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Rack spacing and heat...leave some room? Audio Interfaces
Old 31st August 2008
  #1
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mbradzick's Avatar
Rack spacing and heat...leave some room?

My rack goes:

Furman
003R
ADDA with mic pres
Stereo compressor

A friend told me I should leave some room in the rack to allow heat dissipation and spread out the units. True?
Old 31st August 2008
  #2
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dhiltonlittle's Avatar
 

i always leave a little space between each unit.
Old 1st September 2008
  #3
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mbradzick's Avatar
Thanks. Anyone else leave space between their rack units?
Old 1st September 2008
  #4
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BOWIE's Avatar
It really depends on the gear. If you have something that gets hot, put it on top. I run mostly tube and transformer gear and it makes the room get very hot. I do not leave spaces in the rack and I've never had a problem. However, I have my ADDA on the bottom, then solid state stuff, followed by tube gear at the top. The only thing that gets any room above it is my balanced power which needs space for interference reasons.
I've never heard of anyone overheating a preamp or compressor. Digital stuff is a little more sensitive but still tougher than you'd think. I've had gear arrive off the postal truck in the summer time w/ 118* temps outside (probably 150 in the back of the truck) and I could not touch the gear after opening the box because it burned my hands.
If you have the space, use it. If not, I wouldn't panic.
Old 1st September 2008
  #5
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staudio's Avatar
 

I leave as much space as possible between rack units, no less than two screw holes between anything with vents on top or bottom, especially tube units.
Old 1st September 2008
  #6
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TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

Whenever possible, I leave one rack space between units.
Old 1st September 2008
  #7
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mbradzick's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BOWIE View Post
I've had gear arrive off the postal truck in the summer time w/ 118* temps outside (probably 150 in the back of the truck) and I could not touch the gear after opening the box because it burned my hands.
Yeah AZ can get damn hot.

Some differing opinions here...
Old 1st September 2008
  #8
Sky
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I look for clever ways to create airflow in the rack. E.g. try placing shelves, patchbays and power strips between units if the ergonomics work out, and place a hot unit at the top of the rack especially if the rack has breathing space above. When none of this works, I leave 1U of air between units. As a rule, try to never block a vent when placing units.

Keeping heat under control is always a good idea.

Sky
Old 1st September 2008
  #9
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what gear do you have? i've never known a furman or digi 003 to really get that hot. what is the ad/da with mic pre's and stereo comp you are worried about. if you have the rack space do it. why not??? even if it's only a screw or two between them airflow is never a bad thing.
Old 1st September 2008
  #10
While ideally you might want to leave space, I haven't had the opportunity to. And I haven't had any problems.

My hottest unit is actually a Focusrite Green Voicebox. It's solid state and gets way hotter than my tube gear. It's the only one I worry about. I keep it unplugged when I'm not using it. (There's no on/off switch.)

I have two power amps for live shows racked together. Again, no space between them.
Old 1st September 2008
  #11
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I'm getting a couple of the TNC preamps and I'm debating what to do with my rack as I have a couple pieces that get fairly warm and I've only got a couple spaces left. I may split up my patch bays into two sections....

But whenever these threads come up I always hear differing opinions. But how many people have actually had failures of rack equipment from heat? The stuff IS (theoretically) design to withstand some heat....
Old 1st September 2008
  #12
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dcharrison's Avatar
 

Like all gear...

If you have the space, use it. Half the racks in studios these days are "eye candy" for the client or archives of little used crap. The working racks I see, however, almost always leave a screw hole between devices. Not only does it help air flow, but it puts that much more distance between the stray magnetic flux of some vintage power supply and the super sensitive input of your modern mic pre.
Old 1st September 2008
  #13
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1U above, 1 below. A half would probably be more sane.

Some manufactorers, like Bricasti, explicitly recommends at least a half above and below.
Old 1st September 2008
  #14
Sky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris carter View Post
But whenever these threads come up I always hear differing opinions. But how many people have actually had failures of rack equipment from heat? The stuff IS (theoretically) design to withstand some heat....
Unfortunately heat is one of those things that's often hard to point to when a piece of gear fails. Some circuit components naturally wear out over time and heat accelerates this process. So maybe an amplifier that goes soft and requires service at 5 years could have gone 10 in a cooler installation.

Sky
Old 1st September 2008
  #15
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mbradzick's Avatar
I have the rack space so I'm gonna use it. Unfortunately, the way the holes are laid out, I couldn't just do 1 hole or half a U between units...at least when I tried but anyway...leaving 1 U between units.

Additionally, I always left my 002R on all the time but after 4 years it started getting a little screwy...disconnecting from the computer and sometimes not "booting up" when I turned it on. This is why I just got a 003R.

Should I always turn off my gear when not in use?
Old 1st September 2008
  #16
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just do it

Digital hates heat - Analog (esp class A amplifiers such as you will find in the highest end mic pres) makes heat. Tube gear will tend to run hot as well. Half the gear I have specifically recommends leaving space. The Cranesong Spider manual basically guarentees you will have problems if you don't leave space. Its not a "nice to have" its a "why wouldn't you?". This is especially true if you have prosumer gear in which service is either difficult to get or price prohibitive relative to the price of the gear - ie often not worth fixing.
Old 2nd September 2008
  #17
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Can anyone tell me their habits as far as turning their gear on/off? My 002 started wigging out, leading me to buy a 003, and it might be cause I left it on all the time.
Old 2nd September 2008
  #18
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dhiltonlittle's Avatar
 

was your digi oo2 making a continuous clicking sound on power up?

i remember digi sent out a huge run with bad power harness in them. i bought one and returned it about 3 times when they first came out due to that. then, installed the new harness and it worked fine. this was WAY back in the day...

prob not the same issue but i never had a heat problem with mine. just lots of "other" problems. heh
Old 2nd September 2008
  #19
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staudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Zick View Post
Can anyone tell me their habits as far as turning their gear on/off? My 002 started wigging out, leading me to buy a 003, and it might be cause I left it on all the time.
I shut everything down at the end of the day. I don't fry gear if I know I wont be using it at all.
Old 2nd September 2008
  #20
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Beyersound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont View Post
Whenever possible, I leave one rack space between units.
+1! I prioritize the spaces(we never have enough rack space!) my gear that runs hot gets a space above it. For example my reverb's and other effects DSPs run hot, my Joemeek and rack mic pres don't.
Old 6th December 2008
  #21
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DanRock101's Avatar
 

What about Distressors? No vents on top or bottom.... must they have space between them?
Old 6th December 2008
  #22
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We have a couple of Octopre's in our rack that previously had no space above/below them. During a tracking session one day after they had been on all day, the preamps on the octopres just died. We had to shut everything down for a few hours. Luckily it was dinner time anyway but obviously you don't want that happening in a session. Needless to say, we have now given them ample ventilation.
Old 22nd January 2009
  #23
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Gladstone Gander's Avatar
 

Hello!

My grandpa made me a special rack box that fits under my LCD screen. He made 1 cm extra space (one screw hole) for air flow on the top of each side because some units generate a lil heat. I just think it's good to have the opportunity to have a lil air flow and I think a little spacing is always a good idea... But I know some boxes that doesn't allow any spacing..

Peace
GG
Old 22nd January 2009
  #24
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Hxd Ped's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Zick View Post
Can anyone tell me their habits as far as turning their gear on/off? My 002 started wigging out, leading me to buy a 003, and it might be cause I left it on all the time.
Capacitors wear out. I remember some computers at the TV station I used to work at that needed to be left on 24 hours a day. One day for maintenance, they needed to be turned off. They wouldn't turn on again because the capacitors in the PSUs went bad. The engineer said it was a hazard of leaving things on all the time.

I was told by people who know better then me to turn things off when you’re done if there is no reason to leave it running. The power surge when powering up is negligible or less per item and leaving it on for hours and not using it wastes electricity. Waste = money lost.
Old 8th May 2012
  #25
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Does this look okay?

I have a ProFire 2626, Korg DTR-1 Tuner, Another ProFire than all of that plugs in the power distribution unit. It's pretty tight.
Old 8th May 2012
  #26
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BillSimpkins's Avatar
I don't leave space unless there is a unit with heat vents on the top or bottom that would be covered over by the adjacent unit. Never had any issues.

The spaces closest to eye-level are prime real-estate for productivity, use them!
Old 8th May 2012
  #27
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Fletcher's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by macdonaldr93 View Post
I have a ProFire 2626, Korg DTR-1 Tuner, Another ProFire than all of that plugs in the power distribution unit. It's pretty tight.

You'll be fine in terms of the stuff working...

All in all, its not that much stuff -- the power strip and the tuner don't throw that much heat... and M-Audio stuff... well it is what it is, but that's your problem.

If you haven't had a problem by now, you're not going to have a problem unless you're in a situation where the ambient temperature is in the 90+°F area, in which case you might have one... but that's not a definite - only a "possible".

Peace
Old 30th May 2012
  #28
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Grand Scale's Avatar
 

I always try to leave a full rack space between gear. Just recently I decided to rack some gear in a desk top rack horizontally as opposed to the typical vertical rack so I have easier access to it. Does anyone know if this is ok? There is a slight pitch to the desk so the equipment isnt 100% flat but its not much. Specifically, I am worried about the heat being drawn up to the front of the equipment. Due to the way that they are racked the vents are facing front and back instead of top and bottom. Since heat rises the heat will be drawn up through the face plate of the equipment. Does anyone know if this should be a concern? I am specifically worried about my Avalons, distressor, and, 500 series modules.

Thanks
Old 4th April 2015
  #29
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BeHappy's Avatar
Why are there a lot of studios that don't leave space between the units? (also tubes, and transformer-based)
Old 4th April 2015
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeHappy View Post
Why are there a lot of studios that don't leave space between the units? (also tubes, and transformer-based)
Uhhhh...'cause people do a lot of stupid stuff?

In reality, some of it probably is, in reality, just eye candy.

In come cases, only one or two units in a given rack bay are powered up at the same time.

Your higher-end studios probably also have HVAC systems engineered to deal with higher temperatures from equipment via directed airflow or some other means...
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