If you have a home theater, mid-fi or hifi stereo system or a bedroom recording studio you share one problem: a big heap 'o power cords and not enough power outlets. Moreover, the ravages of your local power utility can pump all sorts of audio and video garbage into your system or, in a worst case scenario, fry your expensive gear in a nanosecond. Need relief and peace of mind? Bust out a Monster HTS2000, it does the job of 3 different units: a power strip for more outlets and a master power switch, a surge protector to keep your gear from frying during electrical surges or lightening strikes, and a power conditioner to filter out electrical interference.
Appearance & Construction
At 20 inches in length, the Monster HTS2000 is one big honkin' power strip/surge protector. It sports 12 AC outlets, 3 gold plated coaxial I/O and telephone I/O. There's plenty of room for several wallwart power supplies if needed. Supposedly, each outlet has filter circuits optimized for a particular component type, e.g., high current amp, video, audio, switched, unswitched, etc., and bears a color coded label for each port. The body consists of black painted metal with black plastic trim and appears well built for home use, especially considering the low price ($135 at globalmart.com). The strip also features pretty green ground and protection lights and a red glowing rocker switch for the switched outlets. The plastic end trim can be removed to allow for mounting in a 19 inch rack. You'd have to leave a couple of rack spaces open above and below it in order to plug your gear in. However, I wouldn't want a bunch of power cords sticking out of the front of my rack case.
It didn't do well during the wife test as she immediately noticed it laying behind a speaker and remarked that it was big , ugly and full of wires! I promptly placed a fake plant in front of it. The component style HTS2500 probably would fare better in this area but I though the rear positioned AC outlets would be a pain in the butt as I often move my gear around.
Did it make a difference in my system? Yes, there was a significant improvement in the audio and, to a lesser extent, to cable reception. Foremostly, the bass and midrange took on better focus and clarity, i.e., the mud was gone. I didn't realize there was mud down there until I plugged this puppy in. When comparing, it took me 45 seconds to switch off my system, pull the plug, power on and clue the same track. I repeated this ritual numerous times with different recordings over the course of 2 months. I'm still not sure about some small details I seemed to hear: 45 seconds proved to be too long a period to be absolutely certain about them. I though perhaps there were small improvements in sound staging, but maybe the increased midrange clarity made separation and placement seem clearer. Anyway, the bass and midrange improvements were obvious and unquestionable. The treble seemed about the same with or without the HTS.
Although I could detect no significant improvement in the video output from my VCR or DVD players (they were very good to begin with), my analog cable reception cleaned up noticeably. This improvement was solely due to plugging the TV's power cord into the HTS2000. At first, I ran my CATV into the HTS but noticed a small amount of signal loss, i.e., the picture looked less grainy but darker, so I reconnected the cable directly to my TV. Maybe the darkening was due to the additional cable required or the HTS filters? I don't know. My CATV signal is weak and prone to RFI. Even if I run the CATV into my VCR first and then into the TV there's a loss of picture quality. I bought Monster M1000S video cables and it helped some. I live on the 31st story of a condo in downtown Honolulu near a transmitting tower. Perhaps after 31 floors of signal amplifiers and splitters there's not much juice left!
I have heard numerous comments about this device: most say it improved things while some felt that it did nothing or degraded performance. My guess is that ultra high end components have power supplies with as good or better filter circuits than the HTS and thus reap little benefit. Some have complained that their 500 watt power amp choked when exacting a sforzando at eardrum bustin' volume due to insufficient current draw. However, budget 'audiophile and mid-fi gear may stand to gain significant improvements. For only $135 this has proved to be the cheapest and one of the most significant upgrades to my humble system.
©Copyright 2000 by Peter Kun Frary All Rights Reserved
Back to Audio Index Home