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Power conditioner.. in the UK?

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Power conditioner.. in the UK?

Postby Bwoodwardmusic » Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:07 pm

Recently I've noticed a strange 'static' type of noise coming from my studio monitors - I think it's been there for a while but now I've heard it I cannot unhear it. I've done some research and think it may be digital distortion. The static noise can change charactertistic depending on what my PC is up to (noticable when I'm exporting stuff).

My gear is all plugged into two, 6 output extension leads.

I've seen online that people are using power conditioners to filter out any 'dirty nose' that could be getting into the gear, but have also heard that there isn't really much point of them in the UK, unless you live in the middle of nowhere.

Any tips on what I might do in order to reduce this noise? Is anyone in the UK using a power conditioner for this purpose?/ has it helped?

Cheers!
Ben
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Re: Power conditioner.. in the UK?

Postby Folderol » Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:13 pm

Very likely to be an earth loop within your system rather than something external. First thing to try is unplugging things to see at what point the noise then goes.
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Re: Power conditioner.. in the UK?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:17 pm

Yep, I'd agree. This sounds like a fairly common ground-loop problem rather than dirty incoming mains.

You say everything is plugged into two 6-way mains boards. Are those boards plugged into the same dual wall outlet? if not, make sure they are! That will minimise the size of the loop to start with, which may be enough to cure the problem.

Next up, make sure you're using balanced cables between the audio interface and active monitor speakers. If you have any unbalanced connections in the system they are potential causes of ground-loops.

H
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Re: Power conditioner.. in the UK?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:18 pm

This sounds more to me like interference or a noisy signal being sent to the monitors. Digital distortion doesn't sound like static as a rule, it's much harsher and nastier! If you can describe your setup in more detail (where is the signal being sent to the monitors coming from, interface or mixer? What kind of interface etc?) that would probably be useful for the diagnostic process.
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Re: Power conditioner.. in the UK?

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:47 pm

Hi Ben,

I'd agree with the others - far more likely to be a ground loop problem than mains interference. In my opinion it's only worth 'cleaning up the power signal' if it's dirty, and a huge number of background noise problems are caused not by mucky mains, but by audio wiring that results in ground loops.

Long, long ago I wrote an SOS step-by-step guide to tracking down the culprits of ground loops, and it may help, so here's a link to it:

https://www.soundonsound.com/sound-advi ... -my-studio

Hope it helps!


Martin
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Re: Power conditioner.. in the UK?

Postby Bwoodwardmusic » Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:18 pm

Folderol wrote:Very likely to be an earth loop within your system rather than something external. First thing to try is unplugging things to see at what point the noise then goes.


Thanks! I'll start unplugging stuff and see if I can figure out whats causing it!
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Re: Power conditioner.. in the UK?

Postby Bwoodwardmusic » Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:21 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Yep, I'd agree. This sounds like a fairly common ground-loop problem rather than dirty incoming mains.

You say everything is plugged into two 6-way mains boards. Are those boards plugged into the same dual wall outlet? if not, make sure they are! That will minimise the size of the loop to start with, which may be enough to cure the problem.

Next up, make sure you're using balanced cables between the audio interface and active monitor speakers. If you have any unbalanced connections in the system they are potential causes of ground-loops.

H

Ah well this is good news! Sounds like an easier and cheaper fix than I feared! They are plugged into seperate outlets a couple of meters apart. I'll try plugging them in the same one and see if it makes a difference!

Is there any sure way of checking if a cable is balanced or not? I usually go for balanced cables but I've accumulated so many through the years I may have picked up a couple of unbalanced.
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Re: Power conditioner.. in the UK?

Postby Bwoodwardmusic » Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:23 pm

Eddy Deegan wrote:This sounds more to me like interference or a noisy signal being sent to the monitors. Digital distortion doesn't sound like static as a rule, it's much harsher and nastier! If you can describe your setup in more detail (where is the signal being sent to the monitors coming from, interface or mixer? What kind of interface etc?) that would probably be useful for the diagnostic process.

I've got a pretty simple setup:

PC --> Komplete Audio 6 interface --> Mackie Big Knob passive monitor controller --> Primary monitors & Single Mixcube

It sounds like my right speaker has a little more static than the left
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Re: Power conditioner.. in the UK?

Postby Bwoodwardmusic » Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:24 pm

Martin Walker wrote:Hi Ben,

I'd agree with the others - far more likely to be a ground loop problem than mains interference. In my opinion it's only worth 'cleaning up the power signal' if it's dirty, and a huge number of background noise problems are caused not by mucky mains, but by audio wiring that results in ground loops.

Long, long ago I wrote an SOS step-by-step guide to tracking down the culprits of ground loops, and it may help, so here's a link to it:

https://www.soundonsound.com/sound-advi ... -my-studio

Hope it helps!


Martin


Ah thanks Martin! Will check out your article ASAP! Can't wait to have some peace and quiet in the studio :thumbup:
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