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ewallover
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background noise!

I just fired up a clean 20 amp circuit with 10 GA wiring, an audiophile grade recepticle (PS audio Power Port, a PS Audio 10 Ga power cable to my Plinius 9100 integrated. The improvement in sound for my system is absolutely great. My Totem Hawks have far more weight, clarity and impact. However, when not spinning a record, there seems to be a low level "hash" that is accentuated when I turn up the volume on the amp. It does not seem to be audible when listening to my vinyl source, but it was not there prior to hooking up to the outlet that is directly connectd to the 200 amp house panel board. Any thoughts?

Yiangos
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Re: background noise!

I can only think of two causes.You either have emi/rfi interference problem(cheap ferrite rings should cure it) or your pre-amp,power amp or both are noisy and the higher resolution the mains upgrade you made brought this up but let's wait for some more expert opinion. Are you using AVA amps by any chance ?

ewallover
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Re: background noise!

The integrated amp is a Plinius 9100, the turntable is a Rega P-5 with a Shelter 501 Mk II moving coil cartridge, Musical Surrounding Phonomena phono stage, Kimber PBJ interconnects. I was running the amp through a PS Audio PS 200 Power conditioner with stock power cords. I'm stumped...

Jeff Wong
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Re: background noise!

Hi Ted - Welcome to the forums.

It's possible the noise was masked before, and you've just revealed something in your chain. Is the line dedicated to the audio system? Are there any fluorescent lights or devices with a motor nearby (refrigerator?) Do you hear this low level hash on other selected inputs/sources or is it only on the phono? It could just be the gain of the phono preamp and that it's not dead quiet. You've got an adjustable gain of 40-60 dB in 16 steps... have you played with those settings to get the best signal to noise ratio?

I also wonder if you might be better off with a shielded connection rather than the tri-braid of the PBJ...

ewallover
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Re: background noise!

There are actually 2-20 amp circuits, with the power port split, one power the PS audio PS200 and the remainder of the inputs, the table phono stage and a Creek OBH-11 headphone amp, etc. and the other circuit is for the amp. I haven't tired the phones yet, but I will. I am going to get a pair of shielded Copper oval .5 meter interconnects for the phonostage (a Christmas present from my better half). The circuits are about 15 feet from the panel to the receptacle with 2-2 meter power cable to the equipment. I guess the noise might have been there but I have not noticed it through the PS 200. Maybe that thing really works!

ewallover
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Re: background noise!

Tried the table and headphone amp with the same results. The headphone amp is connected to the tape loop #1 output on the integrated amp. I had no background noise through the cans prior to this latest modification. Again, it does not appear to degrade the listenting at normal volumes, but I'm sure its there and can hear it through the Grado RS-2s. Are there any reasonable tweaks that can quiet EMI/RFIs? The direct path to the electrical panel undoubetly has imporved the overall quality of the sound and IMPACT in the system, which I really like, but the "hash" remains.

Yiangos
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Re: background noise!

Ted,you do realize these things cost if you are to experiment ! Jeff,what do you think about those plug-in emi/rfi adaptors? The mains-plug type.Would they be of any help to ted ?

Jeff Wong
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Re: background noise!

It depends on the source of the noise. Plug in RFI adapters? I'm not sure I'm familiar with these. Power line noise filters like Quietlines and Enacoms are probably just some capacitors and a maybe a resistor in parallel to the electrical line. For RF and EMI, I have had worthwhile results using the Shakti Stones (usually placed over transformers or digital circuits.) Placed over my DAC, there is a noticeable reduction of hash and noise -- greater than placing it on the transformer for the DAC.

Ted might just be hearing thermal noise from certain parts in his system. Somewhere in the chain might be an older op amp like an NE5532 which isn't as quiet as something like a Burr Brown 2132 (it's not going to be op amps in his Phonomena because that uses discrete parts.)

Jan Vigne
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Re: background noise!

If you were running components through the PS unit, plug everything back into it to determine what the AC conditioner can achieve. You probably had the hash on the lines prior to making the upgrade but the PS was removing most if not all of the noise.

The other guess would be the new AC lines are laying too close to another AC cable that is causing the noise. Possibly a line that is feeding an appliance or another source of line noise such as a computer or lighting dimmer. If you can't trace the new cables to check how they were installed, begin unplugging possible offenders one at a time to at least make certain the noise isn't being generated from within the home's own circuitry. Unplug all the items you can rather than just powering them down. Most offending items still have standby modes which will continue to inject noise into the Ac lines even if the unit is "off". If nothing else, this should tell you whether the noise is coming from the incoming AC line or is being generated within the house. One is much easier to deal with than the other. Don't forget to unplug the system componets also. A digital source could be causing the problems you're hearing.

.

ewallover
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Re: background noise!

Jan:
I was thinking of turning off the breakers of all of the adjacent circuits that may be causing the problems. At present, there are no digital sources in the system, and I sure want to get rid of the electrical junk in the output of the amp before I add a CD player to the mix. Prior to yesterday, everything ran trough the PS Audio PS-200 on one of the 2-20 amp circuits I installed (I did have a licensed electrician do the work.) The two circuits are run in separate 10 gauge, 3 wire cables that are run parallel to each other along a joist and do not cross one another from the panel to the recepticle. Maybe they are too close together. Could that be the source? don't know...

CECE
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Re: background noise!

Ya probably need audio grade NM stapes..and audio grade wire nuts, and audio grade breakers...hire an audio grade electrical contractor. What is an audio grade wall device that you found? What NEMA code is it so I can reference it..I can't find any such thing.

CECE
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Re: background noise!

Plug everything into the one outlet and see if the noise goes away..you ran 2 new 20A ckts...are they on different legs of the panel, or same leg? Try the other outlet with everything see if the same noise is on that ckt also

Jan Vigne
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Re: background noise!

Even if the cables are bundled together, there shouldnlt be any noise picked up by the new line, if the other lines don't service a noise producing item. In other words, if the new cable runs parallel to a cable that only feeds the incandescent lights to you room with no dimmer in line, the new cable won't pick up noise from the old line. But a dimmer anywhere in the house could still cause noise over the new lines due to stray RFI. Usually you can trace this sort of problem by taking a cheap AM radio around to each dimmer and as you approach the dimmer, the radio will begin making noise.

If the new lines are parallel to a line feeding the computer or some other noise producing unit, the new cable could easily pick up noise from that old cable. If the new cables cross all the old cables at right angles, as they should, you should have minimal potential for noise pick up. Of course, the lines all run parallel to each other for a few feet as they exit the service panel.

I'm not clear whether you have both lines on the same circuit or not. Even so, if they are on separate circuit breakers, the only common connection they share is the system ground. Ground noises are not typically described as "hash". Does this sound like a 60Hz ground noise?

Try switching things off and I think you'll find the problem's source. If you find the noise persists when all other circuits are switched out of the line, the suspicion would fall to the incoming AC line. That will be between you and the power company. Though that sort of noise should be taken care of when you use the PS unit.

ewallover
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Re: background noise!

I think I found it! I unplugged the PS Audio unit and the hash vanished. All of the front end stuff is on that unit. When I looked closer at how the electrian ran the circuits, he very neatly laid one run of cable on top of the other and stapled then tightly to the joist. That's the first thing I need to correct. How much space is needed between the cables is anybody's guess. I have some excess cable but not much. I was thinking of cladding the cables with lead tape used to weight golf clubs where they pass though the joist (both cables are in the same hole). The breakers are separate but on the same side of the panel. I don't know how much difficulty it would be to place the second breaker on the other bus. I guess I can try one thing, see how much improvement happens then on to the next. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Jan Vigne
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Re: background noise!

Usually a six inch spacing between cables will suffice when you are trying to eliminate induced noise. As with the exit from the service panel, the cables will have to run next to each other as they enter the receptacle. But this might be a "suck it and see" sort of thing. I wouldn't mess with any shielding on the Romex. (A house inspector would have a field day if you tried to sell the house or if there was a fire.) Call the electrician and tell him about the problem. He should be willing to make some concessions for the fix. I seriously doubt the problem is in the location of the breakers relative to one another.

Another guess would be the electrician reversed the conductors at one AC plug. Shut the circuit down and pull the cover off the outlet or check it with a cheap (under $10 and something everyone should have) line checker you can get at any home improvement store. You might want to contact PS Audio, they've probably seen this before.

ewallover
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Re: background noise!

I have been alerted to the fact that I have the breakers for the amp and PS Audio unit on different phases on the bus bar at the panel. Vince Galbo of Advanced Audio Technologies (Upstate NY) indicated that if the amp and front end equipment are out of phase I could fry my tweeters. Everything is unplugged and awaiting the electrician's visit after work tonight. It' great to have housecalls! I will advise, but Vince thinks the hash will vanish when we get the units back in phase. The breaker arrangement on the panel bus is critical, and many components have been fried because of this issue according to Vince. This sound like good advice to me, I plan to take it, I have too much $ tied up in the components to not correct this situation. I will advise! Thanks for all your suggestions and help.

ewallover
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Re: background noise!

Jan:

Switched out the breakers, and the phase of the amp and front end equipment is now the same. Prior to changing the breakers 244+/- volts were reading on the voltmeter, after the change-zero. I don't have to worry about blown tweeters. The hash has dimished, but is still there. The problem exists in the front end some where. Again, if I disconnect the PS Audio, all is quiet. Plug in the unit and the hash reappears. One thing, I am using 2 12" long computer grade power cables to off set the wall warts for the turntable power supply and the phonostage at the back of the PS Audio PS 200. I wonder if the interfereance is entering the system through these? But, the improvement with a dedicated circuit is worth the trouble as the speakers sound powerful, transparent and without a bit of glare. If we can just quite down the unwanted noise...

CECE
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Re: background noise!

Fry tweeters if the AC lines are "out of phase"..what da' hell is this "expert" talkin' bout' willis? You're gonna cover NM cable in lead!! An even BIGGER what da' F' are you doing? If you knew how service panels where designed, a breaker on the same side is automatically on the other leg if you look at the buss bar...when one breaker is on top of the previous one, it's on the opposite leg of the 240 mains. How do you think they get 240V on a double pole breker for the 30A AC breaker or electric stove or electric water heater....that's another bundle of laughs about blowing tweeters if the AC line is on a different leg...."more entertainment.....lead..on NM cable, mo' funny At least Superman won't see your wires!!!

Jan Vigne
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Re: background noise!

I think the solution is to contact PS since this appears to be a problem that is somehow related to their equipment. Though I don't discount the improvements better cables can bring to a system I wouldn't suspect a well constructed cable of any sort to be responsible for what you descibe as clearly audible hash on the lines. The effects of power cables are typically more subtle than that. Try removing one of the computer cables and listen for a difference. Unfortuantely, you are asking questions about AC noise and the problems can often point you in a direction to resolve the issue due to past experience but all too often it still comes down to searching out the offending unit and resolving the problem one step at a time with nothing more than the logic of, "If I do this, this happens ... ". Without being there to hear what happens when something is changed, it's not easy to suggest where you should look next.

Try taking one of the computer cables out and listen. I don't expect a change here.

I am going to guess you have an odd ball grounding problem that is being manifested as a high frequency hash noise rather than a 60 hum. I am not very comfortable telling you to start changing very much, PS has some proprietary designs in their unit and I can't out-guess what the unit might be doing. Try a ground wire between a bare screw on the PS unit and a ground lug on the table's ps and the phono pre amp. Try "grounding" one unit at a time and then both. Keep the volume down and don't come near anything that you think might be connected to live AC.

If none of this resolves the issue, give PS a call. Let me know what they say.

Nice, DUP, reeeeal nice.

Monty
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Re: background noise!

As simple as this may seem, try moving your components around in your rack. BTW, how sensitive are your speakers?

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Re: background noise!

So you disconnect a product that is supposed to make AC line "better"..and without it AC noise goes away. Hmmmm, PS makes magic line cords too don't they, which also"improve" things. yupper, they sure seem to know their business, what ever that may be. Maybe the PS Audio needs a better AC line cord? You know the ones that either eliminate bad electrons, filter this or that, and on and on. Maybe you have the wrong non audio grade AC outlets somewhere in the house interfering with the magic ones elsewhere. What did the EC think about your ideas of putting lead on the NM cables? Maybe you need a Furman, not a PS. www.FURMAN.COM I see their products in all kinds of live events, cus' they appear to do what they claim, and they hold up to the rigours of live music, constant moving, up the stairs, down the stairs, hot cold wet dry all kinds of poor enviroments..and they just keep on filtering and working. Without magic line cords, or magic outlets. But then PS have magic knowledge beyone mere electrical design.

ewallover
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Re: background noise!

DUP

The electrican thought I was nuts! (and he's not all that wrong when you consider what I was thinking about - drawing at straws maybe) He did not think the installation of the 10-3 NM wires was the problem, and as was suggested earlier in this discussion, the arrangement of the cables ultimately was not a factor. The electrican fully understood the phasing issue, concurred, and made the correction. As I indicated with the change, there was zero voltage potential across the breakers. I will take Vince Galbo's advice to the bank, as he has a great deal of experience with the installation of independent circuits for AV systems, I would be glad to forward the discription to you. As for the PS Audio stuff, it would appear that you have a pretty low opinion of their stuff. This was the 1st piece of their electronics that I have ever purchased. I have a Monster Cable power conditioner on a theater system and it has performed without a hicup, dead quiet and by the way the phonostage was dead quite on that system prior to moving it upstairs.

The Totem speakers are not too sensitive, I think 86 db therefore the 120 W/channel from the 9100 seems to be a good mate.

I might just move the wall wart away from the PS Audio piece and see what happens. My only major concern relates to surge protection.

CECE
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Re: background noise!

www.furmansound.com no audio grade wall devices in their line up, just stuff that works based on electrical designs, not magic, and mysticism. PS has some audio grade fuses, yupper, that sure makes me feel like they are legit and really up on electrical design

ewallover
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Re: background noise!

DUP

I'll take a look at your recommendations, just what I need...to spend more money! I will never cease to be amazed at the range and strength of opinions that this hobby can bring out in the best of people. You do your research, listen to a variety of (hopefully intellegent) sales people, read reviews and buy what you think will serve you best, and undoubetly someone will think you are a jerk because you by one product over another...Oh well.

ewallover
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Re: background noise!

I've moved equipment around, installed a new set of .5 M Crytal Oval shielded interconnects, reorganized the wiring, and have significanlty reduced the noise. It is still there at the highest volume settings, but it think it is now under control. Thanks for all of your suggestions and recommendations, I may try the battery power source for the phonostage, but the WAF issue must be overcome if I am going to add more stuff! Thanks again for all of your help.

Buddha
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Re: background noise!

Hi, Ted, welcome aboard.

This has been a fascinating thread.

I can't 'splain things, but I plan on learning from this thread.

I appreciate you posting about your "adventure."

Please keep us posted as it continues to evolve.

CECE
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Re: background noise!

Gerald Ford and James Brown have died this week. Worse than that Santa Clause didn't bring me my Audi RS4. Just think in 30 years, none of this audio stuff matters, matter o' fact it really don't matter now.

CECE
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Re: background noise!

I avoid any company as being for real when they try to hoodwink my intelligence by telling me they have AUDIO GRADE wall devices and audio grade this or that. Now they also sell a frigging blinking LED that eliminates AC line noise. I see Furman stuff everywhere I go at live events. Wonder why? It works, it's reliable, doesn't appear to have audio magic dust attached to it. Skip the audio grade fuses too. Wonder why no wizzard has come up with audio grade power switches, to compliment that audio grade wall outlet. FTC sure do need to clamp down on these hucksters, with their claims, not backed by anything in reality or electrical design.

Yiangos
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Re: background noise!

Dup,i really felt sorry for James Brown.I was brought up listening/dancing to his music.Next year,ask Santa for 2 RS4
I LOVE this car !!!! Now,here's something you'll love.I have
a old mains multiway adaptor i took out the normal cable and in its place installed Audioquest ac12 or ac15 (not sure) dedicated mains cable.I did not have an adaptor with short cable to install close to my Christmas tree and that one having only a meter lenght cables seemed more ampropriate than a 4m one,so i installed the audioquest.
Quess what ! The lights are blinking brighter and more "in tune" to each other ! Next year i'll try a Nordost Valhalla.

Scooter123
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Re: background noise!

Good grief, why is it that an audiophile is so immune to applying some simple logic?

Example, every time that Ted plugged in his PS Audio power conditioner he got noise. Every time he unplugged it the noise disappeared. The logical conclusion would be that the PS Audio unit was producing the noise and probably defective. Not too surprising if it's truly a power conditioner and not just a box with some magic shielding like what Furutech markets. Power conditioners are ACTIVE devices and usually employ a capacitor somewhere in their circuitry, along with transformers, resistors, and even OP amps in some cases. Since Ted stated that his unit was one of his first purchases it's quite possible that it may have a component that has, or is, failing and it's due for replacement.

Of course, it did cause him to find that his 2 circuits were wired to 2 separate legs of his home power line. Normally with well designed electronics (UL rated) this wouldn't be a safety issue. However, it does increase the noise potential and wouldn't be good practice for an audio system. There is also the fact that with all the interrelated connections in an audio system, any component the wasn't designed to today's electrical standards might present a safety issue.

As for the parallel runs of wires, that shouldn't matter if certain conditions are met. One is that both circuits are from the same "leg" of the incoming power. If they are they will be perfectly in phase and won't induce and "crosstalk". The second is that they don't closely parallel any circuits that are powering noise producing devices for any large distances. One way to ensure this would be by having a seperate service panel (75A) installed specifically for the Audio power circuits. The third is that one leg isn't connected to a device that markedly modifys the phase of the power signal. Since a high current amplifier, or a power conditioner, might meet the third condition, I would suggest seperating the 2 runs by at least 3 inches for as much of the length as possible. It shouldn't be too difficult to pull the staples on one run and shift it higher, or lower, on the joist to achieve this seperation.

ewallover
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Re: background noise!

The noise seems to be more related to the Phonostage than just the PS Audio UPC-200. The overall system has quieted down quite a bit with the separation of the power cables between the panel and the receptacle. I have been told that some noise from a phonostage is not unusual. I added shielded Analysis Plus Crystal Oval interconnects between the Phonemena and the Plinius integrated amp and the system is now quite satisfying and enjoyable. This process of elimination has been most enlightening; I wonder if anyone ever finds all the right answers? Think I'm getting closer, and the PS Audio equipment may ultimately be found to be the clupret. But it was placed into the system to protect the front end equipment. I will contact them to get their take on my situation.

cyclebrain
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Re: background noise!

I'm surprised that I haven't seen any ads for an audio grade power generator to replace that noisy power source that you are using now. Uses only the finest grade plutonium rods using the "Golden Ratio" for the optimum balance of radiation and clean noise free power.

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