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Lighting Can Affect Your Voice

Plugging in means making sure to avoid the lighting circuits -says Bill Gibson

When you’re setting up for your gig, keep all lighting devices and fixtures connected to circuits that are isolated from the Audio AC supply.


First, lights require a lot of AC power. In North America that means that each light can typically require 5 to 10 amps of 110-volt current. Combining lighting and audio equipment on the same AC circuit  is a surefire  recipe for blown breakers.

Second, light dimmers and controllers introduce noises into the power supply.

When any dimmer system is connected to the same AC circuit with an audio system, there is an excellent chance that dimmer variations will be heard as changing noise levels in the sound system.

Although some dimmer systems do a reasonable job of isolating noises from the circuit, it is still advisable to always connect lighting equipment to circuits that are separate from the AC supplying your audio and musical performance gear

-Bill Gibson

Bill Gibson, president of Northwest Music and Recording has spent the last 25 years writing, recording, producing and teaching music. Bill is a best-selling author and has written over 30 books on audio recording. His recently released 6-volume set, The Hal Leonard Recording Method is already receiving high praise for its user-friendly approach.

You can check out Bill’s books here.

  • Wolfgang

    I think Bill is right, as far as you use normal bulbs which have a high power consumption. I use one LED technology on stage, so each PAR 56 spot e.g. as a power consumption of about 20 W (220 volt current here in Germany) with eqivalent luminosity to a 1000 W bulb. Also in that case light dimming is done digital and on a low-power base. I never noticed any noisy effects to the audio circuit. I’m playing small gigs in pubs and it is really difficult sometimes to find two separate circiuts. I recommend LED lighting gear, it’s much more comfortable (light weighted, less power consumtion, less heat on stage, long life) 

  • Lanman

    Beside avoiding the use of the same circuit(s) as the lights, a good AC filter for the audio equipment can also be a good investment.
    With the advent of LED lighting, power draw from lights is becoming less of an issue.  When it come to noise though, many light assemblys have motor’s inside of them that produce noise on the AC line due to poor shielding.