How To Fix Dirty Power In
Your Home Studio
I was having some noise problems in the studio, while re-amping some guitars and I found one of the main things contributing to it were wall wart power supplies.
Wall warts Emit stray electromagnetic flux. And while this affects unbalanced cables worst - like the ones guitars and pedals use, it was also seeping into balanced XLR cables I have.
So here’s a video that could help you remove the headache of power noise in your studio.
Wallwarts Emit stray electromagnetic flux. And while this affects unbalanced cables worst - like the ones guitars and pedals use, it was also seeping into balanced XLR cables I have.
If you’re trying to work out if you are getting noise from a wallwart,
The difference between the two types of warts as far as interference is: Un-shielded transformer warts, which will induce a Low frequency hum. Usually double the line frequency, so If you have a 60 Hz line, you'll hear a 120 Hz hum and with a 50 Hz line the hum will be at 100 Hz.
And Switcher warts, which can produce Radio Frequency hash that can be induced into nearby unbalanced lines and 'detected' like a crystal set in the semiconductors of your equipment. - Here, it's about harmonics.
So what can we do when the equipment we want to use relies on a wall wart? You could throw it away, but that’s not really very practical and you probably want to use the gear!
Well as a guitar player, I use power banks to power my pedals and these often provide between 4 and 18 V. The same kind of voltage a wallwart supplies. So I thought, Aha there’s something here.
But there are lots of different power banks available, so what should you choose?
First Check the back of your gear, or failing that the wall wart connected to it, to see what voltage and how many amps it requires. I needed both 9 and 12 V outputs.
In addition to making sure it can provide the right voltages and enough milliamps, It’s a good idea to get one with isolated outputs.
Why? Well An isolated power supply lowers the capacitive load on the power rails, and stops dirty power being shared between devices, which in turn means less chance of noise.
I chose this one from Harley Benton, as you can adjust the voltage on different outputs, it provided 500 milliamps on each output and crucially, it wasn’t powered by a wall wart of its own, which would really defeat the point!
Power bricks are made for guitar pedals, which generally run on 9 V DC power, so what do you do if something you want to power says AC on it? Then you can simply cut a lead and switch the positive and the neutral like this.
You might also come up against the problem where the device you want to power requires more amps. Then your power brick can provide than a cable like this ampage combiner from Rockboard note, not the voltage combiner they sell, which will blow up your gear, could be the solution.
Now you can throw all those warts in the trash or rather recycle them, and hopefully enjoy cleaner audio in your studio.
Here's the gear I used:
So get yourself a cheap trigger model, make some cheap adapters and save yourself some time studying the Transient information and focus on the music instead.
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