Noise in DAW when charging Macbook

northernguitarguy

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Hello all, I hope you are well.

For home practice, I'm using the following setup:

Guitar--->pedalboard--->Orange Rocker 15 Terror--->Two Notes Torpedo Captor--->macbook pro line in----Mackie IEMs.

It's working well for me. However, I noticed that there is often a background hum when I'm charging and playing. It's not so noticeable when playing, especially with high gain. More present when playing clean.

It's totally absent when I unplug the charger, but I seem to lose volume and my input looks weaker on the levels.

Any solutions out there, besides buying a new laptop?
 

CerebralGasket

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Unplug everything but guitar, laptop, charger and add one device at a time to isolate which one is causing the noise. One of the pedals may be the culprit or one of the power supplies to one of the devices. Using isolated power supplies may help as well.
 

Gary

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How old is your Macbook Pro? Mine was having all kinds of problems including mechanical noise, low battery charge life and running very slow. It all turned out to be the HDD. I replaced the mechanical drive with a SSD and it's runs like a race car now.

Be sure to keep your signal cables away from the power supply and power cables.

Good luck!
 

northernguitarguy

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Unplug everything but guitar, laptop, charger and add one device at a time to isolate which one is causing the noise. One of the pedals may be the culprit or one of the power supplies to one of the devices. Using isolated power supplies may help as well.
Thanks, CG! I will try this later tonight. I will start with just the amp.
 

northernguitarguy

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How old is your Macbook Pro? Mine was having all kinds of problems including mechanical noise, low battery charge life and running very slow. It all turned out to be the HDD. I replaced the mechanical drive with a SSD and it's runs like a race car now.

Be sure to keep your signal cables away from the power supply and power cables.

Good luck!
Thanks Gary. It's a 2009 that's been rebuilt. It now has an SSD, 8gb of RAM, new battery, screen, thorough CPU cleaning, etc. It works like a charm, but for the slight noise when I play into Garageband. If I unplug the mac charger, it's whisper quiet.

I'm going to move the cables around a bit. I'm using a 20' Fender-labelled cable to patch from the Captor to my macbook, maybe I will try another with a shorter run and make sure it's away from the charger.
 

redking

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I would try plugging the computer in to a separate circuit if possible - maybe run an extension cord from another room to the room you are practicing in. Looks ugly but might do the trick to get the computer and the guitar rig on different circuits. Just take a look at your panel to see which room closeby is on a different circuit.
 

DarrellV

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If I unplug the mac charger, it's whisper quiet.
Then chances are you are hearing the noise from the switching power supply in the charger.

No way around that... it was designed to keep transient noise (what you are hearing) under the radar of the CPU and stuff, not to be noise free for audio recording.

If you can get another charger, a newer one maybe, you could try that..

Otherwise I would suggest getting one of those battery extenders that plug into it (if they make one) and run it on DC batteries during recording.

If you ever want to hear how really noisy laptops are, try setting it on your guitar pickups sometime!

All kinds of switching noise.....

Something like this, maybe...

https://www.amazon.com/MAXOAK-2006-2018-36000mAh-External-Portable/dp/B017QUHB44/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=macbook+pro+external+battery&qid=1575388750&sr=8-3
 

KP11520

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This is more common that you'd imagine. Sometimes other outlets are on the other leg of the 220 coming into the house and cleaner. Sometimes a different breaker that has less noise making things plugged in.

For short recording sessions, a full battery and unplugged was what got best results.

Some use an APC type UPS and disconnect if from the wall when recording needs longer sessions.

Those Dirty Wall Outlets. Some try soaking them out, others try scrubbing them out....


Ummmmm.... Never Mind. LOL
 

northernguitarguy

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Then chances are you are hearing the noise from the switching power supply in the charger.

No way around that... it was designed to keep transient noise (what you are hearing) under the radar of the CPU and stuff, not to be noise free for audio recording.

If you can get another charger, a newer one maybe, you could try that..

Otherwise I would suggest getting one of those battery extenders that plug into it (if they make one) and run it on DC batteries during recording.

If you ever want to hear how really noisy laptops are, try setting it on your guitar pickups sometime!

All kinds of switching noise.....

Something like this, maybe...

https://www.amazon.com/MAXOAK-2006-2018-36000mAh-External-Portable/dp/B017QUHB44/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=macbook+pro+external+battery&qid=1575388750&sr=8-3
Thanks Darrell. I’ll try my wife’s charger to see if there’s a difference. My son has an aftermarket charger that’s much worse.
 

northernguitarguy

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I would try plugging the computer in to a separate circuit if possible - maybe run an extension cord from another room to the room you are practicing in. Looks ugly but might do the trick to get the computer and the guitar rig on different circuits. Just take a look at your panel to see which room closeby is on a different circuit.
Thanks Red. I’ll try this. Right now it’s all plugged into a cheap power bar.
 

northernguitarguy

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This is more common that you'd imagine. Sometimes other outlets are on the other leg of the 220 coming into the house and cleaner. Sometimes a different breaker that has less noise making things plugged in.

For short recording sessions, a full battery and unplugged was what got best results.

Some use an APC type UPS and disconnect if from the wall when recording needs longer sessions.

Those Dirty Wall Outlets. Some try soaking them out, others try scrubbing them out....


Ummmmm.... Never Mind. LOL
Thanks KP. It’s a hum I can deal with, but maybe for recording the best option is to unplug.
 

KP11520

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Kinda irritating when you finally think you have everything to get started.

Had a friend that had two keyboards, Casio and Nord and built an amp basically using a small mixer,, PA Power Amp and Full Range PA speakers. Then a new Laptop and an older but great value Tascam 1800 Audio Interface. Loaded up Reaper, and the full package of Native Instruments including the monster Piano suite. Sure as Sh!t, Laptop picked up the dirty in the line.

He did the same as you, but he gets distracted often (ADD) and wound up with a large backup P/S. LOL
 

redking

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Thanks Red. I’ll try this. Right now it’s all plugged into a cheap power bar.
You could also try an isolation transformer, but I think the low tech solution I mentioned might be easier and cheaper.

 

TheDevice

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Yeah, could also be a ground issue. I've had in the past, moved to a new house with the same rig and the hum quit.
 

northernguitarguy

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Thanks, guys. No suggestion here, save for a power bank or other gadget has worked. It's definitely the Apple power supply, but as I said, not so bad as to make it an unpleasant experience. Once I'm playing, I don't hear it.
 

DarrellV

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Thanks, guys. No suggestion here, save for a power bank or other gadget has worked. It's definitely the Apple power supply, but as I said, not so bad as to make it an unpleasant experience. Once I'm playing, I don't hear it.
I can only record unplugged. I always just thought it was a thing and part of the deal.
What you are hearing is not coming from the house mains, it's not 60 cycle hum, and a lot of adapters don't even have a ground pin anyway.

The units convert the mains power internally using their own frequency generator and internal transformer. This is the noise you are hearing ....

So your DC power to the laptop is already isolated from the mains by the design.

However, this just hit me while reading this again this morning.... (Ice pack is applied)

They sell these on Amazon.. ferrite cores. That's just what these things do is suck up noise!

They are cheap, so its worth a try to clip one or two on your power lead before it goes into the laptop.

These are on ebay!
 

Pop1655

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@DarrellV could be onto something. I used to run a Y-cord out of my THR headphone into powered monitors and had this issue. Went to Radio Shack and got a Y cord that had something I assume was like this built in. Solved the problem.
 

DarrellV

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@DarrellV could be onto something. I used to run a Y-cord out of my THR headphone into powered monitors and had this issue. Went to Radio Shack and got a Y cord that had something I assume was like this built in. Solved the problem.
Some laptop adapters, video cables, etc. DO already have these built in for that reason, or to keep the noise from interfering with other stuff for FCC compliance..

HDMI


VGA monitor cable


USB..


If you have worked on amps or PC's you've seen ferrite choke coils
 




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