Clean Power Question

Discussion in 'Affordable Recording Forum' started by 3dchris, Feb 10, 2003.

  1. 3dchris

    3dchris

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    Hi all,
    I am just thinking of getting something done with my power. I am currently using APC battery buckup (500 VA) and power conditioner to connect my main studio components (Avalon 737 preamp, Mackie hr824 monitors, PC, synths). My question is: will getting balanced power or voltage regulator units improve the quality of the sound?
    I am considering getting either furman balanced or furman voltage regulator .

    Please advise.

    tnx,

    chris
     
  2. Ethan Winer

    Ethan Winer

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    Chris,

    > will getting balanced power or voltage regulator units improve the quality of the sound? <

    I don't think even the folks who sell those things claim they improve the sound. The benefits I see listed are less hum and possibly a slightly lower overall noise floor.

    --Ethan
     
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster

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    Chris,
    I was having problems with ac line noise in my studio. I purchased on of these $1500 balanced power transformers and I don't think it did anything. At all. As I have noted before it was a $1500 rock! Take that $1500 and hire an electrician. Have them deliver a dedicated circut to your work area that is all on one source to ground. Then replace all the breakers and all the ac receptacles in the building. Many times noise is introduced into an electrical system because receptacles and breakers are old, worn and arcing causing hum. I had this done in my situation after buying "The Rock" and that turned out to be the cure. BTW, anyone wanna buy a rock? cheep? Fats
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tannoy, Dynaudio, Blue Sky, JBL, Earthworks, Westlake, NS 10's :D , Genelec, Hafler, KRK, and PMC
    Those are good. …………………….. Pick one.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
  4. knightfly

    knightfly

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    Actually, Chris, at least one company DOES claim VERY noticeable improvements in sound. These are the guys that were instrumental in getting balanced power approved and into the new National Electrical Code. The company name is Equi=tech.

    Be aware, just in case you miss it on the FAQ, that if you use a UPS it must be BEFORE the balanced power transformer. This means that the UPS must be capable of handling the entire load that is connected to the balanced power transformer. For my studio, for example, the things that will go on balanced power will require a 2200 VA UPS and a 15 amp balanced power transformer.

    You don't need as much power as you would think if basing needs on labeled power consumption - the real current draw is usually somewhat less. The way I found what was necessary was to connect everything thru a common plug, with a 3-separate-wire male/female 120 volt adapter, so I could get a clamp-on ammeter around the hot lead. This will give the actual current draw, if checked with the system playing at volume and any and all transports running.

    Anyway, here's a link you may not have found, lots of info here in the articles/papers section -

    http://www.equitech.com

    Hope this helps out... Steve
     
  5. Ethan Winer

    Ethan Winer

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    Steve,

    > at least one company DOES claim VERY noticeable improvements in sound. <

    I just went to their web site and read the latest article. It states pretty clearly that the expected improvements in sound quality are due only to a lower noise floor. Here's an excerpt:

    "Every signal above zero is music, we hope. Every signal below that point is lost in the noise floor. If we are to recover those subtle signals that provide us with detail and realism, we’ve got to eliminate the noise. That's all there is to it."

    --Ethan
     
  6. 3dchris

    3dchris

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    Thanks a lot for prompt replies ! I really appreciate it. The reason I started to investigate the "clean power" issue is based on a weird experience I'm having when I play live (i'm a drummer). What I noticed is that usually after midnight (hehehe)the PA starts sounding much better...more powerfull and much cleaner. I figured out that this may be because half of the city (I live in Toronto, Canada) is going to bed so the power consumption goes down and the voltage in the outlets go up. Is it just my imagination or is it possible? I really have no clue about how it all works, but if the voltage is higher wouldn't the equipment sound better? That's why I was thinking about voltage regulator.
    I would say that even dedicated power line is not gonna help if the voltage level of the entire city goes down.

    thx,

    chris
     
  7. Ethan Winer

    Ethan Winer

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    Chris,

    > usually after midnight (hehehe)the PA starts sounding much better <

    That's definitely due to the drugs. :) :tu:

    > Is it just my imagination or is it possible? <

    I suppose it's remotely possible that the PA system can work a little easier if the voltage goes up after being too low. But most gear these days works over a fairly wide range. And usually all you lose if the power voltage lowers is a little headroom. I honestly can't imagine a meaningful difference in the quality of the sound unless the voltage was way too low.

    This is very easy to test using an inexpensive voltmeter.

    --Ethan
     
  8. 3dchris

    3dchris

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    Ethan, eh...I guess I have to start checking what my wife uses for "dressing" of that ceasar I eat sometimes before playing :) heheh

    headroom you say...hmm...doesn't that actually improve the sound? Maybe not really "improve" but make it sound the way it should instead of being "squeezed"? Don't get me wrong...I'm not a big fan of spending money on useless devices but I wanna understand their purpuse more :)

    tnx for reply!

    chris
     
  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster

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    The Equitech and Furman Balanced Power Transformers do the same exact thing. It doesn't really make any difference to my ears.
    Chris, what you are experiencing is an increase in line voltage as it gets later, due to lower loads on the power grid. I used to notice this phenomenon in CA when I played in the same club for over a year. As it would get later in the evening the PA would get louder to the point of feeding back. In spite of the fact that we would have more people in the club and I hadn't turned the PA up. We got a Furman line conditioner with the voltage meter on the front to try to monitor the situation and it was noticeable that the line voltage came up significantly from 108 volts to 115 or higher after 10pm when people would begin to go to bed and turn off TV’s and house light etc. Fats
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Tannoy, Dynaudio, Blue Sky, JBL, Earthworks, Westlake, NS 10's :D , Genelec, Hafler, KRK, and PMC
    Those are good. …………………….. Pick one.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
  10. Ethan Winer

    Ethan Winer

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    Chris,

    > headroom you say...hmm...doesn't that actually improve the sound? <

    No, reduced headroom simply limits the maximum output volume or power you can get before gross distortion sets in.

    --Ethan
     
  11. 3dchris

    3dchris

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    Guys, thank you very much for replies. I am glad that those devices do not actually improve sound quality cause I can save my money to get something much more useful. Without people like you I would make this mistake and i'd probably buy it. Thanks for saving my money !

    chris
     

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