Whole House Surge Protection

I have tried a vast array of surge protectors and power conditioners in my system ranging from belkin to monster to ps audio and richard gray and have found them all to detract in some way from the sound of my system. Or, to put it differently--I really like the sound of my system as it is now--feeding directly from the wall.

However, running all this expensive gear without surge protection makes me very nervous. I am considering installing WHOLE HOUSE SURGE PROTECTION along with dedicated lines, but am really scared it will change the sound. Please note, I am very, very particular and can hear every subtle change introduced by cabling etc. My question is this--have you installed WHOLE HOUSE SURGE PROTECTION and if so, were there any audible differences? If so, how would you describe them? Are there any particular brands and models I should look for?

Please help. I would hate to have all this installed only to turn around and have to pay to have it removed.
A lot of power companies offer full house surge protection for your house for a monthly fee as well. It does nothing for the sound and picture of your system and I still use a seperate power conditioner for my system. On my larger room I use seperate balanced transformers from Equitech that cover all of the outlets on that are on the fuse they are connected to . They work great for the sound and picture. The above thread mentions products that work great in conjuction with some of the others as well.
you will not notice any affect to your sound with a whole house surge protection system. the current does not run through the device. they plug into the panel and are sacrifical in operation. I use one and then run the power through a pair of isoclean isolation transformers to smooth out the current on the way to my system.
Post removed 
A few years ago, I rewired my entire house. The new meter from the power company's meter has a built-in surge protector. Right behind the meter is Square D's commercial grade power center with large copper bars that feed 2 commercial grade switches, one 200-amp for the house and another100-amp dedicated to the AV system. Each feeds into its own Square D QO Load Center which has its own built-in lightning grade surge protector. i.e., one panel for the house and the other for the AV system. An 85-foot long armored, cryo'd and cooked 00-awg copper cable connects the the 100-amp switch to the AV QO Load Center, which has 5 circuits dedicated to the AV system: 1 for each monoblock, 1 for the digital components, 1 for the analog components and 1 for the projector. Each of those terminates in an audiophile grade receptical. PAD Anniversary PCs then connect to Transparent PowerIsolator MMs which have non-current limiting surge protection that reacts in pico-seconds instead of the usual nanoseconds.

This change actually improved the sound dramatically (a truly dead quiet background) with no sonic sacrifices whatsoever. And I sleep better at night and feel far more comfortable when I'm away from the house.

Hope this helps.

Unplug your equipment during lightning storms if you want to protect it.It's the only safe way.Lightning does strange and destructive things.
Tpreaves, good advice but what about those times when one is not at home, either away, on vacation, whatever?
Simple,unplug your equipment when you leave for vacation or if there is a chance of lightning.I work out of town and my equipment gets unplugged when I walk out the door.
Unplugging when you leave the house for an extended period or when you know that thunderstorms are likely is the best and wisest protection.

But there are other types of surges in the mains that are random and unpredictable, such as when a transformer blows or when a generator is taken off line or when power is simply interrupted and then comes back on. These surges, especially an accumulation of them over time, will damage your system. Extremely fast, high quality surge protectors are a defense against damage caused by these surges.
I agree Cipherjuris.A word of caution,if your equipment is damaged by any surge related incident,be prepared for a fight from your insurance carrier and the mfg. of your surge protector.Also be prepared to take a big dollar loss,when they finally settle. It will be well below what your equipment is worth.

I agree with you. Still, I believe my equipment will will last longer on spec with the surge protectors than without them. I do unplug when lightning is anywhere nearby, so except for the odd "bolt out of the blue" as it were, my equipment is not at very great risk to lightning. I'm more concerned about the normal surges on the mains, which are death to the equipment by thousands of cuts.

I have had my system on during every lightning storm for over 25 years. Here in New York city it is just not a problem. Maybe in other areas of the country lightning is more virulent and the grid is weaker.