Your recording equipment and musical instruments are all powered by electricity. You probably wonder if there is a need for a gadget or device to protect your gear and instruments, such as a power conditioner.
You don’t need a good power conditioner for your home studio, but most experts recommend one. A good power conditioner can give your gear the correct voltage it needs to work. It ensures that your home studio equipment is not damaged and you don’t get unintended breaks and trip-ups when recording.
But because there is a wide range of products that fall under the power conditioner category, getting the right one might be confusing for most beginners. Which power conditioner for home studio equipment and gear is ideal for your needs? Read on and know what types of power conditioners are out there and which one will solve your problems.
What a Power Conditioner Is and What It Does
According to the Mr. Electric blog, a power conditioner can protect your home studio equipment by smoothing out power spikes, electrical noise, and other forms of voltage fluctuation. It can help you avoid damaging equipment when power surges occur, as well as manage voltage distortions.
Further, a power conditioner can reduce electromagnetic or frequency interferences caused by radios, motors, and other similar devices.
It’s different from a power strip, which is only a way to allow you to plug other devices and appliances using one single power outlet. It’s also better than a surge protector because, on top of protecting your equipment from spikes in voltage, a power conditioner can also handle interference that can affect sound equipment.
A power conditioner can ensure that your equipment has a steady power supply. For instance, if you’re recording and somebody turns on the washing machine or dishwasher, there is a chance that you’d lose some of the power that goes to your gear.
This Sweetwater video will tell you more about what a power conditioner is:
Do You Need a Power Conditioner?
A power conditioner can be very affordable or very expensive, depending on what it does. There are a variety of power conditioners out there that can filter out electromagnetic noise. Some can stop harmful power surges from reaching and damaging your equipment. Further, you have power conditioners that can regulate the voltage running through your equipment.
You need a power conditioner if you’re having issues with your power supply. However, it’s pretty easy to fall prey to the hype. Power conditioners are not one-stop solutions or magic pills for the issues you have with your home studio.
It’s best to read more and know what each type of power conditioner does and what it solves before you drop a lot of money on something that will not help.
Find out which is better for a video studio between a power conditioner and a UPS.
Which Power Conditioner for Home Studio Is Perfect for You?
Blame it on misinformation or the hype surrounding power handling for home studios. Many people are making the mistake of paying big bucks for a power conditioner that doesn’t address their issues.
Take time to determine if the issue you’re having with your home recording equipment and gear is really because of your power supply. Is it noise coming from your electrical circuits, or is it noise introduced by air? Is your equipment defective?
After ruling these out, check to see what the nature of the problem is. Power conditioners are not magic pills in that one can solve all types of issues.
If you’re getting hum and noise in your equipment when you’re recording and everything else seems okay, then one of the things you can do is add an EMI filter.
Electromagnetic interference is unwanted signals that can cause radiated or conducted emissions. If you hear noise from your electric guitar, then chances are your circuits have conducted EMI.
An EMI filter has inductors, capacitors, and other passive components. These components can let low-frequency currents pass through your equipment and block high-frequency ones. These can also divert the high-frequency current away from your equipment and course it either back to your power supply or into a ground connection.
Some of the products you can try include the BLS AC Power Line EMI Filter, which costs around $15. Or get the Digital Energy EMI Sound Filter/Noise Reducer that has a metal body and six plugs for your amps, electronics, and speakers.
- Product Name AC Power Line EMI Filter Model No. CW4L2-20A-S
- Working Voltage AC 115/250V, 50/60Hz Rated Current 20A
- Installing Hole Size(Approx) Distance: 7.5cm / 3" Diameter: 5mm/0.2" Size(Approx) 6 x 5.5 x 3cm / 2.4" x 2.2" x 1.2"(L* W*H)
- Heavy duty metal construction will hold up in any setting.
- EMI noise attentuation filter eliminates noise interference. Great for band equipment such as amps, speakers and other studio electronics
- Meets Safety Standards: ETL Listed, Conforming to UL Standard No. 1363 and ANSI / UL Standard 1449. As per fire safety guidelines, please don't use a space heater with this surge protector. Please plug your space heater directly into your power socket.
If you are getting electric shocks when you’re playing your electric guitar or other while handling other equipment, then there is a good chance that it’s chassis leakage, which can be very dangerous.
An isolation transformer has the same primary and secondary voltage. As such, these devices can be used as a lowpass filter, much like passive filters. Isolation transformers have completely isolated primary and secondary voltage, making it safe to use your instruments without a safety ground.
If you’re using cheater cords to solve humming noise in your recordings, you better have an isolation transformer or risk getting fatal electric shocks. Get something like the Tripp Lite IS250 Isolation Transformer if you have problematic synth racks or guitar amps where you need to lift the ground to keep the noise down. You’re not going to fix the leakage current problems, but an isolation transformer can keep you safe.
- 250W ISOLATION TRANSFORMER: Complete line isolation, noise filtering and surge suppression is ideal for sensitive equipment. Supports combined loads up to 250 watts continuous/2.1A at 120V
- 2-OUTLETS: Includes two widely spaced NEMA5-15R output receptacles, 6 ft. power cord, circuit breaker overload protection and lighted power switch
- READY TO USE: Rugged all-metal housing ships ready for upright tower or wall mount installation
Another solution for chassis leakage is to get balanced power installed. Balancing transformers often have better noise reduction capabilities than passive filters and are better suited for home studios. It gives your equipment and instruments balanced AC power.
A balancing transformer also uses an isolation transformer. But the difference is that on top of functioning as an isolation transformer, these also have some noise reduction benefits.
If you reside in an area where significant power spikes occur, then a surge protector is an essential addition to your home recording studio. These devices can clamp down large spikes up to six kilovolts.
Products like the Monster Power Surge Protector protect up to six instruments and gadgets from power surges. Your instruments are secure for up to 1,600 joules of sudden spikes.
- POWER FOR MULTIPLE DEVICES: 6 AC outlets, 2 USB ports, and 6 feet of cable can provide power and protection for a workstation or home entertainment system; built-in safety features safeguards also shields your antenna, satellite, and cable connected to either of the coaxial inputs
- COMPLETE SURGE PROTECTION: Monster Platinum power strip with USB secures your gadgets for up to 1,660 joules; it provides total protection for your electronics during storm surges and power outages
- PATENTED FIREPROOF TECHNOLOGY: Our power surge protector strip feature MOV (Metal Oxide Varistor) technology that prevents electrical fires which can cause irreparable damage to your devices and your home
This product uses metal oxide varistor technology to keep you safe from electrical fires. What’s more, it has the Monster Clean Power feature that provides reduced noise and better sound for your home recording sessions.
What’s the worst-case scenario when it comes to power handling for your home studio? It’s fluctuating power. If you regularly experience power surges and low voltage, you might want to buy a voltage regulator.
A voltage regulator has an autotransformer that keeps the voltage at a steady 120 volts or within the 115 to 125 volts range. One essential thing you should know, however, is that voltage regulators do not give you filtering or isolation features. So while it can keep the power steady, you will probably have to use other noise reduction solutions.
Products like the Furman P-1800 AR Advanced Level Voltage Regulator give you this kind of protection. It gives your equipment a steady 120 volts of current and protects your instruments and gear.
- True RMS Voltage Regulation delivers a stable 120 volts of AC power to protect equipment from problems caused by AC line voltage irregularities
- Furman's exclusive SMP technology provides the highest level of surge & spike protection available; Lift offers AC power filtering to ensure clean power for unequaled audio & video clarity
- Advanced EVS circuitry detects dangerous voltage irregularities and safely powers down itself and connected equipment in unsafe conditions
This voltage regulator will also shut itself down when there is an extreme voltage situation. Furman is also a well-known brand for power conditioners and targets home recording studios and DJs as its market.
It will seem that there is a lot of misinformation about power conditioners when it comes to people who are just beginning to put together their home studio. You should determine first if the problem really is a power issue, and if it is, then choose the right type of power conditioner to solve it. With this guide above, you now have a good idea of which power conditioner is the best for you.
- Mr. Electric: What is a Power Conditioner?
- Recording Mag: AC POWER HANDLING
- Riello UPS: What Does A Power Conditioner Do?
- TDK Lambda UK: How does an input EMI filter work?
- Youtube: What Is a Power Conditioner and What Does It Do?
Last update on 2021-07-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API