Signal Noise from Surge Protectors

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Re: Signal Noise from Surge Protectors

Post by Larry Mal » Fri Mar 15, 2019 4:02 am

Also one more question- does the noise go away as you use your tone knob? That is, if you turn the tone all the way down, does the noise dissipate largely?
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Re: Signal Noise from Surge Protectors

Post by HNB » Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:54 am

I will do my best to answer the different questions. The nose that you hear is from a humbucker in a shielded guitar. The noise happens if the amp is plugged directly in the wall or through the Monster power strip. I also have a large Dynex power strip and another surge protector that is supposed to filter power. If the guitar is directly into the amp and the amp to the wall and ALL power strips are not plugged in at all. (No lamps either and all lights off.) there is no noise. Turning on my lamps and lights did not add the noise. It comes in when I plug in any of the power strips to any outlet in the living room. (Even when I had the amp plugged in down the hall in the bathroom. I think the main floor is on one circuit.)

Turning down the guitar does turn the noise down. Turning the tone pot changes the "tone" of the noise to more bassy.

I have one power box that doesn't change noise until stuff gets plugged into it. (Even if what I plug in is NOT turned on. Plugging into it starts the noise up.)

The amp is three prong and all of my amps do the same noise so I am pretty sure it isn't the amp.

Tried a different 1/4 cable just to see if maybe the cable was the issue. The noise is the same.
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Re: Signal Noise from Surge Protectors

Post by HNB » Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:55 am

Also middle position with a humbucker guitar is quieter, but the noise is still there.
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Re: Signal Noise from Surge Protectors

Post by Larry Mal » Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:06 am

So if what I'm reading is correct, the common denominator is those surge protector strips, is that correct?

I'm not too surprised to hear that the standard ones are allowing noise to creep in, they are probably cheap and designed to do little more than get power to where it would otherwise not be able to be.

The Monster box that is supposed to be power conditioning is a little surprising to me, then again, Monster is often a brand that pretends to be better than it actually is and I would be happy to take a deeper look into it.

For the record, what I ended up putting all my stuff into was this:

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail ... 2YQAvD_BwE

But I'm not telling you to run out and buy that or anything, still, I think the process of elimination is telling us that your surge protector strips are adding noise.

I mean, if the amp plugged directly into the wall with a guitar into the amp is noiseless, and then you add a surge protector with nothing else plugged into it except the amp/guitar combo and then you get noise, I think it's clear what we need to consider.
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Re: Signal Noise from Surge Protectors

Post by HNB » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:49 am

Those are good to consider getting. I will try to remember to buy an outlet tester today to make sure the grounds are good. (Pretty sure they are, but I can test them.) I can also use my meter to check the power in the outlets as well to rule them out.
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Re: Signal Noise from Surge Protectors

Post by Larry Mal » Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:52 am

Let me know what that Monster device you have is also... when I was looking into power conditioners, I became aware that some were much better than others. I forget the details, but some of them I think only regulate the power to be a consistent stream but don't otherwise filter out noise, but some have good filtering.

Or something like that- let me be a little unclear right now, if you get me that Monster device I'll try to remember more that might help you.

That one I showed you has what Furman calls "LIFT filtering" which not all of their products have, and while I can't tell you what exactly that means right now with any accuracy it did make my decision for me as to what to get of theirs.

Again, let me stress that I'm not saying this is what your problem is or that you should buy this to fix it... I don't really know that or anything. If you came across stronger advice from Brad or anyone else, I would probably go with that- I'm really repeating what I learned in my own less than successful attempt to have a quiet recording environment at home.
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Re: Signal Noise from Surge Protectors

Post by øøøøøøø » Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:16 pm

This is a very strange issue. Just to check: you don't have any dimmer switches anywhere in the house, do you?

Assuming not, here would be my order of operations (being rigidly methodical is VERY important in scenarios like these):

1) Unplug everything in the room except guitar and amp, which is plugged directly to the wall. You can plug in a single lamp, too, if it doesn't cause any problems, just so you can see. (sounds like this is done)

2) Plug in Monster power conditioner, across the room in a different receptacle. Don't plug anything into the Monster. If quiet, proceed to step 3. If noisy, skip to step 4.

3) If power conditioner is quiet with nothing plugged in, plug in a simple lamp with incandescent bulb (no LED or CFL) and assess. If noisy, proceed to step 4. If quiet, skip to step 5.

4) Physically locate the power conditioner AWAY from the room, in a different room as far away as you can. use your longest extension cord to plug the power conditioner/strip into a receptacle in the room with the amp. Is the amp noisy when the power conditioner is plugged in (via extension cord) in the same room, but physically relocated? If no, suspect EMI from that power conditioner. But don't draw any conclusions yet. Proceed to step 5.

5) Purchase the cheapest, simplest power strip you can find from your local discount store.

6) Return to step 2, and repeat the process with each power strip or conditioner (ONE at a time), including the new cheap power strip you've just bought. Verify that they all behave exactly the same. If any behaves differently, make a note of which one, and of the nature of the difference.

7) In the seemingly-unlikely event that you somehow can't reproduce any noise issue with the above steps, begin plugging items into one of the power strips. Begin with unregulated, AC-powered devices like lamps (try for incandescent bulbs first, instead of LEDs or CFLs). Make sure not to use lamps with integral dimmer switches for this step.

8) If the AC-powered devices pose no noise problem, connect linear power supplies next. NO switch-mode power supplies yet. If you don't know the difference or aren't sure... linear supplies will generally have an old-school heavy wall wart or line lump, or a power transformer in the chassis. If your stuff was made in the last 15 years, you might not have many of these.

9) Connect switch-mode power supplies last. These will be phone chargers, one-spot supplies for pedals, much newer computer hardware, modern flat-screen televisions, etc.

10) In the 0.0001% chance it's STILL quiet, try plugging in your customary LED or CFL light bulbs.

You will likely have isolated the problem by now.

But to reiterate... if you have dimmer switches ANYWHERE ON PREMISES, you're likely to have major issues, and we can talk about that separately.

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Re: Signal Noise from Surge Protectors

Post by HNB » Fri Mar 15, 2019 4:28 pm

No dimmers in the house. :)
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Re: Signal Noise from Surge Protectors

Post by øøøøøøø » Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:31 pm

That's a good thing!

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Re: Signal Noise from Surge Protectors

Post by Larry Mal » Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:40 pm

Funny thing is, I've been chasing noise around for a while now, and haven't eliminated it... and I not only have overlooked the fact that I have a nice big dimmer switch ten feet from where I record my guitar, but also I forgot that I am the one who drove off to Home Depot, bought it, and put it in.
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Re: Signal Noise from Surge Protectors

Post by øøøøøøø » Sat Mar 16, 2019 7:18 am

Other devices (besides dimmer switches) that use triacs and can therefore cause noise:

Motion sensing lights
Electric heating devices
Attic fans

Basically, if something is cheap, simple, and variable... it could contain triac-based attenuation and therefore cause noise.

These insidious beasts cause EMI (and even RFI) due to noise at the turn-on and turn-off point. They're switching many times per second. They make all of the wiring in the wall into an antenna that radiates interference.

Any time there's a mysterious noise it's worth searching to see if there's any dimmer-like object around. The noise doesn't radiate from the device itself... it radiates from anywhere utility power runs in the walls, etc.

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Re: Signal Noise from Surge Protectors

Post by HNB » Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:03 am

I don't have any of those I know of. Gonna try plugging in upstairs in the guitar room and see if I get noise there.
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Re: Signal Noise from Surge Protectors

Post by øøøøøøø » Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:58 am

Yeah, the correlation with the power strips (if it's been verified in a systematic, single-variable way) is the real odd thing here.

I could only really speculate.

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Re: Signal Noise from Surge Protectors

Post by HNB » Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:02 am

I tried out my twin upstairs and same noise. (Guitar to amp and amp to outlet.) No surge protectors in that room at all and the upstairs is on a different breaker I think and the opposite end of the house from where my amp usually is. Still noise. Amp with no cable, quiet. As soon as I plug in any of my guitar cables noise starts. It responds to volume and tone pot upstairs also. It gets slightly quieter if I touch parts of the guitar that are grounded. (Strings, plates, etc.) I tried four different humbucker guitars and the noise was the same.

For giggles I plugged into my solid state Crate bass combo. No noise. Just a hiss with the volume at 100%. I figured I would try my Mosfet Marshall (non-tube) head to see what happens. No real nose to speak of. I brought the Marshall downstairs where all the lights and computers are and gave it a try. Clean channel hardly any nose to speak of. If I put the gain up to max I get noise, but clean channel is quiet. Here are videos of those.

http://youtu.be/jy1u9FBU1fQ

Did another solid state downstairs and had the same result. (With preamp low. If I crank up the gain, the noise shows up.)

https://youtu.be/eb_QY7ZV9_8
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Re: Signal Noise from Surge Protectors

Post by i love sharin foo » Sat Mar 16, 2019 4:39 pm

øøøøøøø wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 7:18 am
Other devices (besides dimmer switches) that use triacs and can therefore cause noise:

Motion sensing lights
Electric heating devices
Attic fans

Basically, if something is cheap, simple, and variable... it could contain triac-based attenuation and therefore cause noise.

These insidious beasts cause EMI (and even RFI) due to noise at the turn-on and turn-off point. They're switching many times per second. They make all of the wiring in the wall into an antenna that radiates interference.

Any time there's a mysterious noise it's worth searching to see if there's any dimmer-like object around. The noise doesn't radiate from the device itself... it radiates from anywhere utility power runs in the walls, etc.
I've always had plenty of noise from pretty much everything I own. I always attributed it to being inherently noisy, old gear. BUT, I do have two dimmers in my house that I know of at this, that I haven't gotten rid of yet. I had no idea they could contribute to an issue such as this. I'll have to swap them out the next time I make it to Lowes or Home Depot.
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