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Furman Power Conditioners vs Power Regulators...
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RonT
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2nd December 2009
Old 2nd December 2009
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Furman Power Conditioners vs Power Regulators...

Sorry if this has been discussed but, I was getting ready to get another Furman for my rack and like I alway do I come to GS to get reviews and opinions on things..............

The guys over in the Remote Forums are telling me that Furmans are glorified Power Strips. But most of the studios that I have visited has them in their racks. They claim to condition the electric and reduced noise and increase the clarity of the audio of units plugged into them.

I paid over $200 each for mines PL Plus series and now these guys are telling me that I would have been just as good to buy a power strip from the Dollar Store! WTF.

What are you guys take on "Power Conditioners"?
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3rd December 2009
Old 3rd December 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonT View Post
They claim to condition the electric and reduced noise and increase the clarity of the audio of units plugged into them.
The claims of increased clarity are mostly nonsense. There are two situations that benefit from a "power" type product. One is if you have clicks and pops when the refrigerator etc kicks in, and the other is if your local power voltage often varies and dips. Clicks and pops are easily filtered, and this article shows a DIY version you can make for about $30:

Hum and Buzz, Clicks and Pops

Voltage sags are much more difficult to deal with, and a cheap "conditioner" will not help that. The good news is most places in the US don't have that problem.

Bottom line: unless you are having a specific problem that you are certain is caused by your AC power, you do not need any such products.

--Ethan
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3rd December 2009
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Well as much help you have given me over the last year, how can I question that?!?!?!?!?

BTW. Ethan the Studio turned out Great! I have to update you guys with some pictures! Still have do construct the live room but everything else is finished!

Now if I could only get rich like I planned many years ago.............
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3rd December 2009
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If you take apart the case to most Furman "power-conditioner" rackmount units, you will see from the interior that they are in fact nothing but a glorified power strip...

AC main connection... circuit breaker..surge supression... basic AC filter circuit... outlets... nothing you dont find in a $10 powerstrip from Home Depot

if its a fancy one you get a lightswitch and lights...
or even fancier, an ampere meter to measure the circuit load

That being said, they're still a convenient piece (i have several myself, although I've always opted for the $60-80 range)


If you want TRUE power voltage regulation - i.e. no matter what the input AC voltage is, the output is always 120VAC - expect to spend a lot more

and if you want AC _frequency_ regulation - i.e. output is always exactly 60Hz even if input is only 55Hz... expect to pay ALOT

(AC frequency regulation is, or should be, a major concern for anyone who tours with Hammonds... the synchronous tonewheel generator motor in a Hammond is frequency dependant -- difference in frequency means the Hammond will be out of tune....)
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3rd December 2009
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Wonderful Wonderful information! Them bastards got me for $420 on two of the furmans!
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4th December 2009
Old 4th December 2009
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For most I think the only reason to buy any such products is:

1) rack mountable
2) sequential power up

I like my Monster 3500 because of the sequence, I can put my monitors / amps last and forget about it...one switch it's all on.

I don't have any local power issues so, I've never noticed anything that really needs curing.

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4th December 2009
Old 4th December 2009
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nobody here mentioned balanced power.... in my experience, it makes a great difference, regardless of voltage variations, etc.
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29th January 2010
Old 29th January 2010
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What about RFI/EMI interference?

One of the claims that many manufacturers (including Furman) make about some of their power conditioners is that they shield gear from radio and electromagnetic interference.

I understand Ethan's point that if your gear is stationary and you don't notice a problem with hums or other interference, no sense fixing something that isn't broken.

But what if you're assembling a touring rig and you want the piece of mind of knowing that no matter what venue you're in, you're going to plug in your pedals and amp and in-ear monitors and not get a bunch of interference?

Do none of the Furman or other "power conditioners" offer that piece of mind? Are the claims about shielding gear from interference snakeoil?

I'll happily save the money and stick with my old Samson rack-mount power strip if that's the case.
#9
29th January 2010
Old 29th January 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by landru64 View Post
nobody here mentioned balanced power.... in my experience, it makes a great difference, regardless of voltage variations, etc.
I have a few Furman products, even 2 Furman 3 way extension cords! I think they are effective, I have a very quiet studio. 2 years ago I bit the bullet and bought the Fuman balanced power supply. FurmanSound.com - Pro A/V Product - IT-20 II As an electrician I am fascinated with it, as a recording engineer I am completely satisfied with it. Unless it is a placebo effect, I believe my system has never sounded better. With unbalanced power the 2 current carrying conductors have different voltages to ground: 120 volts for the black or phase conductor. 0 volts for the white or grounded conductor. With the balanced system both white and black have the same volts to ground: 60 volts. But between them is 120 volts. It seems to make sense to me, EMI and RFI may be equally cancelled.
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29th January 2010
Old 29th January 2010
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I have a Furman, it is a really neat looking power bar I must say, but little else I'm afraid. It is handy though and I don't gobs of AC cables plugged in the wall.
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30th January 2010
Old 30th January 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victory Pete View Post
2 years ago I bit the bullet and bought the Fuman balanced power supply. FurmanSound.com - Pro A/V Product - IT-20 II As an electrician I am fascinated with it, as a recording engineer I am completely satisfied with it. Unless it is a placebo effect, I believe my system has never sounded better.
No placebo--it's real. The IT-20 and the AR-20 (voltage regulator) really cleaned up the signal in my room. I heard a noticeable difference in clarity when Bernie G. mastered an album that had the cleaner power on half of the songs. The earlier mixes sounded noisier and had slightly less detail.

Re: the PL-Plus, I have several for convenience and roadworthiness, but I never noticed any sonic improvement.
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30th January 2010
Old 30th January 2010
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30th January 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mu6gr8 View Post
No placebo--it's real. The IT-20 and the AR-20 (voltage regulator) really cleaned up the signal in my room. I heard a noticeable difference in clarity when Bernie G. mastered an album that had the cleaner power on half of the songs. The earlier mixes sounded noisier and had slightly less detail.

Re: the PL-Plus, I have several for convenience and roadworthiness, but I never noticed any sonic improvement.
I still need to get the AR-20, I have a furman AC-117 from the early 90's that regulates the voltage to 117v. It has always worked well but I would like to upgrade to the AR-20 which is 20 amp. Also, Furman tells me that the surge protection from those early models wasnt the best, they are either being honest or trying to scare me! Well even if that is so I have other recent Furman surge protection in my power path anyway.
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30th January 2010
Old 30th January 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by landru64 View Post
nobody here mentioned balanced power.... in my experience, it makes a great difference, regardless of voltage variations, etc.
Add me to the "balanced power brigade."
If you want to make any sort of sonic difference, running an Equi-Tech (or other) isolation transformer for balanced power cuts a lot of EMI field from the studio (as does conduiting all AC wiring). I had my old place (now sold unfortunately) run balanced throughout. I could plug in a guitar cord, turn the amp up, and touch the tip of the unattached end of the cord (normally a very loud BZZZZZT!) and barely hear a thing.

That being said though, most power "conditioners" are glorified surge suppressors. So Ethan's "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude is entirely appropriate if you're not prepared to spend big bux.
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2nd February 2010
Old 2nd February 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digitrax View Post
Add me to the "balanced power brigade."
That being said though, most power "conditioners" are glorified surge suppressors. So Ethan's "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude is entirely appropriate if you're not prepared to spend big bux.
So I guess I'm hearing that if my options are spending a couple hundred bucks for a Furman PL-8 or something similar, or sticking with the rackmount power strip/surge protector I already have (that makes no claims about power conditioning), I might as well not spend the cash. Is that right?

I don't plan to use either for recording, only live performance use.

Sorry to beat a dead horse, but it's mostly accepted as gospel amongst my touring peers that you'd better have a Furman in your rack or prepare to face death by a thousand hums.
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9th February 2010
Old 9th February 2010
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Balanced power uk?

Regarding balanced power, do any of these look like they'd do the job in a small project studio? My understanding of electricity is not nearly what i'd like it to be.

Balanced power supplies

I dont think i can get equi=tech in the uk.


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9th February 2010
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I didn't have much of a choice.

Sure I have a Furman strip because it's rack-mountable and I like having different master switches for different banks of gear. I picked up my stuff on ebay because it was cheaper and I didn't have any illusions about the merits of buying a glorified switch "new".

I also run voltage regulators. I have to. We have "dirty power" in my area, and I have a VERY old house (with a wonderfully confusing mix of circuit breaker and ancient fuse box panels feeding a mixed web of romex and twisted pair wiring with no ground). The combination has resulted in my gear acting very funky as things are constantly dimming and pulsing. For a while there any time I'd sit down at the Mac that aluminum keyboard would give me quite a shock. Ridiculous.

And yes, I know that is a mixed bag of issues (dirty power and bad grounding), but ultimately putting in regulators and grounding them properly solved my power problems.
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9th February 2010
Old 9th February 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epodcam View Post
Regarding balanced power, do any of these look like they'd do the job in a small project studio? My understanding of electricity is not nearly what i'd like it to be.

Balanced power supplies

I dont think i can get equi=tech in the uk.


Mac Pro - HD2 - ATB16
Depends what your issues are. Keep in mind that balanced power helps with certain types of noise, but others will still pass through. My Furman balanced power has brought down the noise floor a lot and a more depth/detail can be heard (some vintage amps are also quieter) but pops and voltage jumps/dips are still a big annoyance for me.
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10th February 2010
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Mmm yes i see, thanks BOWIE.

So one of these Balanced power supplies would only solve the high noise floor part of my problem.
In saying "some vintage amps are also quieter" is that regarding mains hum or just general hiss?

As far as i'm aware i don't have too much in the way of voltage jumps/dips but i do hear the odd pop, so a Conditioning Balanced power supply may be more suitable, or do you think its better to use more than one piece of gear and fix these problems separately?
#20
10th February 2010
Old 10th February 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victory Pete View Post
Furman tells me that the surge protection from those early models wasnt the best, they are either being honest or trying to scare me!
Early Furmans (as well as some current cheap Furmans) use self-sacrificing Metal Oxide Varistors to do the surge protection...essentially a one-shot deal. The newer (more expensive...PL-8C and better) Furmans use Series Mode surge protection which (I believe, don't quote me) shunts the surge back onto the ground line...or something non-sacrificial. Point being, an older Furman only works once; the newer ones can protect your equipment from multiple surges.

Which doesn't mean they're not trying to scare you...
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10th February 2010
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3 problems

3 problems, at least:

1. Voltage too low or too high, variable with same-circuit heavy load

2. Frequency too low or too high, variable

3. External noises, high distortion power waveform (more than 10% THD)

These problems frequently occur together when you make power with a $600 6500W. portable generator. In the USA/Canada #2 hardly ever happens when using commercial power. Frequency is rock-solid from a decent utility. There are a couple of frequency-fixing strategies to make studio-quantity power, none reasonably priced.

#1 happens. Too many air conditioners turning on at 430PM on a summer tuesday in SoCal and Enron is at the switch making sure grandma gets a $900 monthly power bill to go with brownouts and trashed refrigerator motor. Monitoring your situation and complaining with data might help, after a long time and talking with State Utility Commission. Furman won't help at all. The solutions are 20W per pound and made of transformers. Sola Type CVS, bought as surplus will help (new is crazy money).

Steady too-high or too low could be fixed with a variac. Older tube gear that wants 110v can be unhappy with 125v coming from the wall and die too soon.

#3 can be fixed with more transformers with filtering. Balanced power is supposed to make a 2-5dB difference in some kinds of noise. Isolation transformers often help. Making sure that your wiring and grounding is even up to code can sometimes be a problem (sucking old rental property). Plug all of the gear into one leg of a multi-phase power system (yes, sometimes different room outlets are on different legs).

Some gear is just hummy/buzzy. Live with it, can it, or get it modified.

Cheers.
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15th February 2010
Old 15th February 2010
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i have a problem here that needs serious advice,
everytime my neighbour comes in to their own office,
they power up their office

and i start to hear the intermittent electricity noise every 45 secs
it's in rotary liked or swivel liked noise
it comes in and last for only a second and fades out

is there any power voltage regulator or conditioner that i can use to get rid of this problem ?

i'm currently using the furman pl series power condition.

Evrything including computer is hooked on to the furman
but it doesn't help at all

anyone with the same problems
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15th February 2010
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Let me give you an example and youll be the judge.

Sometime ago, i had to do something like a remote recording, actually it was in the same facility were the recording studio is, but the producer decided to do it in a home cinema due to the acoustics.

We had to plug in a lot of stuff, and i was using 2 furmann power conditioners (the cheap ones), at a moment i started hearing a very considerable amount of buzz and hum, i thought it was a cable, but nothing, after 30-45 minutes wasted on finding out the cause, i brought in the furmann regulators (the expensive ones) that were in the studio, and the problem was solved.

So my conclusion was this: the cheap Furmann stuff its just a glorified power strip, however the expensive Furmann stuff such as the voltage regulators, etc.. in fact is great stuff that makes a difference (at least on rejecting noise), and its worth the money...

My 2 cents
#24
15th February 2010
Old 15th February 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamboxstudio View Post
everytime my neighbour comes in to their own office, they power up their office and i start to hear the intermittent electricity noise every 45 secs
First you need to determine if the interference is coming through the power line or through the air. An electric guitar might help here, because it's like a directional antenna you can rotate. Or maybe you can borrow a more sophisticated power line filter on trial from a local dealer? Then you'll know for sure if that will help, before spending a lot of money.

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15th February 2010
Old 15th February 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dualflip View Post
So my conclusion was this: the cheap Furmann stuff its just a glorified power strip, however the expensive Furmann stuff such as the voltage regulators, etc.. in fact is great stuff that makes a difference (at least on rejecting noise), and its worth the money...
That was my experience as well.

Although I didn't find balanced power helpful for guitar related hum.
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15th February 2010
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do which are the high end models you're using ?


Quote:
Originally Posted by dualflip View Post
Let me give you an example and youll be the judge.

Sometime ago, i had to do something like a remote recording, actually it was in the same facility were the recording studio is, but the producer decided to do it in a home cinema due to the acoustics.

We had to plug in a lot of stuff, and i was using 2 furmann power conditioners (the cheap ones), at a moment i started hearing a very considerable amount of buzz and hum, i thought it was a cable, but nothing, after 30-45 minutes wasted on finding out the cause, i brought in the furmann regulators (the expensive ones) that were in the studio, and the problem was solved.

So my conclusion was this: the cheap Furmann stuff its just a glorified power strip, however the expensive Furmann stuff such as the voltage regulators, etc.. in fact is great stuff that makes a difference (at least on rejecting noise), and its worth the money...

My 2 cents
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16th February 2010
Old 16th February 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamboxstudio View Post
do which are the high end models you're using ?
I wouldnt call them high-end, just more expensive, i was using the 20amps furman regulators, can remember the exact model...
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16th February 2010
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anyone knows what's the solution to this ?

it's in the background of some tracks
especially when i use DI or ribbon mics

my LDC doesn't have this problem so far.
maybe it's too low to be detected on LDC sources

when my neighbour is not in office,
everything is perfect !
when they on their power !
this comes in intervals

listen for it and tell me if you spot it
hardly compress any thing. just pushing the levels up.
Attached Files
File Type: wav noise.wav (4.66 MB, 268 views)
#29
16th February 2010
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OOOOOUCH that sounds like electromagnetic interference caused by high voltage, i dont think a furmann will fix that, are you sure its not your cable, preamp or mic?, Neon lights, etc can cause very high voltages, also this might not be the case but i remember being at a studio near a soccer stadium, suddenly i started hearing the radio in one of the microphones, it turns out it was the soccer final that day, and all the radio and tv stations had their emmiters at a very close distance from the studio, so we had to wait till the game ended.

So what im saying, are you sure your neighbors dont have industrial equipment, radio equipment, or something generating a high voltage?, is your facility properly grounded?, maybe a simple ground check could solve the problems....
#30
16th February 2010
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They do have a photocopier
because it's a lawyer office

How to ground my equipments better ?
Doesn't all our 3 pin power supply have a natural ground ?

I'm on 230vac
so most of our equipments are grounded through our wall sockets
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