Complex power conditioning and audio innovation is the name of Furman’s game. Founded in San Francisco, California, Furman has provided bands like The Grateful Dead the ability to play their massively attended shows without power failure. Their voltage regulators and power conditions are still crucial for ensuring our favorite rock shows go off without a hitch.
Janet Furman was a tried and true member of a collection of Dead Heads that made history. Managing to make her way onto the team that recorded the iconic live album, Europe ’72 by The Grateful Dead, she had a passionate interest in sound and perfecting the technology that could capture it. Her interest did not just stem from live recordings but also with altering guitar tone itself. Her first innovation was a parametric equalizer that a guitar could be plugged into. This allowed the guitarist limitless potential when it came to tone adjustment. It was basically an equalizer and a preamp in one.
This was just the beginning of Furman’s work in audio electronics. Protecting gear was the next innovation that Furman became well known for. Units like the M-8DX Power Conditioner with Lights and Meter fit any rackmount audio system and allows you to plug in all of your sound gear through the switched AC outlets. This protects your equipment by responding and clamping voltages with a suppression circuit. Simply, the conditioner will not allow any power surges to compromise your audio gear. It will immediately switch it off. This kind of unit was priceless for those looking to protect their precious equipment.
More elaborate conditioners also included voltage regulators, like the P-2400 AR Voltage Regulator/ Power Conditioner. Units like this actually can transform powerful surges to make them manageable for the equipment. For instance, if a 137 volt surge comes through, this unit will ensure only 120 volts ever flow into your audio equipment. So a surge doesn’t shut your equipment down. This was incredibly useful for large installations that need to be consistently powered, like a stadium show for instance. Units like this could also purify sound by minimizing line noise that happens as a result of using AC power.
Going from a touring recording engineer to being a champion of a consistently powered show is an incredible feat for Ms. Furman. The impressive gear that has made sound engineers lives so much easier will forever be part of her legacy. When a Furman product protects your audio gear, you can thank her too..