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Monitor Noise / Power Issue?


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Recently moved into a new house and have started to notice some clicking in my monitors. First thought it was my interface going bad, but tests on different sources and different machines lead me to believe it's the power in the room I'm using for my studio. House is OLD, but rented so I don't know about doing anything with the wiring. Would grabbing a Furman power conditioner solve the issue? If so, how big do I need to go with one?

 

Reading through the other threads I've been able to pull up it seems to be hit or miss on success, so I'm looking for any advice you've got.

 

Thanks!

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Power conditioners are just glorified power strips that are rack-mountable. Lots of hype.

I would start with a voltage regulator, especially if the house is old and you don't know the condition of the wiring.

You can find APC voltage regulators for 40 bucks on the internet.

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Yeah, the USB/FW thing was a mistake on my part. Thought I had a cable that did that, but it was a myth...LOL. Headphones are cool on the interface as is the built-in soundcard. All I can think is that the FW card is bad in the tower, but I have no way to really confirm that that I can think of.

 

Weird thing is that I have a cheap M-Audio Firewire Solo still laying around that I tested. No clicks from that. Scenarios I've tested:

 

- Mac Pro with MOTU & monitors: clicking

- Mac Pro with MOTU & headphones: clean

- Mac Pro with MOTU & monitors (different power source - albeit same house): clicking

- Mac Pro with Firewire Solo: clean

- MacBook Pro with MOTU & monitors (battery): clean

- MacBook Pro with MOTU & monitors (AC): clean

 

I'm not an electrician, so I'm fighting an uphill battle there. The outlets in the newer part of the basement look to be brand new - so I would assume the wiring is updated there (that's my alternate power source) - but I guess I have no real way of knowing. Perhaps grabbing a voltage meter at Home Depot is the best place to start. For now, I'm mixing ok - and mostly through headphones. The monitor clicking isn't really noticeable when they are being used - but it's noticeable when working with softer material or trying to tweak a vocal.

 

FWIW, when running the phantom power on the MOTU, I get a crazy scream/whine through the monitors as well. Never had this before, either. The house is definitely one of those joints where lights dim when the heat kicks on or the washing machine switches cycles. Very old (I believe they call it 'charming') - LOL!

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It definitely depends on what else is connected to that circuit in your house; as an example I can hear a click in my monitors when someone turns a fan on/off in the bedroom because they share the same electrical circuit. If you have appliances with motors that cycle on your circuit that would cause some noise.

 

Also as always be aware of where you place your cell phone around your monitors because they will pick up the radio signals from that too (at least mine do).

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Monitors in use are some KRK RP-5's. I'll grab a voltage regulator from Home Depot this week and see what results yield from that.

 

As for the appliances and phone, nothing like that is happening. It's a constant, dull, rapid click. I used to have a GSM phone that would cause my monitors tons of issues. No problems since switching to a different network - so I know that's not the issue. It's really down to figuring out if the power in the house is the issue, or the FW card in my Mac Pro.

 

More to come - and thanks for all the suggestions so far!!

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APC arrived today. Plugged everything in and STILL have the clicking issue with the MOTU unit. Not sure what else to try here at this point as it seems I've exhausted all options. I suppose it could be time to retire the old guy and move on to something else - FW is being shuffled off to the old folks home...LOL. Might try grabbing an Apogee Duet tomorrow after work just to give it a test and see if I get the same sounds through a USB interface.
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FW Solo sounds fine (no clicking). Cables are just regular old TRS cables, which I ruled out as a problem when I tried the other computer and the other interface. Something just isn't playing well together and I can't seem to figure out what it is. At this point, I'd sell the MOTU, but I don't feel comfortable doing that without figuring out what the problem is.
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Well, triplets, I want to thank you for taking this lovely little journey with me. You're help (and steve's) has been awesome.

 

The MOTU isn't the issue. It's the computer it's attached to. This weekend I grabbed an Apogee Duet (been looking to try one for some time now) and tested it out. Don't get the clicks that the MOTU puts out, but a definite hum. I don't get the issue with either of them when connected to my laptop and the same power source. Not sure what the issue is with the machine, but it's slated for an upgrade soon (gonna grab a new iMac when released in December).

 

Thanks again for your time, patience and willingness to engage in the dialog. Much appreciated and super helpful.

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