I'm pickin' up radio stations on amp!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Root 5, Dec 21, 2012.

  1. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    I took my bass combo over to my dad's place to jam! But I was hearing voices through my amplifier - without smoking or injecting anything into my body!


    I seem to be picking up radio stations!

    Why would this be happening???

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    I've run into RFI problems a couple times.

    I'd suggest you try to isolate where the radio frequency interference is getting in. Sometimes it's the bass, or the guitar cord. Sometimes it's the amp.

    So check if you get the radio signal in the amp itself, without plugging in your bass. If the house outlet isn't grounded well, that might be the case.

    If you don't get the RFI there, try substituting another bass.

    If the RFI is entering through the bass, search the tech section of the BG forum. There have been some threads on RFI and shielding.
  3. Bassmec


    May 9, 2008
    Ipswich UK
    Proprietor Springvale Studios
    Was there a Russian spy living next door with a dual side band transmitter.:bag:
    Sometimes you can get ghost radio stations on amps in certain places often this is due to the rf caps not getting away to a good enough earth to work properly.:bassist:
  4. JFOC


    Oct 23, 2010
    new hampShire
  5. jordak


    Apr 7, 2011
    Queens, NY
  6. jordak


    Apr 7, 2011
    Queens, NY
    "Wall mountable surge protector features individual six outlets that pivot for adapter fit. Three-line AC surge protection is ideal for basic household electronics and appliances. Six rotating surge-protected outlets allow room for large block space outlets. 1080 Joule energy rating provides maximum protection of all your sensitive electronic devices. Surge protector filters EMI/RFI noise up to 75 dB reduction."


    So, most surge protectors will do the trick
  7. Clark Dark

    Clark Dark

    Mar 3, 2005
    If you go the surge protector route invest in a Tripp Lite IsoBar. It has the best RFI filtering IMO/IME. My ISOBAR825ULTRA offers 8 outlets arranged in four filter banks.
  8. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Furman makes a great 6 outlet strip with RFI and EF filters. Works like a charm, and inexpensive to boot.
  9. Alex1984


    Jan 16, 2010
    I think you need shielding. In both your cable and your bass.
  10. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    The question is was it clear or did you get static?
  11. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    In my experience, radio pickup is almost always caused by a dodgy ground connection between the bass and the amp, i.e., in the bass, the cabling, or the input jack of the amp itself. The input jack is an Achilles heel of modern amps, where a small amount of wiggling on the plug eventually causes the solder joints to crack.
  12. 99% of the time it is an instrument cable. Any good cable will do, Plant Waves, any cable. No need to spend too much money on a Monster waste of money cable ;)
  13. +1.
    nowadays most bass guitars have shielding. so its very likely the cable. thats also were hum, noise and static comes from. i used cheap 2$ cables even though there is no radio there is still lots of hum. picked up a fender CS cable. no noise no radio no hum. also great quality. and its 15$
  14. Joedog


    Jan 28, 2010
    Pensacola FL
    Make yourself a tinfoil hat and the voices in your head will stop! Or so I am told.....LOL!

    Many moons ago we picked up a police radio.....they had received a complaint about a band on the street making too much noise. They said we sounded pretty good! They never bothered us...just drove slowly by. True story! I always thought it was the house wiring (old). From the above replies I guess I was wrong!
  15. Clark Dark

    Clark Dark

    Mar 3, 2005
    I mainly play in a church constructed in 1917. The old knob and tube wiring wreaks havoc with the keyboard and amplifiers that is prior to my purchasing the Tripp Lite ISOBAR825ULTRA. The fact it has multiple filters made a huge difference.
  16. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    I plugged my amp in sans a cable.

    I'm still picking up a radio station - a crummy one at that!

    I tried plugging in another part of the house and - still hearing the radio! :spit:

    Wotcha think's going on??
  17. ffutterman

    ffutterman Talentless Bass Enthusiast

    May 7, 2010
    This far into the thread and no Spinal Tap references? I'm disappointed, Talkbass.
  18. xk49w

    xk49w Supporting Member

  19. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    How old is the house? Does it have two prong, or three prong outlets and if it has two prong, did you need to use a ground lift adapter? If so, you removed any chance of filtering out RF or any other noise.
  20. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    Since the amp still receives the station with nothing but a power cord connected, I
    would look there first. Can you position the amp very close to an outlet and coil up
    the power cord? It may do nothing, but if the interference stops, then thats where
    it's getting in. If so, and the cord is detachable IEC type, there are standard shielded
    types available from suppliers like Mouser. You don't need anything exotic.

    Anyone know if ferrite beads (the big clamp-on type used for cables) work for radio
    station interference?

    They are used to prevent power and computer cables from radiating RF. Seems they
    ought to work for "reception", also.