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cheap power strip question Dynamics Plugins
Old 15th December 2010
Gear Maniac
cporro's Avatar

cheap power strip question

most of the power strip questions seem to be about power conditioning. i'm either very lucky or very ignorant. i've never picked up any noise issues in my studio aside from a small amount of guitar buzz which people have to live with.

but i would like to think my power strip could protect my gear was a surge. i live in san francisco where lightning is rare.

anyway does it make a difference which cheap power strips i get if i'm just concerned about surge protection? i was looking at these: Tripp Lite PS4816 16-Outlet Power Strip (15-Amp, 15-Foot Cord): Electronics

i need about 30 outlets with a cord longer then 6". this is more of an organizational thing since i have 4 strips right now in a tiny cord nest barely reaching the floor on 3' cords.
Old 15th December 2010
Lives for gear

generally speaking i've always found tripp light to be a reputable company... and i have 2 noise surpressors and a ups with their name on it... but i gotta tell you i would wory about something that uder technical detai9ls there's nothing technical... know what i mean??? incedently most of those cheap ones dont do ****... there's a thing called a mov that blows the first time something happens and then there's no protection till ya hear some guy ranting on gearslutz about it...
Old 15th December 2010
Registered User
Rick Sutton's Avatar

I looked at the Ebay link and I don't see anything about surge protection.

On that note, the only power distribution strips that I have had over the years that caused me problems were ones claiming to have protective abilities. Including Triplite.

40 years and no zapping problem with straight wired AC distribution here (California also).
Old 15th December 2010
Registered User
Metal Oxide Varistor. Yep - when they blow, you need a new one. It's the cheapest, easiest surge protection - similar to having a fuse.

The main problem with having a nest of cheapo power strips all daisy-chained together is that you are compromising the ground path and introducing additional resistance. The goal with your ground circuit is to have the total resistance as close to zero ohms as you can manage - and multiple strips is looking for problems. What happens if you introduce some extra ohms of resistance is that you get voltage drop - and voltage drop means current flow, and current flow = hum in your audio "shield". If you having flowing AC in your audio shield, it is no longer a shield but a source of hum.

If you need 30 AC outlets, you BEST bet is to make a customised distribution box. Build it around some solid brass buss rails, and star-wire each individual outlet, so they all have a solid ground connection of equal length of wire - all equally good and hopefully equal resistance.

Any additional steps at noise reduction will depend on the nature of any actual problems you have. IMO, a small amount of over or under voltage is not a problem, because each PSU in your individual pieces of gear has it's own voltage regulator.

If your power is so flakey that you need a UPS, you might want to look at 100% power recycling. Dirty AC >> low volts DC >> battery bank >> sinwave inverter.

Most cheap UPS are a major compromise and not suitable for studio noise reduction. They are just there to save your data in the event of a power failure - and aren't much use for bad AC noise issues.

If your AC gets harmonics (no longer a pure sinewave - transformers get a buzzy acoustic tone) then you probably need to recycle your power with a sine wave inverter anyway. You could try filtering it with caps and inductors, but that **** is VERY expensive and only partially effective.

I'm trying buy stuff that can run off clean DC - because AC has so many issues.

Or not. You might be lucky and blissfully unaware. Most commercial studios were designed properly in the first place, and you might be good to go with no worries. But typical home or project studios usually have **** power and untold noise issues. But most owners of small studios have high acoustic noise floors, and cheap monitors and low expectations, and noise doesn't seem to worry them much. These are the people who will tell you that "item X has no noise". Everything has noise - it just means that they can't hear it because it's drowned out with higher noise.

Removing noise is like removing layers from an onion. Go as far as you need to go for your own personal satisfaction.
Old 15th December 2010
Gear Maniac
cporro's Avatar

Originally Posted by dementedchord View Post
there's a thing called a mov that blows the first time something happens and then there's no protection till ya hear some guy ranting on gearslutz about it...
ha. that's a good one. on second look i think this thing is just a bank of outlets. man, what an oversight. "surge protectors" are listed as a different category on the tripp site.

Originally Posted by Rick Sutton View Post
40 years and no zapping problem with straight wired AC distribution here (California also).
that's good to hear. i'm now leaning toward just an outlet strip. i have also heard of issues with surge protectors. as in they work for a while and then provide less and less protection. come to think of it...i don't think i've ever attributed a loss of any electronic to a storm or surge in power. but like i said lightning is very rare here.

Originally Posted by Kiwi View Post
The goal with your ground circuit is to have the total resistance as close to zero ohms as you can manage
when we were wiring this place i was looking into star grounding. my take on star grounding is you need all the grounds to be the same resistance. if they are all 0 good. if they are all zero + x also good. just don't mix and match.

What happens if you introduce some extra ohms of resistance is that you get voltage drop
i think you get a voltage increase right? ohm's law IR = V. but i think we are saying the same thing. you want the grounds to be consistent or you can create ground loops.

some people referred me to technical white papers online. like "hey just read this and it will be obvious". that's like me telling my mom to study a room acoustics paper to figure out where to put her couch. there is a reason i changed majors from electrical engineering to media arts. i sucked at electrical engineering.

on the noise front. i've recorded where there were real noise problems. problems that really did effect the quality of the recordings. for me noise is not an issue. i don't hear anything tonal going on. what i can hear sometimes is noise from my RNP. but i like it so no worries. and the typical noise from electric guitars. time to construct my Faraday cage. not.

i've taken some care to eliminate the major noise cultrips. star grounding, all recording gear on same circuit, no dimmers. i do have some compact incandescent but i can switch them all off for recording.

i think about all the great recordings made on comparatively noisy analog gear. now in 24bit the noise floor is so low it's a non issue.

i just had an idea (morning green tea has caused my brain to fire excessively). if you did have major ground issues it would seem possible to test the ground resistances and then insert some type of resistor to even things out. seems easier then tearing up the wall for a re-wire. but i've never heard of anyone doing it. hm

one last thing
you BEST bet is to make a customised distribution box
do you know where the diy instructions would be for something like this? we are just talking about a box where all outlets have the same resistance. yeah? i would take something like this on if it could be done cheap and did not require lots of time. 3 pdu from tripp will run me $360 or about the same price i paid for my mackie hr824s used. seems like no bang for the buck.

thx you guys. these were helpful responses.
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