April 1st, 2012 | by Bill Gibson

Plug In Properly

Did You Know That…Your Soundboard and Effects Should Be on the Same Circuit?

After you’ve surveyed the venue, the staging is in place, and the stage lay-out is solidified, find a good power source and set up the AC distribution system.

This is a very important part of the setup—it is often overlooked, poorly planned, or performed in random response to immediate needs.

In a small setup, the soundboard and effects should ideally receive AC from the same circuit (the same outlet from the wall).

This will help eliminate hums and noises caused by ground loops.

In a large set up in a professional venue, there should be designated circuits for all audio connections.

Often, these AC outlets are a different color than generic AC outlets.

In North America, if you find a set of orange outlets and a set of white outlets, it’s likely the orange outlets have been specially configured and verified to provide exact phase and conditioned power.

They’re often run through power conditioners to help eliminate noise and unacceptable variances in voltage.

Ask the venue manager whether there are clean AC outlets specifically for audio connections.

-Bill Gibson

Bill Gibson, president of Northwest Music and Recording has spent the last 25 years writing, recording, producing and teaching music. Bill is a best-selling author and has written over 30 books on audio recording. His recently released 6-volume set, The Hal Leonard Recording Method is already receiving high praise for its user-friendly approach.

You can check out Bill’s books here.

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  • Lanman

    I’m glad to see this subject finally mentioned.  As someone who gets irritated at the slightest background noise, I have spent hundreds of hours studying the phenomena of ground loops.  There seems to be a neverending source of reasons this may occur.  Not only is it harmful to the overall sound, under the right circumstances, it can be very dangerous to both the equipment and the people using it.  I would like to see more info on this in the future!  Thanks.

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