Power conditioners aren't the most flashy piece of equipment in the recording studio but for those running larger/professional setups, they are critical.
Whether it's eliminating noise from the system or protecting your equipment from destruction due to power surges, a good power conditioner should be a top priority.
Related article: Top 45 Must-Have Tools For Audio Recording/Mixing Studios
Power conditioners come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and there are plenty of companies that produce them. When it comes to audio setups, 7 brands stand out among the rest (and one undisputed champion) as the top go-to brands to produce power conditioners.
The Top 7 Best Power Conditioner Brands For Audio Studios Are:
Let’s get into each of these brands in greater detail and explain why they belong in the top 7 best power conditioner brands. I’ll share their country of origin, a bit of history, an example of a notable power conditioner, and a link to their official website.
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Furman is considered by audio and video pros around the world as the top of the crop, la crème de la crème in power conditioners. Such is the case that you can find the brand in the rider of most major musical acts and music studios today.
Furthermore, Furman’s reign spreads evenly through studios, rehearsal rooms, and venues.
The story takes us back to the late 60s and the beginning of the seventies when a young Jim Furman had a repair shop in sunny California doing repairs and original gear for the hottest bands in the San Francisco scene, including The Grateful Dead.
It all started as a small operation until 1983, the year in which the first rackable surge protector came out and propelled this small firm to instant stardom.
Nowadays, the brand enjoys the same great reputation but is now owned by the Nortek Control Company.
Notable power conditioner: Furman P-3600 AR G
Part of the Furman Prestige Series, this power conditioner is indeed the company’s best effort for live shows and entertainment professionals around the globe.
To begin with, it is a one-stop solution for all things power. This includes being a true RMS voltage regulator as well as a power conditioner, providing surge protection and noise filtration.
In other words, all you need to solve all power-related problems in a live setting (or even in larger studios) is one of these.
The P-3600 can work with voltages from 88V to 134V (and 170V to 265V). Thanks to the company’s proprietary LiFT technology and its advanced EVS circuitry, it delivers only accurate, pure, and filtered power, delivering the right amount of volts to and protecting all electronic equipment.
Having one of these as an ally, you'll be all set, at least, power-wise.
While it is true that Applied Research and Technology (AKA ART) had its best moments during the late eighties, it still offers quality products at competitive prices.
Moreover, their R&D department is just as productive today as it was back then.
This company, founded in 1984, became a synonym with high-end audio manufacturing tube preamps, graphic equalizers, and other studio gear that can still be found in use today in most major studios in the world.
With a long list of hardcore fans out there, this brand continues to manufacture and sell great products at competitive prices. The power conditioners are no exception to their reputation.
Notable power conditioner: ART PS4x4
This power conditioner by ART belongs to the PRO SERIES of equipment directed to the most demanding scenarios. Hence, this little rackable unit can handle up to 1800 watts.
Also, the APF technology (Advanced Power Filtering) is part of this state-of-the-art piece of equipment, making it capable of filtering the annoying high-frequency noise above the audio range.
Moreover, this unit utilizes common mode and differential mode topologies to ensure no unwanted noises coming from the electrical socket will be amplified.
Finally, add some spike/surge protection and a convenient light to see the sockets in a dark arena or studio, and this ART unit is ready to lead your way to success.
Black Lion Audio
Maroon 5, Metallica, MGMT, and T-Pain (among many others) confirm to the world that the gear that BLA offers is up to the highest standards in audio and video.
Established in 2006 in Chicago, Illinois, this company set out to create state-of-the-art equipment at the most affordable price possible. They manufacture gear that ranges from microphone preamps, audio interfaces, and compressors to power conditioners and apparel.
But what sets BLA apart from the competition? Well, the price-quality balance is one of this brand’s most remarkable assets.
Those dreaming about the Furman and trying to escape generic brands like Behringer will find in BLA a great option to sound amazing without breaking the bank.
Notable power conditioner: Black Lion Audio PG-1
This power conditioner hides some surprises under the hood for those looking to hit more than one nail with one hammer. In other words, this is a versatile unit that can solve many problems live and in the studio.
To begin with, the PG-99 technology has been tested to reduce over 99% of the high-frequency noise from electrical outlets.
Also, the unit features a power absorption of 2775 joules, which means that your equipment will never get any peaks or surges.
Finally, the internal Wima and Panasonic capacitors are a sample of the premium components you get inside the PG-1.
It is hard to find this quality at this price point, so if you are on a budget, don’t overlook BLA.
Unlike much of its competition, SurgeX started at the highest-demanding scenarios you could imagine. Indeed, the power-correction technology that was to become the backbone of this company was developed for high-end scientific research.
The year was 1989, and some scientists managed to create an artificial environment in which DNA and RNA could survive. It required an electromagnetic field to work, and it couldn’t be interrupted under any circumstances.
After several failed attempts, they hired an engineer to do the job, and the device created became the seed of what would become SurgeX.
SurgeX first impacted the AV industry with the revolutionary SA-15 in 1995. Nowadays, it is a synonym for efficiency and reliability and is a part of the Ametek family of brands.
Notable power conditioner: SurgeX SX-1115-RT
Featuring all the specs that made SurgeX a big name in the industry, this rackable unit is an ally whenever you hit the stage or the studio.
To begin with, it features the revolutionary ASM technology, reducing and eliminating all peaks and surges, thus protecting your equipment.
Secondly, the self-test circuit and its visual indicator are beyond handy. Finally, the ability to power on and off each of the outlets makes it every sound technician/engineer’s dream.
SurgeX has been polishing its technology for decades, and although it is not on the cheap side, it is one of the best in the market.
Middle Atlantic Products
Middle Atlantic Products was founded in New Jersey in 1979 and has since become part of the Legrand family of brands. Although it offers an eclectic catalogue that ranges from studio furniture to thermal management, it gained notoriety thanks to the quality of its power conditioners.
This notoriety paid off in the year 2011, in which, Legrand took over. By then, the company already had 520 employees and was making over $100M in sales per year.
Today, Middle Atlantic continues to manufacture its world-famous products under Legrand’s supervision but with no technical interference from its parenting brand.
Notable power conditioner: Middle Atlantic Products PDS-615-R
With a very similar price tag to the SurgeX SX-1115-RT, this power conditioner offers some features that match the great quality of the SurgeX line.
For starters, the ability to daisy chain up to three units makes it a great platform to develop your business or brand. Indeed, you can put together 3 6-input PDS-615R units to build a mammoth 18-input unit.
This allows big lighting and sound companies to adapt to all case scenarios, scaling up or down while maintaining quality and performance.
Finally, it is finished with a black powder coating and includes a 9’ cord.
Panamax is another major name in audio and power management. Together with Furman, it is part of the Nortek family of brands and has been in the industry since 1975.
Among the notable innovations they brought to the power management field are:
- Automatic voltage protection: the automatic over/under voltage protection that is so common today was invented by Panamax. In return, Panamax clients maximized the longevity of their equipment.
- Modular system protection: this invention by Panamax allowed clients to scale up and down as needed while addressing a wide variety of AC issues.
- Combination of AC and telephone: Panamax was the first company to offer AC and telephone/modem protection, AC and coax cable protection, and AC and LAN/data protection in a single solution.
Panamax still represents the top-of-the-crop in terms of power management worldwide.
Notable power conditioner: Panamax M4320-PRO
The same LiFT and AVM technology found in Furman equipment are present in this Panamax device. This is because both brands belong to the same family of companies.
This unit features 8 individually controlled rear panel outlets, which are fully programmable for resets. It comes with TCP/IP (AKA BlueBOLT) installed, a detachable, included 10ft power cord, and a front panel circuit breaker.
If you are searching for the best in the market and are not satisfied purchasing Furman, give Panamax a chance.
The year was 1981, and three MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) power engineers got together to create a business named American Power Conversion.
It wasn’t until 1986, though, that they could open the Rhode Island facility and manufacture their first best-seller, the 450AT+.
By 1998, and after achieving several milestones, APC’s annual sales surpassed the 1B mark. In February 2007, the Schneider Electric Group, a multinational European corporation, acquired APC and currently runs the company.
Notable power conditioner: APC AV 15 Amp G Type Rack Power Filter
As you would expect from a top brand in the industry, APC is more dedicated to households and industrial environments. However, this is a great piece of “consumer” equipment that can work as a one-off solution for power management.
Some features that make this a great choice even for the highest-demanding stages include:
- Programmable order for the sequential power-on of the outlets.
- EMI/RFI elimination (through isolated power banks).
- Protection against loads, surges, lightning, and other power disturbances.
- LED indicators to display every bit of the unit’s performance.
At half of what a SurgeX unit would cost you, this is a great alternative to preserve your sound and gear.