When’s the last time you changed your power bar? Without a HiFi surge protector, you risk permanently damaging your expensive audio and video equipment. While a standard surge protector may protect against voltage spikes if it’s relatively new, a HiFi surge protector often provides enhanced protection. It can protect against excess current and help remove noise and distortion to deliver a better audio experience.
What Is a HiFi Surge Protector?
A HiFi surge protector is designed to protect high-fidelity audio equipment from power surges. A power surge can fry the internal circuitry in your expensive A/V receiver, record player, and other devices.
Unfortunately, it only takes a single power surge to make your high-end audio equipment worthless.
Potential causes of power surges include:
- Lightning strikes
- Power restoration after a blackout
- Faulty electric wiring
- Electrical overloads
Lightning strikes rarely cause direct damage to electronics. However, a lightning strike hitting a power line can send a large voltage to connected electrical systems.
A lightning strike may also cause a blackout, which increases the risk of a power surge during restoration. After a blackout, your electrical system may experience a sudden increase in electrical current.
Faulty wiring can also cause normal electrical loads to become power surges. However, one of the most common causes of power surges is electrical overloads.
An electrical overload may occur when you plug too many devices into the same outlet, such as using a power strip for a dozen electronics on a single circuit. The devices draw more power, which can create a voltage spike.
Surge Protector vs. Power Conditioner
A surge protector is designed to shield electronics from voltage spikes. A power conditioner is designed to remove electronic magnetic interference (EMI).
As you likely know, EMI can reduce the quality of your audio, which is why most audio setups include shielded cables. The shielding helps keep the cable from picking up interference. However, not all interference comes from other cables and electronics.
You also receive interference directly from your AC outlet, especially when multiple electronic devices are connected to the same outlet.
A power conditioner creates a buffer between your Hi-Fi equipment and the outlet. It helps smooth out fluctuations in voltage and current while reducing EMI and radio frequency (RF) interference.
Removing noise from electrical lines provides cleaner audio signals. You may notice less distortion and clipping, especially when listening to higher volume levels.
The Top Three HiFi Surge Protectors for Your Audio System
If you are ready to protect your audio system from interference and power surges, here are three of the best Hi-Fi surge protectors available.
The Audioquest PowerQuest Surge Protector is the best choice for those with a limited budget. It includes six AC outlets and filters for removing noise and distortion.
The PowerQuest Surge Protector (PQ2) uses one linear filter for three of the outlets and a separate filter for two high-current outlets. The sixth outlet features a linear filter optimised for 4K and 8K video signals.
The PQ2 also has a cable/satellite input/output for removing noise from your cable or satellite. However, it lacks some of the features found in the more high-end HiFi surge protectors, such as isolated outlets and advanced noise reduction technologies.
The Panamax Power Management system is a step up from the PQ2 surge protector. It includes a total of 11 outlets, including 5 isolated outlet banks. Each isolated bank includes two outlets.
Using isolated outlets shields devices against any interference created by other devices plugged into the surge protector. With multiple isolated outlets, you avoid cross-contamination between components.
The M5300PM is also equipped with three sets of ports for running coaxial cables. You can eliminate interference on up to three cable or satellite lines.
The Panamax Power Management system also includes voltage and amperage displays on the front of the device. You can monitor power and receive a visual notification in the event of an undervoltage or overvoltage.
The Audioquest Niagara 3000 Power Conditioner is a premium surge protector and conditioner. It features the latest technology for eliminating AC ground noise.
The Niagara 3000 includes a total of 7 protected AC outlets and 3 isolated filter banks. Each outlet benefits from a patented ground noise-dissipation system and ultra-linear noise-dissipation technology for the most consistent power conditioning available.
Using the Niagara 3000 can protect against multiple AC surges and voltage spikes up to 6000 volts. Few other options provide the same level of protection for your audio gear.
A surge protector includes protection against voltage spikes, which decreases the risk of frying expensive electronics. With a Hi-Fi surge protector, you also gain protection against interference. The top HiFi surge protectors include power conditioning to ensure that your audio equipment receives clean power.
If you want to protect your electronics and ensure that you receive the best audio, a HiFi surge protector is a worthwhile investment.