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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
    SEPA
    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
    NEPA
    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

    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
    NEPA
    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

    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
    NEPA

    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!
    http://www.lessemf.com/emf-news.html
    http://www.safespaceprotection.com/electrostress-from-home-appliances.aspx
    http://www.best-emf-health.com/emf-emissions.html



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  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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