How to Fix PA Speaker Buzz, Hum and Other Noises
If you’re experiencing a constantly humming, buzzing, static or any other such noises coming from your PA speaker, then you’ll surely get annoyed when listening to your music. Such noises destroy the quality of sound you get since they interfere with your listening experience. These noises are mostly caused by a ground loop associated with electric current. If this is the cause, then you’ll have to fix it. Although ground loop is the most common cause of such noises, another major cause is when your PA speaker is blown. Blown PA speakers can be fixed rather than investing in new units. It’s often a little issue that you can easily fixed without a lot of challenge. Thus, you’ll not have to spend more money investing in new PA speakers. Read on through this article for details on how to fix pa speaker buzz, hum and other noises.
Fixing Ground Loop Issues
Before fixing a ground loop, you will need to start with identifying the loop source. Once you have identified the source of the loop, you can attempt fixing it and see whether the noise issue is eliminated. Basically, ground loop is an issue that occurs when multiple electronics in an interconnected system are using the same grounding connection. The resulting effect is some electric current entering into the audio signal, leading to interference. The interference is heard on the speaker as a buzzing or humming sound.
You can fix this issue by following these steps:
1. Assess the volume of your PA speaker
You can simply start with checking the volume level of the equipment feeding your speakers. This can be an amp, computer or any other source of sound. You’ll need to level the volume to 75 percent. Then adjust the volume of the speaker and see whether the noise is eliminated. If the output sound is beyond what your speaker can handle, it will produce unwanted noise. Thus, you need to adjust the input volume to see if the problem is solved.
2. Try Different Audio Inputs
If adjusting the volume of your speaker does not eliminate the hum or buzz noise, you can try to connect the audio cable to different speaker inputs. If your PA speaker comes with multiple audio inputs, remove the speaker cable from one input and try another audio input. Just ensure you’re using the correct speaker cable to connect to a different input. Then listen to the sound to check whether the noise issue is eliminated.
3. Sharing a power socket
Ground loop may also be caused by using different power outlets. For instance, if your PA speaker and its source of sound such as an amp or PC are using different power sockets, then you may experience some noise. Here, the solution is to connect all the devices in the sound system to one power socket. You can use an extension unit to do this. Also, if you haven’t connected your laptop to the power supply, you might still experience noise. Thus, all devices within the same setup as your PA speaker should use the same socket.
4. Disconnecting all devices
If the problem is not solved, you can go ahead and disconnect all the equipment in the set up especially when using a PC or mixer. The only equipment that will remain connected is the amplifier and speaker. Also, disconnect all external devices from the PC or any other source of sound feeding your speaker. These external devices include USB flash disks, CD players and external hard drives. Also, you’ll need to assess whether the ground loop is coming from the active monitor or amp. To do this, disconnect the active monitor or amp and plug your headphones into the audio output your music player and check whether there’s noise or not. If you’re able to note the device causing the loop, then ground lift the sound connection to resolve the problem. However, avoid ground lifting the electric connection of the device.
5. Use Balanced Speaker Cables
Try to only use balanced speaker cables when connecting your source of audio to the speaker. In case the mixer or speaker offers both balanced and unbalanced sound inputs, connect the audio source using corresponding inputs. This means that you should avoid connecting balanced outputs to unbalanced inputs and vice versa.
6. Install a Ground Loop Isolating Tool or DI Unit
In case you’re still unable to solve the noise issue, you may try to add either a loop isolating tool or a DI unit. You can readily get an isolator from your local music equipment store. You’ll add the isolator between your PA speakers and amp or any other audio source you’re using. It works by isolating noise before it becomes audible in the speaker. You can also try a DI unit. It is usually placed between the connections in your audio setup and works by breaking the grounding of the sound connection.
Repairing a Blown PA Speaker
In case you’ve tried all the steps described above to eliminate ground loop and you’re still hearing a buzzing or humming noise, then the noise issue may be in your speaker. Most probably, it’s blown. You will have to assess whether it’s blown and fix it. Here are the items you’ll require:
- Some rubber cement
- Damp cloth
Once you’ve gathered these material, ensure you’ve plugged the speaker into an audio source such that it can play. Thus, you’d rather do the repair near your music system. Here’re the steps you’ll need to follow:
Step 1- Removing the PA speaker covering
Once you’re ready to start the repair process, remove the speaker cover. The cover may be fitted in place with some screws or simply clipped in place. Simply unscrew or unclip it. Once you’ve removed the speaker cover, you will see the membrane of the speaker over the cones. Try to wipe the membrane using a damp cloth. Do it with a lot of care. Check for any sign of tears on the membrane.
Step 2- Locating the problematic issue
Turn on the music. This way, it’ll be easier to locate any tear on the speaker membrane. If the buzz is somehow louder, it means the problem is nearer to the edge of the PA speaker membrane. Look very carefully and closely for tiny holes or tears. While music is playing, any tear will appear larger and easier to notice.
Step 3- Patching the damage
Upon identifying a tear on the membrane, you’ll need to repair it. First, disconnect the speaker from its power. Use rubber cement minimally to seal the tear. Spread the cement evenly over the damaged area. Then allow for the cement to settle and dry completely.
Step 4- Testing your speaker
Once you have done the repair and allowed it to dry, you can plug back everything and start testing your speaker at a low volume. Increase the level of volume gradually as you listen for any noise. In case there’s no noise, replace the speaker covering and use the PA speaker normally.
With these tips on how to fix PA speaker buzz, hum and other noises, you’ll not have to rush to buy a new speaker. Try each and every solution to find and fix the problem. In the process, you’ll actually learn some new things you never knew. However, if you notice that your speaker is extremely blown beyond repair, then you may have to buy a better and new PA speaker.