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Thread: How to mitigate hum and signal noise in an older home?

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    How to mitigate hum and signal noise in an older home?

    I am trying to do some really basic collaborative demo'style recording using my MacBookPro into Logic Pro X using just a very simple one-input Apogee Jam USB interface for guitar. I am using a 2015 American Standard Fender Telecaster and a super fancy Monster chord (it was a gift).

    So, the Telecaster has the standard two single-coil pickups, which we all know can be noisy. But... man... for some reason, my situation is pretty much unusable. When i plug in my guitar to the Apogee Jam, and enable a "guitar track" in Logic that has a modeled, amp... it almost sounds like an old dial-up modem there is so much noise. Weirdly enough, if I don't sit directly facing the laptop screen, some of the noise lessens, but not a lot; just a little. So I have to press record, and then spin my laptop sideways to try to get some usable takes.

    I know that turning off cieling fans, televisions, overhead lights etc. all affect this kinda thing, and I know what 60-cycle hum is... but... I can't even get a usable take without enabling a steel trap noise gate that ends up sputtering in the middle of a musical phrase and ruins it. The house was built in Feb of 1950. I do not think that any upgrades have ever been made to the electrical in the house. So none of the outlets have a third 'ground' prong.

    I have seen really high end audio equipment in studios that has something called a "Power Conditioner Unit" between the wall outlet and the equipment. I always wondered what those things were... but... do those things remove 60-cycle hum, or is it more electromagnetic than that, and the interfearance is "in the air" rather than physically coming from the outlet? If a power conditioner does help with signal noise, can someone please recommend a popular option?

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Your computer is radiating noise, and the guitar is picking it up.

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    Supporting Member eschertron's Avatar
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    My drill is like this:
    1. press record
    2. move several feet away from the computer/workstation
    3. spin my body to orient the guitar to get the least amount of radiated noise from house wiring.

    How long a guitar cord do you have? Press record and wander around, moving the guitar to see where you can get the least amount of interference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dolmetscher007 View Post
    I am trying to do some really basic collaborative demo'style recording using my MacBookPro into Logic Pro X using just a very simple one-input Apogee Jam USB interface for guitar. I am using a 2015 American Standard Fender Telecaster and a super fancy Monster chord (it was a gift).

    So, the Telecaster has the standard two single-coil pickups, which we all know can be noisy. But... man... for some reason, my situation is pretty much unusable. When i plug in my guitar to the Apogee Jam, and enable a "guitar track" in Logic that has a modeled, amp... it almost sounds like an old dial-up modem there is so much noise. Weirdly enough, if I don't sit directly facing the laptop screen, some of the noise lessens, but not a lot; just a little. So I have to press record, and then spin my laptop sideways to try to get some usable takes.

    I know that turning off cieling fans, televisions, overhead lights etc. all affect this kinda thing, and I know what 60-cycle hum is... but... I can't even get a usable take without enabling a steel trap noise gate that ends up sputtering in the middle of a musical phrase and ruins it. The house was built in Feb of 1950. I do not think that any upgrades have ever been made to the electrical in the house. So none of the outlets have a third 'ground' prong.

    I have seen really high end audio equipment in studios that has something called a "Power Conditioner Unit" between the wall outlet and the equipment. I always wondered what those things were... but... do those things remove 60-cycle hum, or is it more electromagnetic than that, and the interfearance is "in the air" rather than physically coming from the outlet? If a power conditioner does help with signal noise, can someone please recommend a popular option?
    Couple of thoughts here, You have what could be described as a fully portable setup. Take it all outside try it, one it says whether the environment is to blame or not.

    Another thought is ground loop.
    And another is a really cheap usb cord

    or the invertor in your laptop screen is throwing out electronic hash and the only fix for that is another invertor or laptop.
    nosaj

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    Last edited by nosaj; 01-29-2019 at 02:47 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nosaj View Post
    Couple of thoughts here, You have what could be described as a fully portable setup. Take it all outside try it, one it says where the environment is to blame of not.

    Another thought is ground loop.
    And another is a really cheap usb cord

    or the invertor in your laptop screen is throwing out electronic hash and the only fix for that is another invertor or laptop.
    nosaj
    Man... thatís a perfect idea! If I go outside w/ it, and it still sounds like garbage then itís not 60 cycle him. Then itís probably one of the things you described. Itís not the guitar, because it happens w/ my bass also. And my guitar doesnít do this at our practice space either.

    Thanks for the suggestions! Iíll give it a shot.

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    Master Destroyer nosaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dolmetscher007 View Post
    Man... thatís a perfect idea! If I go outside w/ it, and it still sounds like garbage then itís not 60 cycle him. Then itís probably one of the things you described. Itís not the guitar, because it happens w/ my bass also. And my guitar doesnít do this at our practice space either.

    Thanks for the suggestions! Iíll give it a shot.
    No one was suggesting it was the guitars, but that more or less your pickups are acting like antennas and picking up the noise and routing it through the software.
    nosaj

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    I don't think it's the standard 60hZ noise. I think it's all the wireless radiated noise from all our gadgets. If it truly is "hash" then that's why I think that.

    You can actually get a good catch of it by transmitting some data with your phone & putting it by your pickup (not in the middle position). You'll get that "modem noise" as you call it. You may be able to run your laptop on battery instead of brick; those power supplies can throw serious noise. ALL of them. Even if you have any "smart" appliances, amything running on wifi, data, anything wireless - we're glooded with the junk.

    Justin

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    Master Destroyer nosaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    I don't think it's the standard 60hZ noise. I think it's all the wireless radiated noise from all our gadgets. If it truly is "hash" then that's why I think that.

    You can actually get a good catch of it by transmitting some data with your phone & putting it by your pickup (not in the middle position). You'll get that "modem noise" as you call it. You may be able to run your laptop on battery instead of brick; those power supplies can throw serious noise. ALL of them. Even if you have any "smart" appliances, amything running on wifi, data, anything wireless - we're glooded with the junk.

    Justin
    When you take it outside turn off bluetooth, and wifi on the laptop if still experiencing the issues.

    nosaj

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    I wonder if you just recorded a dummy track that just had an old pickup wired to a 1/4 cord and plugged into the interface. This way some noise would cancel out when added out of phase.
    Hope you get it worked out (I have a similar setup here too).

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    Supporting Member John_H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    I don't think it's the standard 60hZ noise. I think it's all the wireless radiated noise from all our gadgets. If it truly is "hash" ....
    Yep. I agree. Probably RF garbage.

    Here's a sample of 60 hz hum for Michael.

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    Master Destroyer nosaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John_H View Post
    Yep. I agree. Probably RF garbage.

    Here's a sample of 60 hz hum for Michael.
    This user asks questions and then never follows up with any of it. Just leads a horsechase.
    nosaj

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    Senior Member Guitarist's Avatar
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    Ah, I see. IN my studio, I have has noise that fades in and out with the LED sequence- same with the jam space. It's so annoying and I wish there was an easy fix. I have a Hopkins RFI filter here that I thinking of inserting before a power bar in hopes that'll cure it.

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    Master Destroyer nosaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarist View Post
    Ah, I see. IN my studio, I have has noise that fades in and out with the LED sequence- same with the jam space. It's so annoying and I wish there was an easy fix. I have a Hopkins RFI filter here that I thinking of inserting before a power bar in hopes that'll cure it.
    What do you mean with the LED sequence?
    nosaj

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    Don't forget the joker g1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John_H View Post
    Here's a sample of 60 hz hum for Michael.
    Well, found out my headphones sure don't go down to 60Hz. By the way, Htz is a new one on me. I've seen Hz and CPS (or 'cycles') but never Htz.

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    Master Destroyer nosaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by g1 View Post
    Well, found out my headphones sure don't go down to 60Hz. By the way, Htz is a new one on me. I've seen Hz and CPS (or 'cycles') but never Htz.
    That link sucks try this one
    nosaj

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    Don't forget the joker g1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nosaj View Post
    That link sucks try this one
    nosaj
    That one sounds like 120Hz buzz to me.

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    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    Me too. It certainly isn't pure 60Hz.

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    Master Destroyer nosaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
    Me too. It certainly isn't pure 60Hz.
    Ok is this one better?

    nosaj

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    Quote Originally Posted by nosaj View Post
    This user asks questions and then never follows up with any of it. Just leads a horsechase.
    nosaj
    Yeah, I thought if I put a sample of what a 60Hz hum sounded like that maybe the OP would see things differently. I laughed out loud when I returned to find all of the other contributions. I'll stick with the original 60Htz. There's some vintage amp mojo on that clip. You might remember the OP as MichaelScottPerkins, or something like that. He had a couple of 'epic' threads. His recording setup is a mac book, and an interface. It's one or the other. The cheap interface is probably no good.

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    Master Destroyer nosaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John_H View Post
    Yeah, I thought if I put a sample of what a 60Hz hum sounded like that maybe the OP would see things differently. I laughed out loud when I returned to find all of the other contributions. I'll stick with the original 60Htz. There's some vintage amp mojo on that clip. You might remember the OP as MichaelScottPerkins, or something like that. He had a couple of 'epic' threads. His recording setup is a mac book, and an interface. It's one or the other. The cheap interface is probably no good.
    And they all end like this....no more responses from him.....He looses interest faster than a kid without an electronic device in his hands.

    nosaj

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    I had a problem with electrical noise in my home. My home has the original panel which is almost 50 years old. The contacts on some of the breakers were worn. Under a heavy current draw
    they would spark. Replaced defective breakers and noise is gone. Something to look into.

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    Master Destroyer nosaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronh View Post
    I had a problem with electrical noise in my home. My home has the original panel which is almost 50 years old. The contacts on some of the breakers were worn. Under a heavy current draw
    they would spark. Replaced defective breakers and noise is gone. Something to look into.
    An AM radio could be used to see if noise gets worse when you get closer to the breaker box.
    nosaj

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    Turn of anything wireless. Cell phones, portable phone, WiFi on the computer. Turn off any fluorescent fixtures and trial dimmers. Try a ground lift adapter on your computer power supply.

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    Master Destroyer nosaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_teee View Post
    New Member, Please Explain?
    Maricopa county, AZ says it all...

    nosaj

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