Dimmer switch

Discussion in 'Studio Construction & Acoustics Forum' started by Todzilla, Sep 19, 2006.

  1. Todzilla

    Todzilla

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    I recently put a cool three armed gooseneck fixture from Ikea above my drum area. I have heard from all folks that consumer grade dimmers are a no-no. However, since I was doing the wiring myself, I thought I'd give it a try, fully expecting to hear results which would find me switching the switch to a straight on/off.

    Surprise, surprise. Even at half dim, I can hear no discernable interference in my audio lines, even those that run to mics right near the light and dimmer switch, even with my monitors turned way up.

    Your thoughts?
     
  2. guitarbill

    guitarbill Guest

    Dimmer Noise

    Hey Todd, I've noticed that early model dimmers made or desigened before about 1990 made great white noise generators due to a lack of proper filtering of the pulse width modultor switching noise. This noise was effectively coupled back into the mains wiring which in turn acted as a building sized antenna feeding it directly into the power supply of any gear that had no protection in it's own design against such noise. The design of newer dimmers with cleaner switching components and newer power supply designs in audio gear has made these kinds of problems less of an issue for most dimmers and audio gear.

    Happy Dimming!
    gb
     
  3. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel

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    Put an AM radio tuned off station next to the dimmer, put the dimmer at 1/2 and see what the radio does. If it is still quiet then you should have no problems if you get a lot of hash then you are generating it with the dimmer. Put the dimmer to full and to real low and see what happens.

    I use to carry a small AM radio with me on the road when I was setting up for a recording in a church that was using wall dimmers ro see what problems I would have.

    The best dimmer for studios is still an autotransformer or variac and it will not produce any RF or audio interference.
     
  4. Todzilla

    Todzilla

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    Tom,

    I hear what you're saying, but if I can't hear it in my system, why would I bother?

    Is it one of those multiple layers of artifacts things that could build up over many overdubs?
     
  5. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel

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    No but it might be interesting to know if you get someone into the studio with a guitar amp and it starts making noise or you have a "fuzz" on all your mixes that don't relate to anything in your equipment or your technique. Sometimes RF and hash can be above the frequency range of human hearing so you are not aware of it but it is still polluting the sound coming from your studio into your recording gear. It is like ground loops sometimes it does not make a difference in what you are hearing but it does make a difference is the muddiness of what you are recording. Sometimes that MUD at the bottom of a guitar track is not the guitar amp or the guitar but what it is plugged into.