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Home Theatre Power Manager: Do You Need One?

Home Theatre Power Manager: Do You Need One?

When it comes to electrical gadgets, we all know the importance of surge protection especially for your high end electronics. And if you have an expensive theatre system, then you would probably want to protect it from damage due to power surges.

This is where a home theatre power center comes in. it essentially helps to protect your home theatre and improves its performance. Keep reading to learn why you should consider getting one.

What are home theatre power managers?

A home theatre power manager also known as a home theatre power conditioner, is a device that regulates AC power distribution. It refines the AC power to your home theatre system.

There are two main benefits of installing a home theatre power distributor. First, it protects your electronic equipment, such as home theatre, from lightning strikes, sudden power drops and switching, voltage variations, and other electricity-related faults.

Stable electricity increases your home theatre’s performance and life span to provide continual hassle-free music entertainment. Power managers supply continuous electrical supply to your home theatre, thus maintaining a good power requirements balance.

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Additionally, the power manager provides well-established cable management, so all cables have proper routing and ports. All the connections are secure and hidden behind the desk giving the home theatre an organized outfit. Despite having multiple wires jumbled up against each, you have one combo device that manages all your connections.

What do they do?

The power manager protects the system against the power surge and enhances the system performance by evenly distributing the AC power and improving the quality of electricity by filtering out the dirty power. Moreover, it also eliminates the noise from your system.

A wide range of power managers is available based on price, complexity, and other common feature, such as sequential system power ON/ OFF. While some only offer to prevent damage against voltage fluctuations, others offer additional features like over/ under voltage protection and eliminating the ground loop hum.

These loops are common in live-sound settings when there are various ground lines on a stage or running through a venue.the power conditioner isolates ground lines from each other.  By minimizing the risk of the ground loops, the overall audio quality is preserved.

These power managers provide a much cleaner and better-organized system environment. It maintains the aesthetic appeal of your home as all the systems connect with a single device and the cables remain hidden behind the power manager.

Who needs a power conditioner?

A power manager is really not necessary for home theatres unless you’re hearing noise or interference from the speakers. Most people will connect their home theatre to a power manager for cable management, electrical protection, and to reduce power line noise.

For a lot of electronics, a power manager is not needed because modern devices have built-in power supplies and chips that regulate power; a slight change in voltage won’t normally create any problems.

In other words, most of your equipment will work just fine when connected straight to an outlet.  PCs have power supplies that have power filtering and other voltage regulating features, so a power conditioner is not required for computers and other electronics.

It is essential at places in rainy areas where lightning strikes are frequent, and power cuts are usual. You shouldpurchase one if you have poor quality electrical installations and your connection is prone to dirty electricity.

Dirty electricity is an anomaly in the power quality. It includes frequency/ voltage fluctuations and power surges that could affect your system’s performance and cause malfunction or damage beyond repair.

Dirty electricity is a type of electromagnetic pollution that is created when electrical current is not flowing smoothly.  This can happen when equipment is not properly grounded or when there is a lot of electrical noise on the power lines.

As a result, sensitive devices can have difficulty operating properly. In some cases, this can cause the device to overheat or even catch fire.

To help prevent this type of problem, it is important to make sure that all of your home theater equipment is properly grounded and that you avoid using equipment that is known to create a lot of electrical noise.

Another reason for dirty power is white or normal mode noise. It is a low-level signal travelling with the original power signal that develops due to the connectivity of other equipment on the same line. Once the power manager filters out the noise, the performance of your system will improve spontaneously.

Your appliances are prone to dirty power if you observe the following in your system:

  1. Sudden power surges
  2. Variations in voltage
  3. Variations in frequency
  4. Presence of white noise in original power signals

Why Use a Power Conditioner

A power conditioner provides surge protection, and performs filtration of dirty power. Depending on the complexity (and price), it can also come with some additional features like sequential system power ON/OFF, over/under-voltage protection, etc.

Power conditioners aren’t technically required for home music and audio studios. However, they can be invaluable in keeping your equipment safe, ensuring your high-end home theatre isn’t damaged by an electrical surge, much like a surge protector. They also reduce electrical noise/interference in recordings.

There are some cases where using a power conditioner is unlikely to make much of a difference to overall quality.  Like all audio equipment, there is much variation between the different models of power conditioners available on the market. The more high-end, complex conditioners are likely to dramatically out-perform their cheaper counterparts, and provide more benefits.

Are all power conditioner’s compatible?  

Basic power conditioners are only really effective for use with specific audio equipment. They are likely to be less accurate than the high-end models, exclusively performing the function of minimizing line noise.

One scenario where a power conditioner is unlikely to improve sound quality is if you use them with modern amplifiers. Many state-of-the-art amps include switch-mode power supplies. These devices are chosen because they add very little weight to the amplifier, in comparison to a vintage analog amp which is likely to weigh up to ten times more than modern versions.

Power conditioners will have minimal impact on the sound quality produced by these amps for several reasons. The amplifier’s switch power mode supply isn’t picky about the mains signal that it receives. Even a distorted, noise-ridden mains signal will be taken by the switch power mode.

Square waves are also accepted, and supply frequency doesn’t make a difference to these devices. The downside to this type of amplifier is that it is likely to cause the power rails to be noisy.

The only exception to this rule is if you are using an external power generator or inverter supply that is powered by a battery. It’s imperative to use a power conditioner with either of these devices, even if you are using a modern amp fitted with a switch power mode.

The conditioner will provide valuable protection to your gear from any spikes or square waves produced by the generator or inverter. Although modern equipment can rarely be damaged by electrical problems, it is still a possibility.

Benefits of a Power Conditioner

Below are the main benefits of using a power conditioner;

Power Regulation

The first and obvious benefit of a home theatre power manager is that it protects your expensive electronics from dirty electricity. Be it surges, spikes, blackouts, noise, EMI, etc., Power Manager produces a clean and safe power supply for your electronics.

As a result of the “safe” power, the electronic components inside the devices or appliances feel less stressful and can last significantly longer. With the reduction in noise, amplifiers do not amplify unnecessary noise. This will increase the performance of the sound system.

With decent home theatre power managers, you can control at least 8 devices. If you want to protect more equipment, then you can add an additional power conditioner or buy a slightly better one that can handle more devices.

As the power supply to all these devices comes from a single source (which is the power manager itself), wiring, cabling, and managing those cables becomes very easy.

Power Voltage Regulation

Now, coming back to the main question, most users usually don’t need a power manager. If your home has a high-quality electrical installation with all good quality components and devices, then you can get away without a power conditioner.

However, if you live in an area that is prone to frequent lightning strikes, power fluctuations, or surges, then we highly recommend a decent Home Theatre Power Manager.

In such a situation, the power conditioner becomes a basic necessity rather than a luxury.

Improved Speaker performance

Another reason why you might want to consider installing a home theatre power manager is if you hear noise, hum, or interference from the speakers in your home theatre.

Audio electronics are very sensitive devices. The amplifier can detect any low-level noise that travels through the power lines and in turn produce it through speakers, which you will hear as interference.

In such situations, a power manager can filter all the noise and send clean power to speakers and amplifiers. But there is a problem with this approach. Sometimes, power conditioners can filter too much noise and it can decrease the performance of speakers.

What are the top Power Conditioners?

  • Panamax MR4300
  • Furman PL-8C 15 Amp
  • PMX-6600 Professional
  • Belkin 12-Outlet Prof. 4320 Joules
  • Pyle 2-Channel Bluetooth Powered Amplifier

How much does a Power Conditioner cost?

The average home theatre power manager price is $300. Entry-level conditioners can start at around $50, although products from reputable brands like Furman will set you back at least $300. Professional power conditioners can cost as much as $1000. But these are only necessary for high-tech professional studios.

Will a Power Conditioner make my AV Receiver Sound Better?

Yes. A power conditioner’s main goal is to eradicate any power-related noise from an audio system. This results in low-end sound quality being improved. Although the improvement in sound quality is usually subtle, it makes a significant difference in high-end audio setups, whether solely for playback or for recording and mixing purposes.

If a power surge runs through audio equipment, it can result in permanent damage and diminishment of sound quality. a power conditioner can be used for the following purposes to improve sound quality:

  • Regulate auto voltage for sensitive audio equipment
  • Protect equipment from damage caused by voltage spikes
  • Remove the interference from wires
  • Suppress electronic noise around 40-50 Hz
  • Prevent electrical transformers from overheating

Do I Need a Power Manager if I have Cheap AV Components?

A power manager has the capability to improve sound quality produced by cheaper AC components. It improves sound quality by taking the mains signal and converting it into a cleaner, new version in the form of an AC signal. It is especially effective when used with audio equipment that tends to be sensitive to the voltage output of a power source.

When employed in a hi-fi system, a power conditioner will simply improve the quality of audio playback by changing the low-end frequencies which are susceptible to electronic distortion and unwanted noises into pristine sine waves, with minimal or no distortion. This results in the whole of the audio receiving a boost in clarity.

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In addition to taking care of the frequencies between 50-60Hz and removing any distortion from the signal, power conditioners also perform some other vital practices that cause improvements to the overall quality.

One of these functions is protecting the various components within an audio system from any spikes or surges from the mains supply. This function is pivotal in the recording process, where takes can be ruined by unexpected fluctuations from the mains power.

If, for example, you are recording audio and another electronic device is switched on or off, this can cause a surge in the mains voltage which will be heard in the recording as clipping or a sudden pop.