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Why Are My Speakers Producing Static?
Posted: 01 July 2010 09:39 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Q. I recently purchased a pair of speakers that I use as my surround fronts, they sound great but sometimes I notice a static, fuzzy, cloudy, distortion sound. I tried 3 different receivers and still hear on occasion a fuzzy static sound, so I’m sure it is the speakers. I also moved the speakers away from my TV in case there was some signal problems, but no luck. What can be the problem? - Barry, Georgia

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Posted: 01 July 2010 10:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Try the speakers and your A/V receiver/amplifier in another room. I suspect what you may be hearing is a ground loop and it could be caused by some other component within the room you are currently using.

2. Try another set of cables. Cables that aren’t properly shielded can act like antennas for RF (radio frequency) and EMI (electro-magnetic interference) noise.

3. You can step up your power conditioning with a product that offers isolation, surge protection and power conditioning. Look at products from Torus, SurgeX, Richard Gray’s and Furman. Tripp Lite also offers basic isolation transformers (I device that will isolate the components plugged into from the rest of the products plugged into the same circuit). A power conditioner from a company like Torus will run anywhere from about $1,500 to a few thousand. A basic Tripp LIte isolation transformer can be found for less than $200.

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Posted: 02 July 2010 12:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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While I agree with Bob on all of the points he made, I would also take it a step back further.

1. What is the brand of the speakers?
2. When you say, “surround fronts,” are they your main front L/R speakers, or are they being used in addition to your front L/R mains for/as a, “Height Channel which some A/V receiver brands offer, (typically Yamaha).

If they are your dedicated front L/R channels speakers in a 5.1 or 7.1 system, you more than likely have a defective driver in both. Most people believe that a speaker is blown when it no longer works/operates. This is simply not true. A driver may be, “stressed,” whereas is still works, but will distort at a specific frequency and/or volume. Thus, the distortion you’re hearing is intermittent. Very common….
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If they are additional, “Height Channels,” to your L/R mains, then there’s 2 ways to find out if it’s the speaker, ground loop, or the A/V receiver itself.

1. Connect the distorting speakers all by themselves into the main L/R outputs of your receiver. If they sound fine, then you know it’s not a problem with the speakers.
2. Take another pair of speakers, (as an example), your existing rears and hook them up to the same height channel outputs. Since you have no problem with your existing rear speakers, if they begin to distort on the same output, then you definitely have either an A/V receiver problem, or the other factors that Bob mentioned.

Best of luck….

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Posted: 03 July 2010 05:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I agree with Tom about the ground loop and with Dave about the testing.  Since the static only is happening occasionally, what equipment is in use when this happens.  Do you have a power conditioner in your rack and is it connected to a properly grounded electrical outlet. 

Check the connections at the equipment end after you determine which pieces of equipment where in use that produced the static. Then make sure that the chassis earth ground wire is properly connected back to a good ground source. 

Lastly, if the equipment connections look solid, do any of your wires run across an electric cord or wire, do any of them cross a metal duct are are any of them laying across any of the equipment.  Another source of occasional static is harmonics that each piece of equipment sets up when operating.  Properly dressing your cable chases away from electrical, mechanical interference may also help.  Check each speaker cable if possible for broken, cracked or damaged insulation.

Hope this helps!

Ric

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Ric Johnson, DHTI+
Elite Systems Solutions
a division of RIght@Home Technologies, Ltd.
2010 Bronze Award Electronic House Home of the Year ” Best Integrated Home $15,000 to $50,000”
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Posted: 03 July 2010 07:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Adding to Ric’s post, (which I completely agree with), have you recently purchased a new refrigerator, wine cooler, or low voltage lighting that use dimmer switches? This goes to Ric’s post regarding a properly grounded and insulated AC outlet. 

Anything with a compressor can reek havoc with an A/V system every time the compressor turns on. Dimming switches on low voltage wiring systems also do the same thing, but you will hear the buzz become louder and softer as the switch is turned up or down.

I try to always play it save and install a dedicated home run from the equipment to the main AC service panel.

Again,
Best of luck

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Posted: 24 November 2010 03:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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The key to understanding the problem is in knowing exactly what the distortion sounds like.  You mentioned it is “static, fuzzy, cloudy, distortion sound”.  Does the noise seem to be tied to the music, or is it there when the music stops?  Is the noise worse during loud passages?  Is it more pronounced with the highs or the lows?  Does it more resemble static or hum?  Does it tend to be worse with one source?  Is the noise present on an analog audio source, or digital audio source or both?

I know that’s a lot of questions, but their answers will help.  Ground loop noise is generally heard as a low frequency hum (typically at 60Hz or 120Hz).  When a pre-amp is turned up too high, it can generate static that sounds like low steady hiss.  If the highs are being distorted, it may be the cross-over circuit in the speaker though I doubt because I think you indicated its in both speakers.  If the audio is from a cable receiver it may be video crosstalk which will sound like hum, but will fluctuate with the brightness of the video (though video crosstalk noise is getting rare).  It could also be the result of an audio source over-driving the receiver input.  I recently read of someone connecting their PS3 to the phono input of the receiver, which doesn’t work well because the PS3 was over-driving an input designed for the low-level signal of a record player.

Hope this helps.

Lance Beasley
ENCO Electronic Systems
http://www.encoelectronics.com

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