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Topic: HELP! Bad grounding issue

  1. #1

    HELP! Bad grounding issue

    Hey guys,

    I have been getting this annoying buzz thru my monitors whenever I boot up my computer. At first I thought it was my Delta 1010 soundcard but when I mute the card, the buzz still persists.
    I have changed cables and tried new ones, taken out the delta from the computer and put it back in, exchanged different cords in each socket on my surge protector, etc.
    I have no clue whats going on. My friend said the worst case scenario would be my converter box is toast. What is a converter box anyways?
    The problem happened about a month ago. The buzz used to start up as soon as my computer finished booting up but after about 10-15 minutes it would literally fade out and be gone. Now the buzz is more persistent [img]images/icons/rolleyes.gif[/img] . Also sometimes when the heat comes on in my house after the buzz is gone, the buzz will spurt thru for a sec right as the heat turns on, so I\'m thinking this is some kind of strange grounding issue.
    Another odd thing is as the buzz is humming thru my monitors, if I empty out my recycle bin, when the little bell noise rings to tell me stuffs been deleted, the buzz will stop for that second, then it comes back on. Weird huh?
    Any help or tips would be appreciated if anyone knows what is causing this.
    I have an asus P4GE-V motherboard as well.


    Damon Bradley

  2. #2

    Re: HELP! Bad grounding issue

    Perhaps you could record the signal and normalize and try to identify a 50(or whatever you have) hz sine in there. Make sure all gears (100% and not 99) take their power from a single source. Also, make sure the gears do not have electrical conection with each other. A steel rack for example would be very bad. Any current should only be allowed to run through their cables.

  3. #3

    Re: HELP! Bad grounding issue

    Thanks for the replies.
    No, the buzz will not come onto a CD when I burn a track.
    I also narrowed it down to the mixer not being the culprit.
    I switched pci slots as well on my soundcard and it still did nothing. The buzz remains.
    Oh well, I sure do wish I was a tech guru so I could fix this. It sucks not being able to compose [img]images/icons/confused.gif[/img]

  4. #4

    Re: HELP! Bad grounding issue

    There are several approaches to good grounding.

    I won\'t bore you with an attempt to explain what causes it, if you do a search on ground hum, you\'ll find much better info than I can articulate right now.

    Here\'s a couple of approaches you can take to minimize or get rid of it:

    1) Computers are often the worst culprits of ground hum. A great way to get around this is to make sure that any connection between your audio generating gear (PC/Mac/synths/etc.)and your mixer is via optical cable only. (ADAT/SPDIF). Since fibre optical carries no current you have no ground hum going to your mixer! Just do this whenever you can - obviously not possible with certain gear but the more the better.

    2) Try to make sure all your analogue audio connections are balanced. This nips ground hum in the bud on each of those connections.

    3) This is a big one but it will make a huge differenct if you can do it:
    Make sure that all equipment in your studio is plugged into ONE power source. The best bet is a UPS that has a built-in \"transform and rectify\" mechanism or an Iso-transformer. This serves 2 purposes:

    - You get clean, stable power (can in itself create huge improvements in AD/DA performance and, believe it or not, PC/Mac stability!

    - You elimate ground loops that are often inherent between different outlets. Every thing in your studio has the same ground now.

    NOTE: Things that aren\'t hooked into your system, like desk lamps etc. should be hooked up to a totally different outlet. Lamps, especially dimmer-equipped ones are notorious for introducing ground hum.

    Also, depending on the size of your rig, it\'s best if you can have everything hooked up to a 20amp circuit (plug the UPS or Iso-Transformer into that). Ask your local electrician if your not sure.

    If these options are too costly or not logistically possible, then the other way is to methodically plug in and unplug every piece of gear and cable that you have to see which one introduces the noise. You may find that you can simply put iso-transformers on a cable or 2 and have your problem solved.

    Sorry for the lengthy post but I hope it helps!


  5. #5

    Re: HELP! Bad grounding issue

    Thanks alot for the help Crispin [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

  6. #6

    Re: HELP! Bad grounding issue

    No problem Damon, hope it helps!

    One thing I should mention:

    When I said you should plug other gear (lights, etc.) into a different outlet - I missed a crucial point! You need to make sure that it is a different circuit altogether! I should\'ve been more specific...sorry bout that.

    You can do a quick test by pluggin a light into each socket and turning breakers on and off at the fuse box. Just make sure all your audio gear and computers are disconnected when you do this..


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