Originally Posted by PlasmaCrazy
Sorry to double post - but I also wanted to point out that I attempted to hire one of the two audio professionals in town to help me install a new system. He came over to "evaluate my house" and ended up spending his entire time telling me how he would wire the speakers through my existing walls. At not time did he ask things like, "what do you like listening to?"
Also, as he was walking out he said something like "by next week, I'll have a list of things for you, including a power conditioner, cables, and a quality receiver such as one of Denon's upper-end receivers"
Power conditioner? And why would I need an "upper-end receiver"?
THAT's why I'm relying on this forum to do things myself. It's been a fun journey.
1) You dont need a power coniditioner. In theory all good components should have isolation transformers in thier power supplys to regulate the voltage and good step down transformers that take 120v ac into whatever dc is needed by the components. That said if you take apart some "high end" gear you'll find some of them have crappy power supplys. A dedicated power conditioner from a reputeable company that doesnt cost an arm and a leg may be worth it to you. It depends on your setup.
I have a whole house surge protector (they are CHEAP... you'd be silly not to have an electrician install one at your fuse box) and I also have an APC power consitioner on my main gear stack. Why? Because during the summer we have consistant brownouts here and having the apc do the voltage up conversion is both more effecient power wise than all the other gear doing it and my cheaper components may struggle to do it as well. Is it needed? With the whole house surge no its not. It was a few hundred bucks and I could justify it to myself. If you are short on cash its not worth it.
The $1k + conditioners? Complete hocus pocus. I'm an EE. The expensive units claim great surge protection blah blah. The simple truth is surge protection has to be done at the breaker box close to ground with suplimental protection at the end points. If you have a lightning strike somewhere in the house and it hits hot, netutral and ground and the path of least resistance is through your gear, no $5k+ surege protector is going to save your gear without destroying itself in the process. The iodea with these units, is that they will shunt events on hot, neutral ect down to ground. If the event has no where to shunt because its coming up all 3 the only way it can protect is by severing all connections to your equipments.. ie blowing some type of fuse. There is SO MUCH amperage/voltage coming from a lightning strike that typical fuses wont blow fast enough... you need something faster.. That something faster usually is expensive to replace. I'd reather replace a good conditioner/protector like an apc for a few hundred bux than a expensive 1k+ unit. With a shunt down at the breaker box thats a remote possibility also.
Hence the protection at the breakerbox. Shunt to ground is always available because typically the box is connected DIRECTLY to ground. When an even hits it wants to get to ground as fast as possible. Events are funny... getting to ground might be hitting the roof of yur garage, blowing through to your garage door opner, traveling through your breaker box, up to your family room, and out through your tv through your window, into your yard blowing everything in its path. Unlikely but possible. With a protector with a super fast blow (the box sacrifices itself during an event) it fuses the whole breaker box to ground. You still lose your garage door opener but at least your tv doesnt get blown to hell. The carge moes to your box then is shutned out through ground.
I know this is kind of long winded but people jsut dont seem to understand surge protection. The protector up by your rack is needed If and only if the even hits initially between the breakerbox and your gear. If it starts at your gear its fried no mater what you do. If it starts in the middle the gear surge box is there to encourage it to go down to the breaker and get shunted out there and NOT through your gear. Thats it. Its more useful as a voltage regulator if you ask me.
As far as a high end receiver.. thats a personal thing. You might want some of the features in a high end receiver. You might not. you might want more wattage out of a high end reciever you might already ahve a 5 channel amp. ITs all personal preference :)