Thoughts on Necessity/Value of Power Conditioners

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by BuffaloBob4343, Nov 17, 2005.

  1. I have done some searching on this board and some research concerning power conditioning products and it doesn't seem that there has been much discussion of this piece of equipment here on TB. Or have I missed some monster thread that my searches didn't catch?

    Based on my research, it seems that most of the filtering done on the line current by the lower priced conditioners (i.e. below $1000) falls outside of the audible frequency range and therefore doesn't seem worth a whole lot to us. Morever, even those really expensive conditioners for like a K-buck that use isolation transformers only reject common mode noise, which is but part of the problem.

    I've read about this power regenerator, which is supposedly the only way to truly eliminate all noise from your AC power because it literally takes your AC power, converts it to DC, and then regenerates it internally as clean AC power.
    Power Regenerator

    Obviously, this thing is really expensive and it only handles up to 1000 watts, which I presume might limit us to some extent.

    I can understand the use of surge protection and even voltage regulation, but you can get those functions pretty cheap without all that useless filtering outside the audio range, can't you?

    Anybody have any anecdotal information about whether they feel their sound is improved thorugh the use of these power conditioners and how so? What products are you using? Any thoughts on what appears to be a hoax being perpetrated on us to eliminate noise that falls outside of the audio range?

    BTW, if this thread belongs in antoher forum, by all means move it. But I didn't see any better place for it than here, given its relationship to amps and the source of their power.
  2. haujobb


    Dec 16, 2004
    It is supposed to go under misc I think.

    Anyways, most common conditions are just fancy power bars, that includes Furman units in the PL, ML and RR series, ART 4x4's and others, these are generally in the $100-500 range.

    Then there are units like the Furman AR series, which do everything the lesser units do as well as regulate the line voltage, these units fall in the $500-1000 range IIRC.

    There are also more fancy units which are most rare and cost alot more, these are generally only used by larger sound and lighting companies.
  3. Yeah, but are they worth a damn? That's my question. I know people are using them. What I'm trying to find out is whether it is just a hoax and a waste of money for anything more than surge protection.

    Do people who use them really perceive a difference or is it just mental masturbation?
  4. haujobb


    Dec 16, 2004
    It all depends on what your willing to spend, regardless of whether they do what they claim or not, even a cheap condition like a Furman Rackrider is a nice thing to have in a rack. It gives you a place to plug all your equipment into, and gives you one power switch on the front of your rack to power everything up.

    But no, unless your going to spend a heap of money to move up to say the Furman AR series, your just spending money on an expensive power bar.

    I personally think that unless you are going to pay for a good unit, your best bet is to try to get a Furman RR15NL for about $30 of the bay, it doesn't cost too much more than a power bar, and has all the advantages I mentioned above. You could also pick one up with rack lights for only $20 more I would imagine.
  5. Do you have experience with the Furman AR series? And if so, does it really improve things sonically?
  6. +1 to the above. I have a Furman PL-Plus, the benefits to me are:

    1. Tidier cabling with a what is basically a power stip rackmounted as opposed to not having it, and one switch to turn it all on.
    2. Voltage meter is very useful to me, not a necessity but nice to have.
    3. Rack lights are pretty cool.

    That's it. The "power conditioning" aspects of it are really not on the radar as far as the value to me. That being said the lower priced units like the PL-Plus that I have and the cheaper units give you some of all of the above benefits for not a ton of cash. But if your main reason for wanting one is the "power condtioning" and any audible benefits you're looking for, you're probably not going to find it's worth it. If I had some money and was in a serious touring band I would probably invest in one of the PL-Pro units that does some voltage regulation.

  7. Thanks for the confirmation you and haujobb have given me. I certainly don't want to spend bucks and get no bang!!

    Of course, that's what I used to tell my ex-wife! :eek:

    Thank-you, I'll be here all week! Try the smoked salmon! :D
  8. They need to book you on pint night.
  9. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    For me, a basic Furman is worth it for the EMI/RF filtering. I used one for years, never gave it a thought. First gig without it, and I picked up a CB radio through my rig, as well as noise everytime they fired up a blender at the bar. It was a crap bar filling in with a crap band, but I re-added the Furman and never experienced that again, even at the same bar a few days later.
  10. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I use a Furman PS-Pro. Here's why:
    -protection of my rack gear and speakers from lightning, brownouts, etc.
    -onboard power diagnostic meters
    -sequenced power-up so everything goes on in the correct order (no huge jolt/fart through the cabs when I switch on).
    -isolated outlets reduce the likelihood of ground loops
    -less interference from blenders and CB as Eric mentioned

    Note that I don't mention "conditioning" of the power for better tone quality. If you are in the recording studio, YES you will hear bad power in the recorded results. But it's the studio's job to have decent wiring in there. At a club or any stage gig, the audience will not hear any improvement in your sound from conditioned power. However they will hear ground loop hum, and they'll hear if you blow a cone due to a bad electrical connection.
  11. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Guest Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    No matter what level of power conditioning you use the main source of noise is your instrument's pickups, so don't obsess and be glad you're not a guitar player with a Strat.
  12. Thanks all for your replies. I really appreciate it. :)