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ON/OFF switch on some high end gear Dynamics Plugins
Old 17th September 2011
  #1
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Jason Poulin's Avatar
 

ON/OFF switch on some high end gear

WHY on earth do some pieces of gear have the on/off switch in the back of the gear and not conveniently placed in the front.

A lot of our Pendulum Audio and DW Fearn gear is like this and it pisses me off every time I have to lean over the racks and painfully turn these suckers on.

Many times this discourages me from even trying the damn things on auditions because of this.

Now, is there some einstein that can chime in here and give me a good reason why this is done? Please don't tell me that gear should stay on or that it's because on the electronics because I see this as a FLAW!

Help ease my frustration here.

Thanks
Old 17th September 2011
  #2
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

I'd imagine it's because the designers want to keep the high voltage stuff confined.

If you've ever had the occasion to peek inside an Ampex ATR-series tape machine, you'll see that the power switch on the front is surprisingly close to the headstack. But that "switch" is actually a lever toggling a steel rod which traverses back and down to the rear of the machine and pushes and pulls the actual power switch. Very Rube Goldberg looking, especially in such an otherwise elegant setting.
Old 17th September 2011
  #3
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Marcocet's Avatar
Yep. All the power enters in the back and the only reason it has to go towards the front is to get to the switch. Why worry about it? Also most studios seem to have their gear on power strips so they can turn it on or off easily. If it really irks you spend $40 on one of those rack mount power strips and plug all your gear with switches in the back in to it. Viola.
Old 18th September 2011
  #4
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Jason Poulin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcocet View Post
Yep. All the power enters in the back and the only reason it has to go towards the front is to get to the switch. Why worry about it? Also most studios seem to have their gear on power strips so they can turn it on or off easily. If it really irks you spend $40 on one of those rack mount power strips and plug all your gear with switches in the back in to it. Viola.
Yes, this was the solution to this... we are using 4 monster racks to power all the gear. Seems like it's never enough to power everything lol! There are still 3 units that get powered up with everything else and stay on with the rest of the gear.

Anyways, if it's a HV issue, than why is it only a select few that don't have the switch in the front of the units?
Old 18th September 2011
  #5
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Showcase's Avatar
 

I think they believe you have your stuff turned on all the time, or have somekind of common power supply that turns everything ON/OFF, its our setup anyway
Old 18th September 2011
  #6
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Drumsound's Avatar
I agree, it's a stupid thing to do. Even worse are trim post or impedance switches.

Like the Ampex deal above the Manley VoxBox has a long rod that runs the power switch to the back of the unit where the actual psu is.
Old 18th September 2011
  #7
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Jason Poulin's Avatar
 

I'm sure there can be better options out there.
Old 18th September 2011
  #8
epp
Gear Nut
 

How lazy can one person be?
Old 18th September 2011
  #9
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emrr's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Poulin View Post
Anyways, if it's a HV issue, than why is it only a select few that don't have the switch in the front of the units?
Because only a select few have any sense.
Old 18th September 2011
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
stoneagejim's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by epp View Post
How lazy can one person be?
how is it lazy?

have you ever worked in a studio where there are racks full of stuff?

its an awkward task, nothing to do with being lazy.

jim
Old 18th September 2011
  #11
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Jason Poulin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stoneagejim View Post
how is it lazy?

have you ever worked in a studio where there are racks full of stuff?

its an awkward task, nothing to do with being lazy.

jim
that's our case... 3 full racks fully loaded and with limited room it's located close to a wall. We don't have much access behind.
Old 19th September 2011
  #12
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TheBankInc's Avatar
 

There's always behringer...
Old 19th September 2011
  #13
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As a gear designer and builder can certainly see the value in putting the switch in the back. As a gear user I admit it is a royal pita.
Old 19th September 2011
  #14
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latestflavor's Avatar
 

actually, once you are presented with this conundrum, you realize you need a good bank of power strips to control multiple pieces or racks at once. can't stand having to power individual pieces up/down anymore.

then when you figure out you can not only do it by rack, or by gear type, you can do it by your "A" list and keep your less frequently used "B" and "C" gear on separate strips to save tube life etc you think to yourself : 'self, how have i not lived this way before?'

and then your dilemma will seem parochial!

they're cheap as hell, and you can mount 'em anywhere
Old 19th September 2011
  #15
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Aisle 6's Avatar
I just have a master power switch which powers up all the racks on a soft power up/power down switch. One switch and all my racks are on.
Old 19th September 2011
  #16
I hate that too on my Pendulum.
Old 19th September 2011
  #17
Lives for gear
 

The only reason I turn the power off on anything is because I'm working on a piece of gear so it has to come out of the rack anyway.
Old 19th September 2011
  #18
Gear Addict
 
tmarra's Avatar
I always thought designers put the power switch on the back to prevent you from accidentally hitting it when operating the equipment.

-Tony
Old 19th September 2011
  #19
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
There once was a time when the gear was used very close to 24/7/362 [there are always some "non-negotiable" holidays]... and because the gear was used like this there was no reason to turn it off. I've always been a big believer in having two master "panic switches" in the control room... one that turns off everything other than the console, and one that turns off the console [in the case of an unscheduled introduction to liquid... they come in VERY handy!!].

The first "panic switch" can also be used for "down days" so long as the assisting staff knows to have it back on a minimum of two hours before the start of the next session.

In the scenario I've outlined... the former "professional" scenario it really didn't matter if the gear had an "on / off" switch... the "master" [panic] switch worked fine... and you need to unplug something for maintenance anyway so again... no need for a power switch at all.

While our industry has pretty much eaten the "professional" environment in favor of the "home studio" its still a good idea to have "master" switches for the power to your room [if you are so disposed to turn off your equipment when you're not using it... a disposition I don't personally share but being somewhat frugal can certainly understand].

I think you'll find that designers who leave the power switch on the back of the unit have their roots in the "stuff shouldn't get turned off" philosophy of the period where there were actual studios that worked 24/7/363 and have failed to acclimate to the current "3-4 hours a couple times a week" paradigm that is in current favor with what seems to be the vast majority of those who read and post on these boards.

Peace
Old 19th September 2011
  #20
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nosebleedaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Poulin View Post
that's our case... 3 full racks fully loaded and with limited room it's located close to a wall. We don't have much access behind.
Then have a Furman ect at the top of the rack and KILL all gear at once..This is what I prefer regardless of where the switch is..
Know many studios that NEVER turn off the gear...
How about the console?? Power amps ect...
I also prefer a remote sequencer for console, power amps...
Old 19th September 2011
  #21
I kinda don't like the idea of having tube gear running 24/7, that's why I'd like to turn them on when needed, not everything everytime.

Maybe I'm wrong, and 24/7 doesn't affect tubes, am I?
Old 19th September 2011
  #22
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
Of course 24/7 affects tube life... on the other hand, there is a concept called "scheduled maintenance" during which you should be testing and replacing tubes as necessary depending on how the tubes test during your "scheduled maintenance" testing.

Things with "rare" tubes [6386's, VF-14's, etc.] should probably be the exception to "24/7"... but things with common tubes [12a_7's, etc.] should just be tested regularly and maintained as necessary... or at least that's my take on it... obviously, YMMV.

Peace
Old 19th September 2011
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
Of course 24/7 affects tube life... on the other hand, there is a concept called "scheduled maintenance" during which you should be testing and replacing tubes as necessary depending on how the tubes test during your "scheduled maintenance" testing.

Things with "rare" tubes [6386's, VF-14's, etc.] should probably be the exception to "24/7"... but things with common tubes [12a_7's, etc.] should just be tested regularly and maintained as necessary... or at least that's my take on it... obviously, YMMV.

Peace
That's true. As I am still in the semipro section, I try to avoid as many maintenances as possible. As probably most starters do, I wait until a gear is sounding bad

That works fine as long as you are not fully overbooked of course, then I'd say you need to schedule regular maintenances
Old 19th September 2011
  #24
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
I'm not a professional driver... but I do drive a car to work everyday. I find that changing the oil in that car is a pain in the arse and like to delay the process whenever possible. While its recommended to change the oil every 2500 miles [about 4000 km] I'll usually push it to about 3000 mi. [5000 km] and generally get away with it... of course I could probably push that to 4000 mi [about 6500 km] and most likely nothing really bad will happen to the car... but in the long run it will add wear to the parts and I won't get the life expectancy from the car I would have gotten if I had changed the oil more regularly... so, grudgingly I keep up with the maintenance as its less expensive to maintain the equipment I have than to wait for it to break and require more extensive repair [or worse... to have the thing break on me when I need it most].

Same with audio gear. Treat it well and it will treat you well in return. There are few things that suck more than having to stop a session while you figure out how to work around something that broke during the session because it wasn't regularly maintained.

As for being fully booked and not having time to get into your room to perform that routine maintenance... that's a whole different thread but I will share my theory on how studio rates should be structured to avoid being fully booked [thus permitting time for maintenance!!]. That theory is that when a facility reaches 80% occupancy or greater... the rates for the facility must go up. This will usually drop the occupancy rate down to about 50-60% while taking in about the same amount of money the facility took in before... which will allow for things like maintenance time and budgets.

When the facility hits 65+% occupancy... then you [the owner of that facility] is making more money... which will permit for capital investment in better equipment and better maintenance of that equipment... which in turn will lead to more bookings... which will lead to yet another rate hike for the studio... which will lead to greater capital investment in better equipment and maintenance... and will eventually lead to an "upward spiral" that will lead to better sounding product, happier clients... and best of all [!!!] a better ability to earn from the facility you created.

Food for thought?

Maybe.
Old 19th September 2011
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher View Post
Food for thought? Maybe.
Now I'm stuffed heh
At least you made your point clear to me. I'm now wondering what that would cost me, as I am in the middle of bigger studio upgrade and thinking about to push my music business more
Old 19th September 2011
  #26
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latestflavor's Avatar
 

I dunno, spending $200 or $300+ on a single NOS tube means I'm gonna have that gear fired up when I need it, no standby bull****. Not at today's rates!

In 5 years that tube is gonna be $600. There is something like a million Chinese millionaires already - pretty soon great tubes are going to be like Fairchilds.
Old 19th September 2011
  #27
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Kestral's Avatar
 

First World Problem
Old 19th September 2011
  #28
Lives for gear
The switch thing is kind of annoying (although MUCH less than something like the phantom power being on the back - yeah, I'm looking your way GML heh)

What really bothers me - and causes some real-world issues from time to time - is how some gear has the power cord on the left, some on the right and some in the middle (especially annoying)! It really makes it difficult to run power lines away from your audio and avoid hiss/hum/RF...

(didn't there used to be a lightning bolt smiley?... would have been perfect here!)
Old 20th September 2011
  #29
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Fleaman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aisle 6 View Post
I just have a master power switch which powers up all the racks on a soft power up/power down switch. One switch and all my racks are on.
Custom built or production unit?
Old 20th September 2011
  #30
Registered User
I really wish makers would ommit on/off switches on everything. ESPECIALLY stuff powered by freakin wallwarts/linelumps. That seems especially moronic, because the PSU is more likely to catch fire if you don't disconnect the AC. An on/off switch gives a false sense of security if the PSU is still live.

I would rather save wear and tear on a switch by using an external switch, that probably already exists.

RCD protection switches are great as an in-line AC switch, and could save your life too.

Switches are one more thing to break. And un-lit stuff in a rack looks naff.
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