Monster HTPS 7000 Home Theater Reference Power Source 
Home Theater AC Power AC Power
Written by Matthew Evert   
Tuesday, 01 November 2005

Energy is a hot topic these days. From record oil prices to hybrid cars, it seems to be on everyone’s mind these days. What sometimes is forgotten is how antiquated and archaic the American power grid is. From corrupt companies like Enron ripping off California consumers to the frequent “brown-outs” that plague grids all over the nation, our AC power really isn’t that consistent when you get down to it. Some critics say it doesn’t affect your home theater system. They are crazy. Voltage dips, brown-outs and other AC maladies can cook top performing home theater gear in the worst cases. In better but fully unacceptable circumstances, bad AC power simply robs you of the measured performance you paid for in your TV, electronics and beyond.

Enter Monster Cable, which has been making cables and power correction systems for more than 20 years and is a trusted name in the home theater industry. The Monster Home Theater Reference PowerSource retails for $1,295. Visually, the HTPS7000 looks like a big amplifier. The black steel chassis sports a silver and black aluminum faceplate. All the LED displays and status indicators for the outlets are located on the front face. Monster employs a rainbow of colors for the various LEDs, which livens up the appearance of the unit from the standard, sterile look of some A/V equipment. The large oval LED display communicates incoming voltage and current, the menu settings and the status of the system. Four buttons are also present to provide convenient access to the settings of the system. All the color-coded outlets, fuses and inputs are arranged in the back of the unit.

At five-and-quarter inches tall, 17 inches wide and 14 inches deep, this device is easily accommodated in a standard rack system. Risers with rubber feet are provided to allow for flat placement as well. Like an amplifier, this baby is hefty at 44 pounds, so use caution when moving this behemoth around. No fans are present, so the HTPS7000 operates very quietly and only a very faint hum can be heard as the unit is powered up.

Why do I need power correction?
Power arrives to your home in the form of a sine wave of alternating current (AC). The wave’s amplitude or height is measured in volts (120 volts in the U.S.A.). The AC wave oscillates from positive 120V to negative 120V at a frequency of 60 cycles per second. In an ideal world, this wave would come into your home perfectly smooth and at exactly 120V. Unfortunately, as with most things in life, this never happens. Instead, outside factors, such as electric motors and solid-state electronics found in many household appliances, can add interference to this AC wave. This annoying interference and noise can come from other houses on your street or from within your own house and will degrade the sound of your AV system.

Interference will add unwanted properties to your power. Audible sounds such as hum, buzz and hiss can be heard from components with bad power. Amplifiers can be robbed of precious peak power if the wave has been clipped or distorted from bad power. This can cause the speaker diaphragm to react incorrectly, resulting in an unwanted coloration due to dynamic compression. Video performance is also affected. I have witnessed improvements in video performance with all the major power correction brands, making power correction products essential for anyone who has either a significant investment in video or anyone who is looking for improved performance.

Most people are aware that lightning strikes can cause damage to electrical equipment. The HTPS7000 is also an excellent surge protector and will protect your home theater equipment from the wrath of Mother Nature. Monster’s Tri-Mode circuitry has surge/spike capacity of 3145 joules. How sure are they about this protection? Monster is putting their wallet where their mouth is by providing a warrantee to your equipment for repair or replacement up to $750,000. That is enough to protect the best of the best in terms of today’s home theater systems.

Amazingly, the HTPS7000 can remedy all the aforementioned problems using several technologies. First, Dual Balanced Pure Power transformers refine and match the incoming current, providing identical negative and positive phases. The result is a balancing of power that eliminates noise and hum from within your home theater system. Secondly, five Clean Power Stage 5 v2.0 filters provide further protection in your system from electromechanical and radio frequency interference. Each of the filters is specialized to perform unique filtering for a given class of components. There are two digital filters, a video filter, an analog audio filter and a high power filter. Each filter is matched to one or two pairs of outlets on the back of the unit. The exceptions are the digital outlets, which actually have two stages of dual digital filters for extra filtration.

Since AC power flows into and out of each component, any noise that the component adds to the power (remember, most components use solid state electronics) will result in noisy power for the next component downstream. Monster cleverly devised this device so that all the A/V components are now plugged into separate filters and outlets in the HTPS7000, allowing for continuously clean power. For example: noisy power from component A flows into the filter for component B and gets re-cleaned before entering into component B and so on. The result is that noise is not only eliminated from entering the home theater system, but from leaving the system as well.

The Monster Home Theater Reference PowerSource provides 12 AC outlets divided into pairs that are subdivided into four main classes of components, as mentioned previously. All of the outlet pairs except the high power ones have individual fuses for added protection. The analog and digital outlets have the same set/reset buttons like the ones you see in a bathroom, so if you drop you hair dryer in the tub, you do not become a crispy critter. That said, I would not recommend placing the HTPS7000 or the attached components next your bathtub unless you wish to become this year’s finalist for the Darwin Awards.

Using the menu buttons on the front of the HTPS7000, each pair of outlets can be set individually with one of three settings. In the “On” setting, the component that is connected to it will always have power, even when the HTPS is in standby mode. The “zero delay” setting will power up the connected component immediately when the HTPS is turned on. When the HTPS reverts back to standby mode, the attached components will power down. Lastly, the “1-60 delay” setting behaves like “zero delay,” except that when the HTPS powers on there is a variable delay (up to 60 seconds) before the component is powered up. The menu also allows for an alarm or an auto-shutdown to be activated when a blackout occurs.

In addition to the power outlets, there are connections for coaxial, phone lines and triggers. Three pairs of coaxial RF input/output lines are supplied for your CAT5 devices, such as cable TV, satellite and FM antenna. The coaxial connectors are run through both surge suppression circuits and a noise reduction filter. The RJ11 input/output line allows for surge suppression to protect your phone line. AC and DC triggers are handy for those of you wanting to power up the HTPS (and thus all your A/V components) when your preamp is powered on.

Placing the HTPS7000 into my existing home theater system was a snap. I just plugged the HTPS7000 into a wall outlet and then plugged all my coaxial RF lines, phone and components’ AC plugs into the back of the HTPS7000. Monster has designed the filters to work optimally with specific kinds of devices, so I took heed of their suggestions. I put the preamp into the analog audio filter and set the outlet to be always on. That way, the clock does not get reset on the preamp and when I power the preamp to on, it will use a 12V DC trigger to power up the HTPS7000. Once the HTPS7000 is powered up, the rest of my remaining A/V components are turned on (if they are not already on). The DVD player, DirecTV satellite receiver and XM radio receiver are all set on the digital filters. I set the DirecTV satellite receiver unit to be always on. Otherwise, I would have to wait 25 minutes every time I powered my system up to re-locate all my 999 channels. No thanks. The other two are set to power on when the HTPS7000 powers on (“zero delay”).

The subwoofer and amplifier reside on the high power outlets. Since each draws a significant amount of power, I wanted to give them both different delays so the A/V system would not get jolted (and all my lights dim) when they powered on. The amplifier was set for a seven second delay and the subwoofer for a 15-second delay. Lastly, my projector was plugged into the video filter and set to always on, since the projector needs to be in standby mode at all times in order for the fan to cool and lengthen the life of the bulb. Monster was kind enough to send me a HTUPS 500 battery backup system that I plugged in between the projector and the video filter outlet of the HTPS7000. My thinking here was that if a power failure were to occur while I was watching a program, the battery backup would give my projector enough time to run its fan before completely powering off. Most projector bulbs do not live long if they are not permitted time to properly cool down. Seeing that it is about $400 to replace the bulb, I would recommend this UPS for anyone with a projector video display.

Movies and Music
Placing the technical jargon aside, let me move on to discovering whether the Monster Home Theater Reference PowerSource really works. The major elements of my reference system include Paradigm Signature S8 loudspeakers, an Anthem AVM30 preamp, an Anthem A5 amplifier and a Marantz DV9500 universal DVD player.
Rush’s Chronicles (Mercury), one of the first CDs I bought, to this moment still gives me flashbacks to my Beavis and Butthead days gone by. Thankfully, I am over smashing mailboxes and trying to set everything in sight ablaze. In “Bastille Day,” Alex Lifeson’s mix of acoustic and electric guitar possessed more energy with each note played. At the same time, I found more space between notes, resulting in them being more distinct in sound. Grain was removed from the usually raspy shrills that have always seemed to come from Geddy Lee’s voice on my old system. The cleaned-up version of Lee’s voice was apparent in “Closer to the Heart” during the beginning of the song, when his voice is more naked and separated from other instruments. Sounds from Neil Peart’s intense demonstration of his percussion skills were now realized to be intentional rather than the result of a poor recording. This lowering of the noise floor vastly improved my appreciation for the drum master’s skills.

Crossing from classic rock to the alternative rock genre is the self-titled Korn album (Epic). The angry lyrics of Jonathan Davis remind me to be grateful for having non-abusive parents. The thumping and pounding of the bass guitar in “Ball Tongue” seemed to gain more depth and impact with the addition of the HTPS7000 integrated into my system. The drum has more snap in “Predictable,” evolving from a metal on metal clang to a more pleasant crashing sound.

Even after listening to just a few tracks, it is obvious that you do not need an advanced degree in psychoacoustics to hear the vast improvements of power correction in a home theater system. With the sound enhanced, the next test was to look for any visual refinements with my Panasonic LCD projector. “The Italian Job” (Paramount Home Entertainment) amazed me with all the new details that came to life, especially when the thieves are preparing for the next heist. The abundance of fine lines in the technical CAD drawings showed renewed clarity and a lack of jagged edges. This refinement was also apparent during the dinner scene where individual blonde hairs could be seen on Stella’s head as she quickly released that Steve had figured out she was the daughter of the man he killed. Not forgetting the audible side of things, the high revving whines of the three Mini Coopers never sounded more lifelike as they speed down the Los Angeles aqueducts.

“Knockaround Guys” (New Line Home Entertainment) begins with a dreary scene on the streets of New York City. On the way to face to the man who put his father in jail, Matty is driven through a dimly lit street, with a variety of shades of dark colors. The different degrees of black are more alive with the HTPS7000 integrated into my video system. Despite the known weakness of LCD-based projectors at reproducing blacks and seeing distinct images within the darkness, new clarity to these images was evident in the new configuration. Seeing trees instead of dark blurry blobs is always welcome enhancement to my system. Logos on storefront window signs can be made out as the car passes by them. It was almost like the Army Special Forces allowed me to borrow their night vision goggles while I watched the movie this time around. This was a fantastic result.

The Downside
The HTPS7000 is a great product, no question. I did find some things annoying, like the abundance of bright indicator lights. It was a little too flashy for my otherwise minimalist system set-up. A dimmer feature can turn the big LED display off, which corrects most of the issue, but it would be nice to dim the very bright filter status lights, too. It is almost like Monster made them a little too bright, to the point where airplanes may try to land at your house in the event a local runway was closed.

Overall, my Paradigm Signature S8 loudspeakers and Anthem A5 amplifier electronics experienced some significant improvements in the midrange and low frequencies, much to my surprise. With an already refined sound, there is no way I am going to have a system without power correction again in my household. Vastly improved video performance with even my modest video set-up compounded the justification in adding the HTPS7000 to my collection of A/V gear. The addition of surge protection for power, cable TV and telephone was the icing on the cake. The ability to configure the delays for each of the outlet pairs was extremely helpful and ensured that I did not get any unwanted thumps when my equipment power up. I adamantly feel that if you can hear a difference between crappy cables and good cables, noticing the improvements due to power correction will be a snap. If you have a significant investment in your home theater system, don’t cripple it by giving it noisy power. After all, you would not drive your Lamborghini Murcielago on 87 octane gas and $79 tires. The Monster HTPS7000 is certainly an exceptional system at a reasonable price that solves many of today’s ugliest AV power problems.
Manufacturer Monster
Model HTPS 7000 Home Theater Reference Power Source
Reviewer Matthew Evert

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