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incandescent lightbulb noise...?
Old 14th May 2008
Lives for gear
666666's Avatar
incandescent lightbulb noise...?

I have some incandescent lightbulbs in my "home theater" that make a very annoying very high-pitched noise. I've actually swapped them out for a diffrent brand, same problem. It turns out that these bulbs are on dimmer switches, I am aware that if you dim any incandescent lightbulb it may make noise but they're usually quiet when at full power. I run mine at full power always, still get the noise. So... what do you guys think... is it a bulb issue or a switch issue? Might the dimmer switches still be causing bulb noise even though I am running the bulbs at full brightness? I can try swapping out the dimmer switches for regular switches, but before I go through the trouble of doing that, I'd like to hear some feedback.

In general, what types of bulbs and switches are recommended for super quiet operation?

In general I like incandescents since they are common and cheap... and emit a soft yellowish light generally. I tried some of those "daylight" whiter light bulbs that are supposed to be so wonderful, I actually hated them... in my opinion, traditional incandescent "yellow" gives off a way more comfortable vibe.

As well, I'm not a big halogen fan. Unless you are able to point them AWAY from eye range or have them way up high on a 12 foot ceiling or something, they tend to be too intense and burn your eyes if you happen to look anywhere near them. If they are anywhere within fairly close eye range, they're just not comfortable in my opinion. I was in a room once that had a lot of small halogens about 8 feet off the floor pointing down... drove me nuts, I got a headache right away, found myself squinting half the time, etc.

By the way I can live WITHOUT dimmer switches... I know that for studio use in general they are a no-no... I'd be perfectly happen with on-off switches and then just choosing the correct wattage bulbs for the application... but what IS most important is having lightbulbs that are QUIET and that do NOT emit high-pitched noise.

Old 14th May 2008
Registered User
Rick Sutton's Avatar

I use 15,25,40,60,75 and 100 watt incadescent bulbs in my studio with zero noise from the bulbs. Must be your dimmers. Over 35 years I've probably bought every brand out there with no problems. Seems like it would only take about ten minutes to swap in a regular switch to test it out.
When I need a dimmer I use transformer units that I have picked up from various sources and they are great, wouldn't let any SCR types anywhere near my studio.
Old 14th May 2008
Gear Guru
Ethan Winer's Avatar


Originally Posted by 666666 View Post
I have some incandescent lightbulbs in my "home theater" that make a very annoying very high-pitched noise.
I agree with Rick that it must be the dimmers. Even when the dimmers are all the way up, they're still in the circuit. I use variable transformers as described here:

Kill Studio Hum and Buzz at the Source

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