This post follows two earlier posts (here and here), which describe my furniture and equipment. This post focuses on three very optional pieces of equipment that I have added, an 8-way surge protector, a headphone amplifier, and an upgrade to my USB hub. I also figured I would mention an old workhorse that has been plugging away for years at home, my old reliable 4-bay NAS.
I think a reliable surge protecctor is something everyone should invest in once you have a decent amount of equipment. It is essentially one of those things you buy and hope you never have to use it, like insurance.
I bought two APC Surge Arrest Essential 8 socket protectors. This is a high-end model as it provides a good surge energy rating of 2754 Joules. The surge energy rating is how much energy the protector can absorb before it fails. A rating of 2000 and above is general on the high end of the ratings and aimed at computers with valuable data you want to protect or high value electronics. I use one unit for my home office and I bought a second unit to protect my router, my Unifi Dream Machine, and my home NAS. In the midst of day 2 of a 6 week lockdown, suddenly thinking about business continuity doesn’t seem like that bad a plan!
I had not really gotten in the audiophile area before and this is my first headphone amplifier. Honestly, I was hesistant to get something but it turns out that there was a new entrant, iFi Zen DAC that was worth considering. I read this review from What Hifi? that really changed my mind. I took the advice in that review and also got a iFi iPower X power supply.
Honestly, this has greatly improved my listening experience. I haven’t yet upgraded to the likes of Spotify Premium (I’m thinking about it alright!) but even with the freemium version there is a clear improvement with my existing headphones.
As I’ve added more and more accessories to my home office I was running out of USB ports on my old USB hub which had 3 ports. I decided to upgrade the capacity and went for the Caldigit TS3 Plus which provides a 5 USB-A ports and 2 USB-C ports as well as a host of others including an SD Card Reader.
It also is powered and has sufficient power to both drive my accessories as well as charging my laptop.
I don’t have a monitor but if I do decide to get one this unit will easily handle it.
I have had a Home NAS for storing various documents, videos, photos and songs. It is a Western Digital EX4100 4-bay NAS. It works well and almost invisibly in the background.