Installed my Panamax 4300 - placebo or real?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by John Garcia, Apr 3, 2002.

  1. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I don't want to get into the whole "placebo effect" that was started in Mike Knapp's thread, but I have to report my personal "butt dyno", as we call it in the car community, ie; can the seat of your pants tell if there is a difference in the tweak you made to your car? How much of a real gain before you notice it?

    Anyway, I had long been using a basic, $10 surge suppressor for my system. Over the past year, I have been upgrading basically every piece of my system, so I figured I should have at least decent power protection for this gear that I have spent time and money on. I found the 4300 for a good price, and bought it. I was looking for nothing more than piece of mind WRT surge protection. However, I have noticed an improvement in sound as well, which I had no expectation for at all. It is a very subtle, but noticable difference to me. There is definitely a reduction in backround noise, but that is not all that I feel I am hearing. It is not easy to describe, as I am not sure if I am hearing "clean" power, less noise, or more focus, but it sounds different to me.

    I've only sat with it for a few days so far, but I will do some critical listening again, to see if I am really on LSD or sugar pills.
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    got a voltmeter? don't play anything but turn the volume up and you should hear some sort of background noise from the speakers. disconnect the wires and measure the voltage. if the meter does signal averaging, great, if not, take a stab at getting a reasonable average. leave everything the same and measure the voltage with the $10 unit and just connected to the wall...
     
  3. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I may just have to borrow a volt meter and try that. I was thinking about some type of test already, when I felt I heard a difference, but I wasn't sure what to test though.

    Previously, I could hear a slight hiss at reference level, increasing noticably above ref. Now I hear almost nothing, even at max volume (+16 from ref!). I can hear hiss during quiet passages or breaks in music when listening to a source, but it is a bit less than before.
     
  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    that'd be interesting to look at the levels. post em if you got em.
     
  5. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    Hey John, after losing my AVR to a surge, I just bought a Max4300. Did you ever run any tests?
     
  6. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Hope your claim is coming along in your favor Charles. I'd almost forgotten about that post...in fact, I think I did! One thing certainly I'd consider in doing such a test would be to examine the effects of direct connection to the wall, the el cheapo surge protector, and the Monster unit.
     
  7. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    John, as a mechanical kind of guy, I'm sure you've already considered the fact that the Panamax 4300 very likely has a better EMI/RF filter than the $10 cheapo.
    The spec HERE appears to be in the same ballpark as most of these midlevel surge/power centers.
    bill
     
  8. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    John, I was curious if you ever did this test. And where did you pick up your Panamax 4300? Is it still working ok? I am considering spending a little more and getting this for our entertainment center instead of picking up two $50 floor Tripp-Lite surge protectors. With a component unit that I can put on a shelf, I'll be able to plug everything into it and only need one unit (my dvd and vcr reside above the tv on shelves and unfortunately their cords don't reach the floor so I have to plug them into a small power strip I mounted on the back of the furniture wall unit). I also like the idea of switched and non-switched plugs since right now, I always leave my Paradigm subwoofer on 24x7 and it would be nice to have a switch that would turn on the receiver and the sub together thus I could turn it off when not in use.

    Anyone else know of inexpensive component/shelf type power surge protectors? The only other ones I am aware of are the computer under monitor types.

    thanks,

    --tom
     
  9. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    so john -
    was it sugar pills or the real deal? [​IMG]
     
  10. RussKon

    RussKon Stunt Coordinator

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    2 items:
    1. for surge protection the panamax will do ok...if you get a massive surge it will die protecting your equipment...there are better options out there for protection..
    www.zerosurge.com
    www.surgex.com
    www.brickwall.com
    2. for emi/rf filtering and better sound...have someone help you do test...plug it in directly to the wall and then try it with it plugged into your panamax...but you cannot know which test is which..yes, the infamous double blind test...let your ears decide if it helps..
    russ
     
  11. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    i don't know about ears, but if it's that noticeable a 3 1/2 digit VOM will pick it up for sure.
     
  12. MikePeroni

    MikePeroni Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey John, any more comments about the Panamax 4300?? Ive been debating between the Panamax and the Tripp Lite Isobar...I know the Panamax is double the money, does anyone think there is an audible difference?? Any other suggestions? Im running an Integra 5.3 AVR with Energy C5 towers, and I hear a little distortion and static(volume changes at louder levels are audible through the speakers)... Any help would be great![​IMG] By the way Im using a cheapo 10$ surge right now...
     
  13. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    To really see the noise on the AC power lines you need an oscilloscope. A simple voltmeter wont show you:

    - changes in the 120 hz frequency (yes, it varies between about 110 and 125 hz)

    - small noise running with the AC power

    - noise running superimposed on the AC signal

    Ever been at the gas station and while filling your car notice the hose jerking on it's own? Then you look around and notice some guy clicking his hose which is stop/start/stop/starting? Your hose jerks in time to his efforts.

    Thats because you are all pulling gas from a connected system.

    Your AC power works the same. You share the power from everybody around you. How clean/dirty your power is changes every few minutes. Your neighbors running washer/dryers/refrigerators/power tools all have an effect.

    Business vs non-business hours also have a dramatic effect on how clean your power is. And the power compay often switches sources of power every few hours.

    So some of these power-filters/regulators can have a dramatic effect. My only caution would be that you bring one home for a 'trial' and do your testing during hours when you would normally watch/listen to your system. Running home on your lunch hour and noticing a difference does not mean you will get the same improvement at 7 pm. Things sharing your AC power are very different.

    Hope this helps.
     
  14. KrisM

    KrisM Second Unit

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    Doesn't ac run at 60hz, not 110 to 125? The voltage can vary between 110 and 125 volts ac.

    Regards

    KrisM
     
  15. MikePeroni

    MikePeroni Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey guys got a question...The Panamax shows the EMI/RFI filtering at '50 db' while the Tripp Lite Isobar6 shows the same filtering spec to be '>40-80 db'.

    Any help on what these numbers mean and which is better would be great!!
     
  16. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Mike,

    I dont think there's very much difference. All surge protectors today in these $50-$300-plus units we see for HT provide RF/EMI filters for the AC line noise hash that may be picked up. Usually they use ferrite coils and capacitors that are fairly cheap to install.

    The dB range spec depends on the frequencies the maker uses to make measurement, and Panamax for one claims 99percent filtering, probably close to most of the others.

    The effectiveness of the RF/EMI filtering depends entirely on how much hash is in your particular environment. Beyond this, for worse-problem situations, people will go for isolation transformer/balanced power units.

    bill
     
  17. MikePeroni

    MikePeroni Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the info Bill. Since the two units seem very similar Ill probably go with the Tripp-Lite and save a few bucks. Would like to know your opinion on aftermarket power cords as well as Ive been checking out old threads on here about them. A noticable tweak, or a total waste of money? Thanks again!
     
  18. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    ...sorry, mike, I'm not an after-market power cord guy. The costs arent worth it to me for potentially subtle changes (I use this word instead of improvements) I imagine there's an art to this type of tuning, but not in my mid-fi system. And I have only 2 components with detachable IEC.

    The Tweakers Forum folks at AVSForum are more into this...
     

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