Installation, Evaluation, and Conclusion
All of the currently manufactured power centers and line conditioners on the market today have boisterous marketing claims. Marketing slogans vary from the manufacturers; some are more ambitious than others. Furman indicates that using the Elite-15 in your system will improve audio and video. The claim is that your audio will be more focused and sound clearer. The video will be crisper, colors will be more vibrant, and gray scale tracking will be better with the implementation of the Elite-15..
Preparing for the listening and video evaluation we plugged our audio and video components into the Elite-15 .We plugged our Yamaha RX-V4600 A/V receiver, Toshiba HD-A1 HD DVD player and Sharp DT-400 DLP projector into the outlets labeled video. We conducted the audio and video evaluations with the Elite-15 in the system first. Next, we plugged all of the components directly into the wall outlet without the line conditioner and re-conducted the evaluation. Obviously, part of this evaluation is non scientific and is based on the subjective opinions of the reviewer.
Starting with video we decided to conduct the A/B evaluation using the HQV Benchmark DVD's color
bar detail test, picture detail test, and noise reduction test. We also decided to use Avia's
Guide to Home Theater chapter 7 resolution test.
Audioholics/HQV Bench Testing Summary of Test Results
720p unconverted DVD with Elite-15 installed in system
720p unconverted DVD with all audio/video components plugged directly into wall outlet
We conducted the HQV Benchmark test several times; the test results we obtained both scientifically and subjectively were exactly the same. At no time during the evaluation did we notice that the picture quality was improved with the Elite-15 installed in the system. Color Bar, Detail, and Noise Reduction looked exactly the same on both evaluations. It was very hard to conduct this test because we had to evaluate, make notes then disconnect power and re-evaluate. We conducted the test many times and we are confident that our subjective testing is accurate.
Moving to the next evaluation we loaded Avia Guide to Home Theater into our Toshiba HD-A1 DVD player and selected chapter 7-resolution test. With the unconverted 720p resolution 100 TVL image displayed on our screen, we dissected the image looking carefully at all the line structure and vertical/ horizontal resolution wedges. Making both mental and written notes we unplugged all of the components from the Elite-15 and re-conducted the evaluation with the components plugged directly into the wall outlet. Once again, we viewed no significant differences in any of the line structure, burst patterns and horizontal/vertical resolution wedges with or without the Elite-15 installed in the system.
Subjective DVD Evaluation
We decided to try a subjective audio/video evaluation using the pristine near flawless HD DVD, The Chronicles of Riddick. This HD-DVD has near flawless reference video quality. The Dolby Digital + and DTS sound track are awesome to say the least. Once again, we selected a chapter from the DVD and evaluated our systems' performance, first with all components plugged into the Elite-15 and then re-conducting the evaluation with all components plugged directly into the wall outlet.
We selected chapter eight, The Lord Marshal's Offer because this chapter has a lot of dialog and dialog mixed with music. We believed that this type of material would make the subjective evaluation comparisons easier to conduct. As the Lord Marshal is convincing the recruits to convert, we paid very close attention to the dialog emanating from the center channel. We also listened very carefully to the mixed dialog/music that is reproduced in the front left and right channel. Viewing the near static images in this particular scene we noticed the absolute pristine detail in the Lord Marshals intimidating armor.
We replayed this chapter many times with all of our equipment plugged into the Elite-15 making both mental and written notes of audio and video quality as we conducted the evaluation. Disconnecting all of our components from the Elite-15 and plugging them directly into the wall outlet we re-conducted the subjective test and compared our notes. Our notes confirmed that we were unable to view or hear any significant difference in the audio or video presentation. We found that audio and video performance did not improve with the implementation of the Elite-15 . Based on our evaluation tests we must conclude that in our system the marketing literature stating "Far clearer, stunningly focused sound and video from your system" "Better gray scale tracking, improved depth, and clarity" did not pan out in our system.
We decided to conduct one more evaluation to test the filtering
capabilities of the Elite-15 . One of our circuits in the family room
has noise issues caused from various appliances connected to the
circuit. If we use the outlet to power an amplifier, it will produce a
significant audible hum in the speaker system.
We decided to connect the amplifiers power cord to the Elite-15 and
then plug the Elite-15 into the noisy outlet and conduct an A/B test.
We found that when the amplifier was plugged into the Elite-15, the hum
was attenuated slightly. This appears to indicate that filtering is
occurring between the wall outlet and the Elite-15's outlet. The
filtering performance of the Elite-15
cannot fully resolve ground loop or high level RF interference and
should not be considered a fix for these complex problems. For
information regarding ground loops and elimination of system hum or
buzz please read this Audioholics'
article on Ground Loops -
Eliminating System Hum and Buzz
The Elite-15 has three satellite/cable coax "F" style input and output connectors. These connections are sacrificing. This means that if an extreme voltage spike occurs on the cable connected to these, the input may be sacrificed to protect equipment down the line. Furman indicates that if this happens the Elite-15 can be returned to the factory for repair. The inputs and outputs have a very high bandwidth specification of 0.1db loss @ 1 GHz. We connected our Direct TV H-10 HDTV satellite receiver to the inputs and viewed HDTV programming at 720p resolution. We noticed no signal degradation in the image while we were using the connection. One telephone connection is also provided on the Elite-15. This connection is also a sacrificing connection that may sacrifice to protect equipment down the line in extreme conditions.
The Furman Elite-15 has quality where it counts and is an outstanding power center/surge suppressor. High quality electronic parts are used throughout its construction. Fit, finish, chassis layout, and overall engineering are outstanding. The Elite-15 did not quite live up to its marketing literature for improving system performance, but none of the other line conditioners at this price do either. Also note that our power going to the dedicated theater room is likely better than most consumers setups since they are fully dedicated lines. The Elite-15 is a compact power center that won't take up much rack space and will make power cord termination easy and neat. This little power center will protect your equipment and not sacrifice itself doing so and that is the most important part of any power protection product.
The pull out dimmable rack lights are very convenient and the large easy to read voltage meter isn't distractive. Furman has a long, highly regarded reputation for supplying high quality power protection and line conditioning products to the electronics industry. After reviewing the Elite-15, we believe that reputation is highly deserved. If you are looking for a compact well designed power center that doesn't break the bank we encourage you to check out the Furman Elite-15.
The Score Card
The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:
Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating
Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.
Audioholics Rating Scale
- — Excellent
- — Very Good
- — Good
- — Fair
- — Poor