Dealing with amp hum

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by drewsblues, Mar 22, 2013.

  1. drewsblues

    drewsblues Tele-Holic

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    Killer gig tonight, except... The wiring in the venue is wonky or something. I get a horrendous buzz out of my SFPR -- which I managed to tame by rolling back the volume on my guitar, but that dulled the highs from my amp. Not an evening-killer by any stretch, but mildly annoying, nonetheless.

    Any suggestions on how to tame this with minimal affect on tone? We were in a corner with only one outlet, sharing a power strip (which is grounded). The other guys -- harp and upright bass amps -- had no such problem. The ground switch on my amp had no affect. We tried running my kit through the bass player's rig: no hum. The amp doesn't buzz like that at other venues or at home.

    Maybe a noise gate? An eq pedal with the offending frequency cut? I plugged into a Korg Pitch Black, but otherwise, straight into the amp. Pulling the tuner from the signal produced no difference.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks....
     
  2. TedB

    TedB TDPRI Member

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    Sounds like a dirty power surply - did the venue have neon display lighting? A power conditioner could be the answer.
     
  3. 1955

    1955 Poster Extraordinaire

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    My hands grab neon sign cords first to yank out. Gitcha a little yellow outlet tester, too if u don't have one yet.

    Dimmer lights are fun w single-coils. Amp hum can be exasperated by lots of things: bad lead dressing, bad shielding, components going south like filter caps? Could be a ground, a badly shielded foot-switch cable, who knows?

    I'm no expert, but I've done a few venues that had a noise-floor that was very distracting.

    Then again, the audience is MORE distracted by the mating ritual taking place before your very eyes.

    Hence the flashy cruiser shark-circling the block for unseasonal mini-skirts, in a bizarre appropriation of a soldier vehicle to square-peacock symbol of status. Now pick us a hybrid sound-bite that links hum-v with the opposite of bummer. We get to wear our crocs. We get to have the big belly and hawaiian shirts. We have the weird fishing stories and are experts at too many outdoorsy activities to be indoors most of the time. We grill. No...we really GRILL.

    Just think what a cell phone in your lap while driving is gonna do to your great-grandkids. Scary stuff we cant see. I call 'em principalities.

    It's whatever is making all these suckers wear boots over their jeans for the last several months.
    Ironic and not surprising that despite being preyed on, gestation-deprived gazelles opt for footwear most guaranteed to ensure they will fall (figuratively, and even more so after 1am literally,) and be utterly ravished.

    Why cant we just get an RV, go solar powered, and practice high-heel sobriety line walking in the Wal-Mart parking lots? Hum is trouble between today and tomorrow, humans and unhumans.

    I blame Arnold.
     
  4. FMA

    FMA Poster Extraordinaire

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    Um. Wow. I hope you brought enough to share with the rest of the class.
     
  5. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    Interesting..why are you thinking it is the amp and not the "GUITAR" picking up floating stuff in the air ?

    Single coil guitars are notorious for NOISE and HUM on bad stages...

    ask me...I know !
     
  6. OlRedNeckHippy

    OlRedNeckHippy Friend of Leo's

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    I got a rack mount power conditioner (Furman M8) just for this issue. It definately helped. It didn't eliminate 100% of the noise, more like 60%.
    The $40 I spent on it (used) was certanly money well spent.

    I also threw a Boss NS-2 noise supressor on my pedal board. :cool:
     
  7. vibrasonic

    vibrasonic Tele-Afflicted

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    If you have a guitar with humbuckers it might fix that. I've played some places with really bad noise problems and HB pups solved most problems.
     
  8. dngrsdave

    dngrsdave Tele-Meister

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    Amp Hum ?

    Maybe Teach it the Words.


    facepalm
     
  9. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Power strip is grounded. Is your amp really grounded? Lotta vintage amps had the ground lug busted off if they ever had one.

    Lose the death cap if you haven't already.
     
  10. jmiles

    jmiles Friend of Leo's

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    No problem with the acoustic bassist's amp, eh? It may have circuits that defeat the hum. Try playing your guitar through the harp-player's amp. I suspect you guitar.
     
  11. Beachbum

    Beachbum Friend of Leo's

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    Try using a humbucker guitar with your amp. If it's not noisy with humbuckers it's probably not the amp but your single coil guitar. Tele? If that's the case you might want to check this out. It's not a suppressor or a noise gate (which can cause tone or signal delay problems) but rather senses 60 cycle hum and ground loop noise then creates an opposite signal that cancels the noise. It hasn't totally erased the hum/buzz from my Tele/Twin rig but I have to say that it has significantly reduced it to a tolerable level.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013
  12. OlRedNeckHippy

    OlRedNeckHippy Friend of Leo's

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    The Hum Debugger sounds very interesting. New Technoligy?

    Our Pedal Steel player fights hum constantly. The big single coil pickups on the steels are teribble around dimmer switches and flourecent lights and pretty much anything.
    I'm going to show him this at the next practice.
     
  13. 1955

    1955 Poster Extraordinaire

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    In at least a 1000 gigs, ive only had trouble with 10-20 venues. Single-coil trouble, that is. Unplug neon signs, TV's, in a bar if possible.

    Stand so you are in front of your amp, your body IS a bit of a shield. Turn to taste.

    Plug ALL your gear into one good surge protector. Helps. Check pedals, power supply transformers, computers, etc.

    Once everyone is playing, it should not be a big deal. Otherwise, nature of the beast.

    If its a really unusual hum from the amp, could be a bunch of wires and junk jammed in too small of a chassis, and not troubleshooted for geography in association to the amp transformer. Single-ended amps that are not dressed/built correctly.

    Try Good insulated guitar cables, makes a huge difference. One Spots are a nuisance, flip the plug around.

    Basically it's a zillion things cumulatively, you get over it the more you gig w the usual hum. If its every gig, you are either too picky or nerd to try the above solutions. Once you get into subtractive eq for a single-coil problem, you might as well go noiseless/split-coil pups, or humbuckers.

    The old amps can really hurt or kill you, esp. in a venue w bad wiring. Ground all amps, if you can, be extremely careful.

    Buy a yellow outlet tester for 3 bucks it will save your life.
     
  14. Beachbum

    Beachbum Friend of Leo's

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    Not sure when it was introduced. I seem to remember seeing them around for a few years now. I started seriously considering it when I had a kill switch installed on my ES 137 Gibson. The tech who installed it somehow left me with a ground loop buzz that neither he or two subsequent techs could ever track down. Oddly enough even though it's a humbucker guitar the "Humdebugger" completely solved that problem even better than it does for my Teles. The Gibson now has zero noise when run through this pedal. I got mine at GC on line figuring if it didn't work out I could easily return it to my local store.
     
  15. TieDyedDevil

    TieDyedDevil Tele-Holic

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    Hum Debugger has been out for quite a while. It works as advertised.

    However: it does "filter" your guitar's tone. The hum debugger is a comb filter that's synchronized to your line frequency (e.g. 60 Hz in the US; 50 Hz in the UK).

    Let's say that you're in the US: the Hum Debugger will notch out everything at 60 Hz, 120 Hz, 180 Hz, 240 Hz, 300 Hz, 360 Hz, 420 Hz, etc. That works to kill the hum, because the hum is at 60 Hz and integer multiples. But those frequencies will also knock out parts of your guitar signal.

    You'll probably hear this as a bit of "hollowness" to your guitar sound. Some folks notice it; some don't.

    You can get the same effect as the Hum Debugger using a flanger on which you can stop the sweep and manually set the delay. Just sweep the delay very slowly by hand until the hum disappears. It's a very touchy setting, but it can be done. I wouldn't recommend this approach to knock out hum on your pedalboard; the setting is too finicky and is prone to drift over time. But it's a quick way to find out whether the tonal change of the Hum Debugger might be noticeable to you...
     
  16. Beachbum

    Beachbum Friend of Leo's

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    I'm sure it does do what you say but since tone is so subjective whether it is audible or not is a hard thing to know. The only thing I would add is that having read numerous reviews about the tone change this pedal may or may not cause is that those who said they could hear a difference with few exceptions either said it could be adjusted for or the trade off was well worth getting rid of the excessive noise. At least an equal number of revues said that they couldn't hear any difference. Some even said that the tone change they did hear was actually an improvement since the debugging creates a cleaner, hence better sound. For my part if it's adding or subtracting anything from my signal I'm not hearing it. On the other hand that's my ears and they're 65 years old. So, can't say for sure.
     
  17. TieDyedDevil

    TieDyedDevil Tele-Holic

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    Absolutely, Beachbum. I will say this: it really does kill the hum. If you're in a situation where the hum would otherwise destroy a performance, the tone change (assuming that you'd notice it) is a small price to pay for eliminating the hum.
     
  18. WholeLottaGlove

    WholeLottaGlove Tele-Meister

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    I really like the MXR Smart Gate. When it's set right, it has minimal impact on tone. I only use it in the loop of my DSL50 when on the gain channel.
     
  19. 1300 E Valencia

    1300 E Valencia Friend of Leo's

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    Single coil pickups are the culprit until proven otherwise.

    See (or listen to) what happens when you change your position when standing in front of the amp at stage volume.

    Usually some sort of non-acute angle works best - neither 100% parallel nor perpendicular. I know, not always possible on the postage stamp stages you so often find. You may have to change the position of the amp instead of the position of you.
     
  20. Raybob

    Raybob Tele-Meister

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    Silver Face? How old are the filter caps? Maybe the amp has a hum problem anyway from old caps, but you didn't notice until that one gig.
     
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