Product Review (July 2002) - MAX® 5500 ACRegenerator

Protecting your investment while maximizing performance is what customers expect from today's power distribution products. Audio and home theater systems require a variety of power needs that go well beyond the simple power strip and these new breed of power conditioners offer consumers a wide range of useful features while still protecting components from possible damage from the incoming power. We have used Panamax MAX products for years to protect our electronics and have been very satisfied. Their $5,000,000 Connected Equipment Protection Policy is the best in the industry and provides consumers with the confidence they need for their large investment in electronic components. The latest MAX® 5500 ACRegenerator™ from Panamax goes well beyond any of their previous products. Build quality is certainly a notch above previous MAX power conditioners. The front panel is attractive with analog meters instead of the row of LEDs used in their earlier designs. The two analog meters monitor line voltage and current and have 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. There's also an XLR connector for the 5-Watt goose-neck light provided with the unit. This comes in very handy in a home theater setting when a variable light source is needed in the dark. 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 was a great idea and we've used this numerous times for powering devices such as camcorders and laptops. It's been so useful in our setup that it's hard to imagine life without it.

The MAX® 5500 design incorporates a Tri-Power Filtration System that consists of three types of outlets on the unit. The first has a set of four fully isolated outlets to prevent noise from digital sources from polluting the main power line. These four outlets are truly isolated with a 500VA toroidal transformer. The result is that none of the EMI/RFI noise can pass through to the secondary windings. This isolated design has limited power capability due to the transformer size, but does not have any problem powering the vast majority of today's digital products. The second group of outlets consists of two pairs which use a balanced double-L filtration configuration to eliminate EMI/RFI noise and is ideally suited for sensitive analog sources such as preamps and electronics crossovers where the noise floor needs to be minimal. Each pair of these outlets has its own filter bank. The front panel outlet also uses this filter. The third and final pair of outlets provides the delayed switching and are intended for high current power amplifiers and subwoofers. Here the power is only limited by the main 15 amp circuit breaker and other protection circuitry maximizing the instantaneous current needed by the high current amplifiers found in today's home theaters. Current transients produced by some of today's high current amplifiers can introduce problems when used with noise suppression chokes. For this reason, Panamax excludes chokes in the circuit supplying power to these outputs.

The SurgeGate Plus™ Circuitry protects components connected to the MAX® 5500 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. The main circuit breaker is set to trip at 15 amps. There's also a 4 amp breaker to protect the toroid transformer used with the isolated outlets. This is why the isolated outlets should not be used for power amplifiers. Doing so will most likely cause the 4 amp breaker to trip.

Separate gold-plated F-connectors on the back panel support cable television as well as DSS. 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, there is also a protected phone line (RJ-11) connection on the MAX® 5500. Essentially they've included everything to protect your entire DSS setup from Mother Nature's fury. We were also happy to see a detachable power cord. So many heavy products lack this feature making it difficult for the user during installation.

The MAX® 5500 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® 5500. Separate three position slide switches on the back of the unit sets the delay control for the high-current and isolated outputs. The high current switched outlets can be set to 0, 10 or 30 second turn-on delays while the isolated outlets can be set to 0, 10 or 30 second turn-off delays. The high current outlet are designed to turn on after the isolated outlets and turn off before them.

Panamax's latest MAX® 5500 ACRegenerator™ meets the demand of the consumer by providing a product capable of protecting the whole electronic system. The legacy features of the earlier MAX® products are retained in this current design. The addition of the toroidal transformer for the isolated outputs improves performance, but does add cost to the design. In our opinion, the features, build quality, price and warranty make the MAX® 5500 a tough act to beat.
- Kevin Nakano

Review System

Pioneer Elite PRO-610HD 58-inch HD-Ready TV (ISF calibrated)

Parasound - AVC-2500u THX-Ultra Certified DD/DTS Preamplifier/Processor

Parasound - HCA-2205AT THX-Ultra Certified Five-Channel Power Amplifier

Front Speakers
Miller & Kreisel S-150THX (L+R) and S-150AC (Center) THX-Ultra Speakers

Rear Speakers
Miller & Kreisel SS-250 Tripole® Surround Speakers

Two Miller & Kreisel MX-350THX MkII THX-Ultra Push-pull Subwoofers

Set-Top Box
RCA DTC100 HDTV/DSS Satellite Receiver

Sony DVP-NS900V Progressive scan DVD/CD/Multi-channel SACD Player

DVD Audio/Video Player
Kenwood Sovereign DV-5900M 400+3 Disc DVD Audio/Video Changer

Laserdisc Player
Pioneer Elite CLD-99 Laserdisc Player

Room Treatments
Echo Buster panels and Bass Buster towers

Interconnect Cables
Ultralink's Platinum Series Ultima Mk II

Audio Analyzer
Sencore SP295 Audio Analyzer

Review - At a glance
Panamax MAX® 5500 ACRegenerator™

Protect or Disconnect Circuitry
Thermal Fusing
Catastrophic Surge Circuit
Single Pulse Energy Dissipation: 2325 Joules
Spike Capacity: 91,000A
EMI/RFI Noise Filtration: 50dB - 120dB
Line Voltage: 120VAC, 50/60 Hz
Clamping Level: 330V
Initial Clamping Level: 141V RMS/200V Peak
Protection Modes: Line-Neutral, Neutral-Ground, Line-Ground
Maximum Current Rating: 15A (1800W)
Response Time: <1ns

Number of Outlets: 11
Always On Outlets: Up to 8
Switched Outlets: Up to 4
Delayed Outlets: 2
Cord Length: 10 ft.
Plug Type: Straight
Length: 12
Width 17.25
Height 3.5
Weight 26 lbs.

SignalPerfect Circuitry
Fuseless / Auto Resettable
Clamping Level: 260v
Capacitance: 50pf (approx.)
Suppression Modes: Metallic & Longitudinal
Wires Protected: 1 pair, (4,5)
Connectors: RJ-11/45

Agency Approval: cULus
Product Warranty: Length 3 Years
Connected Equipment Warranty Length: Lifetime
Connected Equipment Warranty Amount: $5,000,000
Lightning Protection

Antenna/Cable Lines Protected: 2
Antenna/Cable Clamping: 0.7v
Antenna/Cable Attenuation: <1dB
Satellite Lines Protected: 2
Satellite Clamping: 27v
Satellite Attenuation: <1dB
Coax Connectors: Female F

PANAMAX MAX® 5500 ACRegenerator™
Manufacturer Part Number: M5500
Source: Manufacture Supplied
MSRP: $999.00
Size: 12" x 17" x 3.5" (LxWxH)
Weight: 26 pounds
Warranty of Product: 3 years
Warranty of Connected Equipment: Lifetime
Warranty Amount of Connected Equipment: $5,000,000

Four RG-6 coaxial cables for satellite TV, cable TV, and/or OTA antennnas
RJ-11 Telephone cable
Convenience Lamp with 5W halogen bulb
Rack ears with screws for rack mounting option
IEC 320, 120V/15A detachable 10 foot power cord

Panamax, Inc.
1690 Corporate Circle
Petaluma, CA 94952

Phone: 800-472-5555

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