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Can I smoke in the studio?
Old 16th August 2005
  #1
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Stoneface's Avatar
 

Can I smoke in the studio?

For years I've always heard that smoking around studio equipment can damage the equipment. I've never questioned the issue till now and I've always just kept a smoke free studio. (Well, almost always. heh )

For any that know the technical aspects of how cigarette, cigar, etc., smoke affects studio equipment, I'm interested to know. Have you ever had to have a piece of gear actually repaired or replaced due to smoke or is this just a wives tale that some non-smokers came up with?

Now, I'm aware that smoke stinks!! It gets absorbed into your couch, acoustic treatments, etc but how does it really affect the gear? I'm just dying to know.

Old 16th August 2005
  #2
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Jorg's Avatar
First of all u shouldn't smoke in the first place....
U probably heard that a thousand times...

In my experience any musicians, engineers or producers who are non-smokers can get really annoyed by smoke in a studio.
I used to work in a studio (semi-pro) where smoking in the live rooms was permitted. However we had to repair (refurbish) many mics due to nicotine on the capsules. After that expensive experience the studio manager prohibited smoking entirely.

The good thing about that was that having to outside for a cigarette also forced u to have small breaks...
Old 16th August 2005
  #3
Han
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A Sanken CU31/32 is a SDC with a titanium membrane which is 1/1000 of a milimeter thick (thin).

How would that sound with a layer of tar that makes it ten times as thick?

I have a number of LDC's with a 3 micron membrane, no smoking allowed in the studio. Besides that, it smells bad, really bad.
Old 16th August 2005
  #4
Gear Head
 

in the couple of studios ive worked in smoking has never been allowed except on the back porch. smoke is bad for humans and it is bad for gear. think of it in the same way as how dust is bad for gear too. plus i dont want a really nice console smelling like smoke when i try to sell it.
Old 16th August 2005
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Han
A Sanken CU31/32 is a SDC with a titanium membrane which is 1/1000 of a milimeter thick (thin).

How would that sound with a layer of tar that makes it ten times as thick?

.
Good point. I think it's pretty much a given that microphones would be the most easily affected items of a studio. What about that tube gear? Big consoles, tape machines, keyboards even? Do you think smoke affects these units in the same ways?

Just to clarify, I don't allow smoking in my studio either. Many years ago, I did allow smoking but that day is long gone. I think more for the fact that it stinks and makes a mess more than the fear it will hurt my gear. But, maybe that's because I really don't know the affects of smoke on gear. Never seen anyone who could give a true explination.
Old 16th August 2005
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpschust
smoke is bad for humans and it is bad for gear. think of it in the same way as how dust is bad for gear too. plus i dont want a really nice console smelling like smoke when i try to sell it.
Fair enough, but why? Why is the smoke bad? I'm looking for a technical answer of what smoke does to gear. I mean, does the tar stick to circuit boards and "cloud" the signal path? Hmmm...
Old 16th August 2005
  #7
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The only thing I would keep smoke away from is mics, I really doubt smoke on a circuit board is going to make any difference in the sound. It's very true that tar on a mic's diaphram is really going to add weight to it, and possibly ruin high frequency response.
Old 16th August 2005
  #8
Han
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You must know that this language isn't what my mother teached me, so I'll try to find the right words to express my opinion about smoking.

In my studio there's a smoking area, a pretty large relaxroom. The walls and ceiling were very clean when new, but after some ten years the ceiling got brown from the tar in the cigarettes.

My mixing console has many thousands of connector pins, gold plated, but gold must stay clean in order to make a good contact.

Same with pots and switches, many hundreds of pots and switches on that board that all has to remain as clean as possible. And what about the racks with outboard gear, many pots, switches and small faders that all has to be clean.

In other words, never allow smoking in the controlroom and in the trackingroom.

If someone doesn't respect this simple rule, I calmly and politely ask them to leave the place, period!

OTOH you must offer them a place where they can smoke, which I do, a well ventilated relaxroom.

Another problem is food and drinks, a guy poored his coffee accidently over the SSL console in the biggest studio in the Netherlands, that has cost him a lot of money for there's a sign on the wall: 'No food and drinks in this room'.
Old 16th August 2005
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
Mrs. Fairman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoneface
For years I've always heard that smoking around studio equipment can damage the equipment. I've never questioned the issue till now and I've always just kept a smoke free studio. (Well, almost always. heh )

For any that know the technical aspects of how cigarette, cigar, etc., smoke affects studio equipment, I'm interested to know. Have you ever had to have a piece of gear actually repaired or replaced due to smoke or is this just a wives tale that some non-smokers came up with?

Now, I'm aware that smoke stinks!! It gets absorbed into your couch, acoustic treatments, etc but how does it really affect the gear? I'm just dying to know.



Smoke (nicotine and tar) cigarettes/cigars , if are correctly bad for:
1. The studio
2. The equipment
3. The atmosphere
4. and your health.

Microphone caps hate nicotine. They stick together and harden out.

5. Outboard and desk sell themselves more badly.
6. If it burns, no insurance pays.

http://www.allencarrseasyway.com/new.htm
Old 16th August 2005
  #10
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particles of smoke are small enough to get inbetween the headgap on tape machines, and into the bearings of fans that cool our computers, & external drives, as well as ruining the hard drive platter itself (if ever there is exposure). over time, even a small layer of film on circuit boards, transistors, whathaveyou, can cause heat buildup. heat kills electronics.

--jon
Old 16th August 2005
  #11
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Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

This isn't your answer but I bought some rack gear on Ebay a year back and when I opened the box it smelled like a freakin' ash tray.

I left the thing outside for a couple of days and now it's fine.

That stuff is soo nasty.
Old 16th August 2005
  #12
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Stoneface's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonCraig
particles of smoke are small enough to get inbetween the headgap on tape machines, and into the bearings of fans that cool our computers, & external drives, as well as ruining the hard drive platter itself (if ever there is exposure). over time, even a small layer of film on circuit boards, transistors, whathaveyou, can cause heat buildup. heat kills electronics.

--jon
Old 17th August 2005
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
Mrs. Fairman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonCraig
particles of smoke are small enough to get inbetween the headgap on tape machines, and into the bearings of fans that cool our computers, & external drives, as well as ruining the hard drive platter itself (if ever there is exposure). over time, even a small layer of film on circuit boards, transistors, whathaveyou, can cause heat buildup. heat kills electronics.

--jon

That is perfectly and absolutely correct
Old 17th August 2005
  #14
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Most gear will be outdated loooong before cigarette smoke effects it, so if you update your equipment regularly, it shouldn't hurt it too much other than being dirty. Do keep your mics covered though when not in use. A couple of puffs once in awhile probably won't hurt them, but overtime in a smoke filled room would hurt sensitive mics. However look at Shure 57's and 58's, they've been used in smoke filled bars for decades.

The biggest problem you'll encounter is attitudes of smokers vrs non-smokers, that'll kill the momenteum of any session....smokers need to smoke, and non-smokers need to complain about it and spread their non-smoking stance and lecture everybody......fact of life.

I prefer not to have non-smokers in my studio....the ones I have worked with, complain about smoke here, won't play out to promote their music, because of smoky clubs, then wonder why their careers went nowhere. It's not just the smoking issue, it's a personality issue, some people are cut out to perform anywhere, others must have everything just so or else forget it. The smokers I've worked with have no problem playing out, the non-smokers always back out when given the chance. So I really feel like I'm wasting my time with them.

One studio I went to was a non-smoking studio, it was such a big deal to the guy, that the music seemed to be a non-issue to him. I would definitely say that if it's a big issue to you, make it known upfront, and you won't have a problem later.
Old 17th August 2005
  #15
Gear Head
 

I'm no electrical engineer but I have this vague recollection of once being told that the particles of cigarette smoke can actually be electrically conductive and if gear is in a smokey environment the continual build up on the innards of the gear can cause premature component failure, especially active components like caps and the like. This can also be a cause of gear catching fire.

Generally when i'm tracking and mixing I don't let the band smoke in the control room, despite being a smoker I can focus longer and harder in a fresh smelling control room.

Cheers,
Marcus
Old 17th August 2005
  #16
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In 30 years I have never heard of a piece of eletrical equipment catching fire due to cigarette smoke. Yes you'll get a brownish film on stuff, which can be cleaned in a few minutes, and if you do clean your gear regularly, like once a year, it won't build up. I'm not gonna say it helps anything, but in my smoking studio, I haven't had a problems with any equipment due to smoke.


I'm much more concerned about people spilling any kind of liquid on my mixing board...that would ruin my day. I've also heard about cute little kitty cats who decided to jump up on the mixing board and take a leak..........so no cats in the studio for me. dfegad
Old 17th August 2005
  #17
BoMoFo
Guest
Smoking and Faders

Thought i'd chime in on the effects of "death sticks" in the studio.

I totally agree with everything that has been said so far. What has been left out is the fader packs on large format consoles. With P&G faders the intire assembly is covered by a hood so there is no way that little bits can fall straight down into the assembly. Smoke does find a manner to get in there though and it does affect the why a fader behaves. Faders in a non smoking studio will have a much "smoother" rate of log. travel and be much more consistant across the desk than a desk that hasn't had it's faderpack serviced once every year or two in a smoking enviroment.

That being said, the manuals for our console (a SSL 4000 E/G+) stink of smoke. The second i pull one down off the shelf to take a peek at some schematics it's like being in my own little smoke filled bar... hope the previous tech is alright lungwise...

First post, WHOOT!
B!
Old 17th August 2005
  #18
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Recently, I changed all my lithium batteries inside many of my rack gear pieces, and when I opened them up, they all looked like brand new inside, so I'd say most quality gear is sealed to a point.
Old 17th August 2005
  #19
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bunnerabb's Avatar
Smoke is bad for:

Fader trays.
Mic diaphragms.
Open access pots.
Headstack gaps.
Heat dissipation devices.
Fans.
You.



... and me.

Trying to quit before I start tracking my album, this winter.

Mostly because I'm gonna get that 1/2 octave back.
Old 17th August 2005
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoMoFo
hope the previous tech is alright lungwise...

First post, WHOOT!
B!

My lungs are fine and I still can swim under water just like I used to do when I was a kid.....but I do have two bad disks in my back from carrying too much equipment and working too hard over the years.........and yes I have had cancer problems, but they were hereditary, which means I was destined to get it no matter what I did. My brothers and sisters who have never smoked are also at risk......

I won't say smoking is good for you, but it does help my nerves, but the war against smoking will most certainly effect you if you smoke. Years ago, it was commonplace, and accepted, today, non-smokers feel they have a God given right to mess with you, and have become very aggressive in their quest. Next week they'll be speaking about the evils of hamburgers, milk, and cookies.
Old 17th August 2005
  #21
Gear Head
 

First of all smoking in a private residence or bussiness that is not your own, as well as subjecting others to it in a private residence or bussiness, is simply rude. (notice I said private, I don't agree with smoking bans introduced in some cities) Also tar sticks to everything. That thin layer of tar on electronic components and contacts is just as bad as dust if not worse. There is definitely a reason that most people don't allow smoking in their studios, whether it be consideration of their gear. Is it really a problem for people to just go outside or wait? But, that's just how I'd have things. People can do what they want, and if it's never caused problems, then all the better.
Old 17th August 2005
  #22
BoMoFo
Guest
djwayne,
"'I won't say smoking is good for you, but it does help my nerves, but the war against smoking will most certainly effect you if you smoke. Years ago, it was commonplace, and accepted, today, non-smokers feel they have a God given right to mess with you, and have become very aggressive in their quest. Next week they'll be speaking about the evils of hamburgers, milk, and cookies.'"

I didn't mean any offense to smokers or non smokers alike when i stated my concern for the previous tech. I just found it humorous how badly this manual stank of smoke. So apologies if said remark offed anyone.
Concerning the nerves i totally agree with you as i have often enjoyed a cigar or two after a long day. What ever is supposedly "bad" for you will always tried to be plucked from your hands. Prohibition is a prime example of this and all i can say is thank God that came back around!
I have been to a few venues that didn't allow smoking and it honestly didn't feel the same. The atmosphere didn't settle right for me while trying to enjoy the show. It only made matters less enjoyable that you sometimes can't even sit down with a beer during a concert (the oddball under 18 shows and venues.)

Vices are pleasures, otherwise they wouldn't exist.
Havagudun,
B!
Old 17th August 2005
  #23
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Is it a problem to go outside ?? I'd say yes, especially in cold rainy weather you want smokers to go outside and brave the cold rainy air ?? and we thought you were concerned about our health... hahahahaha.....


Face it, there's two different type of people who just don't get along. So this is why you have smoking and non-smoking sections at restaurants. So why not have smoking and non-smoking studios as well ...?????
Old 17th August 2005
  #24
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e-cue's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by djwayne
Next week they'll be speaking about the evils of hamburgers, milk, and cookies.
This is a very poor comparison. Cigarette smokers release cancerous product from their lungs (and some from the tabaco product itself) that ends up in the enviroment around them. It's air pollution. So unless you are referring to people getting gas after eating hamburgers, milk, and cookies, this dog won't hunt. And even then, farts are better for you than smoke.

Even worse are the irresponsible smokers. I've seen more than one SSL trackpad (there's one at Musicgrinder had one) with a cigarette burn, and have even seen the trackpad on a procontrol used as a make shift ashtray. Makes me sick to see gear treated that way. Makes you wonder how many ashes snuck their way into the faders.

It's not like non-smokers are jealous because smoking makes smokers look so damn cool, it's because of the side effects of that smoking that non-smokers don't want to deal with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by djwayne
So why not have smoking and non-smoking studios as well ...?????
My personal studio is non-smoking. I like protecting my gear (everything from ribbon mics to faders to any other audio gear) and the people around it. You can smoke outside, provided you don't pollute the ground with discarded butts (which still sneak their way onto the ground). I provide free breath mints.

If I'm at a sound motel, I ask (so far it's never been a big issue) my smoking clients to never smoke in the control room. The lounge is their territory.
Old 17th August 2005
  #25
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Ed: Mind if I smoke?
Ralph: I don't care if you burrrrrrnnnnnn.

No smoking in my studio, I personally can't stand it. Nicotine and tar do nasty things to all kinds of plastics and adhesives.

It's your health and your gear...do what you will. Hopefully you and your belongings will be the only thing affected.
Old 17th August 2005
  #26
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And my personal studio is smoker friendly. That's the beauty of having your own studio, you can set your own ground rules. Some musicians feel more comfortable in that type of setting, rather than a sterile setting.


Would you tell Kieth Richards to go smoke outside .....????? I want a serious answer...

How 'bout Paul McCartney, should he be given the bum's rush to go outside to smoke a jay ??

How about drinks , do you guys allow drinks in the studio ??? Beer, lemonade, coffee ??
Old 17th August 2005
  #27
Gear Guru
 
rickrock305's Avatar
 

well, we smoke the hell outta some cigarettes in our studio, , lol. Cigarettes, blunts, beedies, joints, cigars, etc. But definitely not around the mics. Most people usually know better and take care of those sorts of things before they go in teh booth
Old 17th August 2005
  #28
Gear Maniac
 

I'm a smoker, but I refuse any smoking inside the studio. It's bad for the gear, and I always seem to concentrate better in a smoke-free, fresh smelling room. I'd love to smoke in the studio, but I'm not willing to compromise the music or gear for it.
Old 17th August 2005
  #29
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swankdoc's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by djwayne
My lungs are fine and I still can swim under water just like I used to do when I was a kid.....but I do have two bad disks in my back from carrying too much equipment and working too hard over the years.........and yes I have had cancer problems, but they were hereditary, which means I was destined to get it no matter what I did. My brothers and sisters who have never smoked are also at risk......

I won't say smoking is good for you, but it does help my nerves, but the war against smoking will most certainly effect you if you smoke. Years ago, it was commonplace, and accepted, today, non-smokers feel they have a God given right to mess with you, and have become very aggressive in their quest. Next week they'll be speaking about the evils of hamburgers, milk, and cookies.
wow, I'm stumped on where to begin here. Smoking is not only sort of bad for you, its incredibly bad for you. Probably devastating if you want to use adjectives. Your 'genetic' cancer was actually likely not 'predetermined'. (except in very rare autosomal dominant conditions...which you might have I 'spose...). Most family predilictions for cancers still have a multifactorial cause meaning that it still takes an environmental trigger. Of which, smoking is a major determining cause in nearly every form of cancer. But cancer is last the last likely thing that smoking will do to you. Artery disease is like 1000x more common, and lung disease (COPD / emphysema) even more still. That is the final common pathway of all smokers.
And now the data is becoming more and more clear that second hand smoke is also dangerous for bystanders, so please, dont make a stance for a right to smoke; that is like saying its your right to drive drunk. (btw...socially Im basically pretty libertarian so to describe your lack of rights on an issue isnt taken lightly.)
And yes, hamburgers are tastey, but bad for you, milk seems OK; cookies...depends on the ingredients I guess. Cookies with arsenic or ammonium wouldnt be so good for Grandma.

I only jump on this cig biz, cuz I see it every day as a doc that has to try to get people to breath for another few years, or manage heart failure or talk people through their radiation and chemotherapy. And its not like a self-righteous thing. Its a sorrow and empathy thing. Dood, bad illness really sucks, and its sort of like a person who drops and breaks a priceless vintage piece of audio equiptment in front of a gearslut. It breaks my heart and its simply a tragedy, and you just dont need to be that careless with your body.
Of course, its always hard to appreciate what you got till its...ya know...gone.


ps quit smoking.
Old 17th August 2005
  #30
Gear Guru
 
rickrock305's Avatar
 

honestly, i usually go outside to smoke anyway. Because i know it stinks and whatnot, so i try to be courteous to the non smokers, and because i'm a block away from the beach, so the scenery aint so bad!! heh fuuck
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