Buzzing Noises When Connecting To A Computer – Ground Loop
Have you ever had everything set up and working perfectly with your microphone, mixer, and digital audio recorder only to go and bring in either sound clips or a Skype co-host into the mix, via a computer connected to your mixer, and end up with a terribly hum or buzzing sound? Yep, me too!
There are many things that can cause this. In some cases, it may be the internal sound card picking up interference from all the other internal components of the computer in question. However, in most cases, it is ground loop noise. There are several articles about ground loop noise out there.
I spend at least the first 17 minutes or so explaining how I have dealt with this issue over the years, not just for myself, but also with hundreds of my consulting clients. I am SO EXCITED about a recent discovery made by one of my Podcasting A to Z students, Randy Vandervaate, about a consumer grade product that helps to eliminate most of these issues.
Randy had come across a discussion thread on the Apple Support Forums that dealt with a known issue related to this with the iMac. This took him down a path that led him to the Radio Shack Ground Loop Isolator Model 270-054.
I contacted my equipment suppliers to see if they had an equivalent item to this. One supplier wrote back and said, “We just don't carry the consumer grade stuff. Only pro.” This is why I have never been made aware of this type of item before this week. I suppose these professional radio stations have never tried brining audio from computers into their mixing boards. Seems odd that this has never come up for them.
I do a lot of shopping on Amazon, personally, and I did some searching there and found two products that looked similar to what Randy had found, I ordered a few of them, tested them on my system, and they work perfectly! I demo this for you in this episode.
1/8-Inch Stereo Audio Ground Loop Isolator by Pyle – Model PLGI35T (Affiliate Link)
This device is nice because it plugs into the 1/8″ headphones/speaker jack on your computer, or other audio device, and then you simply plug your 1/8″ cable that you would have plugged into the computer into the 1/8″ female end of the cable.
I am currently using this device plugged into my 27″ iMac's speaker output and then I have a cable going from this device into my mixer. It completely eliminated the ground loop noise I had been experiencing when I connected to a Skype call with other USB sound card. (See Photo Below)
Raptor GL15 Ground Loop Isolator by Metra (Affiliate Link)
This device works just as well as the Pyle device shown above. However, the difference is that this one fits inline with RCA jacks. To give you an idea of how The Raptor GL15 could fit within a setup, the image below shows how I would use this to eliminate the ground loop noise coming from my iPad when it is plugged into it's dock. (See Photo Below)
I must admit that I feel silly that I hadn't stumbled across these little gadgets sooner. However, as I mentioned in the episode, I had always seemed to find a way to work out the issue in the past with either external usb sound cards, disconnecting power bricks, or using ground removing plug adapters. I am certain that this episode/post will be referred to a countless number of times moving forward.
ID3 Tagging Question
Glenn called in to ask my thoughts on the need to include the old version 1 style id3 tags when tagging your .mp3 files for your podcast. I give my thoughts on this issue in the episode and I also mentioned the free video tutorial at http://PodcastAnswerMan.com/tagging.
Weird Noise Coming From The Heil Microphone
Randy submitted an audio file to demonstrate some weird noise that he was hearing whenever he touched his shock mount. I explain what the noise is and even reproduced it exactly on my own setup in the podcast. Of course I also explained how to get rid of that noise as well.
Some Student Highlights
As man you know, I've been teaching groups of 20 people at a time how to podcast from scratch. In this episode, I showcase just a few of the new podcast that have just launched (one is a relaunch) this week. Here are the links to the shows that I had played.
Podcasting A to Z Online Training Course
The next Podcasting A to Z course will start on Monday, September 12th. For more information about this course, or if you are interested in getting a spot in the Fall Session, please check out http://PodcastingAtoZ.com. If you are on my Podcast Answer Man Mailing List, please use Discount Code “PAM” to get $99 off the cost of the course!
PODCAST CONSULTING: I'm available for one on one podcast consulting and coaching. Whether you want someone to get everything set up for you or you just need a little help along the way, I'd love to work with you. I'm able to demonstrate using screen sharing technology during our call which makes it just like I was there sitting next to you at the computer. If you are interested, email me at [email protected].
PODCAST VIDEO TUTORIALS: I also have a growing list of video tutorials that I have created based up on the the top things my clients have hired me to help them with. See the full list of tutorials by clicking here.