UPS and Furman

I am a bit confused about ups and Furman… and using or not both.
Someone says yes… some other says “no way”…

I see that usually you put everything in this sequence: power + ups + Furman.
In my case I don’t have an ups and a Furman neither but I’m planning to buy both. As ups I would like an APC model.

But, anyway, do you guys have both?
Why someone says that with a good ups you don’t need a Furman…? Maybe it’s true but I believe that almost every medium/big studio has a Furman or similar… and, probably, most of them has a ups too.
I know that connecting a Furman to the ups may require an extra (and not useful?) work to the ups’ batteries… so how to deal with these pro and cons??

Thank you.

I have both a UPS and a Furman. I have them connected to the same wall socket. Here’s some of my reasoning:

  • There are 2 issues here: power outage protection and unclean power. The UPS addresses both issues and the Furman simply cleans the power of unwanted noise. Looking at each piece of gear in turn, we can see which ones need a UPS and which ones will be fine on the Furman.
  • One thing we don’t want is a ground loop. Therefore I plug both into the same socket.
  • I fear some sort of incompatibility between the Furman and the UPS, so I don’t feed one into the other. Also, the Furman conditions a lot more power than the UPS. Putting them together would limit the capacity of the AC network to wht the UPS can deliver.
  • The computer needs a UPS, especially if it has an SSD in it. Crashing your computer causes you to lose any unsaved work – and possibly saved work, because the changes are not always immediately committed to the drive. (The OS may pool files to be saved until there’s enough justify interrupting the CPU/PPU). Saved files may also be damaged. You want a UPS because you know all this.

The computer is on the UPS so you have enough time to finish your work of the moment, save, and shut down. You can’t do that if your monitor is off. So the monitor is also on the UPS. Now, the more load you put on the UPS, the quicker you’ll exhaust the battery. Thus only important low-power devices should be added. The digital audio interface tops the list, because you can use it with headphones to complete a mixing task, and you can finish recording anything that’s using direct injection. Since my keyboard is powered by the computer’s USB, it can also be recorded during an outage. I also have a guitar processor on the UPS for the same reason. All these items must share a common ground with the DA interface and the computer because they all get power via the UPS. This means no ground loops.

  • Higher power consumption items go on the Furman: powered monitors, amps, laptop, non-critical electronics with a potential audio connection to the UPS part of the AC network. Note that these devices are generally not feeding audio into the DA interface or the computer.
  • I bought a Cyberpower UPS (Model 1000PFCLCD) instead of APC because I wanted to be sure the output would be a pure sine wave. Modern computer PSUs may choke on simulated sine wave power. The UPS software allows for the computer to be automatically shut down in a controlled manner if I’m not around during the outage. Run the numbers on power consumption to determine the correct size of UPS.
  • There are few items not on either the Furman or the UPS. Just lamps, I think. Fans or space heaters would be in this category too. If the power dies at night, I’m counting on light from the monitor to tide me over. If I had a laser printer in the studio, I certainly wouldn’t put it on the UPS! Perhaps the Furman might give it some protection. Laser printers draw nasty bursts of power, so I’d be reluctant to even do that without further research.

Good luck sorting these things out. There’s a lot of information out there and it’s hard to bring it all together. It’s an important topic that deserves broader discussion.

Many thanks for your detailed reply.

Well, the first question I have is why you connect UPS and Furman to the same wall socket (with a power strip I suppose) instead of different ones… Someone says that is better to use different wall sockets :-/
Correctly you said it’s due to ground loop… But aren’t UPS and Furman able to “clean” the signal?
I have 2 PCs and a server. So, I should connect all of them (plus a monitor and the audio interface) to the UPS - am I right?
And everything else (powered monitors, synth, etc.) to the Furman - what do you think?

Thank you again,

Well, it’s not so important for everything to be on the same wall socket as it is for them to be on the same circuit. I think of each circuit in the building/house as both power source and antenna. Both Furman and UPS should clean the power, but will they do it in exactly the same way? I don’t know, so I try to be as conservative as possible. I wouldn’t use a power strip to join them unless it does NOT have any kind of surge suppressor, because I read somewhere that it would do more harm than good in cases like this.

With 2 PCs and a server, it’s going to be a serious power demand for the UPS. That would mean a seriously large capacity UPS. My LAN contains 3 PCs (one which also acts as a server), a NAS device (also a server), up to 2 laptops, and up to 2 mobile devices. Most are in the office, with only 1 PC dedicated to the studio. Sometimes I need a laptop in the studio as well. Mobile devices have batteries, so it’s the same as having a UPS on each one, at least in terms of power interruptions. So that leaves 4 machines vulnerable. The machines that act as servers use linux and its ext4 journaling filesystem, so there’s a good degree of protection against disk corruption. The studio machine is win10 with an SSD, so it was the first to get a UPS. The win7 machine was next, and the servers share a UPS. The routers and telephones also share the UPS with the servers. That gives the whole network a bit of time.

One reason I use 3 separate UPSs is the physical distance between machines, but a more important reason is UPS management. Since the UPS has to be managed by a single computer (and vice versa), consider what would happen in the case of an outage when nobody is around. With a single UPS, only the computer connected to it via USB would get the warning from the UPS of an imminent power loss when the battery runs down, so only that computer would be able to execute a graceful shut down. The others would be taken by surprise, just as if there were no UPS, only a little later in time. This is what we’re trying to avoid. Still, I have my NAS device in that precarious position. But the NAS device can be shut down over the still-intact network if I’m around during the outage. Otherwise, it would take a hit. But as you probably suspect, it has dual hard drives arranged in a RAID. (I think it’s RAID 1) since both disks contain the same data, both have to fail in the same place for data to be lost. The odds of this are something like a million to one. Even so, the NAS is for archived files, and the originals are on the fully protected machines. My only real anxiety is knowing when to replace the UPS batteries.

Re: what you want to connect to the Furman. It looks OK. I’d consider adding the synth to the UPS is you have the spare capacity. Synths generally don’t draw much power. Still, I have a synth connected to the Furman, so I must be OK with it.

ColinPark, thank you so much!
Sorry for replying you late but I’ve been “offline” cause I’m dealing with the new studio setup!
My new RTX 2080Ti is already dead!
No comment…

My studio is in a super tiny room and actually I have one wall socket only so…Furman and UPS are living together :wink:
But right now I have to fix the (big) problem with the graphic card.
Where are you based?


I was in New Orleans for jazz fest last week, so also out of the loop.

I’m in Ohio.

Re:graphics cards.
I don’t use them. They make noise and noise. They suck up a lot of power, which means you need a bigger PSU, which means you can’t go fanless, which means more fans and noise. Or liquid cooling and more expense. Cubase doesn’t require a graphics card. Maybe they help editing video, but I’ve edited video just fine without one. Maybe they help if you want multiple monitors. I could see that. I used to think I wanted that, but now I think I prefer keeping things simple.

I also have a small room.
Acoustic treatment is my new challenge. One of the main things about a small room is what it does to the bass. One has to be careful not to introduce bass that can’t be controlled, so no sub-woofers. Even the main monitor speakers can’t be too strong in the bottom end. This is going to make trouble when I have to mix. Perhaps headphones? I’ve got Sonarworks, so that should help.