The Importance of Surge Suppression

Today I will discuss the Importance of Surge Suppression.

Most people never think about the importance of surge suppression, instead they simply plug their electronics into a wall outlet. It’s protected right? The answer is yes and no. If it is a modern plug (in the last couple of decades or so) then it is a three prong outlet meaning that it has a ground connection. But is it really grounded for additional protection? Most electricians did not actually connect the ground wire when installing electrical outlets on new homes in the 1990’s. Behind that wall outlet their probably is a ground wire, but it is not connected to anything to actually do anything.

What can be done to fix this problem?

  1. Have a licensed electrician check out the outlets with a polarity checker device. It plugs into the outlet and uses a color code to check if the wiring is not only connected properly for polarity, but also confirms if the outlet is grounded properly.
  2. Do NOT take it upon yourself to rewire this outlet if it is not installed or working correctly. Premium Audio does not take responsibility for you doing this project yourself. Instead we advise you to hire a licensed electrician to handle this for you.
  3. Once the outlet is properly wired you can move onto the next step.

The next step:

To further protect yourself and your electronics from potential harm we recommend a surge suppressor and not a surge protector. The two look vary similar at a glance, however the surge protector is basically just a way to use one outlet to connect multiple electrical cables to at once. Most have a power switch to turn off or on the devices plugged into it.

A surge suppressor on the other hand does so much more! It will most likely have an indicator light to alert you if the outlets are not properly grounded. Any really good surge suppressor will also come with a warranty if it fails to protect whats plugged into it. Typically they offer anywhere from a $20,000 to $300,000 replacement guarantee. Also some include a line filter to minimize any hum on the line (which is also a safety feature).

Surge suppressors are designed to handle a much higher joule rating than a surge protector. In fact surge protectors most likely will not even mention the joule rating. The higher the rating the better it is for protection. 900 joules is ok for say a laptop when traveling, but not enough for much else. 1500 joules or higher is ideal for a desktop computer with monitor (or dual monitors), computer speaker package, and a printer. This can also be used to protect your home theatre (using a separate one from the computer setup).

Since a decent surge suppressor can be had for $50 or less you owe it to yourself to purchase one to protect your electronics. Click here to see what is available. Remember to replace the surge suppressor if you suspect it to no longer we working properly or if it has been in use for quite some time.

Obscure tracks for sound tests

In the past I have mentioned several times the CD’s I suggest using for musical sound tests. Today is different. Today I list the obscure tracks for sound tests that I have discovered since my prior recommendations. Below that I also list other great CD’s to listen to that I have not mentioned before.

Keep in mind I am not only a “home theatre nut” as I like to refer to myself as, but I am also an “audiophile” which allows me to dip into multiple genres. Being an audiophile I of course choose to use a completely different system (speakers and amp, not receiver) for listening to music with. In fact I take it one step further and use different systems for different music depending upon if I want more bass or not.

Obscure tracks for sound tests (listed in random order):

  1. Evanescence – “Bring me to life”
  2. Rhianna – “Love the way you lie”
  3. Nicki Minaj – “Moment 4 Life”
  4. Sugarland – “Something More
  5. The Band Perry – “If I die young” & “Better dig Two”
  6. AC/DC – “Rock ‘n’ Roll Train”
  7. Halestorm – anything from in the live room. These are live acoustical versions.
  8. Pink – “Raise your glass”
  9. Greta Van Fleet – “Safari Song”
  10. The Pretty Reckless – “Take me down”
  11. Chumbawamba – “Tubthumping”
  12. Seven Mary Three – “Water’s Edge”
  13. Evanescence – “Bring me to life”
  14. Jewel – “Hands”
  15. Van Halen – “Me wise magic” & “Right Now”
  16. Dixie Chicks – “Not ready to make nice”
  17. Alison Krauss & Union Station – “When you say nothing at all”
  18. Def Leppard – “Rock, rock till you drop”
  19. Five Finger Death Punch – “The Pride.” This song is not on their greatest hits album but is really popular.
  20. Scorpions – “Rock you like a Hurricane”, “Wind of Change”, “Send me an angel” & “Passion rules the game.”
  21. Skid Row – “Youth gone wild”

Here are some solid albums listed in random order to enjoy as well! 

  1. KISS – Psycho Circus
  2. Led Zeppelin – I, II & III. Really the entire 10 studio albums are worth owning, but the first three I believe are the best!
  3. DIO – Holy Diver & The Very Best of Dio
  4. Tesla – Time’s Makin Changes – The Best of Tesla
  5. The Beastie Boys – Licensed to Ill
  6. AC/DC – Back in Black, The Razors Edge & Highway to Hell
  7. Bon Jovi – Young Guns II Soundtrack
  8. Disturbed – Indestructible, The Sickness & Immortalized.
  9. Def Leppard – Hysteria
  10. Judas Priest – Painkiller
  11. Pantera – Vulgar Display of Power
  12. Five Finger Death Punch – A Decade of Destruction
  13. Enya – Paint the Sky with Stars
  14. Motley Crue – “Dr. Feelgood” & “Decade of Decadence”

So there you have it, this is my personal list taken from my own collection of music.

What is on your list?



Final comments about my 13 speaker surround sound system

I have continued to tweak this system and ultimately have decided to run the sub woofer in a rather unique way. I am using a sub woofer cable on the sub woofer input on one of the two receivers (the one using the smaller speakers which run at ceiling height). What’s different is what I am doing after that; instead of connecting the other end to a sub woofer here is what I do. I connect it to an input on a different receiver (a third one). From their I connect my sub woofer via speaker wire. To do this I use an adapter. This adapter allows you to run the speaker wire into an RCA cable that you solder together.

Here is why I chose to do this:

  1. My “sub woofer” is actually an MTX dual 12″ woofer setup with a horn tweeter and a mid range speaker all in one very tall and very heavy cabinet. It is half of a pair of main speakers and so I decided to re-purpose it as a sub.
  2. My “sub woofer” is not an actual sub. There is no amp built into it. There is no sub woofer cable input port on it. Instead it runs off of speaker wire. So the way I connect my “sub woofer” is by using speaker wire that connects the sub to the left main speaker on the receiver. For the record you could instead connect to the right main speaker on the receiver if you prefer. Either one will result in the same outcome. This receiver being used is a stereo receiver, not another surround sound one.
  3. By connecting the sub cable to another receiver I am able to boost the volume and bass going to the speaker. This compensates for it not being a powered sub.

One final not about this surround sound and then I promise to stop writing about it….

….I recently learned after my last posting that Denon created a 13 speaker surround sound receiver that is available for sale this year (2018). This means it can do what I have been talking about using two receivers for. The difference being that their version uses only one receiver. For the record I invented this surround sound not them. My original post is from 2016 on this idea. I actually thought it up back in 2008 or 2009, but didn’t write about it until 2016. The posts I am referring to can be found here, here and here too.

So why use my surround sound instead of Denon’s?

Because mine is super affordable. If I highball it I would say you can get two 7.1 channel receivers for about $800 new. The Denon version costs $4,000 at Crutchfield. You go ahead and spend that money if you wish to save space, I prefer to save money. If Denon is able to make my 13 speaker surround sound a reality while using only one receiver, I cannot help but wonder what other ideas of mine they will decide to use as their own. I guess only time will tell.

13.0.2 Channel Surround Sound

Today I will explain a variation to a surround sound that I originally wrote about some time ago. Back then I simply referred to it as 13.2 channel surround sound. Having finally tested this one in my own home theatre I made some adjustments and it evolved some.

13.0.2 Channel Surround Sound.

First off I’m sure your wondering why the “.0.2”. Allow me to explain ….

The “13” of course represents the number of speakers used. The “0” represents zero powered subs. The “.2” means two pseudo subs (a pair). Like my original posting for 13 channel surround sound I have split the sound from my new Blu-Ray player to allow it to connect to two 7.1 channel receivers. I run one in 6.0 channel mode and the other in 7.0 channel mode. Due to lack of space in my room I do not have any powered subs. For that same reason I am only running two pseudo subs instead of four.

One receiver runs all speakers at ear level when seated. I use much larger, better speakers here. They are 5 1/4″ Polk’s (except the rear center is a KEF). This receiver is an Onkyo and is setup with six speakers. The other receiver is a Sony and runs speakers at two different elevations (ceiling and ear level when seated). The side left and side right speakers run at ear level and are 5 1/4″ JBL’s. Five speakers are Onkyo wall mountable speakers. They are probably 4’s. I’m guessing because I cannot remove the grills and I did not find specs on them (other than the peak wattage and OHM rating they run at). I use a speaker switch on the Sony receiver since it is designed for only one pair of main speakers. My other pair I used are Technics 12’s and they are setup as pseudo subs. I placed one under the television and the other behind the sofa.

I had to, as expected, play around with both receivers (mostly the Sony) to adjust the size, distance and volume on each speaker. This was especially true to avoid an echo with the center channel. When I originally wrote about this I did not expect there to be an echo if splitting the sound from an RCA connection (as opposed to running one receiver with an RCA connection and the other with HDMI. After a few days of testing I have it right and it’s really impressive. My only gripe is that like most movies they still have failed to make the dialogue anywhere near as loud as the action. Perhaps I need to implement my EQ idea for a center channel that I discussed awhile back (in one of my books) to overcome this.

As always have fun with whatever surround sound you choose for your home theatre.

18.4.4 Channel Surround Sound

Today I will explain another surround sound idea of mine, 18.4.4 Channel Surround Sound. This will use two height elevations and will be moderately easy to connect, yet still time consuming. You will be able to run it as one complete system or pick between them thanks to how it is wired up. Please refer to my books that I have previous written as well as prior blog posts of mine if unsure of how to do this.

This will require the following:

  • 3 Receivers (2 7.1 channel receivers plus a stereo receiver or another surround sound receiver if you want).
  • Multiple speaker switches.
  • 4 Pseudo subs (2 pair).
  • 4 Powered subs.
  • 18 speakers.
  • TV or computer monitor.
  • Lots of speaker wire. This will vary based upon the size of the room. Figure on using about 200 feet for a 11 x 15 room with 9 foot high ceilings.
  • BluRay/DVD/Roku or some other video device for movies.

At ear level you will use the following: A 7.1 channel receiver, speaker switch off the rear speakers on the receiver to accommodate three speakers back there instead of two, another speaker switch off the side left and side right speakers on the receiver for three speakers (one will be at floor level aimed up towards you on an angle). Connect 3 speakers per speaker switch. This gives you two rear speakers plus a rear center speaker and two side speakers plus a middle center. Connect the front left and right speakers and front center as normal.

The pseudo subs will be connected to a regular stereo receiver or a surround sound receiver running in stereo mode. This allows you to adjust the volume. The sound will come off of the speaker switch used for the side speakers on either of the two 7.1 channel receivers (you choose which one to connect to).

The 4 powered subs will be connected off of the ceiling height 7.1 channel receiver or you can connect 2 of them to each 7.1 channel receiver.

At ceiling height you will do just like you did with the other 7.1 channel receiver. The only difference is the speakers connected to this receiver need to be at ceiling height.

Split the sound off of your video device (DVD, Roku, BluRay using RCA cables). One pair to each 7.1 channel receiver. Run any combo of receivers listed for the sound you want. Enjoy your 18.4.4 Channel Surround Sound!