Whether you run a production house or have a home recording studio…there’s one thing all of your audio equipment needs — and that is “power.”
You might take power for granted, but electrical surges, voltage fluctuations, and noise interference in the power connected to your precious equipment can lead to serious wear and tear and even destroy your setup in a matter of a flash. This is incredibly important if you live in locations where you can’t be guaranteed regulated, isolated or grounded power supply.
A power conditioner is a key piece of equipment that works quietly in the background protecting your AV gear and “conditioning” the power resulting in noise-free recordings.
In this post, we’ll uncover why you need to invest in a power conditioner and share the top 5 best rack mount power conditioners to protect your gear:
Surge Protectors vs. Power Conditioners
Now, you might think a surge protector may suffice to protect your gear, but surge protectors are just not reliable enough especially when everything from your computer, interface, amplifier and all of your other gear depends on steady power to function properly.
A surge strip may safeguard your gear from a power surge, but it certainly does not help to minimize noise interference and prevent voltage fluctuations, which can cause other problems.
On the other hand, a power conditioner is constructed to handle a ton of electrical surges and keeps them from passing through to your gear. More importantly, a power conditioner helps to “condition” the power, meaning it filters dirty power and cleans it to block out electrical interference and noise that can botch up the clarity of your recordings. It also protects against spikes in electricity, high voltage and lightning where a cheap surge strip will simply not stand a chance.
Choosing a Rack Mount Power Conditioner
Sleek in design and compact, most well-designed rack mount power conditioners will only take up a small footprint on your existing rack setup. Plus investing in one will ensure that all of your audio equipment is functioning at peak performance.
So, which rack mount power conditioner should you get?
If cost is a major deciding factor then even the more budget-friendly power conditioners will ensure cleaner, reliable power than not having one at all. You simply don’t want to take the risk of plugging in your expensive gear directly into a power socket.
Higher end power conditioners offer a lot more features including a voltmeter, LED indicators, USB outlets, an ammeter for better load protection, illuminating lights and more.
When it comes to choosing the brand you should go with, at Pacrad, we recommend Furman.
With 40+ years behind them, Furman is the renowned leader in power conditioner manufacturing and provides technologically advanced solid-built power conditioners that you’re more than likely to see in top studios and live stage performances.
Below you’ll find top 5 Furman rack mount power conditioners from budget-friendly to advanced models:
Furman M-8X2 Power Conditioner — $79.99
At under $80, the Furman M-8X2 power conditioner is the starting model from Furman and offers the most cost-effective solution for your gear — great for rising home studio artists!
Here’s what you get:
- A single rack space
- 9 power outlets (8 in the rear, 1 in the front)
- Electrical spike and surge protection, up to a 15-amp load
- AC noise filtering and reduced electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency (RFI)
All-in-all a great buy! For a few extra dollars you can upgrade to the Furman M-8LX power conditioner for $119.99 that offers everything the M-8X2 has along with:
- A front-panel LED indicator that gives visual confirmation that your gear is being protected
- Added rack illumination with 2 incandescent light fixtures (retractable) with dimming for rack lighting purposes
Furman PL-Plus DMC — $312.00
Looking to invest in something more advanced? The Furman PL-Plus DMC power conditioner offers some enormous upgrades from the M-8X2.
It houses a Voltmeter / Ammeter and offers LED rack lighting options, great for live stage performances. More importantly, it features Furman’s unique SMP, LiFT and EVS technology to provide the highest level of surge/spike protection available:
Here’s what you get:
- SMP (Series Multi-Stage Protection Plus) — Blocks voltage surges without self-sacrifice for maintenance-free protection
- LiFT (Linear Filtering Technology) — Superior noise filtration ensuring cleaner, quieter power and zero ground leakage
- Extreme Voltage Shutdown (EVS) — shuts off power until proper voltage is reached and engages at much lower voltage fluctuations than standard surge strips
- Massive digital voltage display (with dimmer) for visual confirmation of any voltage irregularities
- LED status indicators
- Retractable LED lights — 2 in the front and 1 in the back (BNC connector) for lighting up all of your rack gear
If it fits your budget, the upgraded features of the Furman PL-Plus DMC offer excellent value for long-term protection.
However, if you’re looking for something slightly lower in budget you could also opt for the Furman PL-PLUS C Power Conditioner model at $239.90 which gives you a line of colored LED indicators to show voltage levels instead of a large numeric digital display that shows exact readings in the DMC model.
Furman PL-PRO C Power Conditioner — $389.99
A further step up from the Furman PL-Plus DMC, the Furman PL-PRO C Power Conditioner offers everything that the PL-Plus DMC offers with a few more value-added features.
Upgrading to this model will get you:
- Electrical spike and surge protection, up to a 20-amp load (PL-Plus DMC has a 15-amp rating)
- Velcro loops for securing wall wart inputs (great for when the rack needs to be secured on its back or side)
- Front-panel USB socket — handy for charging portable devices, especially during live gigs or rehearsals
At PacRad we pride ourselves at only recommending the brands we know and trust. As a leading Furman distributor in Burbank, California, we offer a wide variety of Furman power conditioners at great prices. Shop with us at our flagship Burbank, California store or online!