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Fluorescent lighting radiation

Discussion in 'Recording' started by father, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. father

    father Active Member

    Hi, this is my first post, having just registered.

    I'm here on behalf of my son, who is designing and building his home studio. I filled out the information, during registration, on what equipment he's using, but don't know if that's visible here.

    At any rate, he's noticed that the low-power consumption fluorescent bulbs he just outfitted our home with are transmitting noise through the electric guitar (acting as an antenna), and is going to put the incandescent bulbs back in.

    Is fluorescent lighting detrimental in all cases, in a home studio environment? What are the work-arounds, if any?

  2. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Guitar pickups, especially single coil, are pretty open to interference. Other gear is more resistant but sometimes it picks up a bit of noise. I have replaced fluorescent with incandescent just in case. Hopefully LEDs will become more common and make fluorescent lights obsolete.
  3. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Florescent lights while there are extremely energy-efficient have always caused interference. Back in the day, they utilized large heavy ballasts (Transformers) which didn't emit as much interference as these new CFL (compact fluorescent lighting) bulbs. These new consumer lights utilize solid-state circuitry to do the job and mimic their former larger and heavier brethren. And this circuitry produces more RF hash and interference than the old-fashioned ones did. Steps have been taken to filter these as best they can but with numerous units like this all around you, that RFI is even more abundant (radio frequency interference). Many of us prefer halogen lighting for its beautiful look, fairly long life and basically incandescents in nature. I have been installing numerous LED lighting in my control room of late utilizing these LED rope lights. They also are quite well on dimmers where even compact fluorescent lighting which indicates it is dimmer capable never have the ability to have the wide latitude of fade that these LED & halogen lights can do like incandescence. Trying to fake compact fluorescence seems to make them even more noisy since electricity really isn't faded with electronic dimmers. And electronic dimmers also produce RFI hash. We used to use these gigantic and heavy rheostat's to control the lighting which actually turn the AC up and down. Whereas electronic dimmers simply clipped the top and bottom of the 60 Hz/50 Hz AC power to approximate the fading and reduction of the voltage going to the lighting. So in the finer studios, you still find gigantic rheostat's, which are the same as the old-fashioned light dimmers for theatrical productions and stages. But those really aren't practical anymore. And this is another reason why electrical wiring is carefully designed for studio applications. You really don't want electronic light dimmer on the same circuit as your microphone preamplifiers. You're asking for even more trouble if you do something like that. In most industrial applications in the US, we rely upon 208 V/3 phase. In homes, we only have 220 V single phase. So balancing power distribution can actually be a bigger challenge in a home studio. Sometimes one may find the need to utilize power isolation transformers big and small. These can prevent direct coupling from electrically interfering devices since a power transformer can't transfer high frequencies of radio frequency interference. So some natural filtering can also be utilized. As you may quickly be realizing, our work and our business can be quite a money pit because it's not just plug it into the wall and start recording time every time.

    I utilize a Signal Transformer Co. 7.5 kW power isolation transformer that weighs about 100 pounds and cost nearly $1000. This allows me to have my lighting and heating on the front side coming in and on the output, all of the equipment gets plugged into. And it takes the 220/208 input voltage and provides a pair of isolated 110 output circuits. Some studios utilize a Ferro Resonant stabilizing transformer which generally get bolted to a cement floor. This ain't your grandma's house power system. It's what separates the men from the toys.

    Nevertheless, just as that Colorado Boulder stated, typical flat wound open guitar pickups are little high gain antennas looking for any electromagnetic interference to amplify. And while hum bucker's can prevent some of that interference, those types of guitar pickups don't quite sound the same as those flat wound open ones typical of most electric guitars. So sometimes it's a difficult compromise to deal with. Also the polarization of where the guitarist is can also be changed by simply rotating their position within the room. This can make a guitar that is humming and buzzing quite badly to nearly being inaudible. Though I have found it peculiar when guitarists take this as some kind of verbal offense when I tell them to rotate. LOL but it works.

    Nothing like a clean AC feed.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  4. father

    father Active Member


    Thanks for all the help.

    I'm a retired electrician of 25 years, and an amateur radio hobbyist, so I fully understand what you've said. It was very helpful. thank you. both of you.
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    73's to you! And on what amateur band do you most hobby at? I gave up my amateur novice license when I graduated into being a professional broadcaster. All the fun with those dots and dashes just didn't do it for me anymore. I couldn't get up to 13 words per minute for the general class amateur license. Heck I talk faster than 150 words per minute so that really doesn't work out well for an ADD like me going at five words per minute. It was sheer torment. Not so sheer. So you probably know more about this than I do? Hope you had a good laugh about my screwed electrical insights? What's really funny is all of the electricians that haven't figured out how my electrical wiring to my Signal power transformer and my internal studio wiring even works. The power that I take (which is shore power) is just both hots. No neutral. No ground. My electrical wiring to the transformer is basically that of audio wiring. The two primaries are tied together in series at the input. At the output, the two secondaries both share the center tap. There are additional input and output taps so I can step up and step down any which way. And in a sense, my output wiring from the transformer feeds my electrical wiring for the equipment in virtually a balanced manner. No it's not 55 V between each Edison lug and ground. Though it was rather amazing at the amount of actual noise reduction I obtained from having cleaner juice. And I balanced my load on the secondary. There have been times however when I've had to switch over the air conditioning to the secondary side. Like the time when I was only provided 104 V and a single phase of a three-phase circuit. I also have the ability to completely bypass the electrical transformer if I want to connect to the mains directly. The transformer itself draws 800 W without a load. And it was K00STER McAllister from Record Plant Remote that recommended to me the Signal transformer. He utilizes a 10 kW one but 7.5 kW works fine for me although in hindsight, I probably should've gotten the 10 kW unit? I was told by my professional acquaintance John at Sheffield Recordings Ltd. (whom I've also known since I was a teenager) that I absolutely needed a Liebert Computer Power system at only $10,000. He's a millionaire. I'm not. When I told that to K00STER , he laughed. Sure, it would be nice to have an UPS for the entire truck but only millionaires can afford to do that.

    I feel all charged up now. Though things are rather static these days.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  6. father

    father Active Member


    I still have a ham license, but only just for the sake of having it.

    I was active back in the 60's, until I wanted to go to uni and sold my rig, a Gonset GSB-100 transmitter and Hallicrafters SX-111 receiver. I used an inverted V antenna (basically a dipole with only the center raised on a telescoping set of pipes).

    I was active in pursuing DX, mostly, as that was the fascination for me, talking to people in as many different countries as possible. I almost had DXCC (100 countries) before I quit.

    Code was my specialty, since conversing wasn't my greatest gift. I was a very introverted teenager, and didn't really have much to say, but the pile-ups on my station in the mornings, when the Japanese were coming in well on the morning skip, were legendary. There must have been a lot of Japanese hams who wanted a QSL from an American station.

    I eventually could copy over 40 WPM in my head. The problem of writing it down fast enough held me back from going beyond that. But I always felt a bit of pride in my ability to copy code, and earned a 40WPM speed certificate from the ARRL. My parents just liked the idea that I wasn't out getting in trouble, but rather, sitting in my room, with my WW2 army surplus headphones on, doing something technical. In that sense, between that and cello lessons, those two activities were the primary ones that they supported with ready cash. Then, later, I surfed and played electric guitar, which my mom supported, but not my dad. They were both ex-professional opera singers, and his tastes were different than mine. I was into Jimi Hendrix, while he was into Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Debusy, Grieg, etc. So I grew up having a love of both music and technology.

    I can still copy code in my head, though I haven't had a rig since 1969.

    But the background in basic electronics ushered me into electrical work, after I landed a civil service job working on state highways. I ended up doing street lighting repairs and traffic signal work, nothing building related until around 1988, when I did a lateral transfer into work for the City of Huntington Beach, in So. California, and stayed there until my retirement in 2003.

    So, I mostly understand what you're saying, with a bit of personal interpolation.

    Yeah,,73's,, :wink:
  7. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    I lived in HB for almost three years. Apparently they haven't yet condemned the Huntington Continentals.
  8. father

    father Active Member

    No. I guess not. I live there,,lol. (Actually, the more "posh" and "trendy" side, the "Village Townhomes", over against Bushard instead of Brookhurst). The board here is going crazy. They just fired the gardening crew (allegedly for "immorality"), hired a landscaping company instead, and are taking out a lot of the old trees that really gave the place personality. Then, they want to force tenting on us to get rid of termites (which I can understand), but they plan to charge each owner 600 semolians ( Pro Tools )to pay for it, in addition to the 220/month we already pay for "services". They put it to a vote, and it was defeated, but they'll try again, I'm certain.

    Actually, it's reasonable, I suppose. Don't want little critters eating up the framework, do we?

    We've been here 30 yrs, but we don't own the place. My brother-in-law does. So we pay a bit less than the average cost of housing here. It's one of the only breaks we get,,lol.

    My dad grew up in Boulder, and went to school in Colorado Springs. I think he also lived in Victor when he was little. Nice place, Colorado. smoke
  9. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Small world.
  10. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Ya very small world. Both of my parents were of course an opera singer and concertmaster violinist. There was no pop music in our household. So like you, I grew up on Mozart, Paganini, Brahms, Beethoven, Wagner... While my pop also played violin for Motown and others to make extra money for the household. It took me down to the studio and I was listening to those early R&B tracks that they were overdubbing string sections for. It wasn't until one of my elementary school friends came over with his daddy's brand-new " 2 transistor portable radio ", did I hear the likes of WXYZ 1270, CKLW 800, WKNR " Keener 13 ", top 40 rock 'n roll and I was hooked. It wasn't until 1963 a year later did we all gather around the TV to watch the Ed Sullivan Show with all of these screaming girls and these mop headed dudes or rather, Beatles. I couldn't figure out why everybody wanted to keep screaming instead of listening? That's when I purchased my first Beatles 45 RPM record. And yes, I had a 1943 World War II headphone. Of course it was mono but we had just gotten a brand-new tabletop GE FM stereo radio and record player. Crappy little speakers, yes but that's stereo imaging when I put my head between the speakers was magical. So I set out to convert my 1943 communication headphones to stereo. By the time was 14, I had purchased a Radio Shaft DX 150 shortwave receiver. Soon after, I got a Knight Kit T-150 A shortwave transmitter. Of course it would do CW but it also accepted a microphone input. It wasn't just crystal controlled either but also had Vernier tuning. I utilized a 50 foot long dipole. I enjoyed the shortwave listening more than I enjoyed the code at five words per minute. I used to get a kick out of listening to Radio Havana Cuba with regular hosts " Mike and Kerry ". So about the same time that the Cuban missile crisis was occurring, I was mailing Havana Cuba for each USL card also Radio Moscow, Tel Aviv Israel, Tirana Albania, etc.. I later wondered if the FBI had been checking me out as a kid because of that? And as a young teenager, I did a really daffy thing. I detuned the shortwave transmitter to put me smack dab into the international shortwave bands instead of any of the 80/40/20 or 10 m amateur bands. I had a reel to reel recorder and I made some pseudo-disc jockey music mixed tapes with me is that this jockey. The Radio Shaft shortwave receiver would accept a 12 V DC input. So I grabbed a 9 V battery and it actually worked. I knew I really shouldn't be broadcasting on the international shortwave bands so I disconnected the dipole and loaded the transmitter with a lightbulb. I then proceeded to bungee cords is huge shortwave receiver to my bicycle and go for a ride in my neighborhood to see how far my signal would go with just a lightbulb. OMG! I was able to pick myself up within about a 1 mile radius. At 14 years of age I thought this is real cool but I knew what the ramifications would be if I had been caught by the FCC. That's what gave me the impetus to move on to obtaining my third class FCC radiotelephone license for commercial broadcasting and promptly went to work at 15. My high school had a FM educational radio station and I was the only kid at my high school who ever went on the air without ever taking the course. It's all been downhill from there for the past +40 years. It's something I can't get out of my system and no physics will help, not even Ex-Lax. So I just continue to vacillate between broadcasting and recording, DJ and standup comic.

    A trans***ual walks into my recording studio and asks if I can do some "vocal surgery" on him/her to make him/her sound more like a girl. So I get out my biggest phallic looking microphone. I removed the foam pop filter and placed a douche bag over it and said "there you go". I asked him/her if her booby's were Real or Mammorex? While she sat in a chair and her hair was draped over the back. Then, I asked her if she could do a vocal run like the one in her nylons? The trans***ual wasn't happy. I told him/her " life's a bitch... and then you become one". Then, him/her broke a nail and the session was over. Yada yada yada.

    I'd like to see where John Denver crashed?
    Mx. Remy Ann David

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