Ultimate tube tone. If that’s what you strive for, then the Furman P-1800 PF R belongs in your guitar or bass rig. Because while surge protectors are a dime a dozen (use one and we’re cancelling your free MusicPlayers.com subscription), and power conditioners like Furman’s fantastic PL-Plus and PL-C clean up dirty power and protect your gear from harmful power overages, the P-1800 PF R takes things one critical step further: a constant flow of all the electrical current your amp requires.
The P-1800 PF R’s Power Factor Technology keeps a 45-amp power reserve on tap so that your tube amp always receives a full supply of power. It’s the fluctuating power and slow power onrush of typical electrical circuits that saps tone and response from tube amps, and knowing that power conditions easily vary from one venue to the next, delivering constant maximum power to your amp rightfully ensures consistent tone and response from your amp.
|Documentation & Support||10%|
|OVERALL RATING = 3.7, which earns it a WIHO Award!
3.6 stars or better: Outstanding, WIHO Award
3 stars or better: Worth considering
2 stars or better: Suited to specific needs
1 star or less: Not recommended
If your gigs take you to a number of different venues where you find yourself wondering why on some nights your rig just seems more “alive” than on others, you’re probably experiencing fluctuations in the quality of the electrical supply… or you’re drinking too much before the show.
Bottom line: There is no better protection for a tone snob’s guitar/bass rig for under $1,000 than the Furman P-1800 PF R. And if you don’t require Power Factor Technology (which ads the bulk of the expense), the next best solutions for your rig can be found in the Furman PL-Pro and PL-Plus series products (reviewed here).
Sure, you’ll find eight power sockets on the rear of the 15-amp P-1800 PF R (plus one on the front), but don’t think of this as a glorified power strip. There is a lot of stuff happening inside the P-1800 PF R above and beyond traditional surge suppression:
Power Factor Technology. As mentioned above, the key feature separating this unit from the PL series is that it stores a 45-amp peak current reserve in order to deliver a constant stream of power to your gear. But the feature also includes Furman’s Clear Tone Technology, which is an advanced AC noise filter that filters much more than simple 60-cycle hum. It attenuates noise between 30 and 70 dB at 2 kHz, 10 kHz, 20 kHz, and 100 kHz, cleaning up noise that might otherwise mask some of your guitar’s harmonic content.
A secondary linear filter (LiFT) further reduces AC line noise and is the “traditional” Furman noise filtering technology present across a wide range of their products.
Series Multi-Stage Protection (SMP). Besides advanced surge suppression capabilities, the associated Extreme Voltage Shutdown (EVS) technology shuts your equipment Off in the event of extreme voltage being sent to the device, such as if it were accidentally connected to an outlet running at a much higher voltage (handy if you’re on an international tour and your tech plugs your gear into a 220V outlet by mistake).
In addition to an extra outlet, the front panel of the P-1800 PF R features a blue, digital LED voltmeter (with adjustable brightness), and a convenient USB jack for charging your mobile devices while you’re playing. Of course these days, it’s just as likely that you’re actually using the mobile device for some element of your sound creation. AmpliTube, anyone?
On the rear of the P-1800 PF R, eight outlets are spread out and arranged in isolated groups. The first two outlets (from right) are isolated high-current outlets. These outlets benefit from the Power Factor Technology, and two outlets enable you to protect a pair of amps or a rack-mounted rig with separate tube preamps and power amps.
There are two banks of three outlets each so that you can isolate some of your effects and rig infrastructure products if desired for further electrical noise reduction. The first bank (far left) has extra-wide spacing to accommodate wall warts, and Furman provides Velcro straps that attach to the rear of the P-1800 PF R to secure those necessary evils to the rack. Anyone who is ever forced to lay his/her rack on its back for transport in a car will appreciate this clever little feature.
A BNC lamp connector on the back is useful for troubleshooting your rig on a dimly lit stage, assuming you connect an optional gooseneck lamp to it, of course.
All this technology wouldn’t amount to much if you actually had to understand it, but fortunately, the P-1800 PF R is as plug-n-play as any other power conditioner, and it keeps your gear safe from all the electrical hazards that life can throw at you short of a direct lightning strike. Just remember to plug your amps in the sockets labeled “High Current” and you’re ready to rock.
We loved the Velcro strips for securing our wall warts in place, and wish Furman had this simple feature in all of their products.
Additionally, we appreciated the dedicated On/Off switch for the rear lamp socket. We connected a gooseneck lamp of unknown origin without any problem.
Furman line conditioners make your guitar and bass rigs sound better. Their line filtering technology really cleans up “dirty power” which does translate into better sound from your guitar/bass amp or effects rig. It’s subtle, and most likely to be noticed by players with critical listening skills, or players with active gigging/session schedules.
The P-1800 PF R makes a real difference for tube amp aficionados with its Power Factor Technology and the additional line filtering stage provided. It’s really no wonder why so many of the world’s top players have P-1800 PF Rs in their rigs (or even larger Furman line conditioning products). If your playing requires true consistency in your amp’s response and tone, the P-1800 PF R offers the most affordable way to get that consistency.
While we have been extremely skeptical when it comes to various claims from makers of costly IEC power cables that can clean up your tone, Furman line conditioners do make a difference you can hear. And with the P-1800 PF R’s reserve power, it delivers uncompromised tube amp response that is unequalled by other less-costly products.
Documentation and Product Support
The P-180 PF R includes a comprehensive owner’s manual that fully explains each of the features implemented in the power conditioner, as well as providing a useful troubleshooting guide.
Furman line conditioners are warranted for five years, so hold onto your receipt after you race out to buy one.
The P-1800 PF R (MSRP $1,100) sells for approximately $900, a good value given its capabilities. Nobody likes spending a lot of money on rig infrastructure products (like this), but if you’ve invested thousands in your amp and effects, consider a good power conditioner an equally important investment that you can use with all of your gear.
We also highly recommend the less expensive PL-Pro and PL-Plus series power conditioners if you can’t justify spending for the Power Factor Technology. You’ll still be making a worthwhile upgrade to your rig that provides the best protection available.
If you have no rack gear but would still love that power reserve for your tube amp, check out the Furman P-1800 PF, which sells for under $450. It has two high-current outlets with this protection plus two standard jacks. A few less bells and whistles, but mighty tone, noise suppression, and surge protection.