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Do power regulators/conditioners/surge protectors degrade sound quality?

 

Bronze Member
Username: Bcollins

Rockport, MA United States

Post Number: 88
Registered: Nov-05
Hi,
I recently saw a battery back-up unit that provided the above features at Costco for $99.00. I frequently have power outages in my area and was considering one of these to protect my system. I don't recall the brand. I've heard conflicting opinions about whether or not they adversly affect the sound quality of audio systems and was wondering if anyone had any definitive info. regarding this. Thank you,
Bill
 

Silver Member
Username: Eramsey

South carolina United States

Post Number: 448
Registered: Feb-05
As I've said before on several threads, surge protection is of paramount importance Bill. This is especially true if you live in areas subject to frequent severe weather. There is no credible evidence to suggest that a surge protector or line conditioner will degrade the performance of a system in any way. In fact, in many cases a combination surge protector/line conditioner will often improve the performance of a system as evidenced by many people reporting a noticiably improved picture on their tv after using a line conditioner. I don't really see the need for a battery backup for a audio system unless you must hear music if the power goes out. Battery backups are especially useful for computer systems that may lose critical data during a power failure. About the only use,audio or video related, I would recommend a bat backup for is a DLP or LCD tv. These use a lamp that is cooled constantly by a fan. In the event of a power failure the fan will of course, not run and the bulb may cool to slowly and possibly crack or it's life may be shortened by such an event.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Bcollins

Rockport, MA United States

Post Number: 89
Registered: Nov-05
Thank you Eric. The reason I am considering a battery back-up is that I've been told by service personnel that to have the power suddenly cut out can be harmful to my audio equipment. Since the power then comes back on suddenly a few moments later, I'm told that this too can be harmful. I don't know if this is true but it does concern me. Also, is a $25. surge protector adequate? Specs appear to be even better than very expensive units (4200 joules vs. 800). Are there other ways to compare effectiveness of various surge protectors? Thanks for your help,
Bill
 

Silver Member
Username: Eramsey

South carolina United States

Post Number: 449
Registered: Feb-05
Again your welcome Bill. From what I know from my electronics training the only circuit element that could have a potentiality for problems from frequent problems of power loss are microprocessor type integrated circuits. These are employed frequently in audio equipment such as surround receivers and processors. Common elements such as transformers and DC caps and transistors will not be affected, they simply will not work. In fact, a DC capacitor which are used extensively in consumer electronics will remain charged for a considerable period of time even with the power cord removed! Large DC caps on the order of 10KuF,often used for filter supply in powerful home amps will remain charged nearly indefinately, this is why it is very dangerous for someone who doesn't know what they are doing to go poking around inside a piece of equipment with a metal instrument. Anyway, to get back to your question I think your situation points to a much larger problem. If you experience these outages more than once or twice a day, this is woefully unacceptable service from your local electricity provider and is indicative of service line problems in your area. Where I live we typically experience only about 4-5 outages a year! This would appear to me to be problems with overloading in your area, or an outdated service infrastructure that needs updating/upgrading. Assuming that the power grid inside your home/apt(wiring,breaker panels,etc.) is in good order I would form a group with neighbors and express your concearns with your power provider. You'll get a lot more accomplished this way than going at it alone. Now about surge protectors, I would say any of Panamax units in about the $50 range and up will offer good surge protection and line conditioning as well. Many of the cheap surge protectors <$50 will boast a super high Joule rating but they are often built with inadequate parts,i.e. too small MOV's. The Panamax units will clamp repeatedly until the condition subsides, the cheap surge protectors will not do this allowing a leak through over current- potentially very harmful. The Isobar units are also quite good and very reasonably priced from about $50-$200. I own a Panamax 4300 component unit and it has served me well for several years now through several strong T storm filled summers that we get regularly in the South here,Panamax replaced it with the new 4310,only diffrence is cosmetic,but still a bargain at $170. The Monster units are good also,though a little pricey and the Belkins,component type, are great also. In short Bill you will probably have to spend at least $50 to get something adequate, but $200 will get you something excellent. Sorry to be lengthy but I hope this helped.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Bcollins

Rockport, MA United States

Post Number: 90
Registered: Nov-05
Thanks again Eric. If I uderstand then, a battery back-up, power conditioner, surge prtector etc. will not degrade sound quality at all. Also, power outages while equipment is in use cannot harm my audio equipent. Power outages while listening to my system are not that common, once or twice a month at most. But I have had TV sets fail on occasion after a power outage and more recently the oven in my kitchen blew some kind of circuit and failed after an outage. It's kind of a cronic problem in my town, and not likely to be fixed anytime soon. I'm wondering as well whether I should replace my Power Sentry surge protector with the Panamax. Mine appears similar to the comparably priced Belken but I have no way of knowing the quality of parts internally. Is there any way to tell if it is adequate, or should I just bite the bullit and spend the money on one known to be of good quality such as those you recommended? Thanks,
Bill
 

Silver Member
Username: Eramsey

South carolina United States

Post Number: 450
Registered: Feb-05
From my experience Bill, you cannot go wrong with the Panamax units or any of the others that I mentioned, which I have also used. I haven't used the new component type Belkins,but have seen the insides of one of them-quality build. Since your problem seems to be more severe than most people I would go ahead and spend the money, the extra expense will be justified in the long run.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Bcollins

Rockport, MA United States

Post Number: 91
Registered: Nov-05
Thanks Eric.
-Bill
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