When we were planning our studio build we thought it would be a good idea to install electrical trunking to house all the electrical sockets for powering the majority of studio gear. We initially planned to install somewhere in the region of 20 sockets but I thought that too many sockets would upset the aesthetic of the studio. I put some thought into an alternative and decided it was time to invest in a type of studio gear that I've always considered to be one of the most boring recording studio gear purchases - A Power Conditioner (Surge Protector)
Why A Power Conditioner?
I wanted a single device powered by a single mains plug that would provide power to my studio outboard gear. A power conditioner looked to be a smart solution compared to over installing sockets in the trunking. I also didn't want to use domestic 4-way power bars anymore.
"Boring" may be a bit of a strong way to describe my old way of thinking on this topic... but hear me out... When I purchase studio gear I invested my money into tools that improve creative aspects of my workflow. New microphones, instruments, plug-ins, you name it, I've always gone for those "sexy" types of gear over "utility" gear such as power conditioners... until recently. I've done a complete U-turn. I no longer believe that power conditioners are boring studio gear purchase, no, I believe they are essential studio gear investments. In this article, I share why I changed my mind and why I regret not owning one sooner.
My latest power conditioner purchase was my "Find Of The Week" in Pro Tools Expert Podcast - Episode 294.
I've always known Furman as a good reputable company, they also have a wide range of power conditioners. I purchased the PL-PLus CE for just under £300 which I think is good value for money.
Furman PL-Plus CE Main Features
- Surge Protection
- Noise Filtration
- Voltage Protection
- Pull-out Lights
- Diagnostic Lights
- LED Voltmeter
- Isolated Banks
- 10 AMP Rating
- 11 Total Outlets (10 rear panel outlets and one front panel convenience outlet)
- BNC Lamp Connector
Messy Rack Cabling Be Gone
I also purchased ten 1 meter male to female Kettle extension leads for an additional £25. I used these cables to connect all my studio outboard gear, including my monitor controller and Mac Pro computer, to the rear sockets of the Furman. I was pleasantly surprised at how tidy the back of my rack now looked. There has never been a time when the back of my rack has been this neat and organised. I'm used to the back of my rack being incredibly messy with mountains of power bars stacked on the floor. The cable tangling gremlins, who used to enter my studio every evening, haven't been back since the Furman was hooked up. Be warned though, those gremlins could be heading for your studio rack next!
On the front of the unit, there is an additional power output socket. I've used this quite a bit recently when tempory gear has been brought into the studio. This is a great feature, I didn't need to climb around the back of the rack to hook up power cables on those occations I had demo outboard units in.
Two LED lights can be pulled out the front of the unit which illuminates my outboard gear below. There's no denying it, this adds extra sex appeal to my humble studio rack but, more importantly, I can see my rack gear clearly when I mix with the coloured studio mood lights on.
Yes, looking back I wish I wasn't so stubborn, I should have invested in one of these devices years ago. I remember a day many years ago when three power cuts happened in my studio in one hour. My studio rack was on because I was in a session with a client. We kept working through the power cuts as we didn't expect more blackouts to happen. This was not good for my Focusrite Pre Amp. Phantom Power stopped working on one of the channels, the surges from the power cuts clearly broke it. Looking back now with 20.20 hindsight that damage could have been avoided if a surge protection device, such as a Furman, was between the mains and the Pre amp.
If your studio features outboard gear and you don't have a power conditioner then, like me, at some point you may regret not owning one sooner.