Cool Tech

AC Infinity AIRCOM T9 Review


Heat is a byproduct of almost all AV equipment. Amplifiers, video processing, and other circuitry can create heat that can put your gear into protection mode. In extreme cases, it can destroy your gear.  Most AV equipment is designed to cool itself passively. This means that heat is allowed to dissipate without the use of fans.  To make use of this passive cooling, your equipment will need space around the vents. But what if you have your equipment rack-mounted or in an enclosed cabinet or media console? A space that not only has minimal space but has multiple pieces of equipment creating heat in that same space? Well, for these circumstances you will need to have active cooling solutions that draws in fresh air and redirect hot air away from your equipment with the use of fans. Enter the AC Infinity AIRCOM T9.

Features

In my previous article, I did a quick overview of the AC Infinity line of active cooling solutions. For my setup, I selected the 17” wide, top vented AC Infinity AIRCOM T9. It boasts 3 120mm fans that will move 210 CFM at the top of its 6 speeds, claiming to reach just 21 dBA at max speed. The company claims that the fans will operate for 67 000 hours or just about 7.5 years of continuous use. On top of that, it has a 2-year total warranty against defects. It came well packaged with the unit, and a power adapter, and was well protected by foam inserts. A simple manual was included, but you can also find it easily online. 

Setup

The setup is straightforward. Remove it from the packaging, place it on top of your gear, and plug the wall wart in. You can try to hide the wires but, as you can see, that was a losing battle in my system. The AC Infinity AIRCOM T9 model features a front-mounted LCD that displays the current temperature of your equipment (via an onboard sensor), the mode (auto, smart, on/off, and alarm), the smart mode activation temperature, the alarm mode activation temperature, and the current fan speed, indicated by one to six bars. Four push buttons (two on either side of the LCD display) control all the functions and can turn off or dim the screen.  On the back is the plug-in for the wall wart and 2 USB ports. These allow you to link up additional fans together for identical programming from the primary unit. 

My hidden shame!

I purchased two AC Infinity AIRCOM T9’s. One was placed on top of my B&K AV5000 amplifier which runs my LCR. That particular unit has class AB amplifiers in it and is known for running hot. In my rack, however, I have never found it particularly warm. The second AC Infinity AIRCOM T9 sits sandwiched between my Denon x3600 and my Pioneer DVD/CD player. The Pioneer is not a full-sized player, so it does not cover the top fans completely, allowing for additional cooling. My cabinet itself is very open on all sides, allowing great airflow around my gear. 

Programming

A quick read of the manual will get you up and running in no time. I won’t go through the programming steps, but I chose the auto mode, setting my start limit at 80°F. This means that my fans won’t turn on until my AVR reaches 84° or higher. It won’t shut off until it cools the unit to 80°F. I set my fans to the top speed to ensure my gear is getting the most airflow. To be honest, the manual is not really needed because the function of the unit is very intuitive.  The top left button sets the mode, the bottom left button turns the LCD on and off, and the right-hand side buttons increase or decrease the temperature and fan values. Adjusting the LCD’s settings and the more advanced features of the smart mode will require the manual. But it really is simple to intuit on your own.  

Aesthetics

Looks-wise, the AC Infinity AIRCOM T9 is a beauty. It’s made from high-quality aluminum and steel construction. It’s got a black brushed aluminum finish and sits atop four low-profile legs. It is sturdy enough to place other components on top of it (up to 30 lbs). This allows you to use it between your components to cool multiple units.  It’s 17” wide, 13.5” deep, and only 1.5” high. To me, the AC Infinity AIRCOM T9 has the unmistakable profile of the current line of Marantz AVR’s. That’s a good thing as it will blend in perfectly with those models. Even if you aren’t rocking Marantz, the AC Infinity AIRCOM T9 looks great with the rest of your equipment. At least it did with mine.

The AC Infinity blends into any system.

Testing

For testing, I chose Top Gun 4k in Dolby Atmos and ran it at reference volume. This would mean that most of the x3600’s internal amps would be active and handling my surrounds and overheads. Plus the video processor would be handling a 4k HDR signal, a likely source of heat. My B&K amplifier powers my front three speakers, taking some of the load from the receiver.

The amp and AVR read a consistent 79° on startup. I turned the AC Infinity AIRCOM T9 fans off and let it read the temperature only. The movie started and by the time the Tomcat’s were off the deck and I was rocking out to Danger Zone in all my 80’s glory, my X3600 hit 83°. The temperature steadily climbed until we hit a max of 94° for the X3600 and 82° for the AV5000.  

I turned the fans onto Auto mode and set the fans to max to see what the fans would do. As soon as the fans switched on, the AVR dropped 2° instantly and quickly went down to 88°. Then I decided to crank down the volume to a more feasible -10dB. Quickly the temperature dropped to 82° for both units. Dropping down to -15db with the same speeds only gave me a marginal drop of 1°. 

Lessons Learned

I learned a few things from this. 

  1. Listening to movies at reference volume from eight feet away is an unpleasant experience (it’s REALLY loud). 
  2. My vintage AVR, that was notorious for running hot, really doesn’t run that hot. This is provided it is placed in a reasonably open rack and not shoved in a cabinet somewhere.
  3. These units really work well! I was very impressed by how quickly they cooled my gear and how silent they were. 

Wrap Up

I have to eat a bit of humble pie. In my quick overview, I mentioned that at full speed the fans of the AC Infinity AIRCOM T9 were loud. I also said that I ran them at a max of 3-4 out of 6 and that I didn’t see a massive drop in temps. Well, I can admit when I was wrong “less right” than I usually am!  At max speed in a perfectly silent room, they are akin to a tabletop fan in terms of fan noise. But once your movie or media starts, you won’t even hear them. More importantly, running them at max speed, I saw I 13-14° drop in temps! Not too shabby indeed. 

Could I get along without the AC Infinity AIRCOM T9? Absolutely! My rack is well ventilated, and I am not getting “extreme” temperatures. Bascially, I am not the prime candidate for this product. But for those who need additional cooling due to lack of ventilation and space, or are already getting protection faults with their gear, you need to invest $110 in protecting your expensive gear! 

So bottom line – do I recommend the AC Infinity Aircom? Without a doubt!  The build quality is excellent and it made a noticeable difference in the operating temperatures of my equipment right away, and that is with adequate ventilation already!  The price is reasonable, and they have less expensive options for the more budget-minded that maybe don’t need a digital display or lots of options.  

For more information, please visit ACInfinity.com.


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