speaker hum


New member
Aug 10, 2019
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I'm getting a hum from my speakers which becomes more audible at higher volumes, I have sony la 500 ed speakers and a sony 1080 amp which I brought some time ago after reading what hifi review and have been extremly happy with it other than the hum which i am wondering if it is mains interference as my new house has low voltage lighting with transformers and dimmer switches. is this something that a mains conditioner could help with if so can anyone reccomend one that really works well. my budget is up to £100. I would like to be able to plug my amp, sacd player, dab radio, hard drive and dvd player in to it if possible although the amp is priority. hope some one can help as it bugs the hell out of me when there is quiet sections to films etc.

Andrew Everard

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May 30, 2007
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The problem's obviously somewhere upstream of the speakers, as they in themselves can't be humming, so I'd suspect the amp, a source component or maybe even the interconnect cables.

If the problem is mains-borne, which I suspect it isn't since presumably the power for your system and that for the lighting is on different circuits, then £100 isn't going to do much to crack it, and I'd hesitate to suggets you buy any kind of mains conditioining product on the off-chance it might work.

It's much more likely that you either have an earth loop somewhere in the system or are picking up radio frequency inteference (RFI) from some element of the lighting transformers and dimming system - most likely as such systems tend to be fairly noisy in electrical terms.

You can confirm this is what's happening by listening with the whole lighting system turned off: if the hum goes, you've found the source; if not, it could be something else such as an alarm system, central heating controls or something similar.

Assuming you find the problem, the next thing to do is find out how the interference is getting into the system. Is the hum worse with certain source components in use? if so, suspect them or the interconnect cables used between them and the amp: the fact that the hum is level-dependent suggests that it's coming in at source component level and being amplified.

If the hum's worse with one particular source try disconnecting it, or changing the interconnect cables between it and the amp. You may even find moving one component relative to another will solve the problem.

Sorry not to be able to give a definitive answer, but I can tell you from bitter experience than tracing and eliminating hums like this can be a pig. I once spent twelve solid hours overnight on one of our show systems chasing a hum that wouldn't go away, and which only vanished when I got out the old Swiss Army Knife and physically cut the cable on the hard-wired phone in the hotel room where we were setting up!

The only way to tackle this is to take the kind of methodical approach I've outlined above - you'll crack it in the end...


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