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Hum/Buzz from studio monitors - unbalanced outputs?

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Hi all,


I've got a pair of Yamaha HS-5 monitors which are connected to my Alesis io2 Express interface. I'm using balanced XLR to 1/4" to connect the two although I'm not sure about the quality of the leads as the man from the shop (GAK) gave me them for free with the monitors as it was my birthday at the time and he was in a good mood!


Here's the problem... Whenever I open any sort of audio-related software (Logic 9, Logic X, Spotify, iTunes, Google Chrome) there's this subtle yet extremely annoying buzz coming from the monitors. If the leads are definitely balanced then my only guess would be that the outputs on the interface are unbalanced. The io2 Express is a really cheap bit of gear which I bought for under £80 back when I had no clue what I was doing. However, with my current lack of funds it's been serving me reasonably well for what I currently need. I don't want to spend lots of money on a new interface only to find out that that wasn't the problem in the first place.


Is it normal for cheap interfaces to have unbalanced outs? The tech spec on Alesis' website doesn't say whether they're balanced/unbalanced.


Does anyone have any other ideas of what my problem might be?


Thanks a lot,



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From the Express page:


"The iO2 EXPRESS sends and receives two audio channels on a single USB cable for simple, universal interface. You can monitor your sessions on any studio monitoring or other loudspeaker system via dual 1/4” balanced outputs. For remote tracking and alternative playback, the iO2 EXPRESS has a 1/4” TRS headphone output."


So they are balanced.


Noise could be interference from magnetic fields or an outlet with a faulty ground.

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