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dastinger

Almost giving up (buzz/hum problem)

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Hello everyone!
 
I wouldn't be asking for help if I hadn't tried everything I could think of, but this is messing with my mind for some time now and I can't stop thinking about it, mainly because I either find a solution or I resign to listen to music with a background buzz. I also know there are tons of threads like this. Believe me, I read a lot of them and many of the things I tried were suggested on those exact threads. I also know that this could probably be fixed with a ground wire, but is taking the tonearm apart of a one month old turntable really the only option? Would it 100% fix it? I would like to avoid losing the warranty as much as possible.
 
(HUGE READ AHEAD)
 
I'll try to keep it as short as possible, but I don't want to miss any detail. I tried a mountain of things and still couldn't fix it, so I'm hoping some of the more experienced users here could chime in and discuss ideas/share how they solved issues like this one.
 
My system is not the best, mainly because I'm using a home theatre receiver, but this shouldn't happen nevertheless:
 
  • TT: Rega Planar 1 w/ Rega Carbon (1 month old)
  • Receiver: Marantz SR-73 (early 90s)
  • Speakers: B&W DM305 (mid 90s?)
 
First of all, I want to point out that I'm not sure if the issue was present since I acquired the Planar 1 or if it developed in the mean time. I honestly can't pinpoint when I noticed it, but it was maybe a week and a half ago.
 
The issue is fairly simple. I have a high pitched buzz that I can hear when the volume is at 25%+ which is not loud at all. I'm writing this post listening to music using this exact setup, directly below my son's bedroom, dial is precisely on the 25% position and you can't hear a sound upstairs. House does not have the best isolation either.
 
Anyway, the buzz is there and gets louder when I turn the volume up. It also gets louder when I position my hand next to the cartridge or the back tip of the tonearm. For the ones who don't know, Rega does not use an external grounding wire like most manufacturers. Now, here's what I tried doing:
 
  • Move the TT away from the amp. To the front, sides and back. As far as the wiring lets me;
  • Disconnect any other piece of equipment from the receiver leaving only the speakers and the TT;
  • Change speaker wire (the one I was using was crap, now I upgraded);
  • Unplugged TT from power outlet;
  • Changed power strip/plugged directly to the wall (receiver);
  • Tried it with headphones;
  • Tried it with different receivers;
  • Moved rooms AND floors;
  • Tried setting up the amp and turntable on different bases;
  • Unplugged everything connected to a power outlet on the same room;
  • Turned off the lights.
 
Nothing solved it. NOTHING. It didn't even make it better. And yes, the TT doesn't need to be powered (or the power cord connected) for the issue to arise. Also, the buzz is constant and does not happen on any other input.
 
Now, here's what helped a little bit:
 
  • If I plug a RCA -> Jack cable to my aluminum phone, the buzz is reduced a bit;
  • If I plug the turntable power cord directly to the receiver (it has a power outlet on the back), the buzz is further reduced.
 
BUT, it is still there and it's annoying, mainly if I want to listen to music using headphones.
 
Now, this is where things get worse (I guess). A friend brought his Pioneer PL-100 and Pioneer vintage amp to my place and we set it up on the exact same location:
 
  • Rega connected to his amp -> Buzz
  • Pioneer PL-100 connected to his amp -> No buzz
 
So, issue might be on the turntable or my place, right? OK, let's take the turntable and my amp to his place. Different house, different area of the city (~3 km away). We got there, connected everything up and, you guessed it, same exact buzz.
 
So, case solved, it's the turntable! Well, not quite. The hi-fi shop I bought it in is a few meters away from his place so we decided to go there. Once we got there, we connected my receiver, my turntable and my headphones. Guess what, not a sound. There was a bit of hum, but only when the volume was raised above 75%. And it was not the same type of sound. At my place (and my friend's), it's a high pitched hiss/buzz mixed with a low one. At the store, there was only the low one, which is not half as annoying. And only noticeable at 75%+ volume, which I'll probably never use.
 
Btw, the electrical installation at my place is 15 years old. His is a year and a half. Both are grounded as far as we know, we're in Europe in case that helps (not the UK).
 
This has got a lot bigger than I thought and I think every piece of information needed is there. What would you do? I can't enjoy listening to music and I don't want to throw the €270 spent on the Planar 1 down the gutter. I can't even use the warranty because they'd probably test it at Rega and say there's no issue, just like it happened at the store (I watched the test being done, I listened myself).
 
So, any ideas? I'm at a loss and I can't get my head off of this, I could use some help.

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I feel for you Porto, having experienced nigh untraceable noises in my own system.  From what you've written I'd be calling the hifi shop that helped and asking for the contact details of their electrician and contract him/her to improve your installation.

 

 

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I'm afraid I had the same issue with two Rega turntables in the past. It's a design quirk, in my experience.

 

(I've suffered similar problems with some brands of amplifier).

 

In my case, the Rega's interaction with my phono stages didn't work. 

 

I know you've swapped receivers, but I would try inserting a different phono stage between turntable and amp to see.

 

 

 

Edited by goldiver

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Guest Hensa

You can test the ground wire theory by touching a separate wire (any wire will do) from a bare metal part of the tonearm to the ground terminal on the amp. If this does the trick, you could set something up more permanently without pulling the arm apart to rewire.

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Wrap a piece of cable around the outer sheath of the left RCA of the turntable and connect the other end to your earth terminal. See if that works.

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First of all, thank you so much for all your replies. You have been of great help so far. I'll try answering everyone individually.

 

3 hours ago, warweary said:

I feel for you Porto, having experienced nigh untraceable noises in my own system.  From what you've written I'd be calling the hifi shop that helped and asking for the contact details of their electrician and contract him/her to improve your installation.

 

 

I definitely thought about that. They sell high end equipment and have a hell of a store so I'm sure their electrical installation is amazing, maybe with some type of filters on the plugs. I'm exhausting every other option before I do that, but the next step is asking the technician to come to my place and find out what's wrong. Then they decide if they call their electrician (store owner already mentioned that possibility too).

2 hours ago, goldiver said:

I'm afraid I had the same issue with two Rega turntables in the past. It's a design quirk, in my experience.

 

(I've suffered similar problems with some brands of amplifier).

 

In my case, the Rega's interaction with my phono stages didn't work. 

 

I know you've swapped receivers, but I would try inserting a different phono stage between turntable and amp to see.

 

 

 

I tried three receivers and my main receiver didn't buzz when tested at the store so I'm not sure if that's the issue.

2 hours ago, Hensa said:

You can test the ground wire theory by touching a separate wire (any wire will do) from a bare metal part of the tonearm to the ground terminal on the amp. If this does the trick, you could set something up more permanently without pulling the arm apart to rewire.

It does help but it doesn't make the buzz disappear, only reduces it :(

2 hours ago, Wimbo said:

Wrap a piece of cable around the outer sheath of the left RCA of the turntable and connect the other end to your earth terminal. See if that works.

I tried that with speaker cable and it didn't work, unfortunately. Do you think speaker cable should have worked?

 

Another thing I tried was connecting a speaker wire from the ground lug on my receiver to the metal strip european plugs have that are used merely for grounding purposes. My line of thinking is, I'd be removing any kind of electricity that was being conducted to the receiver's chassis by the turntable RCA (Rega uses the left RCA as a substitute for the ground wire) directly to my house's ground. Like this:

 

IBW2Wxk.jpg

urjfqbb.jpg

 

Now, I'm 99% sure this is safe since those polls are only used for grounding and there is no power whatsoever running through them. And, it kinda worked. The buzz was reduced by more than 50%. So, right now, the buzz is still there and is still noticeable at normal levels while using headphones but was reduced to some extent and it isn't as intrusive while listening on the speakers.

I'll wait for developments on the answers given so far and keep testing. I obviously don't want to keep the speaker wire thingy as a permanent solution and if I can get rid of the buzz completely, the better.

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@dastinger :hijacked:Just saw your from Porto.

Lovely place Portugal. I spent some time back in 81 living in Costa da Caprica and Setubal. Had to hitch back to Holland and went via Coimbra and across to Badajoz and up San Sebastian way. Visted Porto and the top back in 78. Great people mate.

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@Wimbo Ay, it's amazing! Great weather, great food, great people and it's beautiful. We've got it all! I wasn't even born in 78, but we were just getting out of a fascist government that ruled for four decades so I bet it was way different than what it is now. But, the goodies are still all here :) Come visit again, some time!

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If you have not already done this it might be worth a try.

Unplug the head shell wires from the cartridge, BUT FIRST note down what colours go where BEFORE you unplug them.

Also be gentle so as not to break the delicate wires. Best to use a small pair of pliers to grab the flat metal part of the connector (never the wires) and brace the pliers because as the connector comes off the cartridge it can jerk and break the wires.

With all the wires disconnected and making sure none of the wires are shorting or touching anything else try the amp and start with the volume at zero to be safe.

See if buzz is better or worse.

 

Turn off amp and then carefully reconnect the head shell wires and check for buzz again.

The re-connection process may clear a bad connection which could be the source of the buzz.

 

I feel for you. I once had a hum which baffled me for ages and it turned out to be the RCA connection between my previous amp and TV even when a different source such as CD was in use. Unplug the RCA connection and problem was gone. Different amp now so issue is gone.

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Hey @rockpig,

 

Thank you so much for replying. I sort of tried that. I tried swapping the cartridge with my friend's and it didn't help. It had the exact same buzz. Then I installed mine again, so the wires were reconnected twice. Also, please note that the very same cartridge I used to test was used on my friend's Pioneer PL-100 at the exact same place mine is installed and there was no buzz (his has a ground wire though).

 

Only thing I didn't try was connecting the TT with the cartridge wires disconnected, but I guess I ruled out the defective cartridge possibility anyway.

 

Yeh, it's super frustrating. I just want to get back to enjoying my records again.

Edited by dastinger

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I'm following this thread with interest.

 

I also experience a slight hum/buzz at rather high levels on very quiet passages. Especially annoying on "The Wall", on the quiet bits, with headphones (I'm being rather picky).

 

If I disconnect the TT from the amp's phono input, the amp is quiet. If I touch the headshell or around the plate of the TT, the hum varies, but doesn't go away. My guess is the cartridge (which is a coil in the end) picks up some garbage from somewhere. Or the wires.

 

However, because it's so low, this buzzing, I haven't bothered with further tests to be honest. I can't quite hear it during normal listening.

 

Cheers,

 

Alberto

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Unfortunately I think a hardware modification will be the only one hundred percent fix.

Rega elimanted the seperate ground cable by connecting the arm ground to the cartridge left chanel negative (blue wire) at the base of the arm. Now this works fine in most cases but not all. Disconnecting the cartridge left chanel negative  (blue wire) from the the arm earth (black wire) at the base of the arm & runing out a seperate arm ground lead back to the amp should solve the problem. This is how all the other turntable manufactures do it. There are some photos & info on this link.

http://www.aqvox.de/REGA_250_300_Tonearm-mod-humm-free-remove-signal-groundrega_mod.html

Good luck

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Hi. I am new to this forum so please go easy on me until I learn my way around!

A few thoughts on the hum- it is possible that the grounding wire you have connected to the back of the amp/receiver is creating an earth loop. Double grounding induces a hum that is hard to tolerate.

Secondly, have you tried plugging the turntable into a different input? Not necessarily to use it but to see if the hum appears at high volume levels? This may help to trace the cause to a faulty input on the amplifier.

Finally, I have read recently that many Rega cartridges are noisy especially as the cartridge approaches the label of the LP. The cartridge is then closest to the motor. Some have been saved by changing to an different brand of cartridge.

I have an Ortofon 2M red which is excellent and a Quintet Blue MC which is better. Also, if you get a pre-amp you can plug it into any standard amp input. Could just save the day!

Good luck and I hope this helps..

IainD

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23 hours ago, betocool said:

I'm following this thread with interest.

 

I also experience a slight hum/buzz at rather high levels on very quiet passages. Especially annoying on "The Wall", on the quiet bits, with headphones (I'm being rather picky).

 

If I disconnect the TT from the amp's phono input, the amp is quiet. If I touch the headshell or around the plate of the TT, the hum varies, but doesn't go away. My guess is the cartridge (which is a coil in the end) picks up some garbage from somewhere. Or the wires.

 

However, because it's so low, this buzzing, I haven't bothered with further tests to be honest. I can't quite hear it during normal listening.

 

Cheers,

 

Alberto

Hello Alberto, thanks for chiming in. 

 

Is your TT also a Rega? Those are the exact same symptoms.

18 hours ago, Gieseler Audio said:

Unfortunately I think a hardware modification will be the only one hundred percent fix.

Rega elimanted the seperate ground cable by connecting the arm ground to the cartridge left chanel negative (blue wire) at the base of the arm. Now this works fine in most cases but not all. Disconnecting the cartridge left chanel negative  (blue wire) from the the arm earth (black wire) at the base of the arm & runing out a seperate arm ground lead back to the amp should solve the problem. This is how all the other turntable manufactures do it. There are some photos & info on this link.

http://www.aqvox.de/REGA_250_300_Tonearm-mod-humm-free-remove-signal-groundrega_mod.html

Good luck

I already thought about that and it's a possibility that's getting stronger by the minute. I also thought about rewiring completely, but it'd be a lot more expensive. At least I'd probably get rid of the buzz and would improve the cable quality (which kinda sucks).

 

Thanks a lot for your help!

17 hours ago, IainD said:

Hi. I am new to this forum so please go easy on me until I learn my way around!

A few thoughts on the hum- it is possible that the grounding wire you have connected to the back of the amp/receiver is creating an earth loop. Double grounding induces a hum that is hard to tolerate.

Secondly, have you tried plugging the turntable into a different input? Not necessarily to use it but to see if the hum appears at high volume levels? This may help to trace the cause to a faulty input on the amplifier.

Finally, I have read recently that many Rega cartridges are noisy especially as the cartridge approaches the label of the LP. The cartridge is then closest to the motor. Some have been saved by changing to an different brand of cartridge.

I have an Ortofon 2M red which is excellent and a Quintet Blue MC which is better. Also, if you get a pre-amp you can plug it into any standard amp input. Could just save the day!

Good luck and I hope this helps..

IainD

Hey! Thank you a lot for your reply!

 

The wire I connected to the receiver was the only thing I did that helped considerably. We're talking about an intensity reduction of around 50-60%. It's a lot more acceptable with that wire running from the receiver to the ground plate on the outlet, so I ruled out the loop possibility.

 

Also, other inputs on the receiver don't buzz with nothing connected, so I'm sure the issue is not on the receiver. Don't forget that I also tried three different receivers, all with the same issue.

 

I also read about the motor hum on Regas but this is not the case. It's not really a hum, it's more of a buzz/hiss and it doesn't get stronger when the cartridge is near the label/motor.

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Hi @dastinger,

 

my TT is a Thorens 280, but with similar symptoms as yours, although from your description I think your problem may be louder. I just listened at moderate levels "Venus and Mars" by Wings and I could not hear anything disturbing. I'm more aware of it at loud headphone volumes.

 

Cheers,

 

Alberto

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Position your turntable in such a way that its phono cables don't have to cross over the path of the motor"s power supply cable. Try placing your tt so that the phono cables steer clear of any other power supply cables/power cords.

 

It is also a good idea to check all the connections on the phono wiring from cartridge to phonostage.

 

Another measure: switch to mc cartridge.

 

MM cart on a rega can sometimes be susceptible to stray ac related noise. Switching to MC often solve this issue...

Edited by jeromelang

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Hey @jeromelang, thanks for your reply!

 

I have thought about that before and positioned the turntable and receiver taking that into consideration, but it didn't help, unfortunately.

 

I also disconnected and reconnected the cartridge wires and even tried a different MM cartridge, didn't help.

 

Switching to a MC cartridge is prohibitive due to cost. If I want a good sounding MC cartridge, I'd need to spend close or more than what the turntable costed me, it doesn't make sense imo. Also, I don't know how my receiver would act with a MC cart.

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I know this is several years too late, but since I just solved this issue with the same model turntable:  I connecting a ground wire from the receiver to screw that holds the electrical outlet in place.  And the buzzing stops completely.  I don't see that solution listed above, but apologies if I missed it.  Again, I know this is years too late but I was just struggling with it and solved it pretty easily.

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Does the buzz reduce if you touch the tonearm?

 

What frequency is the buzz? My TT is sat below my TV and I get buzz from switchmode PS in the TV induced into the TT wiring.  See temporary fix as kitchen foil taped to TV whilst listening to LP's The foil is grounded to the phono pre by an alligator clip.

 

Try wrapping the TT in kitchen foil and adding a ground from the foil to the phono pre.

 

P_20200629_142503.thumb.jpg.525c772344dce7f14a5c5abf0a6f002c.jpg

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