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Old 25th August 2013, 01:49 AM   #1
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Location: Columbus, OH
Default Laptop sound quality issues

Hello all, first post. I run and own my own DJ business in Columbus, OH. Its very small and I do it as a 2nd job.

I ran into a snag now that I use my laptop to DJ weddings, HS dances and such.

Their is a humming noise coming out of my speakers when I play songs thru my laptop. I can't quite figure out what it is?

I have 2x B52 Matrix systems, that's I run with a Numark mixer, BBE sonic maximizer, Numark dual deck cd players, Furman power conditioner, monster cable everything.

Anyways I think I might have a grounding issue as far as the hum is concerned. Not sure how to trouble shoot it?

I know u can buy what are called "hum eliminators" but they are $50 per plug. Surely there has to be a better way.

BTW....I run the sounds from the laptop to the mixer via 1/8" (head phone jack from laptop) to RCA. haven't really found any other way to do it ?

Anybody who has more experience then I at this feel free to chime in!

sent from double thumbin' it

Last edited by silentcropduster; 25th August 2013 at 03:39 AM.
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Old 26th August 2013, 06:30 PM   #2
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Can you try a different laptop to eliminate the possibility of it being the laptop itself?
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Old 26th August 2013, 07:33 PM   #3
brig001 is offline brig001  United Kingdom
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Try running the laptop on battery for a test to see if the laptop has a ground and this is causing the problem. Some laptop power supplies have a 3 pin mains plug and this can be causing the ground loop. Dell sell the similar power supplies with and without the earth connection, so this could be a solution if you have a Dell. You could always isolate the audio with a DI box or transformer, in the UK, they start at about $8 ( AV12797 - -- - GROUND ISOLATOR, 2X PHONO | CPC ), car audio shops sell similar - quality might not be good enough, but it would prove the point without costing a lot.

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Old 26th August 2013, 08:06 PM   #4
billyk is offline billyk  United States
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Location: North Central Mass, USA
If I might suggest another solution, and perhaps a decent increase over the laptops internal sound.
This HiFimeDIY Sabre Tiny USB DAC, Digital to Audio Converter (PCM2706+ES9023) uses a sabre es9023 dac chip. For a bit more there is this one HiFimeDIY Sabre U2 Asynchronous USB DAC. The cost of either is likely to be less that isolation, or "hum eliminators" etc. Also unless your laptop has a true line out you may not be getting the best signal to use outputting to your mixer and amps.
I am a fan of outboard dacs and use a usb dac with my laptop and think it a real improvement over the laptops internal sound. I am using an ODAC as I type this output from my desktop.

Last edited by billyk; 26th August 2013 at 08:09 PM. Reason: speeling
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Old 26th August 2013, 08:41 PM   #5
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I bought a clean box pro and a hum eliminator. For both (1 is used from a friend) it cost me roughly $65. From my understanding the clean box with enhance the signal by converting it from unbalanced to balanced signal and the hum eliminator does exactly what the name is.
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Old 27th August 2013, 03:30 AM   #6
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When going from the clean box pro to the mixer....does it matter it I go RCA to RCA into the mixer? If so doesn't that defeat the purpose of going unbalanced to balanced?

sent from double thumbin' it
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Old 27th August 2013, 05:16 AM   #7
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Could be a problem with headphone jack from laptop. Maybe it is better to upgrade to USB sound card, such as mobilepre usb. I don't have much experience with laptops, but couple of laptops that I had, all had some issues with their integrated audio.
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Old 8th September 2013, 03:30 PM   #8
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100% it is your power supply. As someone just said, these things are so incredibly noisy that when I once tried doing room measurements, I could hardly get above the noise floor to measure ambient sound level. Note that this was on an external USB card as well: the noise gets passed along. Same exact phenomena when using my Headroom as a DAC instead of simply an amp (this was on two separate Dell laptops, but same model power supplies). Unplugged and used the battery and good to go!
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