I'm planning on upgrading the factory power cords on my MB 185's. I've got the Power Optimizer Devices in the AC chain, which doubles the power cord requirements. Do I really need the POD's -- what's the downside (if any) to removing them from the chain? What's the upside (if any) to keeping them in the chain. Or are they just a bad idea across the board? If it matters, I have dedicated lines for my gear. Thanks in advance for your thoughts, suggestions.
I have older 185's without the POD's. I assume by "doubles the power cord requirements" you mean they require you to upgrade power cords both before and after the POD's - something I hadn't considered. That seems a shame and a pain, not to mention an unwelcome expense.

Since VTL mono's are higher-powered amps with large power supplies, they demand a sizeable current inrush at power-on to charge the big electrolytic reservoir capacitors. They don't incorporate any onboard sequential-powerup or soft-start circuitry to ameliorate this effect. The high level of current inrush could be considered undesirable from a couple of standpoints: it can trip circuit breakers on the AC line, and the immediate application of full power from a cold start might reduce parts lifespan in the amps.

In practice with my system and house wiring, I find I almost never trip a circuit breaker at turn-on so long as I refrain from flipping both amps' power switches simultaneously, though very occasionally it can still occur if another household appliance happens to be running off the same powerline leg and is caught during its own power-on phase (I lack the dedicated lines). Keep in mind that 185's are among the lowest-powered of VTL's high-powered monoblock family, and the POD's are probably less of a necessity here than further up the model line. But different breaker boards in other houses could react differently than mine, so you'd have to experiment to know if this will cause you a problem in your house.

As for the longevity benefits of using the POD's, it's hard to say how important that might be. Even with the POD's in place, VTL amps (or at least ones besides the new vertical-chassis models, which I'm not sure about) don't incorporate circuitry allowing the tubes' filaments time to heat up before gradually ramping up to full B+ voltages, like some other tube amps do. But about passive parts I can't say (though the POD's couldn't hurt); this doesn't particularly worry me with mine, and I haven't been tempted to buy the somewhat awkward-to-place POD's for myself, especially considering their cost (and even less so now that I've learned of the power cord requirements).

Given the above, plus the fact that VTL for 20 years never seemed to feel something like the POD's was needed to prolong parts life in the past, makes me think the primary reason for the change might have been mostly due to customer complaints about tripping circuit breakers, and that these were probably more associated with the larger models. I have no idea if there's any sonic downside to using the POD's - in theory I suppose there could be, though I doubt it would amount to much - but again a little experimentation is the best way to answer that for yourself. (I'm even more doubtful that there could be any sonic upside to using them, but I don't think VTL markets this as a sonic upgrade. In fact, they hardly market them at all - I can't seem to find anything about them on the VTL website.)

I know from experience that the amps can respond to power cord upgrades. If I were you, I would try the amps without the POD's and see what's what. If you find you don't need them, then you might sell them to the owner of an older, higher-powered model (such as in the Reference line), who could make better use of them than you, and apply the proceeds to help defray your power cord expense.
Zaikesman: Thanks for the very thoughtful response to my question -- I've been helped by your comments here on audiogon more than once in the past, and your thoughts here were very helpful as well. My "electric improvement" project began this fall and the final step is the upgrade to power cords. Until I actually started loooking at the logistical requirements of my system in contemplation of new cords, I had not thought about the double cord requirement created by the PODs -- but when I realized it would double the cost of a cord upgrade it got my attention. My 185's came with the PODs so I've nver really thought about their role in the chain. It makes sense to experiment as you suggested, and that will be my next move -- I've never tripped a circuit breaker with anything in my house, so maybe that bodes well for eliminating the PODs from the chain. I'll let you know what I discover. And thanks again for your response.