Power supply < power conditioner?
Warning:This made sound dumb.
Ok so I have a 1 spot style daisy chain (came with gator pedalboard) and I understand that there are benefits to isolated outputs so what are they? Surge protection?
Leading to next question: I plug my daisy chain into my rackmount furman power conditioner's easy access outlet. Would it be redundant to have an isolated power supply? Thanks ahead of time.
My guess is that the isolated outputs help to keep noise down. It's definitely not for surge protection though.
As for plugging in the 1 spot into the Furman- it can't hurt, and is probably what makes the most sense. Is it going to be any quieter than plugging it in elsewhere? Maybe a little tiny imperceptible bit, but it most certainly won't be a night-and-day difference. There is really no such thing as a magic bullet for bad power quality. Sometimes you just have to work with what is there. You can ground lift and power condition all day long, but sometimes you just have to live with the fact that whenever the refrigerator down the hall turns on, there is going to be a buzz everywhere.
From a noise perspective, the biggest benefit you'll ever get is by putting as much stuff on the same circuit as you can. Long story short- one of the places electrical noise can come from is differing voltages to ground. In a place with bad wiring, you might have slightly different voltages for each different phase of the incoming power. If you put your amp on one circuit, pedals on another, the guitar player does the same thing, and the PA is on yet another circuit, the result can be a very noisy system. If you can put all the backline amps on one circuit (or at least circuits on the same phase), you'll have as happy and quiet a system as possible in that venue.
No, isolated power supplies have nothing to do with surge protection. The advantage of an isolated power supply is quietness (mainly), and the ability to run positive-ground effects pedals. All a surge protector like a Furman can do for you is to protect your gear from damage from over-voltage conditions. There's not much it can do make your rig quieter, in spite of "power line filtering" because the source of most rigs' noise is not via the AC power feed.
For most people and most pedalboard setups a non-isolated power supply like a 1spot works fine. An isolated power supply helps reduce noise by eliminating "ground loops" where there are two electrical paths to ground.
It's hard to explain without pictures, but the bottom line is this: if your pedal setup works fine with the 1spot, rock on and don't worry about it. If you have problems with AC hum or the 1spot's clock noise (a very-high pitched digital whine or whistle), then it's time to start investigating isolated power supplies.
Right on, Crater.
Thanks for clearing that up fellas. Much appreciated.
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