power conditioner anyone?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by B String, Dec 20, 2003.

  1. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Does anyone use a power conditioner with
    a regular head? (not a separate power amp
    in a rack) I've done a few shows lately
    where they have so much plugged into all
    availible outlets that it seems to have a
    big effect on my low notes. Any opinions
    here? I'm pretty clueless.
  2. jdombrow

    jdombrow Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Colorado Springs, CO
    I started using a power conditioner years ago when our guitar player used one for his all-tube mesa preamp/amp combo. He showed what the line voltage was in a few clubs, and it convinced me. Most clubs are overloaded from running all the lighting, air conditioning, refrigerant compressors, smoke eaters, etc., so the line voltage can fluctuate considerably.

    You want a power conditioner that includes a voltage regulator. Mine is made by Sutton Designs, Inc, and will regulate anything from 85-140 volts, and provide a constant 115 volts and 60 hz. It's about half the size of a large shoebox, and weighs quite a bit. With all the audio-related conditioners on the market these days, there's a lot to choose from, but they can get expensive.

    And I sure hope I don't start another flame war with this. People around here get touchy when you start talking about AC power.

  3. thejohnkim


    Sep 30, 2003
    i actually use a power conditioner with a combo, along with a rack having my swr iod. samson powerbrite pro7. it also has voltage and ammeters on it, but no voltage regulars....i haven't seen the levels drop into any dangerous levels on either meter yet.

    but if you want to regulate volate the heavier units are a must, like the furman arXXX or something like that
  4. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    Make sure you don't get a non-regulating power conditioner such as the Furman PL series or Rackrider series confused with voltage regulating ones. A non-regulating one is basically a glorified power strip. It provides multiple outlets while (supposedly) filtering out some noise. A regulator, on the other hand, actively regulates the voltage being supplied at it's outlets.
  5. TxBass


    Jul 3, 2002
    Frisco, Texas
    Phat Ham said it best.
  6. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Can you give me some examples of some good
    regulating units? Will this help with my
    problem? Again, the problem is that in some
    rooms where there is not a good electrical
    source and a lot of things are plugged in,..
    sometimes my low end sounds like i'm under
    powering my speakers or they sound mushy and
    can't hold the low end. I've got enough power
    in my head, and i'm not playing louder than
    normal. Help!
  7. redneck2wild


    Nov 27, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    If you are having low power problems in rooms, you need some sort of Voltage Line Regulator - not a Power Conditioner.

    There are a number of Line Regulators on the market aimed at corporate and home users - primarily for computers.
    Check local Office Supply stores for voltage regulators - they are cheaper than ones marketed for PA systems. Just make sure you get one that will provide enough power for what you are running - check on the back of your amp to see how much power it draws. I am working on a friend's old Peavey Head that puts out 400 watts but draws 800 watts.

    Here is a link to an APC unit that is fairly inexpensive.
  8. thejohnkim


    Sep 30, 2003

    that's the furman one that i see people saying they use in their rack heads...

    i think its around $250? and heavy compared to power conditioners....

    i'm just not 100% sure this is what you need. (as in too much)
  9. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    Power amps generally won't benefit from any plain power conditioner because the filtering such conditioners offer is usually much less than what the amps themselves already have built in.

    A power regulator has an internal transformer with multiple taps. A circuit monitors the line voltage and switches taps to compensate for fluctuations. This is useful in venues where the AC voltage is not stable, but a regulator that can well handle the demand of a high-power amp will not be inexpensive. I would recommend metering the AC voltage in the places you play first, before you decide to lay out the cash. I wouldn't worry about fluctuations of, say ±10% or less from the nominal 120 or 230 VAC. And even then, I would first regulate the mains voltage to the low-power gear, like a preamp or processing unit (unless it has a universal power supply that automatically covers a wide range of mains voltages).