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Rattling Noise from Speaker Cabs

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Count Bassie, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. Count Bassie

    Count Bassie Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2006
    Smithfield, RI
    I wonder if anyone else has had this problem: When I plug in and play through an amp in my basement, I get a sort of low-grade, rattle/buzz/dirt-sounding component to my notes. It doesn't sound like a blown speaker really, and it happens all the time- to varying degree depending on the cab I'm playing through. I've been told by someone here once that it's "RF interference". It sounds more like a sympathetic vibration than anything, until I realize it is surely coming from a speaker.

    Every cab. What is that? It makes me pretty damn uneasy and I'm sick of it... I'd at least like to know what it is. I wish I had a gig tonight so I could just assure myself it's not a blown driver! Can it be that every speaker I play through gets destroyed??... :(

    Any wisdom on this? Thanks.
  2. Posting in this thread as I'm having the same type of noise coming from my at home practice cab. I don't usually take it out of the house and have another cab at the practice space, so to test it somewhere else would be tough. I also don't want to take it out to a gig and be left to play at way higher volumes then I practice at home with a blown speaker all show.

    I'm gonna do some more research into the RF frequency theory and I'll post back if I find anything!
  3. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    Does it happen in other rooms in the house?
  4. Bassmec


    May 9, 2008
    Ipswich UK
    Proprietor Springvale Studios
    If you suspect a speaker may be rattling, The best way of checking this is to remove the loudspeaker from the cabinet stand it on soft spongy surface like a rubber mat and connect a loudspeaker cable to a clean power amp and test each unit with, ideally a signal generator sine wave sweep.:bassist:
  5. Count Bassie

    Count Bassie Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2006
    Smithfield, RI
    I'll see if I can get Scotty over here between shifts. Thanks! :p
  6. Count Bassie

    Count Bassie Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2006
    Smithfield, RI
    If it is a rattle in the speaker I guess that essentially qualifies it as 'blown'?

    It's a 10 from a Mesa-Boogie Diesel 410, and I was running an SWR SM-400s into it the other night at a rock gig. Amp was NOT dimed, playing a Peavey T-40 into it. Had the Bass knob on the amp set to cut the low-shelf, and AE knob set to about 10 O'Clock... for those of you familiar with SWR's SM-400s amp.

    Can't see that I would have hurt the damn thing- though I am borrowing it as part of a pending trade deal, so I'd never used it before...
  7. Count Bassie

    Count Bassie Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2006
    Smithfield, RI
    I haven't tried to carry the heavy bastard up from the basement. The higher you lift it off the ground, the more gravity seems to want to pull it back downwards toward the earth... :D
    zapped777 likes this.
  8. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    By "Every cab" do you mean that every cab in the room vibrates like this or do you mean that you seem to have some sort of trouble with every cab you own?

    It could be something in the room vibrating sympathetically and you think it is the cab. Move to cab to a different room to test that theory.

    If you identify the problem as a speaker, if it is dry where you keep the cab as it can get in the winter, it is possible that a mounting screw or nut is loose. It could be a wire vibrating in the cab, or the braided wire that does from the speaker terminal to the coil, it could be a chunk of something loose in the speaker cutout (the speaker would need to be removed to check that). It doesn't mean that the speaker is blown.

    Here is a cabinet rattle and buzz checklist in the Portaflex Wiki. Worth reading as some of the points apply to cabinets in general.
  9. Count Bassie

    Count Bassie Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2006
    Smithfield, RI
    I mean every cab I play in this space seems to have a stray noise issue. I'm only posting just to get general wisdom on it, and because it makes me crazy...

    I have thought of the items on your checklist there, and today have a little time to look that way. But I'll look at that link too, thanks beans! I'll be back...
  10. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    If every cab in the location is doing the same thing, then either it is a sympathetic vibration caused by something in the room, including the possibility of electrical wiring or a light fixture, or the cabs are all unionized.

    First step is to haul it out to a different location.
  11. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    This, thus my question about trying it in another room.
  12. Count Bassie

    Count Bassie Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2006
    Smithfield, RI
    Well I support unions. I'm looking at a potential quandary now.
  13. Cirk


    Jan 16, 2011
    Pittsburgh, PA
    A lot of us here have screws loose, some even missing. Not entirely sure if that has anything to do with your cab.

    Small chance thing: have you checked the internal wiring of the cab? Is the some piece of wire sitting too close to a cone? Is everything tightened down? (input jack, crossover, etc)
  14. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    They might form another local upstairs this time rattling a nick knack.
  15. okcrum

    okcrum in your chest Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2009
    Verde Valley, AZ
    RIP Dark Horse strings
    It's almost useless to troubleshoot a cabinet rattle indoors unless you're listening through a tube of some sort (paper towel tube for example) that lets you hear each spot on the cab. The drywall, paneling, and flooring will all rattle at some volume.

    You might just have to put up with it if you can't get the thing out of the basement. Testing outdoors is ideal.
  16. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    You might not have to actually lug the thing upstairs: For starters, just try moving it to a different place in the room -- or even just point it in a different direction.

    Also, is there any chance that the problem sound could be coming from the bass? Do you have the same problem with other basses?
  17. Count Bassie

    Count Bassie Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2006
    Smithfield, RI
    I've heaved it's great density upstairs. Our basement stairs- in fact all the staircases in our house- are pre-building code and more vertically oriented than a newer house tends to have, so I've had to depend on the weight of the cab to counter-balance my own frail/sleight build as I leaned back to lift the thing on to each consecutive step as I made my way up the narrow stairway. Fortunately I'm relatively fit... it was kind of fun, almost. Anyway...

    So it sounds fine for a minute, and then something 'warms up' and I start to hear the voices again. Only it's not the same as the basement, so I'm starting to think it's totally an environmental issue. Also the guy I'm potentially dealing with seems to take immaculate care of his stuff- it's all stacked up with some care in the clean basement of his house, where I picked it up. So this has all been an exercise in the simplest of trouble-shooting, as well as writing for humor and the short fitness routine.

    I guess we got it, and I don't have to open 'er up. I don't think. Maybe I should increase my dose of Zoloft, just to put up a little mental/emotional firewall.

    Thanks all, your assistance and kindness is much appreciated! I'll be back if I hear the voices again. :cool:
  18. Hate to say it. ... but does the bass have a good battery?
  19. Count Bassie

    Count Bassie Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2006
    Smithfield, RI
    The Artec 2-band pre in the auld revered Hamer bass does eat batteries, so yeah I should replace it just as a matter of course and good procedure. But the noises are different now, enough so that my level of concern has dropped off significantly.

    Still kicking this around. Won't move outside because of the heaps of snow that proliferate, but I can hear the differences from room to room pretty well, and I'm pretty ok with it at this point.

    Aside from all this harangue I'm raising, I do like the potential I'm hearing from the cab. An old friend of mine used to work for Mesa years ago, and he was Bill Wyman's amp tech for the duration of the Stones' Steel Wheels tour. He was at me for a while to go get a Mesa 410, said he could get me a nice discount since he was in good shape with the folks at Boogie. Well, what with my being sort of a slacker at the time, I had no money at all, so he left off the discussion having become a little annoyed with me. But now I'm a family guy and work to the exclusion of most other things in life! Naturally I'm still broke as a Chinese wrist-watch... but I've traded froward step-wise to this nice, hefty little package of kick-a**. I'm hoping it'll work out.

    Anyhow, thanks again everyone, for all the help! :bassist: :cool:
  20. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    If it were me, I'd try, in this order:
    * Get the cabinet off the floor and isolated to try and eliminate structure born noise; thick block of foam, couch cushions, up on a sturdy table; something to decouple the box from the room although outside is good but it's got to be incredibly cold in your hood
    * Don't have the head on the cabinet to eliminate a possible rattle from the head (don't ask me how I know this)
    * Different bass and different amp; both known to be good
    * Open the box up and check for wiring that is rubbing, component damage, loose hardware, etc.
    Good luck and let us know what the problem was
    TMARK likes this.