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Furman Elite-15 DMi and Elite-20 PFi Power Conditioners Review

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The Furman Elite-15 DMi (above) and Elite-20 PFi (below).

The Furman Elite-15 DMi (above) and Elite-20 PFi (below).

Summary

  • Product Name: Elite-15 DMi and Elite-20 PFi
  • Manufacturer: Furman
  • Review Date: October 28, 2014 09:00
  • MSRP: $559 (Elite-15 DMi) and $1,199 (Elite-20 PFi)
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Buy Now
Elite-15 DMi
  • Current rating: Input: 15 amps; Output: 15 amps RMS (maximum, all outlets combined - continuous)
  • Linear Noise Attenuation: Transverse (Differential) Mode: > 40 dB from 10Khz. - 100 kHz.; > 80 dB from 2 Khz. - 100 kHz. — 1GHz. (Linear attenuation curve from 0.05 – 100 ohms line impedance)
  • Outlets: 9 (linearly filtered outlet - rear panel -(6) switching - 12V triggered); 4 (linearly filtered outlets with additional ultrasonic filtering for digital or video components; 2 switching - 12V triggered
  • Transient Voltage Surge Suppression: 120 VAC - Series Multi-Stage Protection; Non-Sacrificial with Zero Ground Contamination; Extreme Voltage Shutdown; Telco Cable / Satellite (less than .1dB insertion loss)
  • Dimensions: 4” H x 17” W x 14.75” D (Standard 2 RU height without feet)
  • Weight:    14 lbs.
  • Power Consumption: 12 Watts for display and control circuits independent of actual load.
  • Safety Agency Listing: NRTL-C
  • Warranty: The Furman Elite-15 DMi is protected by a three year limited warranty covering defects in materials and workmanship.


Elite-20 PFi

  • AC Current Capacity: Input - 20 Amp capacity required; Output - 16-20 Amps RMS (maximum, all outlets combined - continuous)
  • Linear Noise Attenuation:: Transverse (Differential) Mode: > 40 dB from 5Khz. - 100 kHz.; > 80 dB from - 100 kHz. – 1GHz. Common Mode: > 40dB from 10Hz. – 30 kHz.; >20 from 40 kHz. – 1MHz.; (Linear attenuation curve from 0.05 – 100 ohms line impedance)
  • Outlets: 1 (ultra-linear filtered outlet - front panel); 8 (ultra-linear filtered outlets with additional bi-directional ultrasonic filtering for each analog or video components bank);  4 (power factor corrected amplifier outlets – 4 amps RMS reserve - resistive load - over 55 amps peak charge)
  • Transient Voltage Surge Suppression: 120 VAC - Series Multi-Stage Protection;  Non-Sacrificial with Zero Ground Contamination.; Extreme Voltage Shutdown; Telco Cable / Satellite (less than .1dB insertion loss)
  • Dimensions: 4” H x 17” W x 14.75” D (Standard 2 RU height without feet)
  • Weight: 18 lbs.
  • Power Consumption: 12 Watts for display and control circuits independent of actual load.
  • Safety Agency Listing: NRTL-C (pending)
  • Warranty: The Furman Elite-20 PFi is protected by a three year limited warranty covering defects in materials and workmanship.

Executive Overview

The world is a rough place for electronic equipment: between large scale events like lightning strikes and smaller surges from the grid, and even other appliances in your home, TV’s and your A/V gear will take a beating over the years. One way to mitigate this situation comes in the way of surge protection / power filtration from devices like the Furman Elite-15 DMi and Elite-20 PFi. Priced at $559.00 and $1,199.00 respectively, you’re probably wondering what makes these worth the cost over the $20 strips at your local big box store…

 Furman Elite-15 DMi and Elite-20 PFi review

Design & Features

Just glancing at the Furman Elite-15 DMi and the Elite-20 PFi should give you the impression that these aren’t run of the mill surge protector strips. Both models boast a solidly built 2U rack mountable chassis, with the Elite-20 offering a detachable power cord and hospital grade receptacles for a solid connection. Glancing at the front panel, you’ll find a voltage and current meter on the Elite-15, while the Elite-20 eschews these in favor of a pair of LED lamps to illuminate equipment situated below it. Moving to the rear, you’ll also see 12V trigger inputs and switched outlets which can be helpful to stagger powering on your devices and avoid popping a breaker.

Elite 15 & 20 Rear

Rear view of the Elite-15 DMi (above) and Elite-20 PFi (below)

Last but not least on the feature list, the Elite-20 sports one feature that Furman is calling Power Factor Technology. In short, the Elite-20 PFi can store a surplus of up to 55 amps of peak charge for your amplifier, which could theoretically give it greater peak output capability. To test this claim, we performed a quick dynamic burst test with our Audio Precision APx585 Audio Analyzer on an amplifier we had on hand. However, our results were unable to prove the efficacy of the technology.

Now for the big question: what kind of protection are you getting for your money? Instead of utilizing MOVs (metal oxide varistors) which attempt to shunt a surge to the ground wire, Furman is using what’s known as series mode surge protection. What this means is that a large inductor is placed in series with the load, which acts to smooth a spike over time, allowing it to then be absorbed by a capacitor bank and slowly released onto the neutral line. The big benefits to series mode protection are a lack of ground contamination (which is important for data transmission in the IT world), and the fact that they aren’t “one and done” sacrificial devices like most cheap strips. We note also that to ensure safety, both the Elite-15 DMi and the Elite-20 PFi are certified by Intertek, which is an OSHA-certified NRTL (nationally recognized testing lab).  Many competitor power conditioners often have no safety or regulatory certification at all so look closely at this when making a purchasing decision.

Summary

If you’ve got several thousand dollars’ worth of equipment, odds are good that you’ll want to spend a little more than bottom dollar to protect said equipment from harm. While Furman’s Elite-15 DMi and Elite-20 PFi are definitely pricey solutions, their use of series mode surge protection gives them a significant advantage in long term durability over “ordinary” surge protectors. Solid build quality and a helpful feature set add to the value proposition. The only fly in the ointment appears to be the Elite-20 PFi’s Power Factor Technology, which doesn’t appear improve amplifier output as claimed. We would be just as happy to see Furman ditch this feature in favor of the voltage and current monitors seen on the Elite-15 DMi. Maybe next year.

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About the author:

Steve Munz is a “different” addition to Audioholics’ stable of contributors in that he is neither an engineer like Gene, nor has he worked in the industry like Cliff. In fact, Steve’s day job is network administration and accounting.

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