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noise, noise, NOISE!!!

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by bassandbeyond, Sep 29, 2008.


  1. bassandbeyond

    bassandbeyond

    Aug 28, 2004
    Rockville MD
    Affiliated with Tune Guitar Maniac
    Humbuckers, single coils, active, passive, well shielded, not well shielded, well grounded, not well grounded, expensive, cheap.....it doesn't seem like anything I try guarantees a clean, useable signal in all environments! :bawl:

    Just had another bad experience at a festival gig this weekend. In this case, I'm pretty sure the sound company's cheap DI was to blame (my rig sounded great on stage), but I am just really frustrated that even the most expensive 21st century gear still never assures a clean, useable signal under all circumstances.

    Most of my basses are expensive, active, well shielded instruments and are very quiet in MOST situations. But every one of them has produced unacceptable hum or noise at one time or another. Ironically, my cheapest, unshielded bass with EMG PJ pickups seems to be the most noise resistant of all, but even that one has let me down a couple of times. Does anybody have or know of a bass with magnetic pickups that never has these problems?
     
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I am plagued by noise. Seems like my home/shop environment is a torture test for audio devices that may conceivably pick up noise. I have had a few basses that had zero noise even in this ridiculous EMF environment: any passive bass with hum-cancelling pups and full shielding, and a Roscoe active which I had for a short while. To date I am not sure why the Roscoe was noiseless, although I did see a post over in the Roscoe forum saying something similar and attributing it to the specific winding/coil layout of those pups.
     
  3. standupright

    standupright

    Jul 7, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    Brownchicken Browncow
    the only noise problem i have is when guitarists won't stop noodling :bag:
     
  4. BioDriver

    BioDriver A Cinderella story

    Aug 29, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Have you checked/tried changing your cables? Do you think it's coming from your pedals?
     
  5. Greyvagabond

    Greyvagabond Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2007
    Los Angeles
    +1 on cables. I lost my nice Fender gold bass cables, and was forced to use some older, cheap cables; the amont of difference was shocking!
     
  6. bassandbeyond

    bassandbeyond

    Aug 28, 2004
    Rockville MD
    Affiliated with Tune Guitar Maniac
    I only use good quality cables, and I always carry a spare, so I don't think that's the culprit. But I am curious: what cables have you found to be most noise resistant?
     
  7. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Was it a hum? Was it plugged into your amp? Probably a ground loop. Did you try the ground lift switch on the DI?
     
  8. bassandbeyond

    bassandbeyond

    Aug 28, 2004
    Rockville MD
    Affiliated with Tune Guitar Maniac
    In this case, it was some kind of hum or buzz through the PA. We tried two different (cheap) DI's, both positions on the lift switches, as well as trying the direct out from my Walter Woods head. Nothing fixed it. As I mentioned, the sound through my onstage rig was fine, so I can only assume it was something to do with the DI or the PA itself. I kicked myself for forgetting to bring my own Radial JDI. I guess they should have just miked my amp, but by then the set was over.

    But I'm not only talking about one gig here. I'm talking about many basses, on countless recording sessions and gigs, over 25 years! 9 times out of 10, my sound is clean and strong, but that other 10% is totally unpredictable! Every time I play somewhere new, it's a gamble. Sorry for venting, but I've spent a lot of money trying NOT to cause problems for sound engineers, and still have never found the silver bullet for the noise problem in general.
     
  9. bassandbeyond

    bassandbeyond

    Aug 28, 2004
    Rockville MD
    Affiliated with Tune Guitar Maniac
    Just to clarify, we tried first plugging the 1/4" out of my head into 2 different DI's, then plugging my bass directly into the DI.
     
  10. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Hmmmm. That's a head scratcher.

    Still sounds like a ground loop issue... probably with the PA, or maybe dirty power. Live sound is always a gamble.

    That's a nice amplifier you have there. :)
     
  11. bassandbeyond

    bassandbeyond

    Aug 28, 2004
    Rockville MD
    Affiliated with Tune Guitar Maniac
    Thanks for the compliment, and for patiently listening to me rant! ;) But I sincerely would love to hear from anyone who can suggest a candidate for "most noise resistant" bass electronics. Currently, I'm thinking about trying Alembic pickups/electronics....any opinions?
     
  12. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    What kind of pickups are you using?

    The most noise resistant pickups I've used are EMG.

    I have limited hands on experience with Alembic electronics, but they should be quiet based on how they are made.

    Both of them have the pickup enclosed in a faraday cage (Alembic uses copper mesh, and EMG uses a brass screen), so they should be reasonably quiet. I've been using the same shielding method and it works great.
     
  13. xshawnxearthx

    xshawnxearthx

    Aug 23, 2004
    new jersey
    idk, i've never had a noisy bass.

    my first mim p
    ibanez sr800jm
    stingray
    mia p
    mia jazz
    mim p(mew new/used backup).

    never once was any of them noisy.
     
  14. bassandbeyond

    bassandbeyond

    Aug 28, 2004
    Rockville MD
    Affiliated with Tune Guitar Maniac
    Really? You've never gone to a gig and experienced unwanted buzz or hum? Lucky you! As I said, 90% of the time, I don't have problems, either. But there seem to be so many venues with dodgy electrical wiring, noise-inducing lighting rigs, bad grounding, rf interference, etc. I'm just wishing out loud that there were some kind of bass which could stand up to any and all of that! :help:

    Regarding my current gear, I mostly use Japanese Tune basses and their proprietary pickups. I would characterize them as EMG-like, though I'm not sophisticated enough about pickup design to know whether they employ faraday cages. My one bass with EMG's is indeed very noise resistant, but even that one can't cope with the worst situations. Doesn't it seem like, with 21st century technology, this problem should be completely solved by now? :meh: Again, sorry for my whining!
     
  15. q tuners claim to be "feedback proof" i'm not sure how this relates to other types of hum and what not.
     
  16. Slax

    Slax

    Nov 5, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    Just out of curiosity. Are you able to control the hum between songs by turning the bass's volume all the way down?
     
  17. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    And how many venues have you played in?

    Just the fact that you list a Jazz bass has me doubtful about your claim. You can't tell me you played with both pickups on all the time... what's the point of having two pickups then? :rolleyes:
     
  18. crack-boom

    crack-boom

    Jun 14, 2008
    New Zealand
    cannot agree more!!!
     
  19. bassandbeyond

    bassandbeyond

    Aug 28, 2004
    Rockville MD
    Affiliated with Tune Guitar Maniac
    Sometimes, yes. Usually, no. And sometimes, partially. I realize that more often than not, I'm dealing with problems of electrical wiring at the venue. But if lifting the ground doesn't fix it, what am I supposed to do, bring an electrician to every gig? lol

    Knowing that it's not the fault of my gear isn't much consolation when my bass sounds bad for an entire gig. That's why I'm on this futile quest for an "idiot proof/venue proof" rig.
     
  20. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    I guess then it's time to mic the rig! I'm sure the sound man wouldn't like that too much.
     

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