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Power Conditioners?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Alex, Dec 26, 2005.

  1. I can't help but notice that every big rig I see posted on TB has one of those Furman power conditioners. What do they do? It sounds kinda like a surge protector. Is it unsafe to play without them? Thanks

  2. fatsobasso


    Dec 24, 2005
    Ormond florida
    i believe that power coditioners,keep power at a steady rate and also prevent spikes and such.
  3. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    Transformer regulated AC voltage stabilizers are worthwhile if you often play in places with particularly poor power. 'Conditioners' typically don't do anything that isn't already done internally by your gear anyway, and are merely glorified power strips. But you do have to plug all that stuff into something. If it doesn't have a transformer don't pay more than $75.
  4. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    What "Transformer regulated AC voltage stabilizers" do you recommend?
  5. Keeaumoku


    Dec 29, 2004
    I tend to agree with this... ;)

    ...however, I did go and get myself one not too long ago. My reasons are twofold:

    1.) "...you do have to plug all that stuff into something." I have a racked set-up, from top to bottom: tuner, "glorified power strip" (you're absolutely spot-on with this, 'bill'), preamp, amp. It's a heckuva lot easier to plug everything into the back of the 'conditioner', then have only one powercord to search for a wall socket. I used to plug all my stuff into a 'traditional' power strip... worked just fine... but, if you've got the extra $$, a rack-mounted power 'conditioner' simply eliminates all the little black snakes dangling from the back of your rack...

    2.) Esthetics... I bought one of these from Alesis:


    Besides seeking to rid myself of the 'little black snakes', I also found myself needing a light source to light-up my rack. My eyes ain't what they used to be now that I've passed the half-century mark. I do some EQ adjusting in the middle of sets, and, as most of y'all know, it ain't all that easy to see your rack on stage. I particularly chose this Alesis model because it has a brushed aluminum faceplate... unlike the Furman's, which are all black-face. My tuner (Korg), preamp (Aguilar DB680) and amp (DB750) are all brushed aluminum... blame my wife- she's a fashion queen clothes horse (she always looks great, and God knows I'm still crazy in love with her...)... she taught me 'color coordination'...

    One other thing... this Alesis model makes the rack really look cool when seen from the audience's viewpoint...

    ...but, in most cases, you probably don't really need to have one. :bassist:
  6. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    Here's one:
  7. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    Totally unnecessary, at least in the majority of the developed world where reliable sources of clean AC is the norm rather than the exception. But if you want a power conditioner that actually does something more than what the three 29 cent capacitors and three 50 cent MOVs found in the typical $100 conditioner will then this is it.
  8. Maverick Blues

    Maverick Blues Being a Thumper is all about ATTITUDE!

    Apr 28, 2005
    Richmond, VA
    First, I wanna say I agree 100% with your entire post. And some day I'll likely get a true conditioner just in case we ever play somewhere with dodgy power (plus my eyes are getting old too, and the rack lights would probably be nice to have).

    That said, there's usually a much lighter and less expensive solution if all you're after is not dealing with a tangle of cords during setup: Mount a power strip in the back of your rack. I've done this in every setup I've had all the way back to when I was playing keys.

    In my current setup, I have a polarity tester and a miniature AC line monitor plugged into the strip all the time, too. When I show up some place new, I turn off all my gear by the individual switches, plug in my one AC cord, turn on the power strip, check the voltage and wiring indicators, then turn on the individual components. On return visits I trust nothing's changed and just flip on the strip... but I still keep an eye on the meter and indicator as I turn it on, just in case.

    This won't work if you have a tiny rack or deep components that don't leave space for a strip, but there are other configurations besides strips and I've never found a situation where I couldn't mount something in the rack to do the job.

    Again: I do agree with everything you said. This is just an alternative for those (like me) who can't afford to throw money down on a conditioner right away.

  9. Well, I have a power strip that I taped to the inside of my rack and everything goes there, then only one black snake coming from the back of my rig. The Manolukas Power Conditioner :D :rollno:
  10. Ostinato

    Ostinato Guest

    Feb 7, 2005
    Toronto ON
    Yep. That's pretty much what most "conditioners" are, rackmountable power bars. AFAIK they don't do a thing to regulate or "smooth out" power like their name implies. For that you need one of these:

    Furman AR1215
  11. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    That's a nice unit also, having the advantage of being a single space. You do pay the price for that convenience over the aformentioned Tripp, literally, and it also has 5 amps less capacity. They both should be considered by those who really need them.
  12. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Endorsing Artist: Black Diamond & SuperSensitive strings
    Three reasons I have a power conditioner in my rack. First, it protects the amp from power spikes that might zap the whole amp out of commission. Second, it has lights, which help me see the controls on my old SWR SM-400, which has a gray-and-red-on-black color scheme.

    Third, the ART model has a volt meter which both adds to the cool factor and lets me know when the power is real crummy. For example, at one outdoor gig, it showed about 95 volts, so we switched to another power source. It doesn't help actual regulate power, though.

    I think they also keep the power less noisy, but some strips do that as well as protecting against surges.
  13. Jonesy4fnk

    Jonesy4fnk Supporting Member

    I like this for model, for the lights in back as well in front for those hard to find connections in the back.

    Carvin Power Strip