Brian Kahn is the longest tenured writer on staff at HomeTheaterReview.com. His specialties include everything from speakers to whole-home audio systems to high-end audiophile and home theater gear, as well as room acoustics. By day, Brian is a partner at a West Los Angeles law firm.
Tributaries Cable has recently released a duo of power managers to supplement its growing line of power products, the T100 and the T200. The T200 reviewed here is a mid-priced unit at $500. Power management and protection is a critical part of any home theater system. Whether you call your product a surge suppressor, power conditioner or power manager (or a whole slew of other names created by creative marketing types), there are three basic things that most people should look for: one, component protection; two, improved audio video performance, and; three. power management. The T200 does all three.
The 2U rack mountable T200 features a total of thirteen AC power outlets: four isolated always-on digital; two isolated switched or always-on digital; four isolated switched-on analog; two delayed-on high current and one always-on convenience outlet on the front panel. The front panel also contains a dimmable LED display to indicate incoming voltage and power consumption. In addition to the foregoing, which are found on some of the competitive products from other manufacturers, the T200 also features a front panel circuit breaker reset switch and an USB outlet which can be used to charge USB devices or with the included USB gooseneck light. The rear panel also has an USB outlet; this feature came in handy for me to light up the back of my equipment rack when connecting gear.
The new T200 feature can provide up to 1800 watts and 15 amps of AC power. An advanced Metal Oxide Varistor (MOV) surge suppression technology that provides faster response time and increased absorption over traditional MOVs capable of providing 5400 joules of protection without failure. Tributaries advises that a the use of ceramic casing on he MOVs provides greater protection from failure through faster heat dissipation which keeps the accumulated temperature remains low. An added benefit of lower temperatures is that lifespan of the new type of MOV lasts 10 times longer than a standard MOV, addressing a common complaint of MOV based devices. In addition to AC surge suppression, protection is also provided for telephone connections and RF signal paths specifically designed for cable, satellite or antenna devices. In addition to providing protection from surges, the T200 provides over-voltage and under-voltage protection. If the supplied voltage to the T200 falls below 90 volts or exceeds 135 volts the unit will shut down until voltage returns to that range.
The T200 increases component performance by providing separate AC line filtering, electrical isolation and power conditioning for analog, digital and high-current components. Additionally each of the outlets is individually isolated so that any noise generated by one component will not affect another component even if it is plugged into another outlet within the same group.
The T200 addresses my third requirement for a home theater power manager in that it informs the user of power conditions and provides some control thereof. The front-panel LEDs provide the user with a variety of information about the power being supplied by displaying the on/off condition of each outlet, polarity indicator, a digital voltmeter and digital ammeter. Power control is accomplished with dual-trigger input and single-trigger output 3.5mm jacks are provided for convenient connection and easy daisy-chaining of additional power managers or power strips. A comprehensive and easy to follow instruction manual provides some basic power management tips in addition to basic use instructions. Should all of the above fail, there is a 3 year parts and labor warranty in addition to a $25,000 warranty on connected equipment.
â€¢ The T200 provides protection for three DSS/CATV lines, enough for a dual tuner satellite box and a cable modem.
â€¢ The thirteen outlets should be sufficient for most systems; the external triggers can control additional units for more extensive systems.
â€¢ The T200 has some useful features such as USB charging ports, a light and voltage / current meters.
â€¢ The front AC power outlet is not filtered.
â€¢ The T200, has only one RJ11/RJ45 input and therefore cannot handle incoming phone and data lines at the same time.
The T200 is a very competitive product in the mid-priced power management market. I found the T200's build quality to be very good and it had sufficient connections to handle my core home theater system. (Not including my projector and powered speakers which are physically distant from the rest of my system.) The unit was easy to use, the delayed high-current outlets prevented any turn on thumps and the power conditioning provided cleaner sound with reduced noise floor levels when compared to unfiltered power. The T200 provides what a power manager should: protection, improved performance and control. Thankfully, I never had an opportunity to test the T200's surge suppression capabilities but have no doubt that it would perform as advertised. All in all, the T200 provides everything that most home theaters will need in the way of power management and does it with an attractive, well made and fairly priced product.
Actually using MOVs in circuits is a great advantage. It gives greater protection to the circuits. https://www.resistorguide.com/varistor/