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What's that noise!?

It's time to play the world's hottest game, WHAT'S THAT NOISE!

Yes I'm your host Sajak Trebek and we've got a fantastic lineup for you. Got a microphone that has clips, hum, hiss, beeps, boops, or fuzz? Then you're ready to play!

We've boosted all these sounds to make them easier to hear.

#1: Electromagnetic Interference (EMI)

What's that Noise!? A low sounding static hiss that is constant in the background is the result of electronic devices, almost always in this case the PC its self. Between the fans, power supply, and circuits your computer is basically a giant EMI generator, which is easily picked up by poorly isolated 3.5mm microphone ports.

FIX THAT NOISE! To fix this problem, you're going to need to need to filter out the EMI. This can be done in a wide variety of ways. The easiest and relatively cheapest is a USB Sound Card. We're sold out right now, but we highly recommend this one, as well. The second requires a little extra work, but is free: you can follow our tutorial on using Reaper's ReaFir and EQ APO. For a little more money with some extra bells and whistles, you can use a mixer/audio interface and add our XLR Power Converter.

#2: Wireless Interference 

What's that Noise!? A constant clicking or non-constant beeping that is caused by the mic capsule picking up a wireless data stream, almost always a router or cell phone, and sometimes a cell phone charger.

FIX THAT NOISE! Often times this can be fixed by breaking line of sight between your mic and the source and/or moving the problem maker a little further away. We've had people fix this by placing a book in front of their router or even moving the router behind the monitor. For cell phones you may have to get used to putting your phone further away from you.

#3: Electrical Interference

What's that Noise!? A horrible buzzing, usually constant. Something in your setup is literally not properly keeping its electricity in line. Some low voltage is bleeding into other devices. While harmless (probably), this finds the path of least resistance right into your microphone line. 

FIX THAT NOISE! Unplug everything, including any surge protectors from your setup until only your PC and monitor are plugged directly into the wall. Add items back in one at a time until you find what is causing it, then replace that part. It's almost always the surge protector or an AC adapter.

#4: Ground Loops

What's that Noise!? A 60hz (in the US, 50hz in the UK) hum caused by a difference in resistance between two unshared grounds, or to put it another way: One of your cables/devices is bleeding grounded current into the mic cable.

FIX THAT NOISE! First, try to determine what device is causing the ground loop similar to above, unplug and disconnect cables/devices until the problem stops. If you find the problem is coming from the outlet itself, it is probably the wiring in the house. Short of rewiring the house, the only thing to try is to use another outlet. If that isn't possible or doesn't work, you can also try these two things. Buy a ground loop isolator for wherever the problem is coming from (possibly the PC power cable) and buy a ferrite ring and attach to the mic cable. Alternatively, you can try buying a better shielded cable for your ModMic. Successfully fixing a ground loop can be very tricky. 

 

That's all the time we have today for this episode of WHAT'S THAT NOISE! Got a sound that isn't on this list? Drop by our Discord and we'll play our own game of WHAT'S THAT NOISE!


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  • @JAMF – A DAC will remove a lot of these problems, but it may not solve some if they are severe. For instance a severe groundloop from the outlet may get through the DAC on your headphones. Worse, there’s basically very little in the world for the microphone (No special DAC for mics other than the soundcards and mixers). So if you have a problem on your headphones a DAC may solve it… or it may just help. Best bet is to isolate what exactly is wrong and fix it rather than buy something to filter the problem out.

    Joseph Lieberman on

  • This is actually incredibly useful, thank you!

    Francis on

  • So with a DAC, all these are gone, or could they still occur?

    JAMF on

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