Hi folks,

As I expand my modular setup, I'm running into some power questions. I have zero electronics background, thought I'd ask for some help.

For the sake of easy #s, let's assume a sizeable draft rack in Doepfer Monster 12u plus 6u base case, power needs calculated by MG as approximately: 6000 mA +12V | 3500 mA -12V | 0 mA 5V

Questions:

  1. how much of an electrical load will this present to my studio power circuit? From the above mA is it correct to assume 6 amps load from the modular any time it is on?

  2. power channels & circuits: I initially thought "I should put a larger electrical load on 2 different circuits if possible" so I plugged in one case in one outlet and another on a further away outlet. Yuk! Big problems with noise and other very strange behavior like frequency sidebands on a sequenced sine wave (which of course should have no sidebands). Talked with my normal guy at Patchwerks who said "oh yeah, you want all your audio powered on the same circuit, or you can have various strange problems." I don't understand the issues at hand here, but it boils down to: run all your audio stuff on one power circuit if possible, or spread it on different power circuits? I'm in a home basement in the US so I assume 15 amps per circuit in general.

  3. power regulation / conditioning: I have a ~$200 Furmann PL+C voltage regulator and conditioner, which has been decent. I wanted something to protect my studio gear and deliver "cleaner" power which would create less problems such as noise and electronics wear. But I'm not sure if my PL+C is up to the task of my current production + mixing setup? I know Furmann has a good reputation for quality, but I find their product literature baffling: I can't tell the practical performance differences between their $3600 box and their $200 box, both of which use the same marketing babble to describe their benefits. Any practical suggestions for power regulation for a production + mixing studio with ambitions of both quality output and longevity? I would invest in a new power solution if it is merited.

Thanks for your ideas and comments!

Nicholas


Ugh! It happened again - I crafted an long, detailed response about my studio set up and my real-world example, but when I hit submit it got lost in the ether...

Oh well, here's the shorter version - I have my entire synth studio being fed from a single outlet. No noise, no anomalies, no weirdness that might be power related that I can tell. I have a Furman M-8Dx plugged into the wall and four PST-8 power strips into that. Everything except the computer and its two monitors is either in a PST-8 or direct to the M-8Dx. That includes seven hardware synths, two 7U cases full, two Yamaha HS80Ms and matching subwoofer, Presonus StudioLive32 and a ton of other stuff like lighting and pedals etc. I keep the computer on its own power strip plugged into the wall so I can leave it on and have a single switch to power off all the other gear. I added up all the power requirements for EVERYTHING in my studio on that circuit and it's about 12 amps (remarkably low for all that gear).

I "believe" this is a safe setup but I am not 100% confident. I'd love to get a UPS but they are expensive at this scale - like $1,500 for a Furman. Is it really necessary?

I am not an expert here either and would love to hear from other folks.


thanks @TumeniKnobs! BTW I lose a lot of TLDR posts, but have gotten in the habit of copying them before posting, and now almost never lose them...

Regarding power, I fixed a NASTY issue the other day by redoing everything to draw off of one outlet. Helped a TON. I never knew about "ground loops" before, but now I know they are real, and potentially very problematic, often in strange ways. So yes, I tried a setup more like yours, helped a lot! I'll need to keep this in mind for future adds/changes. I may bump into my circuit limit (15A?) pretty soon.

Regarding Furmann gear, IMO it's important to have some meaningful protection in line with expensive electronics. My $200 Furmann PL+C has been a great investment to date. My (limited) understanding of the Furmann lineup for studios is it includes:
-- voltage regulators: protect from too low or too high voltage, including potential surges and spikes
-- power conditioners: "clean up" power with the effect of reducing noise
-- uninterrupted power supplies: give you some time on battery in case of a power failure, thereby limiting or avoiding data loss etc.
-- power sequencers: give sequenced on/off. This is useful for large touring shows etc., maybe not so needed for normal studios

SO out of those, IMO the possible needs for a small to medium studio would be voltage regulation and/or power conditioning. Your M-8Dx already does that, so maybe the question is would an improved unit be worth while? That's what I'm currently pondering, the main upgrade candidate for me is the $~950 Furman P-1800, but I haven't yet determined if something higher or lower in the conditioner/regulator lineup would be more suitable. I'm in MN where the power almost never goes down except in extreme weather, so I wouldn't really consider a UPS presently. But maybe a UPS would be good in your area or for your uses?

CtrlA, CtrlS, Submit! ; )


Ugh! It happened again - I crafted an long, detailed response about my studio set up and my real-world example, but when I hit submit it got lost in the ether...
-- TumeniKnobs

half my posts get abandoned for this very reason!

Utility modules are the inexpensive, dull polish that makes the expensive, shiny modules actually shine!!!


Any other recommendations on power (routing, protection, conditioning etc) folks?


Here in my studio, EVERYTHING has to pull AC through Furman conditioners. I consider them 100% essential here in the Midwest, given the kind of insane storms we have here. They won't withstand a direct hit on my AC line, but they do well at stopping spike transients that really aren't good for electronics.

My other key here is grounding. The entire studio is set up to be "star grounded" at the mixing desk's star ground point, and I use 16ga stranded wire to connect ALL chassis of rack gear and, by them being connected at the racks that have their Furmans, I can also maintain that star ground through the synths and other devices.

I consider both of these to be totally essential. The conditioners lower your overall e-noise in the studio's audio, plus the grounding method makes ground looping pretty impossible.


@Lugia thanks for the input above.

QQ: what level Furmann conditioner do you consider good? I find their product literature nearly useless; seems to me nearly the same marketing speak is applied to their $200 units up to their $3600 units—I can barely discern a functional difference.


I use the Furman AC-215A for my rack, and everything (computer/gear) runs through an Eaton UPS.


QQ: what level Furmann conditioner do you consider good? I find their product literature nearly useless; seems to me nearly the same marketing speak is applied to their $200 units up to their $3600 units—I can barely discern a functional difference.
-- nickgreenberg

Until you get into the EXTREMELY high end of Furman's power conditioner line, most everything gets handled by MOVs, which are there to filter voltage spikes...which are the REAL problem here. One good high voltage transient can do loads of damage, but lots of not-so-high voltage spikes will have the same cumulative effect as a rule. In here, I use a bunch of PL-8 and PL-8plus Furmans, in addition to some recently-added M-8Lx units.

And they can even protect against Stupid User Tricks...f'rinstance, I once had to plug in my Korg MS-20 (which normally has a 2-conductor power cord) "blind", as seeing the connector in that case would've required some physically-impossible contortions. Sure enough, one prong went into the "hot" leg, but the other was against the grounded Furman case. Switch on the Furman...and POP!!!

Did that fry the MS-20 (it should've)? Nope. Instead, one of the Furman's MOV's had popped and the MS-20 blew its P/S fuse due to the improper connection. That's what you WANT to happen! One annoying fuse change (which turned into a mod of putting the fuse receptacle on the back, next to the power cord) and replaced MOV later, and all was well once more. I should also note that the mods also included changing the power cord to a more sensible 3-prong, with the cord ground going to the chassis. This not only made the unit QUIETER (definitely a big deal in original AC-powered MS-20s) but it prevented the same cord insertion problem from happening again.


I'm in a home basement in the US so I assume 15 amps per circuit in general.

You don't really need to worry about the AC circuit's current - it's 120V coming out of the wall, so 1A there would make 10A at 12V (ish, minus a bit for conversion losses) when it comes out the other side of your power supply. You'll have to build a massive rack for it to need more than a regular household 10-15A AC circuit to plug in to! :)


You'll have to build a massive rack for it to need more than a regular household 10-15A AC circuit to plug in to! :)
-- justarandomgeek

Or just have a metric fuckton of gear! The current setup I have DID require more amperage, so I had to get an electrician in to add a pair of 20A circuits. Not only that, I also picked up a cheap clamp ammeter/multimeter (Harbor Freight FTW) so that I can clamp it onto the power feed on each rack to work out a total and, once that's done, to figure out how to load the total 50A in here so that it's nice and balanced (power-wise, not balanced power which is a whole 'nother can of worms!) and free of ground loops. If you run several racks of gear, having one of those clamp ammeters is a MUST.