Whether it has been a long time since you set up a home theatre at your house or if you have just joined the cords, the whole setup might have cost you somewhere close to $4000? Surprisingly, an adequate performing and durable home theatre power manager costs a maximum of $500; the high-end one, however, may reach more than your home theatre setup combined.
If you are already aware that a home theatre power conditioner protects your home theatre from dirty power, power surge, and spikes, what is stopping you from opting for one? Is it because you think the sound of your home theater system may get affected? Or you believe you don’t need that at all?
Now you may find countless answers to these questions out there, but not all answers are trustworthy. Should you believe that home theatre power managers are a scam and only a way for those companies to make money? You may find all your answers in this article.
This way, you will not only get rid of all your doubts about what a home theatre power manager is, or how it works but also, find some of the best home theatre power conditioners available out there in the market. Don’t be confused between the names, both home theatre power manager and home theatre power conditioner are the same thing.
What is a Home Theatre Power Manager?
How many times does it happen to you that any electrical device you brought home with great ambition becomes the victim of a power surge, spikes, or more, rendering it a useless piece of material? However, if you had a home theatre power manager installed to cater to them, your device would still be fulfilling your ambition.
A home theatre power manager is an electrical device that protects your electronics or devices from dirty power, or any sort of power fluctuations be it a surge or voltage spikes. It protects them with a controlled supply of power or sequential power supply that doesn’t let your home theatre or appliances feel the wrath of accidental power fluctuations.
These home theatre power managers regulate AC current to all the connected devices, after filtering the power off of everything that could harm your devices. We’ll be getting into the definition for both of them, but let us first get the role of home theatre power manager straight.
What Role Does a Home Theatre Power Manager Play?
There are some modifications to the high-end modules of power managers, which provide value-added features against uplifted costs. But in general, there are these three roles that almost every home theatre power manager plays.
- Electrical Noise Filtration
- Power Regulation
- Surge Protection
How Does Electrical Noise Affect Your Home Theatre or Other Devices?
Have you ever experienced a sudden variance in voltage that has you shouting ‘No, not again, I just bought it?’ Well, that is caused by electrical noise. It happens due to the connection of several electrical devices to the same circuit. Because those devices convert AC power to DC, they send some of it back to the circuit, which takes the shape of electrical noise.
And home theatre power managers, however, protect your home theatre or devices from such current spikes. They control the voltage and supply as much as needed for your device to run and manage to shield them for their durability and lasting power.
How Does Power Regulation Affect Your Home Theatre or Other Devices?
It is more or less the same as electrical noise. Power regulation is to maintain and supply the same amount of power required by households and or electrical devices. To put it simply, whenever there is any sort of severe fluctuation in supplied power, your home theatre or electrical devices are sure to get hurt or short-circuit.
That said, a power manager for your home theatre counters unmaintained or disturbing power regulations to all your devices and maintains the power flow to keep your devices up and running. In some cases, with some high-end home theatre power conditioners, they may also switch themselves off for extra safety and guard.
How Does Power Surge Affect Your Home Theatre or Other Devices?
‘Power surge,’ a self-defined term, means either a hike or decline in power supplies. These power surges can be due to many reasons. A common symptom is when you witness a power surge, your devices or home theatre might start underperforming or acting up.
If the power surge is immense, it won’t result in better performance of your home theatres but may damage them severely or completely destroy them, same goes for lower than required power, because in both cases your device is not getting the appropriate power it needs to function adequately. But, with a home theatre power manager installed, you would find yourself rid of any such problems.
These are the roles that a home theatre power manager plays to protect your home theatre or other electrical devices from the respective problems. However, with some high-end power conditioners, you may avail yourself of extra value-added features that may range from automatic shutdown to more advanced filtration from dirty power, which is likely the electrical noise.
Why Should You Opt for a Home Theatre Power Manager?
Walking through the above-mentioned terms and reasoning, you may now have got an idea about how important or crucial home theatre power managers are for your home theatre or other electrical devices. However, not every household needs them. In fact, to some electricians or authorized technical sellers, buying and installing one isn’t even a necessity.
Their reasoning is fine, they defend their statement with the built-in availability of chips and circuits in the modern home theatres or electrical devices that function the same as home theatre power managers. Still, it is recommended as they say that installing one will add a touch of advanced safety, and spending a few bucks for thousands of dollars’ setup shouldn’t be a big problem.
It is up to you to decide whether to opt for one and making you aware is our responsibility. That said, you should opt for a home theatre power manager if you are listening to weird noises from your speakers along with the audio played, or you think that your home theatre or other devices are underperforming.
Both times, it could either be the issue of electrical noise or power surge that a home theatre power manager can easily cater to and solve. It is true that some devices come equipped with the same circuitry or devices as power managers, but it is also a fact that they are expensive and quite lavish. You may or may not be able to afford them, but you can definitely afford one of the power managers for your home theatre.
Are the Professional Audiophiles Against Home Theatre Power Managers?
That’s a subjective question, but in general, its answer is quite equally balanced. Some audiophiles actually vote against installing a home theatre power manager. It is because to them, these devices hinder the true sound out of the speakers, which is not acceptable in their book. On the contrary, some audiophiles love connecting their home theatres or other musical instruments to a power manager.
That’s the confusion here, and many wonder what could solve this. The answer is a simple, but rather an expensive one. The inexpensive or you could say affordable home theatre power managers do modify the actual sound — its bass and treble to be precise — and cause a slight disturbance, only recognized by hardcore audiophiles.
However, the expensive or high-end or premium home theatre power managers seem to solve this problem that hardcore audiophiles tend to have. They are equipped with the modern technology that lets them produce the same output as the home theatres, and still clear it off of the dirty power, electrical noise, or power surge. But, like always, only if you are a true hardcore audiophile and you can afford to buy one of those, for they may cost you more than your whole musical budget.
What is the Difference Between Surge Protectors and Power Managers?
If you hop onto your journey of exploring the market of power managers and buying one, there are chances that you may bump into the devices called the ‘surge protectors.’ Now, these devices are often misunderstood by home theatre power managers, which they are not. Surge protectors don’t protect your home theatres or other electrical devices from large surges, but only specific smaller ones.
On the contrary, the home theatre power managers cater to both the small and large power surges. Now that you know the difference, if a reseller tries to sell you surge protectors in the name of a power manager, you will save yourself from a mishap. A surge protector, if exposed to sudden high voltage will destroy both the devices and likely, itself too.
However, the home theatre power managers, equipped with EVS, an acronym for Extreme Voltage Shutdown, protect your devices or home theatre in a way that they shut themselves down in an event of high-voltage, assuring you of the safety of your home theatre or electrical devices.
3 Best Home Theatre Power Managers
Having gone through all that stated above, emphasizing and clearing everything about the home theatre power managers and their usage, let us now reveal the three best home theatre power managers out there that you can get right now, and start protecting your home theatres and other electrical devices from many power factors.
1. Panamax MR5100
- Flat and sleek design
- Features 11 power outlets
- Excellent noise filtration
- Isolated power banks
Doesn’t feature a 12V DC Trigger
Topping the list of our three best home theatre power manager recommendations is this piece of perfection from Panamax, from their MR series, the Panamax MR5100. Among all that’s special about this power manager, one is its compactness. You can slide it onto a rack, mount it over your home theatre, or make different combinations, all thanks to its neither so big nor smaller size, making it optimal.
Starting with the design, at your first glance at the home theatre power manager, you’d find a broad and clear display in the middle, showing the voltage regulation. Here you will see how much voltage is being supplied to your theatre system or any other device, and take action accordingly, which you will not have to, we will be getting to the ‘why’ in a moment.
The right side, however, features a convenience outlet, and a USB port that you can use per your needs. And at last, on the left side, you’d see three different LED indicators, representing three different power banks. Also, you may or may not have noticed, that the display of the Panamax MR5100 also carries two different indicators named lightning bolt indicator and outlet indicator.
The lightning bolt represents power fluctuation, indicating whenever there is a higher or lower voltage than the normal or maintained supply. Whatever the case, this home theatre power manager will shut itself down, and switch back on as soon as the voltage is maintained. The latter, i.e., the outlet indicator lights up when it senses any short-circuit failures.
At the rear, there are mostly power outlets, distributed in three different power banks. The first bank comprises four outlets, which are all switched off. The second bank houses two outlets that are all switched, which means they can be turned on and off using a given button.
The third bank holds four outlets that are all switched and are high-current delayed, which means when you switch them on and off, they will require a 2 or 3-second time slot to attain each of the respective actions. These outlets are provided for high-power equipment such as subwoofers, amplifiers, etc. They prevent these devices from being overloaded with the current.
There is one switched-off outlet at the front as well, which you can connect with for multiple reasons. Needless to say, all these power outlets feature surge protection and Panamax-signature filtration that goes by LIFT filtration technology. It allows all the banks to filter the power off of the dirty power, surges, and electrical noise.
All in all, it is genuinely a worth-the-price power manager, managing everything from home theatres to other devices with a rapid response at the power consumption of 15A, which is 1800W. Now that you know all the pros, our first home theatre power manager recommendation lacks the 12-volt DC trigger, which is the only con within this under $600 home theatre power manager.
2. AudioQuest Niagara 1200
- Produces clean sound
- Premium and portable design
- Great noise filtration
- No 12V DC trigger
- No digital display
The second on the list is AudioQuest Niagara 1200, which features an elongated brick-like design, and like our topper, i.e., Panamax MR5100, slides onto your shelf, providing a clean and sophisticated look to your home theatre.
Needless to say, since the power manager belongs to a Niagara series, it comes equipped with AudioQuest’s signature technologies. It includes the over-voltage shutdown and non-sacrificial surge protection.
Now you may already be familiar with the over-voltage shutdown, if you are not, let us do the honor. This home theatre power manager protects your home theatre or any of your electronics from high-voltage spikes, and it protects them by shutting itself down whenever it senses more than standardized voltage.
The latter, which is non-sacrificial surge protection, is a signature technology of AudioQuest that enables its Niagara series power managers to bear iterative 6000V surges and still prevent your equipment from turning into a useless piece of tin.
It has in-total seven ports or outlets, out of which, two ports are dedicated to high-current instruments or devices, and five are dedicated to linear noise-dissipation systems. To us, this home theatre power manager is quite overpriced but does offer some extraordinary performance.
To some audiophiles, this home theatre power manager has been nothing but a brick of steel, and to some, it has been their guide to listening to original and naturally-toned music coming right out of their home theatres.
3. Furman PL-8C Power Manager
- SMP and EVS equipped
- Sleek and compact design
- Isolated dual power banks
- LED display at the front
- No USB port
Followed by the runner-up, we have this masterpiece from Furman, which is an advanced-level home theatre power manager. We will start with its design, which is flat and sleek. It sits evenly wherever you store or place it, and manages all your cables and cords sophisticatedly. From a distant angle, it may even deceive you into thinking of it as a DVD player.
It features 9 power outlets in total, out of which one lies at the front. The front is equipped with dual retractable lights that illuminate the shelf or the aesthetics of your home theatre system. You may consider it as a value-added feature of a slightly high-priced home theatre power manager by Furman.
Among many premium features lies one that separates the Furman PL-8C power manager from its competitors, which is its SMP technology. It is an acronym for Series Multi-Stage Protection. This technology blew our minds when we first became enlightened with it. It does what other home theatre power managers do, i.e., protect your equipment from voltage spikes, but it is its method that sets it apart.
With its SMP technology, the power conditioner, when exposed to high-voltage surges, converts the extra voltage into heat and supplies the required amount of power to your devices. This works parallel to the EVS technology, the extreme voltage shutdown, where the Furman PL-8C shuts itself down if it senses an enormous surge in voltage that can’t be converted to heat.
Moreover, it features isolated dual power banks, accommodating 5 power outlets in one, and three in another. The last or the remaining outlet lies at the front for your added convenience. Such isolation also prevents cross-contamination within your devices connected to the home theatre power conditioner.
If one power bank gets affected by dirty power or electric noise, the isolation makes sure the other power bank doesn’t become its victim. But that’s a rare thing, and quite rare when the Furman PL-8C features linear noise filtration technology, which ensures the power supplied is free of electric noise and dirty power.
Conclusively, there are two things that might upset you with our third pick on the list of best home theatre power managers. The first is the availability of a USB port, and the second is its price tag, which is under $500, but still a big deal for many people.
A Home theatre power manager isn’t a device or accessory that wastes your money; instead, it saves it as it prevents and protects your thousands of dollars’ worth of home theatres and equipment from all sorts of power fluctuations. It effectively regulates the power of connected devices and ensures they run and produce original and unmodified sound, which makes it quite an important accessory for some audiophiles.
Unless you aren’t an erudite electrician yourself, you should buy and install a home theatre power manager with your electrical equipment and devices as its price is nothing compared to the expensive equipment you might own.