Avoiding Power Disruptions in An Audio Studio

In constructing a space for recording audio, often one of the last considerations is maintaining a steady flow of reliable electricity to equipment in all situations. If the power is functioning normally, all is good. But when it fails or surges, everything can come to a halt and earlier work is easily lost. This is when you need an uninterruptible power supply or power conditioner.

UPS

UPS

Costly power disasters can be avoided in audio studios by installing uninterruptible power supplies or power conditioners. An uninterruptible power supply, or UPS, is a battery in a box that is triggered into operation when AC power is lost. It plugs into a wall outlet and has power outlets for mission critical equipment. A power conditioner, which is different from a UPS, protects equipment against voltage spikes and other power anomalies that can cause damage.

A UPS is not like a back-up generator. It supplies enough power to allow the user time to save work and properly power down critical gear like a computer and processors. With no UPS, all studio gear shuts down instantly, often losing any work that was unsaved. It can also zap important files, causing extensive work to be lost forever.

UPS

UPS

When power is lost with a UPS, the user should immediately save all files and power down the gear. When power is restored, boot up the studio’s computers and pick up work where it was left off. If a component needs time to boot up when powered on, it should probably be protected by a UPS unit.

The key components that need UPS protection are the computer running the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), the storage drives and the monitor that displays all the work. (Without the monitor, the user won’t be able to see the desktop to save the work and shut down properly.) Network gear such as routers should be added to the UPS in larger facilitates where it is required by DAWS.

Equipment such as microphones and preamps, monitor speakers, analog EQs and compressors don’t need UPS protection. This gear is threatened more by power surges, transient voltage spikes and voltage drops. For this category of equipment, another device is needed — the power conditioner.

power conditioner

power conditioner

A high-quality power conditioner resists transient voltage spikes and handles errant voltages. It offers the best protection against lightning strikes. Professional conditioners also include EMF/RF noise filtering to prevent noise from “dirty” power leaking into an audio system.

Power conditioners will not do the job of a UPS and they won't correct or stabilize irregular voltage levels. That’s a job for a voltage regulator. Power conditioners are designed to deliver clean power equipment and to guard against power surges.

Any studio gear not already plugged into a UPS should be plugged into a power conditioner. All equipment is susceptible to either power loss or voltage irregularities and transient spikes. A combination of the devices — matched to right capacity for the gear protected — offers maximum protection against electrical issues. 

Let us know what you think…

Log-in or Register for free to post comments…

You might also like...

Essential Guide: Secure IP Infrastructures For Broadcasters

Security is becoming increasingly important for broadcasters looking to transition to IP infrastructures. But creating improved software, firewalls and secure networks is only half the story as cybercriminals look to find new and imaginative methods of compromising data.

What Does PCI 4.0 Offer?

When, in May 2019, AMD announced their Ryzen Zen 2 architecture, beyond the amazing performance offered by the new Series 3000 microprocessors, they announced the new chips would support PCI 4.0. Although I was pretty confident the step from 3.0 to 4.0 meant 2X greater bandwidth,…

Secure IP Infrastructures For Broadcasters - Part 1 - Secure Servers

In this series of three articles, we investigate the underlying aspects of computer server design for high value security and 24-hour operation. In the first article we look at advanced server security, in the second article we understand how servers…

ZombieLoad And Other Things That Go Bump In The Night

May 14, 2019 may not have seemed a particularly important date for those who edit and color grade on Mac’s and PC’s. But it was. By chance, that day I went looking for the May Windows 10 Feature Update (1903). I was sur…

Maintaining Sanity With The 80/20 Rule In Professional Audio

In the early days of pro audio, commercial recordings were often made with a single ribbon microphone, a simple broadcast console and a mono audio tape recorder. The choices were all about choreographing performers around the fixed microphone. Today, with…