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Even more updates to my home office

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.

Surge protector

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!

APC Surge Arrest Essential 8 socket

Headphone amplifier

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.

iFi Zen DAC

Thunderbolt 3 Mac Dock

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.

Home NAS

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.

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