Power Conditioner vs. UPS: Which Is Better for a Video Studio?


You may be thinking of ways to best protect your video studio equipment and the exciting, new content you are producing every week. That’s a really important part of maintaining a viable video studio. Are you stuck between whether you should purchase a power conditioner or an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for your video studio? 

An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is better in the event of a power outage. It can save you from losing recently recorded content and acts as a surge protector. However, a power conditioner is better if you want to improve the audio quality of your video recordings. 

There are several things to consider when choosing the right equipment for your video studio. Do you need to eliminate sound interference, or are you more concerned with protecting your recently recorded content? Read on to find out the pros and cons of a power conditioner and UPS and which one is right for you.

Power Conditioner

A quality power conditioner offers excellent surge protection, which is vital for keeping your expensive recording equipment in tip-top shape. However, a power conditioner serves as much more than just a surge protector. Its main purpose is to improve overall sound quality by reducing the other electrical noises that are inevitable when working with a lot of equipment.   

Pros

Choosing to protect your studio with a power conditioner has no shortage of perks including superior sound quality and surge protection. Let’s walk through some of the major benefits of using a power conditioner over a UPS:

Sound Quality

A power conditioner’s main purpose is to stabilize and filter incoming alternate current power. Essentially, this means that you will avoid the different interference sounds that come from your other electrical equipment, such as buzzing or humming. This will be an important feature for users who consistently struggle with getting a nice, clear, crisp audio quality. 

Surge Protection

Another significant benefit is that your power conditioner will protect you against power surge, which is almost certain to damage your equipment. A surge can be caused by a lot of different factors, many of which are entirely out of your control. That’s why it is smart to protect your work from such instances proactively.  

Find out in this article whether you need a good power conditioner for your home studio.

Cons

Despite being a smart choice to protect your sound quality, power conditioners are not a catch-all tool. The biggest concern with using a power conditioner over a UPS is that you lack protection against power outages. Let’s go over a couple of things to consider when choosing the right equipment for you.  

They Can Be Expensive

The cost of a power conditioner will vary quite a bit, and you can expect a strong correlation between the price of the equipment and the quality of protection. In other words, a more expensive power conditioner will offer more protection and last longer than if you choose a less expensive model. 

The price of the power conditioner will be money well spent in the event of a power surge. You do not want to rely on a cheap power strip to do this job for you. Power conditioners can range anywhere from about fifty bucks to well into thousands of dollars. However, you can expect adequate protection from a power conditioner around the $200 mark.

This Furman PL-PLUS C power conditioner is a great buy because it offers the highest level of surge protection as well as reducing noise interference from other equipment.  

They Do Not Protect Against Power Outages

Power outages are a huge inconvenience on a regular day. They can happen for several reasons, none of which are your fault. Unfortunately, it is just something we have to navigate, and a power conditioner is not the right piece of equipment for this. 

Imagine the headache if you have just spent the day recording great footage, and then your power goes out. You just lost a day’s work. Unfortunately, your power conditioner does not contain a battery pack. Therefore your content will not be saved unless you have another device in place to ensure that it is. 

Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)

An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) has some similarities to a power conditioner, but there is one important distinction between the two. A UPS essentially serves as a battery pack to protect content that you have worked hard for, meaning that you will not lose your work in the event of a power outage or surge.

For quick reference, there are three different types of UPS: Standby UPS, online UPS, and line-interactive UPS. The type you choose will depend on your set up, how much you are willing to spend, and your recording priorities. 

Pros

There are a few reasons you may choose to get a UPS over a power conditioner, particularly because of the security it provides if you experience any kind of power or electrical issue. Let’s talk about some of the benefits of having one in your video studio. 

Protects Your Work

In the event of a power outage or other electrical issue, a UPS gives users a window of time to save content and shut down their devices safely. The window of time will likely be between five and ten minutes, but it can vary based on things such as the age of the battery and the model. As with power conditioners, this will have a strong correlation with price. In other words, a more expensive UPS will get you a longer window of time. 

Power Remains Stable

An online UPS will streamline the power to your equipment in the event of any kind of electrical or power issues. Whether it is a blackout, brownout, or just a flicker of the lights, your power will be consistent and uninterrupted. Keep in mind that, in a blackout, you will only have a short window of time to save your content. 

Surge Protection

Like a power conditioner, a UPS offers great surge protection, although you wouldn’t want to get a UPS solely for that purpose. It is always smart to have devices in place that protect your video equipment from surges, as they can permanently damage them. As mentioned earlier, power surges can be unpredictable and happen for many reasons, so it is not worth the risk. 

Cons

They Can Be Expensive 

Similar to power conditioners, UPS varies widely in quality and price. However, unlike a power conditioner, you can get a decent UPS for less than $200. For example, this APC UPS 650 Volt is affordable and has eight outlets and 390 watts of backup battery power. Spending a bit more money will get you this APC UPS 1500 Volt with ten outlets and 900 watts of backup power. 

Noise

Depending on your recording set up, you may need a UPS large enough to require a built-in fan. If this is the case, the fan will produce a lot of background noise, which can cause issues in audio quality. However, smaller UPS generally doesn’t require a fan.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there is a lot to consider when deciding whether a power conditioner or a UPS is right for your set up. Your decision will depend heavily on the priorities in your video studio. If budget isn’t an issue, you may even decide that using both devices in tandem is the best choice for you. 

You probably started this article with tons of questions about these two pieces of video equipment. Whatever your choice is, we hope that this article helped you in your quest to perfect your video studio. 

Want to know which one is better between PowerDirector vs Adobe Premier, click here to find out more!

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Vinnie

I'm Vinnie, and I'm here to support you to create your own studio at home, whether it’s for photography, recording audio, podcasts, or videos!

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