Dear Home Sketch Pad Experts, To rattle the rafters with the audio of my home theater, I recently purchased a very powerful, top-flight subwoofer and a 7.1 amplifier. When installing these, I noticed a warning in both manuals: “Do not use with a surge strip or power conditioner.” I will of course follow the instructions, but I’m a little confused. Wouldn’t I want to protect and amplify the performance of this equipment the same way that I would the rest of my components? What should I do instead? Sincerely, Confused in Connecticut
Power How-To #3
The Home Sketch Pad Expert | Furman
Dear Home Sketch Pad Experts,
To rattle the rafters with the audio of my home theater, I recently purchased a very powerful, top-flight subwoofer and a 7.1 amplifier. When installing these, I noticed a warning in both manuals: "Do not use with a surge strip or power conditioner." I will of course follow the instructions, but I'm a little confused. Wouldn't I want to protect and amplify the performance of this equipment the same way that I would the rest of my components? What should I do instead?
The reason for the warning in the manuals is that today's high-power amps, subwoofers, and receivers require a great deal of current on demand. For this reason, some power strips or power conditioners can severely limit their performance. However, not all power conditioners are created equally, and it is always important to protect your equipment from damaging surges and spikes.
Today's digital audio content is dynamic and impactful, allowing us to feel the full effect of a concert in our living rooms, or the impact of an explosion in an action movie. However, these dynamics need to be achieved without the compression of yesterday's VHS or cassette tapes, which requires a tremendous increase in available power from amplifiers.
The amplifiers for today's home theaters are designed to deliver this vast increase in power; however, when the fast dynamic peaks prevalent in music occur, the power supply is momentarily taxed or stunned. When this occurs, amplifiers pull a lot of current from the wall outlet to stabilize themselves. A typical surge strip or power conditioner will raise the AC impedance, depriving amplifiers of the current replenishment they so desperately need. However, some AC power conditioner manufacturers have addressed this issue with new technologies that not only avoid this problem, but will also actually improve the performance of amplifiers and subwoofers by lowering AC impedance! Of course, they also protect against surges and spikes, ensuring that the connected equipment remains safe and effective for years to come.
As shown in the sketchpad comic strip, amplifiers and subwoofers require transient Power Factor Correction - a Furman technology. This technology differs from that in typical power conditioners because it actually lowers AC line impedance for momentary peak current needs, while maintaining a current reserve for the most extreme power demands.
I would concur with the ever-wise "Power Penguin" and recommend Furman's Elite 15 PF i, a linear filtering AC power source that features an excess of 3 amps of continuous current reserve (over 45 amps peak charge), enough to last well over 20 milliseconds. The Elite 15 PF i allows your amplifier and woofer to work at their peak performance, greatly increasing control and dynamic range, and comes at a low price that won't break a home-theater budget.
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