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Balanced Power / dimmer question
Old 18th October 2005
Gear Addict
KurtR's Avatar

Balanced Power / dimmer question

I've done some reading but I'm not really sure on this.

If I take a 30amp breaker from the main box to this

So thats on its own breaker then use an existing light system with normal dimmers will I have any issues?

I'm not sure if the BALANCED POWER ISOLATION TRANSFORMER will cancel out any problems.

The balanced power will be used for just audio gear.
Old 18th October 2005

It depends (you can always have issues....).

If you have noisy lights that are getting picked up by something like a guitar pick-up, then running ballanced power to the amp probably won't do you any good. If you are putting a lot of noise onto the power line with your phase controlled dimmer, then this won't do anything for you that isolating your grounds and power all the way back to the circuit breaker wouldn't to.

If you run the lights off of the ballanced power transformer and use twisted pair wiring for power, you probably will do some good.

Of course, you could do the sensible thing and replace the lighting. You could put in more, smaller bulbs and several switches to vary the amount of light in the room. You could bite the bullet and install real rheostats, Variacs, or DC lighting....

There were several PWM dimming systems under development too, these would eliminate the noise created by light dimming.

Except in certain, special cases, I think that the whole ballanced power scheme is not worth messing with.


Old 18th October 2005
Lives for gear
nosebleedaudio's Avatar

It should attenuate then noise ect to a very low level, using the Balanced power ONLY for audio as you said. I think balanced power is especially an advantage in a place where you don't have any control on the AC..
Old 18th October 2005
Lives for gear

One thing this won't help with is the effects of RF being emitted by the dimmer into the aether.

As you have no doubt gathered, the benefits of balanced power are, as the tobacco companies used to put it, "controversial." The balanced power manufacturers will tell you that it is the best thing since sliced bread. Others think it is superstition. I suspect that reality falls somewhere in between, as in most things.

I'm in the throes of building a studio, and came to the conclusion that at least some of the benefits of balanced power are well understood, and the cost of putting it in was a small insurance policy relative to the overall cost of the project. It would suck to put a pile of money into the building and end up with a bunch of hum. I ended up with a 5KVA wall system.

Independent of that, you may be able to improve things through the use of more high-end dimming systems (Lutron, for example) instead of the $5 noisy triac. If the wiring is a done deal, Lutron has "smart dimmers" that retrofit to existing wiring (including 3-way and 4-way switches.) These seem to emit a whole lot less noise, and have the advantage that you get a dimmer at each switch location instead of only one (one of the travellers is used as a communications bus, and the actual dimmer circuitry is at the head of the line.)
Old 18th October 2005
Lives for gear
nosebleedaudio's Avatar

I will add that most of the studios I know that installed an isolation transformer on the AC still used rheostat type dimmers, they are not cheap either...
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