sometime since I got down to pad and pen and put together an article
for the Zone, but I figured that 2001 was here and let's get back to
the basics. Power.....
I've got it.
What would any
great DJ/Entertainer be without power? Of course you know we would
not get very far. Clean, stable power is the foundation of quality
sound and I wanted to hit on a few observations I have put together
here for you that might prove fascinating!
On a typical
Saturday I have 2 weddings. One day format, and one in the evening.
My main rig, this day, was powered by a dual Crest CA-9 amp
section. Both amps love their power and suck it down quite
nicely when the party is pumpin'.
wedding was at a place I play at all the time. This caterer is new,
modern, and for the benefit of this story, has good, clean power
supply. The outlets and wiring are all up to code and up to date. We
had 200 guests. I noticed that during the peak of the performance, my
mixer ( Rane 24 ) was peaking at -3. We were not even close to
pushing it and the sound was powerful and clean. Typical for Crest
amps. The party rocked, and so after the good-byes to my bride and
groom, off to the next adventure and my evening gig.
wedding was at an older hall which is stuck in the 70's. I don't
think the owner of this dump has put money into the place since Jimmy
Carter was our president.
We had about
the same amount of wedding guests at this event. Around 180 and the
room was comparable in size to the first facility. At peak party
time, I noticed that the mixer was up at + 3 and the sound seamed
rough and not the clean power stream that I usually have. I asked my
brother Steve, who is my partner in crime, "What seemed
different? The sound is not as clean as it was this afternoon?"
I then noticed my Furman PL-8+ power supply indicating that the
voltage out of the wall was reading 109. Ouch! We were actually
pulsing down to 101 on the music peaks, and on the edge of popping a
fuse. I realized there was a correlation between the degraded sound
and the voltage, or lack there of. Here is my analogy. Let's
relate the amp drawing power from the wall, to you drinking a
milkshake. A thin shake is gonna go down easy and smooth. A thick
shake has you sucking harder on that straw. The thicker the shake,
the harder you suck away.
this equation now a thin straw to further complicate the
scenario. The thinner the straw, the redder your face gets
until you are on the edge of passing out.
extreme, we can use this as a comparison. If your available AC
current is low and you don't have the draw from the outlet, your amp
section is going to work harder. When an amp works harder, it
distorts, thus effecting the sound quality. In addition, if you have
a 600 watt amp, and you don't have proper voltage, you in effect have
cut your power in half. Why was it that during my first wedding, I
was cracking nicely at -3, but at the evening wedding I was up at +3
for the same size room? The answer is because my amp, that received
perfect voltage during the day wedding, put out its normal 600 watts
At the evening
wedding, with poor voltage, my amp power was cut by half! 300
watts or around that area! In addition, the amps were hot at that
evening wedding. During the day, they were cool to the touch. Do you
see where I am going here?
hard, amp distorts and sacrifices your sound quality! Now lets
go back to the thin straw, I added that example in for a reason. How
many of you DJs, use a regular home extension cable? Guess
what? The smaller the gauge of the power cable, the harder it is for
the amp to get the voltage. The more watts you consume, the greater
the need for heavy gauge power cable, example 10 gauge custom
cable. I have seen DJs with 16 gauge home extension cords that
I wouldn't power my reading lamp with. How can they use this
stuff? Throw it away now and go down to the Home Depot and buy
some 10 or 12 heavy gauge rubber cable. Get your local electrician to
make you up a few 25 footers and 50 footers, and I promise you that
your system will get the power it needs. Next, I switched from
the normal Furman PL-8+ power conditioner to Furman regulators
on all of my DJ systems. I don't want to hear you complain that they
cost around $ 400 - 450, I bought 8 of them. One for every system we
have at the company. If I can make the investment, so can you. It's
your business. You owe it to your customers to sound and perform well
under extreme situations.
Regulators? The Furman regulator takes the draw from the wall,
and converts it to a " Regulated " 117 voltage. That means
you can get 122 out of the wall, or 102 out of the wall. The
regulator converts the irregular voltage to a smooth 117, which is
very much preferred by your equipment. Spikes, surges, and
power dropouts are avoided with this unit. It's worth every penny and
You may never
blow another fuse again and you'll protect your valuable investment
from " Bad Power." Most of all, you will protect your
valuable reputation from being tarnished when 200 people on the dance
floor suddenly have no music because you blew your fuse. Add light
shows into an event and there goes even more power out the door. Add
that regulator to your system and go out and get custom heavy gauge
cable for power. You too will have " The Power! "
Mike Fernino *
Music In Motion DJ Entertainment of Connecticut
Connecticut Professional Disc Jockey Association