I own a Furman REF20i I bought here used for $1,400. I love it. I also own several Monster power conditioners. The Furman line is decent, the retail prices of Furman are very high for what is given. So getting at least 30% off is mandatory, or even more is possible. If you are getting it for at least 35% off retail and it is new, the warranty is worth it. (I believe 5 years $50,000. protection for all attached electronics, with the REF20i anyway) The REF 15i must have a similar warranty? They (Furman) give a nice smooth sound and it is as if a tube preamp has been added, without diminishing the bass. Video is enhanced with better color and far less grain in HD. The lesser (nonREF) Ferman are OK, but again very overpriced retail markup. A local dealer switched to Furman just to gain the huge margin on the product!! Hope this helps.
I have the Furman IT 15i power conditioner. On the forum I visit everyone has gone nuts on the Power Plant Premier. I even bought one. Honestly, I can't tell any difference in the sound or picture using either. I use both but prefer the looks of the Furman. I also use the outlet on the front of the Furman often to power my laptop and charge my cell, It's pretty handy. A very hefty solid unit. I paid $2000.00 new several years ago. Good luck.
Rilands, thanks for the candid response. Just demonstrates that sonic improvements from power conditioning are a crap- shoot. I've considered shelling out for a used Furman. I've also had the Premier and a Hydra. I wish an unbiased and respected member of the high end audio world would take a representative sample of the power conditioner and regeneration units and do some time of definitive comparison/ shootout. Could be of benefit to many.
I have the Ref-20 and Ref-15, the 20 does my amps and the 15 does my front end stuff. Each has its own 20a line. I prefer the power factor outlets, they give better dynamics and seem more open. I think your results depend on how good or bad your local power is.
I have the Furman IT REF 20i and the Furman SPR20i. The Furman Ref 20i conditions the power with a massive torriod isolation transformer and performs 4 to 1 power factor matching. Thus, there is an interaction between your equipment's power supplies and the what is delivered at the wall.
Hands down I can tell you in my highly resolving audio system that the difference was immediate as images lifted off the speakers. I am using my 15 amp house wiring circuit which is arguably terrible. I then nearly did not, but finally did pick up the SPR20i and connected this to the wall first, then used the high power outputs to the Furman Ref20i (which essentially has a capacitor inside of it "the size of your forearm"--to quote one Furman engineer or obvious to anyone with some spacial imagination regarding the unit internal layout to store energy.
So, what the system sees through the individual filtered isolated banks on the back of the Ref 20i is now highly filtered and a virtual instantaneous 88+ amps according to their specs and longer duration (I assume one cycle) 8+ amps.
When I added the SPR20i (speced at 55 Amps peak, which is just fine), the noise floor during music playback dropped noticably further due to the further filtering and the measured Voltage at the output became stable without short term peak noise.
I had measured peaks on the Fluke 87-V of around 500 to 700 Volts out of my wall socket. Then I did this at the Tripplite Power Distribution Unit (PDU) at my amp input and no peaks were measured. RMS voltage became filtered, smooth, and abundant at this output (into the equipment).
I went further and measured the monitoring taps on one of my Hi-End Tube amps...that are auto-biased, but allow one to monitor the health of the 300B PSETs Tubes via two test points per monoblock for a Volt meter, which is the analog of the milliAmps of the Tube filiment regulated auto-biased power supply circuit within these monoblocks.
Now, instead of the Voltage moving around a few Volts, especially over a time span of say 30 seconds, I got stable Voltage for periods of about 30 seconds, meaning that the Voltage did move, but without any spikes and very slowly.
This cleaned up Voltage for tubes is scientifically known to keep the filiments out of a state of stress by keeping the filiment Voltage very stable. Your expensive Tubes WILL last longer. You may hit a break even point right there, if you think about it that way.
It is better than mere measurements however, the sound is unbelievable and the improvement was not subtle.
I also have a MC452 SS amp and this opened the soundstage and became noticably wide open with instrument further differentiated. The soundstage going backwards to a refined ear would hear a more compact sound...some would say smaller...even congested.
This is not a mark against the MC452, which is an exemplary SS amplifier, rather it demonstrates just how badly I needed power conditioning in my situation and that there was a very good reason my system did not sound right to me...after large investments in just audio equipment itself.
The Furman Reference power conditioning equipment is something that I whole heartedly endorse and found after my own exhaustive search.
It delivers when you PLAY the music. Yes, you will hear a reduction in line hiss if you stick your ear up to the speaker without program material playing, but the difference IS when the music IS playing. I have no doubt that videophiles will find excellent results.
If you want real and serious power conditioning equipment, without questionable secrecy about what is in the expensive box and the accompanying VooDoo, this IS THE ONLY power conditioning equipment I personally recommend.
There may be other solutions...but, this is the one I choose.
Matthew Audiophile Electronics Engineer (BSEE w/honors) Practicing for 25 years
PS--I would expect the Ref 15i to be an excellent unit, just know that its current reserves are 3 to 4 amps (presumed one cycle minimum duration) and 55+ amps RMS instanteous reserve. That reads like a good piece of equipment to me, especially in light of my own experience with the Ref 20i).
If you can afford it...highly recommended to get both the Ref 15i or Ref20i and the SPR20i and connect the two units you choose the way I have explained.
If you have made a substantial investment in your system that has equipment worth several thousand dollars each, then I think this is cost justified and in the same league and I sincerly believe you will notice a difference.
PSS--This is only a hobby for me. I do not work for this manufacturer. Also, I am NOT advocating purchasing anything Furman, just the pieces I cite here. You must do your research and evaluate your application. Some of their lower level equipment has mixed reviews. Some love it...others do not... Good Luck!!!
PSS--If I had it to do over again, would I do anything different with respect to power? I would actually call this the next step I have procrastinated on doing, because it requires an installation I do not look forward to in the current home.
The answer would be...I would keep all of this excellent power conditioning equipment and next add some 20 amp circuits. Such circuits can make a profound difference. I have witnessed such a difference on equipment I have owned on circuits that were probably 20 amp minimum...maybe 30 amp or more...but, supposed to be 20 amp based on their socket installation.
This difference is not subtle, especially with amplification...especially Solid State (SS) amplification...particularly to bring Class A operation into its operating point with the speed of only a few minutes and not hours on a 15 amp circuit. In that instance, The sound literally dropped off the speakers and the soundstage exploded...left in a room with the speakers just standing there like strange obelisks dissociated from the music enveloping the listener...
The stock power cords are configured for the wall for a 15 amp circuit. At the unit they mate up like a 20 amp circuit...one can easily swop them out if you have preferences. The Furman equipment is well made. I would either refer to their specs or call them regarding their stock PCs. Good Luck.
I have just finished installing a Furman IT-Reference 15i into my system. Purchased 9-of-10 used for $1150. This is my first experience with power conditioning beyond the IsoMAX units. Observations:
(A) I think it's a real shame that all of eleven of the outlets are switched. In this day there are quite a few devices which like to be receive standby power when switched "off", and the two I happen to own (Cambridge 840c and Marantz NA7004) could not be connected to the Furman for this reason.
(B) There is no ramping of output on power-on: you will be sending significant transients through your gear when turning the unit on/off. In my installation it seems to take 30 or more seconds before I can turn on the power amp because of an unsettling 60Hz hum.
(C ) I initially connected my phono and line preamps to the "Symmetrical" (balanced?) outputs, and was really disturbed at the flatness and lack of life which I heard. Acting on a hunch I moved these devices over to the "linearly-filtered" outputs. The move cleared that up completely, a change which just amazed me. The symmetrical outputs remain unused.
(D) At the price I paid, and given the caveats above, I have to say I am -very- pleased with what the Furman has added to my system. Noise: way down, most interestingly in terms of the noise being picked up my my Shelter 501 II MM cartridge (overall hum AND induced TT motor noise seem to be gone). Everything seems to have gained as well in definition and presence (I am terrible at hifi adjectives). Overall, installing the IT-Reference 15i did a LOT for my system.
I installed the Shunyata RZ71 outlet in place of one of the generic Furman outlets and that made an improvement. I believe the stock(cheap) outlets on the Furman 15 are compromising it. Also, upgrading the male power connector with something better from Furutech or Oyaide will also improve performance. These are very easy and reversable mods to the Furman.You don't need to solder anything.
Lacee, that's why I DIYed my own balanced power unit years ago. I didn't like the parts selection and daisy-chain wiring of outlets in factory-manufactured units. I opted for Furutech and Oyaide outlets and connectors, OCC silver and copper wiring, etc.
Pardon me, but this thread has me conflicted — maybe you can help clarify? If I buy the Furman SPR20i it appears I will receive:
Stable Power AC Voltage Regulation Tech (20 Amps RMS)
LiFT (Linear Noise Filtering Technology) — Spec’d nearly identical to the 20PFi
SMP (Series Multi-Stage Protection), featuring
EVS (Extreme Voltage Shutdown).
The only uniquely addition from the Elite 20PFi appears to be
Discrete Symmetrical AC Filtering on 8 of 12 outlets
(and it could be said x2 of the SPR20i benefits)
Do I have that correct?
If so, it seems to me (on a budget) I should buy only the SPR20i to get all the good stuff without the “flat” effects of the 20PFi. Can anyone confirm the effect of the Discrete Symmetrical AC Filtering as described?
I presume we can all agree that filtering again what has already been filtered could improve matters with diminishing results.
Flatness from Discrete Symmetrical AC Filtering is another matter. One I would prefer to steer clear of everywhere!
I have the Furman IT Reference 15i and Elite 15i. 1) Reference is much cleaner than Elite. It's worth the extra costs. 2) The symmetrically balanced outlets are much cleaner than the linearly filtered outlets. Sonically, the two types of outlets are different. I would say the symmetrically balanced outlets gives a flatter frequency response curve, hence flatness. Whether that is a good thing or not, it's a personal taste. I'd say there is a reason that the IT Reference 20i has eight symmetrically balanced outlets but the 15i has only two.
I wonder if anyone compared the 20i's symmetrical outlets and 15i's, as the 20i's symmetrical outlets are also linearly filtered but the 15i's are not.
I own a Furman IT Reference 20i and it is without doubt the best addition to my system that I could have made. Dead silence, details, speed, body all improved with no down sides. Bass is clean and deeper. I’ve owned others from so called audiophile companies and I sold them all and quickly. My Furman been in my system for 3 years and is not going anywhere. I see Audioquest hired the guy from Furman and they have their unit out at a cost almost double and it functions and has the same setup in the back like my unit. Audiophile name and you will pay more than needed. As far as being flat, well I don't get that concern, every recording I play sounds great and if tube recording they sound warm and musical and then if from the soild state era it sounds that way. So is this not what we want? The unit does not hurt your system.