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Have You Optimized the AC Power in Your Home Theater?

Last week's poll question asked if your home theater's AC power is protected from things like lightning strikes and blackouts. This week, I'd like to know if you have taken steps to optimize the AC power to your home theater. Such steps can include installing a dedicated circuit, establishing a common ground, and using a power conditioner, such as the Furman IT-Reference 20i pictured above.

If you use a power conditioner, have you noticed an improvement in the audio and/or video performance of your system that you can reasonably attribute to that device? Inquiring minds want to know!

Vote to see the results and leave a comment about your choice.

Have You Optimized the AC Power in Your Home Theater?
Yes
48% (604 votes)
No
52% (652 votes)
Total votes: 1256
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COMMENTS
true audio's picture

I had no idea what a good power conditioner could do for video and audio until I bought a furman. WOW! I was blow away! Wouldn't live without it. Video was crisp,more detailed,colors were richer. Audio was tight,more focused,highs and lows much cleaner and clearer.

msardo's picture

Yes - absolutely it helps. I saw it most when I had a line conditioner connected to my projector. Things got sharper, clearer, etc. Plus, since it also has surge protection, I have more confidence as well.

I don't have the projector system anymore, but I still use (and will always use) a line conditioner/surge protection of some kind - definitely more than a $10.00 power strip.

Ccondo's picture

Any suggestions on what type of line conditioner to use for a projector? Can't exactly hang one of those large rack type components...
I currently have the projector on its own 15amp breaker going to a recessed plug.

Thanks.

msardo's picture

What I used was exactly this - Home Theater PowerCenter™ HT 200 from Monster cables. I do not know if I am allowed to posts links here, but here is the product page:

http://www.monsterproducts.com/productdisplay.asp?pin=914&id=8073

if that does not work, search for HT 200 on the monstercable.com website.

It is small, provides level 1 line conditioning, and goes directly into the outlet that you have near the projector.

I know that there are more "serious" products, but this gave me the peace of mind and the improvements I mentioned above in this thread for 50 bucks.

true audio's picture

Ccondo,
First of all, I don't know what kind of projector you have or how much money it costs. If you have a $500.00 projector a simple (Monster brand) surge unit would be fine. On the other hand if you have a $2500.00-5000.00 projector then I would at least get a (Panamax)brand surge/cond unit. $400.00-500.00.The Furman shown above is a (IT reference 20i) and cost about $3600.00. All good conditioners have designated circuits for both audio and video.Some conditioners are for a 15 amp circuit and the others for a 20 amp. (if you have multiple power amps.)Google (Furman Sound) and you can read all about protection and dirty ac power that most of us power our equipment with. Scott knows the Furman brand as being a stellar product!If your serious about putting a great home theater together,I think the most important componet would be your protection and cleaning up the dirty AC.Think of the this unit as being the brain and heart of your system. I love my furman and wouldn't run my theater without it ! Good Luck!

Ccondo's picture

I run a JVC-X3. Does it matter how old the wiring is? My house is 3 yrs old, so does conditioning less necessary?

true audio's picture

Doesn't matter. The ac coming out of the wall is great for a toaster,hair dryer and power tools! Not for audio & video.

ca1ore's picture

Not sure if my power is 'optimized' or not, but I have certainly tken steps to try to improve the quality of the juice that gets sent to my theater system. I do think that these devices can make a difference, although in my case it has been pretty subtle (reduction of background noise, musc clarity).

DaleC's picture

"Optimized" is an interesting, and, apparently, VERY expensive word.

I have the Panamax m5500-EX. It was a gift from a friend and it seems to be very well built and do a competent job. My background is pro-audio, meaning the systems you listen to when you go see a concert with a few thousand of your closest friends, and recording studios, where we create the music you listen to on your own systems. Furman is a name widely spread throughout both experiences.

I understand the benefits of conditioning the power coming out of my wall outlet. I KNOW it is dirty and noisy. I like the warranties offered and the surge protection. I also have an industrial surge protector on the main power coming into the house. I made certain that my home is properly grounded.

The biggest advantage of the Panamax, after conditioning the nasty power coming out of that wall, is the convenience of multiple connections and the automation benefits of the unit.

Try to sell me $ 1000 power cords to connect my gear to my Panamax and I will laugh in your face :-)

I probably would not have paid for this unit. That money would be MUCH better spent on room treatments. In fact, I would suggest you spend your time researching room treatments and your money on absorption, isolation and diffusion BEFORE you by the first component. Only then, would I look at things like power conditioning for SONIC and VISUAL improvements.

marsB86's picture

As we know a AC consists of huge amount of powers therefore it needs more than 100w to 200w of power supply therefore it cost a more than normal electricity, although I never before experiment these opportunities while optimizing AC with home theater but its seems to be very interesting to inquire.
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nicolaswilbrox's picture

Nice discussion! I got all your thoughts about the AC power system in home theater by reading out this post. I was looking forward for such kind of info. Thanks for this nice allocation and carry on...

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