they may need to replace or repair something external to your house.

    As far as using this device for surge protection and thinking its $1200 buys you good solid protection that's simply false thinking. If you want good protection then there's 2 things to do. Install a whole house surge protection device is first. That'll protect your entire home by having all incoming lines protected. It's located either at your meter or your breaker. The idea is divert a surge to earth ground which should be about 10 feet or less away. The cost is dependent upon your electrician and what's available. Estimated installation time is very much under an hour. Secondly the installation of a point of used device for devices that're highly transitorized using something that clamps tightly to the AC voltage is a good idea. In that case, devices that use Silicon Avalanche Diodes, hybrids of that, or devices that use Sine Wave Tracking are very effective. Most of the aforementioned point-of-use devices also have EMI/RFI filters to do a decent cleaning.

    So what're the things you can do in a general way to improve your electricity?
    a) monitor it to see if there's a bona-fide voltage problem
    b) test all your circuits to make sure you've got a good ground
    c) maybe redo your connections at the outlets or even consider buying industrial grade or hospital grade outlets because they have a more robust and secure connection.
    d) consider a separate circuit for your HT. If you want the power even cleaner, have that circuit run off a subpanel with an isolation transformer.
    e) improve your earth ground. people who live in drier climates with sandy soil have poor ground and that can result in minor problems. while the ground meets NEC and human safety concerns, it's not necessarily the best thing for electronic equipment. a variety of approaches can be taken here some of which can be done by the homeowner if he's enterprising and wants to dig. Do a search on electrolytic grounding rods for example.
    f) consider some of the other cautionary thoughts presented above.

    Return the unit. Really, it's $1200 pissed away.
     
  5. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    This is one of the most lucid and succinct reports on dealing with the needs for surge protection vs. line conditioning and power conditioners. Thanks, Chu, and I wish I cudda knocked this out so nicely. It's one of your all-time top ten keepers...

    I agree the point is assessing the electrical environment in which we live, whether homeowner or renter. These diagnostic evaluations certainly go along way toward realistic aftermarket purchases.

    MonsterPower owners may wish to defend their purchases, which is fine. I think the point is that HT systems that already perform at near-optimum 100% levels may be maintained as such, but hardly boosted to eye and ear-boggling “improved” levels as Monster marketing suggests. The power environment wud have to be pretty bad to begin with, as Chu suggests in his list of go-wrong points in the chain.

    After surge suppression, adding power conditioners here is is trying for that ultimate 2% tweak for upper-end systems, isn’t it?

    Since the suggestion toward silicon diode point-of-use protectors has been made several times (they have a clamping level somewhat below the 330V on regular MOV units) when can we start looking at a list of SD units to purchase?
     
  6. JamesHl

    JamesHl Supporting Actor

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    Chu, you're my hero.
     
  7. Matt_Doug

    Matt_Doug Stunt Coordinator

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    www.elect-spec.com sells (has been selling for a very long time) hybrid suppressor diode and mov surge protectors. Suppressor diodes have picosecond response times but very low heat dissipation hence their main use in low voltage high frequency line level telecom situations. For high voltage low frequency situations like AC they're usually paired with mov's which aren't as quick but have excellent heat dissipation.

    I agree that Chu kicks ass. But consider that maybe re-wiring your ac or relocating noisy loads to other circuits may not be a practical option for some and the isolated ground and balanced output of a balanced output isolation transformer may provide an expedient though admittedly expensive remedy.
     
  8. Scott McC.@home

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    Chu nailed what has just been the topic of a 4 page thread over at Arstechnica's A/V forum. Do a search for "line conditioning" and you'll find it, since I can't post URL's.
     
  9. Jon_Welker

    Jon_Welker Second Unit

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    Chu has a wealth of knowledge about this stuff, hats off. I was just going to reply that these things are a waste of money in general and Monster has some obscene markup on them. Heck, nothing compared to the markup on their cables. I think people just flat out run out of crap to buy for their system, and they feel like they need more "stuff" in their component racks, so they get one of these fancy things.
     
  10. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Bill, I'm working on getting something comprehensive with prices, sources, specs. As you know, I rarely recommend a particular product but I hope the family of products that I do find will find some appeal to most of the people.

    The funny thing with some of these 'conditioners', and god only knows that has a multitude of meanings to people, is that if it did in fact solve a problem, was it because of balanced power, was it because of an isolation transformer, was it because of the EMI/RFI suppressors. If it's the last, then damn, you could've done that for a buck or two.

    I'd certainly like to find a nice, attractive, power distribution module. Something with switched, unswitched outlets. Something with EMI/RFI suppression between not just each pair of outlets, but toss it in between every outlet. Me, I think a fair price for something like that would be $100-$200 with maybe 10 or 12 outlets.

    Yes, sometimes one needs something like balanced power, but really, if you do, you need to dig a little deeper. Why do you need it and I don't? Maybe you've really got a problem with a particular component that a service call would take care of.

    We buy products for a number of reason. For legitimate needs. For simply because we want to make things as perfect as we can. Realistically, that's probably a neurosis of some sort, for we're short-changing just what our equipment is capable of. We're some how thinking our equipment has human characteristics. There's a word for that...somebody must know. We think our equipment is somehow straining and laboring when in reality it's handling these little perturbations of voltage in stride.

    Yes, you can put a device that has an isolation transformer next to your equipment. For probably close to the same monies, you can have one installed by the breakers that'd serve the same purpose, condition your entire home, and even be used as a surge suppression device. There's a lot of companies making TVSS devices employing isolation transformer technology and they have interesting benefits.

    Somewhere in this particular forum I've elaborated more on various topics that were touched upon here and I 'think' that includes balanced power.
     

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