ANSWERS: 1
  • That all depends on what you and the manufacturer means by the term "clean power technology". There are several types of systems that are used to remove hash from the power line and to limit the amount of hash injected back into your home's electrical system from A/V products (mainly digital noise). Some provide some form of current or voltage limitation that prevents noise spikes from damaging your electronics. There are a host of power bars that offer some sort of over-voltage protection. The power bar takes the hit when lighting strikes your power lines, instead of your television. Most of these also offer some line filtering to remove transient noise. These can help to some extent, but many models place inductors in series with the 120VAC power, which can limit how quickly your equipment can draw current. This problem affects amplifiers the most severely, as they cannot draw power quickly enough to reproduce high-level transients properly. A couple of the better products in this range are the Hammond Zap Trap 2000 and Tripp-Lite Isobar product lines. More expensive power systems may provide filtering through an isolation transformer. These can be wired in different ways, depending on your needs. One configuration does not always meet every installation. The isolation transformer must be properly designed to cater to the needs of A/V systems and can cost more than one might expect. A very limited number of companies go much further and provide systems that regenerate the 120VAC AC power. These units convert the 120VAC input to DC and then generate clean 120VAC power from the DC. Some even provide battery backup to let you continue using your A/V equipment through short power interruptions or allow you to turn everything off properly. These tend to be quite expensive. So, do you need to use one of these? The improvement in audio or video quality will be somewhat dependent on the quality of your own equipment. If you are using a cheap television and DVD player, you would probably not see much of an advantage in buying an expensive power conditioner. However, an inexpensive (about $100) power bar like the Hammond or the Tripp-Lite is a good investment to protect your equipment and provide some basic power line conditioning. If you live in a rural area or the power lines are above ground, your power is probably not that clean and could stand some help from a good power bar. If you have a substantial investment in A/V equipment, you will find it beneficial to purchase a more expensive power line conditioner. Both the video and audio can be improved by improving the power. Just be warned that the price of some of these units is in the $1K to $3K range. One fairly cheap way to help is to run a dedicated 20A line from your electrical panel to your A/V system and install hospital-grade outlets. This provides you with a circuit capable of handling most A/V equipment, as well as providing better contacts in the 120VAC wall sockets. (I use a dedicated line on my main audio system.) Changing the power cord can also help, since many of the ones supplied with equipment are not very good. However, these power chords can also be very expensive. In short, such products will improve the audio and the video quality of your A/V system to some extent and they will certainly provide some protection against high-voltage transients.

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