Friday, September 28, 2012

Furman M-8LX Merit Series Power Conditioner Review


As a sound guy you can never have enough power outlets, but Kmart power strips do not always provide the stable power or circuit protection that is needed for higher-end audio equipment. Furman has been in the business of making power conditioners for years, and I always wanted to try one but they always seemed to be a little too spendy for my tastes. But looking through their line-up I found that their Merit Series products are priced at a more reasonable level, so I thought it was time to give one a try.

There are a few different models in the Merit Series, and I finally decided on the M-8LX, which has all of the available features except for the built-in volt meter. The M-8LX is designed to fit into one rack unit, and it weighs in at a solid 6 pounds. It is a smart looking unit, and it includes two pull-out 4 watt incandescent lamps on the front, so you can light up the rest of your rack equipment. These lamps have a dimmer knob, in case you find that they are too bright (not likely). They are a bit dim and maybe LEDs would have been better for this application.

The meat of this unit would be the power outlets, and there are plenty of them. There is one conveniently placed outlet on the front, and eight filtered and protected outlets on the rear. Three of the ones on the rear are placed far enough apart so that they can accommodate some wall warts without obstructing the other outlets. Of course wall warts might fit so well if you have deeper rack units located next to the Furman.

Also on the back is a 15 Amp circuit breaker switch and a captive 6-foot 14-gauge power cable. A detachable cable would have been nicer, in my opinion, but then again some moron would use a less beefy cable and complain about degraded performance. From the circuit breaker you can figure out that this unit can handle a 15 Amp load, and this is up to 130 Volts AC.

Besides providing a convenient location for your outlets and spike protection (not to mention those lights) what else does this unit provide? It filters noise (RFI/EMI) and thus provides a quieter power supply. One thing it will not do is provide any sort of compensation for voltages that are off kilter from extension cords, generators or god knows what. This is not a voltage regulator, and that is why the Merit Series is so much cheaper than other Furman products.

The 3-year limited warranty is nice, but the best part about the Furman Merit M-8LX is its price, which is quite reasonable for what you get, even if you do not get all of the usual Furman features. It has an MSRP of $120 and a street price of $99.95, but I found that they sell on Amazon for around $70. That is quite a deal, if you ask me.


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