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Annoying buzz in speakers.

Discussion in 'Monitoring / Headphones' started by alfugazi, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. alfugazi

    alfugazi Active Member

    Hi all...getting buzz in speakers. Really annoying and I have tried unplugging everything one peiece of equipmentr at a time/rerouting cables....etc.

    Is there a really decent product that effectively reduces ground loops and/or filters the line?

    I know Furman makes the claims that they provide both surge/line filtering but I have my monitors plugged into one of the lower-end units
    and still am getting a buzz. Not the kind of buzz I was looking for....

    Was also checking out a unit from Monster and was wondering if anyone has had any luck with any of these types of products?


  2. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Where is your equipment located? Is it near large electric motors????
    Do you live in an area that has problem power??????

    I would think it would be a good idea to locate the source of your buzz at the input to your amp.....very unlikely that any power line filtering or surge protection is going to fix your buzz if its appearing at the output of your amp.
    Either you have a bad amp or the input to your amp has noise on it.
    Sounds like you have an open shield somewhere in your wiring upstream of your amp and speakers....
    Unless of course you have a large electric motor running in the background with high intensity fluorescent lamps directly mounted over your equipment...then maybe a little bit of inductance is involved...
  3. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Is this "Pro Audio Gear" in a home studio or live PA?

    Ground loops usually happen when there is more than one path to ground. If your recording gear isn't sharing a power source, it probably should be. Are you sure your outlets are grounded? A three prong plug/recepticle is no guaranty the ground is connected to anything.

    Rather than unplug one channel at a time, try unplugging everything but amp and speakers. If that's quiet plug things in one at a time. If you find one bad source, it doesn't mean there isn't another one - so check them all. Check your mic and instrument cables. Own a cable checker? a multimeter? Even without a meter you can use a screwdriver to visually inspect the shields on your XLR cables. Instrument cables are even easier, just unscrew the barrel.

    If you have dirty power a line conditioner will help in some cases. Check all this other stuff first.
  4. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Look into getting a good stereo DI box, they kill hum easily.

    I have a radial duplex, it serves me well :wink:
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    It's quite common for many of us to be using computers within our studios/control rooms. I have found a great deal of problems when the computer's switching power supplies are grounded to the electrical ground. And the noise issue occurs even when you have everything plugged into the same outlet strip or group of outlets. Your single ended line inputs and outputs are grounded at your console. Lifting electrical grounds is generally frowned upon but sometimes a simple necessity. But there can be that greater risk of electrical shock and death. That's why it's a good idea to own a multimeter, no matter how inexpensive it might be. As long as they can read AC voltages, you can check the differences in ground voltages between different pieces of equipment. You should never see more than a couple of volts. With the worst-case scenario you will find 110 V (220 V depending upon your location). That's how people get killed. But because of the single ended nature of some of the input and output circuitry of your audio interface for your computer, this is a frequent problem.

    Be careful
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  6. alfugazi

    alfugazi Active Member

    Im very appreciatve of everyone's insight into this matter. I am very happy that there are folks out there willing to share there knowledge.

    So last night Im sitting there plugging and unplugging stuff from the rack and still getting that annoying buzz in monitors. I decided to take one of the monitors to another area in my house and plug it in. Same thing happening with the buzzing. Now here's the strange part...Left my monitor unplugged for the evening. I plugged my monitor in this morning and experienced a slight buzzing but nothing that would make me pull my hair out. Not sure if last nights rain had anything to do with it?

    Ok here's another question for you folks...
    These are powered monitors by Event (ALP5's). Been happy with them right up until the buzzing started. Anyways, I have those plugged directly into a Furman Power conditioner, as well as my audio interface. I keep the monitors and the audio interface to the on position that way I only have to flick a switch and turns the power on to everything. My question is - is this recommended? I mean nothing is connected to my audio interface and I always turn the volume down to zero before powering up. I always get that slight pop in the monitors when the power turns on.

    In an ideal situation, how should the electrical be distributed in my room? Should several pieces of equipment be plugged into a power conditioner/surge protector and then into one of the wall sockets? Or should the elctrical outlet be on it's own circuit apart from all the other circuits in the home? Does this make any sense?

    Thanks again everybody.

  7. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    I think I'd take out the jack panel on that speaker and check for loose connections or corroded solder connections or possibly even broken jacks. These things rarely just go away once they start unless you have some other E-M generating device that roved around with you.....like a powerful cell phone.
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    So, you took your monitor to another part of your house. You plugged it in to the power. And still got that nasty buzz. Are you saying that you plugged it into the power without an input source? Or did you extend your cabling from your audio interface? This is very important because what you are experiencing is a ground loop. Moving the speaker to another part of the house and plugging it in to the power can exacerbate the problem. Does the speaker make noise when there is no audio input connected to it? If the speaker is quiet with no audio input connected to it, it's a clear indication of ground loop. What you are describing are grounding issues when dealing with "unbalanced" input & output equipment. But balanced input & output equipment can still suffer from ground loop because the effects of the ground loop will modulate the audio even if the audio does not contain a buzz. So there is nothing wrong with unbalanced equipment. In fact if proper grounding is corrected unbalanced equipment can actually yield a cleaner sound than balanced equipment. That's because balanced equipment requires more componentry than its inexpensive unbalanced sibling. I'm not saying that you should remove the electrical ground pin on all your equipment. But utilizing an electrical " cheater plug" to help you isolate where the ground loop is occurring can be quite helpful.

    Keep trying
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  9. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    As far as power outlets are concerned....everything you have in your studio should be connected to some sort of surge strip just because most of it is sensitive electronics...if you don't want your expensive equipment getting hit and fried by power company surges which you can't control then that's just common sense.
    As far as the wall outlets in your home typically they are already on the same branch circuit unless you live in an old house with shoddy or marginal code wiring.
    Most branch circuits are broken down to wall outlets and lights usually the lights are on different branch circuits from the outlets. Many times more than one room or area share the same wall outlet branch circuit and same for the lights. It's a matter of usage and load and is usually dictated by code and inspectors....There are codes that require separate branch circuits for each room but many times that isn't practical or necessary in residential homes...If you start plugging in a bunch of heaters or A/C or a bunch of motors in the same room on the same branch circuit then it gets a little iffy....the best way to identify whats what of course is to turn one C/B (circuit breaker) off at a time and then go around to each room and see which outlets are not working....This is also a good time to label your panel correctly. Repeat and go thru each of the lighting and outlet breakers in your panel and see which ones are which and what you have...These typically are the single breakers with either 15A or 20A...generally they are never any higher than that...

    Moving the monitors to another room and plugging them into another wall outlet and still hearing a buzz with no input doesn't prove anything because
    #1 the wall outlet might be on the same branch circuit as the other room. (not that likely)
    #2 If the buzz still exists in either location with no input connected then how do know the monitor isn't the problem and has lost its power supply filters....or for all you know the speakers are messed up from thumping them over and over...the buzzz could be the voice coil rubbing against the magnet in the driver assembly and is now misaligned and scraping...

    I always turn my monitor ON LAST and OFF FIRST. Master or monitor faders down! If you do that you will always avoid thumping the drivers and the loud damaging annoying pops or thumps.
    They can take that once in a while but not all the time. Eventually you will damage the driver and/or cone!

    So...does this buzzz show up on both monitors with no input?

    Try some different speakers on your system and see if the buzz is still there.
    Try your monitors on a different source input and see if the buzz goes with the speaker or stays with your system!

    Isolate and eliminate...take it one logical step at a time....
    Once you find out the real cause you can take the needed steps to fix it....
  10. Don Schenk

    Don Schenk Active Member

    Are there light dimmers in your home?

    Are there light dimmers in your nextdoor neighbor's home?

    The SCR dimmers can put a nasty 60 hz signal into any audio equipment plugged into the same house.

    I had this in a studio many years ago. It drove several of us crazy trying to find the source.

    Another one I ran into was the heater in a tropical fish tank. I had to turn it off to be rid of the buzz!

  11. alfugazi

    alfugazi Active Member

    Hi Don...I may have a light dimmer or two in the downstairs. I might have to check that. Lucky for me, I do not have a fish tank anymore. I dissassembled the salt water tank a few years ago.

    I dont really know my neighbors. I hear them all the time screaming at each other and their kids. I dont know whats up with that. Maybe they are the source. I think we need to test them.

    In all seriousness though, when my guitar is plugged in to my amp I hear cartoons thru the speaker when Im not playing. I also noticed that I get this when I am plugged in directly to the preamp. SOmetimes its there, sometimes its not. This RF really is annoying.

    I have tried a few things like running my cables a different way. The buzzing has sub-sided to a normal level but now I am dealiong with the cartoons thru my amp. I am not a mental patient...honest...
  12. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    I think you have RF bleed from the pickups (on the guitar) themselves.
  13. alfugazi

    alfugazi Active Member

    Can anything be done about that?
  14. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Aluminum foil for shielding?
    Power line conditioners?
    Sounds like your in close quarters in a building?
    Is it an older building?
    Do you live near a TV, Radio or Cell station towers?
    Are you high up off the ground floor?
    You might have to investigate your space and find a location where it might not be as bad or has some natural shielding....concrete is always good or lead works really well........

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