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Constant buzzing noise when using condenser microphone

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  • Shawn Thorpe
    I ve got an Alesis Multimix-8 Firewire and a Samson CO-1 condenser mic. Whenever I connect the microphone to the mixer, I get an annoying buzzing in the
    Message 1 of 13 , Dec 1, 2006
      I've got an Alesis Multimix-8 Firewire and a Samson CO-1 condenser mic.
      Whenever I connect the microphone to the mixer, I get an annoying buzzing in
      the background. Listen to a short sample here (file is only 108 KB):
      http://hypernonsense.com/audioextra/mic_check.mp3
      I don't have this problem with dynamic microphones. Only the condenser.
      I've swapped cables, I've tried using the mic and mixer in different rooms,
      I've shut off every piece of electronics and every appliance I can find in
      the house. But I can't make the problem go away. I even pulled out my big
      Fender powered mixer/P.A. (which has phantom power) and connected the
      microphone to it. No buzzing there. So, this leads me to believe the issue
      is within the mixer. I sent it in to Alesis for service. They sent it back
      with a note saying they had replaced one of the parts and that everything
      tested OK. But I'm stuck. I've sent an e-mail to Alesis to see if they
      have any other suggestions. But I'd like to see if anyone here has any
      ideas.

      Thanks,
      -Shawn
      ------------------------------------------
      http://www.hypernonsense.com/


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Stephen Eley
      ... I d have suspected the microphone first, actually. How did you rule it out? Another possibility would be bad power. Things like ground loops or bad house
      Message 2 of 13 , Dec 1, 2006
        On 12/1/06, Shawn Thorpe <shawnogordo@...> wrote:
        > I've got an Alesis Multimix-8 Firewire and a Samson CO-1 condenser mic.
        > Whenever I connect the microphone to the mixer, I get an annoying buzzing in
        > the background. Listen to a short sample here (file is only 108 KB):
        > http://hypernonsense.com/audioextra/mic_check.mp3
        >
        > [ . . . ] So, this leads me to believe the issue
        > is within the mixer. I sent it in to Alesis for service.

        I'd have suspected the microphone first, actually. How did you rule it out?

        Another possibility would be bad power. Things like ground loops or
        bad house wiring could create noise no matter what microphone you
        used, but it's possible that your mixer acts a little different when
        there's phantom power involved. (It *shouldn't * affect the mic
        itself because phantom power is DC power, but you never know.)

        Google on "ground loop" and you'll see what I'm talking about. Most
        of those pages get really esoteric when they start talking about
        solutions, though. You can sometimes treat ground loops by making
        sure that everything in your audio chain (mixer, computer, everything)
        is plugged into the same outlet. Or you may need to buy a power
        conditioner for $50 to $100. (More than that and it isn't worth it,
        IMO.)

        But I'd look at the mic first, and I'd also make sure you don't have
        any Wi-Fi or other electrical equipment in the immediate vicinity of
        your mic or cables.

        (That happened to me earlier this week. I spent an hour-and-a-half
        recording a story for Escape Pod. I didn't monitor on headphones,
        because I trust my equipment... But when I went to edit, I heard a
        *horrible* loud buzzing noise every time I spoke. This was late at
        night, and I also have to be the responder on the rare occasions our
        toddler wakes up and starts crying... I tried to figure out what
        happened, and I deduced that it was probably because I'd left the baby
        monitor turned on and directly underneath the mic. At least, I hope
        that's what it is, because otherwise I have no idea what it was.)
        >8->


        --
        Have Fun,
        Steve Eley (sfeley@...)
        ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine
        http://www.escapepod.org
      • Kraemer Advertising
        For what it is worth, I just had a situation where I had a low level buzz and I was running on battery power. When I turned off the florescent lights the buzz
        Message 3 of 13 , Dec 1, 2006
          For what it is worth, I just had a situation where I had a low level buzz
          and I was running on battery power. When I turned off the florescent lights
          the buzz went away. Don't know if there was a connection or not.

          Craig
          --



          From: "Stephen Eley" <SFEley@...>
          Reply-To: podcasters@yahoogroups.com
          Date: Fri, 1 Dec 2006 12:25:51 -0500
          To: podcasters@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [podcasters] Constant buzzing noise when using condenser
          microphone


          On 12/1/06, Shawn Thorpe <shawnogordo@...
          <mailto:shawnogordo%40gmail.com> > wrote:
          > I've got an Alesis Multimix-8 Firewire and a Samson CO-1 condenser mic.
          > Whenever I connect the microphone to the mixer, I get an annoying buzzing in
          > the background. Listen to a short sample here (file is only 108 KB):
          > http://hypernonsense.com/audioextra/mic_check.mp3
          >
          > [ . . . ] So, this leads me to believe the issue
          > is within the mixer. I sent it in to Alesis for service.

          I'd have suspected the microphone first, actually. How did you rule it out?

          Another possibility would be bad power. Things like ground loops or
          bad house wiring could create noise no matter what microphone you
          used, but it's possible that your mixer acts a little different when
          there's phantom power involved. (It *shouldn't * affect the mic
          itself because phantom power is DC power, but you never know.)

          Google on "ground loop" and you'll see what I'm talking about. Most
          of those pages get really esoteric when they start talking about
          solutions, though. You can sometimes treat ground loops by making
          sure that everything in your audio chain (mixer, computer, everything)
          is plugged into the same outlet. Or you may need to buy a power
          conditioner for $50 to $100. (More than that and it isn't worth it,
          IMO.)

          But I'd look at the mic first, and I'd also make sure you don't have
          any Wi-Fi or other electrical equipment in the immediate vicinity of
          your mic or cables.

          (That happened to me earlier this week. I spent an hour-and-a-half
          recording a story for Escape Pod. I didn't monitor on headphones,
          because I trust my equipment... But when I went to edit, I heard a
          *horrible* loud buzzing noise every time I spoke. This was late at
          night, and I also have to be the responder on the rare occasions our
          toddler wakes up and starts crying... I tried to figure out what
          happened, and I deduced that it was probably because I'd left the baby
          monitor turned on and directly underneath the mic. At least, I hope
          that's what it is, because otherwise I have no idea what it was.)
          >8->

          --
          Have Fun,
          Steve Eley (sfeley@... <mailto:sfeley%40gmail.com> )
          ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine
          http://www.escapepod.org





          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Stephen Eley
          ... I always record with the lights off. Partly for noise reasons, and partly because it makes reading from the LCD monitor that much easier. -- Have Fun,
          Message 4 of 13 , Dec 1, 2006
            On 12/1/06, Kraemer Advertising <craigk@...> wrote:
            > For what it is worth, I just had a situation where I had a low level buzz
            > and I was running on battery power. When I turned off the florescent lights
            > the buzz went away. Don't know if there was a connection or not.

            I always record with the lights off. Partly for noise reasons, and
            partly because it makes reading from the LCD monitor that much easier.

            --
            Have Fun,
            Steve Eley (sfeley@...)
            ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine
            http://www.escapepod.org
          • Michael Mennenga
            Florescent lights run at very high voltages and require transformers that sometimes emit a low level EMF (Electro-magnetic Field) If your condenser mic is in
            Message 5 of 13 , Dec 1, 2006
              Florescent lights run at very high voltages and require transformers
              that sometimes emit a low level EMF (Electro-magnetic Field) If your
              condenser mic is in just the right spot, and it has less than stellar
              shielding, it will pick up this field and generate a buzz.

              Ground loops would have been my first thought, but the nature of
              florescent lighting is very much a factor.

              Since shutting off the lights solved the problem, this would move to the
              top on my list.

              --
              Michael R. Mennenga

              Director of Technical Operations
              Farpoint Media
              www.farpointmedia.net

              Host of Dragon Page, Slice of Scifi and Wingin' It!
              www.dragonpage.com
              www.sliceofscifi.com
              www.michaelandevo.com
            • Shawn Thorpe
              I connected the mic to my Fender powered mixer/P.A. and monitored it there. No buzzing. I guess my next step will be to research the ground loop angle and see
              Message 6 of 13 , Dec 1, 2006
                I connected the mic to my Fender powered mixer/P.A. and monitored it there.
                No buzzing.

                I guess my next step will be to research the ground loop angle and see what
                I come up with. Thanks to everyone for your suggestions.

                -Shawn

                On 12/1/06, Stephen Eley <SFEley@...> wrote:
                >
                >
                >
                > I'd have suspected the microphone first, actually. How did you rule it
                > out?
                >
                >


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Lorne Ipsum
                ... there. ... see what ... Shawn -- FYI, I downloaded your MP3 file, deleted everything that wasn t background (basically, your voice), and did a spectral
                Message 7 of 13 , Dec 2, 2006
                  --- In podcasters@yahoogroups.com, "Shawn Thorpe" <shawnogordo@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > I connected the mic to my Fender powered mixer/P.A. and monitored it
                  there.
                  > No buzzing.
                  >
                  > I guess my next step will be to research the ground loop angle and
                  see what
                  > I come up with. Thanks to everyone for your suggestions.
                  >

                  Shawn -- FYI, I downloaded your MP3 file, deleted everything that
                  wasn't background (basically, your voice), and did a spectral analysis
                  on the buzz.

                  It's 120 Hz, and various harmonics (multiples) of it.

                  If this was strictly a ground loop problem, I'd have expected more 60
                  Hz in the noise. So my guess is that you're picking up noise from
                  something else (or maybe your mixer is). When you did your test with
                  the Fender, were you in the same room as for the original (buzzy)
                  recording? Did you have the same lights on?

                  Lorne
                  -----------------------------------------------------------------
                  Lorne Ipsum
                  Chief Geek, Geek Counterpoint blog & podcast
                  http://geekcounterpoint.net
                • Paul Puri
                  ... I too tried to eliminate the sound using a standard 50 and 60Hz bandwidth eliminator, without any results. So I tried different frequencies and eventually
                  Message 8 of 13 , Dec 2, 2006
                    On 12/2/06, Lorne Ipsum <lorne@...> wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    > It's 120 Hz, and various harmonics (multiples) of it.
                    >
                    > If this was strictly a ground loop problem, I'd have expected more 60
                    > Hz in the noise. So my guess is that you're picking up noise from
                    > something else (or maybe your mixer is). When you did your test with
                    > the Fender, were you in the same room as for the original (buzzy)
                    > recording? Did you have the same lights on?


                    I too tried to eliminate the sound using a standard 50 and 60Hz bandwidth
                    eliminator, without any results. So I tried different frequencies and
                    eventually was able to get rid of it around 120Hz. So it is not your garden
                    variety hum.


                    Paul Puri

                    Listen to Podcasts. No iPod necessary!
                    The Podcast Guild Planning Committee.
                    http://podcastguild.com/

                    The Official Podcasters Wiki: http://podcasterswiki.com

                    Promotion without shame.
                    Podcasting Announcements
                    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/podcastingannouncements/


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Steven Taylor
                    Any power supply that uses a full wave rectifier will produce a ripple frqequency of 120Hz. If the power supply does not have adequate filtering, it will allow
                    Message 9 of 13 , Dec 2, 2006
                      Any power supply that uses a full wave rectifier will produce a ripple
                      frqequency of 120Hz. If the power supply does not have adequate filtering,
                      it will allow that 120Hz to get into the rest of the system. It will then
                      get picked up and amplified by any circuits that don't have a good power
                      suplpy rejection ratio. That's why 120Hz noise is actually quite common.

                      Steve Taylor

                      On Sat, 02 Dec 2006 09:10:23 -0800, Paul Puri <paulpuri@...> wrote:

                      > On 12/2/06, Lorne Ipsum <lorne@...> wrote:
                      >>
                      >>
                      >> It's 120 Hz, and various harmonics (multiples) of it.
                      >>
                      >> If this was strictly a ground loop problem, I'd have expected more 60
                      >> Hz in the noise. So my guess is that you're picking up noise from
                      >> something else (or maybe your mixer is). When you did your test with
                      >> the Fender, were you in the same room as for the original (buzzy)
                      >> recording? Did you have the same lights on?
                      >
                      >
                      > I too tried to eliminate the sound using a standard 50 and 60Hz bandwidth
                      > eliminator, without any results. So I tried different frequencies and
                      > eventually was able to get rid of it around 120Hz. So it is not your
                      > garden
                      > variety hum.
                      >
                      >
                      > Paul Puri
                      >
                      > Listen to Podcasts. No iPod necessary!
                      > The Podcast Guild Planning Committee.
                      > http://podcastguild.com/
                      >
                      > The Official Podcasters Wiki: http://podcasterswiki.com
                      >
                      > Promotion without shame.
                      > Podcasting Announcements
                      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/podcastingannouncements/
                      >
                      >
                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Yahoo! Groups Links
                      >
                      >
                      >



                      --
                      Using M2, Opera's revolutionary e-mail client: http://www.opera.com/m2/
                    • Shawn Thorpe
                      I did test it with the Fender mixer in a different room from where I have the computer. But I ve also tested the Multimix in the same room as the Fender. The
                      Message 10 of 13 , Dec 2, 2006
                        I did test it with the Fender mixer in a different room from where I have
                        the computer. But I've also tested the Multimix in the same room as the
                        Fender. The buzzing was still there. One of the nice things about the
                        Multimix is that it can operate as a stand-alone mixer. So, I can test it
                        out just about anywhere. All I need is an electrical outlet, the microphone
                        and my headphones. And everywhere I've hooked it up, I've had the same
                        problem. I suppose that there's still a chance it could be the microphone,
                        and this is the only condenser mic I have. I'm going to contact some local
                        music shops today to see if they'd be willing to let me connect one of their
                        condensers to the mixer. My ideal goal is to eliminate the mixer itself as
                        being the problem. If either the power in my home or my microphone are the
                        problem, then I can take some action. If the problem is indeed with the
                        mixer, I'll have to send it in again for service. I'd like to avoid that if
                        possible.

                        Thanks to Lorne and Paul for their help in this matter.

                        -Shawn

                        On 12/2/06, Lorne Ipsum <lorne@...> wrote:

                        > Shawn -- FYI, I downloaded your MP3 file, deleted everything that
                        > wasn't background (basically, your voice), and did a spectral analysis
                        > on the buzz.
                        >
                        > It's 120 Hz, and various harmonics (multiples) of it.
                        >
                        > If this was strictly a ground loop problem, I'd have expected more 60
                        > Hz in the noise. So my guess is that you're picking up noise from
                        > something else (or maybe your mixer is). When you did your test with
                        > the Fender, were you in the same room as for the original (buzzy)
                        > recording? Did you have the same lights on?
                        >
                        > Lorne
                        > ----------------------------------------------------------
                        > Lorne Ipsum
                        > Chief Geek, Geek Counterpoint blog & podcast
                        > http://geekcounterpoint.net
                        >
                        >


                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Shawn Thorpe
                        The problem turned out to be the microphone. I took the whole rig (except for the computer) to a local music store and tried it with a different microphone.
                        Message 11 of 13 , Dec 3, 2006
                          The problem turned out to be the microphone. I took the whole rig (except
                          for the computer) to a local music store and tried it with a different
                          microphone. The new mic (which I eventually purchased) sounded nice and
                          clear. The old mic still buzzed like an angry swarm of bees. I've also now
                          tested the new microphone out at home, and it still sounds fine.

                          So it seems this mystery has been solved. Thanks again to everyone for the
                          help.

                          -Shawn

                          On 12/2/06, Steven Taylor <steven.taylor56@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Any power supply that uses a full wave rectifier will produce a ripple
                          > frqequency of 120Hz. If the power supply does not have adequate filtering,
                          > it will allow that 120Hz to get into the rest of the system. It will then
                          > get picked up and amplified by any circuits that don't have a good power
                          > suplpy rejection ratio. That's why 120Hz noise is actually quite common.
                          >
                          > Steve Taylor
                          >


                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Stephen Eley
                          ... (*Steve licks tip of index finger; makes downward motion in air*) 8- Seriously, glad you got it figured out. That s the kind of frustration that drives
                          Message 12 of 13 , Dec 3, 2006
                            On 12/3/06, Shawn Thorpe <shawnogordo@...> wrote:
                            > The problem turned out to be the microphone.


                            (*Steve licks tip of index finger; makes downward motion in air*) >8->


                            Seriously, glad you got it figured out. That's the kind of
                            frustration that drives people insane. Soon you'd be losing sleep,
                            then refusing to eat or drink... Finally you'd be calling into talk
                            radio shows. It isn't pretty.

                            --
                            Have Fun,
                            Steve Eley (sfeley@...)
                            ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine
                            http://www.escapepod.org
                          • Shawn Thorpe
                            I was actually getting pretty depressed over it. I was riding the bus to the music store, with all of my gear stuffed into my bag, expecting the worst. I m
                            Message 13 of 13 , Dec 3, 2006
                              I was actually getting pretty depressed over it. I was riding the bus to
                              the music store, with all of my gear stuffed into my bag, expecting the
                              worst. I'm glad now that I know the problem was the microhone. But I'm
                              disappointed that I spent shipping money ($16.00 for UPS Ground) to send the
                              mixer in for service. Not to mention the downtime in production. Lesson
                              learned. I really am glad for the suggestions that people made through this
                              group. If it hadn't been for you guys, I would've purchased a power
                              conditioner, and that wouldn't have done anything to fix the problem.

                              -Shawn

                              On 12/3/06, Stephen Eley <SFEley@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > On 12/3/06, Shawn Thorpe <shawnogordo@...<shawnogordo%40gmail.com>>
                              > wrote:
                              > > The problem turned out to be the microphone.
                              >
                              > (*Steve licks tip of index finger; makes downward motion in air*) >8->
                              >
                              > Seriously, glad you got it figured out. That's the kind of
                              > frustration that drives people insane. Soon you'd be losing sleep,
                              > then refusing to eat or drink... Finally you'd be calling into talk
                              > radio shows. It isn't pretty.
                              >
                              > --
                              > Have Fun,
                              > Steve Eley (sfeley@... <sfeley%40gmail.com>)
                              > ESCAPE POD - The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine
                              > http://www.escapepod.org
                              >
                              >


                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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