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adamski
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#1
26th March 2012
Old 26th March 2012
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Lightbulb low energy / low voltage studio equipment

I am in the process of researching and designing an off-grid mobile studio.

I am monitoring my current energy use and seeing how I can bring it down (might have to sacrifice my valve gear :/ )
I think I can make it energy self-sufficient, using solar and wind power and a decent battery bank.

Is there such a thing as pro-audio gear that can run off low voltage, 12 or 24v,
or more likely, gear that runs off the mains but is energy efficient?

I've heard of low-energy mixing desks...
I realise a lot of gear is not made with energy efficiency in mind. However, I've been informed of a festival in the UK that runs one of its stages, complete with mixing desk, PA system, lights etc off of 500w.

Any info on this or links to useful websites would be much appreciated!

Thanks
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26th March 2012
Old 26th March 2012
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All film kit is 12vdc
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26th March 2012
Old 26th March 2012
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Thanks -
I'm wondering what kind of options there are for monitor speakers, mixing desks etc that run off 12vdc?
#4
27th March 2012
Old 27th March 2012
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The biggest power hogs may likely be the monitor speaker power amps. Followed by perhaps the mixing desk and/or recorder (computer?) depending on what you are using there. And, of course the lighting and HVAC (where necessary).
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27th March 2012
Old 27th March 2012
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I'm pretty sure there is a totally (mostly?) solar powered studio in LA... should get some good info from that - sorry I'm totally drawing a blank on it but it may have been in TapeOp or try google

Class A gear is fairly inefficient if I recall
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adamski
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27th March 2012
Old 27th March 2012
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Thanks. I read somewhere that Class D amplifiers are supposed to be energy efficient, but very hard to find info on energy efficient pro-audio gear..
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27th March 2012
Old 27th March 2012
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Class A is indeed 50% of full-power going straight down the drain... Build some class-A EL34 blocks and save on your heating
Class-D is indeed very efficient (No exact data here, sorry):
Quote:
Theoretical power efficiency of class D amplifiers is 100%. That is to say, all of the power supplied to it is delivered to the load, none is turned to heat. This is because an ideal switch in its on state will conduct all current but has no voltage across it, hence no heat is dissipated. And when it is off, it will have the full supply voltage standing across it, but no current flows through it. Again, no heat is dissipated. Real-life power MOSFETs are not ideal switches, but practical efficiencies well over 90% are common. By contrast, linear AB-class amplifiers are always operated with both current flowing through and voltage standing across the power devices. An ideal class B amplifier has a theoretical maximum efficiency of 78%.
See: Class-D amplifier - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dunno if Class-T is a trademark, or a real thing, but the sonic-impact thingys are apparently 'the stuff' almost for kicks!
T-Amp - Class T integrated amplifier - [English]

Cheers,

Paul
adamski
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27th March 2012
Old 27th March 2012
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Yes it seems that Class-T amps may be the way forward.

If you can plug a decent pair of passive monitors into a Class-T amp then that may save a fair bit of energy... I wonder if there are any pro quality monitors that use similar technology. I currently have a pair of Genelec 8040 which are really nice... but I'm prepared to sacrifice them if there is something else of decent quality that can run on much less power.
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27th March 2012
Old 27th March 2012
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You might drive a pair of Quad ESL63's on line out from a SD/Nagra let alone a Tpower amp
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28th March 2012
Old 28th March 2012
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Turns out the biggest power hog was my computer at 115w (tower PC built in 2006) closely followed by the monitor! (40w)

Genelecs take about 23w... so not a massive amount but still worth trying to reduce it.
My Mackie 1642 takes around 32w.
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28th March 2012
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Are those the actual power consumption, or the nameplate rating?
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28th March 2012
Old 28th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcrowley View Post
Are those the actual power consumption, or the nameplate rating?
Actual measured using a plug in meter
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30th March 2012
Old 30th March 2012
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To update this thread... found a couple of very good low power amps: the Virtue One series and Temple Audio Bantam Gold. Will sell my Genelecs and get some nice passive monitors to go with the amp. This should save around 20-25 watts.

I am in the process of putting together components for a low-power PC and will get an LED monitor. That should save me around 100 watts hopefully.

The computer and amp will both run directly off 12v. The idea is to run as much as possible directly off 12v, and use an inverter only when necessary.

It seems hard to find info on a low-power mixing desk, although I did read an article about a solar-powered studio that had one. Perhaps digital desks may take less power but I need a nice analog board for the way I work.

If I can get the computer, amp and mixer all running off 12v that would be sweet as my eurorack synths can also run off 12v..
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31st March 2012
Old 31st March 2012
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Unless you are playing and recording and mixing in the dark (and cold/heat) lighting and HVAC may end up drawing more power than the audio equipment.
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31st March 2012
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My Sonnosax mixer can run on D cells
So did my IVs Nagra which drew 13w.
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31st March 2012
Old 31st March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcrowley View Post
Unless you are playing and recording and mixing in the dark (and cold/heat) lighting and HVAC may end up drawing more power than the audio equipment.
That no problem - low-power LED lights solve the lighting issue, and a woodburner in one corner solves the heat issue !!
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31st March 2012
Old 31st March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 View Post
My Sonnosax mixer can run on D cells
So did my IVs Nagra which drew 13w.
Thanks - however the Sonosax stuff is way out of my price range... looks like proper quality stuff though. Found another UK company audio.co.uk that do location recording mixers, also prohibitively expensive for my budget!
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31st March 2012
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SD 522 is 5ch mixer CF recorder with fab mic pres
Runs all day on 7.2VDC Sony Camera Li Battery
#19
1st April 2012
Old 1st April 2012
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I've been running a mobile setup on solar with a laptop and interface for a few years now. I can power everything with a small enough system that it all fits on a hand truck. Alot of the DIY Kit preamps can run on straight 12-24vDC, as can some condenser mics. I just recently discovered that the MOTU traveler has a 4-pin battery connection on it for DC power supplies.

The simpler the signal chain, the less energy it's gonna need.
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1st April 2012
Old 1st April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jenkel16 View Post
I've been running a mobile setup on solar with a laptop and interface for a few years now. I can power everything with a small enough system that it all fits on a hand truck. Alot of the DIY Kit preamps can run on straight 12-24vDC, as can some condenser mics. I just recently discovered that the MOTU traveler has a 4-pin battery connection on it for DC power supplies.

The simpler the signal chain, the less energy it's gonna need.
Yes this is what I'm coming to realise. I can't seem to find a decent affordable 8+ channel DC-powered mixer that can replace my mackie 1642.

EDIT: There is the old Samson Mixpad 12 (I have the small 4ch version gonna compare sound quality today)

A lot of the time is spent ITB so for that I can have everything running on DC, have a direct out from audio interface to DC-powered amp, bypassing the Mackie when I'm not recording through it. I use the Mackie for mixing and EQing before I record, and for dubby feedback loops with a delay unit... but strictly speaking I could have everything running direct into the audio interface (RME Multiface), perhaps through some DC powered preamps for colouration.
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3rd April 2012
Old 3rd April 2012
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in my mission to find a mixer that can be powered directly from DC (and low power consumption) seems that the only proper option is film gear which is serious £$£$£

Other options I've found - Samson Mixpad 12 - seems a bit cheap and cheerful, although I tested out a Mixpad 4 and the sound seemed ok.
A&H MixWizard - these have a backup power supply DC input, for which a suitable set of voltages could be derived from 12v dc. No idea on actual power consumption though... the blurb for the MPS12 power supply says 35w... which is about the same as my Mackie, as measured at the plug.

I may just stick with what i have for now and use an inverter for the mixer. My long term goal would be to have as much running directly off DC as possible.
Seems crazy that there is so little on the market that can operate this way, i've even had trouble finding computer monitors that run off DC, especially when almost everything uses DC voltage inside. I guess there is not much of a market for it apart from location recording...
#22
4th April 2012
Old 4th April 2012
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You can reduce the current consumption of all the line level analog gear by replacing the opamps with low power devices. An 071 draws 1.7 ma each, replace those with LT1351's and that drops to 260 ua, about 80% less. Do that and all the gear will run on batteries. The LT part is also higher output current, lower noise and a whopping 200 v/us slew rate. Sounds better too.
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5th April 2012
Old 5th April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
You can reduce the current consumption of all the line level analog gear by replacing the opamps with low power devices. An 071 draws 1.7 ma each, replace those with LT1351's and that drops to 260 ua, about 80% less. Do that and all the gear will run on batteries. The LT part is also higher output current, lower noise and a whopping 200 v/us slew rate. Sounds better too.
Thanks - useful info.

Would I be able to for example mod my Mackie or an A&H MixWizard this way?

Cheers
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5th April 2012
Old 5th April 2012
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Yes. Mackie tended to use 8 pin SIP package opamps from Japan, you would need Brown Dog SIP to dual SOIC adaptors.

A+H used 072 DIPs, use the dual LT1352CN8 as a direct swap. The LT chips are 2~3 mhz bandwidth, similar to the 07x series. They are very stable and usually need no extra circuit mods to apply. They also make a quad, the LT1353. All are available in DIP packages for a direct swap.

These are not cheap opamps, but advanced designs. They are buffered currect feedback opamps, that's why the huge slew rates. They are 10 nv noise vs 18~22 nv noise for the 07x series.
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5th April 2012
Old 5th April 2012
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Thank you.
Looks like it would cost around £60 for 16 of those LT1352CN8

And gives me a good excuse to replace the mackie with an a&h which I've been thinking of doing for a few years now..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
Yes. Mackie tended to use 8 pin SIP package opamps from Japan, you would need Brown Dog SIP to dual SOIC adaptors.

A+H used 072 DIPs, use the dual LT1352CN8 as a direct swap. The LT chips are 2~3 mhz bandwidth, similar to the 07x series. They are very stable and usually need no extra circuit mods to apply. They also make a quad, the LT1353. All are available in DIP packages for a direct swap.

These are not cheap opamps, but advanced designs. They are buffered currect feedback opamps, that's why the huge slew rates. They are 10 nv noise vs 18~22 nv noise for the 07x series.
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