Getting rid of PC audio ground noise/interference.

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by nerdbot, Apr 18, 2016.

  1. nerdbot

    nerdbot Member

    Nov 10, 2010
    I am getting noise in my studio monitors that are plugged into my PC. It is a scratchy sound that generally occurs when there is activity, such as scrolling through a web page, downloading files, or opening programs. It does not increase based on computer volume or go away when I mute the output. It does increase or decrease depending on the input sensitivity of my active monitors.

    I feel like I isolated the interference to ground noise on the PC. I kept the speakers where they were and plugged it into a laptop and there is no noise. If I just touch the tip of the speaker jack to the i/o backplate for the PC motherboard, I get noise. The noise is the same intensity no matter where or how I plug into the PC. As long as the audio physically connects to the PC, whether over line-out, USB DAC, or HDMI, I get the same noise. I've tried plugging the speakers and PC into the same or different outlets and there is no effect.

    I was thinking of asking this in a computer forum, but I feel like this is, at heart, a grounding issue that I feel many of you have probably tackled during recording or live sound. Has anyone had a similar issue and/or would know of a way to fix it? Thanks in advance.
  2. rockabilly69

    rockabilly69 Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2008
    Ogden, Utah
    Try a Hum X on the PC power line!
  3. The1hub

    The1hub Member

    Jan 22, 2010
    Salt Lake City
    Out of curiosity is the power transformer for the laptop balanced? What speakers are you using? Are the speaker connected to a balanced power source? I suspect that the computer is grounding itself through the speakers.
  4. paparoof

    paparoof Member

    Jul 20, 2012
    Nerdbot - I had the exact same symptoms until I replaced the un-balanced (tip/sleeve) cables between my interface and monitors with balanced (tip/ring/sleeve) cables.

    Dead silent now.

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