What is a Power Conditioner?


We get asked this question a lot… What is a Power Conditioner, and how is it different from the Humno and Hum-X? Often, they are mistaken as a competing product when in fact they are a complimentary products. In this article we’ll make it easy to understand what Power Conditioners do and how our Hum Elimination products compliment them.



Power Conditioners perform these three important functions:

1. Protects Your Equipment From Voltage Surges
2. Corrects Voltage and Waveform Distortions
3. Removes Noise on the Power Line (Hot & Neutral) From Interference


A Voltage Surge, sometimes referred to as a Voltage Spike or Power Surge, is defined as a sudden and brief increase in the voltage of an electrical current. They can be caused by internal and external sources and range from minor to extreme. Extreme surges can damage or destroy your equipment all at once. These can be caused by lightning strikes, Power Outages, Short circuits etc. and while they are rare they can lead to a worst case scenario where your equipment gets fried. Minor surges on the other hand can happen frequently and typically come from an internal source. When high powered appliances like Dehumidifiers, Refrigerators, Air Conditioners and even Hair Dryers are turned on you may notice your lights dimming for a brief moment. This is from those high powered appliances diverting electricity when they start up. While minor surges may not seem like an issue, overtime they can damage sensitive equipment. A Power Conditioner with Surge Protection will prevent sudden and long term damage to your equipment.


Fun Fact: Many customers have reached out to us over the years telling us that their Humno or Hum-X saved their gear from extreme power surges. While this renders the unit inoperable it can be easily replaced versus your cherished gear. This is not what the Humno and Hum-X are designed to do, but a nice added bonus that’s been revealed to us.


The second benefit from Power Conditioners is correcting voltage and waveform distortions. Complex instruments like keyboards and synthesizers require optimal power and if they aren’t getting the correct dose they can malfunction or fail to power on. Amplifiers can behave erratically too if they’re not getting the correct voltage. While most performance venues typically don’t have voltage problems you will likely encounter one at some point. That stage your Uncle Bob built for the neighborhood block party could spell disaster for your band, but having a Power Conditioner can save the day. Many Power Conditioners also have voltmeter displays that will tell you exactly how much voltage you’re getting from the outlet giving you a heads up on power issues.



Third, Power Conditioners can remove noise on the power line from from electro magnetic interference (EMI). This is achieved on the Hot and Neutral wires, but not the Ground Line like the Humno and Hum-X are designed for. In our “How to get rid of Hum” article we briefly discuss how EMI can get into your audio connection cables and the same principle applies here. An external source in close proximity like Radio Towers, Transformers, Lighting etc. can create unwanted noise through your power line. Power Conditioners remove this noise with a Transformer similar to how our Hum Eliminator uses an Isolation Transformer only through the audio connection.


To recap, Power Conditioners remove noise on the Hot and Neutral power line while the Humno and Hum-X remove noise on the Ground line. Power Conditioners can’t solve Ground Loop Hum or Ground related issues, but the Humno and Hum-X aren’t designed to do what Power Conditioners do. Each however covers the others weakness so we recommend having each in your tool box. Neither can also tackle Audio Connection Hum & Buzz so getting a Hum Eliminator too will make you an unstoppable force against pesky Hum & Buzz.


Lastly, it’s important to mention that not all Power Conditioners are created equally. Some are passive while others active and they can range anywhere from around $80 up to thousands of dollars. The more you spend, typically the better features you get but make sure you do your research as to what exactly you need. For musical instruments and personal pro audio use you really don’t need an advanced expensive one, but you’ll want to make sure that the one you do pick covers the three main functions covered in this article. Getting one with a Voltmeter display is also worth the investment in our opinion. Whichever you do choose, make sure you get a Morley Hum Removal Tool Box to ensure you can solve any Hum and Buzz issues you will eventually encounter on the Ground line.


By Pete Fenech