Will using an extension cord from an outlet to a sound conditioner degrade quality? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 08-07-2014, 07:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Will using an extension cord from an outlet to a sound conditioner degrade quality?

I'm upgrading a small home theater set up, and due to a shortage of electrical outlets in the room, I'm most likely going to have to use an extension cord for a couple things.

I plan on picking up a Panamax MR4300 surge protector/power conditioner. To keep the TV and AV stuff centered nicely in the middle of the wall, I'm going to have to run an extension cord to plug the Panamax unit into. Due to the shape and setup of the room, the subwoofer is closer to the back seating area, so I also need to run a long extension cord from it in order to plug it into the Panamax unit.

My question is, will using an extension cord from the wall to the Panamax unit (and from the sub to the Panamax) degrade the quality of the Panamax itself? The surge protection is a must of course, but I've read that using a power conditioner is also supposed to improve television picture quality, surround sound quality, etc. But if having to use an extension cord causes a loss in quality improvements from the Panamax, maybe just going with a plain old surge protector is better?

The main parts of my setup are: Samsung PN60F3500 plasma tv, Onkyo TX-SR607 receiver, PSB surround speakers.

Thanks for the help!

Last edited by rjgrobinson; 08-07-2014 at 09:56 AM.
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post #2 of 20 Old 08-07-2014, 08:26 AM
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Buying a "line conditioner" is pretty silly but the extension cord won't matter.
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post #3 of 20 Old 08-07-2014, 08:27 AM
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No.

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post #4 of 20 Old 08-07-2014, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
but I know that using a sound conditioner is also supposed to improve television picture quality,
Does that actually make sense to you?
A "sound conditioner", that has nothing but power cables plugged into it, is supposed to increase image quality?
Would it make food tastier if you plugged a fridge into it?
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post #5 of 20 Old 08-07-2014, 09:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjgrobinson View Post
But if having to use an extension cord causes a loss in quality improvements from the Panamax, maybe just going with a plain old surge protector is better
Just what are these "improvements" you are expecting from the Panamax? If you're expecting audible improvements, you're going to be very disappointed. That money would be better spent on equipment that will provide audible improvements to your system...speakers, sub, room treatments, etc.
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post #6 of 20 Old 08-07-2014, 09:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Alan P View Post
Just what are these "improvements" you are expecting from the Panamax? If you're expecting audible improvements, you're going to be very disappointed. That money would be better spent on equipment that will provide audible improvements to your system...speakers, sub, room treatments, etc.
http://www.crutchfield.com/S-0oZ7Zf2...challenge.html
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post #7 of 20 Old 08-07-2014, 10:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SAM64 View Post
Does that actually make sense to you?
A "sound conditioner", that has nothing but power cables plugged into it, is supposed to increase image quality?
Would it make food tastier if you plugged a fridge into it?
My bad, I meant to write "power conditioner", not sound conditioner.

I have read several reviews online that states because of "dirty power" which comes from an outlet and can suffer interference from other electrical devices, etc., AV equipment might not be performing at its optimum levels. They say that a power conditioner smooths out the power, and allows your equipment to run better.

Check out this review from the site Crutchfield, which seems to be a reputable website/business. They had three professionals evaluate systems without power conditioners, and then with, and they all noted improvements in picture and sound quality when the power conditioner was used.

http://www.crutchfield.com/S-0oZ7Zf2...challenge.html
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post #8 of 20 Old 08-07-2014, 10:07 AM
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My bad, I meant to write "power conditioner", not sound conditioner.
It still applies....are you passing an audio or video signal through it?

Quote:
I have read several reviews online that states because of "dirty power" which comes from an outlet and can suffer interference from other electrical devices, etc., AV equipment might not be performing at its optimum levels.
What is 'dirty power'?
Do you think a power supply that drops to 0 Volts 120 times every second is 'dirty'?
Do you think a 120V AC supply that peaks at +/- 170V is 'dirty'?
Do you think your audio/video equipment actually operates on 120V AC?
"Power conditioners" are only beneficial to people who don't have a basic understanding of electronic equipment.

Quote:
Check out this review from the site Crutchfield,
A site that sells power conditioners has a solicited, positive review.

Last edited by SAM64; 08-07-2014 at 10:11 AM.
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post #9 of 20 Old 08-07-2014, 11:07 AM
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Just read the tag on any power tool at your local home center. The same applies here. As long as the extension cord is of sufficient wire gauge to minimize any loses, then it's fine.

Just buy one of those flat gray air conditioner extension cords which are at least 14ga, often 12ga wire. Don't worry, the air conditioner cord won't make your system sound bad to spite what some may tell you.

P.S. I fully agree with the cautions presented here. Do you really need a power conditioner? They can fix some problems but are not magical "makes it sound better" boxes.

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post #10 of 20 Old 08-07-2014, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjgrobinson View Post
My bad, I meant to write "power conditioner", not sound conditioner.

I have read several reviews online that states because of "dirty power" which comes from an outlet and can suffer interference from other electrical devices, etc., AV equipment might not be performing at its optimum levels. They say that a power conditioner smooths out the power, and allows your equipment to run better.

Check out this review from the site Crutchfield, which seems to be a reputable website/business. They had three professionals evaluate systems without power conditioners, and then with, and they all noted improvements in picture and sound quality when the power conditioner was used.

http://www.crutchfield.com/S-0oZ7Zf2...challenge.html

Time for you to learn about hearing bias and also about salesmanship. A line conditioner is snake oil. Sorry.
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post #11 of 20 Old 08-07-2014, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post
Time for you to learn about hearing bias and also about salesmanship. A line conditioner is snake oil. Sorry.
+1. The only sources that recommend power conditioners are those who make them, those who sell them, and those who've fallen for their sales pitches. Engineers who've actually measured their effectiveness agree to a man that they're a waste of money. AFAIK not one gear manufacturer recommends their use.
Here's the best way to get 'clean power': transformer isolate the AC line, convert the AC to DC, use high value capacitors to remove any ripple from the DC. This is what the power supplies in every audio device do.
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post #12 of 20 Old 08-07-2014, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by rjgrobinson View Post
...I plan on picking up a Panamax MR4300 surge protector/power conditioner....
FWIW
I've used devices like the Trip-Lite IS1000 from time to time.
Mostly these things get used in Ship to Shore applications
but an IS1000 would probably would provide all the isolation
and protection you need, and better. Now all you need to do
is call an electrician to drive a separate earth ground.

http://www.amazon.com/Tripp-Lite-IS1...006HPFIhttp://

They also make good boat anchors in a pinch.
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post #13 of 20 Old 08-07-2014, 01:17 PM
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The Panamax has an over-voltage shutdown which is nice to have. It also has the standard (MOV based) surge protection. These things are not very effective and become less effective the longer the distance to the meter. So keep the extension cord as short as you can.

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post #14 of 20 Old 08-07-2014, 04:34 PM
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I do not see how the length affects the MOV. One inch or ten feet it still clamps. If there was a long distance from MOV to component then coupled energy could be a problem, but for something like this that would be something like a lightning strike on the house, and no power conditioner is likely to survive that anyway.

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post #15 of 20 Old 08-07-2014, 05:22 PM
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If it's an old rusty, cheap/thin cord it might burn down your house... and/or might reduce the amount of power you can pull off the line (a couple volts and amperes).
But it won't affect the sound quality.

"If Bad Sound Were Fatal, Audio Would Be the Leading Cause of Death."


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post #16 of 20 Old 08-07-2014, 08:50 PM
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I understand IR drop. I do not understand the importance of where the MOV is placed in this application. I would normally place any filter as near the component as possible, and that goes for the MOV as well, but in this case am not quite clear why the length of the cable to/from the MOV makes a big difference. Probably missing something obvious, long week, little sleep...

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post #17 of 20 Old 08-08-2014, 02:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post
I understand IR drop. I do not understand the importance of where the MOV is placed in this application. I would normally place any filter as near the component as possible, and that goes for the MOV as well, but in this case am not quite clear why the length of the cable to/from the MOV makes a big difference. Probably missing something obvious, long week, little sleep...
A long extension cord feeding the power conditioner gives it more to do along the lines of regulating power voltage as current varies, and also makes it easier for its MOVs to remove surges.
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post #18 of 20 Old 08-08-2014, 05:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post
I understand IR drop. I do not understand the importance of where the MOV is placed in this application. I would normally place any filter as near the component as possible, and that goes for the MOV as well, but in this case am not quite clear why the length of the cable to/from the MOV makes a big difference. Probably missing something obvious, long week, little sleep...
Placing a filter as close as possible to the device makes sense, if there is any induced EMI/RFI you don't want an additional length of 'antenna' between the filter and the device. That concern is addressed by the fact that high quality gear already has its own filtering built in. As for the MOVs, they only provide a moderate level of protection anyway. If you want to spend a few bucks and get serious surge protection replace your service breakers with surge protected breakers, like these, or whatever will fit your breaker box:
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Square-D-...1?N=5yc1vZbm05

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post #19 of 20 Old 08-10-2014, 05:52 AM
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Note that we are talking about:

A Type 3 SPD is a point of use Surge Protective Device,
installed at a conductor length of 10 meters (30 feet)
or greater from the electrical panel. These devices are
typically cord connected, direct plug-in, receptacle
type and SPDs installed at the load equipment being
protected. The distance of 10 meters excludes conductors
that are provided with, or used to attach the SPD.

And the NEC Article:

285.25 Type 3 SPDs. Type 3 SPDs (TVSSs) shall be permitted
to be installed anywhere on the load side of branch circuit
overcurrent protection up to the equipment served.
The Type 3 SPD connection shall be a minimum 10 m
(30 ft) of conductor distance from the service or separately
derived system disconnect if the Type 3 SPD includes a
cautionary marking, tag, or instruction statement pertaining
to the 10 m (30 ft) distance.

Kevin
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post #20 of 20 Old 08-10-2014, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post
Here's the best way to get 'clean power': transformer isolate the AC line, convert the AC to DC, use high value capacitors to remove any ripple from the DC. This is what the power supplies in every audio device do.
+1 - so not only does each audio component already have a power conditioner built in, it has one that removes all AC and noise components from the power - something that an AC power conditioner cannot do! If audio components had DC power inputs (like some preamps and DACs do) an external DC power supply with better filtering might be an advantage.

These power conditioners are not going to make any component look or sound better - only reason to buy them is to give you a central place to plug everything in (power strip), surge protection / connected equipment warrantee (questionable how reliable this is) or a central method of turning on/off equipment or sequencing the startup / shutdown of equipment (which can also be done with modern equipment with remote turn on sequencers). I use mine for all of these reasons but not to make anything sound better.

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