Power conditioner question

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by The New Exhibit, Feb 10, 2020.

  1. The New Exhibit

    The New Exhibit Member

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  2. aeolian

    aeolian Member

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    Save your money. Very little if anything is gained in a guitar amp from the high frequency filtering in such power strips. In the pro-audio world nobody uses these. Or they buy the cheapest ones, gut them and rewire them. Good solid ground connections are way more important than any "filtering" that could be put into one of these. It says that it uses "linear" filtering instead of "leakage to ground". Which merely means that it uses a choke or inductor in series with the line instead of a capacitor across it. Inductors are far more expensive than capacitors and any inductor capable of rolling of audio frequencies such as hum is going to be pretty large and very expensive.
    There are autotransformers like the AR series that give a benefit of a constant voltage to the amp. This has some merit. But anything just advertising "clean power" isn't going to get rid of hum or make anything sound better.
     
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  3. The New Exhibit

    The New Exhibit Member

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    I appreciate the response! I really suppose it’s not so much for having clean power admittedly as much as it is having a 1U rack piece that can handle the power consumption of everything while keeping my Ampete and it in a rack in a tidy package.
     
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  4. aeolian

    aeolian Member

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    You get 15A out of a standard NEMA outlet. Many places have the combo outlets that are rated at 20A and therefore serviced by 20A breakers. That's it. Thermal breakers have some peak headroom but continuously they will supply the 20A. So you can add up the fuses or back panel amperage ratings on each of your amplifiers and that's your max load. Now you practically aren't going to draw the max load unless you have every amp running full blast and making continuous noise. So you can derate that by half to a quarter depending on how much continuous noise you're making.

    The main thing is to get things with quality NEMA receptacles in them. Stay away from those cheap plastic outlet strips which have flimsy poor contacts in them. When I encounter a system that's humming, the first thing I do is start yanking those things. Poor contact between the ground pins of different gadgets hooked together (mixer/powered speaker, fx box/guitar amp, etc) creates current flow due to the different resistances between the grounded power plugs and the ground connections of the signal plugs. Commonly called a ground loop. Net result is hum or other noise. Clean power means tidy low resistance connections. That will make everything work better.
     
  5. john l

    john l Supporting Member

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    Fantastic responses @aeolian

    I use a P1800AR but only for the regulation aspect. Real power conditioning and tight tolerance regulation are big money.
     
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  6. The New Exhibit

    The New Exhibit Member

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    Thank you for the detailed response! So, I must ask, are you not recommending one of these, even if I can buy a second hand one relatively cheap? It would be nice to have everything in a rack. Would there be cheaper rack mountable options that achieve an identical purpose?
     
  7. The New Exhibit

    The New Exhibit Member

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    How do you find the voltage regulation with your amps? Do you truly find/feel/hear a big difference regarding performance?
     
  8. KGWagner

    KGWagner Member

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    A "Power Conditioner" in a rack does little or nothing to "condition" power. Just think of it as a conveniently mounted outlet strip. Real power conditioning is heavy, expensive, and unlikely to be found in a rack application.
     
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  9. The New Exhibit

    The New Exhibit Member

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    Thanks for the reply! I suppose I was really asking if the one I suggested above is powerful enough to just handle what I’m connecting to it as I’ve heard most of these are glorified surge protectors at best.

    That being said, is the furman I asked about no better than a cheaper rackmountable power strip?
     
  10. KGWagner

    KGWagner Member

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    The one you're looking at will handle up to an 1800 watt draw, so you have to do some math. It's easy enough to do - just get the nameplate power draw on everything you're going to plug into it, add 'em up, and see where you're at. The back of your amp (right by the power cord usually) it'll say something like 120V/60hz/300W for a typical 100 watt tube amp.

    That's usually not the whole story, though. Guitar/bass amps usually have fairly beefy power supplies, so there's something called "inrush current". It only lasts briefly (usually much less than a second), but it's a real thing. Hook up a bunch of beefy things, turn 'em all on at once, and you may pop the breaker or blow the fuse. If you do them one at a time, you can avoid that.

    Also, just because the power module will handle 1800 watts without burning up, doens't mean the outlet you plug it into can. They're often 15A devices, but they're also usually not the only thing on a circuit. In a house, you may have the stereo, TV, fridge, who knows what on that same line. Bars/clubs/etc. can be more robust, but don't count on it.

    I wouldn't call that Furman you asked about a "cheap rackmountmountable power strip", but it's not too much more than that electrically. It has a voltmeter, lights so you can sorta see what other things in the rack are set to, a switch and breaker... plus it's neat and clean, which outlet strips on the floor rarely are, and it won't walk off in somebody else's gig bag or traps kit ;)
     
  11. KGWagner

    KGWagner Member

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    If you want real sag/surge protection, the heart of something that'll do that is something like this (constant voltage transformer). Then, you have to add your own switch/breaker, outlets, some nearly useless noise filtering, an enclosure, and some sort of hookup cable. You're probably in the neighborhood of $3.2-$3.5K or better if you do it yourself, and it'll weight about 140+ pounds. Plus, they're surprisingly noisy and hot.
     
  12. candid_x

    candid_x Supporting Member

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    How about one of these guys? I've been using one with 9 inputs for several years at home for my gear. If nothing else it gives me something solid to plug into, and it seems to keep things really quite. Then, what about the supposed conditioner in a Pedal Power? Do they cancel each other's function, or do any good at all? They're dirt cheap but weigh a ton, like a car battery.
    [​IMG]
     
  13. john l

    john l Supporting Member

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    Purely precautionary honestly. Theres a lot of places I used to play with sketchy power and it would provide a safe way to run my gear. Even though its a true voltage regulator its tolerance is +/- 5 volts before it will raise or lower the supply to spec. That tolerance window is more than enough to alter tone unfortunatley BUT its also enough to keep my amps running safely and uninterrupted for the show which is more important then sounding their best to me.

    The regulators that clamp down if the power fluctuates in anyway are on rockstar budgets and theyre the size of a beer fridge.
     
  14. AuntieDiluvian

    AuntieDiluvian Member

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    This model Furman will operate any reasonable tube amp along with all of the gear you would normally find in a guitar rack, no problem. I use a similar one with my Bogner XTC, which is about as bad a power hog as you'll find.

    There are good reasons to use a well-designed "power conditioner", particularly with digital electronics. It won't help your sound, and it won't remove noise unless there is a serious problem with something else on a closely-linked circuit, but:

    While all modern digital electronics are designed to deal with transient over-Voltage events and "surges", the way they do it is with MOVs designed into the power supplies. MOVs are sacrificial devices, and part of their usable life is consumed every time they operate to protect the equipment. The goal of using something like this Furman product is to have the power "conditioner" absorb the transients. thus extending the life of the surge suppressing devices in your gear. There is a lot of "snake oil" that is still being used to sell surge protection devices, but this doesn't mean that they don't provide some actual value.

    The convenience of a rack power strip, master on/off switch, and rack lights are nice, too.
    No, it's a LOT better than a cheap power strip. The specs that really matter are the maximum surge current and clamping time. No cheap power strip can clamp 6.5 kA in 1 nanosecond. FWIW, the "joules" rating that you often see on cheap power strips is meaningless. The total amount of energy that they can divert to ground is irrelevant; what matters is the speed at which they can divert it.

    As noted above, though, take the Voltage regulation with a grain of salt. The only way to really accomplish rock-solid Voltage regulation is to use a double-conversion online UPS, and that isn't going to fit in your rack nor your budget.

    [Full disclosure: I used to run a TVSS group in a major electrical equipment company.]
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2020
  15. The New Exhibit

    The New Exhibit Member

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    Thanks for the reply! So, the thing I have to ask then as a noob of electronics is haha, do these guitar amps draw all of what they say at the same time even when you’re not playing in them? Since I have the Ampete 88S, I’ll be only selecting one guitar amp at a time, even though they’ll all be on and ready to go with the push of a button.

    Also, I would have these 6 amps plugged into this furman, the ampete, my pedalboard, and then this AND a backup power supply that I have my computer, interface, studio monitors, etc will be plugged into the same outlet on my wall. Am I pushing the boundaries here? :eek:
     
  16. KGWagner

    KGWagner Member

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    You can certainly get away with it. You're supposed to plan for "worst case" and add some fudge factor, but in real life we cheat all the time. For instance, I usually know better than to crank up the microwave if the space heater's running, or the laser printer's producing output, but if I forget...pop goes the breaker. Pain in the shorts, but I don't burn the house down.

    In modern times, we just have far too many things to "plug in", so we're prone to using outlet expanders of some sort. As long as there's some protection in there somewhere, we usually learn fairly fast where the limits are and either rearrange our loads or change our behavior.
     
  17. KGWagner

    KGWagner Member

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    As far as when things draw power, it's usually when they're actually doing work. So, you can sometimes have several amps on at once, but if only one is producing output, it's the one that eating power. Except in the case of tube amps. Those buggers draw a lotta power whether they're cranking or not, simply because of the tubes. All those heaters draw a surprising amount of current.
     
  18. The New Exhibit

    The New Exhibit Member

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    Got ya! So since it’s going to be potentially 6 tube amps haha (more often probably 3-4 though) I suppose I’m gonna have to feel it out.
     
  19. KGWagner

    KGWagner Member

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    Well, that, and maybe adjust the air conditioning a bit. Those tubes all heat up whether you're using them or not.

    Just curious - why have so many amps up at once? You can usually bring one up to speed in less than 30 seconds or so.
     
  20. The New Exhibit

    The New Exhibit Member

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    Got ya!! So, I got an Ampete switcher for everything. I’ve been doing a lot of guitar tracking for people, so when I want to do different layers with different tones/guitars, etc, it can be quite daunting to put one amp on standby, turn another one on, unplug the time based effects on one amp from the fx loop, plug them into the next fx loop. Then, if I hit a chord or note and find that wasn’t the sound I was going for, I have to redo that whole process. It becomes quite daunting to reach behind and unplug everything and re-plug everything/standby/proper load, etc., so the Ampete will just make my life easier, and make tracking faster by just swapping guitars and pushing buttons.
     

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