power conditioners: fact or fantasy?

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nowtime
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power conditioners: fact or fantasy?

Post by nowtime » Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:02 am

I've never owned a Furman, but just cheap surge protectors. Never had a problem with my gear (that I know of). Would spending $200 on a Furman PL8-C (15amp) be a waste? Is it too little? too much?

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/PL8C/

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Re: power conditioners: fact or fantasy?

Post by Tarekith » Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:15 am

Always worth it if you get a large surge or play live.
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kanuck
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Re: power conditioners: fact or fantasy?

Post by kanuck » Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:22 am

coming from a guitar background and discussing with a lot of guitarists about rackmount setups and power conditioners.

the consensus was that a power conditioner is a glorified power bar. A power bar (most times) will have a circuit breaker of it's own to prevent over surges. But it's convenient to ahve everything plugged in a ready to go in your rack so. convenience vs cost

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Re: power conditioners: fact or fantasy?

Post by hacktheplanet » Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:19 am

I've used a Furman PL 8 for years and years and years. Perhaps it's a glorified power bar, but it's a damn good power bar! The lighted switch and the outlet on the front are insanely convenient. Being able to sit down, plug the firewire cable in, plug my computer into the Furman's outlet, and flip the switch to turn everything on at once is really, really nice.

If you are smart, you will buy one used for a fraction of the price of a new one since they seem to last forever.
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Re: power conditioners: fact or fantasy?

Post by McQ714 » Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:29 pm

definitely worth the piece of mind..

i've got my main conditioner plugged into the wall socket. everything else feeds from that including a couple more less expensive power conditioners. looking at the read-out on the 2nd power conditioner shows that the first one is doing it's job just as it should. sometimes the voltage can jump around depending on where you live and what time of day it is. if the electric company is working on the lines near your studio, you can expect to see much higher voltages at those times. having a power conditioner will bring those down to the correct levels. a surge protector is useful as far as preventing spikes from ruining your equipment but do you really want everything to suddenly shut off if that happens? what if you didn't have a chance to save your work? better get a battery backup too if you don't use a laptop.

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Re: power conditioners: fact or fantasy?

Post by memes_33 » Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:18 pm

depends on how good the power is at your studio. too high or low a voltage can fuck up your electronics, but most gear is manufactured to run within thresholds that would be expected in residential power grids. i just use furman m8's for their surge suppression and EMI/RFI filtering. its also nice to have a rackmounted point where you turn everything on & off.
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Re: power conditioners: fact or fantasy?

Post by Akshara » Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:44 pm

nowtime wrote:I've never owned a Furman, but just cheap surge protectors. Never had a problem with my gear (that I know of). Would spending $200 on a Furman PL8-C (15amp) be a waste? Is it too little? too much?

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/PL8C/
In my opinion, if it doesn't have either a backup battery or a line regulator, then just go for the best conditioner or surge protector that you can afford. I have experienced more brownouts and blackouts than surges over the years; especially late at night or during times of high heat. If you can find a normal household CyberPower or a computer strip with a backup battery, it may be a better choice, depending upon your situation and the amount of equipment.

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Re: power conditioners: fact or fantasy?

Post by ryanisflyboy » Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:27 pm

Having worked in various live performance situations, I think good power protection and conditioning is sometimes a critical component. A good example: $1.5M worth of digital audio/video gear at a conference in a small facility not quite designed for large groups. During testing we popped the breakers. We scrambled and ended up renting an old army surplus power generator not quite powerful enough to run our full setup (largest available). At first we tried to split our gear randomly between utility and generator. Big mistake. Our crew had an oscilloscope available. There were a number of issues with the quality of the power from the generator causing all kinds of strange problems on racks without power conditioners. The gear with power conditioners at the top of the rack ended up on the generator. Those without, on utility. We didn't have any further issues for the week we were there, but did end up with a big diesel bill. After the show we ordered power conditioners to go in the top of every rack.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_conditioner

nowtime
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Re: power conditioners: fact or fantasy?

Post by nowtime » Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:24 am

Thanks for all the input, and @ the_planet, I will scope out Ebay for used ones, maybe higher end models.

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Re: power conditioners: fact or fantasy?

Post by dancerchris » Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:21 pm

I have 2 different types of Furman power conditioners. I think they are a nice component in a rack setup, providing common power switch and circuit protection. Noise filtering is mostly nonsense sold by Monster, but unless you are in a big $$$ studio the high end of the conditioning is pointless (and most often not necessary). They generally won't solve your "noise" problems. However the nice thing about Furman's over standard circuit breaker bars is when you get a power spike you can generally reset the Furman and go. The generic power bars will blow out their spike protectors, some will continue to work but the spike protection is gone, some will not. For those that do work a second spike can be a catastrophy with digital or relay switching.
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Re: power conditioners: fact or fantasy?

Post by Tone Deft » Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:31 pm

good info. just wanted to add that power in our home outlets isn't well regulated. take a voltmeter and carefully measure the line voltage in a few buildings (home, work etc.) we're told it's 120V AC but it can vary wildly from ~110-130 and fluctuate based on what your neighbors are doing if you live in an apartment building. lightning strikes are often brought up as a reason to use a conditioner but generally speaking the power is pretty dirty. I was pretty shocked (ha!) when I first heard about this.
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Re: power conditioners: fact or fantasy?

Post by starving student » Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:56 pm

for the way it brings down the noise of dirty power alone it's worth it.

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