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qmacpoint
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Weird static from my speakers

Tue Apr 16, 2019 11:36 pm

Hey guys,

I think I have some sort of electric ground loop and I'm out of ideas on how to fix it. I have both a laptop and a desktop that I use at the same time (not really but they're working at the same time) and I'm running Kanto YU2s with a SUB8 to have audio from two sources. However when I plug the AUX cable to my desktop's onboard audio, I hear this weird hum that increases when I crank up the volume. Do you know how I can resolve this? or can you think of any ideas? I have this crude diagram that explains what I currently have plugged in (although there are some peripherals that are not shown here for simplicity) Thank you in advance!

https://imgur.com/a/09XH4lJ -> Imgur direct link to diagram

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Re: Weird static from my speakers

Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:34 am

Does MacBook pro have headphone out? You could try that, or a phone or tablet, to see if the static is isolated to the desktop. Does it happen if the desktop is the only source connected, or only when it's the second source connected? How about if, just temporarily, you hook up the DAC to the desktop USB? If that works, then try a second source (MBP, phone, tablet) through second input. Just for fun and all that stuff.
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SecretSquirrel
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Re: Weird static from my speakers

Wed Apr 17, 2019 6:48 am

What you are describing sounds like a ground loop. This is caused by having different paths to ground between the amplifier and the audio source. The causes a slight voltage differential that gets amplified and you hear it as a 60Hz hum. Try plugging the desktop directly into the power strip, or all the equipment into the UPS. If the hum goes away or gets significantly quieter, the ground loop is the problem.

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Re: Weird static from my speakers

Wed Apr 17, 2019 7:39 am

I agree with both suggestions above. first make sure the sound card itself isn't causing the hum. (also try a new AUX cable)

Then troubleshoot for a ground loop. It's always process of elimination with issues of this type.
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qmacpoint
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Re: Weird static from my speakers

Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:03 am

Thanks for the suggestions. I may try plugging the speakers to the UPS first, as I tend to do some heavy GPU computing work (2x 1070s) the only thing I have in the UPS is my desktop and a monitor, and the sound system may have an impact on the UPS workload as well. I'll try this tonight! :)
 
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Re: Weird static from my speakers

Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:17 am

In addition to working on the ground loop problems, I second (or third) the suggestion to use an external USB/SPDIF DAC to output from the desktop. You'll get better sound quality as an added bonus.
 
qmacpoint
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Re: Weird static from my speakers

Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:28 am

The Egg wrote:
In addition to working on the ground loop problems, I second (or third) the suggestion to use an external USB/SPDIF DAC to output from the desktop. You'll get better sound quality as an added bonus.

Oddly enough I tried this with a Creative SBX USB DAC (yeh it's a DAC) that I had lying around from a previous setup and I still heard this static so it made no difference sadly :(
 
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Re: Weird static from my speakers

Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:33 am

qmacpoint wrote:
The Egg wrote:
In addition to working on the ground loop problems, I second (or third) the suggestion to use an external USB/SPDIF DAC to output from the desktop. You'll get better sound quality as an added bonus.

Oddly enough I tried this with a Creative SBX USB DAC (yeh it's a DAC) that I had lying around from a previous setup and I still heard this static so it made no difference sadly :(


That removes your sound card as the potential problem, but not the ground loop.

--SS
 
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Re: Weird static from my speakers

Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:06 am

SecretSquirrel wrote:
qmacpoint wrote:
The Egg wrote:
In addition to working on the ground loop problems, I second (or third) the suggestion to use an external USB/SPDIF DAC to output from the desktop. You'll get better sound quality as an added bonus.

Oddly enough I tried this with a Creative SBX USB DAC (yeh it's a DAC) that I had lying around from a previous setup and I still heard this static so it made no difference sadly :(

That removes your sound card as the potential problem, but not the ground loop.

Yup. The ground is almost certainly connected straight through from the USB port to the common on the 3.5mm jack.

If you want to break the ground loop, you could try something like this, or you could plug a Bluetooth transmitter into the PC and a Bluetooth receiver into the speakers.
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Re: Weird static from my speakers

Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:46 am

just brew it! wrote:
If you want to break the ground loop, you could try something like this.

+1 for the isolator JBI linked. I have two of this exact make/model in use now for car setups that interact badly with add-on BlueTooth devices. It works.
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qmacpoint
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Re: Weird static from my speakers

Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:14 pm

just brew it! wrote:
SecretSquirrel wrote:
qmacpoint wrote:
Oddly enough I tried this with a Creative SBX USB DAC (yeh it's a DAC) that I had lying around from a previous setup and I still heard this static so it made no difference sadly :(

That removes your sound card as the potential problem, but not the ground loop.

Yup. The ground is almost certainly connected straight through from the USB port to the common on the 3.5mm jack.

If you want to break the ground loop, you could try something like this, or you could plug a Bluetooth transmitter into the PC and a Bluetooth receiver into the speakers.

I may try connecting the speakers or the eGPU to the PSU before buying the ground isolator, as I've read that it may lower the sound quality in some cases (plus, fixing it for free vs buying a dongle :P)
 
qmacpoint
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Re: Weird static from my speakers

Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:36 pm

Tried all possible combinations without overloading the UPS and gave up, got a Ground Isolator and now it all works like it should! didn't know those things existed before! Thank you very much guys!
 
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Re: Weird static from my speakers

Thu Apr 18, 2019 9:12 pm

qmacpoint wrote:
Tried all possible combinations without overloading the UPS and gave up, got a Ground Isolator and now it all works like it should! didn't know those things existed before! Thank you very much guys!

Which one did you get? Any noticeable drop in sound quality?
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qmacpoint
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Re: Weird static from my speakers

Thu Apr 18, 2019 9:45 pm

just brew it! wrote:
Which one did you get? Any noticeable drop in sound quality?

I ended up getting this AUKEY isolator as it was one of the decently priced ones up here in Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B01M1671I0
Tested the whole setup by listening to "FIDLAR - Cheap Beer" and "Queens of the Stone Age - 3's & 7's" through the DAC and the Aux cable with the isolator and I cannot tell the difference tbh!

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