Should I skip my power conditioner?


I have a Monster Powerbar 1100 power conditioner/surge protector. The main reason I bought it is to protect my equipment from any lightning strikes/electrical spikes and for convenience for all of my plugs (I have it mounted to the underside of my stand). I'm no Monster fan or hater but for about $125 shipped, it seemed like a lot of useful features plus surge protection. I've been doing some reading that it may actually be better soundwise to not use one though, especially with the amp (Arcam AVR300 in my case). I'm looking for any opinions on the subject of if I should continue to use it, or use it for everything but the receiver. If I don't use it, will just a good surge protector yield any negative results? The details of my system is in my system link.

Thanks for any input,

Scott
asahitoro
I do not know what or where you heard that the Powerbar would compromise the performance of your receiver but you are the one who can best determine that by simply auditioning it. Try it with or without the Powerbar.

Of course, if you have one component off the protection device, it becomes the route through which noise or power surge can attack the rest.

Finally, the Powerbar is a pretty simple and benign MOV-based protector. If you want better surge protection, you want to install one at the power entry point right next to the main house ground.

Kal
Some of the manufactures have indicated to me that MOV based power protectors and others limit dynamics in their amps. Wether this is audible, you'll have to decide.
Ayre Acoustics specifically says use no power conditioners or other devices. Jim White at Aesthetix agreed. He told me to try a PS Audio power plant if I wanted line conditioning. He found fault with almost all others and said it compromised performance.
Kind of scary without some sort of protection though.
I can't comment on that particular surge protection, but a while ago I bought the Monster HTS2000. It affected the sound in a negative way. Since then, I bought a Chang Lightspeed and it affected the sound in a positive way for a very reasonable price.

Rob
Compare Monster products to Tripp-Lite for surge protection.
Bigtee wrote: "Some of the manufactures have indicated to me that MOV based power protectors and others limit dynamics in their amps. Wether this is audible, you'll have to decide."

Ok but how can the MOV affect the signal when it does nothing until the voltage approaches its threshhold. Now, depending on the unit, this is usually around 330V. So, if it's affecting the sound, that might be better than letting your equipment get slammed with 330V or higher.

Kal
Isn't homeowners/renters insurance the same as having surge protection?
I have found best restults by plugging Amps directly into the wall and using line CONDITIONERS for steady state gear such as CD players, dacs etc...

Amps in the wall = better dynamics and punch

Using conditioner = smoother, black background w/more detail
I also plug my amp into the wall and everything else into surge protector for the same reason Steuspeed mentioned.

Rob
I'm with Steu and Rob.
Kal, I just pass them along like I get them. I'm not making a profit. You'll have to talk to Jim White or Charles Hansen on the drawbacks and virtues! Both are in total agreemnet not to use anything and plug their equipment straight in the wall. I think Hansen quoted something in an interview to the effect, he hasn't had an Ayre back for lightning damage. Maybe the protection is built in. Again, I would suggest talking to those gentlemen.
I do know that there have been some discussions(negative) on MOV based power strips. I believe Richard Hardesty commented in his APJ on these and I've read a few other things (I just can't remember off the top of my head where.)
I'm not an electronics guru. I depend on manufacturers and others for information. So don't shoot the messenger!
I do not disagree about plugging power amps directly into the wall outlet unless you need surge protection because of your location and/or house wiring. In fact, I didn't use any protection (AC, that is) until I had a lightning hit that took out a pump. Consequently, it seemed prudent to take action but not to limit current and I added a whole-house protection device at my breaker box.

As for MOVs, they can be implemented correctly or poorly, as with most things and cheap power strips are easy targets. Unfortunately, it is too easy to be doctrinaire about these issues.

Also, the fact that Charles Hanson hasn't had an amp back for lightning damage is not statistically interpretable since there are other factors, such as insurance coverage, involved. Bryston, too, recommends a direct wall plug in. No built-in surge protector nor, in fact, any power strip, MOV or not, will protect against a proximate lightning strike. That's insurance territory.

Kal
Tripplite has an audio surge & noise surpressor that works GREAT. I got it at PartsExpress.com for 75. bucks a few years back.

Of course, I turn my stuff off when not using it, which is the ultimate surge protection.

Had a friend that lost an amp that was directly plugged into the wall while he was at work and a storm came through.

It only takes once, as they say....
Hpims wrote: "Of course, I turn my stuff off when not using it, which is the ultimate surge protection. Had a friend that lost an amp that was directly plugged into the wall while he was at work and a storm came through."

Of course, that should tell you that simply turning the equipment off is not significant protection; you have to completely disconnect it from all lines, power, antenna, phone, etc.

Kal
Kal is right. Ultimate protection = unplugged
"Ultimate protection = unplugged"

Isn't that why one of the original surge protector companies was called Onan?

Kal
Just to clarify: The amp was on when the storm came through. If just off, would it have fried?

My son had a TV get zapped during an electrical storm. It was off, but plugged in. Apparently, an arc jumped the gap in the "on-off" area. It was not hooked up to cable, either

No other items in the house were effected, including the McIntosh stuff!!!!! (all plugged into the TrippLite and it was turned off.)