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best power conditioners

Best power conditioners: Guard your gear from eletrical danger

Safe, clean power is one of the most under-considered aspects of good sound. So it makes sense that power conditioners are one of the most misunderstood types of gear. 

They provide different types of protection and notification against signal killers like voltage differentials, interference, and surge protection. They’re used in all types of situations, but are really common in recording studio, live sound reinforcement, and guitar/bass setups.

Let’s dive into what a power conditioner actually does, why you should consider adding one to your rig, and some of our favorite rackmount and floor models. 

What do power conditioners do?

Audio equipment is delicate, especially high end professional and consumer gear.

Whether you’re a DJ, guitar player, or audiophile building the best listening system you can, fluctuations in power and electrical noise are two of the biggest concerns in audio systems.

A lot of power outlets don’t have a consistent voltage output. Power conditioners keep voltage steady, help to reduce electrical noise, and protect gear from power surges.

Best power conditioner overall: Furman P-2400

Furman P-2400
Best power conditioner overall
Furman P-2400
This model offers multiple different types of protection from one of the best in the business. It’s expensive, but the level of safeguards it provides makes it worth it.
Pros
Accepts and properly adjusts voltages between 97V and 137V
Great for large buildouts
Offers multiple protection vectors
Cons
Expensive
Rackmount only

Furman has a healthy grip on the industry  when it comes to power conditioners. You’ll find their products in all types of rigs, especially when it comes to touring artists. 

By accepting input voltages from 97V up to 137V the P-2400 delivers a steady 120V stream of AC power that protects against all kinds of electrical anomalies that could harm your equipment. It’s especially built for gear that needs a high current level, like power amps in a sound reinforcement system or big build outs in audio/visual environments.

By operating on a few of Furman’s proprietary circuits, like Linear Filtering Technology for the cleanest power, Series Multi-Stage Protection to guard against power surges and spikes, and Extreme Voltage Shutdown that detects irregularities to provide automatic power down of the unit and anything attached to it if it detects anything unsafe.

The P-2400 offers power protection like few other pieces. It will run you just south of $2,000 new, but think of it as an investment in protecting your gear. And when it comes to that category it’s one of the best investments you can make.

Best midrange power conditioner: Furman PL-Pro C

Furman PL-Pro C
Best midrange power conditioner
Furman PL-Pro C
This model offers significant protection for what’s plugged into it. Metering lets you know when voltage is beyond normal range, but it requires a separate adapter to function.
Pros
Meters let you know when voltage is beyond normal range
Retractable LED lights with dimmers
Status indicators
Cons
Rear outlets require more cable organization planning
Doesn’t use standard IEC cord, requires Furman adapter

Another rack unit from the kings of power conditioning at Furman comes at a much more convenient price point. Like the P-2400 it uses Multi-Stage Protection and Linear Filter Technology.

There are eight outlets on the back and one on the front, so cable organization is more of a consideration with this model. Three of the outlets are wide spaced to accommodate large transformers.

LED indicators let you know when the voltage is beyond normal ranges or something is a concern. And LED lights are retractable and offer a dimmer to give you the best amount of light regardless of the situation.

The biggest downside is that it doesn’t use a standard IEC power cord. To use it you’ll need Furman’s ADP-1520 Pro Series adapter cord. But it offers a good number of outlets and useful features that give you the peace of mind that your gear is protected with status indicators that prove it.

Best budget power conditioner: Livewire 11-Outlet Power Conditioner/Distribution System

Livewire 11-Outlet Power Conditioner Distribution System
Best budget power conditioner
Livewire 11-Outlet Power Conditioner/Distribution System
If you need more outlets, this model from Livewire offers 11. It’s affordable and takes up only one space in your rack.
Pros
11 outlets
Affordable
Only takes 1U rackspace
Cons
Metering not as in-depth as other options

If you’re looking for a power conditioner that offers more outlets than most, this model from Livewire can regulate power for up to 11 different other units.

It’s an easy install into a standard rack and only takes up 1U in spacing. To provide the best view there are two retractable lights on the front.

All but one of the outlets are located on the rear of the unit, and a numerical indicator on the front panel displays the input voltage that’s easy to see even from a little distance. It’s affordable and built with longevity in mind from a manufacturer that really cares about protecting your gear.

Best power conditioner with metering: Furman PL-Plus C

Furman PL-Plus C
Best power conditioner with metering
Furman PL-Plus C
If you need a granular, in depth look at your levels the PL-Plus C offers precise, segmented metering. All outlets are isolated to retain signal quality.
Pros
Segmented metering gives you precise visual over levels
Standard and wide-spaced outlets
Outlets are isolated to retain signal quality
Cons
None

When you’re dealing with electricity that’s unpredictable, or worse, that can damage your gear metering becomes critical. The PL-Plus C offers a segmented, ranged meter that gives you a much more specific readout than a standard “on/off” or “protected” LED.

It offers eight outlets on the rear and one on the front panel. Three offer a wide spacing to accommodate large power supplies. To keep everything isolated, the rear outlets are isolated and split into two banks. This minimizes signal interference. 

LED lighting is retractable with on, off, and dimmer controls. The back panel has a gooseneck connector for a lamp that can be switched from the front. Precise metering is the best thing about The PL-Plus C. It’s a mid-priced power conditioner that offers a good number of outlets and different protection vectors to keep whatever is connected to it safe. And with the attention to detail that Furman puts into their gear, if you’re looking for something sleek and ergonomic it’s the perfect choice.

Best power conditioner for touring: Juice Goose SQ1500

Juice Goose SQ1500
Best power conditioner for touring
Juice Goose SQ1500
If you’re a touring musician looking for a reliable power conditioner to take on the road the SQ1500 provides real-time monitoring across 7 AC outlets.
Pros
Remote control operation
7 AC outlets
Front panel LEDs
Real-time monitoring
Cons
Rear outlets only

Touring is one of the primary use cases for having a power conditioner in your rig. Moving from venue to venue and across countries it’s critical to know that the power that’s feeding your equipment is reliable, steady, and regulated.

One of its standout features is remote control operation – something very useful for working on large stage spaces. Seven outputs on the rear of the unit are grouped into three “Power Pods”, with two outputs to each. One output is unswitched to accommodate certain types of gear.

All outputs have high-quality surge, spike protection, and line noise filtering. Convenient meter monitoring is important when gauging power levels, and LEDs on the front panel provide easy readouts.

Best floor power conditioner: D’Addario Power Base

D'Addario Power Base
Best floor power conditioner
D’Addario Power Base
This is the best option if you don’t have space in your rack or don’t use one. It’s small but sturdy and still provides good protection.
Pros
Small footprint is great for saving rack space or if you don’t have a rack
Simple and effective power conditioner that’s ready for the road
Cons
Only comes in floor unit

A lot of power conditioners come in a rack format. But what if you don’t use a rack, or need something smaller that doesn’t sacrifice efficacy?

The Power Base is tour-ready, with five standard-spaced outlets and three with larger spacing for bigger adapters. And the low and wide design means it stays in place regardless of what’s plugged into it. A surge protection indicator lets you know that it’s doing it’s job to protect whatever is plugged into it. 

It’s not the best choice for everyone, but if you need something simple and effective it’s one of the most ergonomic and affordable options available.

FAQ

What makes a good power conditioner?

Depending on your needs, the different types of protection it provides, the right number of outlets, and how sophisticated the metering is. Other features like where controls are located and retractable lights are worth considering too.

What is the difference between a line conditioner and a power conditioner?

The terms are often used interchangeably. Depending on the model, line conditioners and power conditioners operate the same way. They regulate and provide consistent voltage, minimize electrical noise, and provide surge protection. Surge protectors, on the other hand, only limit damage from power surges.

Do power conditioners work?

Absolutely. They’re one of the best investments you can make in protecting your gear. By regulating voltage, noise, and protecting from surges they provide a lot of utility in safeguarding your gear.

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