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Thread: Advanced(-ish) Electrical wiring and earthing for studio questions

  1. #1
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    Jan 2012
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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    Advanced(-ish) Electrical wiring and earthing for studio questions

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    So after finishing my studio in which I tried to the electrics to the best of my abilities I still have got some questions that I can't easily find answers to.

    Underlying problems that might be solved this way are:
    * I sometimes get shocks from my SM58

    * One of my to stratocasters picks up quite some noise even after copper shielding. (the other doesn't so might as well be the guitar)

    So I tried to lay out the electrics in a star pattern. Since I was rebuilding an existing room I could not reach underneath the floor well enough. The ceiling was to high up and would have meant loads of very visible electrics piping across the walls. So I could not make the electrics from the middle.
    I however measured out all of the earthing cables and cut them on one length. I did not lay them around the walls to prevent building one big loop. And when I had spare I wrapped it very losely and switched the direction in which I wrapped it every other loop.
    All of this looks like:


    Around my Desk, plus screen, I have got a pc, subwoofer with two monitors, Interface.
    The rest of the room has usually got a guitar tube amp, bass amp, and an amplifier for the PA (for band rehearsals)

    Lights are on a different group with a seperate earthing lead.

    Questions I have got:
    * What are the rules regarding extension leads? Feels a bit strange after measuring out earthing leads with the same leads to start using an extra meter of earthing within your extension lead. (Around my desk I need 6 sockets plus some spare if a collabarator brings a laptop that needs charging. )

    * I found these socketsplitters that plug straight into the socket en split it in two which probably only use 2 extra cm of earthing, would that be okay enough?

    * My PA and bass amps have got a power lead that is replacable I could either plug in a short or a longer one? Would I like to have one as short as possible. Cause there is extra earthing length in those leads? Or is all of this silly and unnecessarily precautious?

    * What do you want to plug into the studio sockets, is it okay/necessary to plug in the studio pc? Can I plug in my screen into the same group that has got amplifiers, monitors and interface?

    * Based in the Netherlands we have got very stable electric supply no dips or peaks would it still be advisable to get a power supply that safes against surges?

    Is there anything else that I overlooked?

    Thanks so much! I finished my studio a bit ago but just can't let these questions go 😛

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Lowell Street Studio, New England
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    For a start, if you get shocked from a mic (assuming you are not holding onto a plugged-in guitar at the time), you have a major issue that should be resolved. You may be thinking 'minor shock', but if a full bout of current got delivered to your lips it would not be pleasant.

    I don't understand your terminology - 'earthing leads'. In the US, wall outlets are 3 conductor - hot, neutral and ground. Outlets that are wired incorrectly, equipment that is wired incorrectly or doesn't have a ground circuit (2 conductor cables/plugs) can all cause hums or shock issues (hot wired to neutral, neutral to hot at some outlets, for example). If you need more outlets, a Furman-type power supply can be used, but most people just use 'power strips'. Standard home-type extension cords are usually only 2 conductor so can cause issues, better to use power strips or at least the more-expensive 3 conductor extension cables.

    The Strat noise is not unusual - single coil pickups are notorious for this, even if you shield the pickup cavities (and make sure the foil shielding is grounded to the cable jack). If you move around the room with the guitar plugged in you should notice that the noise changes depending on the direction you face or what equipment you are near (old CRT monitors were terrible for guitar noise when close).
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  3. #3
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    Austin, Texas
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    If you're getting a shock from your mic, then you need to stop everything else and fix that problem.

    If you did your own wiring and you are getting a shock, then you did the wiring wrong. Hire a professional to sort it out for you.

  4. #4
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    Jul 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dicus View Post
    So after finishing my studio in which I tried to the electrics to the best of my abilities I still have got some questions that I can't easily find answers to.
    You finished your studio...and NOW you are considering the electric supply...?
    Since you are in the makes no sense to ask questions on a public forum that has people from a lot of other countries where electrical practices may be somewhat different to conform to proper codes.

    You should talk to an electrician in the Netherlands.

    That said...simple solution that you can do for an existing a dedicated line(s) from the main supply point/box...sitting on its own breaker.
    I've done that in the past, and I just ran the line outside (using outdoor rated wiring) because I couldn't easily run it through the existing walls...and I ran it around the perimeter of the building, and then into the room where I wanted it, from the outside.
    Then I wired that to one dedicated outlet...and from that one outlet I ran my power conditioning and distribution for all my studio equipment.

    Right now in my new studio which was build from the ground up...I had the electrician run one main dedicated power line for just the studio gear...and then I ran additional distribution, but this time I was able to run it all in the walls. Everything was then inspected and approved by the inspector. sounds like you're not really sure of what you are hire an electrician before you burn down something or kill yourself.
    Separate earthing/grounding is not just a matter of running more ground wires, etc....there is a very specific way to do it, and at the same time, keep things in code...and unless you are building a massive studio complex, I wouldn't go that route unless you really know what you are doing.

  5. #5
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    Fremantle, Australia
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    Forget trying to get a star earth installed as I would first find out if you have any earth installed. Shocks from the mic are an indication.
    Strats in a place with bad earthing also will make noise.


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