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Studio Wiring Considerations?

 
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floid
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Joined: 03 Jan 2006
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Location: Starkville, MS

PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:20 pm    Post subject: Studio Wiring Considerations? Reply with quote

So, I've FINALLY gotten to the point where i can begin to think about wiring my studio. It's a fairly compact one room affair that will double for both tracking and mixing. I know there's got to be a good resource out there re: various electrical considerations, just wondering if someone could point me in the right direction.
Thanks,
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JWL
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 4:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Studio Wiring Considerations? Reply with quote

I'd start with the electrical chapter in Rod Gervais' book listed in the stickies....
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Brett Siler
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 7:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Studio Wiring Considerations? Reply with quote

Make sure your outlets are grounded. I have an old place and had to ground a few myself. If they aren't it could seriously kill you.
Make sure the wall socket outlets are around 120 volts. Too much or too little could damage equipment.
Get surge protectors
If wanna really want some clean power then you could get the Trip Lite Isolation Transformer
http://www.amazon.com/Tripp-Lite-IS1000HG-Isolation-Transformer/dp/B00008YMZO/ref=pd_sim_sbs_e_1
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goose134
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:29 am    Post subject: Re: Studio Wiring Considerations? Reply with quote

Don't use fluorescent lights.
As mentioned above, use surge suppressors. Buy the best you can afford.
Again, as mentioned above, make sure your outlets are grounded correctly.
Along the same lines, make sure the polarity of your outlets are correct (neutral should be the wide blade plug)

As far as how many circuits you need, it'll depend on your application. I've said it before that a couple of 20 amp circuits should be OK for most home studios. If you are recording at home, I'd say one circuit for your desk. If you record a lot of amps, two 20 amp circuits should be sufficient for the room.
For the love of Pete, have someone who knows review your grounding (or you if you know something about it). This will come up over and again here.

If you are in a residential setting, don't let people talk you into worrying about harmonics. They only apply in poly-phase systems. In 240 volt systems, the phases are 180 degrees apart and neutrals cancel out. (sound familiar?)
There are those here who are much smarter in the ways of sound, but I am very smart in the ways of electricity. More specific information about your question might be helpful.
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Brett Siler
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:32 am    Post subject: Re: Studio Wiring Considerations? Reply with quote

Kinda side note but still related. Try as much power as you can from the same socket without blowing the circuit. It will greatly reduce the chance of hums, buzzes and ground loops.

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goose134
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Studio Wiring Considerations? Reply with quote

^^This reminded me of this:



I'm not sure I agree 100% with the above. I mean, if you've got a bad ground in the panel, it will be systemic. As for star ground, are you talking about star topology? Because that would be more like the grounding you see in IT rooms. Like I said, have someone who is in the know check your panel out. Put an ammeter on the ground. Look at voltage potentials to ground from both phases AND neutral. Check your bonding bus (your neutral to ground connection). Don't freak out. There is a lot to consider, but problems can be sniffed out and mitigated. Keep us posted.
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floid
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:06 am    Post subject: Re: Studio Wiring Considerations? Reply with quote

I've read Rod Gervais' book over and over, have read a few papers about "zero loop area" considerations...
I'm trying to get a handle on how many circuits i need and how to implement them. HVAC will be 220v, obviously balanced load - I assume it is best practice to keep this wiring well away from circuits powering audio? Then there will be lighting, easily handled by a single circuit. i'm well aware of flourescent nastiness, but does anyone know if any of the newer LED ballasts can cause similar problems? Do the same grounding concerns apply to this circuit as to my audio circuits?
Beyond these i feel like it would be better to have three additional circuits rather than just one, just so i know i've got plenty of juice available for whatever may crop up down the line. Perhaps one for amps, one for mix, and a third generalized circuit? Should amp and mix circuits be on the same leg? One of my big worries is how best to balance load to service vs keeping audio gear all on the same leg.
Brett Siler, i think you answered one of my questions: you're saying it's better to run lots of stuff off a single power strip, rather than have a whole bank of outlets near the mix desk, correct? If total current demand exceeds the capacity of one breaker, is there a preferred way to split blocks of gear onto separate circuits?
I've seen a couple different grounding schemes outlined - one relies on star grounding, another relies on conduit that acts as shielding. Anyone care to weigh in on the pros and cons of each? I'm inclined to lean toward the star scheme, since it's one i already know and trust.
Don't worry folks, this is one facet of my project where i know better than to go totally DIY. I have a very competent electrician at my disposal; i just want to have as clear and detailed a picture in my head as possible, so as not to sound a complete idiot when i tell him what i want.
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Brett Siler
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Studio Wiring Considerations? Reply with quote

goose134 wrote:

I'm not sure I agree 100% with the above...


I am only regurgitating what I have read in books, the interweb and my own personal experience. I am not an electrician, just a dude with a ton of music equipment, and a computer with the interweb on it. Of course make sure your outlet is working correctly and don't exceed the power that the outlet has. That said, I have a desktop computer, computer screen recording interface, console power amp, speaker monitors poweramp and and about 12 or so pieces of rack gear (I'm away from the studio right now, can't remember off the top of my head ha), all pluged into one outlet. It's pretty darn quiet, and have never blown the socket. I've also done a few other tricks to reduce hum too, but i feel the "star grounding" works great. Yeah the picture saying "no buzz" may not be 100% accurate but i feel it helps in the battle.

I'm not try to spread any misinformation, just saying what worked for me.
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goose134
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 3:58 am    Post subject: Re: Studio Wiring Considerations? Reply with quote

Brett, I don't disagree with your setup at all. Indeed, I agree with plugging many things into 1 outlet. I just wish people would be more clear about what they consider to be a "star ground" If I came off as dismissive, I apologize.

To the OP: As far as I know, LED drivers don't generate any more noise than florescents and perhaps less. Perhaps someone who knows more could weigh in on this. Any time you modify an AC circuit you will generate some undesirable frequencies. With florescent lights, it's a function of reactance. With LED, it's rectifiers. LED's are expensive and a bit untried. They are a nice solution for places that are difficult to change bulbs or occupancies that require 24 hour lights.

Track lights are a nice studio option. They dim with normal dimmers, they don't compromise the sound proofing, and they don't generate a significant amount of electrical noise. For that matter, they don't generate a lot of noise at all (de-buzzing circuits aside).

As far as pipe is concerned, I'm biased. I live in Chicago where pipe is required for everything electrical. So I can go on about the benefits of EMT. As far as circuits, your plan sounds good.

I'm rambling. I'm signing off.,
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Rosy
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:39 pm    Post subject: avoid rheostats Reply with quote

Dimming the light is groovy, but in this episode of 'This Old House' I can personally attest to the noise coming from an old potentiometer lighting switch in the live room can make a noise/hum (It goes away when the dial is at full power) that somehow becomes audible in my UPS (?, go figure) under my desk in the control room that is supposedly on a different circuit. Said noise can then also be heard in my monitors which are powered off that UPS.

It's easy to identify this as an EMI source because as I walked through the studio all three hums were just slightly different versions of the same frequency.

Now, I had a question about whether or not the TRS ends at the end of my EDAC cables from my console should be balanced or not. I was thinking that they needed to be grounded all the way to the TRS or XLR but the manual says doing so will create a ground loop. I'll go find somewhere to start that thread.
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