where do surge protectors come into the equation

I live in an area of much lightening and power surges and have everything connected to one Panamax surge protector. with all the talk about outlets power cables etc, I havent seen any talk about surge protection. Do you folks use protection :)? what does it do to the sound?
The conventional wisdom is that it will affect sound. I don't notice any degredation myself; however, I haven't done any critical comparisons. If it does affect the sound slightly, it doesn't seem to take away from my enjoyment of the music. And I don't want to take the risk of not using one. One time during an electrical storm, there was a power surge which took out the protector. That was enough to convince me that it was a good investment. Now when I hear thunder, I don't even take the risk that the protector will be sufficient. Everything valuable gets unplugged from the wall, which is what most manufacturers of electronic equipment will suggest anyway.
I agree about unplugging yet in the mountains they storms often come unannounced. In 20 years I have had two systems fried. First without protection, second with the best panamax online. They did help some with replacement, for example wanting to give me $300 for a 2K TV. A very dramatic way to upgrade!
I currently do not have any surge protection on my system. Although I have considered purchasing one of the units from PS Audio. What I have done to date is unplug everything. This has worked pretty well because where I live storms are fairly predictable and seasonal.