Solving common problems

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Take a look at the schematic representation of a transformer. 30206 What you are seeing is the input to the transformer, on the left, and the output of the transformer, on the right. Sandwiched in the middle, the two vertical lines, represent the core (basically some flat pieces of iron or nickel). And what are these input and outputs? Nothing more than coils of wire. Literally nothing more than a piece of wire with two ends. Officially the name of the ins and outs are primary and secondary (kind of like school). So, when you pass a current through the input wire, you make a magnetic field. The output wire converts that magnetic field back to a current, just like what you started with. What's cool about a transformer is the current (musical signal) is passed from input to output without physically touching each other - perfect if you want to isolate one thing from another. The musical signal is 'transformed' (hence the name 'transformer') from electricity to magnetism, back to electricity again. If you really want to understand how this works in clearer form, I produced an hour long video you can watch here (or you can email us and get a DVD version with surround sound). Terri's never made it all the way through but I think it's fascinating and applied once for an Oscar for my performance. Somehow, the Academy never wrote back. Go figure. So here's the thing about a coil of wire. It only does 'it's thing' when there's a difference between one end of the wire and the other. If you put the same thing into both ends of the wire, nothing happens. Think of it as you might a hose and water. Picture a water tank with two outlets. Connect a hose between the two outlets and what happens? Nothing. That's because there's no difference or 'potential' between the two ends of the hose. But now, disconnect one end of the hose and watch what happens. Water flows out of the tank. The same can be said of a transformer. How does this make any difference for noise? That we will learn tomorrow.
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Paul McGowan

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