How Do I Stop My Speakers From Buzzing / Humming?
The last thing you want when enjoying your music is a high pitched buzzing sound emanating throughout your room.
WHAT CAUSES SPEAKER HUM?
This is most commonly caused by an electrical ground loop issue and will result in an annoying high pitched humming sound coming through your speakers!
A ground loop hum is when two or more electrical items in a system are connected / plugged in at different locations of your home and then "connected" together by a low voltage signal cable such as an RCA audio cable.
With a ceiling speaker system this can quite easily be the case as you'll connect the TV to the socket circuit and may potentially have the ceiling speakers connected to the lighting circuit (compatible systems only)
This causes a small electrical current that enters the low voltage signal path and causes the unwanted humming interference.
Most commonly this happens when you have two separate audio components in your system, for instance a television connected to your ceiling speaker amplifier via low voltage audio signal cables (i.e RCA Cable).
Luckily (and also un-luckily!) it's not the equipment itself at fault, so replacing an amplifier or speaker isn't going to solve the problem.
Your kit isn't faulty so you'll need to look at how it's all connected up.
IDENTIFYING THE ISSUE
The first step is to try and figure out exactly what is introducing the humming noise.
Simply disconnect all audio devices from your amplifier, test with Bluetooth and see if the system plays hum free.
Then plug devices back in one at a time and test one at a time until you discover the device(s) causing the hum.
You'll most likely narrow it down to a vinyl player or a television connected via RCA cable.
For most of our customers it's usually a television.
FIXING THE HUMMING
The best way to solve the group loop hum is to power all devices from the same socket using a multiway extension lead.
This is fine for HiFi setups where your kit is in the same location, but might not be the case for most ceiling speaker setups or when a television is connected.
GROUND LOOP ISOLATOR
If you're unable to connect all devices to one socket outlet, or if it does not solve the problem then your next step is a ground loop isolator.
A ground loop isolator is a small device that simply plugs inline with your amplifier and the connected audio device (i.e TV or record player)
OTHER POSSIBLE CAUSES
In most cases your speakers humming will be caused by a ground loop issue and can easily be solved with better, shielded cables and ground loop isolators.
There are a couple other causes to look out for though which might not be so easy to fix, but can be avoided easily.
CABLE IN BUT NOTHING CONNECTED
This one we get quite a lot!
If you've run in an audio cable for future connection to a TV, turntable etc. then you need to ensure that it's not plugged into the amplifier until that device is in place.
Often a cable hanging out the wall where the TV is going to go will introduce a humming noise.
Whilst you're waiting for the TV to be mounted, disconnect the cable from the amplifier...
LOW QUALITY CABLES
We always recommend using good quality cables.
By that we mean branded, shielded cables with pure copper cores.
These can easily be bought at reasonable prices, we're not talking high-end HiFi cables here, just "good quality" ones.
Cheaper cables can sometimes cause buzzing, and often a high quality shielded cable can resolve the buzzing.
It's not a perfect cure but if you use decent quality shielded cables at least you won't be trying to replace them down the line.
Another cause of interference is electrical interference.
You should never run low voltage audio cables alongside mains voltage lighting or power cables.
Doing so can cause un-fixable interference in your audio circuit.
If you know your audio signal cable has been run alongside 230V mains cables then you'll need to re-route it unfortunately as if you have electrical interference there's no "black box" to fix it.
Again, this isn't always the cause but it's worth looking at any budget electronics in your system.
For instance a really low quality Digital To Analogue Converter (DAC) could introduce an electrical hum.
We always recommend buying high quality, branded goods that are known to do the job. Some of the cheaper kit on that jungle site aren't always the best quality!
Hopefully you now understand what a ground loop hum is and may have even already narrowed your system down to find the issue and can get a resolve on the humming noise.
If you've done everything above but still have the hum then we'd recommend trying to connect that device wirelessly via Bluetooth if your kit supports it.
For instance connect the TV via Bluetooth or use a wireless transmitter connected to your record player.
Not ideal but if all else fails it'll fix the hum.