The quality of electrical power is often the limiting factor for high performance audio and video systems. Many manufacturers have attempted to address this limitation---caused in large part by electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI)---by designing and marketing surge protectors, AC line filters, uninterruptible power supplies, and various sorts of AC enhancers and generators. Many of these solutions are bulky, expensive, or only partially effective.
Panamax has introduced a new product for home theater and audiophile applications that is claimed to confront head-on all the problems inherent in alternating current supplies: surges, over-voltage and under-voltage conditions, line-borne noise, and component-generated noise. The Max 5500 ACRegenerator combines the best elements of surge protection with line conditioning, power stabilization and AC regeneration "to give true audiophiles the best of all worlds," in the words of a recent press release. The San Rafael, CA company deserves credit for almost all the progress in surge protection technology made in the past 25 years.
Digital electronics are notorious for generating wide-bandwidth noise that can degrade the performance of connected equipment. The Max 5500 uses a low-noise toroidal transformer to isolate the four-outlet 500VA AC supply for digital gear, thereby stopping the contamination where it originates. The isolation concept, central to the Max 5500, is also effective at blocking the transmission of AC noise into components, either digital or analog. No ground reference is used for this circuit, as Panamax engineers discovered that it was a pathway for noise.
Two banks of isolated outlets with "Balanced Double-L" filtration are provided to feed signal processors, pre-amplifiers, VCRs, monitors, and projectors---devices that typically draw a constant amount of current and are also susceptible to degradation from line-borne noise. Panamax claims a 99.7% reduction in EMI/RFI while delivering 15 amps of current. A third set of switched outlets provides high instantaneous current for power amplifiers. This circuit uses capacitor filtration and parallel inductance to boost peak available current.