Power strips/Surge Protectors/Smoothing

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Steve Carlo, May 7, 2003.

  1. Steve Carlo

    Steve Carlo Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 6, 2003
    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I work in a technical field so I know that regular mains power is not always perfect. But, having just seen a 200+ dollar surge protector and power supply smoother/noise elimantor at Best Buy I got to really wondering if it is worth it? Yes you need surge protection, but do you need to spend the extra 150 on the souped up power strips which claim to offer more? If so...why doesn't Denon et al. market a power strip or heaven forbid build an extra component into their products?
     
  2. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2001
    Messages:
    1,359
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Steve,

    That’s a very good question that looks beyond what’s on the shelf to what may really be needed.

    I think there’s no question that our power supply in the U.S. is a well-regulated constant. And I think the inherent position that we have “dirty power” is bogus. But like lightning, surges can pop up anytime (or never).

    Modern consumer electronics – amps and receivers anyway – today are robust with power supplies capable of a voltage tolerance up to 10%, and transformers plus heat-protection and other devices to withstand smaller surges and overloads. That’s why Bryston, Anthem, Krell et al recommend just plugging into the wall outlet.

    In the past 20 years, electrical engineers’ study of Transient Voltage Surge Suppression has advanced from industrial/commercial to computer server/network to home computer and now HT aps where there’s a growing market of newbies.

    So Mr. Lee of MonsterCable has become a millionaire some times over in cleverly selling consumers on the idea they are buying “power conditioners” and not just surge protectors. However, you will note that nearly every consumer surge protector comes with RF/EMI filters for radiated radiofreq. interference or generated electromagnetic interference that can be picked up in poorly-shielded interconnect cables. To a degree, RF/EMI filtering is good (we really cant measure and don’t know what we’re getting) and it lowers the noise floor somewhat. The next step wud be a $$$ balanced or isolated power transformer to really knock down the noise floor; this is primarily an audio application to offer a dark, hiss-free background for music.

    Engineers tell us that more and more EMI is working its way into home electrical grids as well as the outside power grid – switching supply computer transformers et al. So the idea of throwing some filtering at this is good. I imagine the $200 device you see at BB is MonstePower 1100, really an entry-level unit and costly when matched against say the Panamax MAX8 Series.

    Course, one can look a $350-$550 rack mount power centers depending on the need to watch voltage/ammeters; use delayed on/off outlets for separate amp(s) and digital/analog component plug isolation to reduce crosstalk.

    Homeowners are well-advised to check into a whole-house surge suppressor, generally $200 or less by an electrician. It sits at the MainService panel and is most effective for “outside” surge anomalies by being 10 feet or so from the primary house ground (stake). This works 24/7 and protects all appliances in the home. It’s still advisable to use a point-of-use power center/surge protector at the entertainment center for any internal wiring surging/EMI.

    My brother-in-law in VB at Birdneck Point has lived there a dozen years without surge protection for his big ProScan tv and ent. system without getting a “hit.” I wish him well but no longer bug him about it!

    bill
     
  3. Steve Carlo

    Steve Carlo Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 6, 2003
    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thank you for your thoughts Bill. I think at the start I will simply get a decent surge protecting power strip and see how things are. I'm not running what I class as audiophile level equipment so spending hundreds on the seperate "power conditioners" would be rather like putting super premium into my car. Of course if things don't work then, as you suggested I will look into a whole house supressor, 200 would be a small price to protect my entire house!
     
  4. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2001
    Messages:
    1,359
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Steve,

    Since I mentioned the Panamax, I will add that one wants a surge protector to include pass-thru terminals for cabletv or satellite coax cables too. These cables can carry incoming overvoltages that can damage connected components which themselves are plugged into a SP. Here's some models for cable only, Max8 C. or sat DBS+5 POWERSYSTEMS
     
  5. ross ish

    ross ish Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2002
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Also bear in mind that highly filtered power strips can also affect the sonic qualities of your system. People with high end systems have to test different brands/models to determine which affect the sonic traits the least. Amps sound better plugged directly into the wall outlet.

    Separate components usually have large powersupplies that are designed do their own filtering.
     
  6. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    7,270
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    and if you're going to plug your amps into the wall without a surge protecter, you might as well not protect anything else since the amp is part of the audio chain. keep in mind that what you're looking to guard against is not a little glitch in the power, it's a bona-fide surge and one of those will fry any amp.
    bill's suggestion of a whole house unit though renders this 'my amp is starving for power' a non-issue. the general thought by people like Bryston is that wall-devices that have a significant amount of series (inductors) as opposed to parrallel components can act to momentarily throttle the power somewhat. otoh, this could be classic symptoms of audio nervosa [​IMG]
     

Share This Page