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Low noise guitar leads or other things causing the problem of guitar noise?

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Low noise guitar leads or other things causing the problem of guitar noise?

Postby Marco Mastrocola » Thu Jan 21, 2021 2:10 pm

I'm trying to minimise the amount of noise I get when recording my guitar using solely software plug in guitar amp simulators. I'm not sure if the leads I'm using might be the problem, can anyone recommend a good brand of guitar lead to try.

Can there be other things that cause this problem? It seems the noise is a hum at 50Hz and 150Hz, with some lower level hiss going above that. It is low in volume but annoying when I'm trying to get clean recordings.

Any suggestions to how to eliminate or reduce this?
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Re: Low noise guitar leads or other things causing the problem of guitar noise?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Jan 21, 2021 2:13 pm

I suspect your problem is more to do with the guitar itself picking up unwanted noises rather than the cables.

Does the level of hum/buzz vary with the guitar's orientation within the room and/or the proximity to the computer/screen?

Are you using a desktop computer or laptop, and what interface?
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Re: Low noise guitar leads or other things causing the problem of guitar noise?

Postby Marco Mastrocola » Thu Jan 21, 2021 2:21 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:I suspect your problem is more to do with the guitar itself picking up unwanted noises rather than the cables.

Does the level of hum/buzz vary with the guitar's orientation within the room and/or the proximity to the computer/screen?

Are you using a desktop computer or laptop, and what interface?

I have more than one guitar, it is the same with them all. I'm using a laptop with an apogee duet, I have also used a line 6 power supply with a variax guitar trying both the xlr output and line output, still low level noise. Also when I unplug the power cable from my laptop the noise level gets louder.
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Re: Low noise guitar leads or other things causing the problem of guitar noise?

Postby CS70 » Thu Jan 21, 2021 4:17 pm

Are your guitar amp and the computer/screen/monitors attached to the same electrical socket, or different ones? Does the noise diminish when you move away from the computer?
Do you have a neon lamp in the room?
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Re: Low noise guitar leads or other things causing the problem of guitar noise?

Postby Marco Mastrocola » Thu Jan 21, 2021 4:21 pm

CS70 wrote:Are your guitar amp and the computer/screen/monitors attached to the same electrical socket, or different ones? Does the noise diminish when you move away from the computer?
Do you have a neon lamp in the room?

No guitar amp, its going straight into my computer via the Apogee Duet which is powered via firewire from my computer. There is however a powered USB hub connected to my computer that allows me to have 3 external drives connected. It is connected to the same electrical socket as the computer.

The sound is not improved by moving away from the computer.
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Re: Low noise guitar leads or other things causing the problem of guitar noise?

Postby Martin Walker » Thu Jan 21, 2021 8:56 pm

Marco Mastrocola wrote:Also when I unplug the power cable from my laptop the noise level gets louder.

I wonder if any of your gear has a proper earth connection? That would explain the 50/150Hz hum levels, and laptop PSUs are widely designed to be double insulated i.e. floating from the mains earth but nevertheless safe.

Whereabouts in the world are you? If you're in the UK (and also the same Marco Mastrocola that Tom Flint interviewed for one of our Readerzone features way back in 2001 then I suspect you're in Kingston upon Thames ;) ) then I'd suggest trying connecting a cable from mains earth to the chassis of your audio interface (Hugh will no doubt be along in a few minutes with a link to his review of the dummy earth plug)


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Re: Low noise guitar leads or other things causing the problem of guitar noise?

Postby Marco Mastrocola » Thu Jan 21, 2021 9:00 pm

Martin Walker wrote:
Marco Mastrocola wrote:Also when I unplug the power cable from my laptop the noise level gets louder.

Whereabouts in the world are you? If you're in the UK then I'd suggest trying connecting a cable from mains earth to the chassis of your audio interface.

Martin

I am in the UK. I'm not sure how to connect a cable from the mains earth to the chassis of my audio interface. My audio interface is powered via firewire from my laptop.
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Re: Low noise guitar leads or other things causing the problem of guitar noise?

Postby Martin Walker » Thu Jan 21, 2021 9:05 pm

Hi again Marco,

Just found the review I was referring to:

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/gr ... ction-plug

And a relevant quote:

"A lot of mains-powered portable audio and computing equipment employs Class-II or ‘double insulated’ power supplies, often courtesy of wall-warts or ‘line-lump’ power adaptors. Although there’s no direct connection to the mains earth, that isn’t a safety issue here, simply because there’s no risk of exposure to a faulty live supply. However, the absence of a direct earth connection renders the electromagnetic screening around the equipment pretty useless. And that means that hums, buzzes and other unwanted noises often become problematic. "

If you're happy with DIY involving mains connections then simply running a wire from the earth pin of a spare mains plug and then touching the other end to the chassis of your audio interface will do the job.


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Re: Low noise guitar leads or other things causing the problem of guitar noise?

Postby Marco Mastrocola » Thu Jan 21, 2021 9:08 pm

Martin Walker wrote:Hi again Marco,

Just found the review I was referring to:

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/gr ... ction-plug

And a relevant quote:

"A lot of mains-powered portable audio and computing equipment employs Class-II or ‘double insulated’ power supplies, often courtesy of wall-warts or ‘line-lump’ power adaptors. Although there’s no direct connection to the mains earth, that isn’t a safety issue here, simply because there’s no risk of exposure to a faulty live supply. However, the absence of a direct earth connection renders the electromagnetic screening around the equipment pretty useless. And that means that hums, buzzes and other unwanted noises often become problematic. "

Martin


Thank you Martin, much appreciated.

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Re: Low noise guitar leads or other things causing the problem of guitar noise?

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Jan 21, 2021 9:14 pm

You can test to see if it solves the problem by using a spare lead*, touch the tip of one end to one of the metal screws on the mains socket and the other to a metal nut or screw on the interface. The device Martin linked does the same thing but more permanently.

* Any lead or piece of wire will work, but a jack lead is easiest to get the tip to connect with the socket fixing screw.
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Re: Low noise guitar leads or other things causing the problem of guitar noise?

Postby Marco Mastrocola » Thu Jan 21, 2021 9:16 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:You can test to see if it solves the problem by using a spare lead*, touch the tip of one end to one of the metal screws on the mains socket and the other to a metal nut or screw on the interface. The device Martin linked does the same thing but more permanently.

* Any lead or piece of wire will work, but a jack lead is easiest to get the tip to connect with the socket fixing screw.

Thanks
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Re: Low noise guitar leads or other things causing the problem of guitar noise?

Postby Martin Walker » Thu Jan 21, 2021 9:24 pm

Another relevant thread that may help:

https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/view ... 15&t=75508


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Re: Low noise guitar leads or other things causing the problem of guitar noise?

Postby Marco Mastrocola » Thu Jan 21, 2021 9:29 pm

Martin Walker wrote:Another relevant thread that may help:

https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/view ... 15&t=75508


Martin

Thank you.
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