Introduction to Power Conditioners
The Quest for Clean Power
Most home theater owners understand the need for surge protection to guard sensitive electronic gear from damaging voltage spikes and lightning strikes. But few are also aware of the profound performance benefits power conditioners have on audio and video systems.
Problems: Dirty & Dangerous AC Power
The AC power that flows into your home and into your sensitive electronic gear is dirty. It's fine for lamps and toasters, but typical AC power is clogged with noise and electronic pollution that degrades hi-fi and theater gear performance.
Anything that shares your power line back to the power company's main junction can pollute your AC supply industrial equipment, street lights, transformers, elevators, and even your neighbor's freezer. Added to all this is even more distortion caused by radio stations. Every copper line in your house acts like an antenna, picking up AM and FM stations from the air and adding them to the AC line current. Seen on a laboratory oscilloscope, your AC line current carries more signals than a long distance telephone line.
Many audio- and videophiles install separate power lines from their breaker panel to sensitive entertainment equipment. This helps keep large current-drawing items like furnaces, air conditioners, refrigerators, etc. from stealing power from your electronics. But it's not the easiest solution, and it still won't prevent power line distortions from coming into the house nor will it block noise from motors, switches, etc, within the home.
The best way to stop power distortions is to use a power conditioner designed for the special needs and power demands of audio and video gear. A quality power conditioner will make a difference in performance you can really hear and see.
How Power Conditioners Work
Audio power conditioners perform four critical tasks to clean power, protect equipment, and improve sound. First, they filter incoming line noise with special non-resonant filters to reduce RF, EMI, and other distortions that come into the house on AC power lines. Avoid using computer-grade filters for audio gear they use only high-frequency filters and can actually add noise and distortions within the audio band.
Many advanced audio power filters feature special isolation transformers that eliminate ground loops and reducing incoming line noise. Isolation transformers do a superb job of isolating critical com-ponents from each other especially sensitive digital processors and can be used with source components, such as DVD players, receivers, preamps, VCRs, etc.
All power conditioners also include spike and surge protection with advanced circuit breakers, super-fast acting MOVs (Metal Oxide Veristors), or other sophisticated technology to prevent power fluctuations from damaging gear. Some conditioners also feature power dampers to clamp or control power fluctuations which degrade audio/video performance.
The latest breed of power conditioners, including components made by Monster Cable and PS Audio, are known as power regulators. These units regulate the voltage that flows from your house wiring to your A/V components, making sure they receive a steady 120 volts for best possible performance. Most power regulators also include power conditioning features, too.
What to Look For
Discrete Filter Sections
Look for power filters that isolate different types of components from one another, such as digital, video, low current, and high current devices.
"Spec" Grade AC Outlets
Spec-grade outlets feature large internal copper contact blades for improved energy transfer. Hospital-grade outlets are spec grade made with special plastics that resist the powerful cleaning solvents used in hospitals.
Fast-Acting Spike Protectors
Make sure the conditioner has fast-acting MOVs or other sophisticated electronic circuitry to guard your equipment against harmful spikes and surges. Ordinary circuit breakers are too slow to protect your equipment from lightning strikes and other dangerous over-voltage events.
Protection For Other Connection
For home theater systems, choose a power conditioner that includes protected connections for cable-TV or DSS along with phone line protection for pay-per-view broadcasts and other modem-based services.
A power conditioner will protect your valuable equipment from damaging spikes, surges, and lightning strikes. It will also help clean 'dirty' AC power by eliminating EMI and RFI interference plus other power problems that can compromise sound and picture quality.
Fox AV is proud to carry Power conditioners and power protection from companys like:
and many others. Feel free to consult with us about your Power needs.