Buzz when recording guitar via 2i2

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply

Buzz when recording guitar via 2i2

Post by jamius19 »

Hello good people,
I have a problem when I try to record my electric guitar via my Scarlet 2i2 3rd gen audio interface in my desktop.

There's a loud buzzing sound in the recorded DI track.
Although my outlets have a ground pin, but the wiring system in the house is not connected to a ground. So I suspect that is the problem here rather than some stray radio frequency interference that is being picked up by the guitar pickups.

So I have gone ahead and done some experimentation.

I had a spare laptop lying around, and I plugged my guitar via the audio interface to the laptop without connecting the power brick, and the buzzing sound was completely gone.

Here's recording with the power brick connected, https://soundcloud.com/jamius19/withac-line
Here's recording without the power brick, https://soundcloud.com/jamius19/without-line

Do you guys think grounding the house wiring properly will solve this problem?
And is there any alternative way by which I can solve this, as I do not own the house?

Thanks for any help or suggestions!
jamius19
Poster
Posts: 13 Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2023 3:41 pm

Re: Buzz when recording guitar via 2i2

Post by Wonks »

Whereabouts in the world are you?

Certainly in the UK proper grounding is essential and it would be illegal to rent out a property without a ground.

But other parts of the world use different wiring/grounding arrangements and whilst your installation may conform to one of those for safety, it may not provide the quietest ground for recording (I'm not an expert on what countries use what systems but I do know they can vary).

A lot of laptop power supplies aren't grounded, or don't have a direct link to ground. It may be possible that the laptop power supply itself is adding the noise to the system.

If the laptop power supply has this symbol on it (sometimes printed, often embossed in the plastic)

Image

Then it is double insulated and doesn't have a ground.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 16753 Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am Location: Reading, UK
Reliably fallible.

Re: Buzz when recording guitar via 2i2

Post by Wonks »

Have you got any powered monitors connected (or an amplifier and passive speakers), even if you are using headphones to listen when recording?

If the laptop PSU is grounded, then any power ground on the monitors or monitor amp may be causing a ground loop.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 16753 Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am Location: Reading, UK
Reliably fallible.

Re: Buzz when recording guitar via 2i2

Post by Philbo King »

Single cool pickups? They are very susceptible to hum. Try hooking it all up and turning left and right. If the hums varies you have a problem with power line hum being magnetically coupled into the guitar.

If not, you have a ground loop problem.

No use applying a cure till you know what the disease is.

The fact that recording into your laptop kills the hum is a clue pointing to a ground loop (and a good guitar cord) but this test is easy and quick.

Assuming it is a ground loop, try plugging all your gear into a single power strip and see if that is helpful.
Philbo King
Regular
Posts: 210 Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:07 pm

Re: Buzz when recording guitar via 2i2

Post by ef37a »

It would be interesting to know how the OP knows the house does not have an earth?

I know from past posts that some countries have an earth free 'floating' mains supply. This is quite safe since you cannot get a lethal shock from a live appliance to ground (but collected capacitances would I guess give you quite a serious 'tingle'!)
However, if someone earths the metalwork of an appliance, an amplifier say and then someone else on the same power circuit does have a live to ground fault they are now referenced to ground and could get a lethal shock.

All the above means, DON'T add ad hoc grounds to things if you don't understand the system. Naturally 'we' consider OUR grounded system safer but in countries where enforcement of safe practices are minimal maybe no earth is better than a "maybe earthed" setup?

I am sure someone vastly more qualified than I can explain it better.

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 16379 Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 12:00 am Location: northampton uk

Re: Buzz when recording guitar via 2i2

Post by jamius19 »

Wonks wrote: Fri Mar 17, 2023 4:46 pm Whereabouts in the world are you?

Hello, I'm in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The requirement for grounding in houses is quite spotty here.

Wonks wrote: Fri Mar 17, 2023 4:46 pm If the laptop power supply has this symbol on it (sometimes printed, often embossed in the plastic)

I'll check it and let you know.
I've been using a replacement power supply for the laptop as I've lost the original one, and let's just say the replacement is not of the highest quality.

Thanks for the reply!
jamius19
Poster
Posts: 13 Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2023 3:41 pm

Re: Buzz when recording guitar via 2i2

Post by jamius19 »

Wonks wrote: Fri Mar 17, 2023 4:56 pm Have you got any powered monitors connected (or an amplifier and passive speakers), even if you are using headphones to listen when recording?

If the laptop PSU is grounded, then any power ground on the monitors or monitor amp may be causing a ground loop.

I have powered monitors in my room, but they're not connected to the laptop. Shouldn’t there be some sort of connection between devices with different grounds to cause a ground loop?

The only I/O going in/out of the laptop is the audio interface and the power cable.

Thanks for the reply!
jamius19
Poster
Posts: 13 Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2023 3:41 pm

Re: Buzz when recording guitar via 2i2

Post by jamius19 »

Philbo King wrote: Fri Mar 17, 2023 7:01 pm Single cool pickups?

Most probably, although it could have also been in the humbucker mode, can't recall. :-|

Philbo King wrote: Fri Mar 17, 2023 7:01 pm If not, you have a ground loop problem.

The only I/O going in/out of the laptop are the power line and the audio interface.
And the interface is powered by the laptop itself.
Is a ground loop possible in this scenario?

Philbo King wrote: Fri Mar 17, 2023 7:01 pm Assuming it is a ground loop, try plugging all your gear into a single power strip and see if that is helpful.

Will do that and let you know.
I was also planning on turning off all of my appliances one by one to see if any of them is contributing to the buzz.

Thanks for the reply, much appreciated!
jamius19
Poster
Posts: 13 Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2023 3:41 pm

Re: Buzz when recording guitar via 2i2

Post by jamius19 »

ef37a wrote: Fri Mar 17, 2023 7:31 pm It would be interesting to know how the OP knows the house does not have an earth?

I've had a talk with the landlord regarding this matter and she said while the house does have a grounding pole installed, a wire connecting it to the rest of the wiring system isn’t there.

ef37a wrote: Fri Mar 17, 2023 7:31 pm All the above means, DON'T add ad hoc grounds to things if you don't understand the system. Naturally 'we' consider OUR grounded system safer but in countries where enforcement of safe practices are minimal maybe no earth is better than a "maybe earthed" setup?

Thanks for the suggestion, although I do not plan on fiddling with them on my own.
jamius19
Poster
Posts: 13 Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2023 3:41 pm

Re: Buzz when recording guitar via 2i2

Post by ef37a »

jamius19 wrote: Sat Mar 18, 2023 4:33 am
ef37a wrote: Fri Mar 17, 2023 7:31 pm It would be interesting to know how the OP knows the house does not have an earth?

I've had a talk with the landlord regarding this matter and she said while the house does have a grounding pole installed, a wire connecting it to the rest of the wiring system isn’t there.

ef37a wrote: Fri Mar 17, 2023 7:31 pm All the above means, DON'T add ad hoc grounds to things if you don't understand the system. Naturally 'we' consider OUR grounded system safer but in countries where enforcement of safe practices are minimal maybe no earth is better than a "maybe earthed" setup?

Thanks for the suggestion, although I do not plan on fiddling with them on my own.

I would suggest speaking to your equivalent of a planning officer or the technical people at the electricity company because if it IS safe for you to have an earthed mains supply I would strongly recommend it.
This is for a basic safety point of view but also because I don't see how anyone can have a decently noise free audio system of any quality in an unearthed property?

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 16379 Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 12:00 am Location: northampton uk

Re: Buzz when recording guitar via 2i2

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Any and all class-I equipment — probably including the desktop computer — is fundamentally unsafe if not connected to a properly earthed mains supply.

If the OP is getting quiet recordings into the laptop I'd carry on recording that way. It's much safer and better to use a fully floating double-insulated ground-free system than a class-I system without a safety earth (which will therefore be dumping all manner of nasty noises into the audio ground reference).
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 38677 Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound...
(But generally posting my own personal views and not necessarily those of SOS, the company or the magazine!)
In my world, things get less strange when I read the manual... 

Re: Buzz when recording guitar via 2i2

Post by jamius19 »

It's been a while, and I haven't been able to get my landlord to fix the earthing of the house.

However, I recently watched this YT Video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiK4HIAyh8w, and wanted to test out it this works in my case.

So I bought the NUX B2 Plus and now I have no noise on my PC/AMP.
Thanks everyone for your help.
jamius19
Poster
Posts: 13 Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2023 3:41 pm
Post Reply