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Electrical issues

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Rockgurl, Jun 15, 2005.

  1. Rockgurl


    Dec 17, 2004
    CT, USA
    I'm not sure if this is the right forum to post this on but as it's a performance issue....

    We play with the same set up most gigs, and we play often...2 to 3 times a week. We have our own PA through which we put 3 vocal mics, a drum mic, and the keyboard. Sometimes the sound is perfectly clear and we have no problems, and other times we get really weird buzzing. First it manifests itself through my bass amp (Gallien Krueger 700RBll through an SWR Goliath cab). I use Monster Cables and the best of everything I can find, and yet there's still the buzzing. Then it's starts coming through the foldback monitors and then finally it will start on the guitar amp (a vintage Fender Twin). It's very frustrating and we constantly try to reroute things, like not have more than one thing plugged into one input and not use too many extensions.

    This never happens when we rehearse and I think it may be a grounding issue in some of the venues we play, but none of us know the first thing about electricity other than the basics of safety. How would one go about testing the grounding of a venue, and apart from using a surge protector which we do, what is the best way to protect our equipment? An idiot's guide to electricity 101 would be very helpful!
  2. You can go down to your local hardware store and buy an outlet tester for about $5. It just looks like a little plug with some lights on it, and will diagnose most common problems with outlets.
  3. Earl of Houston

    Earl of Houston

    Feb 11, 2005
    Might be the presence in your gig venues of florescent lights. Anything lighting-wise that uses a ballast (including floor-standing lamps that generally light upwards and are found in many homes) will create a hum in your electronics. Best solution is to find a power conditioner (look for Furman brand and similar) to insert in your power supply chain, like a power strip, and it should clean up your sound.

    One fairly disruptive, but cheap, way to see if this is the problem is when you hear the buzzing in your speakers, turn off (or unplug) all of the lights in the room and see if that cleans up the sound. You can find the offender easily if you turn on the lights one at a time.

    Let us know if you find the source.
  4. I am "not electrically adept", but an outlet tester from Radio Shack is easy to use. You would be surprised how many three plug outlets with ground availability have been installed without grounding. Another thing an electrically adept friend pointed out one time was that some of our instrument cords sometimes crossed or paralleled some of the power cords. This was causing some static. I was surprised because I figured the cord insulation would prevent that, but it sometimes doesn't. So now we are careful to keep some distance between the two.
  5. Passinwind

    Passinwind I am Passinwind and some of you are not. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    This sounds reasonable on the face of it, but could easily be your problem. I've fixed many ground loops with an extension cord run from my mixer to the stage, for example. As long as you're not asking for more power than the outlet can deliver (a big if), it's often actually better to have everything plugged into one circuit. Better yet is to play venues with proper grounding on multiple services though.

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