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CLEAN POWER... is it a myth? Dynamics Plugins
Old 10th August 2009
  #31
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Ryan Earnhardt's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Having an isolated ground for your entire studio is the best thing you could do for power, then follow that with a good surge protector, conditioner and its all you need.
My current studio location is older and doesn't have grounded outlets. Is there any reason why I can run a cable through my window and into a steak in the ground?

Anyone do this?
Old 10th August 2009
  #32
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Earnhardt View Post
My current studio location is older and doesn't have grounded outlets. Is there any reason why I can run a cable through my window and into a steak in the ground?

Anyone do this?
It has to be connected to the main AC ground...
Even OLDER AC panels with NO grounded outlets WAS grounded at the main panel...
If you don't connect them together you will NOT have a Ground fault current path...
Old 11th August 2009
  #33
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PDC View Post
Let

I totally agree that some of them can make no difference when you have good power to begin with. "Making things worse" could mean that you have problems elsewhere, and maybe the power is clean enough now that you can hear those problems. Maybe the grounding scheme was not compatible with the unit. Isotek has very specific warnings on their units about connecting to gear that grounds to the chassis.

The guys said previously that cables were MORE important than the conditioners/regulators, and I asked for scientific proof. That sounds like audiophilia too me. Cable does not purify, rectify or prevent a fry. Cable contains conductors. Case in point: In my neck of the woods, voltage swings and distortion cause problems. I have a customer in Topeka, KS that has had electrical problems with his power service. He HAS high end power cables on his audio gear and computers, and he has had to replace all of the gear before because of the surges. He was blowing output stages on amplifiers because of his surges, brown-outs, etc. So cables alone doing the job is BS. For some people, when the power company/co-op could give a rats ass, these solutions are the only option.

I said cables, connectors and cleanliness (maintenance) were more important than line conditioners and regulators, although the latter may also be necessary (in situations where local power supply is inadequate). My comment addressed the original post, which asked for opinions on the "sound" of conditioners, not the safety/surge protection aspects. Obviously cables won't help protect your equipment or regulate fluctuating voltage. That surely is not the "myth" under discussion?

The problem with line conditioners is that they tend to create as many problems as they solve. For example, they may extend bass, but reduce the apparent dymanic range of equipment. Often it's a relief just to get them out of the way.

On the other hand, electically isolating your studio from domestic appliances, cleaning even mildly corroded power connectors, fuses, or replacing a standard power cable with a better quality one, should always result in an audible improvement, with no downside.
Old 11th August 2009
  #34
Yes, Virginia, there really is a Santa Clause and there really is Clean Power.

I have a sawmill, as well as 3 grain silo's and a steel fabrication shop that uses plasma cutters within 3/4 mile of my studio. What I've done, because I KNOW I have bad sags and noise, was to put in 400amp service to the building, and to put in a 15KVA isolation transformer for clean power for all the audio gear.

All the computers/servers will be on 2.5KVA UPS's coming off the dirty side.

All chassis grounds will have an additional dedicated #8 stranded green run from the main lug ground to the equipment. I'll only connect them if there is a problem.

Everything else; HVAC, lighting, utility outlets and wet area GFCI's are all on dirty power.

The larger the wire, the lower the resistance, and generally the capacitance. You want the least amount of resistance/capacitance on the ground plane as you can readily afford. This ensures the least amount of potential noise getting introduced into the equipment due to a difference in earth potential, and not being able to find that path to earth ground.

As far as filtering and regulation. Filtering is not the same as regulating... as has been correctly described.

Regulation is where you hold the AC at a constant voltage. The problem is that these devices are rated for total wattage, or KVA. Remembering Ohm's law, if you hold voltage and KVA constant, you cannot have everything, so you loose current as the device regulates the voltage upward, and vice-versa in that you have excess current available as the device regulates voltage downward.

Generally, mechanical regulators, or regulating transformers do not filter out any energy such as noise spikes or fast transient voltage spikes.

To eliminate them, you either need a specific filtering device, or an isolation transformer with a big ferrite (iron laminate) core... or possibly both.

Filters usually are made small and rather simply. Quite often, manufacturers will simply strap MOV's across the input. Typically, this just clamps off fast over voltage spikes. (e.g. noise) The issue is that while MOV's are really good as self sacrificing devices when large surges come through, it really takes a bit more of an active filter network to shunt the trash to the ground.. e.g. caps, chokes and other semi conductors. Additionally, MOV's take a beating on the typical circuit, and eventually begin to conduct less and less as the PN junction breaks down. They are also a pretty stupid device in that they won't do squat about a negative transient, only excessive voltage spikes. So, while MOV's are a good component to have in a filter, there should also be a method (components) for dealing with under voltage spikes and noise, like chokes and caps... preferably over rated for duty cycle life.

Bottom line is that using any, or all of the above may actually be necessary to get clean power in a studio... but they aren't all 100 percent the right thing to do in every situation. Each situation is different, and should be researched by a qualified electrician before just jumping in and doing something that may very well be the exact wrong solution.
Old 15th October 2018
  #35
Here for the gear
 

>>>Having an isolated ground for your entire studio is the best thing you could do for power<<<

I would highly advise against that. I'm going to tell you some information that it took me decades to learn. I'm a Radio Broadcast Engineer, who deals with lightning strikes all the time. Our tower and transmitter building are about 300 feet from our studio/office building. The 400' tower gets struck around 12 times per year. At one time, our studio mixing consoles were blowing up (literally) from lightning strikes to our tower. This was mainly due to so many pieces of equipment being at different ground potentials. We cured this by tying all grounds together (search: Star Ground). For the lowest noise ground (when using balanced audio equipment), you want to have all grounds tied together. That means everything in your facility (refrigerators, washers, audio equipment, etc., etc., you name it), is tied to the same service entrance ground. You do not want to have any separate floating grounds. Everything should be at the same ground potential. For the lowest S/N ratio, I would recommend a dedicated AC circuit, just for audio equipment. This circuit should include a dedicated neutral wire, and a dedicated ground wire. For an even better ground (and this is what we do in radio), install a 2" or 3" wide copper strap, near your audio equipment, and tie all studio grounds to this strap. The strap is connected to the service entrance ground, to achieve the lowest resistance ground. I also run surge protection on all incoming AC circuits, which feed audio equipment. I highly recommend the Tripp Lite Isobar Ultra series for surge protection. To get rid of pops and clicks, generated by motors or compressors turning on and off, I install a Tripp Lite Isobar at the source. I have them everywhere, on every refrigerator, clothes washer, furnace, etc, anything with iron, which can store, and release, energy.
Old 16th October 2018
  #36
Gear Nut
 

Brian speaks truth. In my daytime job I manage many datacentres and this is universally the correct and professional approach.

The only thing I would add is that if you still have problems with powerline borne noise or too much line variation, your next approach would be to install double conversion UPS to power your tech gear only.

Oh and I'd use a very large conductor size to go between that earth bar and the actual star ground point.
Old 16th October 2018
  #37
Tui
Gear Guru
 
Tui's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Bowers View Post
>>>Having an isolated ground for your entire studio is the best thing you could do for power<<<

I would highly advise against that. I'm going to tell you some information that it took me decades to learn. I'm a Radio Broadcast Engineer, who deals with lightning strikes all the time. Our tower and transmitter building are about 300 feet from our studio/office building. The 400' tower gets struck around 12 times per year. At one time, our studio mixing consoles were blowing up (literally) from lightning strikes to our tower. This was mainly due to so many pieces of equipment being at different ground potentials. We cured this by tying all grounds together (search: Star Ground). For the lowest noise ground (when using balanced audio equipment), you want to have all grounds tied together. That means everything in your facility (refrigerators, washers, audio equipment, etc., etc., you name it), is tied to the same service entrance ground. You do not want to have any separate floating grounds. Everything should be at the same ground potential. For the lowest S/N ratio, I would recommend a dedicated AC circuit, just for audio equipment. This circuit should include a dedicated neutral wire, and a dedicated ground wire. For an even better ground (and this is what we do in radio), install a 2" or 3" wide copper strap, near your audio equipment, and tie all studio grounds to this strap. The strap is connected to the service entrance ground, to achieve the lowest resistance ground. I also run surge protection on all incoming AC circuits, which feed audio equipment. I highly recommend the Tripp Lite Isobar Ultra series for surge protection. To get rid of pops and clicks, generated by motors or compressors turning on and off, I install a Tripp Lite Isobar at the source. I have them everywhere, on every refrigerator, clothes washer, furnace, etc, anything with iron, which can store energy.
Amazing post, thank you.
Old 16th October 2018
  #38
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Search for online double conversion UPS. Except for John Caf, very little has been said about... Here...
It’s one of the most important equipment in my studio.
Old 16th October 2018
  #39
Here for the gear
 

I've recently picked up a piece of AC analyzing gear, which displays harmonics, sine wave, and voltage. With this piece of AC analyzing gear, contrary to what some of the audiophile opinions are, what I'm discovering, is that what I thought was dirty AC power from my utility company, is actually cleaner than what my double-conversion UPS's put out. I would have thought the opposite. I still need my double-conversion UPS's though, to prevent broadcast equipment microprocessor lockup. I also use them to keep equipment powered up, momentarily, if we lose utility power, and generators turn on, and switch over. For those that may not know, double-conversion UPS's are constantly on inverter/battery power. There is no switchover dead time. Basic UPS's usually have microseconds/milliseconds of no power output, as the UPS switches to battery output. Sometimes in that miniscule amount of time, microprocessor equipment can lock up.

Last edited by Brian Bowers; 16th October 2018 at 04:22 PM.. Reason: added a word
Old 16th October 2018
  #40
Every high end power "conditioner" brought to the Van Nuys shop made audio gear sound worse. I installed Corcom power filters into all the AC powered gear. That filters out all the crap without messing with the AC current.

In pro rooms I used to install 80 amp and up isolation transformers. The AC was then wired balanced power instead of +120 and neutral. That quieted all the audio gear down due to phase cancellation. Even electric guitars get quieter.
Old 16th October 2018
  #41
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Since I'm a firm believer in the theory behind balanced audio, for over 10 years now (maybe 20), I've been a proponent of balanced AC power, and use it in both my home, and certain areas of my broadcast facilities. Since purchasing and using my Simple Logger II...

https://www.aemc.com/products/datalo...atalogger-L261

...I've been looking at various AC power thru (2 different isolation transformers, Tripp Lite double-conversion UPS's, Equi=Tech balanced AC transformer, corcom filters, and Tripp Lite Ultra4 Isobars - all of which I own) various feeds, checking mostly for THD. As much as I wanted the balanced AC power transformer's output to have the least amount of THD, it did not. The reason being, from what I've read, is that the iron of transformers can actually create THD. I still love the theory behind balanced AC power, and will continue to probably use it, but my dedicated AC circuit, with nothing plugged into it, directly from my utility company, had the least amount of THD (1.1%), when looking at the Simple Logger II. Granted, you can spend $10,000 on Fluke AC analyzing meters, but for $400, I feel the Simple Logger II gets me a halfway decent picture of single phase power, which I mainly use for audio equipment. I forgot to mention that the Simple Logger II also measures 50/60 Hz. AC line frequency. Until one really takes a visual look at one's AC power, you're really only guessing as to how, supposedly, "dirty," it really is.
Old 16th October 2018
  #42
Tui
Gear Guru
 
Tui's Avatar
I came across this article. I guess there's more to surge protection than meets the eye:

A surge protector that doesn't protect | Computerworld
Old 16th October 2018
  #43
Here for the gear
 

BTW, I also have equipment to measure the S/N ratio of analog audio outputs. The measuring device will read S/N as low as -99 dB. I try to keep my noise floors on audio equipment as low as possible (correct grounding helps tremendously, when maintaining low noise floors). I have also used this equipment to look at various analog audio outputs, when feeding AC power to this audio equipment, using the same various devices I mentioned in the previous post (balanced AC transformer, isolation transformers, etc., etc.). I was never able to read a difference in S/N, when the audio equipment that was under test, was fed AC power from the mentioned devices, as compared to straight utility power. It's very possible that not everything can be seen, as compared to being heard (i.e. AC power filtering improvements).
Old 16th October 2018
  #44
Here for the gear
 

Tui, hopefully one of the 3 status LED's (Protection Present, Fault, Line OK) on the Tripp Lite Isobar will alert you that AC protection no longer exists. I will still tell you that the Tripp Lite Isobar Ultra is the best surge protector that you can buy. I've never had one fail on me, and this is after using over 100 of them them in broadcast facilities that deal with lightning strikes to on-site broadcast towers. It's also the only device (placed at the source), that immediately traps and filters pops and clicks from inductive sources, finding their way into audio systems.
Old 16th October 2018
  #45
Much of the outboard gear here has had the standard E/I power transformers replaced with shielded toroid power transformers. It quieted down the acoustic hum levels in the room because they are now over-rated and don't buzz. They also helped quiet the residual noise floor on the gear. Run that stuff though the Audio Precision analyzer and you see the 60/120/250 hz AC noise easily. Many pieces had that noise at -90~100 db, not good. Some pieces you can get those harmonics down to -125 dbu. Some you can't due to the layouts and proximity of the transformer hum fields to the audio path.
Old 17th October 2018
  #46
Tui
Gear Guru
 
Tui's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Bowers View Post
Tui, hopefully one of the 3 status LED's (Protection Present, Fault, Line OK) on the Tripp Lite Isobar will alert you that AC protection no longer exists. I will still tell you that the Tripp Lite Isobar Ultra is the best surge protector that you can buy. I've never had one fail on me, and this is after using over 100 of them them in broadcast facilities that deal with lightning strikes to on-site broadcast towers. It's also the only device (placed at the source), that immediately traps and filters pops and clicks from inductive sources, finding their way into audio systems.
Right, thanks.
Old 18th October 2018
  #47
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tui View Post
Right, thanks.
Maybe learn from others who also say why by citing specification numbers. Take that light. It can only report a type of failure that MOV manufacturers say must never happen: catastrophic failure. An acceptable failure mode is degradation.

But if a plug-in protector only degrades, then wild speculation, inspired by no technical knowledge, will not made the above junk science conclusions.

That 'protector failed' light only reports when a protector was grossly undersized. Why would anyone recommend protectors with near zero joules (ie that Tripplite)? Because that recommendation has no numbers. No numbers is the first indication of junk science reasoning or a scam.

That light only reports a catastrophic failure - that occurs because a protector is grossly undersized. Something completely different (also called a surge protector because confusion was promoted) remains functional for many decades after many direct lightning strikes. It actually claims to protect from surges. And is essential to even protect a Tripplite.

Effective protection will always - as in always - answers this question. Where do hundreds of thousands of joules harmlessly dissipate? Tripplite will not answer that question. Similar circuits in an APC or Belkin also avoid that question.

Informed consumers properly earth a 'whole house' protector from other companies well known by any guy for integrity. Including Intermatic, Square D, Ditek, Siemens, Polyphaser (an industry benchmark), Syscom, Leviton, ABB, Delta, Erico, General Electric, and Cutler-Hammer (Eaton). These devices (for about $1 per protected appliance) mean everything is protected. Since a dishwasher, clocks, furnace, GFCIs, central air, garage door opener, recharging electronics, dimmer switches, refrigerator ... everything needs that protection.

Worse, if not using a properly earthed 'whole house' protector, then a Tripplite can even compromise what is superior protection already inside appliances. Another fact forgotten when one does not learn how electricity works and those always required specification numbers.

No protector cleans power. Anyone can read its spec numbers. It does absolutely nothing until 120 volts well exceeds 330 volts. No problem and again: best protection is already inside appliances.

Concern is for a rare transient (maybe once every seven years) that threatens to overwhelm what is best protection inside appliances. Meanwhile tinier transients that harm no appliance can also destroy that near zero joule Tripplite, APC, etc. Since grossly undersizing (ie sacrificial protection) gets the naive to recommend it and buy more.

Effective protector remains functional for decades after many direct lightning strikes. Those are not promoted to naive consumers by wild speculation and advertising. Those are promoted to others who actually know this stuff. That means one will answer this question. Where do hundreds of thousands of joules harmlessly dissipate? A protector is only as effective as the quality of and connection to single point earth ground.

Obviously wall receptacle safety ground is not earth ground. Tripplite, APC, Furman, and especially Monster will not discuss it to protect profits. Monster has a long history of identifying scams and then selling an equivalent product at much higher prices. How many (near zero) joules is inside their product? Those damning numbers. A protector is only as effective as its earth ground. Only a 'whole house' protector can make that connection.
Old 18th October 2018
  #48
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Myth!
Star grounding there’s your action right there! Cost ratio same!
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