1. Cooling
When you are using amps that are fan-cooled and want to allow spaces between pieces of equipment in your rack, make sure you block the front with blank, solid (not perforated) panels. This will allow the rack to act as a chimney with hot air exhausting at the top, not re-circulating between adjacent amplifiers. When you are using convection cooled amps in very high ambient temperatures, you may find that your temperature indicators are starting to illuminate. Typically, adding modest amounts of air movement will enable your amp to dissipate any excessive heat and regain its normal composure. However, if your temperature indicators continue to illuminate, consider the following possible causes:
1) Insufficient air movement.
2) Overdriving of the input stage (severely into clip).
3) Very low-impedance loads.
4) High ambient temperatures.
If you can't, or don't want to change the preceding conditions, two possible alternatives are available to add the necessary air movement. First, you can add fans to direct air onto any surface of the amplifier. Second, you can space the amplifiers in the rack using perforated panels or leaving the empty slots open. This will allow the top and bottom covers to act as radiators. In extreme conditions, a combination of these two methods may be required, as would be expected for proper thermal functioning of any amplifier.
2. Hum & Buzz
1. It is imperative that all of your electrical equipment share the same power ground reference.
2. Unless you are interfacing to a microphone, the shield of the cable should only be connected at one end.
3. Do not pass signal ground between electrical components in a grounded source system.
4. If you wish to avoid ground loops, it doesn't matter if you lift the input or output signal ground or your system topology, just be consistent. Personally I prefer to lift the input signal ground and it has always been successful.
5. NEVER use a ground lift adapter to lift the power ground on a 3-wire AC cord; this is not its intended purpose. It is better to have it SAFE than SILENT!! Look for the true source of the noise.
6. Even when interfacing to an unbalanced load, it is preferable to use two-conductor shielded cable.
7. Get rid of the lighting company!
3. Input Wiring
1. For all input connectivity, use shielded wire only. Cables with a foil wrap shield or a high-density braid are superior. Cables with a stranded spiral shield, although very flexible, will break down over time and cause noise problems.
2. Try to avoid using unbalanced lines with professional equipment. If you have no choice, keep the cables as short as possible.
3. To minimize hum and crosstalk, avoid running low-level input, high-level output and AC power feeds in the same path. Try to run differing signal paths at 90 degrees to one another. If you must use a common path for all cables, use a star-quad cable for the low-level signals.
4. When changing input connectors or wiring, turn the amplifier level controls all the way down (counter-clockwise) before connecting or disconnecting input plugs.
5. When changing output connections, a professional dude will turn the amplifier level down and the AC power off to minimize the chance of short-circuiting the output.
4. Output Wiring
1. Choose carefully when selecting speaker enclosure connectors.
2. To prevent possible short circuits, wrap or otherwise insulate exposed loudspeaker cable connectors.
3. Do not use connectors that might accidentally tie conductors together when making or breaking the connection (for example, a standard, 1/4-inch stereo phone plug).
4. Never use connectors that could be plugged into AC power sockets. Accidental AC input will be an electrifying experience for your equipment. But you will find out real quick if your speakers are any good at 60 Hz.
5. Avoid using connectors with low current-carrying capacity, such as XLRs.
6. Do not use connectors that have any tendency to short.
7. To maintain good bass response, use the lowest DC resistance cable you can afford which will terminate safely in your connectors.
5. Speakon Connectors
For amplifiers, the most popular termination device on professional products has been the dual banana. However, recent regulatory requirements in Europe have outlawed the use of the dual banana plug and forced users to terminate speaker cables with spade lugs or bare ends an approach that is clearly not advantageous to the customer who wants to reconfigure his system or quickly change out a defective product. It is possible that similar regulatory controls will appear worldwide over the next few years.
One solution to this problem is to use the Neutrik Speakon connector. Most amplifier manufactures wanted to develop a system for you that eliminated the need for specialized, time-consuming, interface cables. The major loudspeaker manufacturers have been using Speakon connectors for the input termination on their products for several years now, so you can be assured of the connector's reliability in the workplace. With Speakon connectors, you can plug straight from the amp to the speaker, and start making those great sounds right away.
The Speakon connectors used on most amplifiers meet all known safety regulations. Once wired correctly, the connector cannot be plugged in backwards, causing the type of inverted polarity situations that are common with banana hookups. It will provide a safe, secure and reliable method of interfacing your amplifier to the load.