General noise reducing-habits

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Heckxx, Dec 12, 2004.

  1. Heckxx


    Nov 2, 2004
    Libertyville, IL
    I have myself a fairly complex setup with tons of crappy equipment. Rack case full of patch cables, pedals, and rack-mounted units and amps; and I have a separate pedal board. Wires running everywhere. Its quite chaotic. I've always had a noise problem, and its always a pain to find out what exactly is causing the noise. I was just wondering, what are some general causes of noise, and what are some general/specific things i can do to prevent noise? I currently use the expanders in my compressor unit to mute out the noise while I'm not playing, but i can still noticably hear the noise while im playing.

    Specifically, I've noticed noise when I have the treble of my guitar turned up AND I'm standing or facing certain ways. I've noticed noise when i run signals thru my equalizer. I've noticed noise when I ran my signal through my effects loop and all the effects were off.

    BTW heres some of my equipment:
    DBX 266xl compressor
    DBX 215 equalizer
    Furman power conditioner (the cheap one)
    Gallien Krueger 400-RB III
    Funk Logic Digilog Dynamicator
    Axess Electronics GRX-4
    Boss/Dunlop/Ibanez/Digitech/DOD effects pedals
    Ibanez Soundgear bass w/ active electronics
  2. i have the same issue with turning the treble up on my bass as well,i have the sr 405 and since you have that ibanez sr885
    i'm jsut gonna blame that on crappy ibanez electronics, so if you need to add treble jsut use the amp

    another thing you might wanna do is consider simplifying your effects, because with all those pedals and patch cables i imagine your signal is horribly degraded, and that might have soemthing to do with it as well

    and as for it making noise when you face certain ways, i think that's normal because i've had that problem on any amp i tried out, but only if i was kinda close to it, and facing toward it, ithink it's actually some kind of feedback, but i'm not sure on that

    with the equalizer do you boost the frequencies you lack? that might be adding to your problems too so try to cut what you have too much of instead

    i hope any of this was usefull

    EDIT: you might try considering getting a noise gate aswell
  3. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
  4. Heckxx


    Nov 2, 2004
    Libertyville, IL
    The GRX does just that. Everything I have is in a separate loop.

    As for noise gating, is that essentially the same as my expander? Or could it also remove noise during my playing signal?
  5. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Let's do this a few steps at a time.

    First, plug your bass directly into your amp with no pedals, nothing in the loop, etc. How's it sound? Is it noisy? Still sensitive to position? Does the cable make noise when you shake it? Does the amp hum or buzz even with the bass disconnected?

    Second, how are you powering all those pedals? Wall warts? Are the signal cables near the power supplies? Any of the power and signal cables bundled together? How close are your rack components to the power supplies?

    Answer these and we'll move forward.
  6. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    I have a DBX 226XL comp too.. For me, it stops all noise, even from my noisy ric.
  7. Heckxx


    Nov 2, 2004
    Libertyville, IL
    When I plug my bass direct, I get virtually no noise. I power my pedals via wall warts, and I've noticed if i ran my cables too close to the transformer I would get noise. So i kindof fixed that. As far as my rack, my Furman is in one slot, the Gallien Krueger right above it, and the two DBX units right below it. I also have one wall wart plugged in my Furman to power the pedals sitting on the bottom of my rack case. I don't use washers w/ my rack equipment, would that lead to significant noise?

    Just recently (like hours ago) tho, I tweaked my setup to get rid of most of the noticable noise. I moved my EQ unit to the effects loop, that seemed to help. The only things of major concern are my distortion units, i think
  8. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI

    He said that the noise gets better and worse, depending on how he physically turns the bass. That means that the noise is being picked up by the bass, doesn't it?

    That kind of thing is handled by shielding the electroncs cavities in the bass, or something like that. I'd imagine that if he's running a lot of gain like with compression or something, that would bring up the noise - but we should be careful not to blame the equipment right away when it could be amplified noise that's already at the equipment's input.

    I don't think that it's even been actually said what kind of noise. I think we can assume in the context of this discussion that it's a hum or buzz, and not a hiss. A hiss would be the processing equipment somewhere, but then it wouldn't change with the physical bass orientaion. From what I've seen with hissy signal chains, the lion's share of it would probably be coming from just one box.

    Of course humbucking pickups make a world of difference for induced line noise like that.

  9. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004

    I was asking about both those points. I agree that shielding is a necessary step to take.

    First, go to and read up on shielding. It's relatively easy, very inexpensive, and makes a world of difference if done properly, even with humbuckers or active pickups.

    Are you using a daisy chained power supply for all your pedals? A One Spot, the boss pedal, etc? How many pedals, total? Some pedals are very noisy when daisy chained to a non-isolated suppy.

    I don't think your noise is coming from a lack of rack washers (that would cause hum, not hiss, if you had ground loops).

    That said, I have some suggestions.

    First, if you aren't having ground loops problems now, eventually you will with your current approach. Spend a buck or two and get some washers for your rack gear.

    Second, the preamp takes a very low level signal from your bass and brings it up to line level. The signal coming into the preamp is very susceptible to noise from surrounding transformers and power cables. Once the signal leaves the preamp, it's much less susceptible.

    So put the Furman at the top of the rack, followed by the two DBX units (which deal with less noise-prone line levels). Then the GK. How close to the GK are your pedals? Are they on a rack shelf or just attached to the bottom of the rack? How many spaces in the rack?

    If I were wiring up a rack with your gear, I'd go from top to bottom:

    1RU or 2RU blank panel (Funklogic oughta do) if the rack is big enough
    DBX 266xl compressor
    DBX 215 equalizer
    Axess Electronics GRX-4
    2RU shelf to hold the pedals.
    Gallien Krueger 400-RB III

    The GK and the pedals are the most susceptible to noise, so I'd have them as far as possible from the Furman. All the wall warts need to be up at the Furman. You also want the GK at the bottom of the rack because it's the heaviest unit and having it at the bottom will make the whole rack less top heavy and it will offer the GK more support.

    The GK chassis is attached to ground. If the Axess uses a three prong connector, it's chassis is also attached to ground. This is good, as the two chassis surrounding the pedals (top and bottom) will shield the pedals to a large degree from the power supplies at the top of the rack.

    The blank unit is to provide a bit of space between the Furman and the DBX gear. While it's less susceptible to induced noise, it's not immune. Distance is your friend.

    And make sure that all the power connections are on one side of the rack in the rear and that all the signal connections are on the other side.

    Keep all the signal cable lengths as short as possible, leaving some slack to pull the rack shelf out to access the pedals.

    Make sure that every cable is good and is well shielded.

    And here's a biggie, if you are using an inexpensive daisy chained power supply for your pedals- time to invest in an isolated power supply. The Voodoo Labs Pedal Power II is the way to go. About $180, but it will quiet your pedals immensely and eliminate a ton of spaghetti in the back of the rack. If you aren't using anything that takes more than 9V, you can save a bit and pick up a used Pedal Power I.

    The One Spot and the Boss supply are fine for a small number of pedals. But it doesn't sound like that's what you are doing.