Live Sound

The Best Power Conditioners for Musicians That Protect Their Equipment

Power is critical to electric instruments and music component equipment. However, not all power is the same. Its delivery varies, depending what you plug your gear into. As a result, power surges and noise interference can impact your equipment, as well as the quality of your music and recordings. And the best power conditioners provide a safeguard between the outlet and your music system.

Anyone using an amplifier should consider purchasing one to protect from dirty power lines. Power conditioners adapt to electrical input surges, noise, electromagnetic interference (EMI) and voltage. So, they protect your gear and the quality of your sound.

Why Trust This List of Reviews

There has been an extensive amount of research into the best power conditioners for this overview, including:

  • Reviewing the general information and power conditioner product comparisons from Wikipedia, e-home recording studio.com, wiki.ezvid.com, and other websites. You’ll learn about the types, uses, benefits and suggested top best units.
  • Looking at the bestselling power conditioners available plus customer reviews on Amazon and Musician’s Friend. The audio experts at Musician’s Friends have tried and tested the top power conditioners, including Furman, JG and Musician’s Gear.
  • Viewing several YouTube videos on the benefits and uses of the best power conditioners for any amplified musician.

Top Pick: Furman F1000-UPS

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Preferred for critical data components, theater systems and sequenced equipment. Furman’s LiFT software helps clean and filter AC power, evenly reducing line noise across a wide bandwidth and maximizing performance.

The Basics of Power Conditioning

The Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers (IEEE) and National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) define power conditioning as filtering the alternating current (AC) that comes through power company power lines. Power regulating refers to transforming the AC signal from the power company into a direct current (DC) signal. It then runs an oscillator that generates a consistent, repetitive single frequency sine wave.

The amps and sine wave frequency result in standard wall outlet voltage output. And the best power conditioners provide clean AC power to sensitive electrical equipment like computers and amplifiers. When multiple receptacles or outlets are in use, the power conditioner functions as a surge protector and a noise filter.

The Benefits of Power Conditioners

Power line conditioners receive and modify power depending on the equipment you connect.  Power conditioners measure analog voltages and currents. Voltage surges and spikes are common. Surge protectors shut down the flow to prevent electricity from reaching the equipment.

In addition, power conditioners maintain a consistent voltage internally across different loads. The joule rating indicates the maximum concentrated electrical energy it can absorb. Higher joule ratings afford greater protection for the equipment you use.

Another benefit is eliminating interference between components, such as analog and digital equipment. A quality power conditioner has internal filter banks that isolate the different power conditioner power outlets and receptacles.

Benefits of the Best Power Conditioners

Power conditioners provide clean power and protect your equipment under a variety of conditions. This includes power surges, noise and variations in voltage. The best power conditioners offer the following benefits because they:

  • Protect your equipment from surges. Power conditioners are better than surge protectors that can burn up and damage your equipment. Power conditioners are more reliable than surge protectors because they can handle maximum, multiple surges without overloading and damaging your gear.
  • Filter out electrical noise. Electrical noise can get into the system and into your recordings. Power conditioners have filters on the outputs that filter noise to computer or audio interface;
  • Keep gear from sending noise to each other. Power conditioners have different outlets for analog gear and digital gear. They keep different frequencies and different noises from transferring between lines.
  • Maintain consistent voltage across different loads. They are not the same as voltage regulators that output steady volts.

How to Use a Power Conditioner

The best power conditioners improve the quality of power. They deliver an acceptable voltage level that ensures load equipment functions properly. Also, a power conditioner regulates voltage to handle noise suppression, power surges and spikes.

Power conditioners vary in size and function. How you plan to use one typically determines the size and function. Smaller power conditioners may provide minimal changes in voltage, while larger units guard against major power or voltage quality issues.

What You Can Do with a Power Conditioner

You can do several things with your power conditioner, including:

  • Detect dangerous voltage irregularities.
  • Regulate the power supply to prevent lockup.
  • Maintain power through blackouts and brownouts.
  • Offer superior surge protection for both stage and studio.
  • Provides safety, which is the prime objective when using high-wattage equipment.

Top Tips for Buying a Power Conditioner

Professional equipment is sensitive to power quality and noise. So, here’s what you want to look for in a power conditioner:

  • Budget: The best power conditioner fits your budget as well as your equipment capacity and needs. Simple surge protectors suffice for home studios or minimally sensitive audiophile listening. But, for connecting high-end professional gear, you’ll need the multi-stage protection and extreme voltage shutdown in quality conditioners.
  • Sound Quality: Sound and recording quality are also serious considerations. Most power conditioner models effectively filter EMI and RFI electromagnetic and radio frequency noise. Higher-end models may include their own clean power technology and linear filtering systems. Some even have a separate filter outlet bank for analog, digital, and high currents to isolate and filter noise.
  • Cost: Lower-cost power conditioners offer a simpler means of filtering power surges and noise. If you perform where the power is poor or unreliable like clubs and bars, additional features such as voltage regulation or extra power boosting. Remember that continued voltage variations over time can lessen performance and shorten equipment and gear life. So, you get what you pay for with power conditioners.
  • Blackout and Brownout Protection: Reliability and battery backup are important to keep your system online through blackouts and brownouts. Auto shutoff is also an option in the event of blackouts or brownouts.
  • Ease of Operation: Features like accessible, illuminated front and rear switches and maintenance-free operation add to the ease of use. Also, look for sufficiently-long power cords and several outlets to power all of your gear. Be sure to consider your specific needs when choosing the right power conditioner.
  • Warranty: Always check for a warranty. For example, Tripp Lite offers an ultimate lifetime insurance policy as well as a two-year manufacturer’s warranty.

The Competition

After hours of testing and research, here's the final competition.

InstrumentRatingCurrent Pricing
Furman F1000-UPS
designed for, and provides similar professional-level filter and protection, as A/V applications
Furman Merit Series M-8DX
dual swivel slide-out rack light fixtures provide understated equipment illumination in dark environments$158.87
Furman PL-PLUS C 15 Amp Power Conditioner
extremely bright, long-lasting, retractable LED rack lights burn cool, significantly reducing heat
Furman P-1800 AR Voltage Regulator and Power Conditioner
consistent AC power with minimal line noise and uninterrupted serviceCheck on Amazon
Pyle PCO850 15 Amp Power Supply Conditioner
protects against continued inconsistent power that affects equipment functionality and longevity$46.07
Furman PST-6 15-Amp Aluminum Chassis
compact size permits its independent/discreet placement.$69.07
Monster MP PRO 2000
Enhances high quality sound by significantly reducing electronic noise on the power line
Panamax M5400-PM
Specifically designed to protect and filter power to home theater systems

Our Top Recommendation

Furman is a high ranking brand with models at the top of most music power conditioner ratings lists. They offer reasonably priced units with desirable quality, performance and reliability features.

Top Pick: Furman F1000-UPS

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Furman F1000-UPS Uninterruptible Power Supply Voltage Regulator/Power Conditioner
Suggested Price: $750 to $849
Rating: 5 out of 5 at Musician’s Friend

The Furman F1000-UPS Uninterruptible Power Supply Voltage Regulator/Power Conditioner is a full-featured bestseller for audio and video equipment. It provides the same professional-level filter and protection as many A/V applications. The F1000-UPS is the preferred power conditioner for critical data components, theater systems and sequenced equipment. Furman’s Linear Filtering Technology (LiFt) software helps clean and filter AC power to evenly reduce line noise across a wide bandwidth.

The F1000 features Furman’s exclusive, maintenance-free Series Multi-Stage Protection (SMP), as well as high-level AC surge and spike suppression technology. It also helps prevent service calls, downtime and equipment damage. The F100 has an advanced Extreme Voltage Shutdown (EVS) 12-amp circuitry and breaker for added equipment protection during prolonged over-voltage conditions.

The EVS automatically powers down connected equipment when it detects high-level voltage irregularities. Also, it helps normalize operating ranges to prevent overheating, lockups and long-term failure. Its multi-stage voltage regulation maintains power through short-term blackout and brownout occurrences. It provides protection and prevents lockups and equipment from overheating.

The F1000 includes the RS-232 interface, providing open-source programmability options. The dual IR output allows component sequencing to prevent data loss and faster restarts. The IR blaster can send commands to a remote component, too. The F1000 provides temporary power to connected equipment. The 1000 VA battery backup and simulated sine wave allow for orderly shutdowns.

Critical data in studio computers and external drives, digital video recorders, DLP projectors, and digital mixing consoles are not lost in the event of a power outage. It includes a USB interface and Power Control Software for communication with Windows-based PCs. The Critical Load Management software lets you program selected outlets to divert battery power to target certain components. This enables them to run longer in the event of a blackout or brownout.

The F1000 provides consistent 120V output for a smooth power flow. The only cons of this power conditioner is that it can be heavy. Also, it is a bit more expensive than some conditioners. Here are the main pros of the F1000.

Furman F1000 Pros: 

  • Reasonable cost
  • Easy setup
  • Easy to use software
  • Optional rack ears included
  • Reliable performance
  • Long-lasting power
  • Quiet operation

Comparable Competitor Reviews

The following competing power conditioners include type, product specifications and customer reviews. This includes the pros and cons of each power monitor.

Furman Merit Series M-8DX 

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Furman M-8DX Power Conditioner with Lights and Meter
Suggested Price: $159
Rating: 5 out of 5 at Musician’s Friend and  4.6 out of 5 at Amazon

The Furman Merit Series M-8DX Power Conditioner with Lights and Meter is a top-selling, cost-effective AC power solution. It works for any rack mount audio system. Also, it meets most customer’s budgets and performance-based criteria. The main feature is its dual swivel slide-out rack light fixtures. They provide understated equipment illumination in dark environments like stages and studios.

You can adjust the brightness with a dimmer knob. Also, the digital LED voltmeter alerts users to incoming line voltages. The M-8DX power conditioner offers a standard nine-outlet with eight switched AC outlets in the rear panel power, and one front-panel outlet. Outlets accommodate up to a 15-amp power load to protect equipment.

The M-8DX offers multi-level protection through the power conditioner’s spike and surge features. Its intent is to ensure powered equipment remains safe and the power remains clean. The M-8DX surge protection is a combination of high voltage varistor (MOV) surge and transient suppressors. The fast-acting suppression circuit equipment rapidly responds and temporarily restricts voltages to safe levels.

The M-8DX RFT/EMI interface is NRTL/TUV listed. The interference filter prevents noise from fluorescent lights, certain dimmers, radio frequencies and electromagnetic sources. It keeps the AC lines free, so noise does not infiltrate into sensitive audio, video or computer circuits.

Those who purchased the Furman M-D8X indicate it is sturdy, works as they have advertised, and looks attractive, too. Most customers purchased the unit for their home studio or because of its portability. They use it as emergency equipment, a lighting solution for dark stages and rooms and to protect their gear. Although the are no major cons, it offers the following pros:

Pros of the Furman M-D8XL: 

  • Reasonable cost
  • Easy setup
  • Reliable performance
  • Long lasting
  • Good power output
  • Fast charge
  • Number of plugs
  • Highly visible readout
  • Portability

Furman PL-PLUS C 15 Amp Power Conditioner

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Furman PL-PLUS C 15 Amp Power Conditioner
Suggested Price: $239
Rating: 4.9 out of 5 at Amazon and 4.7 out of 5 at Musician’s Friend

The Furman PL-PLUS C 15 Amp Power Conditioner is a top-rated, top-selling intelligent design that fits a one-rack unit. The power conditioner comes with a 10-ft., 3/14 AWG, with an NEMA 15 plug. It has nine standard outlets with eight switched rear panel AC outlets and one front-panel outlet. A master switch operates the rear outlets split into two banks, analog and digital to minimize noise contamination and interference.

Three outlets are on the left rear bank, which accommodates AC power transformers, The remaining five outlets are on the right rear bank. The outlets can handle up to a 15-amp power load with a high inrush thermal circuit breaker for added protection. The PL-Plus C power conditioner has Furman’s advanced, maintenance-free Series Multi-Stage Protection (SMP) with high-level AC surge suppression circuit technology.

The SMP helps absorb and dissipate the most severe transient voltage spikes without damaging the equipment or circuit. The Advanced Extreme Voltage Shutdown (EVS) 12-amp circuitry and breaker aid equipment protection during prolonged over-voltage conditions. Also, it has LED status indicators to signal when the voltage is outside the nominal range or when something compromises the protection.

The EVS detects dangerous voltage irregularities and high voltage. It then automatically powers down connected equipment, as well as the power conditioner unit. The Linear Filtering Technology (LiFT) software ensures optimal performance by cleaning and filtering AC power. The no leak-to-ground linear filtering across a wide bandwidth protects the audio and video signal quality.

The PL-Plus C power conditioner has extremely bright, long-lasting, retractable LED rack lights that burn cool, significantly reducing heat. Also, there are two pull-out, multi-LED lamps that dim. The rack lights have an on, off and dimmer control. A BNC back panel connector accommodates a gooseneck lamp that aids rear-rack vision. And finally, the front panel switch controls its operation. Although there are no major cons, it does have several pros.

Pros of the Furman PL-PLUS C 15:

  • Reasonable cost
  • Reliable performance
  • Ample power output
  • Long lasting
  • Powerful
  • Charges quickly
  • Portable

Furman P-1800 AR Voltage Regulator and Power Conditioner

Furman P-1800 AR Voltage Regulator / Power Conditioner
Suggested Price: $1049
Rating: 5 out of 5 at Musician’s Friend and 4 out of 5 at Amazon

The Furman P-1800 AR Voltage Regulator and Power Conditioner is a full-featured professional power conditioner for high-end equipment. It provides consistent AC power with minimal line noise and uninterrupted service. This unit incorporates the most current features of the Furman PL-Plus DMC power conditioner and the Furman AR-1215 power conditioner.

It includes Series Multi-Stage Protection (SMP), Linear Filtering Technology (LiFT) and the Extreme Voltage Shutdown (EVS) in the PL-Plus DMC unit similar to the AR-1215. Features unique to the P-1800 AR are the front USB charger. It also has separate, isolated rear analog and digital power banks. And finally, they included Velcro to secure three wall wart inputs.

The P-1800 AR is particularly functional for home studios and offices. It has nine standard outlets including eight switched rear panel AC outlets. There is one front-panel outlet to protect equipment from power sags and surges. A master switch operates the rear outlets that are split into two banks, analog and digital. This works to minimize noise contamination and interference between them.

Three widely-spaced outlets are on the left rear bank, which houses AC power transformers, The remaining five outlets are on the right rear bank. The outlets accommodate up to a 15-amp power load with a high in-rush thermal circuit breaker. It accepts a wide range of voltage input, too And the True RMS Voltage Regulation transforms it into a constant 120 v.(±5 v.) of AC power output.

The maximum current is 15 amps at 214 volts. Also, you can convert the voltages beyond the accepted range to usable levels. The AC power protects audio equipment from line voltage surges and sags, blackouts and brownouts and over-voltages. Also, Furman’s Power Factor Technology supplies 45+ amps of on-demand reserve current for amplifiers that require it.

Furman’s Series Multi-Stage Protection Plus (SMP+) suppression circuit technology provides maximum AC surge, sag, and spike protection. There is no downtime. And it absorbs and dissipates severe transient voltage spikes without damaging the equipment or circuit. Also, the Extreme Voltage Shutdown (EVS) circuitry technology provides maximum levels of power protection.

The LED status indicators warn when the voltage is outside the nominal range. The advanced EVS circuitry safely powers down the power conditioner unit and any connected equipment when it detects dangerous voltage irregularities.

The Linear Filtering Technology (LiFT) software offers AC power cleaning and filtering for optimal audio and video performance. The no leak-to-ground linear filtering across a wide bandwidth protects the signal quality. Additionally, the Clear Tone Technology provides tuned filtering circuits for instrument amplifiers for clean and consistent tones.

The P-1800 AR has extremely bright, long-lasting, retractable LED rack lights. The power conditioner unit also has a large digital voltmeter and ammeter that display incoming line voltage. You can control it with a separate dimmer button. The BNC rear panel connector powers any standard gooseneck lamp for rear rack illumination. Also, you control it with a front panel switch.

For convenience, there are front USB outlets to charge media devices or operate a USB lamp. Although it is pricier than most due to the high quality, the P-1800 has several pros.

Pros of the P-1800 AR:

  • High quality
  • Quiet operation
  • Powerful
  • Reliable performance
  • Cool-running
  • Owner’s Manual

Pyle PCO850 15 Amp Power Supply Conditioner

Credit: Pyle Audio

Pyle PCO850 15 Amp Power Supply Conditioner with Rack Mountable Power Strip and Surge Protector with 9 Outlets
Suggested Price: $49.95
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 at Amazon

The Pyle PCO850 15 Amp Power Supply Conditioner with Rack Mountable Power Strip and Surge Protector with 9 Outlets is durable.  It consists aluminum and steel and is also mountable rack unit. Pyle designed it for semi-pro musicians and equipment, computers and studios. It protects against inconsistent power that affects proper equipment functionality as well as longevity.

In addition, the Pyle PCO850 has nine standard AC outlets. Eight are located on the rear panel and one is on the front aluminum panel. The outlets accommodate up to a 15-amp power load and circuit breaker. Also, it has a push-to-reset function for added protection. The built-in AC noise filters alleviate unwanted radio frequency interference (RFI) and electromagnetic interference (EMI).

The interference filter works to prevent noise from fluorescent lights, dimmers, radio frequencies and electromagnetic sources. AC lines are free, so noise does not infiltrate into sensitive audio, video, or computer circuits. The unit’s peak impulse current is 1,200 amps. High-level AC surge, spike and sag suppression ensure the equipment stays safe and power remains clean.

This unit absorbs and dissipates the most severe transient energy spikes without damaging the equipment or circuit. Reviewers didn’t report any cons, but there are several pros to this unit.

Pros of the Pyle PCO850:

  • Reasonable cost
  • Easy set up
  • Quiet operation
  • Reliable performance
  • Durability

Furman PST-6 15-Amp Aluminum Chassis

Furman PST-6 15-Amp Aluminum Chassis 6-Outlet Cable and Telco Protection Standard Level Power Conditioning
Suggested Price: $79
Rating: 4.8 out of 5 at Amazon and 3.9 out of 5 at Musician’s Friend

The Furman PST-6 15-Amp Aluminum Chassis 6-Outlet Cable and Telco Protection Standard Level Power Conditioning is cost-effective. Also, it is the most compact Furman power conditioner without the deluxe features. It is encased in sturdy aluminum. And this unit delivers high-end performance and advanced surge suppression.

The PST-6 offers zero ground contamination, cable satellite and Telco connectors. The power conditioner unit’s compact size permits discreet placement. Furman added six filtered outlets for larger transformers. So, they can accommodate up to a 15-amp power load with a circuit breaker for added protection.

The advanced AC surge and sag suppression with zero ground contamination absorbs and dissipates spikes. So, you’ll won’t have to interrupt service calls or have any downtime. The PST-6 provides superior protection over a conventional power strip. Cable satellite and Telco connectors additionally deliver advanced protection to connected equipment.

Furman’s PST-6 power conditioner provides an inexpensive, portable and compact option to musicians. Although this unit lacks the deluxe features of many power conditioners, it has several pros.

Pros of the Furman PST-6:

  • Affordable cost
  • Compact
  • Streamline design; good for wall warts
  • Good power output
  • Reliable performance
  • Long lasting
  • Portability

Monster MP PRO 2000

Credit: Amazon.com

Monster MP PRO 2000
Suggested Price: $99.99
Rating: 4.2 out of 5 at Amazon

The Monster MP PRO 2000 comes with Clean Power Stage 2 and Dual Mode Plus Protection. Also, it has 12 switched color-coded outlets. This creates error-free connections for power-hungry equipment. This is more than the standard nine outlets.

The clearly labeled sockets identify the separate banks of analog, digital and high current filters. The Dual-Mode Plus protection provides audible and visual warnings for maximum protection and performance. The Monster Clean Power Circuitry uses patented filters that enhance high quality sound.

The Clean Power Stage 2 filtering provides AC surge and spike and sag suppression. This technology ensures absorption and dissipation of transitory voltage spikes. This prevents damage to the equipment or circuit without interrupting service calls. The Monster MP PRO 2000 has dual digital LED voltage and current meters that indicate available voltage and current power draw. The only downside is that the five-year warranty only covers manufacturer’s defects.

Pros of the Monster MP PRO 2000:

  • Cost
  • Easy set up
  • More than the standard number of outlets
  • Reliable performance

Panamax M5400-PM

Panamax M5400-PM
Suggested Price: $459
Rating: 4.3 out of 5 at Amazon

The Panamax M5400-PM comes with patent pending Level 4+ Power Cleaning and Linear Filtration technology. This removes the common symptoms of contaminated power. Although they designed it to protect home theater systems, the Panamax M5400-PM works for all audio, video and computer functions.

In addition, it has eleven separate protected, filtered outlets prevent cross contamination. The M5400-PM provides noise isolation between five separate outlet banks. This includes one bank with two high-current outlets. Any A/V component noise can’t contaminate the power going to another outlet bank. The M5400-PM also features a front panel USB charger for convenience.

The Panamax M5400-PM Level 4+ Power Cleaning and Linear Filtration guards against power spikes and fluctuations. It continually monitors incoming power and displays it on a digital voltmeter. A warning signal/icon is displayed in the voltmeter when it detects an under-or over-voltage. The power automatically disconnects until the voltage returns to a safe level.

The clearing and filtration technology improves system performance. Also, it extends equipment life by providing a consistent optimal power level. The output voltage is regulated to 120 v. (± 5 v.) by two voltage reg boost stages and one buck stage. Boost Stages 1 and 2 boost the voltage. The Buck Stage reduces voltage. Voltages beyond the accepted range converts to usable levels.

LiFT offers AC power cleaning and filtering for optimal audio and video performance. It filters electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI) through their AC power source. So noise from fluorescent lights, certain dimmers, radio frequencies and electromagnetic stay out of AC lines. This means they can infiltrate sensitive audio, video or computer circuits.

The M5400-PM eliminates transient voltages that damage complex audio/video systems. It has a start-up delay for high-current outlets and a shutdown delay for switched outlets. This minimizes in-rush current problems when equipment is on or off at the same time. The M5400-PM voltage sense provides an on/off trigger using a DC signal. Pre-amplifiers and receivers with built-in DC triggers transmit a constant power signal when in use.

This power signal turns the M5400-PM’s switched outlets on until you turn the component off. Use an AC adapter of the appropriate voltage when there is no built-in DC trigger. Here are the pros and cons of this power conditioner.

Pros of the M5400-PM:

  • Optimal power output
  • High quality
  • Operator’s Manual
  • Limited Lifetime Equipment Protection and Lifetime Product Warranty

Cons of the M5400-PM:

  • Faulty meter issues
  • Specific in/out lines must go in the right outlets

A Final Word on Power Conditioners

Many of the power conditioner units in this list are Furman brand models. Most customers seem to agree that Furman is the professional power conditioning brand, although there are many other power conditioner units on the market. All units on this list are satisfactory for instrument amplifiers, pro audio rigs, DJ equipment and much more. However, you should consider your specific needs to find the best unit for you.

Sources

• E-Home Recording Studio (2017). The 7 Best Power Conditioners to Safeguard Your Equipment. Retrieved from http://ehomerecordingstudio.com/power-conditioner-reviews/.

• Home Studio Corner (2013). 12 Home Studio Necessities #11 – Power Conditioner. Retrieved from http://www.homestudiocorner.com/12-home-studio-necessities-11-power-conditioner/.

• Joe Guilder Music (2017). 12 Home Studio Necessities #11 – Power Conditioner. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cn1koTr11O4.

• Musicians Friend’s (2017). Power Conditions & Surge Protectors. Retrieved from
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/power-conditioners-surge-protectors.

• Wikipedia (2016). Power Conditioner. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_conditioner

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