Product Review (July 2003) - Panamax
MAX® 5300 A/V Line Conditioner

Today's home theater systems are more than ever dependent on clean power for running their audio and video components. Power strips offer a simple solution, but they don't protect components from the many dangers that exist from the incoming power or from serious noise that can affect the performance of the equipment. In fact, some components due to the nature of their design actually pollute the main power line resulting in noise on both the audio and video signals. The Panamax MAX® product line solves many of these problems by providing isolated filter banks that not only filter out line noise, but also protect the component from potentially dangerous transients. The new MAX® 5300 offers many of the features of the MAX® 5500 ACRegenerator™, yet comes in at half the price. While it lacks the toroidal isolation transformer offered in the MAX® 5500, the MAX® 5300 has inherited all the other benefits, resulting in an excellent product.

The Panamax MAX® 5300 offers the same amazing $5,000,000 Connected Equipment Protection Policy and three year warranty as other high-end MAX® components. This is one of the best warranties in the industry and provides consumers with the confidence they need to maximize performance while protecting their equipment. The build quality of the MAX® 5300 is impressive with a heavy feel and attractive look. The front panel appears very similar to the MAX® 5500, but with only one analog Volt meter and no Ammeter. The Volt meter monitors the line voltage and has a pleasant adjustable (optional off) orange/amber backlight. Status indicators are provided for Switched Outlets, Voltage Trigger, Ground OK, Line Fault, and Unsafe Voltage conditions. The top of the chassis has a schematic diagram detailing each of the filter blocks, relays and connections on the back of the unit, which comes in handy when connecting components. Panamax has also placed a single outlet on the right side of the front panel for quick power needs. This is a great idea and we used this numerous times for powering devices such as camcorders and other temporary components.

The rear panel has a total of ten 3-prong outlets for equipment. The first set of four outlets is always powered on as long as the unit is connected to wall power. These outlets utilize their own separate “balanced, double L” filtration circuit to provide power for audio and video components requiring continuous power such as VCRs and PVRs (Personal Video Recorders). Another set of four outlets are also provided and can be configured to be always-on or switched with a selectable delayed turn-off time. These four outlets are also fed through a "balanced, double L” filtration circuit to reduce EMI/RFI noise on all three power paths (L-N,L-G&N-G), so even equipment with 2-blade plugs benefit from this filtration. The remaining two outlets are designed for high-current components such as amplifiers and powered subwoofers. These delayed outputs have a selectable delayed turn-on time to make sure the preamplifier electronics have stabilized to prevent an inadvertent "thump" on the speakers. However, some power amplifiers do have their own internal relays to prevent this from happening. These outputs are specifically designed to maximize current needs for these types of components.

The SurgeGate Plus™ circuitry protects components connected to the MAX® 5300 by preventing any of the outlets from getting voltage outside the 90V to 134V range for an extended period of time. Protection is also provided between Line/Neutral, Neutral/Ground and Line/Ground.

Using their SignalPerfect™ Technology, Panamax uses gold-plated F-connectors to protect cable television as well as DirecTV and Dish Network satellite systems. Cable TV (including terrestrial HDTV) operates in the 50MHz to 950MHz range. The clamping threshold for cable inputs is set at 0.7V, well above the level of the modulated video signal. The pass-through bandwidth for the satellite inputs range from 950MHz to 2.2GHz with a loss of less than 1dB in signal level. The clamping circuitry for the satellite inputs is set at 27V to handle the 13 and 18 volt control voltages used for the LNB. Finally, a protected phone line (RJ-11) connection is also provided on the MAX® 5300 for Digital Satellite boxes. We always like to see a detachable power cord and Panamax has provided this to its customers.

The MAX® 5300 has a 12VDC trigger input and output for remote triggering from a master controller. We used our Parasound AVC-2500u Preamp/processor to control the triggering of the MAX® 5300 and it worked perfectly. This feature makes turning on the system simple while still protecting your valuable electronics.

There are several boards inside the MAX® 5300 including a large main board for the voltage protection and filtering electronics. Several smaller boards hold the display and control electronics, coaxial protection circuits and the delay controls and phone connections. The large main board is partitioned into several functions described by the stenciling on the top of the circuit card. The design is neatly layed out and makes the unit easy to service. Three separate heavy-duty relays are used to engage power to the rear outlets as long as the voltage levels are within acceptable limits. Wiring is nicely tied to prevent a "rat's nest" of wires inside the unit. While most people don't care about the guts of the MAX® 5300, it's important to see how equipment is designed and built internally to determine just how good it is. Many would be surprised at just how great a product looks on the outside only to be horrified by the build quality in the unit. Panamax has taken great care in the design of the MAX® products from what we've seen.

Panamax has once again come out with a MAX® product that meets the needs of the vast majority of A/V enthusiasts. The MAX® 5300 focuses on high performance power conditioning and voltage protection while keeping the cost low enough for most serious consumers to include in their system budget. Panamax products continue to protect and condition the power in our system and we can confidently say the performance and reliability of the MAX® 5300 has been excellent.

- Kevin Nakano

Review System

Projector - InFocus ScreenPlay 7200 High-Definition DLP™ Front Projector (ISF calibrated)
Focus Enhancements CenterStage2
Preamplifier/Processor: Parasound AVC-2500U THX-Ultra DTS/DD Preamp/Processor
Amplification: Parasound HCA-2205AT THX-Ultra Five Channel Amplifier
Bass Management: Miller & Kreisel BMC Mini 5.1 Bass Management Controller
Front Speakers: Miller & Kreisel S-150THX (L+R) and S-150AC (Center) Speakers
Rear Speakers: Miller & Kreisel SS-250 Tripole® Surround Speakers
Subwoofer: Two Miller & Kreisel MX-350THX MkII THX-Ultra Push-pull Subwoofers
Room Treatments: Echo Buster panels and Bass Buster towers
Set-top Box #1: Samsung SIR-T165 Terrestrial HDTV Receiver with DVI
Set-top Box #2: RCA DTC100 HDTV/DSS Satellite Receiver
DVD/CD/SACD Player: Sony DVP-NS900V DVD/CD/SACD Player
DVD Audio/Video Player: Kenwood Sovereign DV-5900M 400-Disc DVD Changer
A/V Cables: Ultralink Platinum and Advanced Performance Series Cables
DVI Cable: Monster Cable M Series M500DVI DVI-D Cable
Video Generator: Sencore VP300 SDTV/HDTV Video Pattern Generator
Video Signal Analyzer: Sencore VSA794 NTSC Video Signal Analyzer
Color Analyzer: Sencore CP5000 Multi-Display Color Analyzer

Review at a glance

Panamax MAX® 5300

AC Specifications
Protect or Disconnect Circuitry Yes
Thermal Fusing Yes
Catastrophic Surge Circuit Yes
Single Pulse Energy Dissipation 1790 Joules
Spike Capacity 65,000A
EMI/RFI Noise Filtration 50dB - 55dB
Line Voltage 120VAC, 50/60 Hz
Clamping Level (TVSS Voltage) 330V
Initial Clamping Level 141V RMS/200V Peak
SurgeGate Plus Yes
Overvoltage Shutoff 137VAC
Undervoltage Shutoff 95VAC
Protection Modes L-N, N-G, L-G
Maximum Current Rating 15A (1800W)
Response Time <1ns

Product Features
Number of Outlets 11
Always On Outlets up to 9
Switched Outlets up to 4
Delayed Outlets 2
Cord Length 10 ft.
Connectors Straight
Length 12"
Width 17"
Height 3.5"
Weight 19.54 lbs.

Coax Specifications
Antenna/Cable Lines Protected 2
Antenna/Cable Clamping 0.7v
Antenna/Cable Attenuation (5MHz-950MHz) <1dB
Satellite Lines Protected 2
Satellite Clamping 27v
Satellite Attenuation (950MHz-2.20GHz) <1dB
Coax Connectors Female

Telco Specifications
SignalPerfect Circuitry Yes
Fuseless / Auto Resettable Yes
Clamping Level 260v
Capacitance 30pf (approx.)
Suppression Modes Metallic & Longitudinal
Wires Protected 1 pair, (4,5)
Connectors RJ-11/45

Panamax, Inc.
1690 Corporate Circle
Petaluma, CA. 94952

Phone: 800-472-5555

Source: Manufacture loan
MSRP: $499

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