Grounded in the Bathroom

A grounded (earthed) outlet has been starting my in the face every time I shower or shave, but I guess I didn’t noticed because I was too focused on the handome man in the mirror. Also, it’s currently wired up to the washing machine.  However, this weekend I finally decided power the Little Lanilei with it, using a 2-prong adapter with a ground lug.  Not surprisingly there was a little bit less hum when the amp is grounded/earthed. It’s still a bit noisy at high-gain, but much quieter than the Valbee. Clean, the only hum is the 60-cycle variety from the single-coil pickups.

The big surprise was that the bathroom has surprisingly good acoustics and isolation. Turning the little amp up to a sound pressure level I could actually feel instead of just hear, no one complained. So I brought in my Boss RC-3 to autoplay the amp with a loop, then went outside to see it was audible. It wasn’t. The fan in the kitchen and passing cars were the only  sounds I could hear. So I went back inside, and turned the amp up half-way. In our tiny bathroom that’s more than enough sound pressure. Outside the apartment it was just barely audible. Back inside, my kids were complaining, and had taken initiative to disconnect cables. So today while they’re at the pool, Papa’s gonna make some noise!

Bathroom PlugThe other surprise was that there really isn’t much difference in the sound at 100V than 120V, at least not at less than half-volume. Maxed out might be a different story, though. Either way, it doesn’t really matter because I found that the lug on the adapter is long enough so that I can still plug the little step up transformer into the outlet with the adapter in between.

In addition to the isolation and sound quality, one of the nice things about playing in the bathroom is that mirror I mentioned at the top. It lets me see what my hands are doing, and the stupid faces and poses I make when playing. With no chair or air conditioning there, it gets uncomfortable fast but it’s worth it for the quality practice and fun I’m having.