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What Power Conditioner???

Discussion in 'Recording' started by somexone75, Dec 28, 2009.

  1. somexone75

    somexone75 Active Member

    i am currently in the middle of building a small scale free standing home studio and I am wondering what are the industry standard power conditioners / manufactures that have a reliable conditioners that would be worth the investment.

  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Power conditioners? I like Herbal Essence the best. It makes my hair shiny and silky which improves my mixes.

    Power conditioner is a loaded question. Most power strips come equipped with surge protection. In addition to surge protection some also include some RF filtering (radiofrequency interference). Others provide voltage regulation from inconsistent power mains. Others can provide what's known as " balanced power". A balanced power conditioner utilizes a large transformer. Your electrical outlets are basically the same as unbalanced audio where there is a ground and a hot side. Balanced power conditioners provide an even split of the power between the two main power lugs i.e. 60 V each side with a reference to ground. This can make your equipment quieter but these come at a price. Not a real necessity for a home studio but a luxury. Then there are your UPS systems which include battery backup and power conditioning for computer products. A fine item for a home studio. They come in various sizes designed to keep equipment running during a failure of power. But then cost is a factor there as well. I utilize a power isolation transformer for my mobile studio. In a sense it is balanced power in an unbalanced way. It's voodoo. It's black magic. I need to be electrically isolated. But really for most home studios a good computer ups would be just fine. Find them at your local big-box stores or computer stores.

    My isolation transformer by the way was made by Signal Transformer Corporation. Designed for 104 to 240 V at 7500 W and weighs 90 pounds. The box it's in cost an additional $150 plus the welding. This does not include the breaker box and industrial connectors. Nor the Edison outlets or conduit. That ain't what you need.

    CROW AV (Control Room On Wheels)
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  3. somexone75

    somexone75 Active Member

    I'm not trying to make it seem like I know everything about electronics in the recording world; 'cause I know I don't, but I do have a fair amount of knowledge with electronics and large scale circuits. I know I am going to be recordings in a limited space and a home environment, but I am trying to throw everything together on a "go big, or go home attitude" and i am shooting for the best it can be; within reason, to give me the closest sound to "the professional sound".

    I have a general idea for the schematics of the studio, but I am mostly wondering what brands are some of the best balanced power conditioners out there. In addition to that, I am wondering if I would be worth the money to have a power conditioner with a battery back-up. My guess is a battery back-up would be a good asset so i could always get the same voltage no matter the flux of current dropping below the needed amperage, but I don't know how often that would be a problem. I just need your opinions...
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    UPS while providing some power conditioning are not providing voltage regulation. So you seem to be a little confused? If you want clean power this is what you need.


    I recommend them. It's balanced power. It will make your audio equipment quieter. Guaranteed. As I explained I've done mine power differently in a similar manner. It makes everything perform better and quieter there is no regulation however. It varies with the power mains. I could put in a voltage regulator in addition to the isolation transformer but that's really not all that important. Most equipment indicates it's power supply mains variances. Everything is transformed down from 110 V to a lower AC voltage. It is then rectified into DC and filtered for use. There are still some folks that feel that the balance of power i.e. 60 x 60 is not necessarily a good thing with certain pieces of equipment. Most equipment wants to see neutral and hot. And that's why I just use an isolation transformer. It also allows me to step up or step down from various voltages I need to accept. On one job quite some years ago, I was forced to only take one leg of a 208 V three-phase feed. Well that's 104 V. I generally need 208 to 240 V at 30 amps. This was 104 V at 60 amps. It worked but it virtually melted my cable which wasn't rated for 60 amps. The grass was a smokin'. And without my help.

    I like smoking grass differently
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  5. somexone75

    somexone75 Active Member

    You're confusin' me here. Did you mean to send me a link to a FAQ? I'm just lookin' for the products / system that y'all recommend...
  6. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Do you want:

    Surge Protection?
    Voltage Regulation?
  7. somexone75

    somexone75 Active Member

    Surge protection is a must for the safety of the gear. I know Remy is behind isolation 100%, but wouldn't it give even cleaner power with a voltage regulator to regulate the feed?
  8. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    THe AC regulator will ensure the AC is closer to a pure 60 hz sine wave, however there are choices here as well.

    Surge protection is a bit easier you want a combination of fast acting silicon diode type devices (TVS) and slower metal oxide varistors that can handle the bulk of the energy in a large spike. Gas Surge suppressors are slower but can work really well for larger transients.

    look up liebert, they make a UPS type unit that use the AC to charge a battery, then chops up and filters the DC from the battery to create a regulated 60Hz sine wave.


    Buy a power bar with decent surge protection in front of the unit and your done.
  9. somexone75

    somexone75 Active Member

    What about the Furman IT-20 II?
  10. somexone75

    somexone75 Active Member

    Sorry, the Furman PS-PRO Series II
  11. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Those are basically surge supressors, which look good. THe sequencing option is cool. I have used Furman UPSs and have found them to be a decent product. But I have not used the PS-PRO Series II.

    These units do not provide isolation or regulation however.
  12. somexone75

    somexone75 Active Member

    What would you recommend me getting for surge suppression, isolation and regulation? (Preferably not very expensive)
  13. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    lol you want it all ?

    Well I don't know if I could do what you’re asking for a small amount of money.

    If you like Furman, and there is nothing wrong with them, then buy 3 separate units for each task ;)

    The have isolation:

    They have regulation:


    And they have surge protection:

    This would be a lot of protection.....;)

    Actually you probably just need the AR-20
    So what is it you really want to do?

    You want to ensure clean power?

    Ok so the first things I would ask,
    *What is your load for section?
    *Are separating Digital power from Analog power?
    *Is you live room power separate from your control room power?
    *What is the local power like in you area?
    **What type of harmonic content is there on your incoming lines?
    **Is there any voltage sag, or regular brownout?
    *** How long to they last?
    ** How often do blackouts occur?
    ** What sort of voltage spikes can you expect?
    etc etc....

    Ok so here is what I do:

    My main feed to both my control room and live rooms have toroidal isolation transformers, I bought mine direct from the manufacture and racked them myself.

    Next I have Liebert charging UPS for brownouts and blackout shut downs- which happen in North Vancouver more than I would like. This has some surge protection in it. But it is MOV based and, and IMHO too slow.

    Next every rack has a separate rack mount surge protector in it; this distributes the 120Vac and adds local surge protection. I used Littlefuse TVS's and Lumex gas surge arrestors, along with some LC filtering. Again it was a custom box. The response time is the 1-3ns range.

    I don't have any ac regulation, but I like the idea.

    Anyway I hope this helps...
  14. somexone75

    somexone75 Active Member

    1: The total load will be pretty light; as of now. For start-up I will only be running an A&H ZED R-16, computer and monitors in my CR and maybe have one or two optional outlets for the rooms around me; that will run through the walls to basically an extension cord that will be able to be removed if they are not being used. In the future, once the funds start piling up, I might end up adding in rack effects but I have a feeling that I'm just going to keep it simple and can always put the effects over the recorded tracks via my DAW.

    2: I think I answered that with answer #1...

    3: Would digital and analog need to have two different power supplies, or would they only need their own separate outlets?

    4: I have yet to do an in-depth investigation of the flux in out power, but I am in a fairly heavily populated urban area and would assume that there is a pretty good "up and down" in the local areas power; due to change in usage. Maybe I'm wrong. That's just my gut instinct.

    5: As stated before, I have not done a very in-depth investigation of the contents of our local power supply, but I would assume that there is a good amount of radio interference; we get a good signal from lots of radio stations plus I have seen a pretty good amount of local houses with CB radio (or maybe HAM) gear set up around our neighborhoods.

    6: I would assume a voltage sag during peak usage (houses made in the 1950's with older power systems trying to supply the 21st century need of power), but I have not done the tests.

    7:See above...

    8: We used to get blackouts every now and then, but there hasn't been one for a long time.

    9: See #6...
  15. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    I would pick up a few reasonably priced surge strips at any hardware/retail outlet.
    You don't need any of the fancy types with filters for internet or cable TV connections, just the basic outlet strips. If the power in your house is relatively modern and new you will be well protected plugging in your gear using those.
    Properly grounded outlets in your home is the more important aspect and that's all that really matters!
    There's no need to spend a lot of money on power line conditioners as most of your gear is designed with modern input transformers and circuitry to provide proper voltage to the unit itself. Surge protection is just a good idea and provides peace of mind to protect your equipment from serious voltage spikes that could possibly occur in your area from the utility company...that's also not that likely these days...they're getting better equipment everyday too....but you can never know!
    UPS units are a good idea if your really concerned about utility company power loss in your area, so if that's common or a big concern for you get a good quality unit with decent battery backup life and use that on your equipment.....I've really only found these to be important with people working on important things on computers that absolutely have to be saved and not lost....if you were working in a recording studio they tend to have systems like that in place because they don't want to lose a session and of course they're equipment is worth much much more than anything used in our home's....
    You need to decide how important it is to lose portions of some recording when and if your power goes out....for most locales that is a fairly rare occurrence and the lost info is usually not that critical anyway....if power outages are a common occurrence then I would investigate the causes and either get it repaired or find a place to live with a better utility system....
    If you have serious power problems it is the responsibility of your utility company to ensure the electrical power entering your structure is correctly installed, maintained and at the proper voltages.....that's their job!
    If you have any questions you should call them!
  16. somexone75

    somexone75 Active Member

    Surge is all that matters for protection, but won't there still be an AC hum on what's being recorded from the RF interference? I've noticed pretty bad RF interference or just really dirty power laying down tracks in my house only with surge protectors.

    Definitely, I've been planning on dropping an enormous dedicated ground rod. Say 10 to 15 feet. I know 15 feet might be over kill, but better too big than to small...
  17. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Do you know what RF interference means?
    What is it you hear on your recordings that sounds like RF interference?
    AC "hum"....do you know what that is or what causes it?
    Ground rods?!!!
    Wow talk about dangerous and completely ridiculous and stupid!
    What are you planning on doing with a ground rod?
    What are you planning on hooking that up to?

    Please don't be stupid and hurt yourself or others around you!
    If you don't understand what your doing or talking about that's OK...but call an electrician or someone who knows something about it first!
    Or you'll just become another Darwin recipient!
  18. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Good Power is important to the life of your gear, the more transients you subject it too, the shorter its life will be. Its that simple.

    What you should do is rent a power meter and find out if you have any harmonic issues. Start there to see if you need filtering or regulation.

    a Seperate ground rod is not a bad idea....

    If your unsure of your safety or standards, the answer is simple....
    Hire someone.
  19. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Just to be clear for all the people out there reading this thread or thinking that they need to dig around in their electrical panels and start driving ground rods into the dirt or attaching power meters onto their panels....!!!!

    Unless you are a licensed electrician or otherwise qualified to begin investigating or opening your electrical service panel..

    Working around electrical power circuits is not the same thing as thinking you know something about electronics....ALWAYS disconnect any power at your breaker box and ensure it is off before working on any electrified circuits in your home or business...if you believe or think this is no big deal and is not a serious issue...then you are not qualified to fool around with it...you don't have a good understanding of electricity!
    This is dangerous stuff you are working with, even 120V can kill you instantly with no more than 18mA of current! It can stop your heart before you know what hit you!
    So never work on live electrical power circuits unless you are sure the power is off and if you are concerned with problems with your power in your home contact the power company for advice or hire a licensed and qualified electrician....there is a reason things you touch are grounded and UL listed and it has a lot to do with ignorance and safety....
    Please be careful!
  20. somexone75

    somexone75 Active Member

    Thanks for the info. I was just throwing my best guess out there. I've still got a lot to learn about AC power problems...

    I've had a lot of experience running electrical work. I have just never had to focus on "clean AC power".

    All of the studio power will be off of its own sub-panel coming from the main feed of the house box. (That is something i am not going to touch, I've got family and friends who do / have done much electrical work for their living)

    You've probably guessed it by now, but our house doesn't have a good ground system. Therefore I would need to use an in earth ground (or in common electrician jargon a ground rod) to provide the external sub-panel with a reliable, non-hazardous, ground path...

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