Just moved in my own place! And got a nice hum noise on all my recordings now...

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by InstantEctobass, Mar 20, 2018.

  1. InstantEctobass

    InstantEctobass

    Feb 18, 2018
    France
    Howdy folks!

    This is a new step in my life... yes! I finally moved in my own place and left my Mom's nest. Yuppy. Finally I can 'nearly' plug my basses when I feel the desire (just avoiding to play loud at night hours) and then, that's great, huh? But there's a big issue...

    So to make it clear, first of all: I kept all of the same tools that I have : a Mac computer, a Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 USB digital interface, and the 3 same basses that I own. My computer is plugged in the same power strip (lightning protected).

    On the 3 basses that I have, 2 have got an humbucker pickup. The first bass has a JH (Jazz Humbucker) pickup configuration, the other is a single H pickup, with each coil having its own volume knob control.

    Of course, what does a humbucker do when fully opened? ... Yes, the hum is gone! For example ; if I play my JH bass with the pickup balancer all the way to the J pickup, the hum is present. If I set the balancer in the middle, it starts to get quieter, but still not away because I think that the two pickups are in parallel (I'm joining the datasheet so you could tell if I'm right or if it's operating in series mode). And then, if I set the balancer all the way for the H pickup, that hum goes out. Bye !

    On the other example with my single H pickup, if I only open one volume knob to its maximum, the hum is present, but the two coils get their volume knobs fully opened, the hum is gone. My third bass is out of the story and can't away the hum because it's a PJ bass (Precision Jazz) and nothing will make the hum disappear.

    I recorded the signal when I'm not playing anything and when the strings are completely quiet (at least not hearing anything with the volume set at 2/3 on the DI), using Audacity, and used the frequency analysis tool provided. The hum seems to have a fundamental frequency of 300 Hz with a infinity of harmonics going up to 40 kHz! (yes 40k...)

    What do you guys think it could be causing the hum? It's rather sad when you go from a place where all your recordings are perfectly great and not facing any bad noises, and then you go your own place and your ears get teared down by a fricking hum... I swear that in some cases, it's very harsh to the ear and not pleasant at all.

    Of course I tried using noise reduction on Audacity as well... but it removes a tone of harmonics in the timbre of my basses, and it nearly makes them sound like robots, or it least a lot less natural, if heard on good headphones.

    That, and sometimes a ultrasounding hum goes in, but it's clearly intermitant and it could be when the fridge goes on cooling mode or so... can't really tell. As well it's very sad.

    Thanks for any idea to a solution.

    Musically speaking,
    Bapt.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. InstantEctobass

    InstantEctobass

    Feb 18, 2018
    France
  3. Bassbeater

    Bassbeater Guest

    Sep 9, 2001
    It's probably from the power source in the building. You could try an isolator/conditioner. If it's a home you can run a new circuit from the external lines. In an apartment, it really could be anything. Sorry to hear that.
     
  4. Bassbeater

    Bassbeater Guest

    Sep 9, 2001
    Listened to the file, sounds like a motor somewhere on the circuit to me, but it could be anything.
     
    PanRap likes this.
  5. saabfender

    saabfender Inactive

    Jan 10, 2018
    Indianapolis
    I have really clean power here, but the voltage runs high. Last time I didn't, used one of these with a discrete wire running to a grounding stake outside. Helped quite a bit. Still have it and use it.

    182651000000000-00-500x500.jpg
     
    rtav and Bassbeater like this.
  6. InstantEctobass

    InstantEctobass

    Feb 18, 2018
    France
    Thanks for the answer. Yes I heard that in flats, it's the worst, with all the near neighbours, the elevators causing giant electromagnetics fields... etc.

    I live in like a small house, and there are other houses all around us, same size, same shape... if you know what I mean.

    It's so sad :( It almost makes me wanna quit playing here :(
     
  7. Bassbeater

    Bassbeater Guest

    Sep 9, 2001
    IME, older houses are the worst. My last house it was like Kraftwerk b-sides in the background all the time.
    I'd go with something like @saabfender recommends. It could save you much headaches, and you can keep it around in case you move or have bad power on location. If you own the house, I'd consider adding a circuit, but the noise could be coming from old equipment and old power lines in the neighborhood. An isolator/conditioner is expensive, but typically gets you the cleanest power. You could always have an electrician check the ground quality on the house too.
     
    rtav and EatS1stBassist like this.
  8. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    There was another thread within the last few weeks about conditioners for dirty / noisy power sources, had some good suggestions, I'll see if I can dig it up. Thought I bookmarked one gizmo, but not finding it now.

    Edit: still can't find it, and I was actually going to buy one - so whoever posted it before, please post again? It was a power conditioner specifically for music gear, but not a big rack-mount thing like the Furman.

    Edit Edit: I think it was this one: Ebtech Hum X Ground Loop Hum Exterminator
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018
  9. MrLenny1, saabfender and Bassbeater like this.
  10. InstantEctobass

    InstantEctobass

    Feb 18, 2018
    France
    Got some bad update. I plugged my digital interface into a battery. So no link with the home electricity. Hum is still there... So I guess there's nothing I can do to avoid it. Right?
     
  11. Bassbeater

    Bassbeater Guest

    Sep 9, 2001
    Sounds like RF interference or possibly some piece of gear got damaged during the move.
     
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  12. Just to positively rule out the power, are you getting any of the same noise through your amps when you plug them in and crank them? (not playing, of course)

    To test the interface, run basically the same test described above - plug it into the computer, unplug as much as you can / don't run a signal through it, but crank the gain on a preamp and record. Do you hear the same line noise?

    Also, how are you monitoring? It could be a bad output to your headphones or monitors as well (cabling, monitors themselves, etc). Do you hear the same thing when playing back mp3s or youtube videos?
     
    EatS1stBassist and Bassbeater like this.
  13. Bassbeater

    Bassbeater Guest

    Sep 9, 2001
    Good call @BrianVengeance . Also sometimes cables just get pinched and damaged during moves. Hopefully it's something like that.
     
  14. InstantEctobass

    InstantEctobass

    Feb 18, 2018
    France
    I think this is a RF interference rather than something in the electrical circuit now.

    I don't have my tube amplifier at the moment only my DI, its preamp and a good pair of headphones. Nothing was broken because I can assure you that I took a LOT of lovely care with my basses. <3

    Althought, I just plugged one of the 3 basses, my active one, with the J pickup (non-humbucker functionning) in the LINE-IN jack of the iMac itself... First of all I'm surprised by the latence being inferior to the one I get with the DI... and the sound quality being equal... To the point where... The 300 Hz is still there.

    I'm monitoring either hardware mode with the button on the DI usualy. But when I record, I use software monitoring using Ableton Lite or Audacity and the 3 different way of doing it gave me that anoying hum...

    Of course, as soon as I stop monitoring, the hum is gone, even with the volume to the maximum on the DI or with the headphones output of the computer. So, I don't get any noise while playing tunes or anything else.

    Should I try another jack then? Because it doesn't seem to be computer related because if I plug my instrument using my DI and a portable battery, with no link to my home's electricity circuit, hum still happens.
     
  15. InstantEctobass

    InstantEctobass

    Feb 18, 2018
    France
    By the way... now that I tried pluggin my basses into the LINE IN jack on the computer itself, without using the Native Komplete Audio DI... even a passive one, apart having a more powerful headphones output, I don't feel like it gives a better sound than the the integrated preamp in the computer!! That's insane... The latency is better!

    But hey hey, that's another story. I wanna get rid of that hum. :(
    Should I stop using J pickups? :s
     
  16. Bassbeater

    Bassbeater Guest

    Sep 9, 2001
    Unfortunately you are going to have to chase the ghost and try things methodically to eliminate variables. It's for a good cause though. :D
     
  17. ktedrow

    ktedrow

    Feb 18, 2015
    Folsom, CA
    It sounds like something is creating EMI nearby. Have you tried moving your bass around in the flat to find the noise source. The noise will get louder as you get closer.
     
    longfinger and BooDoggie like this.
  18. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    J pickups should be hum-cancelling when both are on full volume. If not, the bass is mis-wired.
     
  19. InstantEctobass

    InstantEctobass

    Feb 18, 2018
    France
    Yes, grabbed my amplifier and runned my basses through it... same 300 Hz hum with single J pickups. Tried another jack (both are high quality ones): same. :(

    No, but I will do it now. Yes, it's en EMI to me too, now... sadly. I hate these... can't believe how perfect my Mom's place was. Literraly pure sound with any pickup and my all 3 basses. Even a low cost one.

    Yes, but I only have single J pickups. The 2 of my 3 basses that have a J pickup, it's only 1, the others are a P pickup (hum-cancelling) and a... humbucker. When having the two pickups activated (PJ or JH) it makes the hum less loud, but still present. If I disengage the J pickup on both basses, it's gone. The 3rd bass has onle one H pickup with both coil having a volume control, if I set one volume less or more than the other one, the hum appears.
     
  20. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Ahhh, ok, yeah. They do make humbucking J format pickups that might help, but they're not cheap. That info should help locate the root cause - so I'm thinking that does sound more like RF than grounding, but someone more knowledgeable than me will surely respond.