humming noise with electric guitar
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Thread: humming noise with electric guitar

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Default humming noise with electric guitar

    when i plug my guitar into my 410 interface i get a humming/buzzing noise that makes it impossible to get a clean signal.
    i'm using a fender(early ninties) strat with single coil pickups. my guess is that the pick ups are too sensitive. when i move around it gets a little better but i can't get rid of it.

    any suggestions?

  2. #2
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    There's 3 reasons for the humming/buzzing:

    1. ground loops

    Check if you have a proper ground connection on the outlet where you are connecting the computer, if it's a laptop don't bypass the ground connector. Check that all the power connectios use the same circuit, and most important, that they use the same ground!

    2. emi

    Unbalanced lines with devices with high output impedance are very sensitive to pick up emi (electro magnetic interference) meaning that they pick the 60Hz (50Hz in my case) magnetic field produced by the power lines and converting it to a alternating current, that with the gain stage produces a 60 Hz wave with first order harmonics. Boring, huh? check the cable, if it's in good shape and try to keep it as far away as possible from the power cables.
    The other obvious thing that picks up emi are the pickups, single coils are noisy. Until certain point is part of rock and roll, but...
    To check how noisy they are... if you have a crt monitor turn it off while you hear the guitar, then turn it on again... hear any difference?
    The other thing is to try humbucking configurations on the strat, position 2 or 4 combines the neck pickup with the middle one, or bridge pickup with the middle one. On a standard strat the middle pickup is RW/RP (reverse winding/reverse polarity) so, if you combine this pickup with the others it will be like a humbucking pickup.
    Always use the volume pot at full position.

    3. Kidding, i'm out of ideas!
    gabrielo

    Model: MacBook 2,1
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    Digi Mbox 2, PTLE 8.0
    M-Audio Products: ie10, ptmp 7.4, solaris, Bx5a deluxe; any interface i can steal to run ptmp

  3. #3
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    Yup, single coils are notorious for picking up 50/60hz hum. Stick some antihum pups in.

    Proper shielding and grounding could be a potential issue as well, although I doubt it.
    ---------------
    New Recording Setup: iMac 2011/ULN8/Profire 2626/Axiom61Pro
    Experience with the following M-Audio products: Profire series/Projectmix IO/Firewire Family series(410, 1814, etc)/Axiom series/Axiom Pro series/Oxygen series/Fast Track series/+more

  4. #4
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    Thanks so much for the reply.
    I'm new to recording and therefore I'll have to ask back some questions, sorry.

    Check if you have a proper ground connection on the outlet where you are connecting the computer, if it's a laptop don't bypass the ground connector. Check that all the power connectios use the same circuit, and most important, that they use the same ground!
    1. ok, I'm using a laptop, how exactly do i check if I have a proper ground connection on the outlet where I am connecting the computer? And what do you mean by not bypassing the ground connector? How do i check if they have the same circuit/ ground control?

    To check how noisy they are... if you have a crt monitor turn it off while you hear the guitar, then turn it on again... hear any difference?
    2. crt monitor? I'm not sure I know what that is. Do you mean the laptop screen?

    The other thing is to try humbucking configurations on the strat, position 2 or 4 combines the neck pickup with the middle one, or bridge pickup with the middle one. On a standard strat the middle pickup is RW/RP (reverse winding/reverse polarity) so, if you combine this pickup with the others it will be like a humbucking pickup.
    3. When I am on the 2nd position I get the least noise, but it's still quite a bit.

  5. #5
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    Hello Spadoinkle,

    I have been recording guitars for quite a few years now and thought I'd drop in on this First, a CRT is short for Cathode Ray Tube which is the technical term for the former technology of screens and television set. They are notoriously harmful for em interference. LCDs, like the one on you laptop, tend to be less noisy though I need to play facing back my LCD screens when I play with my Les Paul.

    I have not seen your environment so I don't know how your speakers are plugged in/positioned but this also can have an adverse effect. Do you have stompboxes/switchboxes between your guitar and your DI box ? If so you might want to check the gains on those too.

    Now there are two schools of though as far as volume goes and quite a few religious wars have been started over this but I'd tell you to dial in your tone the way you want to hear it and if it is at 5 then it's good (11 is good too ).

    A quick trick, is to put a gate in your effects chain, basically a gate will not let sound through below a certain threshold therefore eliminating this humming completely. I don't know what effects pedals/plugins you have so I don't know what gates you have in your arsenal...

    cheers,

    Steven
    M-Audio products:PTMP 8.0, ProjectMix I/O, Keystation Pro 88, Axiom 49, IE-30, D&B Rig, Keyrig, Microtrak II, Oddity, KikAXXE
    Model Name: Mac Pro
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by StevenRedmond View Post
    Hello Spadoinkle,

    I have been recording guitars for quite a few years now and thought I'd drop in on this First, a CRT is short for Cathode Ray Tube which is the technical term for the former technology of screens and television set. They are notoriously harmful for em interference. LCDs, like the one on you laptop, tend to be less noisy though I need to play facing back my LCD screens when I play with my Les Paul.

    I have not seen your environment so I don't know how your speakers are plugged in/positioned but this also can have an adverse effect. Do you have stompboxes/switchboxes between your guitar and your DI box ? If so you might want to check the gains on those too.

    Now there are two schools of though as far as volume goes and quite a few religious wars have been started over this but I'd tell you to dial in your tone the way you want to hear it and if it is at 5 then it's good (11 is good too ).

    A quick trick, is to put a gate in your effects chain, basically a gate will not let sound through below a certain threshold therefore eliminating this humming completely. I don't know what effects pedals/plugins you have so I don't know what gates you have in your arsenal...

    cheers,

    Steven
    I'm not using any speakers yet, just headphones. I do have stompboxes but I did not use them with the interface yet, so that can't be it.

    What do you mean with dial my tone? Do you mean the tone know on my guitar or the volume know on my guitar? Also my knobs only go from 1-10 on my guitar.

    Is a gate it's own pedal?
    Model: HP pavilion dv6934ca
    OS: Vista SP1
    CPU: Intel Centrino Dual Core 2.0 GHz
    Memory: 3GB
    M-Audio: Firewire 410

  7. #7
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    somebody also recommended that a DI Box might solve the problem.
    Model: HP pavilion dv6934ca
    OS: Vista SP1
    CPU: Intel Centrino Dual Core 2.0 GHz
    Memory: 3GB
    M-Audio: Firewire 410

  8. #8
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    1. ok, I'm using a laptop, how exactly do i check if I have a proper ground connection on the outlet where I am connecting the computer? And what do you mean by not bypassing the ground connector? How do i check if they have the same circuit/ ground control?
    The AC input of the power adapter of your laptop has 3 pins, the live, the neutral and earth (or ground). When you work with audio, for safety reasons and to aviod ground loops all the devices that have a 3 pin connector for power must be earthed. If you don't know how well is the electrical earth in your house, call an electritian for check. Also some other devices plugged on the laptop that have their own power supply can cause ground loops, like a printer, or something else. Try this: use your laptop with the battery, and only connect the fw 410, there's some difference?.

    The next possibility is that some laptops are noisy. Because of bad designs or defective components, but this is only on extreme cases.



    Try your guitar on an amplifier, the bigger the better, for take a look on how noisy it is. Always do some maintenance on the electronics, check if the controls are fine.

    Last but not least, if you use hi gain amps simulations, use a noise gate, normally is included on the guitar plugin, but if it's not insert it before the effect.

    The rest of the noise is rock'roll... all the guitars pick some hum...
    gabrielo

    Model: MacBook 2,1
    OS: 10.4.11
    CPU: 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo
    Memory: 2,5GB (2GB + 512MB, yeah!)
    External HD: WD my book, 750 GB FW 400
    Digi Mbox 2, PTLE 8.0
    M-Audio Products: ie10, ptmp 7.4, solaris, Bx5a deluxe; any interface i can steal to run ptmp

  9. #9
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    Sep 2008
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    Ok, thanks.
    Well there is no difference when I run my laptop on battery only.

    My fender is more than 10 years old and I've never done any maintenance on the electronics, ups. Do I have to get that done in a store?
    Model: HP pavilion dv6934ca
    OS: Vista SP1
    CPU: Intel Centrino Dual Core 2.0 GHz
    Memory: 3GB
    M-Audio: Firewire 410

  10. #10
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    when I wrote about tone I was referring to the actual sound you are making with your guitar which is a combination of string gauge, pickup type, pickup position, volume and tone knobs position , etc.

    All guitars pickup hums, especially single coils like I suppose you use on your Fender. Does it make more hum than when it's plugged in your amp ?
    M-Audio products:PTMP 8.0, ProjectMix I/O, Keystation Pro 88, Axiom 49, IE-30, D&B Rig, Keyrig, Microtrak II, Oddity, KikAXXE
    Model Name: Mac Pro
    Processor Name: Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    Processor Speed: 2.8 GHz
    Number Of Processors: 2
    Memory: 6 GB
    Bus Speed: 1.6 GHz
    OS : OS X 10.5.8

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