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Help, My Monitors are picking up cell phone signals and other signals?

Discussion in 'Monitoring / Headphones' started by WinnipegSoundGuy, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. WinnipegSoundGuy

    WinnipegSoundGuy Active Member


    My Monitors are not only picking up cell phone signals and making a "crackling sound" but must also be picking up other signals as the nasty crackling noises come right out of the blue, even when the cell phone is not on.

    The system is simple at this point with a Lap Top running into a Yamaha MG12/4 Mixer (3.55 mm to RCA Y Cable) running into a pair of Yorkville Active YSM2P studio monitors through 1/4 inch outs to balanced XLR ins on the monitors.

    Note everything can sound great for ten - fifteen minutes, sometimes a half hour, then the horrendous ear gouging noise seems to come out of the blue (but extra noticeable when cell phone gets close)

    Do I need some type of shielding for the equipment? Lap top? Please help,

    Note - Fridge turned on in next room and I heard a small crackle through the monitors.

    Intermittent RFI ?

    Post Note - Removed Cell phone from area completely and have not had a major crackles in the monitors. I am sure after this experience I may need some type of better protection here though as that was some nasty sound I would rather not here again.

    Post Note 2 - Brought the cell phone close to each of the monitors (one by one) low crackling sound started in each of them. Took the cell phone away RIGHT AWAY and the monitors still gave off one huge last burst crackling bunch of feed back before they actually shut off.

    Post Note 3 - Even with the cell phone out of the area, I heard a small crackle out of the monitors from the other room. Upon coming in I found the fridge had just turned on. Way too much getting in here my friends.

    I need some type of protection here. Monitors can't take this horrendous abuse,
    Ideas Appreciated,

    Kind Regards,
  2. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    We'll you def can't have your cell phone in you particular room. As far as the fridge goes you might have to unplug your fridge when your using your gear. Or try a ground lift plug the 3 prong to 2 prong adapter, but careful cuz your equipment wouldn't be protect by the ground in this case. Studios generally have mupltiple circuits, generally some dedicated to "dirty" power like fridges, lights, microwaves ect. The they have some for "clean" power which would be audio related gear. Also special grounding measures are taken as well.

    My unqualified first guess would be the fridge and studio plugs are on the same circuit. Try a different plug, sometime even in the same room they're room, the plugs are on different circuits. Unfortunately there's not a whole lot I can think of to fix this w out electrical work, and proper professional planning.
    WinnipegSoundGuy likes this.
  3. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Is the 1/4inch balanced on your 1/4 inch outs to balanced XLR cable ?
    There's 2 ways noise can happen, from the power outlet or form a bad isolation in the audio signal path.
    It's bad too hear it but quality audio cables do make a difference. When ever a unit offer balanced connection, we should always use cables accordingly. As for the AC of your house, you need too be sure there's no inversion in the cabling of the outlet. Most hardware store have those outlet checker for less than 10$. if the ground, positive and negative are wired correctly, you may think of trying a power conditionner (many are available but furman is one of the mostly trusted)
    Then, you can also try to plug things on diffenrent lines. (put that fridge on another outlet if possible)
    When I constructed my home studio, I added a breaker just for the studio, that was one of my good choice.
    WinnipegSoundGuy likes this.
  4. WinnipegSoundGuy

    WinnipegSoundGuy Active Member

    Thanks for the response kmetal,

    First job of today will be to switch plugs and see if this helps. Sounds like it may not be a bad idea to get that equipment off that line, even if that isn't the problem in the end. Appreciate the advice Cheers !!
  5. WinnipegSoundGuy

    WinnipegSoundGuy Active Member

    Thanks pcrecord,

    Will start with the easy stuff like switching power line outlets and cables (if necessary) then move on to your other suggestions. I also wonder if it could be the overuse of a not so good sound card in my lap top that may be giving out. Either way - I will have to look into some proper shielding - Thanks again for the advice friend. Cheers !!
  6. WinnipegSoundGuy

    WinnipegSoundGuy Active Member

    Post Note - Even with everything turned off but the monitor plugged into (a new wall socket) I just heard a crackle. For the first time, I also noticed that the lights in this room will flicker from time to time. I think we narrowed it down to the AC in the wall.

    And it comes with more of a "Crackling Sound" then a hum or a buzz type sound.

    Any suggestions for that my friends?
  7. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    You might want to check into a power conditioner that is designed for pro audio. Be careful, some of the cheaper "conditioners" designed for computers aren't actually conditioners at all, and are nothing more than surge/spike protectors, and while that's a good thing to have too, an actual conditioner, if it's well designed and built, will not only give you that surge protection, but will also provide constant, clean power to your rig. But...they aren't cheap. ;)
    And as PC mentioned, the wiring in your residence has to be wired correctly to start with.



    WinnipegSoundGuy likes this.
  8. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    Keep in mind that laptop power supplies are very often the part of the system that lets noise in. Next time you hear the noise or interference, pull out the cable from the computer, leaving it on batteries - if the noises go away, it's almost certainly the PSU - and probably it will be a Dell, which are notorious for power supply induced interference - hums, buzzes crackles and everything!
    bigtree and WinnipegSoundGuy like this.
  9. WinnipegSoundGuy

    WinnipegSoundGuy Active Member

    Good advice my friend but already tried that route, still got the evil crackling after about anywhere from a half hour to 45 minutes no matter whether I use just an mp3player into the mixer to the monitors. Mic into the mixer into the monitors.

    It's almost like something is slowly heating up in the monitors until they finally "over load" for lack of a better word. I have already had a few sound men look and no one seems to have the answer. Tried different plugs through the apartment as well. I am wondering if I need a ground loop isolation unit between the mixer and monitors? Either that or Donny's suggestion above?

    Any other ideas? Could the monitors be some how overheating at a certain point causing an overload? I am almost at a loss now after three days of trouble shooting - (Face Palm)
  10. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    The only real answer here is to try different monitors or take yours to so,embody else and see if they have the same issues. They could be faulty of course. If the problem of crackling gets worse, the the most common cause is capacitors. Are the speakers old? We're assuming they're powered speakers and not using an amplifier somewhere else. Lots of capacitor problems are directly linked to heat build up. They get noisier as they get hotter.
    WinnipegSoundGuy likes this.
  11. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    I've never found power conditioners to reduce ground loop hums, noise reduction pedals have helped mildly, but it really sounds like you have an electrical problem. I've done contractor type work in many apartments and they are notorious for shoddy work all around. So "clean power" and "proper" grounding schemes would be the last thing I expect to be done right, because as long as it doesn't cause a problem, nobody besides audio people care about this. Hopefully you have a friend who knows about electrical stuff, and can take a look at it.
    I dunno the laws around your parts but in my area it is legal to do your own electrical work, you do not have to be licensed, strangely, it is not legal to do your own plumbing.
    I don't really know now to test for grounding issues, but I know them when I hear them, yours doesn't sound like grounding, more like you have heavy machinery like a boiler, or fridge, or stove or something that causes incidental, but not steady interference.
    WinnipegSoundGuy likes this.
  12. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Here in Ohio, or at least Summit County, technically, you need a permit for pretty much anything you want to do, be it electrical, plumbing, construction... although very few people ever bother with it unless they are working outside or doing something obvious like putting on an addition or building a deck or garage.

    Other than diagnosis, I wouldn't be messing with the electrical system if your knowledge is limited. Plumbing is one thing... if you don't connect a water pipe correctly or have a joint fail on a CPVC water line, things will get wet... but no one will be seriously hurt. But, if you don't know what you are doing with electric, then that can be dangerous. If you really do suspect that it's the wiring, call in a certified electrician.

    But ...don't do any of that, or put money into an expensive conditioner, until you've tried a different set of monitors/power amp first. The problem could be isolated to just that.
    However, if you are also hearing clicks and pops and static through headphones too, then it could be electrical.
    WinnipegSoundGuy likes this.
  13. WinnipegSoundGuy

    WinnipegSoundGuy Active Member

    Yes, paulears,

    Monitors are actively powered and I did just buy them used after listening to them for about a half hour with an I pod running through them, in my apartment no less. Switching them will be next on the agenda after I can get another set brought over here. Will keep you informed, Thanks.
  14. WinnipegSoundGuy

    WinnipegSoundGuy Active Member


    I fear in the end you may be right about the electrical problems in this block however I never notice any flickering of lights, or problems with computers, lap tops or other equipment in the living room area, so cross your fingers for me as I will now try to run the electricity from the monitors to a separate room in a last ditch effort before giving up and just using my lap top monitors (Sigh)
  15. WinnipegSoundGuy

    WinnipegSoundGuy Active Member

    We will know soon Donny, cross your fingers for me and thanks for the reply. One more test running the "Monitor" electrical to the living room and a long headphone test. If this solve s nothing, will have to get another set of monitors over here. Thanks for the reply.
  16. WinnipegSoundGuy

    WinnipegSoundGuy Active Member

    Almost Fixed Gents:

    - Got it down to one of Three causes:)

    I know I shouldn't have tried three things at once but was losing it after trouble shooting for almost four days straight, I:

    - Cleaned out the female ends of the mixer as well as the male ends of the 1/4 inch Jacks going into the mixer (should have thought of this before as she was a older used mixer)
    - Ran a brand new 15 foot extension cord from the dining room into a wall line in the living room that I believe was a different A/C line and
    - Turned off the overhead dining room lights above the studio as I was grasping at straws lol.

    It is now one and a half hours in without a crackle or peep from the monitors :) Any guesses as to which of the three above fixes solved the problem before I trace it down gents? Oh happy Morning it is my friends.
  17. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Is your dining room light by chance on a rheostat?
  18. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    I turn the lights back on, and plug back into the outlets in the room, and see if it was just dirty connections. My best guess is still the AC power, just because it happens at random times, not just tight away, as it likely would w a bad connection.
    WinnipegSoundGuy likes this.
  19. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    This is one of the most useful tips of the year!
    I just had this issue tracking choirs and was going bonkers trying to find out where the crackling was coming from. I won't know until next time I'm there but I'm pretty certain this is exactly the problem I had. Thanks you for sharing this Paul.
  20. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Re: power conditioners/ back-ups, I swear by them. I won't track in my studio without them. They stabilize and filter building noise out of my path. I notice the biggest improvement when my converters are plugged into the back-ups.

    I use a main conditioner for the entire studio and then plug APC Backups into that. From there, all the gear, especially the converters are connected. The back-ups are priceless for converters. I use the 1300 and 1500 watt ones you get at Costco for $140. Its the single most important part of my studio.

    happy converters > dead lock ultra smooth clocking and stability = great power supply. Its another reason why I invested in 8 channel ADDA over 16 and 32. Better flow of power. However, after going MADI, my theory on that is moot. The Orion32 seems to manage 32 channels on its single PSU.

    Highly recommend back-ups.
    WinnipegSoundGuy likes this.

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