While I have never been a big fan of surge protectors and filters, this has recently changed. Some weeks past good ole FP & L sent me a spike through my house that prompted me to look into additinal protection. Totally wiped out the surge protector I was using with the audio system which was a Belkin Premiere Surgemaster MK II that gave up the ghost and totally protected my system. Was most fortunate to have had this in the system or may have ended up with fried components.
So with that in mind the search was on to update this part of the system. First up was the Monster Cable MP 5100 MKII unit, that offered surge protection and filtering and programmable outlets. Not to disparage this unit, but for me this was not the answer as it did not allow my system to retain its sonic signature. I am sure this is a fine unit with other systems, as it is one of the top sellers in the market place.
The search continued and before I abritarily just picked another unit, decided to visit several dealers and listen to various units and how they interfaced with components.
I eventually decided on the Belkin PF 60 unit. Reason was quite simple,it has the less sonic impact on my system and offers the level of protection and filtering that works for me. One of the more flexible units to use and comes with a lifetime warranty and a $500,000.00 component loss warranty and that includes lightening strikes. Something the others do not include. Plus it is from Belkin and they have been producing some of the finest in wiring and cabling for more years than I can remember. According to Belkin a lot of R&D went into this unit in real world environments before these were put into the market place.
I have to say this has more than fit my needs for my system and I can rest easy knowing that the Belkin PF 60 is watching over my components. Fits in nicely with the other components in the rack is a decided plus.
Listed below is a professional review of the Belkin PF 60, which goes into futher depth of this extraordinary unit.
Product Review (December 2004)
Belkin PureAV™ Silver Series™ PF60 Power Console
Belkin has entered the A/V market with a series of new products under the PureAV™ name. A full line of interconnects and home theater power products are in the mix. Fortunately, we got a chance to review their latest PF60 Power Console, which is designed for today's audiophile and home theater enthusiast. The design of the new PF60 provides users with an attractive component with impressive features. The silver-faced front panel has a blue backlit LCD display in the center that provides valuable information about the incoming power and current drawn from the connected components. A convenient auxilary outlet is provided on the front panel for use with camcorders and other devices that need temporary power. The power switch is located on the left and three buttons (Remote, Bank and Dimmer) are positioned just below the display. Rack mount hardware is included in the package along with phone and networking cables.
The PF60 has what Belkin refers to as Advanced Overvoltage Protection that automatically disconnects power from your equipment when the input voltage becomes dangerously high. Power is restored automatically by the unit when the input line voltage returns to safe levels.
The front LCD panel monitors the unit's vital functions. Large segments display the incoming line voltage. Current is also displayed for any one of the six power banks. The user can also choose to see the total current of all connected components. The PureFilter indicator lets the user know that the Phase 6 PureFilter Circuitry is working properly. Both Wiring (Hot/Neutral) and Grounding are monitored and either display a checkmark if detected as good or an "X" if a problem exists. The PF60 can be turned on by a remote component such as a preamplifier or receiver. Using a remote power (120VAC) input or DC input (3-30V), the PF60 will turn on when power is detected. This is a nice feature that only turns the unit on when power is needed. The user must enable the Remote function on the front panel of the PF60 by using the Remote button. The Bank button is used to select any or all of the banks being monitored by the front panel meter. Upon each button push the unit goes over Banks 1 through 6 and then selects all of them. The bank indicator on the front panel shows what bank(s) is active. The Dimmer button selects the level of the backlight on the LCD. There are a total of six levels that the user can choose from, but none of them completely darken the display. We would have liked to see a seventh (Off) mode for those who want no light from the front of the unit especially when watching movies in the dark.
The rear panel of the PF60 provides a total of 12 outlets, grouped in pairs for six filter banks. Each bank is designed to offer the user with specific filter needs. For example, the video filter banks are optimized for filtering noise from the video spectrum while the hi-current outputs provide some filtering, but not at the expense of limiting dynamic current needed for high power amplifiers. Each bank can be independently configured for Always On (unswitched), Switched On (No Delay) or Delayed Switched On (Delay). For each bank, one toggle switch selects between Switched and Unswitched. If the Switched mode is selected for the outlet, the user can use the second toggle switch to choose whether that outlet is delayed or not. Even the 12V trigger out can be switched or delayed. This output can be used to trigger other power consoles allowing the units to be easily daisy-chained. The delay setting applies to all delayed outputs and can be configured for 5, 10 or 15 seconds. A long 12-foot non-detachable heavy duty 12 AWG power cord is attached to the unit. A 15-amp circuit breaker and a large ground lug is located near the power cord.
The rear panel also provides protection for phone connections (RJ11) with one input and two outputs. Broadband ethernet components are also protected (RJ45) from harmful voltage spikes. The RJ45 protection is ideal for today's media servers or home theater PCs connected to networks. Protection for cable, satellite and over-the-air signals are provided.
Six banks are grouped on the rear panel and provide special filtering based on the connected component. Banks 1 and 2 are designed for digital components such as DVD or CD players. Special filters are designed to reduce digital noise from getting back into the system power. The front auxiliary outlet is also tied to Bank 1. Bank 3 is designed for video products such as TVs or VCRs. Bank 4 and 5 are optimaized for audio components such as preamplifiers. Finally, Bank 6 is designed for high power components such as power amplifiers and receivers. This HiCurrent™ Filter bank ensure that adequate current is available on demand, which can sometimes be a problem with certain filter designs. The internal boards are clean and well designed. Current sensors are located near each outlet banks. Common mode chokes can be seen on all of the banks with the exception of Bank 6 (Hi-Current outlets). There are a total of six switching relays, each of which is rated at 30 amps. Two Microchip PIC processors provide the intelligence for the unit.
We connected an NEC PX-50R4A 50" plasma display and Panasonic DVD player to the PF60. Some of the digital displays we have seen are very sensitive to noise on the power, especially near black. In addition, these plasma displays dissipate a large amount of power and as a result draw substantial current from the wall. We monitored well over four amps on the front panel of the PF60 for the display alone during bright scenes. It was really cool to be able to check current draw from the various banks and see how much voltage drop occurs for each of the component banks. The good news is the PF60 not only provided clean power to the display under test, but it did so without encountering any significant voltage drop from the wall. In fact, thanks to the beefy power cables the vast majority of the voltage drop we did see was not from the PF60 at all, but from our own house wiring.
The user interface on the PF60 is simple, yet provides customers with the basic flexibility to monitor their components. We found it fairly easy to re-configure the outlets simply by reaching behind the unit and toggling the corresponding switches.
Belkin's new PureAV™ Power Console is a functional design that provides A/V systems with the protection they need from the elements. We didn't encounter any problems with the product and it performed very well in our tests. We really liked the build quality and the overall looks of the unit. At $749 retail, the PF60 is the company's top-of-the-line power console. Belkin offers their $500,000 Connected Equipment Warranty with this product.
- Kevin Nakano -
Review at a glance:
Belkin PureAV™ Silver Series™ PF60 Power Console
Level 4 Power Protection
Phase 6 PureFilter™ Circuitry with isolated Digital, Video, Audio and HiCurrent™ Filters
Advanced Overvoltage Protection
Central LCD Control Panel monitors voltage and current from individual outlet banks
Programmable outlet banks set switched and delay functionality for each outlet bank
Console design fits perfectly in your Home Theater cabinet
2 HiCurrent™ Outlets for high-power amplifiers
Network Protection (RJ45) for Media Streamer Support
$500,000 Connected Equipment Warranty
13 Outlets including convenient front auxiliary outlet
2 Line telephone/pay-per-view protection with splitter
7114 Joules of Surge Protection
369,000 Amp Maximum Spike Amperage
4 Pairs of Gold Coaxial Connections for coaxial cable line protection
Heavy Duty 12' SD1000 HiCurrent™ Power Cord (12AWG) with right angle plug.
PureAV Power Console PF60
Remote AC Control Cable
Remote DC Control Cable (1/8" mini-plug cable)
RJ45 Ethernet Patch Cable - For broadband connectivity
RJ11 Phone Cable
PureAV Coaxial Video Cable
One sheet of PureAV cable labels
One pair of rack mount brackets and bag of assembly screws
Warranty registration card.
I wish that I did not have to use a protection and filtering device. However where I live, this has proven otherwise. We have been hit with three hurricanes in the past two years and the end result has been that Florida Power and Light delivery of current has been compromised and they continue to struggle with delivery. That same spike that was menetioned earlier took out all my neighbors kitchen appliances as well as her HT system. Of which FP&L had to eventually replace after considerable and lengthy litigation.
I heartily recommend the Belkin PF 60 and feel that it offers the best level of protection and filtering for my needs. Plus it is from Belkin a world leader in that industry. One final note the Belkin PF 60 was awarded seven CES awards at the 2004 show in the Design and Engineering catgeory. That fairly well sums up the Belkin PF 60.
Do keep in mind that all these devices will have a certain impact on your system. The challenge is to find one that works for you and your system. For me, I have found the one that works the best for me. Make sure from wherever you purchase a device of this nature, that you can return the unit should it not give the performance your seeking. Associated gear Click to view my Virtual SystemSimilar products
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