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Static problem!

Discussion in 'Recording' started by N Maddern, Feb 14, 2016.

  1. N Maddern

    N Maddern Active Member

    Hey Guys,

    If there's anybody out there who can give advice on this issue.. Oh how welcome that would be, as it's driving me nuts! A few months ago I noticed a faint static noise appearing in my recording - my set-up Neumann TLM49, Avalon 737sp, Symphony I/O, iMac El Capitan - ... The issue has gradually got worse, and the static fluctuates from faint annoying sound on some occassions to a loud crackle. The static gets louder when I touch the XLR cable on the mic, and also if I touch the grill and shockmount. Initially I did the obvious and changed my cables, soldered a grounding wire from pin1 to Niftrik latch pin 0, but alas, still there... I've tested another mic in the set-up, still there... Tested an Mbox to replace Avalon and Symphony, still there... Tested a Behringer preamp into Symphony, still there... Switched cans, still there... Unplugged electrical cables in my booth that run my monitor, light and air system, still there.. Essentially, with all these different hard-ware combinations the static is always present, and I have no idea where and why it's appeared... I've had this set-up for approx 4 years with never any problem, I haven't changed anything, so can't figure out what the cause might be... Am I crazy to think that something in my neighborhood might be the cause? Is it possible? Or am I just missing something under my nose?? Please if anybody has some knowledge on the subject I'd be really interested to hear from you. Thanks
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Can you upload a short (10 sec or so) segment showing the problem? This should be a raw data file of just the microphone track with no EQ, effects or dynamics. Use the "Upload a File" button at the bottom of the reply box.
  3. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    It sounds like a top-notch signal chain, do you have it plugged into any kind of power conditioner to filter out electrical noise? It sounds like you've done enough substitutions to eliminate everything else.
  4. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    I agree with DVDHawk...check a power conditioner if you are using one.

    Apart from that, there is a possibility that there may be a bad earth grounding to the premises that has become worse over time.
  5. N Maddern

    N Maddern Active Member

    Hi Boswell, yeah by all means, I'll upload a short file...


    Attached Files:

  6. N Maddern

    N Maddern Active Member

    Don't have a power conditioner dvdhawk.... Sean G, if I do have grounding issues with the premises - and as I'm running my studio with the rest of the building - would having a seperate circuit and individual ground just for the studio be a fix? Thanks for your replies guys...
  7. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    It could fix the issue, thats where a licensed electrician would be able to tell you if it is a ground issue.

    I'd try to eliminate as many possibilities first before going down that road...how old is the building?
    - Sometimes things like older style fluro lighting can have that effect also...the ballasts can cause RF interference...but that is usually a low frequency hum-like noise.
  8. N Maddern

    N Maddern Active Member

    Yeah, not that old, early 90s... and don't have any old lighting in the building... got some of those eco lights from Ikea in most of the building... you know, the ones that take a few minutes to get bright.... and only led actually in the studio itself... got a friend who's an electrician, doesn't know anything about audio/studio, but I guess he'd know something about grounding of premises... not being able to pinpoint the problem is really frustrating
  9. N Maddern

    N Maddern Active Member

    Mmmm, wait there is a light strip in an attic space above the studio... it's never switched on mind, is that a possibility? Clutching at straws I know, but just have to
  10. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    If it's fluorescent, and not on, then no, there would be no interference from the ballast...
    But...Do you have any dimmer switches anywhere?
  11. N Maddern

    N Maddern Active Member

    In fact the kitchen on the ground floor was recently renovated, maybe Sep time, and that now has a dimmer switch... dimmers can have an affect??
  12. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    If they're on the same circuit, then yeah, it's possible. Dimmer switches are sometimes used in studio environments for aesthetics, but they are the (very) expensive, shielded type, and I'd bet a boat load of money that the dimmers you have in your kitchen are standard $8 home grade switches, and not shielded.

    I'm not saying this is the source of your problem for sure, I'm just stating that it's a possibility - if the switch is on the same circuit as your audio gear is.

    You'd be able to tell by simply turning the switch off - not just to the minimum lowest setting - but completely off -and if your noise disappears, then voila', you've found your culprit. But if not, then it's somewhere else.

    But... I'm not an electrician, so I can't tell you without a doubt where the problem would be. For all anybody knows, it could be at the transformer/pole outside your house.

    You could contact your electric company, the worst they would do is say "no, we can't help you", but if you mention that there might be a problem with the transformer outside your building, my bet is that they'd at least send a crew out to check on it. Power companies don't like to take any chances with something that may be malfunctioning on their end... and I'd wager that this is an international thing, too... Regardless of where you live ( unless you are 3rd world, which you are not, you guys are just as hi-tech and current as anyone else is...).

    Other than that, you'd probably have to have your electrician friend come in and run some diagnostics. He might not understand your particular problem in detail, meaning he's may not be an audio guy, but if he's an actual electrician, then he'd certainly be able to tell if your power was clean or dirty.
  13. N Maddern

    N Maddern Active Member

    Yeah, the light is not always on, and the static is pretty much always there... so I guess that counts that out, unless it's possible even when the dimmer is not being used? I'm also not an electrician, which is why it gets a bit frustrating, but will definitely go down the route of asking my friend and might be worth asking the company supplying the electricity as well..
  14. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Probably not... unless there was something weird going on in the wiring of the switch. If the dimmer isn't on, I truly doubt it's the problem.

    Call your friend first, see what he comes up with, and if he doesn't know, call your power company. Explain to them what's happening. They may be able to help - but likely only if the problem is on their end... which, it could be.

    The only thing I'm sure of, is that no one here can say for sure what the problem is; all we can do is to provide suggestions based on experience. But without being there, it's impossible to say.

    Edit... side note... have you tried using a power conditioner?
  15. N Maddern

    N Maddern Active Member

    No, I've never had one in my set-up... do they really make such a difference?
  16. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    They can.. depending on what model you get and how bad the power is. I've heard some conditioners wipe out all noise entirely, and some that attenuate it from a lot to a little.

    Furman makes a variety of models. You may want to research their various models as an option. I don't know a whole lot of studios that don't have a power conditioner somewhere in their power line... if for nothing else than as a protection against potential surges and brown outs; and especially considering that 99% of studios these days are computer-based..

  17. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    They can... depending on how bad your power is, and what model you are using. I've seen conditioners that have wiped out all noise entirely, and some that attenuate it from a lot to just a little.

    I don't know of any studio these days that doesn't have some kind of a conditioner, somewhere in their power staging; if for nothing else than protection against potential surges or brown outs, especially since 95% of studios are computer-based these days.

    Check out Furman's page: http://www.furmansound.com/product.php?div=01&id=PL-8C

    If you're not sure which model you should get, contact them and describe your problem specifically. They'll help you out. I've talked with Furman people in the past, and they are pleasant and helpful.

    They make a variety of conditioners for various uses. It may be the most inexpensive and effective answer to your problem. Not that they are really cheap, because they're not... they're not like the cheap surge protectors you can get at any big-box store, because these are actual conditioners. So, when I say "inexpensive" I mean that in relation to versus re-wiring your breaker box or your house's lines. ;)

  18. N Maddern

    N Maddern Active Member

    Hi Donny, yeah I always thought of conditioners more for gigging around various locations, rather than to have one in my own studio... but yeah, I asked for some advice and they came back with the Furman PL-8 CE... apparently has something in it called LIFT filtering technology for static... to be honest, I kind of always thought this was always marketing blah, blah... but at this stage I'm willing to give anything a try...
  19. Sean G

    Sean G Well-Known Member

    I'm going to chime in here...a power conditioner can literally protect your gear by saving you thousands protecting you from unwanted surges and giving you a clean supply.

    I found out once the hard way. Like anything, you get what you pay for.
  20. N Maddern

    N Maddern Active Member

    Will be taking your advice guys, at the very worst, I've got a conditioner that will be with me, after the problem - hopefully - gets resolved

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