Review - Acoustic Research PW1000 Power Console

Discussion in 'Write Your Own Review' started by Adam, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. Adam Audioholic Jedi

    Jul 5, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Tucson, Arizona
    I just finished up a review of the AR PW1000 for Amazon, and I thought that it might be of interest to folks here. Overall, it's pretty nice - but I think that you'd really need to like the pass-through connections to pick this over the other options that are out there.

    My original review is included below, but I moved the video to YouTube so that I could embed it.


    Video: It's mostly just an overview of the hardware, front lighting, and internal construction. Kind of long at 5:30, but the first 2:15 covers all of the features unless you're interested in the inside of the unit (which you might be at the current price of $250).


    Overall, I'd call this a niche product - because it combines a number of features, and I'm not sure how many people are going to want them all. That said, it's pretty nice. At the current price of $250, and with its feature set, it's not out of reason compared to the other power consoles on the market. Depending on the features that you want, you might be able to spend less money or get a better fit with other equipment - or this might be perfect for you. To cut to the chase, this is a serious contender if you like the pass-through connections, but it probably loses out to other units if you don't.

    With front power outlets, pass-through connections, and a front ethernet jack, AR is clearly targeting people with portable gaming or video playback systems...or folks who aren't allowed to leave them sitting out in the living room. This unit makes it easy and clean looking to connect up, play, and then put everything away. However, you could always just have cables tucked behind somewhere that you pull out and connect, then tuck away when you're done (like I did as a kid) you might want some other reason to buy this over the other surge protectors/line conditioners out there.

    General Notes
    (*) There is a 15A circuit breaker on the unit. That's great for most people - just be aware of it if you wanted to use this on a 20A (or higher) line, because it will limit you in that case. Also, the six switched outlets have a 10A maximum shared load.
    (*) There does not appear to be any filtration between the outlets, at least the eight outlets on the back. My older Belkin PureAV had filtration between banks of outlets to help isolate components from one another - I couldn't see any of that when I opened this unit up.
    (*) There are no AC or DC triggers like on some other power consoles.
    (*) The RF inputs (for TV connections) share a common ground with the power outlets. That's a great thing, IMO. My older Belkin had that, too, and it got rid of a ground loop hum that I had caused by an external TV antenna.
    (*) The front panel door is kind of flimsy. The door itself is fine, but it has plastic hinges - and that door stays flipped down and exposed whenever anything is connected. So, if you have kids that will be plugging/unplugging video games and the like into this, I'd be nervous that the front panel would get broken off before too long.

    Features and Comments
    (*) Power Strip: At 10 outlets, it's not bad at all. There are only eight on the back panel that will be out of sight, though. The two on the front are convenient if you have portable systems that you like to move around (which I don't). The USB power adapters are pretty nice, with one being 1.0A and one being 2.1A for tablets and phones. Be sure to check out the orientation of the outlets on the back to see if they'll fit what you want to plug in. A number of transformer plugs that I've gotten lately with products stick out 90 degrees from an outlet, which is a big improvement for plugging them into a wall outlet, but it makes it impossible to plug into these outlets unless you don't have anything plugged in next to them (or it's an end outlet). That's true for a lot of power consoles on the market. For my transformers, I bought a Tripp Lite TLP604 Surge Protector Strip for about $8.

    (*) Surge Protection: Always a good thing, IMO, unless you have a whole house surge protector. The power outlets and RF coax jacks are surge protected. The ethernet ports might be, but I don't see that in the manual. The Amazon description says that the SpeedPass connections are protected, but I didn't see that when I looked inside the unit (I might have missed it), and I also don't see that mentioned in the owners manual - so, they might be, but I'm not counting on it.

    (*) Line Conditioner: Some people swear by them, and some people swear that they do nothing. The truth is, it depends on your power, your gear, and the conditioner as to whether it makes any difference. This is my third line conditioner. I didn't expect the first one to do anything, and I don't think it did - neither did the second one, nor did this one. That doesn't bother me, as I get them more for their other features - I say it so that you don't expect miracles. It might make a difference for you, though, and being from Amazon, you can always return it if it doesn't.

    (*) Ethernet Switch: If you need one and don't have one already, this is a convenient feature. If has four gigabit (which is nice) outlet ports, one of which is on the front. That would have been really nice for me about a year ago before I bought a switch, but I would like to have at least four on the back that are out of sight. This feature saves you from having another box around, and a box that needs a power outlet to boot. That said, switches with four or more ports are only about $20.

    (*) Pass-through connections ("SpeedPass"): I don't need these (I have front connections on my receiver, and don't even use those), but I can see how they'd be really convenient. It has HDMI, USB, composite video (with audio), component video (with audio), digital coax, and a 3.5mm stereo jack (e.g. for an iPod). All of those pass straight through except for the 3.5mm jack that is converted to left/right RCA jacks on the back. Outside of an optical digital audio port, they covered the bases.

    (*) Front panel lights: When you flip down the front panel, the whole panel lights up. That looks wicked cool to me in pictures, but in practice, it's distracting. I really wish that they would have included a switch for those lights. You can't connect anything on the front without having the panel down, which means that those lights will always be on when you have something connected. In a dark room, I find it distracting. Luckily, the little push-button switch that turns the lights off when you close the front panel doesn't take much pressure to push in, so you could tape over it and keep the lights off. I disconnected the power cable for the lights on the inside (shown in the video) and like it a lot better.

    So, is it for you?
    This unit is a surge protected power strip with line conditioning that also has (a) an ethernet switch, (b) pass-through connections, and (c) USB power outlets. Line conditioning power consoles tend to cost in the $150+ range (some of which have USB power outlets, but none for tablets that I've seen), and a gigabit ethernet switch is going to cost about $20, so this unit isn't out of reason price-wise. It doesn't isolate the outlets from one another that I can see, which some other power consoles in this price range or less will do. So, IMO, it comes down to whether or not you like the pass-through connections. If you like those, then I'd say this is a winner - I don't know of any other product that has those and these other features. If you'll never use them, then I'd say look into your alternatives. As one option, I recently replaced my six-year-old Belkin PureAV PF31D power console (which I liked but one of the internal components began to buzz) with a Furman PST 8D - which is really sturdy feeling and tucks away out of sight behind my gear. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave a comment and I'll respond as soon as I can. Thanks.
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