So here's the list; In the order of importance as I see them they are as follows:
- Audio Interface
- DAW Software
- Power Conditioner
- Acoustic Treatment
- Studio Monitors (speakers)
- External Hard Drive
- Cables & Accessories
Now, I'm no electrical engineer - so my description may be quite an oversimplification, but I hope it helps. One things for sure, you need to protect your equipment. Many people use the wrong piece of equipment, which brings us to today's topic:
5 - Power Conditioner – You have all this equipment, make sure you treat it right. 'But Mel' you say, 'I already have a surge suppressor with a $100,000 guarantee. Aren't I protected?' The answer is a resounding 'No!' What you need to do is condition that electricity to make sure the fine electronics you have stay in great shape. Oh, and that surge suppressor guarantee? It only works if the wiring in your house is properly in place, and you'll have to prove that it wasn't an 'act of god', etc. You would likely be better off with a good homeowner's insurance policy (you renters can and should get one too). One fact you should know - nothing you simply plug in to your gear is going to work well if your house's wiring is funtionally inadequate. A visit by an electrician might come with an estimate on fixing what's wrong, but it may also come with a clean bill of health.
So why are Power Conditioners a great purchase for any expensive equipment? Well, power conditioners are very different from the surge suppressors many people think they need. Surge Suppressors are a ‘dead man’s switch’. To simplify - if a huge power spike comes down the line, your surge suppressor throws itself in the way – frying it’s internal circuitry in the process – in an attempt to salvage your electronics. The best ones will try to reroute that electronic frying spike down the ground wire.
So how does a power conditioner work differently? A Power conditioner is constantly working to make sure any fluctuations (large and small) are managed. It prevents static, hums and shortened life spans on your electronics. By way of three separate (but complementary) functions - your valuable studio equipment will be much safer and, potentially, last much longer. If you get another year out of your equipment, we all know it's worth the small investment to condition your power.
I'm going to hand off the technical writing on this topic. I've forwarded this link to many who didn't understand the differences. This describes it much more elegantly, and technically, than I easily could. It's from Electrical Construction and Maintenance Magazine. Click to read the article Surge Strips vs. Plug-in Power Conditioners.
To wrap it up, there are many, many power conditioners available. Most of the quality ones, but not all, are rack mounted. Just be careful not to buy the one from the kid at the store who assures you the one in the box that includes your HDMI cables, etc will 'do the trick'.
Furman makes great power conditioners that start around $50-60 dollars. Buy one, buy two! The FURMAN M-8x2 Merit X Series M-8x2 Power Conditioner
That wraps up today's topic. stay tuned for next week's topic in the Home Studio Equipment Reviews and Recommendations Series, Headphones!
Make it a great Day!