Opinions on Power Conditioners for Home Theatre - Router Forums
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post #1 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-26-2017, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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Default Opinions on Power Conditioners for Home Theatre

Guys I realize this is a wood router forum , but there seems to be a lot of members with electrical engineering degrees and also home theatre gurus . And just alot of very intelligent people period
This topic is a tough one , as you can't really get a straight forward answer , as there probably isn't one .

Years ago , we had a demonstration board at our local stereo shop , showing you difference between being plugged directly into an electrical outlet on a wall , or going threw a power conditioner.
I don't know what they used to demonstrate , maybe it was nothing more than a transistor radio designed to go lower than AM .
But the power was certainly clean threw the Monster Power conditioner I purchaced.
Unfortunately for me it looks as though they've been discontinued, amd there's not a lot of other options other than Furman .

Other than cleaning up the AC power , it also helped with erratic hydro behaviour. I was watching the voltmeter as it climbed to 137 VAC one evening . The power conditioner shuts the system down automatically when voltage exceeds 135 VAC .
So if theres no justification for owning a power conditioner for cleaning the AC, then it certainly didn't hurt to have it protect my gear as the voltage was wandering for several minutes .
They also claim they will save your equipment from a lightning strike , but I'm trying to be realistic here . There have been owners who took a direct hit , and it destroyed there Monster Power conditioner, but all there components survived . I don't expect anything to survive a close encounter though .

Anyways that's a few of the pluses , but I have a concern regarding current capability.
My subwoofer from Paradigm , states right in the manual to have a dedicated 20 amp circuit . Most power conditioners are rated for 15 amps , and the 20 amp versions are usually double the price . Wel at least with Furman . There are much cheaper units from APC ,but is the quality there ?

My amplifier only draws 660 watts peak , but the Anthem A5 that I want draws 1800 watts .
I realize these are maximum draws that are probably not typical , but I don't want to starve electronic gear for current either .
So in this case , I would need 3 power conditioners, one for the subwoofer , one for the amplifier, and another lesser 15amp model for the flatscreen , pre/pro , BD , cable box , Apple TV box etc .
For new Furman power conditioners, were talking close to 5K Canadian .

I'm wondering if a guy should only use one power conditioner for the pre/pro , flat screen BD player etc , and leave the subwoofer and amplifier plugged directly into the wall ?
I really don't want to look at the power conditioners , so I am going to have them rack mounted in the basement . I was going to run 4 or 5 separate 14/3 branches from the wall to the rack in the basement. This way I can run equipment threw the conditioners , or bypass them and go directly to the outlets beside the racks .

I do have two monster power conditioners now , a 20 amp and a 15 amp model , so I do have some of it covered .
I do feel that a conditioner may be choking the system instead of helping sometimes , and was wondering how others felt.

Then there's this guy. He makes some good points imo

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I donít always insulate , but when I do .
Ok ,I never insulate

Last edited by RainMan 2.0; 09-26-2017 at 08:02 PM.
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post #2 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-26-2017, 11:31 PM
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Rick, I surfed monster and came up with this
https://www.monsterproducts.com/prod...platinum-power


I used to use monster speaker cable back in the 70's, but dont have hi fi any more.
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post #3 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-26-2017, 11:40 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnybob View Post
Rick, I surfed monster and came up with this
https://www.monsterproducts.com/prod...platinum-power


I used to use monster speaker cable back in the 70's, but dont have hi fi any more.
Yes , they've quit making the power conditioners and gone to a power strip that they claim has filtering .
I may jump ship and try a Furman . Big bucks though

I donít always insulate , but when I do .
Ok ,I never insulate
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post #4 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-27-2017, 12:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RainMan 2.0 View Post
Guys I realize this is a wood router forum , but there seems to be a lot of members with electrical engineering degrees and also home theatre gurus . And just alot of very intelligent people period
This topic is a tough one , as you can't really get a straight forward answer , as there probably isn't one .

Years ago , we had a demonstration board at our local stereo shop , showing you difference between being plugged directly into an electrical outlet on a wall , or going threw a power conditioner.
I don't know what they used to demonstrate , maybe it was nothing more than a transistor radio designed to go lower than AM .
But the power was certainly clean threw the Monster Power conditioner I purchaced.
Unfortunately for me it looks as though they've been discontinued, amd there's not a lot of other options other than Furman .

Other than cleaning up the AC power , it also helped with erratic hydro behaviour. I was watching the voltmeter as it climbed to 137 VAC one evening . The power conditioner shuts the system down automatically when voltage exceeds 135 VAC .
So if theres no justification for owning a power conditioner for cleaning the AC, then it certainly didn't hurt to have it protect my gear as the voltage was wandering for several minutes .
They also claim they will save your equipment from a lightning strike , but I'm trying to be realistic here . There have been owners who took a direct hit , and it destroyed there Monster Power conditioner, but all there components survived . I don't expect anything to survive a close encounter though .

Anyways that's a few of the pluses , but I have a concern regarding current capability.
My subwoofer from Paradigm , states right in the manual to have a dedicated 20 amp circuit . Most power conditioners are rated for 15 amps , and the 20 amp versions are usually double the price . Wel at least with Furman . There are much cheaper units from APC ,but is the quality there ?

My amplifier only draws 660 watts peak , but the Anthem A5 that I want draws 1800 watts .
I realize these are maximum draws that are probably not typical , but I don't want to starve electronic gear for current either .
So in this case , I would need 3 power conditioners, one for the subwoofer , one for the amplifier, and another lesser 15amp model for the flatscreen , pre/pro , BD , cable box , Apple TV box etc .
For new Furman power conditioners, were talking close to 5K Canadian .

I'm wondering if a guy should only use one power conditioner for the pre/pro , flat screen BD player etc , and leave the subwoofer and amplifier plugged directly into the wall ?
I really don't want to look at the power conditioners , so I am going to have them rack mounted in the basement . I was going to run 4 or 5 separate 14/3 branches from the wall to the rack in the basement. This way I can run equipment threw the conditioners , or bypass them and go directly to the outlets beside the racks .

I do have two monster power conditioners now , a 20 amp and a 15 amp model , so I do have some of it covered .
I do feel that a conditioner may be choking the system instead of helping sometimes , and was wondering how others felt.

Then there's this guy. He makes some good points imo

https://youtu.be/LyI85XOKzZ4
I vote for using a larger power conditioner for everything except amps using a least one dedicated 20 amp circuit. If you can isolate your digital from your analog then that will help also.
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Last edited by coxhaus; 09-27-2017 at 02:03 AM.
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post #5 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-27-2017, 12:34 AM
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OK, just looked up furman prices.
WHAT?
HOW MUCH?

Just watched that video clip you linked in. I'm with him.
I was into serious hi fi over 40 years ago when a really good amp had 20 watts RMS per channel. Way before there was such a thing as a power conditioner (I had to look it up).
Audiophiles are people who want to spend money to get "the best", even if their ears cant hear "the best".
If you cant actually hear the difference, youre wasting your money.
On the other hand, if you just want to own "the best", go get it.
But a straight surge protector IS worth getting.
If I was still into hi fi, I would use the monster strip version, and pay someone to insulate my workshop with the money saved.
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post #6 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-27-2017, 12:36 AM
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Until I built my first Home Theatre about 15 years ago I never used a power conditioner, that included over 30 years of fairly high end Ďstereoí systems (though now they like to cal them two channel). I read the literature and having just built a new house at literally the Ďend of the lineí (really, they had to extend the line to get to us), it seemed like a good call to put some protection and cleaning on the incoming power. Sure enough as you pointed out, we had a brown out and the conditioners shut the system down. As it turned out, the guy who connected the mains to our meter and breaker box hadnít tightened the lug nuts on one of the legs, we were lucky we didnít loose a fridge or HVAC motor.

I have to say that I was also attracted to the cosmetics of the big Monster units I had, and liked the voltage and current readouts. On the practical side, I could plug my big power amps into them and then configure specific outlets to be triggered on and off with the processor. I had two conditioners mostly because I had my stereo system and HT equipment on either side of the TV and didnít want to run long power cords (plus Iím a bit OCD on symmetry). Itís also just convenient to have all those outlets where you need them.

I was happy as a clam for a while, but then started to wonder about the things the guy talks about in the video. If my wonderful amp needs cleaner power, why didnít the brilliant designer build it in to the power supply, and what if the conditioner is limiting the current the amp needs. Finally I started seeing odd current readings when the system was idling or off, I took another conditioner I have on my guitar system that also reads voltage and current (a Furman) and plugged my Monster into it. Turns out it was drawing about a half an Amp even when nothing was on. I also saw more and more designers recommend plugging their amps directly in the wall and that pretty much sealed it, not to mention our power became much more stable and reliable.

I now plug all my major equipment directly into the wall and pretty much agree with the guy in the video, like the signal path, the power path should be as clean and direct as it can be. No exotic power cables, just sufficiently large to carry the required current (though nothing wrong with well made cables with nice plugs that look cool - they donít have to be expensive). I do use a quality power strip for small devices like AppleTV, or my Mac mini music server, my Blu-ray player might even plug in there - it mostly provides more outlets and extension.

Now your case of 137 volts does seem unusual and of concern, I believe national standards call for a nominal 120V +/- about 5or6%, maxing out at around 127V, mine typically sits at 123 or so. If yours is that high I might want either a UPS, or a voltage regulator, but Iíd also be calling the power company. I also advocate whenever possible to put everything on a single circuit, this will reduce the possibility of ground loops and hum (and of course have a good ground). I have a 20A circuit that handles my three large amps (and everything else) just fine, but Iíd probably try to use a single 15A before using multiple circuits, only going to a second if I start tripping the breaker (very unlikely).

As for lightning, well, you do have to be very thorough in your connections to get protection from that, we donít get enough that Iíve worried about it, but have on occasion unplugged my gear when a big storm was nearby. Still, if youíre in lightning alley (if there is such a place), itís a reasonable consideration.

So thatís about it for me, wordy as usual. I donít use power conditioners anymore, but under the right circumstances can see them possibly being beneficial (look at that, I could have written a response with one sentence!)
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post #7 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-27-2017, 01:41 AM
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I think you buy a power conditioner by weight. The bigger the transformer the better for high end stereo. I have a Monster HTPS signature 7000 unit and it is good but my units out of an old recording studio which weight about 130 pounds each work better. I have them connected with 10ga wire with 30 amp 220 volt breaker for each one. They are installed under my house so I don't remember brand as it has been too many years since I installed them.

I have a friend with a large transformer power conditioner installed outside his house which weights around 500 to 1000 pounds and runs off 60 amps or more as I don't remember the exact details. It works really well. I my opinion having the larger wire on the transformer wind works better not to restrict power draw.

The reason I say these large power conditioners are for high end stereo is because you need a certain amount of power draw for them to work well so a small receiver is not going to load a big transformer well enough. These larger power conditioners allow you to run your amps through them.

A while back you could find these power conditioners used. They were used in hospitals and commercial sites. Sometimes they are on eBay. My power conditioners look like OneAC but I am not sure. They are 220 volt units which put out 120 volt. I have 3 of them. In the old days these things were dirt cheap.

If it storms where I am I just unplug my audio equipment. I had a near lightening strike no direct hit. It fried my digital equipment like my DA converter. It did not hurt my tube gear. It also burned out all my Ethernet ports in my switch which had cables connected.
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Last edited by coxhaus; 09-27-2017 at 02:29 AM.
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post #8 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-27-2017, 01:54 AM
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@ sunnybob,G'day Bob,definately like the part about insulating shop with money saved (see Rick @ RainMan2.0.).Real good advice with winter almost upon The Great White North.Jamesjj777746
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post #9 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-27-2017, 08:38 AM Thread Starter
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Bruce , that 138 volts was a one time thing . Our power company was having issues .
I'm just glad my power conditioner shut everything down when it happened.
We're normally 120 Volts AC .
There was an instant in town where they blew people's microwave ovens up etc, and wires were burnt in people's walls . Thankfully not on my part of the grid . I'm assuming they put the 50,000 volts on by accident

I donít always insulate , but when I do .
Ok ,I never insulate
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post #10 of 38 (permalink) Old 09-27-2017, 09:36 AM
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Me thinks the guy is talking a load of codswallop. All decent amplifiers incorporate a mains filter. I spent the 70's and into the eighties in the thick of esoteric audio and well remember claims like "pure copper mains cables" giving a cleaner sound, they were American and the literature claimed that it took something like two weeks for the cables to "settle in"!!!! I dealt with audiophiles who claimed that they could hear the difference if the cable between the pre and power amp was reversed! Then of course there was the "100% pure Copper monster speaker cables", regretfully also from America.
Because i was responsible for sales as well as service, I must confess that I never argued with these claims, we sold what the customer wanted.
All but a very few of the so called "golden ear brigade" (who spent fortunes with us) could not pick one system from another in a blind A/B comparison test.
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