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Anther Question About Hum!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Reviresco, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. Reviresco

    Reviresco It’s all success if it’s what you need. Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 5, 2011
    New England
    Okay, so here's the scoop...

    Over the summer, I purchased a MIM Fender Fretless Jazz bass. When I got it home and plugged it in, I was surprised to hear a borage of hum coming from my amps.

    (My rigs: MarkBass 410 with Little Mark II Head, Ampeg PF410HLF with Ampeg PF800 Head, Mesa 212 Powersouse with Orange Tiny Terror, Ampeg 108 Practice Amp...not running any effects.)

    Now I know that with jazz basses when the pickups are singled out you most always get a low hum, it's just the nature of the beast, but this was over the top. I took it back to the shop I bought it from and had a tech check it out. We tested the bass through multiple set ups and it was quiet as can be, but as a service to me he shielded the cavity and checked the grounds and pickups. When I went back to pick it up, plugged it in at the store and it sounded great. No buzz or hum at all. Got it home...plugged it in...hum and buzz like crazy. So, with no solution at hand after working with the shop for 3 weeks, they gladly refunded my money. Which was very cool of them...and they did all the work for free.

    Since then, I have had about 5 other basses, 3 jazz style, 1 vintage Fender P, and one Rickenbacker (Brand New From Rick) that have all suffered from the same issues at my apartment. I have even taken my basses to friends houses and local music shops to plug them in and play. Each time I have had no issues at all with any of the basses.

    For my latest test, I brought my Rick with me to test out some new rigs. I plugged in and played a few Ampeg set ups, but settled on a MarkBass 410 and MarkBass Little Mark II Head. In store the rig sounded amazing. Quiet as a church mouse! Then...I brought it home...BUUUUUUUUUZZZZZZZZ....HUUUUUUMMMMM.

    A few friends suggested a power conditioner, so I went out an bought a Furman rack mount conditioner...No change at all.

    At this point, I am stumped...it seems to me at this point to be an environmental issue. Something in or around my apartment is setting off a frequency that I just cant seem to escape. I have narrowed it down to the low mids and high mids however...if I turn both all the way down, the hum goes away.

    I have also tried different speaker cables, instrument cables, combinations of heads and cabs at my apartment and so on...I have also tried different outlets, unplugging everything in the apartment, etc...

    The only thing that I can think of is that my apartment is directly above the maintenance shop for our apartment complex and maybe they are running something that is creating interference, but that's just a guess.

    Just looking for some other thoughts and ideas.

    Thanks all!
  2. Something in your apartment is generating a lot of noise. And/or your AC service has no ground(get a plug-in tester at the hardware store to check) or there's something wrong with your amp. My money's on missing AC ground.
  3. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    fluorescent lights with bad ballast are famous hum-causers.
    bad grounds will make this worse.
  4. So the trouble is with your apartment. Dimmers. Fluorescent lights including CFL's, TV's, computers including laptop power supplies, fans and even something in a neighbour's you share a wall, ceiling or floor with can be the source of the trouble. I would first start by getting an outlet tester from a home improvement or hardware store to quick check the outlet wiring. I always carry one to a gig and check the outlet(s) we use each and every time.
  5. Reviresco

    Reviresco It’s all success if it’s what you need. Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 5, 2011
    New England
    Updated the OP...thanks for all the quick replies!

    It's not the amps...happens with all of them and doesn't happen out side of the apartment.
  6. +1 to Mr B's post. Just came in to ask: How close is the bass to the amplifier. If you are too close the pickups will snag the magnetic field from the power transformers.
  7. Dave Curran

    Dave Curran Lilduke

    Jul 27, 2013
    http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/IDEAL-Receptacle-Tester-3T885 These can be found cheap, and I suspect you will find no ground hooked up to that outlet. Take your bass, and amp and try different plugs, but not in the same room. Often they are wired onto the same breaker/fuse. Go around till you find an outlet that doesn't cause excessive hum, and run a extension cord to your practice area.:D

    I have this same issue in my area, except it's caused by a analog dimmer switch on the same feed as the outlets. I just don't turn on the lights. It's the best for metal:hyper::bag::bassist:
  8. Yes what we are saying the trouble is in your apartment or proximity as BassmanPual is asking. :)
  9. Reviresco

    Reviresco It’s all success if it’s what you need. Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 5, 2011
    New England

    I have a 20 foot chord so I can stand far enough away and still get the hum.
  10. Reviresco

    Reviresco It’s all success if it’s what you need. Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 5, 2011
    New England

    We have 3 rooms for me to plug in to. The master bedroom is wired to the living room...the other room sounds the same. Haven't tried the bathroom yet. Metal in the tub!
  11. senp5f


    Jan 27, 2008
    Santa Barbara, CA
    I live in a crummy old apartment building and have the EXACT same problem. The way I found out was: I had installed some noiseless J-bass pickups in a bass and was testing them with a recording set up. There was a certain level of hum I COULD NOT get to go away. I checked and rechecked my soldering and shielded everything with copper tape.

    Out of frustration, I finally took it over to the house of a friend who's an electrical engineer. Plugged in at his house and it was quiet as a mouse -- perfect. I asked him what the heck was up and he said, "Oh yeah dude, you probably just have really dirty power at your place. Happens all the time in older buildings."

    So it might drive you nuts but it doesn't mean anything's wrong with your gear.

    Maybe people more knowledgeable could tell me -- would a power conditioner strip like a Furman help?
  12. Bass players are the only guys that don't want a hummer:smug:
  13. Dave Curran

    Dave Curran Lilduke

    Jul 27, 2013
    Too busy staring at our own fret-boards.
  14. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    It will help lighten your wallet and fatten theirs. It will also provide you with a power strip. Beyond that, it does nothing. There is a must read page about power conditioners on ONVIlabs website.
  15. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    Old building? Two prong outlets? Using grounded power cords with "ground lift adapters" (in quotes BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE USED FOR LIFTING THE GROUND!)? You need to have the building's wiring checked.
  16. /\/\3phist0

    /\/\3phist0 Life: It's sexually transmitted and always fatal Supporting Member

    TV's, Ceiling fans, Neon Signs -- In your apartment or your neighbor's (any of them) Transformers outside on a pole.....

    I had an apt, that was near the underground vault that housed the AC power transformers for the whole complex.. got BUZZZZZzzzZZZzzZZZZzzzz
    even with NOTHING plugged into the amp!

    Also overhead nearby high power transmission lines throw off an s-load of EMF....
  17. All the power conditioning in the world, or outlet grounding, won't help if the hum is in the form of Electro-Magnetic/Radio Frequency emissions. You can have the cleanest power supply in the world (the AC lines to the amp could be carrying the purest power in the world), but if something in the vicinity is acting as a 60 Hz radio transmitter, you can still be picking up hum.

    The transmissions can come from many sources. Fluorescent tube ballasts. Electric motors. Transformers. Devices now are supposed to conform to EMI/RFI standards, but there could be something like an ancient fridge somewhere close by.

    My bet is that this is indeed RFI and not dirty power on the AC line. Amps can filter out a surprising amount of hash on the incoming AC.
  18. Dave Curran

    Dave Curran Lilduke

    Jul 27, 2013

    Ok, so I missed this. You have multiple amps. I assume you owned a bass before you bought the jazz. Did you have any issues at all with any other bass/amp/anything before you brought the Jazz home.
  19. /\/\3phist0

    /\/\3phist0 Life: It's sexually transmitted and always fatal Supporting Member

    It's this Fer Sure...:bawl::bawl::bawl::bawl::bawl::help::rolleyes::crying::mad::mad::mad::mad:

    probably the base station for the walkie talkies.. or sumthin like it...

    think of it this way --- not only your amps are getting blasted with EMF so are you!

    10 Things an Electromagnetic Field Can Do to Your Brain

    We all know that electromagnetic fields are magic and can do anything at any time for any reason. Sometimes, though, they can be harnessed to do certain things in particular. Electromagnetic fields can be applied to the skull, making your brain do strange, and sometimes completely inexplicable things. Find out how scientists use magnetic fields to rip your mind apart, make it better, and have it do tricks like a trained puppy.

    10. Shred its DNA

    Well, it's no surprise that not all the things a high electromagnetic field can do are good. Actually, even a mild electromagnetic field can wreck a brain if it's applied over a long time. Scientists found that an electromagnetic field applied to lab rats over time resulted in broken strands of DNA in the brain. Not just anywhere - the brain specifically. It's possible that this DNA damage is the cause of brain tumors, and the reason why people don't just walk around with brain-boosting electromagnetic hats all the time.

    9. Stimulate its Growth

    Oh, electromagnetism! It's such a trickster! One moment its ripping through DNA strands like a pit bull through an old sock, the next minute it's tenderly nurturing the growth of neurons. Scientists found that brains subjected to regular transcranial electromagnetic stimulation for only five days showed an increase in stem cells in the hippocampus. This is the part of the brain that governs memory, making electromagnetic stimulation a possible treatment for Alzheimer's and stroke patients.

    8. Train you off food and water

    Rats who had been deprived of water were placed in a strong electromagnetic field and offered a sweetened solution. Although they did drink, they drank less than those given the solution without exposure to the electromagnetic field. When rats were given the solution and later exposed to the field, they developed an aversion to the solution over time. Enough electromagnetism may turn you off your favorite food.

    7. Make you spin in circles

    Other rats (who have a terrible time of it during experiments like these) were found to walk in tight circles under the influence of an electromagnetic field. Scientists think that the field takes out the rats' sense of balance, making them lurch in circles. The lack of balance also may have induced nausea, which causes lethargy and could be one of the reasons that rats go off their feed.

    6. Pacify you completely

    Transcranial electromagnetic stimulation - subjecting people to strong electromagnetic fields aimed at specific parts of the brain - is sometimes used as a treatment for bipolar disorder or clinical depression. Some patients find an immense relief in this. Other people, who don't suffer from depression, have reason to worry about it. People without any diagnosed medical illness while under such stimulation can be relaxed to a state where they can't think of anything, at all, that bothers them. If that kind of relaxation can be induced at will, it could be used to pacify large parts of the population.

    10 Things an Electromagnetic Field Can Do to Your BrainExpand

    5. Alter your morality

    All that relaxation has a price. Sometimes we're meant to fret. For example, if someone is about to cross a dangerous bridge, and we're aware of the chance it can collapse, and they aren't. Those without a magnetic field dancing around their brain, think that allowing the person to cross the bridge would be immoral. Those with a field gaily capering through their neurons think that, as long as this hypothetical person made it to the other side in one piece, there's no real moral problem. Judging the morality of a situation strictly by the outcome makes any crimes with 'attempted' in their description no longer crimes at all. It takes away a person's intentions and bases morality entirely on what happens to occur. Morality becomes a matter of chance.

    4. Take out your power of speech but leave your ability to sing

    Broca's area in the brain controls the ability to speak. A large electromagnetic field applied to the area takes out that ability entirely. Subjects under this kind of stimulation simply stop speaking the moment the field disrupts that part of the brain, while the rest of the functions are unimpeded. One of those other functions is singing. Although many people think that singing words and speaking words are much the same function, the ability to perform each action is housed in completely different parts of the brain. So people who are unable to talk will sing perfectly normally.

    3. Induce panic, disorientation, and deep fear

    Although some kinds of electromagnetic fields, applied to certain areas of the brain, pacify people and put them in a good mood, others are said to induce fear. Sometimes people report a persistent, if mild, sense of unease. Others have a more visceral response, feelings of despair and paranoia, sliding into overwhelming terror.

    2. Cause Seizures and Death

    Under the worst circumstances, exposure to electromagnetic fields can cause a number of serious effects in the brain. Studies have shown that it can change the flow of blood in the brain, and turn off neuron groups. Some people, under the influence of high magnetic fields have caused people to have violent seizures, and even lose consciousness, slip into comas, and die. This is one of the reasons why houses under high electromagnetic fields have ghost stories associated with them. In conjunction with the deep feelings of unease, mysterious seizures and deaths start all kinds of rumors. Of course, those rumors aren't as bad as . . .

    10 Things an Electromagnetic Field Can Do to Your BrainExpand

    1. Make you see ghosts

    Electromagnetic fields, or electric shocks, have induced specific hallucinations in people. Those who are exposed to them, even in laboratory settings, have caused people to complain about a feeling of people following them, talking to them, or watching them. This is not always an uncomfortable sensation. Some people interpret this presence as a malevolent presence, especially if it's coupled with a feeling of unease, but others say they felt an inspiring or comforting presence. Ghost hunters will sometimes say the reverse - that ghosts cause a high electromagnetic field, or sometimes that a high electromagnetic field will allow ghosts to appear. Nobody is sure, yet, what these fields do to ghost brain DNA.
  20. Reviresco

    Reviresco It’s all success if it’s what you need. Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 5, 2011
    New England

    I've been living here for 3 years. No issues until this summer.

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