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Unread 09-17-2012, 10:43 PM   #1
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Power Conditioner with tube amp head?

I was just wondering if anyone could tell me why it is that power conditioners are so commonly used with racks but not with tube amp heads. Are heads not damaged by power surges and brownouts? I recently ordered my first tube amp (an EVH 5150 III 50W) and was wondering how best to care for it. My house is afflicted by frequent brownouts and occasional power surges and I was wondering whether the amp is equipped to deal with these occurrences or whether they will ultimately cause damage to the amp. If this is the case and these power inconsistencies will damage the amp, how can I better protect it? Would a power conditioner be an effective solution? Does anyone use power conditioners with their heads? Hopefully my post is okay since I'm new to the forum. Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Unread 09-17-2012, 11:15 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melodeth View Post
I was just wondering if anyone could tell me why it is that power conditioners are so commonly used with racks but not with tube amp heads. Are heads not damaged by power surges and brownouts? I have just purchased my first tube amp (evh 5150 II 50W) and want to make sure that no harm will come of the brownouts my house frequently witnesses. Does anyone use power conditioners with their heads? Hopefully my post is okay since I'm new to the forum. Thanks in advance for any advice.
Welcome to the forum! You are smart for wanting to use a power conditioner with your head. I too have some electrical issues in my house, and I've been using a Furman power conditioner for a few years now with my amps. They do help with reducing line noise, but they are invaluable when it comes to protecting your gear. Trust me - you do not want to be the victim of a surge/brownout when you're playing. I've lost electronics that way, and it's no fun. Definitely get one!

Sweet amp by the way. Love the 5153s!
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Unread 09-18-2012, 10:19 AM   #3
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I use a power conditioner with my heads. I wouldn't run them without one.

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Unread 09-18-2012, 10:33 AM   #4
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I use a power conditioner just because I have one. I also use a high end power strip for computers.

If you feel like your home has fluctuating power and all, it would probably be a good idea to get one.
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Unread 09-18-2012, 11:24 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melodeth View Post
I was just wondering if anyone could tell me why it is that power conditioners are so commonly used with racks but not with tube amp heads. Are heads not damaged by power surges and brownouts? I recently ordered my first tube amp (an EVH 5150 III 50W) and was wondering how best to care for it. My house is afflicted by frequent brownouts and occasional power surges and I was wondering whether the amp is equipped to deal with these occurrences or whether they will ultimately cause damage to the amp. If this is the case and these power inconsistencies will damage the amp, how can I better protect it? Would a power conditioner be an effective solution? Does anyone use power conditioners with their heads? Hopefully my post is okay since I'm new to the forum. Thanks in advance for any advice.
Furman M8DX Merit Series Spike Protector at zZounds

These are pretty nice to have dude. I got one in my rack case, here's the pro's minus the surge protection:

1. It has 8 outlets on the back side, 5 side by side, 3 spaced for wall wart adapters. There's also an extra outlet on the front panel as well.
2. You can run it like a kill switch...thats how i do it I put mine at the top of the rack, run ALL my rig through it and leave everything on (with the exception of my standby switch on my amp) and when you want to power on/off your rig, its just flipping 1 switch on front as opposed to multiples. Very nice

3. If you start building up more rack gear, it has 2 built in lights that you pull out and a dimmer switch to adjust them. Pretty handy little extra if you need to adjust your shit on a dark stage.

4. ........its 100 bucks!

Like the guys have already said, its a pretty valuable piece of gear, you dont wanna fry that new amp you got man. Its better to have it and relatively not need it then to risk cooking your rig without.
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Unread 09-19-2012, 09:54 PM   #6
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thanks for the advice guys I think I will get a power conditioner based on your responses.
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Unread 09-20-2012, 10:35 AM   #7
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I believe they are an essential piece to run any of your gear through, especially your amp. Prolonged exposure to spikes and brownouts does in fact wear at your amps circuitry but I have no idea how long it would actually take to cause enough damage to cause the amp to fail.

I purchased the Furman Power Factor Pro to help alleviate the same problems I had years ago. It cleaned up the power removing alot of white noise. Amp actually sounded much better. A few years ago I also purchased the AR-15 II Voltage Regulator after getting my Rivera. That made an even larger improvement with sound/tone/performance consistancy. I never plug any gear into anything without plugging it into my conditioner/voltage regulator combo first.
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Unread 09-20-2012, 03:57 PM   #8
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Hate to disagree with everyone but... the cheap (~100 of whatever currency) power conditioners aren't actually going to save you from any kind of brownout, the best you could hope for is over-voltage protection and possibly some RF removal. They won't damage your amp but certainly won't save it.

An expensive power conditioner (a voltage regulator) may in fact damage your amp (or the sound at least) by clamping the amount of amperage the amp can draw. Tube amps can cause massive swings in the current draw at the wall which a true power conditioner will try and limit. This could affect the sound or cause problems which are probably best left to someone more knowledgeable to explain.

Personally, I'd trust the power supply circuitry in your head over essentially an expensive multiplug. I actually use a power distributor in my rack but it's purely for that reason - I'm not expecting it to save anything if there was an electrical problem, it's just handy to have all the sockets in the back.

There's a massive thread on bass talk where they discuss all the different advantages and disadvantages, ex furman employees even jump in.

Info on power conditioners - TalkBass Forums

tl;dr - to answer your original question: Tube amps don't need conditioners because they already contain sufficient protection circuitry in their power supplies. Also, being analogue, they aren't as susceptible to many issues that affect integrated devices as they can work over a more forgiving voltage range.
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Last edited by Shub-Niggurath; 09-20-2012 at 03:59 PM. Reason: added a bit
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Unread 09-20-2012, 09:27 PM   #9
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I haven't actually looked inside some of the cheapo power conditioners, but I doubt they actually do what they claim. Proper power conditioners either use a ferroresonant transformer (which are huge and expensive), or use a switch mode type approach, where they convert the AC input into DC, then slice the DC back into a 50/60Hz sine wave approximation. I personally don't believe in power conditioners, but other guys swear by them
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