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Thread: POwer testing in old house

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    POwer testing in old house

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    Hi there,
    I am thinking about renting a cheap little house in the country to do some album recording and was wondering about power issues.
    Iíll have a chance to go see it before I commit and was wondering if there is a way I could test the power to see if its ďcleanĒ for recording.
    I'm recording with a mixture of Tascam 388, a bunch of guitar pedals, amps, pianos, and protools.
    I want to be sure to avoid the place if the wiring is bad and has lots of hum or buzz issues.
    Does anyone know a good way to test for this without bringing a lot of heavy gear?
    Is this question valid? I mean, does hum come from bad wiring in old houses etc.?
    Thanks a lot,
    Chris

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    I can't think of any cheap measuring instrument that would show how clean the power is. You would be looking for spikes, low voltage, noise, RF interference, etc, but the tools are expensive as far as I know. You can use a little outlet tester to be sure the wiring is correct. Then when/if you move in, use a UPS as a central power source for your gear. The APC brand does a great job of preventing spikes and cleaning noise and protecting your gear.

    It has two busses, one is for the battery backup, the other is for surge protection. The battery backed bus would be for your computer, one monitor, and in my case, a network switch. The surge protected bus isn't battery backed, but it will provide clean power for your gear. Plug everything else into that.

    For my example of the network switch, elsewhere in the house, the cable modem and router are on another UPS. If we lose power, we don't lose internet. We get some pretty severe storms come through occasionally and I like to keep track of it.

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    Thanks Chili,
    That's an interesting idea. Would something like a Furman PL-Plus do the same job?
    Though it is more expensive.
    Thanks again

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    You do not list your location. In the U.S. older homes have only two prong electrical outlets (no earth ground). More modern homes have three prongs that includes the earth ground. I wouldn't set up a studio on the older no ground system.
    Why would you record music on a device designed to do word processing?

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    Neither a UPS or Furman will fix ground issues. Nor that of a poorly wired house. The question you need to ask is how the home circuits are wired. Recording gear on same circuit as appliances (fridge/lighting/outlets in bathroom)-a big no!!!. So if you can have separate ground and feed for the outlets that run your recording gear, then that is the best bet.
    PC Win7-64-24G i7-4790k/Cubase 9 Pro 64-bit/2-Steinberg UR824's/ADAM A7x/Event TR8/SS Trigger Plat Deluxe/Melodyne 4 Studio/Other things that don't mean anything if a client shows up not knowing what it wants.

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    In the US, 3-prong outlets were required in new homes since the mid-60s to early 70s. Grounded outlets were still used even if they were 2-prong. The screw on the outlet cover was actually a ground. If the house was built before the 50s, it's possible there is no ground.

    The little $3 outlet tester will let you know if the wiring is correct. It won't tell you if there are appliances on the same circuit, but you check the breaker panel and what the labels say. Hopefully, they're labeled properly.

    I am one to believe the Furmans and the APCs are similar in function and results, with the exception that the APCs offer a battery back-up power source. However, I have never used a furman and have never looked at data that compares their abilities to clean up a dirty power source to the APC. In researching UPS units for a work project many years ago, I did look at data for the APCs and thought they worked well. I have always used them in my studio and never had a problem.

    Okay, I do have one problem and it is a ground hum. All my studio equipment runs from one dedicated 20 amp circuit through one outlet. Everything goes through the APC and then power strips. All except for my keyboard. I have that plugged into a different outlet on a separate circuit. When I run audio cables from the keyboard to the interface, I get a ground loop. I don't know why.... I built the studio myself and did all the electrical myself. The grounds from both circuits go back to the same ground bus in the breaker panel. They are literally right next to each on the ground bus, yet I get a hum when I go to record the keyboard. My workaround is to use an extension cord to plug the keyboard into the same outlet as the interface whenever I go to record the keyboard. It's not often, so not too inconvenient.

    Lesson 1: Keep everything on the same outlet and no ground loops.
    Lesson 2: APC over Furmans
    Lesson 3: I babble too much.

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    Not familiar with US wiring practice but yes, you certainly want the circuits to be earthed, 3 pin.

    You could get a reasonable idea of the "cleanliness" of the supply by bringing in a small valved guitar amp and single coil pupped guitar (but not one of "ours" perhaps? Rather well filtered!) If such a rig is as humfree and clean as at your present domicile, bodes well.

    Over here you would be well advised to call in a pro lekky to check things out. In fact if a house had very old electrics and was judged unsafe you would not be allowed to move in. We call them "Regs" you say "Code" I believe?

    Chilli's idea of a single feed (preff' right back from the incoming meter and "consumer unit" we call them) is the way to beat ground loops and keep that JUST for audio, no lights, no heaters/AC. If the continuity of supply is at all suspect investing in a 1kW UPS would make sense, give you 15 mins or so to save your work.

    Mr C. Have you tried a 1:1 traff box twixt kbd and AI? Art Cleanbox ll gets a good rep (Orchid Electronics here)

    Dave.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecc83 View Post
    Mr C. Have you tried a 1:1 traff box twixt kbd and AI? Art Cleanbox ll gets a good rep (Orchid Electronics here)

    Dave.

    I haven't, Thanks for the reference. Never seen that unit before. I'll check it out. (Although, the extension cord completely eliminates the hum.)

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    If it's an old house upgraded to grounded outlets, look out for RPBG, or reverse polarity bootleg ground.

    Shocking Situations - ProSoundWeb


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    [QUOTE=bouldersoundguy;4444211]If it's an old house upgraded to grounded outlets, look out for RPBG, or reverse polarity bootleg ground.

    [url=http://www.prosoundweb.com/channels/av/shocking_situations/]Shocking Situations

    Yeah Gods! That is terrifying!!

    Dave.

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