Anti-surge extension block

A few days ago I had a power cut for a few seconds twice in a row this caused my Nova to cut out and the woofers in my speakers to move in and out with some force. Should I get an Anti-surge extension block and will this stop this happening again. Thanks for any suggestions.

If the power cuts out completely, even for a short time, a surge protector won’t help. You would need a UPS, which I don’t think is really feasible for the sort of power your Nova draws.

Why did the power drop out? Storm?

There wasn’t a storm. Just happened not sure if it was a power cut or power surge. Was concerned about my kit with the woofers making noise and moving in and out.

Was it the MCB that tripped or RCD? Was there cooking going on at the time?

It happens. I wouldn’t worry about it. Surge protectors usually do more (sonic) harm than good.

Actually Chris the right surge protector will help protect the equipment from the In-Rush Surge.

There are the cheap surge protectors that are really just glorified extension strips with maybe a couple of MOV’s in side. Then there are good ones like SurgeX that use Series Mode Technology.
I use two of these units, one for Router, Modem, NAS and one for TV, cable box, BlueRay , Sound Bar.

It sounds to me like a momentary cycle of power.
A voltage drop rise & off, unusual as power failures like that in robust supply networks such as UK are rare. Normally it’s just off, no ups & downs & no voltage surges.
Re speaker cones pumping in & out, it’s OK, that’s what they do, depending on driver design, you can see it if you drive them hard at low frequencies.
In short nothing to worry about, and something a so called surge protector will not help with.

A cheap surge protector strip will potentially ruin sound quality - even if plugged in to an adjacent socket with none of the system plugged into it. I found this out when I needed a temporary extension lead in the music room for my laptop. Plugging in the lead made the turntable sound like I’d either damaged the stylus or clogged it up with fluff. Unplugging the lead and all sounded well again.

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I have this type of mains issue. We have overhead supply and it often does dips and brown outs. These can be quite bad for things like hifi/computers/NAS/&c. A couple of times I have my NDX get it’s knickers in a twist causing a mile panic attach.
I now use those power plugs which have a remote control for on/off. Not so much for the feature of remote control but more for the fact when the mains goes off it stays off - even if the ‘off’ was only a short duration.

We’ve had this in my neck of the woods. It has now been resolved. So far as the HiFi system goes, the worst that has happened in situations like this (although not this time) is a blown fuse. We have spares.

Surge protectors and mains conditioners and the like have a potential to ruin the sound. If you want to try a cheap one, or maybe get something at home for an audition before purchasing, you will be able to hear the differences for yourself. If you don’t hear any, job done.

The biggest danger for me is spiking of HDDs. All this is covered by UPSs. I have a NAS running Minimserver 2 on a UPS. I have not been able to detect a difference in sound quality, musical enjoyment, whatever you like to call it, with and without the UPS.

…until your stereo gets wiped put by a 4 am surge

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It’s not happened in 38 years of Naim ownership, so I’ll take the risk.

You realize that’s really false logic, right…
I’ve never been in a major auto accident so why have Auto Insurance… Etc, Etc
I’m not dead so why get life insurance… maybe it should be death insurance

I’m wondering what you guys think an electrical surge actually is ??
A power surge is a rise in voltage over a period of time, from a few complete AC cycles to minutes. In countries with robust power distribution networks they are rare & surges to a level that can cause damage are practically non-existent. Voltage variations that fall out of the national supply limits are in most cases voltage drops, also known as brown-outs.

The small & limited components in power extension blocks are spike protectors, not surge protectors, they are usually a few components that protects against momentary voltage spikes, OK they will do what they say with small inhouse or locally caused spikes, but not with spike voltage that can cause serious damage.
Damaging spikes are normally associated with nearby lightning strikes & in these cases power extension components are practically useless, they’re probably the first thing to be damaged in the case of a real lightning strike.

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I did not know that surge protectors can diminish sound quality - but tried a cheap mains conditioner recommended by a friend - totally changed the sound I was getting.
Lost clarity on the treble and oomph in the bass, so returned asap.
What do they do to cause this?

As these devices aren’t all the same some guesswork will appear. Looking at the symptoms you had, I’ll guess:

  • increased source impedance, sort of choking the current flow into the amplifier
  • shunt capacitors putting noise into the earth
    This is the short and simple version, several others are more knowledgeable and native speakers and might give a better or at least more extensive explanation.
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Setting aside whether the logic is true or false: surges that take out the hifi are rare, or at least here they are. So why compromise the performance of the hifi every single day for something that very likely won’t happen? And if it does, it’s covered by the household insurance. It’s totally and utterly different to whether or not to have car insurance, which is a legal requirement. As for life insurance, that’s a matter of your circumstances. I don’t have it because I don’t need it.

I remember about 20 years ago, all the house alarms went off after a mains issue of some sort. The electricity board came around within the hour and said they would refund any appliance that was broken. When I spoke to them recently, I got the impression that they would still do that, but with more caution these days as they could get lots of false claims.

If the cause is lightning and not them, then perhaps home insurance is the next stop.

But as you say, I wouldn’t restrict SQ for such a rare event

I have seen lightening score a direct hit on the metal and glass roof of an adjacent wing of a building I was working in - or to be more precise I saw what it did when I and my colleagues had got up from the floor, which we all simultaneously dived on as the fork arrived. Twisted metal and steam.

On another occasion, in the same building (UCL), during a thunderstorm, I saw sparks and arcs/flames shooting from 13A sockets. In that storm the internals of a CRO were reduced to melt, but it didn’t catch fire, which was a bonus.

I’ve had a PC HDD spiked and unusable after a thunderstorm despite the trip switch in our house being pretty sensitive and I’ve seen a landline phone, melted and unusable after a thunderstorm (not in our house).

I take these things seriously. If storms are forecast the system gets unplugged, unless I am about the house and can react in real time - because you’re just as likely to be missed by a thunderstorm as be hit. I don’t use a mains conditioner/surge protector for the system . My music NAS is on a UPS and surge protected because I can’t hear a difference in sound quality with or without it.

In situations like this it’s not about what’s the best standard procedure. It all depends. Each to our own. Electrons may be identical (I’m not certain of that) but the quality of the mains supply and the infrastructure that delivers it is anything but ubiquitous or reliable.