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Q. Can I switch all my gear on at once?

By Hugh Robjohns

It’s fine to switch on gear from a mains switch, but some things are better switched on in a certain sequence. Thus, power distribution systems with front-panel switches — such as the Bryant one pictured — can be really handy.It’s fine to switch on gear from a mains switch, but some things are better switched on in a certain sequence. Thus, power distribution systems with front-panel switches — such as the Bryant one pictured — can be really handy.

Is it wise (or even safe!) to power up certain hardware — in this case a Nord Rack 2X — directly from the mains rather than its own on/off switch? The reason I ask is that the Nord Rack has its power button on the rear and this is inaccessible if you have another unit above it. Thanks.

SOS Forum post

SOS Technical Editor Hugh Robjohns replies: I answered a similar question a few years ago, which you can find at https://sosm.ag/qa-0802-power, but the answer is a resounding yes! I’ve never had any problems working this way... and I do so every day. The only caveat I would mention is that I don’t power everything in the studio all at once from just a single switch. Instead, I split the load and turn things on in small groups from separate switches, the reason being that the in-rush current from everything going on at once can generate enough earth leakage current to trip the fuse box RCDs! But for a similar reason to you, I turn on my Nord Stage from a mains supply switch that I can reach easily, rather than the on-off button at the back of the keyboard itself, and there is no problem with that whatsoever.

I actually use a Bryant Unlimited SDU (https://sosm.ag/bryant-sdu) to power up most of my racked equipment with inaccessible power switches (cheaper switching units are also available, often from DJ or disco-gear suppliers).

Reviews Editor Matt Houghton adds: The number of rackmount devices that appear with power switches only on the rear is a bugbear of mine! Like Hugh, I switch things on in groups, both for the reason he describes and to ensure I don’t end up with unexpected loud noises blowing the drivers in my monitors — in particular, I make sure that the power amp for my studio monitor speakers is the last thing that gets switched on, and the first to be switched off when closing down.

Published May 2015