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mp3500
My A/V system has a fair amount of stuff. There’s what I call the current generation set of gear… There’s a Sony STR-DA5300ES receiver, a separate 750 watt power amp for my sub, a PS3/Blueray, an XBox360/HD-DVD, a conventional progressive scan DVD player, a Wii, a DBS/DVR, a Mac Mini and a CD/MD player. Then there is what I call the last generation set of gear, an XBox, a PS2, and a Gamecube. There are several wall warts for things like rechargeable Wii controllers, an XBox 360 wheel, a network switch, a power supply for the dish multiplexer and so on. All of this feeds an Optoma 1080p projector which has its own UPS that also runs the Mac Mini (you really don’t want a projector to suddenly lose power… the fan stops and the bulb immediately overheats, losing lifespan or even dying right there on the spot; and of course you don’t want power to a computer failing, ever.)

The wiring for all this stuff is… formidable. Prior to getting the Monster unit, there were multiple power strips and cables just everywhere. So the first thing I got out of the MP PRO 3500was increased organization and lessened clutter. I still needed a couple of power strips, partially because wall warts take up so much room, and partially because there are just so many units, but trust me, it is a lot better than it was.

The second thing is better quality AC, presumably, though I can’t say I was aware of any problems caused in this area, it is certainly worthwhile to have all that stuff better protected against spikes and the like.

The third thing is information – having both the line voltage and the current draw available at one time is both interesting and somewhat useful. You can multiply the one by the other and get the current power consumption in watts, by the way, for instance 5.2 amps at 120 VAC is about 624 watts. If the unit is actually good for 3500 watts, that’s about 29 amps, so your average household circuit will give out long before the MP PRO 3500 will. I plugged the unit into a dedicated circuit, if you’re going to be using the kind of power this thing is capable of, I suggest you do the same (a dedicated circuit is basically an AC plug that has no other loads on it and has its own breaker.)

The MP PRO 3500 power center is robust, to say the least, the power cord is a cable you could hang a Volkswagen from. There are neon indicators in the unit’s plug itself that tell you that the connection is ok (good ground, etc.) Then there are indicators on the front panel that assure you that the protection is working, the power is clean, and so on. All of this is very nice. The unit is a little light (though very strong.) I say it is light because the pressure of plugging something in is enough to move it around, which means you need to hold it with one hand and plug with the other, unfortunately. This is rack mount gear, and so you don’t get feet with it; be careful you don’t scratch something by moving it. Also make sure you pay attention to ventilation for your other gear – no feet also means no airspace in stacks of hardware. You can buy some inexpensive stick-on rubber feet to give you a little airspace at Radio Shack or various places online.

One thing the MP PRO 3500 provides that isn’t of particular use to me is sequenced power-up; it turns on one set of AC connections after another. I just leave the MP PRO 3500 on and control the various units in and out of standby as required. Some things, like the Wii, will go on the net when “off” and fetch mail and so on; others maintain standby information, and things like the projector need power (for the fan) long after you turn them off. So I basically don’t have a use for killing power to everything in normal operating regimes. But you may find the sequenced power-up to be of use.

The twelve plugs in the rear are separated into sets marked as high power audio, audio, digital and so forth. My MP PRO 3500 didn’t come with any specs as to how much power one could draw from which outlets, but I’ve had no trouble, for whatever that is worth. If you have more gear, or a significantly higher power system than I do, you might want to look into this. There are two more plugs on the front, I find them useful from time to time, for instance I have put my camera battery recharger on there, it’s quite convenient.

The only quibble I have with the unit’s design other than the weight is that the displays are a little bright; it kind of sits there like a sore thumb compared to the indicators and displays on my other gear.

All in all, I like the unit very much, feel that it offers good bang for the buck (not always the case with Monster, a company that isn’t the least bit afraid afraid to wave snake oil under your nose, particularly in the area of cables), and I plan to buy a couple more for my musical gear. I’ve got a small recording studio at home which could use some power conditioning and protection.