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High Quality Light Dimers
Old 21st July 2005
  #1
Gear Nut
 

High Quality Light Dimmers

I am not sure this is the right place for this kind of question, but I am having a hard time with the noisy dimmers in our two rooms.
I have been told that high quality noise free dimmers cost a fortune (the old fashon ones with the big knobs). Do you guys know of any brand that would do the job decently without costing so much? The biggest problem is when tracking electric guitars or basses. I always have to dim the lights to a sweet spot (less noise) that never really translate to the right vibe in terms of light. It's too bad, because our dimmers are also remote controlled with presets and that's a cool little feature that can really get one spoiled.
It's worth to mention that all the spotlights are "high voltage", not the ones with the little tranformers right next to them ("low voltage" ).
I don't know, maybe there is a way to filter the dimmers?

Any suggestions??

Thanks to all in advance.

Renzo Mantovani
Old 21st July 2005
  #2
Lives for gear
 

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...Name=WDVW&rd=1

I have a 10 amp variac and I am super happy, the lighting feels better, bulbs last and no buzzes.....the only snag (for some) may be the fact that it is harder to seat the variac into the wall for a convenient control.....I just put mine in a closet and only touch it when doing maintenance. (gremlins vs bright light)

When I get the Bentley and the guitar shaped swimming pool, I'll be showing all the viewers on MTV the Variacs in every room in the mansion heh

Andy
Old 21st July 2005
  #3
Lives for gear
 
themaidsroom's Avatar
 

someone i know here in new york had some of those dimmers he was showing
people a few months ago - he had pulled them from a studio that was closing
uptown

i think he wanted $100 apiece for them and he spoke as if it were a very, very
good price

they were large - some sort of big transformer i guess...........

i have two circuit boxes running from the same connection to the outside world -
lots of dimmers on the second box, all audio from the first.....
i'm still humming and chanting, though
there's a lot of voodoo to noise floors.............
Old 21st July 2005
  #4


You can't use a phase controled lighting dimmer in a studio. The cheap 200W ones that go into a switch box are particularly bad, but the expensive rack-mounted ones aren't good either.

Putting them on a separate circuit helps, but single coil guitar pick-up into a high-gain amp will actually pick-up the electric field from the wires and the bulb. That's why they invented hum-buckers.

The VariAC is a good solution. I've seen adjustable transformers like this built into walls for dimming lights.

The old fashion way of dimming with a Rheostat is even quieter, but you waste a lot of power (and generate a lot of heat). I believe you can still get these.

There should be a way to vary the AC voltage with power MosFets and a 200kHz switcher (like a high quality UPS without the battery), but I have not seen it. Most adjustments on UPS outputs are pretty small.

If you have the space, several circuits with various wattage bulbs might be the ticket.



-tINY

Old 21st July 2005
  #5
Lives for gear
 
brianroth's Avatar
 

Luxtrol autoformer dimmers made by Superior Electric were the LONG time "gold standard" for professional studios. Superior's website seems to have gone off-line this evening, but here's a page from one of their distributors:

http://www.indianaelectricalsales.com/indus/WBD.htm

These are BIG units compared to the Home Despot <sic...heheh> little electronic hash-makers. I've seen them retrofitted for the buzzing dimmers by mounting them on the wall surface. I'm guessing a medium power Luxtrol requires a mounting box 6" wide by 10" tall by 3" deep.

Bri
Old 21st July 2005
  #6
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jjblair's Avatar
I don't know who makes my variacs, but they are the ones that Kaplan Electric installed, just as they do in every studio in LA. They were really ****ing expensive. Here's a hint, have your lights on a different circuit than your audio gear. In fact, my audio gear has its own transformer (balanced power) and runs straight to the pole. But that is a VERY expensive option. Try just using a different circuit for the lights and it should save headaches, but use a real variac like Brian talks about and not a home depot one. You either pay now or pay later, because you won;t be able to record when you save a few bucks and everything is humming and buzzing.
Old 21st July 2005
  #7
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brianroth's Avatar
 

Aha!! Superior Electric's website ...It's Alive!!

http://www.superiorelectric.com/PDF/...g-Controls.pdf

Scroll down to pages 2 and 3 for the "WBD" series. Last time I checked (maybe 10+ years ago), a WBD800 was at least $100.

In 1984, I was in charge of relocating my employer's studio to a new location, and we stripped the WBD dimmers out of the old room and had the electrician reinstall them in the new room, where they still happily reside to this very day. I've had perhaps one of the wipers go bad, but we were able to get replacement parts for a device built in 1979.

Bri
Old 21st July 2005
  #8
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dim light's Avatar
 

Playing the fender jazz at the same time my friend tweak the dimmer is like playing phaser without sunglasses it makes you smile and cry at the same time. We have one dimmer in our house and it ain't me!?
Old 21st July 2005
  #9
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brianroth's Avatar
 

Variable transformers (Variac is a brand-name, like Kleenex) show up in all sorts of places. The packaging on this one is not made for wall-mount, and it's probably Chinese, but here's a 500W unit:

http://www.mpja.com/directview.asp?product=15162+TR

They have others listed online as well, as do other suppliers:

http://www.allelectronics.com/cgi-bi...805&type=store

Bri
Old 21st July 2005
  #10
Gear Nut
 

Thank you guys. lots of good info.
So, I take it filtering isn't really an option...
Old 22nd July 2005
  #11
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brianroth's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mantovibe
Thank you guys. lots of good info.
So, I take it filtering isn't really an option...
Back in Ye Olde Daze when I did some live stage work, high end dimmer packs for the PAR cans, etc. DID include filter inductors. I recall a Berkey Colortran unit and each channel had a filter choke about the size of the power transformer in a Fender Twin Reverb amp! Scrimmer used air core inductors that were around 4" in diameter and maybe 18" long.

In spite of that massive amount of iron, there was still some residual buzz picked up in the guitar amps. That's why high end studios have always used autoformers.

Bri
Old 22nd July 2005
  #12
Lives for gear
 

It's much easier and cheaper to split the lights up on different switches - no dimmers. Need mood lighting? - shut a few off.
Old 3rd June 2008
  #13
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Jeff16years's Avatar
 

I might be learning things here, I thought that the Lutron Nova was the one you are supposed to use.

no?
Old 3rd June 2008
  #14
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TVPostSound's Avatar
You need a transformer, Lutron are essentially rheostats.
Old 3rd June 2008
  #15
If your electrical ground is consistent and with the same phase ..try a good Luton dimmer,,,affordable..I even have wireless not a bit of a problem..super clean!!
Old 3rd June 2008
  #16
jho
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jho's Avatar
 

The specs for our new dimmers (right off the plans..):

Lutron Maestro model # MAW-600H single pole dimmers w/ Lutron model # LDC-10-TCP lamp de-buzzing coils for all dimmers except for the main 8-light dimmer in the tracking room, which requires the Lutron Maestro model # MAW-1000H single pole dimmer w/ Lutron model # LDC-10-TCP lamp de-buzzing coil, since it is rated for the higher wattage load. Maestro custom multi-ganged stainless steel coverplates can be special ordered through a Lutron dealer.
(Please note that the lamp de-buzzing coils must be mounted in a remote location since they themselves can make noise.)
Old 8th April 2011
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
Sonic_X's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jho View Post
The specs for our new dimmers (right off the plans..):

Lutron Maestro model # MAW-600H single pole dimmers w/ Lutron model # LDC-10-TCP lamp de-buzzing coils for all dimmers except for the main 8-light dimmer in the tracking room, which requires the Lutron Maestro model # MAW-1000H single pole dimmer w/ Lutron model # LDC-10-TCP lamp de-buzzing coil, since it is rated for the higher wattage load. Maestro custom multi-ganged stainless steel coverplates can be special ordered through a Lutron dealer.
(Please note that the lamp de-buzzing coils must be mounted in a remote location since they themselves can make noise.)
from Lutron http://www.lutron.com/ResourceLibrary/360484.pdf

The type of LDC required depends on the total
wattage of the dimmer’s lighting load. Lutron has two
LDC models available to help reduce lamp buzzing.
Listed below are the model numbers of the Lutron
LDC models and their respective capacities.
Model Rated Capacity
LDC-10-TCP 600-1200W
LDC-16-TCP 1201-1920W
Note: For loads less than 600W, call the toll-free
Lutron Technical Assistance Hotline: (800) 523-9466.

Maybe you know by chance what LDC i have to use for my setup of 200Watt strong? ..i call the number but no connection from here, i'm in Germany.

Thanx in advance!

Jay
Old 9th January 2014
  #18
Gear Head
 

i have a bunch of Luxtrol 800s if anyone is looking for some
Old 9th January 2014
  #19
Gear Guru
 

We have Variacs at the studio where I work

they are huge heavy things and a special frame had to be built into the wall to support them. Not cheap either.

but no buzz.

ever


Quote:
Originally Posted by juniorhifikit
It's much easier and cheaper to split the lights up on different switches - no dimmers. Need mood lighting? - shut a few off.
this is how I do it at my own place. Lots of little lights, strategically placed. My house was renovated by an electrician who put in the Lutron dimmers everywhere but half of them still make buzzes in the amps. I can't trust them when recording.
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