Monster HTS 3500 Full Review
Having a home theater system is a prize possession for those who can afford such luxury. When one plunges thousands of dollars into such a system, it is wise for them to have ample protection from surges coming in from the AC power line. Money spent here will decrease the probability of replacing or repairing expensive damaged equipment caused by a faulty AC line. Being that our home base is Florida, the lightening capital of the world, it was only logical to facilitate the integration of the Monster Power HTS 3500 into our reference system. We originally choose this device for its ability to act as a master power switcher and a surge suppressor. What we didn't realize is that we got what we asked for and much more.
When the Monster Power HTS 3500 arrived, I was excited to evaluate and integrate it into our reference system. I popped the HTS 3500 out of the box, and was a bit taken by its overall size and weight. I remember thinking to myself "Is this a power center or a home theater receiver?" Well it was certainly not a receiver, but built better than some and certainly outweighs a few that I have seen. I was impressed by its sturdy metal faceplate and golden toned feet. The analog meter added a nice touch of class and the gold buttons aesthetically matched the overall look of the unit. My only gripe on aesthetics was the quirky blue light on the power meter once the unit was powered on. I felt a different color such as yellow would have blended better with the other LED's and buttons.
Taken the top cover off this unit was a chore, as it had so many screws on the back plane.
Note: The unit was of course unplugged when I did this but I felt it had to be mentioned as a disclaimer to those of you who would dare try this at home. I was quite impressed by the quality of wiring inside this box. Everything was neatly laid out with special attention to separate digital and analog filtering. Monster Power has gone through great lengths to assimilate mass amounts of bypass capacitors for noise reduction and cancellation of unwanted wire inductance.
At first, when I read the back panel's claims to have specific inputs for digital and analog components, I shook it off as marketing gimmicky. However, upon further inspection of the internal components, I came to really appreciate the difference in filtering techniques and topologies for each of the specified inputs. Monster Power did their homework here in providing a surge suppressor with custom filtering tailored for each specific component in a home theater system.
The HTS 3500 backplane was nicely laid out, easily accessible and neatly labeled. It housed more than enough inputs to accommodate even the most sophisticated home theater systems. Adding the Cable, TV, and phone inputs was both appropriate and a nice touch. My only complaint with respect to the power outputs was that too many of these outputs were unswitched. For example, I find it impractical to have the CD player output unswitched as I desire the CD player to be powered off once I turn off the preamp / main controller. Many CD players do not have a digital power on/off via remote and thus the user would have to manually turn it on & off after each use. The HTS 3500 front panel is logically laid out with multi color LED's to display system status. In addition, everything is clearly labeled with respect to function.
After carefully wiring up every component in our reference system to the HTS 3500, I was ready to plug it in and take it for a test drive. My first test on this unit was to make sure that it had the ability to utilize one component as the master switcher for our entire reference system as we have previously with the Panamax 1000+. Sure enough I selected the Yamaha DSP A1 for this task and once I powered it up, everything else turned on as I had anticipated and hoped for.
The HTS 3500 did particularly excellent in resolving problems with my cable reception. One of the local channels broadcasts in close proximity to our reference system causing the antenna signal to bleed into the cable signal. Once I feed the cable through the HTS 3500, this problem resolved itself and the channel looked as good as the others. I was stunned by the improvement as I tried several off the shelf filters, amplifiers, cabling, etc in attempt to resolve this problem in which the HTS 3500 easily demonstrated to do. The Panamax 1000+, is a nice unit, but does not have a fraction of the filtering capabilities of the HTS 3500, and thus could never hope to produce this result. This feature alone justified the purchase of this unit from my perspective. I also discovered that our reference system seemed to have a slightly cleaner sound when hooked through the HTS 3500. Furthermore, the noise floor appeared to drop slightly, especially on analog signals, during quite music passages. From a surge suppressor functionality standpoint, this unit is well endowed as its boasts a 1300 joule rating for maximum power protection.
I haven't yet come across a line conditioner/suppressor that outperforms the HTS 3500 or offers its flexibility in its price class. This is one excellent product in terms of build quality, performance, features, and ergonomics for only $399. I strongly believe the HTS 3500 is the best overall value for a multi functional power center that will serve as an excellent backbone for a home theater system.
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
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|Ease of Setup/Programming/Integration|