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A Truly Compelling Independent Review Of The SurgeX SXN1230

27 July 2016

I’ve only known about SurgeX for a relatively short time. It all started when I stumbled upon another of their products quite by accident and was impressed enough by what I saw to purchase one on spec.  That product was the SX2213 rack mount surge eliminator.    I powered my AV system with it, and to put it mildly, I was impressed!  So impressed that I penned a review titled “Possibly The Best Upgrade You’ll Ever Make To Your Hi-Fi or AV System!!!”

Unlike my original rack mount unit that plugs into a standard 13A mains socket, the branch box is a beefier wired-in 20A device that supplies an entire circuit.  Suddenly, a whole new range of possibilities opens up and we are no longer limited to protecting six devices. 

Ordinary Surge Protectors Versus the SurgeX Surge Eliminator

There are many surge protectors on the market, both branded and non branded. Names like Belkin, Masterplug and Tacima will be familiar.  All of them are shunt mode suppressors that use cheap metal-oxide varistors (MOV’s) between the line, neutral and earth conductors. If an incoming surge appears at the live wire the varistor shunts the energy onto the neutral and earth lines. The term “surge protector” is something of a misnomer.

I have personal experience of the shortcomings of MOV’s, and it was in fact the catalyst for my discovery of SurgeX.  An expensive HEPA filter that I had plugged into a Tacima surge protector was ruined when the control electronics were fried by a fault causing arcing at the mains socket.

In stark contrast the SurgeX system works completely differently and does not utilise MOV’s. No energy is shunted between wires and the protection is entirely non sacrificial. The SurgeX system acts first as a low pass filter that simply blocks the high frequency components of power line surges.  The remaining low frequency surge energy is diverted to banks of capacitors for the duration of the event, and the energy is slowly discharged back to the incoming line and neutral conductors afterwards.  Ground reference voltages are completely unaffected, protecting sensitive electronics.


This branch box contains the same circuitry as my rack mount 2213 unit, so I was expecting the same benefits and performance, but just more of it.  And I’m happy to report that it delivers! The first time I plugged my Cyrus / Monitor Audio based hi-fi system into a Surgex my draw literally dropped. 

Powered by SurgeX, my systems simply sound as if they’ve been replaced by a more expensive, more powerful and better performing upgrade!  The sound space is more holographic and engaging for one thing.  Higher frequencies somehow feel as if they have more clarity, and the base feels like it has more heft. Higher volumes now avoid what might previously have been an impression of struggle, even with complex and demanding recordings. The overall impression I have is that my system sounds far more composed, assured and competent.  It’s as if all the knobs now go to 11...

Logically I guess that’s to be expected if the power feed is totally stable and pure – the output is likely to be also, because the amp can concentrate on doing its job, not fighting with and compensating for, a varying supply.  Conversely it demonstrates just how badly most decent hi-fi systems are probably being held back.  It makes me wonder how many times their owners have spent big money trying to overcome issues that might easily have been addressed simply by having access to a good clean power supply.

Another revelation has been the difference the SurgeX makes to my flat screen HD LED Panasonic. It used to be good. Now it’s genuinely stunning in comparison! The picture has taken on a gloriously vivid, 3D-like quality that almost feels as if it wants to pop out and punch me in the face! Colours are richer and deeper, the image noticeably more stable. It certainly delays thoughts of upgrading to 4K, though the prospect of a good 4k screen powered by SurgeX really is causing me to salivate.  

My impressions are not unique either.  I’ve been talking recently to the owner of an audio production studio who purchased a SurgeX unit on the back of my recommendation.  He has been equally delighted, and rates the SurgeX as more effective than an expensive IsoTek unit that he trialled but ultimately rejected.


All this adds up in my mind to a no-brainer conclusion:  If you want to set your expensive equipment free to perform at the top of its game, you need to feed it with a properly conditioned, stable power supply.  And SurgeX have demonstrated amply that they can provide that.


I’m currently planning a new-build property that contains both a dwelling and a commercial work space.  I’ve already decided that I’ll be specifying several of these branch boxes in the building. I could have literally spent thousands upgrading all my separates to achieve a worthwhile performance upgrade, but I didn’t. Instead, I bought a Surgex and upgraded everything in one go, and at a fraction of the cost. And my equipment will now last twice as long too, without any risk of it blowing up unexpectedly in the meantime either. How happy am I.




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