Power Conditioners

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Steve Clark, May 21, 2004.

  1. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    What does something like a Furman actually do? Is it something to have just for the heck of it or is it a really good investment to protect something like my iAMP800?
  2. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private residence...man Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    I have 3 of 'em (different brands) and I wouldn't have a rack setup without one.

    Others here will do a far better job than me in explaining them from a technical standpoint, but I'll just say that the regulate the power of the rack and protect from surges as well. In the process, they help to minimize the buzzing resulting from competing plug-ins.

    If you have a rack setup, a power conditioner should be a part of it.
  3. lsimy

    lsimy Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2003
    Virginia, USA
    They are cool and all for live rigs but be sure you get one rated for at least 15 amps. If you can get one rated at 20 amps, that would be even better.

    I have seen instances of people using very high current rigs causing their power conditioner or power strip fuses to blow. That to me is an inconvenience, especially if the power at the recepticle can handle the current but the conditioner or strip cannot.

    Just my 2 cents.
  4. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    Good power strips from electronics stores are cheaper, and do just as good of a job.

  5. Edwcdc

    Edwcdc I call shotgun!

    Jul 21, 2003
    Columbia MD USA
    I would imagine you are mostly right. I bought the cheapest rackmount power conditioner that Furman makes. It has no lights and no voltage meter. I bought it because it is supposed to have RF filtering and voltage/spike protection. It also looks good and is mounted solidly in the rack and the switch allows you to turn everything on at the same time.
  6. TxBass


    Jul 3, 2002
    Frisco, Texas
    true, but it's so much more "tidy" having all the cables inside the rack...just a nice touch because if you have equipment you feel is worthy for a rack you might as well have a power conditioner to control the whole mess.
  7. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    Bassart1.......I agree. If I owned several thousand dollars worth of gear, I would most definitely invest in a high quality power conditioner to protect my investment.

  8. 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 conditioners are good for some preamps, effects units, etc., in some situations; they're not necessary for everything everywhere. They're mostly unnecessary for power amps, which generally have more filtering and protection already built in.

    Unless they are actually voltage-regulating types (which are fairly expensive), they will not regulate anything.
  9. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Um, not exactly. Those protect against surges, but not under-voltage.

    The cheaper Furman units, the ones they call "power conditioners", also only provide surge protection, so yes, there is no point in paying extra for the Furman name in a surge protector protection-wise, but it is nice to have a rack-mount unit that also lights your rack.

    The more expensive ones, which are caled "voltage regulators", also provide under-voltage protection; in case voltage from the wall outlet sags below normal, they will still provide a steady 110 volts to your equipment. They do this by drawing more amperage as voltage declines, using the extra amps to boost voltage via a transformer.

    Any decent power amp doesn't really need a voltage regulator, because their power supplies will work just fine down to the same voltage level that a regulator will shut down anyway. Voltage regulators are good for your pre-amp and processors, though. And you want surge protection for all your stuff, including the power amp; so it would be more convenient to just plug everything into the regulator.

    However, a voltage regulator that will handle the demands of a power amp is pretty expensive.

    So it's probably more cost-effective to use a lower amperage regulator to power your pre-amp and processors only, while using a basic surge protector for your power amp.

    Furman's voltage regulators start at about $450, but they'll handle your whole rig, power amp and all.

    Tripp-Lite makes smaller power regulators that will handle everything but your power amp. They cost less than $100.
  10. Jerrold Tiers

    Jerrold Tiers

    Nov 14, 2003
    St Louis
    The cheapo consumer power strips with "surge protection" in general are not worth the effort. The clamping voltage for the suppressors is often very high, and the suppressors may not be connected whwere they will do much good.

    Some have an actual clamp voltage of well over 600V. That is kinda high, although lower than the UL test voltages.

    A reputable power conditioner that has passed UL will have a "class". That indicates its clamping voltage, and the degree of protection. Lower voltage is better, for protection.

    However, as mentioned, basically none of them offer "regulation" of voltage output. One or two upscale units have adjustable tap voltages to boost or cut line voltage a settable amount. Your pocketbook will know if you buy that type.
  11. main_sale


    Apr 26, 2004
    Cape Cod
    I have a Furman Power Factor Pro and a Monster PowerPro 2500. The Monster is rack mounted and has a volt meter, filtering, conditioning and surge protection. I like it. It did eliminate a hum I had and the volt meter lets me know that I'm plugged into the right power source, before I turn on the amp. This is important when playing out at unfamiliar venues with multiple voltages. The Furman is self contained and I use it with my combo amps. It also has a volt meter, surge protection, filtering, conditioning and a unique feature of a 45 amp reserve, should you require a burst of extra power and your supply can't provide it. At the very least, they are cheap insurance for my rather expensive equipment.
  12. Happy MurphDay

    Happy MurphDay

    Mar 9, 2004
    i like having a power conditioner(besides the protection) but so that i can show up to a gig and just plug in one power cord, less messy, and what i did was change the bulbs inside with the bigger older x-mas lights so now it glows red instead of the white light
  13. Jerrold Tiers

    Jerrold Tiers

    Nov 14, 2003
    St Louis
    it certainly is "unique".

    45 amp reserve, eh? for how long? And it isn't just "amps", it's power, in watt-seconds (joules), that you likely need. Do they spec that?

    I have not yet seen a good explanation of how they measure that spec in a relevant way .

    I think Furman is a good company, but that spec is one I think is "iffy" as far as real "impact" on usage is concerned.
  14. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    We use Tripp Lite power strips at work for all of our PC's at user workstations. We just bought 1300 of them!

  15. Lockout


    Dec 24, 2002
    1300?! :eek:
  16. I currently own the Rack Rider RR-15 plus. It's the one that has the 3 digit LED screen in the front along with two light tubes. I was wondering if this is a good power conditioner and if it does the the job well or If I should get another one. One complain about it would be that the cable seems to be too short and somtimes I have trouble connecting the cable when my rack case is stacked on top of my cabs.