Dimmer Switches


I am looking to add some up lights to my listening area (behind plants in the corners of my room, sitting on the floor - think audio show setups) and most of them come with an inline dimmer switch. So my naive question would be do these dimmers that are built into the light’s cord have the same negative impact as those that are built into the walls for built in lighting?


I have a dimmer in my room and when I turn the lights on the Noise Harvesters in my room go blink crazy.

Dimmer switches are a big cause of noise added to your power.

One way to solve that is to add a few Noise Harvesters to your room.


Another option is to use low power LED lights that require no dimming and can be left on all night if you wish.

nile49 said: . . . do these dimmers that are built into the light's cord have the same negative impact as those that are built into the walls for built in lighting?

Unfortunately they all work the same; switching the power on and off. They are pretty nasty.

As noted, Noise Harvesters go into a feeding frenzy when you turn on a dimmer.


Thanks guys! Appreciate the info. Unfortunately though I do not believe a noise harvester will do too much remedy the situation as I believe the dimmers actually chop the waveform. :-q

nile49 said: . . . dimmers actually chop the waveform

They do, indeed. The chopped waveform itself only goes to the controlled light however.

Unfortunately, a dimmer puts noise which can affect components the dimmer is not actually controlling. A NH will help by removing at least some of this distortion so it does not enter the components. It is a band-aid approach. It is much better to avoid the dimmer.


It is much better to avoid the dimmer.

What he said...!

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Would it be ok if you could keep the dimmer on a separate non audio circuit and locate the dimmer say 10 ft from your listening room?


It still, by it’s nature, throws poo poo into your entire local grid.

Downsizing the bulb or even better, LED seems like a better long term solution.

The LED drivers don’t seem to cause any problems in my set up.


The dimmers I have are on totally different circuits and well over 20 feet from my main system. The Noise Harvesters in the room blink frenetically when a dimmer is turned on.

I will readily admit however that I do not know if the dimmers have an observable impact on sound quality. I have never carefully compared with and without. My objection to having them on when critically listening is purely emotional; they bother me as a concept and therefore they must be bad. :slight_smile:


I’m in deep poo poo then, I have a ton in my house, hate bright lights most of the time.

Are they ok when fully dimmed ?


I am in the same boat as @rogerdn. I think virtually all the light switches in my home are Lutrons. I am going to leave all my lights off tonight and see if it makes a difference to the sound. I assume if the dimmers/lights are not on at all they wont be introducing noise into my local grid?


now you have to convince your neighbors to turn off their lights


Good call @David! I am going to petition the neighborhood to turn off all devices so that I can have the best possible audio quality.

rogerdn said: Are they ok when fully dimmed ?

This is when they are at their worst. Fully on is the least noisy, although even then they are very noisy as the chopping circuit is always active. Turning them completely off is the only option.

tboooe said: I am going to leave all my lights off tonight and see if it makes a difference to the sound.

The only real test. :)


You mean unplugging, by fully dimmed a meant turned all they way down so no light.


If fully dimmed equals completely off (no power to the circuit) you are set.


Part of the issue is what dimmer you use. I use a dimmer in the main sound room without any issue whatsoever. It works because of the dimmer I use which is a higher end Lutron that says it is “quiet”. Indeed, all dimmers work by chopping the waveform but the better ones have a reasonably large filter inside that reduces the harmonics to almost nothing.


It would be nice if dimmers came with a power factor rating. That would be over the top, I guess, since we audiophiles are probably the only ones who care. Is this a problem in the “videophile” community, too?