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USB electrical noise is a thing

tabulius

Active Member
I've had some issues with high pitched electrical noise and hum-like interference coming out of my speakers (Amphion One 18s) awhile now and when I upgraded the video card and a new 4k tv the problem was even more evident.

I thought this was an issue about power connections but a bit googling around it is a motherboard's USB connection problem. And what I found that this is actually quite common problem and we should be really careful what motherboards we are going to buy if we are using USB audio interfaces. The problem is that all the electric noise and coil-whine is transferred thru badly shielded USB-ports and that goes into audio card.

Luckily I don't necessarily have to buy a new MB to fix this. I found a possible fix from Youtube and went ahead and ordered a USB isolator called Hifime. Youtube Link

I did buy a high speed version that should work well with all audio interfaces, including with my RME Fireface UC. So if anyone has similar problems, this is the reason and there is a fix. I'll report back when I have tried the USB-thingy out. Anyone else tried a similar solution?
 
OP
tabulius

tabulius

Active Member
I actually tried a wire that had a ferrite head, but that didn’t have an effect. That might work in some cases.
 
OP
tabulius

tabulius

Active Member
It seems the Hifime USB Isolator doesn't work out of the box with the RME Fireface UC. The audio interface requires too much power for it, so I need to order a powered USB hub.
 

pderbidge

Senior Member
Do you have your internal soundcard front header hooked up? I had the exact same issue and bought a $50 USB isolator which worked except that it would constantly cause my focusrite to drop connection. Then I had read about someone who said that some of those front case connectors can act like an Antenna in the system affecting the USB and audio in general. Once I unhooked the front audio headers to my case- problem solved. You might want to try that before spending too much more money.
 
OP
tabulius

tabulius

Active Member
What do you mean by front header? Do you mean the audio inputs or something else? Nothing connected there.

Today I actually tried again and now the Isolator worked and RME got a solid connection. I tried a new USB input and I connected the Isolator first, then audio interface and it worked. No more hiss and coil whine out of my speakers! Also, the hiss was removed from my headphone output as well. Earlier I thought that came from the SPL 2Control, but apparently, it was also from the bad USB connection. I've worked a few hours now and no dropouts yet. I haven't tried recording yet, but I'm very happy.

:dancedance:
 

patrick76

Senior Member
I had a similar problem with my RME interface. Someone told me to try other USB ports on my computer and after trying a few, I did in fact find one to plug into that wasn't creating any noise. Just got lucky I guess.
 

pderbidge

Senior Member
What do you mean by front header? Do you mean the audio inputs or something else? Nothing connected there.
Yes, I meant the front Audio connectors, even if the drivers aren't installed it's the physical connection that can cause interference. If nothing is connected to the board from there then unfortunately your issue is somewhere else. Sorry to hear that.

Someone told me to try other USB ports on my computer and after trying a few, I did in fact find one to plug into that wasn't creating any noise. Just got lucky I guess.
I think this is worth a try. Also perhaps disconnecting the front USB ports from the motherboard (if the OP has any) since he mentioned the audio wasn't connected. Sometimes those case connectors are not the highest quality.
 
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