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Power Conditioners Necessary?

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by [email protected], Mar 14, 2008.

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  1. Guest

    A number of friends and relatives have flat-screen TV's they've bought
    in the last couple of years, along with consumer-grade audio systems,
    AND they have those Monster (brand) power conditioners. You know
    Monster-they're the folks that charge $100 for a 3-ft. length of wire.

    Anyway, places such as Ultimate Electronics and Circuit City are pushing
    these devices, usually those made by Monster.

    Lately, I noticed APC was advertising their power conditioners in a
    consumer electronics/computer magazine.

    I've got a lot of high-end audio and video equipment I've been using for
    many years, in a variety of cities, and I DON'T have a power
    conditioner; heck, I don't even have any surge suppressors! I've never
    had a problem with most of my gear--at least, not problems that could be
    attributed to power fluctuations.

    Question is: are these things really worthwhile or necessary?
  2. Arfa Daily

    Arfa Daily Guest

    Many people have very strong opinions on these, and on some of the audio
    groups, questions like this have resulted in flame wars of epic proportions

    FWIW, based on many years at the service end of the business, I don't
    believe that the fitting of such devices will result in any difference in
    reproduction quality of either audio or a TV picture, that any reasonably
    sane person could actually discern with any repeatability. That said, I have
    absolutely no problem at all with advising owners of any electronic
    equipment that is line powered, that they will do no harm by powering it via
    a halfway decent quality surge arrester plug or strip. Whilst most modern
    electronic equipment has at least a degree of front-end filtering and surge
    suppression, it never hurts to employ the 'belt and braces' approach, and
    deal with line-borne transients and interference, before they ever have a
    chance to get into your equipment in the first place.

    So, necessary ? In most cases not. Worthwhile ? A not too expensive one
    might just pay for itself the first time that you have a thunderstorm in the
    vicinity ...

  3. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    They're worthwhile if you can't find any other way to rid your wallet of all
    that burdensome money. For the most part, power conditioners and surge
    protectors are snake oil. It's common for people to blame power glitches for
    equipment failure, while in reality it's very rare, a well designed piece of
    equipment can easily deal with anything the power line is likely to throw at
    it. If a glitch causes it to fail, it was on the edge anyway.

    If you saw the profit margins on anything made by Monster, you'd understand
    clearly why stores push them.
  4. UCLAN

    UCLAN Guest
  5. w_tom

    w_tom Guest

    A recent study gave placebos promoted as pain killers. Some were
    told the pill cost $0.10. Others were told it cost $2.50. Then all
    were subjected to pain. Those who took the $2.50 placebo
    overwhelmingly declared better results.

    The Monster Cable $100+ solution is equivalent to the protector
    selling in a grocery store for $7. Everything from Monster Cable is
    better described as a scam. Why would Best Buy, Circuit City, and
    Radio Shack promote the Monster Cable product? Learn the profit
    margin. The naive automatically assume a higher price means a better
    product - rather than learn what it does and how it actually works.

    Monster Cable sold special designed cables for better sounding
    speakers. Monster Cable is an extremely profitable company. They use
    same 'science' that proved Saddam had WMDs.
  6. I doubt these conditioners would make any difference in the sound or image
    of your system, but they can protect against such things as a tree falling
    on a power line and destroying several thousand dollars worth of equipment.

    You don't need an expensive "conditioner" to get this protection. Buy a
    couple of surge suppressors for your electronic equipment, plus an SPS
    (incorrectly called a UPS) for your computer, so it won't crash during a
    power outage.
  7. There is actually a legitimate reason to buy Monster cables, according
    to someone at to get a better deal on a big screen TV
    or hi-fi system. This is because Monster products have high markups
    and are rarely discounted, at least not buy the big national chain
    stores, so buy purchasing them along with a plasma TV or 7.1 surround
    sound system, the store may be more willing to discount the latter
    more than if they were bought without the Monster stuff. Then after
    the purchase, return the Monster products for a cash refund, and buy
    cables from the 99-cent store or
  8. Guest


    Cheaper cables (zip cord for speakers, analog cables from the 99-cent
    store, digital cables from Monoprice) work just as well.

    Extensive power conditioning is done by the power supply built into
    each piece of A/V equipment, which contains a line filter (capacitors
    and inductors - see to stop high frequency noise and
    minor surges, and electronic regulation to convert anything from
    90-130VAC (90-240VAC for most newer equipment) into well-regulated DC
    voltages, which are further filtered by yet more capacitors and

    Surge protectors can help because they provide insurance coverage for
    surge-induced damage, but there's no need for expensive ones by
    Monster (APC and Tripplite products are fine and much chepaer), but
    consider geting a whole-house protector installed in your main circuit
    breaker box for even more protection.

    Active power conditioners are unneeded, but a battery backup may be
    desirable if you like to use your A/V equipment during blackouts and
    don't have a generator.
  9. Guest

    Point well taken, Arfa. Your opinion coincides with mine--not
    necessary, but nice. And, I understand about the flame wars. I've read
    a bunch of those re: esoteric cables vs. wire. David Gow of McIntosh
    published the definitive paper concerning this subject many years ago.

  10. Guest

    Understand that, Mr. Sweet.

    Had a friend who was a McIntosh dealer in Boston. Bought a bunch of
    equipment from him over the years. When he started carrying the
    esoteric cables, I asked him if he thought they would really benefit a
    system. His answer? "Well, they make a lot of money for me!"

  11. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    There was an article I saw linked on the other day. Someone did
    a double blind test with monster cables vs. wire coat hangers with
    connectors soldered to the ends. The audiophools they had listening couldn't
    tell the difference. What a joke.
  12. HeHeHeHe... Didn't even go for the zip cord! :)

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  13. w_tom

    w_tom Guest

    The 'insurance' is so full of exemptions as to be useless. One
    Even a ground wire to reduce amplifier hum volds the insurance. Even
    an extension cord voids the insurance?

    Take a $3 power strip. Add some $0.10 parts. Sell it for $25 or
    $150 dollars. Hype some insurance claims with fine print exemptions.
    They are not selling a soluton. Monster, APC, and Tripplite are
    promoting obscene profits - will even hype a big buck insurance that
    does not get honored. Responsible manufacturers instead sell a 'whole
    house' protector. Other sources such as or Brickwall
    provide solutions for power conditioning. However, those
    equivalent products should already be inside a power supply.
  14. Sam Goldwasser a écrit :
    Sometime changing cheap cables can make a difference; I explain: where I
    leave everytime I listen to my hifi equipment I pickup noise from an
    Indian radio station (this is worst if I try to listen to LP). All this
    stop when I change these cheap cable for 1 monster cable (that I got on
    sale at 20$) and 1 "high-end" cable that I got from RadioShack on sale
    at 10$. Also for the conditioner I compare a Monster HTS-1000 (retail
    280$ in Canada) with a PURE AV ISO 4720J (50$ on sales at the Source)
    and the PURE AV ISO 4720J was way better than the monster. True I could
    not hear audio difference except when listening to LP where the sound
    became more define with a bit more depth (when I say a bit more it is
    really a bit more is subtle but really there is a difference. By the way
    I tried a cheap power bar, the monster way to expensive and the pure
    A/V. While I could not find any difference between the el-cheapo
    powerbar and the monster there was a difference with the Pure A/V. So
    yes there is no real advantage to go with a high price Conditioner there
    is one with the Pure A/V (Beside the 12" power cord and the 10 power outlet)

    Proud Son of Leo Major DCM & Nar
    To know why I am so Proud go there:
  15. Mr. Land

    Mr. Land Guest

    PMFJI, but I'd like to offer an alternative opinion on Monster cables.

    One of my jobs through college was in the repair shop of the largest
    hi-fi dealer in my city. They sold only mid- to high-end gear there;
    consequently people for the sales force were generally chosen based on
    their ability to relate (and cater) to the upper-middle and upper
    class type of customer.

    I'm talking about salespeople who could talk an entire morning about
    how a pair of speakers sounded, never using terminology that
    approached anything that could be measured by a technician. These
    folks could supposedly discern the difference in sound quality of a
    *tonearm* (not the cartridge, not the turntable, not the connecting
    cables, but just the tonearm, for heavens sake.)

    Needless to say, being strictly technical types, we in the service
    department built up a fairly solid level of skepticism after being
    exposed to all these audiophiles for months and months. We had a
    tendency to think that all the audiophile/salemen were hearing sound
    qualities that, since we couldn't measure them, weren't really there.

    One day the store started carrying Monster speaker cables. So I read
    all the sales materials about skin effect, etc. and immediately
    thought it was all marketing hype. I mean, a near-zero ohm length of
    wire is just that, right? What could be different?

    Monster supplied the store with a comparison display which contained a
    single 4PDT switch so you could switch back and forth between whatever
    speaker wires you preferred and the Monster cables while running a
    pair of speakers through a receiver.

    The salemen set this up with a high-end receiver and a pair of one of
    their top speaker lines (I believe they were Dahlquists.) The
    alternative speaker wire was new, 18-gauge zip cord cut to exactly the
    same length as the Monster cables.

    With no special equalization in play and at moderate volume, the
    difference between the ordinary speaker cord and the Monster cables
    was marked, even to my untrained, non-audiophile ears. I was
    shocked...I even returned to relisten periodically just to make sure I
    wasn't hearing things myself. I even took the display switch apart to
    make sure they weren't cheating.

  16. Don Lancaster suggested barb wire. It has the advantage of being
    hard to steal, once it's installed.

    Make sure to keep the points sharp, though! :)

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    Add this line to your news proxy nfilter.dat file
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  17. There is a difference between cheap, and defective.

    -- is home to cowards and terrorists

    Add this line to your news proxy nfilter.dat file
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  18. mm

    mm Guest

    Were these selenium coat hangers or copper-cobalt alloy?

    If you want really good sound you should get the Monster Foam Rubber
    Pads. They prevent the vibration of the speakers from causing the FM
    tuner to vibrate, preventing acoustic resonance and high-frequency
    feedback. "The only better method is to have your sound system in
    Skylab." -- Emil Dolby.

    The pads are only 43 dollars each and you only need four of them per
    device. But they are far better than other brands of foam rubber.

    You have spent so much on your sound system. Don't waste it by
    economizing on Foam Rubber.

    If you are inclined to email me
    for some reason, remove NOPSAM :)
  19. I have my JBL speakers sitting on small cardboard boxes. They do a
    good job isolating the speaker from the floor. Foam is probably
    better, but not much.
    Huh? Is that like microphonics in the FM tuner? Easy to see if it's
    a problem. Just bang on the tuner with the volume turned up. Hear
    anything from the speaker? If not, don't worry about microphonics.
    If you watch the NASA channel, you sometimes get bits of the music
    they play in Skylab. Due to weight considerations, it's probably
    something like a single, mono, 4" loudspeaker hung off of one of the
    My cardboard boxes were free.
    When I was going to kollege in the 1960's, I worked for Federated
    selling hi-fi on commission. It didn't take long to notice that the
    commission on speakers and accessories was much higher than the
    commission on stereos and tuners. So, I sold speakers. I would
    connect a really cheapo 6 transistor AM/FM portable radio to the best
    speakers on the floor. The customers would walk in and eventually ask
    which tuner was playing, I would pull out the cheapo radio by the
    leads from behind the speaker and explain that it's the speaker that
    makes the sounds, not the electronics. I sold quite a few expensive
    speakers and cheap tuners that way. Don't waste your money on foam
    rubber band-aids. Get a decent speaker system.
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