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How do I?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Plain Old Me, Dec 14, 2005.


  1. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    OK, so one of my bands wants to get some stylish lighting to work with. We want each amp (mine and the guitarists) to have their own sound reactive lighting as well as possibly the band as a whole. I have done this on computers, and know how to do it to a certain extent with small, low power lights. But how would I go about doing this with my amp? The lights we were looking at were mostly flourescent lights that plug into the wall; they were not low powered cathodes. I don't want to take away any juice from the Mesa 400+, but would like to use the slave out as perhaps something to regulate the light. Does anyone know of anything that can accomplish this? Perhaps a sound reactive attenuator?
     
  2. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    You don't want flourescent lights anywhere near your amps, you'll induce a terrible amount of noise. Keep them on separate circuits, and far from your gear.
     
  3. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    Thanks for the heads up! Do you know if any other lights, such as those plasma ball things, are also bad to have near your gear? I was also looking at DJ sound things, but none of them seem to have detailed specs on whether they have an input for sound or a mic. Anyone know if one of these would do the desired effect?
     
  4. BbbyBld

    BbbyBld

    Oct 13, 2005
    Meridian, MS
    You might try salvaging a tube output transformer. If you connect the secondary winding to the output of your amp in parallel with the speaker cab, the primary would give you high enough voltage to light fairly large neon bulbs. You would have to keep the impedance of the transformer in mind though. Every time you hit a note, the bulbs would light.
     
  5. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
    Would this mess with the amount of power going to my cab though? I mean, I would rather get a small SS amp to do this with if anything...
     
  6. BbbyBld

    BbbyBld

    Oct 13, 2005
    Meridian, MS
    That depends on the load presented by the bulbs and the transformer turns ratio, but basically...yes.

    I would not recommend that everyone try this, but I know it works. It's something you'd have to experiment with.
     
  7. Plain Old Me

    Plain Old Me

    Dec 14, 2004
  8. BbbyBld

    BbbyBld

    Oct 13, 2005
    Meridian, MS
    I must have misunderstood you before. If you go with a lighting mixer, you would also need dimmer boxes onstage. I think this might be overkill for what you want to do. I believe American DJ sells plenty of effects lights that have built in sound chasers so that you wouldn't need a lighting mixer or dimmer packs.
     
  9. Wouldn't flour-escent lights be rather messy? I mean, whenever I use the stuff in the kitchen, that white powdery stuff gets everywhere :D :D

    fluorescent lights... :bassist:

    But I agree, you really don't want fluorescent lights or neon anywhere near your amps or instrument pickups.

    Yep, there's plenty of lighting effects and controllers with built-in sound chasers www.cheaplights.com is another source.
     
  10. BbbyBld

    BbbyBld

    Oct 13, 2005
    Meridian, MS
    I don't think neons would present an audible noise problem if powered by DC...this is a wierd topic on a bass forum!
     
  11. Neons need thousands of volts to energize, so even a DC-powered tube has a small HV power supply...my concern is the RF interference that can be produced from the power supply.
     
  12. BbbyBld

    BbbyBld

    Oct 13, 2005
    Meridian, MS
    Only very large neon bulbs need thousands of volts...I wired up a circuit that would fire 3, 3 foot bulbs on around 700 volts. If you find the right tube output transformer and connect it backwards to your amp, rectify the output(maybe even use a doubler circuit), you can get high enough voltage to easily fire small bulbs.
     
  13. redneck2wild

    redneck2wild

    Nov 27, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    We sometimes use colored flood lights hooked up to something called a Special FX Unit on our drums. We use 2 - one connected with a Mic on the Kick drum and one with a Mic on the snare (using different color flood lights for each).

    Here is a link to a description to the Special FX unit:
    http://www.cyi.net/product.cfm?movieit=66&code=fxun&nameit=Special+FX+Unit&cat=g&catname=Specialty

    It basically takes an audio source in (with a level control on the front) and powers anything plugged into its power section based on the strength of the audio source. So in our case a hard kick (to the kick drum) would produce a brighter flash than a softer kick.
    I bought the devices at Spencers in a local mall for around $20 each.

    Color Flood lights can be bought at Walmart, Lowes or Home Depot and are available in Red, Green, Blue and Yellow.
    Flood lights cost around $7 each.
    We place the Flood lights in Clamp Lights (around $5 each at Walmart).

    We also use something called a Color Bank (sold at Musicians Friend for around $40) that the lights move in a chase pattern based on sound picked up by an internal Mic.
    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/g=home/search/detail/base_pid/803107/
     
  14. Folmeister

    Folmeister Knowledge is Good - Emile Faber Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    Tomball, Texas
    Hey, we were just dealing with something like this not too long ago, and may have a workable solution. If you go to Guitar Center, they have these American DJ lighting packs with a stand, four cans, and a very simple controller. The controller, has three settings. Slow. Fast. And, audio. The controller has a cheap sound trigger. Replace the 150 watt bulbs they give you with 100 watt colored bulbs from a hardware/grocery store(the 150s are clear and murderously hot). Have each band member pick a color. Tape the controller to the floor right in front of, or under, your cab. Now you have a simple, quasi-individualistic light show. The kits are about $215 and another $20 for the new bulbs. Aside from that, go to Radio Shack. They have some of the most. . . . interesting light. . . . thingees. Actually, they sold an audio trigger for years. They still might.
     
  15. You need a pedal that turns them on if you step on it, that's all.