The Best Power Conditioners for Audio by Furman

What is the purpose of a power conditioner and why is it important?

This article will compare the best power conditioners produced by Furman Sound. However, first we need to clear what the purpose of a power conditioner is and why is it important.

What a power conditioner does?

In general, the power conditioner is a device which is designed to improve the quality and characteristics of the electricity which is fed to your audio equipment. The characteristics that a power conditioner should improve include variation of voltage magnitude, transient voltages and currents, continuity, harmonics in the waveforms of AC power, noise filtering, surge protection, variations in utility frequency, etc. The quality of the electricity which is fed to any audio equipment is tightly related to the performance level the equipment will provide. A cleaner electric signal will not only improve the performance of audio gear, but will also minimize the risk of damage to the gear by electrical current irregularities. Therefore it may safely be concluded that a power conditioner is a necessity for any audio production studio.

FURMAN

At the heart of Furman’s power conditioners is their series multi-stage protection (SMP) circuit. The advanced surge protection and filtering technology protects not only the equipment but itself as well and is virtually maintenance-free. However, Furman deals with more electricity problems by applying their technologies. Full list of the problems and Furman’s solutions below:

+Transient voltage spikes – for transient voltage spikes Furman has taken care with a very low clamping voltage. The clamping voltage is the maximum amount of voltage that can pass through a transient voltage surge suppression system after the circuit has clamped and dissipated the incoming voltage spike. At 120V supply, the clamping voltage should not exceed 200V. Furman’s SMP circuit features a clamping voltage of 188V peak for 120V supply and 375V for 220-240V supply.

+Ground contamination – as Furman say on their website, “most surge suppressors may actually aid in the demise of your sensitive equipment unless the surge and the filtering circuit is entirely free of ground contamination”. They assure that with the Furman’s SMP, the surge is not shunted, but captured and dissipated, meaning no voltage is diverted to the ground and your equipment is safe from ground contamination.

+Sustained overvoltage (extreme voltage) – Furman’s EVS (extreme voltage suppressor) technology protects the equipment from prolonged overvoltage conditions. Once the voltage rises by around 15% (~139V at 120V supply and ~274V at 220-240V), the power conditioner stops supplying electricity to the connected components until voltage is returned to normal levels.

+AC line noise – filtered by Furman’s LiFT (linear filtering technology), which filters the AC line noise in a linear fashion. The company claims that many of the AC noise filters are non-linear and their LiFT technology is a big advantage.

+Ground loop noise – Furman deals with the problem by featuring a truly symmetrical isolation transformer. It splits the incoming voltage into two even voltages at the line terminal and neutral terminal, while the ground terminal stays at 0V. What is important here is that the neutral terminal is with reversed polarity, which essentially canceled all ground/common mode noise.

+Difference in the resistance in the AC line – AC lines might have difference in the resistance at different locations, which affects dramatically the performance of the equipment, especially amplifiers. This problem is solved by Furman’s Power Factor Technology (PFT), which has a 45 AMP peak current reserve and provides a consistent power current.

+Voltage irregularities – the voltage in the AC line is expected to be 120V in the USA or 220-240V in Europe. However, international standards allow these to deviate by plus/minus 5-10% which can cause a lot of trouble for sensitive equipment. Overvoltage can burn equipment, while low voltages can cause equipment to overheat, malfunction or sustain permanent damage. Some of Furman’s power conditioners act as voltage regulators that convert voltage irregularities into constant 120/220/240 volts AC. This is achieved through True RMS Voltage Regulation.

Logically, the best device by Furman would be the one which combines the solution for all of the problems listed above. Unfortunately, none of their units combine all of them. One conditioner, however, gets the closest.

Furman P-2400 IT (120V)

The Furman P-2400 IT is Furman’s Symmetrically Balanced Power Conditioner which works at 120V. It provides unparalleled AC noise reduction and 100% isolation from the power grid for the lowest noise floor possible. The P-2400 IT features over 80 dB of common-mode and over 50 dB of differential-mode noise reduction for recording, mastering, and broadcast studios, or anywhere noise-free performance is critical. With 100% isolation from line, neutral, and ground, the P-2400 IT is also ideal for breaking AC ground loops without rewiring or hiring an electrician.

P-2400-IT

Figure 1. Furman P-2400 IT front panel

For the most critical, low-noise applications, Furman’s Symmetrically Balanced Power provides an invisible noise floor, while completely breaking ground loops without dismantling equipment or rewiring. This, combined with the surge protection, LiFT AC noise filtration and EVS voltage protection makes the P-2400 IT one of Furman’s best products. Moreover, it features a digital voltmeter presented at the front, with ”Protection OK”, ”Extreme Voltage” and color-coded ”Voltage Range” indicators for comprehensive power monitoring. Additional small convenience is the usb outlet at the front.

P-2400-IT-Back

Figure 2. Furman P-2400 IT back panel

The filtering and safety of the Furman P-2400 are provided to a total of 14 outlets. Below is a table of all features of the unit:

 SMP Surge ProtectionLiFT Noise FiltrationEVS Voltage ProtectionTruly Symmetrical Isolation TransformerTrue RMS Voltage RegulationPower Factor TechnologyAmp RatingTotal OutletsDigital VoltmeterDiagnostic LightsBNC Lamp ConnectorsFront Panel Pull-out LightsUSB Charger
P-2400 IT (120V)
20
14
Table 1. Furman P-2400 IT complete list of features

Furman P-2300 IT E (220-240V)

The Furman P-2300 IT E is almost equivalent to the Furman 2400 IT. The only difference being the voltage it runs on and the amps it supplies. This unit runs on 220-240 volts and supplies up to 10 amps. Other than that, it is identical to the power conditioner we described above.

P-2300-IT-E

Figure 3. Furman P-2300 IT E front panel

P-2300-IT-E-Back

Figure 4. Furman P-2300 IT E back panel

An overview of all features of the Furman P-2300 IT E symmetrically balanced power conditioner are listed within the below table:

 SMP Surge ProtectionLiFT Noise FiltrationEVS Voltage ProtectionTruly Symmetrical Isolation TransformerTrue RMS Voltage RegulationPower Factor TechnologyAmp RatingTotal OutletsDigital VoltmeterDiagnostic LightsBNC Lamp ConnectorsFront Panel Pull-out LightsUSB Charger
P-2300 IT E
10
14
Table 2. Furman P-2300 IT E complete list of features

P-1800 AR (120V)

Furman’s P-1800 AR provides a stable 120V power to avoid problems and damage caused to sensitive equipment by voltage irregularities. Along with the True RMS Voltage Regulation, this power conditioner/voltage regulator also has a bunch of other equipment-saving technologies such as Furman’s Linear Filtering Technology, Series Multi-Stage Protection, and Extreme Voltage Protection.

P-1800AR

Figure 5. Furman P-1800 AR

A total of 11 outlets are featured on the back of Furman’s P-1800 AR with AMP rating 15.

P-1800AR-Back

Figure 6. Furman P-1800 AR back panel

A full list of the technologies and functions included in the P-1800 AR are listed in the below table:

 SMP Surge ProtectionLiFT Noise FiltrationEVS Voltage ProtectionTruly Symmetrical Isolation TransformerTrue RMS Voltage RegulationPower Factor TechnologyAmp RatingTotal OutletsDigital VoltmeterDiagnostic LightsBNC Lamp ConnectorsFront Panel Pull-out LightsUSB Charger
P-1800 AR
15
9
Table 3. Furman P-1800 AR complete list of features

P-1400 AR E (220-240V)

The P-1400 AR E is Furman’s power conditioner/voltage regulator which is almost identical to the P-1800 AR which was described above. There are three differences between both. First, the P-1400 AR E works
with 220-240V, as opposed to 120V. Second, it has much lower amp rating of 6, as opposed to 15. On the other hand, it has 11 outlets, as opposed to 9. Other than that all features included in the P-1800 AR are present in the P-1400 AR E as well.

P-1400-AR-E

Figure 7. Furman P-1400 AR E front panel

P-1400-AR-E-Back

Figure 8. Furman P-1400 AR E back panel

As it can be seen from the images, there are 10 outlets on the back panel and one outlet brought to the front. Below is the full list of features for this power conditioner/voltage regulator.

 SMP Surge ProtectionLiFT Noise FiltrationEVS Voltage ProtectionTruly Symmetrical Isolation TransformerTrue RMS Voltage RegulationPower Factor TechnologyAmp RatingTotal OutletsDigital VoltmeterDiagnostic LightsBNC Lamp ConnectorsFront Panel Pull-out LightsUSB Charger
P-1400 AR E
6
11
Table 4. Furman P-1400 AR E complete list of features

P-1800 PF R (120V)

Furman’s P-1800 PF R is the only power condition in Furman’s catalogue which takes advantage from featuring the Power Factor Technology. As described above, this fixes the problem of having different resistance in the AC line at different locations. This technology provides a 45 AMP peak current reserve, thus bringing a constant power current, which is extremely useful for starving amplifiers.

P-1800-PF-R

Figure 9. Furman P-1800 PF R front panel

Unfortunately, this unit is available for work only at 120V AC lines.

P-1800-PF-R-Back

Figure 10. Furman P-1800 PF R rear panel

Like the best power conditioners from Furman, the P-1800 PF R features the SMP Surge Protection, LiFT noise filtration and EVS voltage protection technologies. Below are listed all features of this power conditioner.

 SMP Surge ProtectionLiFT Noise FiltrationEVS Voltage ProtectionTruly Symmetrical Isolation TransformerTrue RMS Voltage RegulationPower Factor TechnologyAmp RatingTotal OutletsDigital VoltmeterDiagnostic LightsBNC Lamp ConnectorsFront Panel Pull-out LightsUSB Charger
P-1800 PF R
15
9
Table 5. Furman P-1800 PF R complete list of features

PL-PRO DMC (120V and 220-240V models)

The PL-PRO DMC is one of the power conditioners by Furman which feature only the three main technologies that are present in all of their high-end conditioners. These technologies are the SMP Surge Protection, LiFT Noise Filtration and EVS Voltage protection.

PL-PRO-DMC

Figure 11. Furman PL-PRO DMC front panel

The rest of the features are just little additional goodies which have no relation to actually improving the power, such as front panel pull-out lights, a USB charger or the digital voltmeter/ammeter. Many of these are included in the rest of the models as well.

PL-PRO-DMC-Back

Figure 12. Furman PL-PRO DMC back panel

Of course, the less the features, the lower the price. As you can notice, the more advanced models feature an additional technology to the three technologies (SMP, EVS, LiFT) which are present in all high-end Furman conditioners. In the below table you can see all the features of the PL-PRO DMC.

 SMP Surge ProtectionLiFT Noise FiltrationEVS Voltage ProtectionTruly Symmetrical Isolation TransformerTrue RMS Voltage RegulationPower Factor TechnologyAmp RatingTotal OutletsDigital VoltmeterDiagnostic LightsBNC Lamp ConnectorsFront Panel Pull-out LightsUSB Charger
PL-PRO DMC
20
9
Table 6. Furman PL-PRO DMC complete list of features

PL-PLUS DMC (120V and 220-240V models)

The PL-PLUS DMC is the second power conditioner by Furman, which offers only the three advanced technologies (SMP Surge Protection, LiFT Noise Reduction and EVS Voltage Protection) and differs a little from the previously reviewed PL-PRO DMC.

PL-PLUS-DMC

Figure 13. Furman PL-PLUS DMC front panel

Compared to the PL-PRO DMC, the PL-PLUS DMC offers smaller AMP Rating (15) and does not offer a USB charger. Other than that, the two power conditioners are completely identical.

PL-PLUS-DMC-Back

Figure 14. Furman PL-PLUS DMC back panel

Furman PL-PLUS DMC complete features list:

 SMP Surge ProtectionLiFT Noise FiltrationEVS Voltage ProtectionTruly Symmetrical Isolation TransformerTrue RMS Voltage RegulationPower Factor TechnologyAmp RatingTotal OutletsDigital VoltmeterDiagnostic LightsBNC Lamp ConnectorsFront Panel Pull-out LightsUSB Charger
PL-PLUS DMC
15
9
Table 7. Furman PL-PLUS DMC complete list of features

Final Thoughts on Furman Power Conditioners

There is a reason Furman to be the market leader for power conditioners. It is the unique circuits and technologies the company was able to develop since 1974. The innovation and quality of the high-end products they provide is unmatched. We believe design-wise the power conditioners are presented excellently as well, all of them rack-mountable for better convenience.
Regarding prices, you can notice that the basic models contain three main functions. The more expensive power conditioners come with an additional function. It has to be noted that none of Furman’s power conditioners cover feature all of their technologies, so one must choose wisely which one to buy based on their needs.
In conclusion, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Furman’s products as the best when it comes to power conditioning in a production studio environment.

Furman’s power conditioners full comparison chart:

Unit/FeatureSMP Surge ProtectionLiFT Noise FiltrationEVS Voltage ProtectionTruly Symmetrical Isolation TransformerTrue RMS Voltage RegulationPower Factor TechnologyAmp RatingTotal OutletsDigital VoltmeterDiagnostic LightsBNC Lamp ConnectorsFront Panel Pull-out LightsUSB Charger
P-2400 IT (120V)
20
14
P-2300 IT E
10
14
P-1800 AR
15
9
P-1400 AR E
6
11
P-1800 PF R
15
9
PL-PRO DMC (120V)
20
9
PL-PRO DMC (220-240V)
20
9
PL-PLUS DMC (120V)
15
9
PL-PLUS DMC (220-240V)
15
9

Furman

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