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Best power conditioner 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]

Last Updated October 1, 2020

Charlie OliverLooking for ways to bring your power conditioner to the next level? Then you’ve come to the right place. I’m Charlie Oliver. After more than 55 hours of research and testing, which included using 21 different power conditioner in five cities and interviewing product teams at five major companies, I made a list of the best power conditioner of 2018

I will go through the main features and what you should consider when deciding which one to pick over the other. Without further-a-do, let’s take a look at the Top 3 list in 2018 which are available in the market.

Best power conditioner of 2018

If you get well acquainted with these basics, you shouldn’t have a problem choosing a power conditioner that suits your need. Welcome to my website! If you plan to buy power conditioner and looking for some recommendations, you have come to the right place.

So this is not only going to give you an insight to the best power conditioner of the 2018 but also those which are user friendly and easy to work with. Many models on the market may be confusing to a person who is shopping for their first time.

Test Results and Ratings

Rank №1 №2 №3
Total 4.8 4.5 4.3
Ease of use
5 points
5 points
4 points
5 points
4 points
4 points
4 points
5 points
4 points
5 points
4 points
5 points
Awards 1
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You must visit the page of sales. Here is the link. If you don’t care about which brand is better, then you can choose the power conditioner by the price and buy from the one who will offer the greatest discount.



№1 – CyberPower CPS1215RM Basic PDU

CyberPower CPS1215RM Basic PDU

Manages AC power for connected devices
10 15-Amp NEMA 5-15R outlets
Requires 1U of rack space
Not found yet.

Why did this power conditioner win the first place?

I also liked the delivery service that was fast and quick to react. It was delivered on the third day. I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack.


Ease of use














№2 – UMI Isolation Transformer 120V Compact Power Line Conditioner 250Watts with Faraday Shielding and Filter

UMI Isolation Transformer 120V Compact Power Line Conditioner 250Watts with Faraday Shielding and Filter

1.Toroidal Isolation Transformer: High efficiency, Low magnetic leakage, Low noise, a grounded Faraday Shielding between windings greatly reduced the coupling of common-mode noise;
2.Eliminating Buzzing Noise: Completely eliminating the buzzing noise caused by ground loops which happens when the audio source and the speaker use the utility power. Isolation transformer provide galvanic isolation and are used to protect against electric shock, to suppress electrical noise in sensitive devices, while, Filtering technology reducing AC line noise, providing clean and safe power for high-performance audio and video.
Exterior build could be improved.
Could be more durable.

Why did this power conditioner come in second place?

Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price. I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money.


Ease of use














№3 – Furman M-8X2 Merit Series 8 Outlet Power Conditioner and Surge Protector

Furman M-8X2 Merit Series 8 Outlet Power Conditioner and Surge Protector

AC noise filtering reduces RFI/EMI
Spike & surge protection ensures equipment stays safe & power stays clean
9 Total outlets: 8 rear panel outlets (including 3 with “wall wart” spacing) and 1 front panel convenience outlet
Length might be an issue with some customers.
Less durable.

Why did this power conditioner take third place?

It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. A very convenient model. It is affordable and made of high-quality materials. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new.


Ease of use














power conditioner Buyer’s Guide

If you keep the before points in mind, you can easily go out to the market and buy power conditioner, right? No!

Input Voltage Display

This is a useful feature to have for seeing how your input voltage fluctuates and to make you feel like it’s working. Another purpose is to show a digital readout to others, like to your clients for example and this will give off a positive impression.

Extendable lights

Some power conditioners feature lamps which can be turned on and help you with reading labels and whatnot, especially in low light situations. Considering that some closets have the overhead lighting blocked by many racks of equipment, this is another good thing to look for.

Power switch on front

The last essential function to consider is a main switch on the front for turning all the outlets on and off at once. As it can get very tedious to find individual switches if you have a lot of stuff, this option can save some energy through a practical solution, just flip one switch and that’s all.

Now that you have a general idea of what to look for in a power conditioner, the next step is to check the market. To make your selection process more quick and efficient, this article features the top picks for power conditioners in terms of cost-effectiveness. Only the best products, those with the most features for the price and the most reliable performance have made it on this list. By choosing one of these, you are pretty much guaranteed to get your money’s worth.

One of the best power conditioners in the current market environment is the Furman M-8Xwhich comes with eight switched outlets in its rear panel and can power up and keep all your equipment protected. It can take a load of 15-amps maximum and has a lot of solid features that many musicians are sure to appreciate. Priced so competitively for what it offers, this unit is easily the top pick on this list.

The M-8Xdefends your gear from common spikes and surges that appear at gigs and practice spots. It has a powerful RFI/EMI filtration feature that will offer a quieter tone without crackles or other noises including the local radio station coming from your amp. This RFI/EMI filtration can lower the noise floor to make sure that your sensitive digital equipment doesn’t act strange or starts smoking from everyday spikes and surges.

The 1amp capacity is pretty solid and with nine total outlets, you’ve got enough power at your disposal for a big home studio. Something interesting regarding the rear outlets is how Furman spaced them to accommodate bulky wall warts and adapters with more ease. Also found on the rear panel is a circuit breaker which trips when the total load of the conditioner goes over the 15A limit. To reset it, you just have to push a button.

The M-Series conditioners are designed for the ultimate protection through an ingenious combination of high voltage varistor surge with transient suppressors. The suppression circuit acts really fast to respond to transient voltages and keeps them within safe levels.

An important feature is the master switch that controls all the rear outlets and glows when you turn the power on. More convenience is added thanks to an outlet situated on the front panel for quick access to power. Constructed with a black painted steel chassis, this power conditioner can fit nicely anywhere and is made to last. It’s perfect for many applications including DJ equipment or home recording.

A relatively low-cost AC power solution, the Furman M-8Xcan protect your gear efficiently without feeling like you’re breaking the bank. It can fit conveniently along any rackmount system to provide a safe and stable voltage and to ensure that your instruments function with an optimum level of performance.

PYLE PCO850 1Amp Power Supply Conditioner

Everyone wants their musical equipment to last as much as possible and to always function properly in any conditions. To be able to achieve these ideals, it’s important to consider a reliable power conditioner like the Pyle PCO850. It offers spike and surge protection, has AC noise filters built-in and comes with a 1amp rating complete with circuit breaker, all of this for an unbeatable price.

For those with smaller budgets, the Pyle seems to be a very good solution. The list of features is pretty impressive considering the cost of this device. The conditioner provides a total of outlets, with found on the rear of the unit and one on the front. A master switch for all of them can also be found on the front panel for quick access.

The construction is decent, nothing that really stands out but the steel chassis coupled with the aluminum front panel looks pretty sturdy. It comes in full black color with a smooth finish that’s capable of matching many environments. The outlets are firmly gripping the plug so this is a good thing as you won’t need to worry about accidentally getting something unplugged.

In terms of performance, it looks like it can do what other similar but more expensive ones can. It has a built-in noise filter that eliminates unwanted radio frequency and electromagnetic interferences. The 15A rating should be able to power up enough gear and the circuit breaker adds an extra level of protection in case you go over this limit. A push to reset button is included.

Pyle didn’t integrate a display for monitoring the voltage but there’s a ”Protection Ok” indicator to get some peace of mind. The protection abilities of this power conditioner are good, it will keep most surges from affecting your equipment and it will maintain the hertz at 60 which are normal levels. This will prevent your gear from getting damaged over time and it’s an essential aspect of any professional audio systems.

The Pyle PCO850 is a great rack-mountable power strip surge protector that should definitely be considered by any aspiring musician. It delivers quite a punch in terms of performance and design while keeping a much fairer price so for these reasons, it’s a solid recommendation overall.

Furman M-8Dx Merit Series Power Conditioner

The Merit series from Furman offers top-notch protection for your musical equipment and one of the most appreciated models from this line is the M-8DX, a power conditioner that packs a serious punch in terms of features. Ideal for any rack system, this one comes with a clearly visible 3-digit LED voltmeter and a balanced price.

To protect delicate electronic gear you need a highly capable power conditioner. It uses a potent combination of high voltage varistor surge and transient suppressors for keeping the voltage to the safest levels. Certain dimmers, fluorescent lights, and radio transmitters among many other sources can contaminate the AC line and create interfering noise. To solve this problem, Furman devised an advanced RFI/EMI filter that gets rid of these troublesome leaks from your sensitive audio circuits.

This power conditioner offers outlets as well as one front-panel outlet for your convenience. The design of the unit stands out mostly due to the bright red digital LED voltmeter which shows your incoming line voltage with good accuracy. Two pull-out light tubes can be found to help you illuminate the rack and Furman integrated a dimmer control to adjust the light to a more comfortable level.

The way it has been designed permits easier access to the rear outlets thanks to generous spacing. Even the bulkiest of adapters and wall warts should fit firmly and get the much-needed spike and surge protection from this power conditioner.

The extra features like the lights and meter are nice but they don’t really make this piece of gear a flashy one. Its primary purpose is still to safeguard your equipment. It seems to have managed to achieve this objective and can handle multiple units from your rack without any problems. Taking that annoying hum out of the amp seems to be another issue that this performant power conditioner takes care of.

Having a LED display to see how much power gets through is a nice feature and it works as expected. Taking into account all the other functions, it’s safe to say that the Furman M-8DX is a strong recommendation. Those looking for a decently featured power conditioner at a fair price should take advantage of this model’s great potential.

Product Highlights

If you want to buy a good power conditioner for home use, this is probably the best option right now. It provides complete protection from all power dangers and is ideal for a wide range of audio and electronic systems including TVs, DVRs, game consoles, computers and much more.

Thanks to its battery backup, the J35B minimizes the impact of power outages and can keep things like your cable/satellite boxes still running when the power is out. It also prevents stored games and other important files from loss. To keep voltage levels safe and stable, it features Automatic Voltage Regulation (AVR) which acts as a barrier for your sensitive power supplies and enables the best performance and sound/video quality.

Because electromagnetic and radio frequency interference is a pesky source of AV degradation, this power conditioner has a filter that keeps the power clean. It has many protective features for dangerous power transients especially those traveling over data lines. An LCD display is included to convey helpful information concerning the power conditions and can help when you need to adjust certain parameters. In case of alarming conditions, the screen lights up red to act as a warning.

APC designed it with efficiency in mind and when it comes to power consumption this device will help you save some money as it provides Master/Controlled outlets. There are outlets in total integrated into a sleek and compact design that fits nicely along your furniture.

This is such a feature-packed power conditioner that shouldn’t miss from any home where there’s heavy usage of various audio and video electronic systems. It offers all the protection you could possible need against surges and power transients and the battery backup is a nice addition. At this price, this is definitely a very solid investment.


It’s essential to get the purest AC power and the best protection available for your electronic devices and you might find yourself realizing that traditional surge strips aren’t designed to be very safe and reliable in the long run. The overworked and outdated power grid often delivers AC power of low quality so outfitting your studio with a power conditioner is crucial. The Furman PST-looks like an elegant solution to dramatically reduce AC noise and contamination that can affect your gear.

Furman has been at the forefront of the development process for AC power products capable to handle the needs of more demanding audio and video professionals. It incorporates the Linear Filtering Technology combined with a high current TVZ-MOV to ensure that only the cleanest filtered AC power reaches your TVs, computers, and any other electronic devices.

On a daily basis, you can experience quite a lot of surges and spikes so the SMP circuit is an excellent way to protect your delicate equipment and that’s because it won’t require a self-sacrifice of the power conditioner. Furman’s technology is built to keep the voltage from getting directed to the circuit ground to further guarantee the best level of safety for your gear.

Another great aspect about this device is the automatic extreme-voltage shutdown. They are, statistically speaking the most common and damaging AC event. A special integrated circuit will turn the unit off immediately if it reaches 13volts or more and this will act as a reliable safeguard to the connected devices. This is the kind of protection that’s difficult to find elsewhere. Considering that the PST-also does a great job when it comes to transient voltage suppression, this model represents a valuable option on the market for power conditioners right now.

The aluminum chassis gives a certain premium feel to this unit which completes the overall positive image of this product. If you have an extensive home recording studio or a similar project which makes use of a good amount of electronic equipment, investing in a highly capable power conditioner like the Furman PST-is an absolute must.

Power Conditioning and Power Conditioners

The IEEE (Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers), NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association), and other standards organizations define power conditioning as filtering the alternating current (AC) that comes through power company power lines.

Power regulating refers to transforming the AC signal (from the power company) into a direct current (DC) signal, which then runs an oscillator that, in turn, generates a consistent and repetitive single frequency sine wave.

The amps and sine wave frequency result in standard wall outlet voltage output. Whether at an in-home studio, or office, power conditioners provide clean AC power to sensitive electrical equipment (i.e.: computers, amplifiers, etc.).

Typically multiple receptacles or outlets are in use, making the power conditioner function as a surge protector as well as a noise filter.

Differentiating Attributes

Power line conditioners receive and modify power depending on the equipment the power is connected to. Attributes to be conditioned are measured using devices, such as phasor measurement units, which measure analog voltages and currents.

The power conditioner’s joule rating indicates the maximum concentrated electrical energy it can absorb. Higher joule ratings afford greater protection for the equipment it is attached to.

Another attribute is eliminating interference between components, such as analog and digital equipment. A better quality power conditioner has internal filter banks that separate, or isolate, the different power conditioner power outlets/receptacles.

How to Use

The power conditioner unit improves the quality of power. It delivers an acceptable voltage level that ensures load equipment functions properly.

The power conditioner regulates voltage in an effort to also improve noise suppression, and power surges and spikes.

Safety is the prime objective when you plug in high-wattage equipment. High-wattage equipment requires a high-quality power conditioner.

Furman M-8DX Power Conditioner with Lights and Meter

The Furman Merit Series M-8DX Power Conditioner with Lights and Meter is a top-selling, highly-reviewed, cost-effective AC power solution suited for any rack mount audio system. It satisfies customers’ budget and performance-based criteria.

The main feature is its dual swivel slide-out rack light fixtures that provide understated equipment illumination in dark environments such as stages, studios, etc.. Brightness is adjusted with a dimmer knob. The digital LED voltmeter alerts users to incoming line voltages.

The M-8DX power conditioner offers a standard 9-outlet (eight switched AC outlets in the rear panel power, and one front-panel outlet) to protect equipment from power surges. Outlets accommodate up to a 15-amp power load.

Bi-level protection is provided through the power conditioner’s spike and surge protection. Its intent is to ensure powered equipment remains safe and the power remains clean.

The M-8DX surge protection is a combination of high voltage varistor (MOV) surge and transient suppressors. The fast-acting suppression circuit equipment rapidly responds and temporarily restricts voltages to safe levels.

The M-8DX RFT/EMI interface is NRTL/TUV listed. The interference filter works to prevent noise from fluorescent lights, certain dimmers, radio frequencies and electromagnetic and similar sources. AC lines are kept free so noise does not infiltrate into sensitive audio, video, or computer circuits.

Reviews by those who purchased the Furman M-D8X indicate it is sturdy, works as advertised, and looks good. Customers that purchased the unit did so for their home studio or because of its portability. They use it as emergency equipment, a lighting solution (for dark stages/rooms), and to protect their gear.

Monster MP PRO 2000

The Monster MP PRO 2000 with Clean Power Stage 2, Dual Mode Plus Protection, and 1Color-Coded Outlets Pro 2000 Floor Standing Power Center provides 1switched color coded outlets for error free connections for power-hungry equipment (more than the standard nine outlets).

The clearly labeled sockets identify the separate banks of analog, digital, and high current filters, which allows optimal performance. The Dual-Mode Plus protection feature also provides audible and visual warnings for maximum protection and performance.

The Monster Clean Power Circuitry uses patented filters that enhance high quality sound by significantly reducing electronic noise on the power line. Clean Power Stage filtering provides AC surge and spike and sag suppression.

This technology helps ensure the most critical transitory voltage spikes are absorbed and dissipated without damaging the equipment or circuit, and without interrupting service calls or resulting in downtime.

The Three-in-One Approach

The first and the foremost thing that you should consider is the three-in-one approach. This feature is a must. If you want your power conditioner to do more than just protect your electrical equipment but also enhance performance, you must go for a power conditioner that has this three-in-one approach.

So what is this three-in-one approach? Your power conditioner should be capable of doing three things: protect your electrical equipment, remove noise, and to correct the voltage. To help you refine your search, we came up with three of the very best power conditioners that are available with this feature.

Great Value

The Furman SS6B Plug Surge Protector falls in the category of an inexpensive but high-quality power conditioner. It’s equipped with all the necessary things that you want out of power conditioner.

Since the price is cheap, it may be lacking in some of the additional specs that the more expensive ones come equipped with, but it certainly delivers the best when it comes to the protection and optimum performance of the electrical equipment in its price range.


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.

High performance on the go

It covers just one outlet but offers heavy-duty protection in a tiny package that fits in any bag.

Tripp Lite’s SpikeCube is perfect for traveling in areas with spotty grids. It covers just one outlet but has performance comparable to the bigger picks squeezed into a pocketable package. If you want something on the go with more outlets than the SpikeCube and are less concerned with surge protection, check out our travel USB surge protector guide.

While researching this guide, we found a huge amount of outdated or incorrect information scattered around the internet. If you want to learn the the facts (and about how melting sand into glass is often the last line of defense between a lightning strike and your home’s power supply), the surge explainer at the bottom of this guide will lay it all out for you. But don’t feel bad if you skip it; since you don’t need to read it in order to follow this guide, we placed it at the end.

Who this is for

Surge protectors are cheap protection for expensive electronics, and there’s little reason for anyone to leave their office or home theater gear without one (or to continue using old, worn-out units). Though a surge protector can’t help much in a rare, direct lightning strike, one can help with the much more common surges that originate inside your home or building. They can also protect against rare surges emanating from your utility company, handy in areas with less-than-reliable power grids.

If you’re buying new equipment or moving into a new place, it’s a good time to replace old surge protectors. That’s because surge protectors don’t actually last forever. The components inside wear out with repeated surges and there’s virtually no way to know how much life remains. Most cheap models continue to pass power even after the protection is long gone. Most estimates put the average safe life of a surge protector at anywhere from three to five years. Though high-end series mode protectors can last indefinitely, the prices are can easily soar to times the price of our top picks, making them an impractical option for most people.

Pull Quote

Most estimates put the average safe life of a surge protector at anywhere from three to five years.

Because a surge protector is a “better safe than sorry” device, the safest recommendation is to choose one that shuts down when the protection is worn out. Most modern hardware can cope with the sudden loss of power better than an unprotected surge. However, if you have equipment that could be damaged by a sudden loss of power, mission-critical gear that can’t ever go down or needs a specific shutdown or power-up sequence, or even just a desktop computer with a hard disk drive (HDD) susceptible to data corruption in the case of sudden removal of electricity, then you shouldn’t be looking at a surge protector at all. Instead, you want an uninterruptible power supply, or UPS. A UPS is basically just a big battery that you place between your outlet and your gear, and most of them have surge protection built in. You can read about our top UPS picks here.

How we picked

What happens when it wears out: When most cheap surge protectors reach the end of their useful life, they continue to provide unprotected power to anything you have plugged in. Sometimes the only indication that the surge protection has failed is a small LED, often hidden behind your entertainment center or desk. That’s why we prefer surge protectors that completely shut down when their protection has been used up. It ensures that your equipment is never inadvertently left unprotected.

Surge protection capability: Any surge protector that’s rated by the private product safety corporation UL has surge protection capabilities stamped on the box or device. In general, we expect quality home surge protectors to be able to bring a surge down to either 330 or 400 V, in line with UL ratings. While it’s easy to rule out the worst models through research, we verified which models have the best protection with our own electrical testing.

Number of outlets and layout: We also surveyed 83of our readers to learn about their expectations and narrow the criteria. Since our survey responses showed similar results for home theater and home office use, we looked for surge protectors that could easily work in either role.

Zero Surge

When averaging the output during five 5,000 V surges, SurgeX bested ZeroSurge by nearly 50 V. But both models kept voltage close the 120 V standard. In other tests, we found a standard computer monitor was able to survive a 400 V surge.

SurgeX did keep the surge voltage consistently lower than the equivalent ZeroSurge model, but both were well within the safe range for most electronics.

Both models had no problem clamping surge voltage back down close to the range of standard AC. We subjected each to surges ranging from 160 V all the way to 5,000 V to observe their response, and then did an additional five hits at 5,000 V to get an average. ZeroSurge allowed 14V through at its maximum, but averaged 13V against the five 5,000 V surges. SurgeX, with its advanced series mode design, did do a little better than ZeroSurge when looking at the raw numbers. The maximum output was just 10V, and it averaged just 90 V against the five 5,000 V surges.

We recommend the Furman Powerstation PST-for most people looking for upgraded protection, because the added protection of its hybrid design—advanced filtering plus traditional, inexpensive MOVs—is commensurate with a price a bit above a standard surge protector. These true series mode models from SurgeX and ZeroSurge actually let through a little more voltage in our tests, despite costing much more. However, the main advantage of going for series-mode over MOV is longevity, since series mode protection should last indefinitely. If longevity is your top priority above all else, series mode is the best solution, albeit a costly one.

The competition

The APC P11VNTSurgeArrest 3020J was once a pick for the surge protector that supplies power even after the protection has been expended. However, that wasn’t the whole story, as one bank of MOVs would cut power when it was worn out, while another one would not. For the safest shut down when it’s worn out, the Tripp Lite TLP1008TLP is the better answer. And for the best outlet design and value, the Belkin PivotPlug 1is a better option.

We love our Kill A Watt power meters, and the PKill A Watt PSsurge protector incorporates some of the same power tracking features as the standalone meters. But the overall surge protection wasn’t as good as any of our picks. When hit with a 5,000 V surge on L-N, the PS-past an average of 50V, 2percent more than the Tripp Lite TLP1008TEL. It also allowed more voltage through on the L-G and N-G—6and 59V respectively—than our picks. Given that the design also makes it difficult to fit multiple power bricks on the tightly spaced outlets, we don’t think it’s a good fit for most people.

The Furman PST-2+is less than half the price of the larger Powerstation 8, but it lacks the components and performance of the large model too. Though we like that it has an audible alarm that sounds when the surge protection is used up, the model was only able to clamp a 5000 V L-N surge down to 43V, or roughly percent higher than the Tripp Lite TLP1008TEL. It also only has three outlets spaced to take larger power bricks.

We liked the design of the PowerAdd outlet with USB ports for desks or offices where someone may have many devices charging over USB. But the surge protection of this model was dismal. When we tested it against a 5,000 V surge, it passed an average of 1,12V through the outlets—enough to fry most connected equipment.

We tested the Accell PowerGenius Rotating 6-Outlet Surge Protector with Dual USB Charging with our compact group. It tested well on the main leg with 130-volt L-N let-through voltage, but had worst-in-class protection on the N-G leg with 204-volt let-through. Overall, it didn’t offer much better protection than our preferred model from Accell—the Powramid—and the PowerGenius design is much less useful. Outlets have to be rotated a full 90 degrees to work, and many average-sized plugs will easily block the rotation or simply won’t fit when the outlets are twisted in certain configurations.

We dismissed the Belkin SurgePlus 6-Outlet Wall Mount Surge Protector with Dual USB Ports before testing because it’s priced similarly to the PivotPlug model and the PivotPlug’s design is much more useful. It has two USB ports, but so does our pick from Accell, which also fits more power bricks. The SurgePlus’s conventional design of two rows of three outlets is much too cramped to adapt to changing needs.


The IT-Reference 20i isn’t a flashy, bells-and-whistles-aplenty kind of product. It’s only designed to do a couple of things—and it does them in the background without any fanfare. One service it silently provides is surge protection. Now, I’ve had enough up-close experience with surge damage to know that anyone who doesn’t have his or her system hooked up to a good—and I mean good—surge suppressor is playing with electrical fire (possibly literally). You need to protect against all the potential ways for a surge to infiltrate and fry your system: the AC lines, the phone lines, the cable/satellite lines, and perhaps even the speaker wires if you have outdoor speakers. Surges are like desperate hitchhikers. They don’t care what they ride on as long as they make it to their destination.

The IT-Reference 20i includes instantaneous voltage-surge suppression for everything mentioned above except the speaker connections. (That’s a rare feature to find in any surge suppressor.) According to Furman, suppression of instantaneous voltage surges via the AC lines is a byproduct of the power-conditioning circuitry. Separate modules built into the unit protect against coaxial and telephone-line surges (three coax/one telephone).

The IT-Reference 20i’s main purpose in life is power conditioning. Although you can’t smell it or see it, the electricity that courses through the AC wiring in your home is a filthy, dirty thing that gets contaminated by electromagnetic interference (sometimes at radio frequencies). There are sags and/or surges in voltage thanks to a variety of factors, including other A/V components in your home theater system. Potentially, such AC noise can adversely affect low-level signals. Some of the worst symptoms include audible buzzing from ground loops and visible video hum bars. The end result is a system that doesn’t live up to its audio or video potential.

An additional problem comes from the high-current needs of big power amplifiers. When the outlet runs out of juice, or it’s filled with noise, jumbo amplifiers run out of steam—and your system’s dynamics suffer as a result.

Juice Pump

Furman’s Discrete Symmetrical Power technology involves the use of four discrete AC outlet banks providing separate lines of AC that have been scrubbed clean. It’s a design that’s supposed to eliminate ground loops, hum bars, power-supply backwash (that just sounds disgusting), and other electrical nastiness you can get when you connect multiple pieces of electronics together. It’s the kind of electrical pampering your preamp or your Blu-ray or HD DVD player would love.

Power amps, on the other hand, can be noisy AC hogs, and Furman’s Power Factor technology provides squeaky-clean electricity to your power amps without letting them electrically interfere with the other low-level components in your system. In addition to general AC hygiene, the technology provides a current reserve—in the case of the IT-Reference 20i, over amps—that gives your amps the extra split-second juice they need when you’re attempting to blow up 00or listen to the 181Overture.

Playing a Few Cords

Still, it wasn’t totally because of a desire to avoid a hernia (or hard work) that I started with this setup. Each of the new Def Techs has an active woofer and two passive radiators. A 300-watt digital amplifier powers the active woofer in each speaker. If Furman’s claims were true, surely there’d be at least a tiny audible difference with this much of a load to provide AC for.

Did I say “audible difference”? Try audible and visceral. Hooked up directly to the AC from the wall, the Mythos STs were already an excellent set of speakers. But, hooked up to one of the discrete AC outlet banks on the back of the IT-Reference 20i, the Def Techs seemed to grow in stature with bass that not only increased in heft and depth but also tightened and became more dynamic than before. I was in no way prepared for the difference the Furman made and had to hook and re-hook the power cords many times before I believed that what I was hearing was real.

Here are two quick examples. During the dueling drum sequence (“Batalla de los Tambores”) on the Godsmack Changes DVD, the drum hits sounded both deeper and tighter. Overall, the high-frequency content sounded cleaner, which was something I didn’t expect at all since the amps in the Mythos STs only power the woofers. I suspect it was the result of the tightened, cleaner bass output that was no longer masking the output of the midrange and high-frequency drivers, but that’s sheer supposition on my part. On Kathy Kosins’ Vintage CD, the svelte song “Go Slow” opens with a saxophone solo that grew richer and warmer when the speakers got their AC power through the Furman, although, once again, I’m not sure why that range would be affected in this case.

Without the IT-Reference 20i, the Mythos STs are still some of the finest-sounding speakers I’m familiar with in their price range. But, with the effects of the Furman, they took a step beyond the step beyond they were already at.

Smaller, much more subtle differences in the soundstage and overall sonic detail were noticeable when I ran isolated tests with other individual components, such as my Sunfire Theater Grand TGP-preamp. Perhaps I should have started there, since the initial effects were so overwhelming with the speakers and the HDTV that anything else was anticlimactic.

Torus Power TOT AVR power conditioner

Merriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary defines tot as “1: a small child: TODDLER; 2: a small drink or allowance of liquor: SHOT.” Torus Power used it to name their compact line of toroidal power conditioners. Although small in size, weight, and price, the TOT AVR includes the Automatic Voltage Regulation referred to in its name, as well as noise filtering and smart Ethernet control, and is available with series-mode surge suppression (SMSS) circuit protection.

Circuitry and Function

The optional Series Mode Surge Suppression (SMSS) board provides rapid, reliable, repeatable protection from voltage surges; in TOT AVRs sold in the US, the SMSS circuit clamps the voltage instantly if it rises more than 2V above the 135V limit. This replaces the TOT’s standard metal-oxide varistors (MOVs), which Torus describes as “sacrificial” because they absorb the voltage surge by instantly dropping their resistance to zero, which they can handle for just a few cycles before being destroyed. Torus claims that the SMSS circuit provides reliable protection against voltage spikes of up to 6000V, current surges of up to 3000A, for up to 1000 repeated electrical events. This capability protects audiophile equipment not only from Mexico City’s overvoltage surges, but also from lightning strikes. The manual points out that the SMSS works only if the TOT AVR is left powered up, and warns that it is not designed to protect against any voltage irregularities that can occur during power blackouts and later restoration of power.

Installation involved placing the 35.2-lb TOT AVR atop the larger Torus RM-20, where it would get adequate ventilation. At different times, I plugged the cords of a variety of components into the TOT AVR’s rear-panel jacks, with its own detachable power cord plugged into the wall. The TOT AVR supplied power to my Mark Levinson No.33dual-mono stereo amplifier (125Wpc into ohms), a Mark Levinson No.58integrated amplifier (200Wpc into ohms), my two JLA Fathom subs, and JLA’s CR-electronic crossover (30W). Later, I plugged into it a pair of Mark Levinson No.53monoblocks (400W into ohms).

With the TOT AVR feeding my reference system of a Mark Levinson No.33stereo amplifier driving a pair of Revel Ultima Salonspeakers, I heard subtle improvements in imaging, soundstage depth, and instrumental timbres, as well as in dynamic range, resolution, and tonal balance. The TOT created jet-“black” backgrounds that enhanced the three-dimensionality of images even when dynamics were extreme or the volume was loud. Removing the TOT AVR from my system made me aware of the slight line noise from my wall outlets. This was most evident when I listened to the prominent conga drum that opens “Hotel California,” from the Eagles’ Hell Freezes Over (CD, Geffen GEFD-24725). Without the line noise, the drumbeats at center stage that anchor this passage were more clearly defined and separate from the crowd noise. The similarly massive bass chord that cuts in just after the opening of Emmylou Harris’s “Deeper Well,” from Spyboy (CD, Eminent 25001-2), was focused front and center, allowing me to hear her voice and the drums separately, farther back on the stage.

Power it Up with BTUs

RV air conditioning is dependent upon its BTU (British thermal unit) specs for their power. Standard models come with 13,500 BTU (often written as 13.5k BTU), which provides a good yardstick by which to measure power.

If you frequent particularly hot places and like to keep your vehicle cool, look for a model with BTU higher than 13.5K, like the Dometic Duo Therm Brisk Or if you plan on using the RV air conditioner sparingly, look for a cheaper one with less power to save yourself some cash, like the Coleman Polar Cub.

How it works

Confused by the language? A split system refers to a unit comprised of two parts – one is attached to the internal wall of your home, while the other is fixed to the exterior of the house to exhaust the heat out. Reverse cycle refers to a model with both heating and cooling functions. A split-system, reverse-cycle model is able to cool/heat one or more adjoining rooms, usually covering a living room, bedroom or study.

Size it up

It’s essential to match the power of a unit to the room size. Choice tester Chris Barnes, team leader for household products, says the factors you need to take into account are, “room size, insulation and window direction, as well as window dressings, such as curtains or awnings”. Insulation is the key to keep your home cool in summer and warm in winter. “Good insulation means the air conditioner has less work to do,” says Barnes. For more advice, talk to your local supplier, or use Choice’s sizing calculator.





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Final Word

First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.

Most important, have fun and choose your power conditioner wisely! Good luck!

So, TOP3 of power conditioner



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