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My Nord Stage makes a hum/buzzing noise - is this normal?

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My Nord Stage makes a hum/buzzing noise - is this normal?

Postby Ken P » Fri Oct 29, 2010 8:11 pm

Hi folks,

Recently got a B-Stock Nord Stage Compact EX from a major UK shop. It's a lovely instrument.

After a week or so I noticed a hum/buzz coming from it, not out of the audio outs, but from the unit itself. The shop were great, took it back, sent it to the distributor, it came back 3 weeks later with a note saying the PSU had been replaced and tested OK. I phoned the shop and the guy said that he had spoken to the distributor and they had said that yes, they do hum a bit.

I think the noise is getting louder, it annoys me. My studio's in a small room but I can hear the hum from 12 feet away, with the PC also whirring away in the room.

I contacted Nord directly but my email was picked up by the UK distributor, they said that this is quite normal. The instruments make a noise caused, said the chap, by something to do with the physics of mains transformers and the way they are used in Nord keyboards.

Well, I said, I have loads of kit in the house. The only things that make a noise when they're on are the oven and the fridge. Nope he says, the Nord is fine. Any noise that comes from the unit itself, he said, is nothing to worry about, and no sign of impending failure.

Do you own a Nord keyboard? Does it also make a noise? I mean not through the audio outputs, but from the unit itself?

It doesn't sound right, and even though it was b-stock it was well over a grand. How come nothing else makes this noise?! I have plenty of other gear that plugs straight into the mains and it's all silent (e.g. a compressor, active monitors, my audio interface, small mixer, etc. etc.).

I have a few weeks left of the 3 month no quibbles warranty, shall I send it back? I don't want to, I like the keyboard a lot, and I can't afford to buy a new one, but then I aint that happy with this noise. Am I being over sensitive?!
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Re: My Nord Stage makes a hum/buzzing noise - is this normal?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:18 pm

Transformer rattle is, sadly, an increasingly frrustraingly common problem. I've just been responding to another thread here about active loudspeakers with the same problem, and lots of other people have already chipped in saying their's hum too.

The problem is with the physical design of the transformer and the way it is put together. It's basically a cheap transformer, and the laminations can rattle. Not all do it. Some are silent to start with but then loosen up with age and start to hum later.

Because it's a physical vibration, how annoying it is depends to some extent on how the transformer is mounted and whether it is bolted to some thing that acts as a sound board to radiate the acoustic hum even more.

I have the older Stage 88 (classic) and I've never noticed that humming...

You might find placing some strategic foam or rubber blocks under the keyboard help if the problem is vibration getting in to whatever the keyboard is mounted on.

Other alternatives include replacing the transformer for a better design, tightening the transformer frame to clamp the laminations more tightly, or re-mounting the transformer on rubber isolations to prevent the vibration from getting into the keyboard frame....

... but all of these would invalidate the warranty and really should only be attempted by someone who knows exactly what they are doing! Messing around with mains devices is potentially lethal, of course.

At the end of the day, if you're not happy with the product and it's not fit for your requirements you should return it for repair or replacement.

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Re: My Nord Stage makes a hum/buzzing noise - is this normal?

Postby Martin Walker » Sat Oct 30, 2010 12:43 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:...or re-mounting the transformer on rubber isolations to prevent the vibration from getting into the keyboard

Sometimes the worst offenders are transformers mounted close to metal panels, and if that's the case even slipping a rubber washer onto the top of the transformer can damp downthe vibrating panel well, although Hugh's quite correct about safety aspects, since mains voltages can be life-threatening is you don't know what you're doing :headbang:


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Re: My Nord Stage makes a hum/buzzing noise - is this normal?

Postby Slasher » Sat Oct 30, 2010 11:28 am

I've never really noticed this on my Nord Stage 88 but there is a slight hum if I listen up close (audio outputs are clean as per your nord though). Maybe the lighter chassis on the compact models vibrates more?

I was thinking of swapping my 88 for a compact so it would be interesting to hear if any other Compact owners have this problem.
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Re: My Nord Stage makes a hum/buzzing noise - is this normal?

Postby Grabs » Sun Oct 31, 2010 7:59 pm

My Nord Electro 3 and Nord piano88 hum in the same manner - very annoying when practicing quietly, but nothing can be done about it I suspect :x
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Re: My Nord Stage makes a hum/buzzing noise - is this normal?

Postby BJG145 » Mon Nov 01, 2010 10:29 am

That's exasperating - from a quick search you're evidently not the only person with a noisy Nord.

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/electronic-music-instruments-electronic-music-production/474970-nord-wave-60hz-hum.html

http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?t=2437628

My gut reaction is that for this kind of cash you should be able to put together a setup that you have no reservations about. If it has to be the Nord Stage though, one of the posters in these threads seemed to find a quiet PSU after changing it a couple of times...
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Re: My Nord Stage makes a hum/buzzing noise - is this normal?

Postby feline1 » Sun Feb 18, 2018 8:00 pm

I found this thread by searching for "buzzing transformer" - in my case, out of the dozens of bits of gear from across the decades here at Feline HQ, it's a Yamaha CS30 monosynth that has the buzzing transformer (acoustically, not on the audio outputs) ... and also my Roland TR808 (although only about as quarter as loud as the CS30).
It's loud enough to be annoying.

So, reading this thread, the only solution is to dice with death and stick bits of rubber inside?
Or (probably more sensible) get someone to replace the transformer for me with one that doesn't buzz?
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Re: My Nord Stage makes a hum/buzzing noise - is this normal?

Postby Martin Walker » Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:21 am

feline1 wrote:So, reading this thread, the only solution is to dice with death and stick bits of rubber inside?
Or (probably more sensible) get someone to replace the transformer for me with one that doesn't buzz?

Or a third alternative - get someone qualified to stick a rubber pad inside.

It should only take them a few minutes, avoid you dicing with death, and not require a new transformer :beamup:


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Re: My Nord Stage makes a hum/buzzing noise - is this normal?

Postby feline1 » Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:26 am

Yeah but I'd have to get the CS30 to them in the first place, which would take considerably longer than 2 minutes. #CS30tribulations
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