McIntosh Power Controller Aims to Protect Your Gear

McIntosh today introduced a high-end surge-protection system designed to shield up to eight components from potentially damaging power surges caused by lightning strikes.

Featuring McIntosh’s signature black-glass front panel with its illuminated logo, control knobs, and aluminum end caps, the MPC500 Power Controller ($2,500) delivers cascaded surge protection: In addition to full mode AC power-line surge protection, it protects low-voltage devices against secondary spikes and surges that can occur after a lightning strike.

The MPC500 also includes an EMI filter to rid AC lines of electromagnetic interference and protects AV gear against potentially damaging over/under-voltage conditions that aren’t necessarily caused by a storm.

AC power-line protection is handled by three thermally protected metal-oxide varistors (TPMOVs), which provide line to neutral, line to ground, and neutral to ground protection. McIntosh says TPMOVs offer better protection than the standard MOVs used in most surge protectors.

For secondary surge events, the MPC500 draws on three types of devices — gas discharge tubes (GDT), positive temperature coefficient (PTC) thermistors, and transient voltage suppression (TVS) components — to protect low-voltage devices connected via ethernet or coaxial cable.

In the U.S., the MPC500 is equipped with eight common Type B receptacles — six switched, two unswitched — but in Europe has only four Type F (a.k.a. “Schuko”) receptacles.

Each receptacle can be configured via control ports on the back panel or through setup menus on the front panel. A digital readout on the front panel shows input voltage, the amount of current being drawn through the receptacles, or total (apparent) power.

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Billy's picture

My HT is connected via a 50 buck surge protector from the Home Depot. All equipment is fully insured with the company if a surge comes through and the equipment fails. Forgive my rusty math but I believe this is 50 times more expensive. Seems like a profit maker for Magnolia salesmen, and McIntosh themselves. Ahhh, to have so much disposable income that you can go and buy pretty shiny things no matter what the cost.

jnemesh's picture

Your $50 surge protector is fine...for protecting your system. This piece will actually improve your sound quality. You might not hear it on a low end system though. If you have the money for this, you probably have a full stack of other Macintosh gear, though, and owners of THAT absolutely WILL hear a difference in sound quality when adding a quality AC filtration system to their HiFi or Home Theater system. Just because you can't see the value (or, more likely, can't afford it) doesn't mean that others don't value what they are offering, and most certainly doesn't mean it will not sell.

brenro's picture

I see nothing in the description of this to suggest it does anything but provide surge protection. What you're describing are products from companies like PS Audio which cost considerably more.

Billy's picture

No, my stuff is high end, trust me (ask my wife, she thinks it is silly). A friend has a PSA high end filtration piece, we put it on mine to see if I wanted one too, could tell no difference. He could tell no difference, he was worried about trying his system before he put it back on for fear he would get the same results at his place. Like high end speaker wire vs zip line, figured that one out quite a while back. Lots of snake oil salesmen out there, and some dress up pretty nice to fool ya.