Product Review (September 2003) - Panamax
MAX® 5510 ACRegenerator® A/V Line Conditioner

Panamax products have been a part of our audio and home theater system for over a decade. Our original MAX®1000 served us well and was eventually traded in for the MAX®1000+ that took its place. Since then, Panamax has introduced several new products that meet the demand of today's home entertainment systems. These latest products offer more features, better looks and excellent build quality for the money. Their latest flagship model, the MAX® 5510, offers even more features than the previous MAX® 5500 with the ability to control the secondary output of the isolation transformer. The isolated power can be configured for Isolated Power or Balanced Power depending on the user's needs.

The Panamax MAX® 5510 ACRegenerator® offers an amazing $5,000,000 Connected Equipment Protection Policy and a three year parts and labor warranty. This is one of the best warranties we've seen in the industry and provides consumers with the confidence they need to maximize performance while protecting their equipment. The appearance of the MAX® 5510 is similar to the MAX® 5500 with an attractive look and solid build quality that results in the unit weighing 30 pounds. A button on the front panel is one of two triggers that can activate a turn-on or shutdown sequence for the Isolated and High Current outlets. Analog panel meters for Voltage and Current have a pleasant orange/amber backlight. The 5-Watt goose-neck lamp mates to the three-prong XLR-style receptacle and includes a dimmer control that also adjusts the panel meter lighting. Status indicators are provided for Switched Outlets, DC Voltage Trigger, Unsafe Voltage, Isolated Power and Balanced Power status. 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 of the MAX® 5510 is loaded with connections. There are a total of ten 3-prong outlets for powering equipment. The first two banks (four outlets) are always powered on as long as the unit is connected to wall power and within the allowable voltage range. Each bank has its 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). The next set of four outlets is fully isolated from the incoming power using an isolation transformer. This prevents digital noise from polluting the main power line. These isolated outlets have a programmable (0, 10, or 30 seconds) turn-off delay. 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 (0, 10, or 30 seconds) to make sure the preamplifier electronics have stabilized to prevent an inadvertent "thump" on the speakers. The outputs are specifically designed to maximize dynamic current needs for power amplifiers and subwoofers. Therefore, no inductors are used here. The four RCA audio/video pairs are designed to protect line level audio signals or video signals. The clamping voltage for these inputs is set at 6.5 volts.

The MAX® 5510 has a 15 amp main circuit breaker for the input power. There's also a secondary 4 amp circuit breaker to protect the isolation transformer. However, the majority of digital components draw little current, so this is seldom a problem. As always, we like to see a detachable power cord on a unit of this size and Panamax has provided this on all their high-end MAX® products. The three-prong XLR-style receptacle for the 5-Watt goose-neck lamp is also available on the rear panel.

The SurgeGate Plus™ circuitry protects components connected to the MAX® 5510 by preventing any of the outlets from getting voltage beyond the 90V to 134V range for an extended period of time. Protection is also provided between Line/Neutral, Neutral/Ground and Line/Ground. The SignalPerfect™ Technology protects the two satellite interfaces and the single antenna/cable connection. All F-connectors are gold-plated to ensure long-term reliability for both satellite and cable/antenna connections. The cable/antenna connections are designed to operate over a range of 5 to 950 MHz with a clamping threshold set at 0.7V, well above the level of the modulated video signal. Satellite connections work over a range from 950 MHz to 2.2 GHz with a loss of less than 1dB in signal level. The clamping circuitry for the satellite connections is set at 27V to handle the 13 and 18 volt control voltages used for the LNBs. A protected phone line (RJ-11) connection is also provided on the MAX® 5510 for Digital Satellite boxes.

The MAX® 5510 provides two 12VDC trigger inputs for remote triggering from external devices such as a master controller. We used our Parasound AVC-2500u A/V Controller to drive the trigger input on the MAX® 5510 and it worked perfectly. This feature makes turning on the system simple while still protecting your valuable electronics.

The inside of the MAX® 5510 is occupied by a large toriodal isolation transformer along with several circuit boards. The layout is well organized and divided into functional blocks. A separate linear power supply is used for the microprocessor and other low voltage electronics. Several smaller boards hold the display and control electronics, coaxial protection circuits and the delay controls and phone connections. Three separate heavy-duty relays are used to engage power to the rear outlets as long as the voltage levels are within acceptable limits. The analog meters are mounted to their own circuit card. The dual “balanced, double L” filtration circuits occupy a large part of the area due to the size of the donut shaped inductors. Once again, Panamax has taken great care in the design of the latest MAX® product.

Our system performance benefitted from the MAX® 5510 particularly with the Mitsubishi PD-5010 plasma display we are currently reviewing. We noticed a subtle decrease in low level noise (near black) when switching between the Panamax MAX® 5510 and a standard power strip. We believe the noise we observed was due to some digital components used in our system. We didn't hear a significant difference when our audio signals were routed through the MAX® 5510.

Panamax has designed a complete MAX® product that meets the needs of today's demanding A/V enthusiast. The MAX® 5510 focuses on high performance power conditioning and voltage protection to pacify the concerns of the consumers who have invested a lot of money in their A/V setup. Panamax's $5,000,000 Connected Equipment Protection Policy ensures that they too believe in their product. The latest Panamax MAX® 5510 is the most capable MAX® product created to date.
Kevin Nakano

Review System

Display - Mitsubishi - PD-5010 50" High-Definition Plasma Display (ISF calibrated)
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
HDTV Receiver/Controller: Mitsubishi HD-5000 Receiver
D-VHS VCR #1: JVC HM-DH30000U D-VHS High-Definition D-Theater VCR
D-VHS VCR #2: Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U D-VHS High-Definition VCR
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® 5510 ACRegenerator®

AC Specifications
Protect or Disconnect Circuitry Yes
Thermal Fusing Yes
Catastrophic Surge Circuit Yes
Single Pulse Energy Dissipation 2325 Joules
Spike Capacity 91,000A
EMI/RFI Noise Filtration 50dB - 120dB
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 30 lbs.

Coax Specifications
Antenna/Cable Lines Protected 1
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

RCA Specifications
RCA Clamping6.5v
RCA Protection ModesSignal/Sheath to Ground
RCA Wires Protected2 Pair (4 wires)
RCA Attenuation<0.06dB
RCA ConnectorsAudio (phono) Jacks

DC Trigger
Connection3.5mm mini-plug
Voltage and Polarity5-30VDC, bi-directional
Curent Requirement>25mA

Product Warranty Length3 Years
Connected Equipment Policy LengthLifetime
Connected Equipment Policy Amount $5,000,000
Lightning ProtectionYes

2 - Rack ears with screws for rack mounting option
1 - IEC 320, 120V/15A detachable 10 foot power cord
1 - Convenience lamp with 5W halogen bulb
3 - RG6 coax cables for satellite, cable and/or antenna
1 - RJ11 telephone cable

Panamax, Inc.
1690 Corporate Circle
Petaluma, CA 94952

Phone: 800-472-5555

Source: Manufacture Supplied
MSRP: $1299

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