Furman Classic Series Power Conditioners

By Barry Rudolph

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Furman Classic Series Power Conditioners
Furman Classic Series Power Conditioners

There are five new models in the Classic Series of power conditioners from Furman Sound all designed for A/V professionals. These single-rack space units come as three 15-amp models, the PL-8C, PL-PLUS C, and PL-PLUS DMC, and two 20-amp "Pro" models, the PL-PRO C and PL-PRO DMC.

Most power strips with surge suppression use MOVs--that's metal oxide varistor. MOVs quickly shunt (connect) the line to ground during over voltage conditions. After resetting the circuit breaker, you'll have to replace the "sacrificial" MOV or replace the whole strip. Cheap MOVs can deteriorate over time so that strip you bought on sale at Wal-Mart a couple of years ago might work better at stopping a door than a surge.

The Furman Classic Series uses Series Multi-Stage Protection or SMP, a different method of surge suppression that incorporates MOVs in a non-sacrificial way. SMP dissipates a spike using a combination of circuitry and MOVs wired so that don't carry the full brunt of the spike--so you're still protected without replacing anything. SMP clamps to 133 VAC RMS--not a damaging high line voltage for the short time before the circuit breaker blows. Other surge protectors let the voltage go to about 233 VAC RMS before they blow--not much over voltage protection Mr. Rogers.

I'm using my new PL-PRO DMC for my entire Tones 4 $ Studios facility. The 20-amp pro version DMC uses a 12-gauge power cable and a NEMA plug to connect it to a special socket and dedicated circuit I had installed for my studio. All AC power is sourced from it including my Furman/Panamax PFPower M1500-UPS-PFP AC line regulator/back-up system that runs the computers and disc drives I use. I plug my Hafler P6000 amp (300-watt NS-10M power amp) into it along with a floor lamp, archival disc drives, CD and DVD player, lava lamp, smoke machine, video monitor, strobe lights, guitar amp and other non-critical gear not sensitive to power outages.

The PL-PRO DMC uses LIFT or Linear Filtering Technology to filter the AC line and reduce contamination of the ground path. When recording guitars with single-coil pickups and loads of amp gain, I hear a lot less trash getting into the pickups when using it.

I like the look of the unit's machined aluminum black front panel with its recessed main on/off circuit breaker switch that makes it hard to accidentally toggle it off. The adjustable blue, expanded-scale line voltage digital volt/amp meter display looks cool and I like the soft light from the dimmable light tubes that pull out and retract back into the unit. A "Protection OK" indicator on the front panel shows that all systems are go. I think both the front-panel USB charger port (for cameras, iPods etc.) and rear panel BNC jack for a gooseneck lamp are thoughtful and fully pro touches mostly not found on other units.

There are nine outlets each rated at 20-amps max: a front panel one for your electric shaver and eight more on the rear-panel. Those eights are separated into two isolated banks for lowering inter-component noise interference. One bank has five sockets and the other has four appropriately (including the front panel receptacle) spaced for wall-warts. Velcro tie-down wart straps come with the unit.

There is no other range of rack-mounted power conditioner units that come even close to the features and depth of protection of the new Furman Classic Series. The PL-PRO DMC is the top of the line but all the Classic Series units offer the same surge and noise protection and only differ in meter style and function, current handling capability and lighting facilities.

I see a lot of single rack space units similar to the Furman/Panamax units in my travels to studios around town but none of them have lasted and worked like my good 'ol Furman PL-8--some 25-years old now.

The Classic Series sell for: $209 (PL-8C), $269 (PL-PLUS C), $369 (PL-PLUS DMC), $429 (PL-PRO C), and $499 (PL-PRO DMC).

Barry Rudolph is an L.A.-based recording engineer. Visit his Web site at: WWW.BARRYRUDOLPH.COM

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