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Power Management + Stuff

 
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lisaloo
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2005 12:38 pm    Post subject: Power Management + Stuff Reply with quote

Bringing this over from the old Audio Editing Software thread on the GENERAL forum . . .

I posted this earlier today:

Question of the Day:

What are folks doing these days to protect/manage power for their gear and to keep the place from looking like a snake pit with cables running everywhere?

General suggestions as well as referrals to specific products or solutions are welcome.

Just FYI . . . all in one room (no choice), I have my desktop PC and all components (printer, computer tower, etc) a landline telephone, plus the following audio gear: Mbox, mic setup, preamp, Zephyr, small powered speakers and a small mixer.

All in all, I think there are about 15 items currently plugged into AC power (with surge protectors all over the place) and it's really starting to look bad - not to mention that it might be courting disaster.

What are the cool kids doing to straighten up the studio and prevent an implosion? Are there better power strips out there for pro gear, or some awesome overall solution, etc.?

The operative words: safe and tidy. That's what I'm striving for.

Thanks again!

Lisa Loo


UPDATE, LATER THE SAME DAY:

Okay. Here's one step forward.

I went and got a MonsterPower Pro2500 doo-dad. It's (in my husband's word) basically a $200 surge protector, but it does allow you to plug a lot of gear into it and it's grounded and even takes out any AC noise or hum. So that's a first step, and it elminated two full strips from my equation.

And here's the one step back.

I also picked up a Storcase external hard drive (250 GB) to write all my sessions to. It (of course) has a firewire cord and a power cord, so . . .

while I'm not back where I started, I do have to laugh that I bought another thing with a power cord today. Typical.

Overall, things look much better already, but I'm still interested in hearing what other folks with smaller studios do for power management and clutter-reduction.

Oh -- and we've now replaced the smell of burning brain with a distinct whoosing sound. The sound of money flying out my bum.

Wink

LL
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kgenus
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Joined: 01 Dec 2004
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2005 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have everything racked, I do use zip ties and snakes to keep it organized. My current desk has a cable channel, the new one does too, as well as brackets to connect ziptied cables AND a two port hub for the computer. Newegg.com has rack mount cases for computers.

I'd like to yank the fan out of the Zephyr or buy a remote for it and put it in a closet. It's just so loud.

Kevin
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nick reed
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2005 9:52 pm    Post subject: Power strip, Surge protection, Line conditioning Reply with quote

I need to work toward a better solution for power management myself. Right now, when I turn on the power strip, everything is on, every time. I want to implement a two-tiered solution. I would like to have the first strip with power to the computer and all of its peripherals; monitor, printer, dsl box, etc. and a second strip that I can turn on independently which would power up all of my vo and music gear. The reason behind this idea is that I do not want all of the wall-warts and line-lump power supplies on when they do not need to be on. Sheer laziness has prevented this from becoming a reality.

I have my cables "dressed" somewhat with a couple of plastic ties at strategic points on my computer desk but this is only to keep the full weight of the cables off of the soundcard inputs, not for any neatness factor. Although I am not opposed to neatness... there is nothing wrong with neatness... some of my best friends are neat.

One thing that I wanted to mention is that if you do dress your cables, do not put a power line in a loom of other wires, like mic cables, mixer cables, speaker cables, etc. When a power line is parallel and in close proximity to signal carriers it can induce noise or hum into the system. If a power line must cross a signal carrier it is best for them to cross at 90 degrees to one another. Also, do not coil power lines (AC cords, extension cords) as this multiplies the noise produced, a scrambled "rat's nest" is actually safer in regard to noise. Keep power lines as short as possible and away from other cables. I am not an expert on this, so if I am wrong please correct me but I believe that when you have balanced cables, e.g. a balanced mic cable, an AC line will not affect it.

Currently, I have surge suppressing power strips but I am considering the more expensive units with line conditioning as well. After all, I have invested in a great mic and preamp, so why not get the absolute best out of them by putting some noise filters in the system too.

I have checked out Monster and Tripp Lite. Are there any other major brands to consider?
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Jim Barton
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2005 5:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kgenus wrote:

I'd like to yank the fan out of the Zephyr or buy a remote for it and put it in a closet. It's just so loud.

Kevin


Kevin:

Years ago I had to send my Zephyr back to Telos for some maintenance. When they returned it to me it exhibited that same deafening fan noise that you describe. (When I bought my Zephyr back in 1994 or so it didn't have a fan, or at least the fan wasn't connected.)

Anyway, when I called Telos about the fan noise, they instructed me to open the box, locate the black wire connecting the fan to the power source, and snip it. Voila, no more fan noise.

By the way, I no longer leave my Zephyr on 24/7 like I used to. There's something in the power source that has gone bad twice in the past 10 years, so I've made a habit of only turning it on about 10 minutes before session time.

Jim
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lisaloo
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2005 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WOW! I can actually offer a tip here . . .

Wink

My pal Harlan Hogan actually gave me this decidely low-tech pointer when I first got my Zephyr. (He, of course, has a full whisper booth now and doesn't have the problem anymore, but anyone who is working a session within earshot of the Zephyr can try this. It's what he used to do back in the day.)

First of all, don't have the Zephyr or any other equipment powered up unless you're using it. (Probably obvious, but worth mentioning. Eliminate any noise you possibly can.)

And if your ISDN session will be brief enough -- say under 45 minutes or thereabouts, take a folded up hand-towel and position it next to that open screen area on the box. This will at least baffle the noise if not blot it out altogether.

Now . . . you don't ever want to strap it up so tightly that you completely restrict the airflow and cause overheating or damage, of course. But the simple act of providing some absorptive material near the noisemaker really does make a difference.

And now that I think on it, it's probably also possible to take some leftover acoustical material and use it to pad a weighted object - maybe a brick or something - and position it near the fan when operating. Might work just as well or better.

The key factor here is how long your sessions go. I've never pushed it past an hour without opening it back up and allowing for some full airflow, so I'd say caution is the watchword. And I am sure that this is NOT something you'll find support for doing from the fine folks at Telos.

Just a suggestion. It's always worked for me.

Lisa Loo
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Deirdre
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2005 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My Zephyr's fan is disabled, thank goodness. I don't use a standard rack--I've got wooden shelves with short clearance, but it allows me to chock up the components on blocks to make for air flow underneath. Because of the shelves, none of my "rack units" will heat up the unit above it.

Small number of things to manage, to be sure, but it works and is silent.
And I also turn the Zephyr on only when I need it.
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kgenus
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2005 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for info about the Zephyr. My Zephyr is dated 1996, I recently upgraded the firmware, replaced the power supply, fan and NT1 terminal. It may as well be a new unit now.

I took the unit out to cut the wires on the fan and saw the top the VoxBox and thought I would called Paul at Manley. After that conversation, the solution was pretty much a no-brainer. I'm going to have a perforated metal sheet cut and powder coated and use that for the top of the device. Air should vent properly from the top. Between that an 1ru of separation on top, the venting should work fine.

That will do it.

Kevin
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Last edited by kgenus on Wed Aug 10, 2005 9:22 am; edited 1 time in total
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lisaloo
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2005 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

By the way, DB . . .

The quote in your signature is actually attributable to comedian Mitch Hedberg - a very funny man who passed away earlier this year.

Here are some of my favorite Hedberg lines:

I don't have a girlfriend. But I do know a woman who'd be mad at me for saying that.

I bought a doughnut and they gave me a receipt for the doughtnut... I don't need a receipt for the doughnut. I give you money and you give me the doughnut, end of transaction. We don't need to bring ink and paper into this.

Alcoholism is a disease, but it's the only one you can get yelled at for having. Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic. Goddamn it Otto, you have Lupis... one of those two doesn't sound right.

My sister wanted to be an actress, but she never made it. She does live in a trailer. She got half way. She's an actress, she just never gets called to the set.

I wish I could play little league now. I'd be way better than before.


and . . .

I'm against picketing, but I don't know how to show it.



Wink

Lisa
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Bill
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2005 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hadn't heard about his death. I liked his act, one of the few trying to be original. His delivery killed.

" If carrots got you drunk, rabbits would be messed-up.
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schaer
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Joined: 08 Jan 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2005 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While we are talking about work area related things, cable arrangements etc. .... my question: what do you use for a desk for your keyboard, mouse, mixer, monitor, near fields etc.? kitchen table? home made contraption? professional desk? I am using an old office desk but I am not too happy with it because it is too small for everything.

Bernard
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lisaloo
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2005 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a desk and credenza set-up that holds the computer and other related peripherals and a small media cabinet (with open front and back) that holds most of my rack equipment.

In truth, I'm actually just about at critical mass where needing a real rack is concerned.

Lisa
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Spacegypsy
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2005 10:59 am    Post subject: Mitch :( Reply with quote

Ah Mitch -

I never heard of him at all until I saw a ComedyCentral show of his, and I was in stitches - a rare occurence for me.

When it was over, I ran to my computer all excited to find more out about this amazing comedian, to see if he maybe had a show on in NYC - and he had passed away just the day before :(

A great loss to real humour.
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lisaloo
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last night, my husband reminded me of his favorite Hedberg bit:

I'm in a heavy metal band. People either love us or hate us or think we're okay.

As with any of these, it helps if you "hear it" in his voice. Post-modern stoner, etc.

LL
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