How can I get rid of this unwanted signal? "it is not a buzz"

Hey guys, so I have this problem only at my house, this sound comes out of any amp even if I am not playing, and it also comes out of any audio interface I use so if I am recording a track with any instrument a mic or a guitar it will have this awful signal accompanying it, do you have a solution?, I think it has something to do with the electricity source, bear in mind that I can’t call the electricity company because I live in Egypt and they are not going to care one bit so the solution has to be done by myself…

Here is a small sample I uploaded to Soundcloud
You will hear this awful signal very clearly

[Listen to Phrygian with bass_1.m4a by mina assad on #SoundCloud](Listen to Phrygian with bass_1.m4a by mina assad on #SoundCloud

If it’s only happening at your house then you’re probably right, some kind of interference is being picked up by your equipment. If moving to another room isn’t working, then I guess the next option to explore is shielding. Make sure you are using good quality shielded cables for your guitar, amp, mic and interface. Note that if you are using a cheap interface, then it may lack proper shielding itself. Not sure there’s much you can do about that beyond buying a better interface.

That sounds like interference from some digital device to me.

Have you tried turning off all digital devices in your home - computers, mobile phones, game consoles, etc?

What kind of amp do you have?

Also, can you record just the interference, and upload that file?

Something to consider is a ground loop. A bad grounding of your electrical installation. This will require the help of a certified electrician, i’m afraid .

I think you’re going to need to do some troubleshooting to figure out the source. Either it’s some kind of signal inducing in your cables, or a bad power source as you say.

Induction needs something to induce into, so if this sound comes out of your amp with no guitar leads plugged in it’s likely to be your power source.

So, cures. For bad power, you’d probably need to go for a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) that cleans your power signal. Most people buy these for battery backup, generally not for cleaning power for amps, many of them provide a clean power feed.

If it’s electrical interference, you’re going to want to look into shielded cables, and keeping them rather short.

So I have marshal dsl20cr and fender 10g
But even if I am connecting my guitar to an audio interface without an amp, the audio interface produce the same signal.
I also tried turning of all the digital devices in the room.

Here is a recording without any music…

[Listen to Voice 068.m4a by mina assad on #SoundCloud](Listen to Voice 068.m4a by mina assad on #SoundCloud


So, I tried all the room in the apartment and it is not working, I already have some of the most expensive cables, my interface is a very basic one so it might not have the best shielding ever but my amps are of good quality so I don’t think it is my equipment

Thank you my friend, I will contact a good electrician and try this…

Wd you be able to reply with some good quality shielded cables from amazon and I will try them, I have some of the most expensive cables in my country but still I am not sure if their quality so I wd appreciate if you can help me with some links from the US for example.

I thought about the UPS and it is actually the most potential solution that I am excited for, but let m ask you if I wd use one, can I use it as a “stabilizer” and not as a batterym? I mean I can just keep it working for the whole day, right? Because somebody told me before that it wd only work 20 or 30 minutes because it is a “battery”…

That’s very strange. I hear two distinct chirps, which seem to repeat. Some electronic device is sending out regular pulses, but I have no idea what it is.

Do you live close to an airport, military base, police station, or weather station? Perhaps it’s radar or some kind of radio beacon.

Or maybe from a cellular phone tower.

@jkahn 's suggestion of trying a UPS is a good one. If you run your guitar gear off the battery, unplugged from the wall, and the problem goes away, that indicates the problem is indeed the AC power.

Either a grounding problem, or that signal is being brought in over the power wires somehow.

But if the problem persists, that would point to a radio interference problem, and shielding might be the answer.

I’m not going to go shopping for you, you’ll need to figure out the cause and what’s available in your country at a reasonable price. And I certainly don’t have knowledge of everything on the market.

Did you try to see if the sound comes out from your amp & audio interface with no guitar cable plugged in?

For a UPS, you’d specifically need one that cleans the power signal. A super cheapie one won’t. Feature might be called power conditioning, line conditioning, or sine wave output. You’d want one that emits clean power when plugged in to power, as the point is not to run on battery. Some googling shows me the APC Smart UPS and up range has this, but the cheaper APC options don’t. You’d also need to measure your power requirements to get the right size UPS (for total power output, not run time).

I will say though, a UPS will not fix the issue if it’s caused by electricial/radio interference, it would only fix a dirty power feed.

Another left field option if the problem is caused by radio interference is a wireless system where you have no cables. However, whether it works or not depends on if the interference you’re getting would interfere with the wireless system itself.

1 Like

In my opinion, this is not a standard RF issue and trying new cables is not going to solve it.

Even with a standard mains-hum type RF issue, changing cables is unlikely to be a solution: despite the hype about “expensive cables”, the practical difference between a $10 cable and a $100 cable (or a $5,000 cable) is negligible.

The main difference between cables is in construction quality/ruggedness and (as the price goes up above $20 for a 1.8m cable) how much snake oil the buyer is thirsty for!

Listening to this, it sounds like some sort of interference caused by something transmitting, something that seems to be sweeping up and down frequencies.

It could be being picked up by your mains wiring in which case trying a UPS or powering from battery is worth trying. But in that case I highly doubt it’s anything actually wrong with your mains wiring, although you may still be able to solve it with a UPS or other mains filtering device.

If you are using a laptop and your audio interface is USB powered, try connecting the guitar directly into the audio interface and disconnecting the power supply from the laptop so it’s running off battery. If the sound stops, then it’s coming through the mains. If not, then it’s nothing to do with the mains.

To me it seems like something is transmitting and there’s a fault with that device which means it’s signal is spilling out and transmitting on the wrong frequencies, which is being picked up by your amp/AI (either through the guitar wiring or mains wiring).

If disconnecting the laptop from the mains doesn’t help, I would suggest disconnecting any wireless transmitting devices in your home including wifi routers, DECT phones, bluetooth systems, etc. and checking if this stops the issue. If not, then it’s something outside of your home (possibly a neighbour) and I’m not sure what you can do about that.

One question: does the sound reduce if you turn down your guitar volume?




Thank you for your answer…

Yes, turning down the volume of the guitar, or the volume knob on the amp or even the gain knob make this signal sound quieter, and if the amp is not connected to a guitar, the signal still persists but it goes even quieter…

What about your audio interface?

If you connect your audio interface to a laptop and disconnect the laptop from the mains and run it on battery, and plug your guitar into the audio interface, do you still get the sound?

What about when the laptop is plugged into the mains?