Old 02-13-2019, 08:06 PM   #1
ryannn29
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Default Lighting causes buzz

I have a non-Reaper question, wasn't sure exactly what forum it should go under.

My issue: There are specifically 2 rooms' lighting in my household causes loud buzz/hum when I'm recording electric guitar (can't always turn them off due to other household members). They are on dimmer and both have 6-8 LED bulbs. I also have 2 other rooms on LED and dimmer that don't cause any issues (only 2-4 bulbs per room). My theory is either the dimmers are different, or maybe they're on a different switch.

Here are the solutions I've troubleshooted so far, including ones suggested by others in this thread thus far. Hum still remained after each attempted solution:
- Gate - Been using a gate for years, but as well all know, gates only reduce sound between guitar parts, not during
- Unplugged all my gear so that I just had my Gibson guitar (humbucker passive pickups) plugged directly into the amp
- Expensive/well-made cables. I have both Mogami and Live Wire Elite
- Furman Powder Conditioner. Eliminated some background buzz maybe when lighting was off, but when lighting was on, it certainly did not reduce the main loud lighting buzz/humm at all
- Radial Direct Input Boxes, no effect. I tried both a passive (ProDI) and active (J48)

Remaining solutions that I haven't tried:
- Improving my guitars shielding; I'm using dual passive humbuckers on a Gibson
- Changing out the dimmers
- Add capacitors over the dimmers
- Changing out LEDs for another for different types of lights - Don't really want to do this since the lighting isn't mine

Does anyone have any solutions they've had to similar problems? I've pretty much lost my mind sometimes trying to find a solution. It's pretty frustrating when you can't even begin recording due to buzz, but I'm not giving it up till I find the solution! Got to be close here.

Last edited by ryannn29; 02-23-2019 at 02:14 PM.
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:29 PM   #2
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Hi Ryann, this might go in the Recording Technologies and Techniques. It's hard to know for sure how deep you'll have to go for a solution, but three things come to mind: One is that if you're having any kind of line interference an isolating and line noise suppressing box would be well worth the $100 - $200. This is different from an outlet strip with simple surge protection.

Another is to try and reposition yourself in the meantime. Probably if you walk around the room there will be areas where it's better and worse. Sometimes even just rotating around helps. See if you can find a position by your usual place at the computer that improves it. If not, and you do find a quiet position away from your desk, it's worth it to reposition everything around where recording gets the quietest results.

The other is at the guitar. Are the pickups single coil or low output? If it's an inexpensive Strat style, chances are there's zero shielding in the cavity. Check youtube for how for a DIY video on how to shield a guitar. It's easy and worth doing anyway.

Do a search for "shielding" over all the forum categories from the main page. Not that it's necessarily a guitar shielding thing, but searching for "buzz" also gets posts about buzzy synth sounds or whatever : ) so it gives a better info return on the topic, which gets asked once in a while.

Good Luck : )
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Old 02-13-2019, 10:48 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryannn29 View Post
All lighting in my household is LED, and the entire household are on dimmers
You said the magic word Dimmers notorious for causing interference and really not a hell of a lot you can do about it either, except get rid of them. Capacitors across them may work (you will need to get an electrician to do this as it's mains wiring, most countries don't allow any Joe Blow to dick with mains).

I run LED lighting in my studio pretty much with everything with the exception of one halogen desk lamp and never have any issues with noise from them.

Oh and touch lamps are a pain the **** for noise as well, as essentially they have dimmers in them as well.
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Old 02-14-2019, 09:37 AM   #4
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Are you using a guitar amp or direct-in to an interface? An interface is usually more "isolated" than an amp.

Shielding will only help if the noise is getting picked-up "through the air" by the guitar pickup.

I'm guessing it's coming-into the amp/interface through the power line.

A power line filter (or conditioner) on the guitar amp (or interface) may help but it's hit-or-miss. Some have a simple capacitor filter (which may not be effective). Some are L-C filters (better) and the best more-expensive power line conditioners have a transformer. But power line conditioners are mainly designed to regulate-maintain the voltage and they may, or may-not, have good filtering. (An isolation transformer provides some "natural" filtering.)





….Regular solid state light dimmers "chop" the 50/60Hz power line to reduce the average voltage and that puts noise on the power line. Pro studios might have multiple lights with separate switches to adjust the lighting level or they might have a different kind of LED dimming to control the LED's "constant current" power supply or they might have variac type dimmers that reduce the AC voltage without chopping it (expensive and not practical at home).
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Old 02-16-2019, 05:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vdubreeze View Post
Hi Ryann, this might go in the Recording Technologies and Techniques. It's hard to know for sure how deep you'll have to go for a solution, but three things come to mind: One is that if you're having any kind of line interference an isolating and line noise suppressing box would be well worth the $100 - $200. This is different from an outlet strip with simple surge protection.

Another is to try and reposition yourself in the meantime. Probably if you walk around the room there will be areas where it's better and worse. Sometimes even just rotating around helps. See if you can find a position by your usual place at the computer that improves it. If not, and you do find a quiet position away from your desk, it's worth it to reposition everything around where recording gets the quietest results.

The other is at the guitar. Are the pickups single coil or low output? If it's an inexpensive Strat style, chances are there's zero shielding in the cavity. Check youtube for how for a DIY video on how to shield a guitar. It's easy and worth doing anyway.

Do a search for "shielding" over all the forum categories from the main page. Not that it's necessarily a guitar shielding thing, but searching for "buzz" also gets posts about buzzy synth sounds or whatever : ) so it gives a better info return on the topic, which gets asked once in a while.

Good Luck : )
Luckily, I'm using a gibson with humbuckers so the sound is not as bad as I've had with strats in the past. I'll definitely looking into shielding my gibson since I've only ever associated shielding with single coil guitars previously. I also have tried different angles and room positions many times in the past, however even the best angle is still noisy.
As for an "isolating and line noise suppressing box", would that be like one of the products I listed in the links at the bottom of my post?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cranky Emu View Post
You said the magic word Dimmers notorious for causing interference and really not a hell of a lot you can do about it either, except get rid of them. Capacitors across them may work (you will need to get an electrician to do this as it's mains wiring, most countries don't allow any Joe Blow to dick with mains).

I run LED lighting in my studio pretty much with everything with the exception of one halogen desk lamp and never have any issues with noise from them.

Oh and touch lamps are a pain the **** for noise as well, as essentially they have dimmers in them as well.
Yeah, it's unfortunate since the entire house has dimmers. I'll look into capacitors if some of the simpler solutions don't fix my issue for me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DVDdoug View Post
Are you using a guitar amp or direct-in to an interface? An interface is usually more "isolated" than an amp.

Shielding will only help if the noise is getting picked-up "through the air" by the guitar pickup.

I'm guessing it's coming-into the amp/interface through the power line.

A power line filter (or conditioner) on the guitar amp (or interface) may help but it's hit-or-miss. Some have a simple capacitor filter (which may not be effective). Some are L-C filters (better) and the best more-expensive power line conditioners have a transformer. But power line conditioners are mainly designed to regulate-maintain the voltage and they may, or may-not, have good filtering. (An isolation transformer provides some "natural" filtering.)


….Regular solid state light dimmers "chop" the 50/60Hz power line to reduce the average voltage and that puts noise on the power line. Pro studios might have multiple lights with separate switches to adjust the lighting level or they might have a different kind of LED dimming to control the LED's "constant current" power supply or they might have variac type dimmers that reduce the AC voltage without chopping it (expensive and not practical at home).
I'm using a guitar amp. As for as "power line filters", would that be something like one of these?
1) https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...m-exterminator
2) https://www.amazon.com/PYLE-PRO-PHE4...dp/B00BARTW42/
3) https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...isolation-rack
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Old 02-16-2019, 05:59 PM   #6
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https://www.soundonsound.com/sound-a...oise-my-studio

A D/I Box might be the ticket.
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Old 02-16-2019, 09:35 PM   #7
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Just on the subject of mains power filters. Be cautious before running out and spending your hard earned cash on one of these things.

My experiences:
I am in a rural country area, as such the power can be a bit average at times. We rarely get brown-outs or black-outs, but there is a fair amount of noise on the lines.

I have clicks every now and then - I was (and still am) becoming a bit paranoid that these clicks may end up damaging my monitors, as they are 5k and above and of reasonable level.

So I brought a power filter board: https://monsterproducts.com.au/shop/...board-8-outlet

I got it somewhat cheaper than this as it was a clearance item in the particular store I got it from.

I knew from a friend they (Monster) do honor the replacement warranty offer of up to 750k worth of equipment, as he had a lightening strike and they replaced everything connected to his power board with brand new gear. So that was a deciding factor in the purchase.

Has it made the sound cleaner?
The top end has definitely improved and a lot less harsh and cleaner. Nothing much has changed elsewhere. Not that I was expecting any huge differences in sound quality.

Unfortunately these 'clicks' still remain. I can only guess now that it is something turning on or off in the house somewhere. As this can happen very late at night when everyone else is snoozing soundly, I suspect it is the hot water service possibly causing the click (or the water pump). As it doesn't happen at any specific time (it can happen during the day to), it is a bit hard to narrow down what is doing it, although for the next few nights I am going to see if shutting down the hot water service stops it. If it is that, unless there is some magical filter I can use my end there won't be a lot I can do about it.

The moral of the story here I guess is, a power filter will help, but it may not be the magic wand to solve all your problems. I know a company called Furman make industrial style filters in RU cases, meant for PA systems and so on, they are around the same price as the one I have, but you need to buy a whole bunch of new leads or their adapters - which brings the cost up. Do they work? No idea, never seen one (or anything similar) in my time of live work.
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Old 02-20-2019, 08:58 PM   #8
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Just tried two Radial direct boxes, an active (J48) and passive (ProD1). Neither reduced the hum/buzz at all, so I returned them. I was also going to try the Ebtech hum eliminator, but I saw that it's not to be used with amplifiers so I didn't try it.

Next stop is a power conditioner, as you guys recommended earlier. I also found a nice article on Sweetwater that recommends a power conditioner when dimmers/lighting are a cause: https://www.sweetwater.com/sweetcare...-buzz-and-hum/

After that, I did some more extensive testing. It turns out some of the rooms on dimmers cause no issues at all; there are specifically two rooms that do cause hum, one of them causes massive buzz. The main distinction between the rooms that cause hum and the ones that don't (Besides having maybe different types of dimmers and bulbs) is that the ones that cause hum have around 6 LED bulbs versus the rooms that don't cause much issue have just 2 bulbs.

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Old 02-21-2019, 02:29 AM   #9
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Just ensure that if you do buy any gadget that you are able to return it if it does not solve the problem.

Not sure about where you are - but here a lot, if not most - stores will not allow you to return goods once you have removed them from packaging simply because they do not do what you want them to. Only recourse you have here is if the unit is faulty.

Can end up being an expensive trial and test process.
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Old 02-21-2019, 10:20 AM   #10
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I think the easiest solution for you is probably to just replace the bulbs with incandescents. I have had similar issues with bulbs (CFLs in my case) that caused buzz (without dimmers).

If you are concerned about energy usage, remember that if you are in a climate that uses heat in the winter then at least half of the year you're just offsetting the house heat bill a tiny bit with the increased heat output of the incandescents, so there isn't really much of a loss. (Oversimplifying here a little, but still.)
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Old 02-21-2019, 08:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cranky Emu View Post
Just ensure that if you do buy any gadget that you are able to return it if it does not solve the problem.

Not sure about where you are - but here a lot, if not most - stores will not allow you to return goods once you have removed them from packaging simply because they do not do what you want them to. Only recourse you have here is if the unit is faulty.

Can end up being an expensive trial and test process.
Luckily I'm in US where return policies are currently really good since sites have to compete with Amazon. As long as there was something wrong with it (like it didn't fulfill a need that it advertised it may be able to resolve), it's easy to return.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cranky Emu View Post
Just ensure that if you do buy any gadget that you are able to return it if it does not solve the problem.

Not sure about where you are - but here a lot, if not most - stores will not allow you to return goods once you have removed them from packaging simply because they do not do what you want them to. Only recourse you have here is if the unit is faulty.

Can end up being an expensive trial and test process.
The problem is 2 of them rooms that don't cause issues have both incandescents and LEDs, so I don't think it's LEDs that are causing the issue specifically. I actually have one closet that incadescents that does cause massive buzz, but luckily that's not a factor because it's never on.
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Old 02-23-2019, 02:14 PM   #12
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Just got the Furman power conditioner (Furman) in and tried it, no luck. I sounds like it did clean out some of the small buzz that I had going on that I can barely hear when lighting is off, but not the actual main buzz/hum generated by the lighting.

I updated the original post to summarize solutions I've tried so far.

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Old 02-23-2019, 06:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryannn29 View Post
I updated the original post to summarize solutions I've tried so far.
Personally I would start by removing every LED and CLF bulb (compact or tube) in the place and see where that gets you, and then screw them back in one at a time. Even if they are the identical brand/model -- some go bad or get buzzy where others don't, etc.
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Old 02-26-2019, 08:53 AM   #14
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Unfortunately, having lived in several different countries over the years, I have to say the USA was hands down the winner in terms of really crap wiring standards AND execution AND inspection.

I would suggest you get a real electrician out to check the safety & correctness of your homes wiring.

All sorts of fun things showed up when I was working on houses and commercial buildings in the USA. Worst one was the house I bought for myself in Nashville. Built around 1920, the house wiring was done with ceramic insulators carrying BARE copper wire for the phase and neutral and no earth at all all behind lath & plaster internal walls, till I rewired the place and put a proper grounding system in!
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Old 02-26-2019, 10:00 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryannn29 View Post
Just got the Furman power conditioner (Furman) in and tried it, no luck.
Before buying the Monster filter board I was going to get one of these, the Monster seems to have cured all my problems with the exception of one, which I have tracked down to the water pump when it switches on. Not a hell of a lot I can do about it, just have to live with it, oddly it doesn't effect recording - you only hear a very high click through the monitors and only in the right monitor.

Was doing a (very) late night recording session the other night with a solo one-man-band and had a few clicks during the recording and thought I was going to be in for some editing work or destroyed track, but the click never made it to the recorded tracks which I was happy about.
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