Ground buzz/hum on audio production PC

Cloud9

Active member
Hi folks. Aiming this more at the audio crowd I suppose:

I bought a PC from PCS in the summer for the purpose of audio production. Performance is brilliant but I've been having major issues with loud ground hum when recording instruments into my interface. At first I thought the issue was with my guitar, then I thought it was with my interface. But I think I've managed to isolate the problem to being with the computer because I was able to test using a different PC (exact same equipment/signal chain/cabling, running into the same power socket) and the noise was gone.

I know you can get those ground isolator USB thingies, but is this a problem I should look at treating - could this signify something's bad with the PSU? Like I said, it doesn't happen on other computers using the same guitars/cables/interfaces. I also get very mild static shocks whenever using my PC with musical instruments if I touch metal.

PC build is the below:

Case
FRACTAL DEFINE 7 BLACK QUIET MID-TOWER CASE
Processor (CPU)
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X Six Core CPU (3.7GHz-4.6GHz/35MB CACHE/AM4)
Motherboard
ASUS® STRIX B550-F GAMING (DDR4, USB 3.2, 6Gb/s) - ARGB Ready!
Memory (RAM)
32GB Corsair VENGEANCE DDR4 3600MHz (2 x 16 GB)
Graphics Card
4GB NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 1050 Ti - DVI, HDMI, DP
1st M.2 SSD Drive
500GB SAMSUNG 980 PRO M.2, PCIe NVMe (up to 6900MB/R, 5000MB/W)
1st M.2 SSD Drive
1TB INTEL® 670p M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD (up to 3500MB/sR | 2500MB/sW)
Power Supply
CORSAIR 850W RMx SERIES™ MODULAR 80 PLUS® GOLD, ULTRA QUIET
Power Cable
1 x 1 Metre UK Power Cable (Kettle Lead)
Processor Cooling
Corsair H115i ELITE CAPELLIX RGB Hydro Series High Performance CPU Cooler
Thermal Paste
STANDARD THERMAL PASTE FOR SUFFICIENT COOLING
Sound Card
ONBOARD 6 CHANNEL (5.1) HIGH DEF AUDIO (AS STANDARD)
Network Card
10/100/1000 GIGABIT LAN PORT
Wireless Network Card
WIRELESS INTEL® Wi-Fi 6 AX200 2,400Mbps/5GHz, 300Mbps/2.4GHz PCI-E CARD + BT 5.0
USB/Thunderbolt Options
MIN. 2 x USB 3.0 & 2 x USB 2.0 PORTS @ BACK PANEL + MIN. 2 FRONT PORTS
Operating System
Windows 10 Home 64 Bit - inc. Single Licence [KUK-00001]
Operating System Language
United Kingdom - English Language
Windows Recovery Media
Windows 10 Multi-Language Recovery Image - Unlimited Downloads from Online Account
Office Software
FREE 30 Day Trial of Microsoft 365® (Operating System Required)
Anti-Virus
NO ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE
Browser
Microsoft® Edge (Windows 10 Only)
Warranty
3 Year Silver Warranty (1 Year Collect & Return, 1 Year Parts, 3 Year Labour
 

Scott

Behold The Ford Mondeo
Moderator
Something sounds a bit off. Could you take the panels off of the PC and see if it solves the issue? The most common grounding is on the side panel that covers the rear of the motherboard. This tends to be where cables congregate and you can sometimes get a protruding pin.
 

Cloud9

Active member
Cheers for the replies.

What metal do you touch to get a mild shock? The case or something else? You certainly shouldn't get getting any shocks

Touching the case or the metal part of my desk gives me static discharge type shocks if I'm also holding my guitar.

Something sounds a bit off. Could you take the panels off of the PC and see if it solves the issue? The most common grounding is on the side panel that covers the rear of the motherboard. This tends to be where cables congregate and you can sometimes get a protruding pin.

PCSpecialist advised me to look for any loose cables but everything looked really neat and tidy in the back. Nothing protruding.

I'm kinda baffled by this tbh. I was sure at first it was a grounding problem in some element of my musical gear chain but after going through processes of isolation I'm 99% sure now it's something to do with the PC's internals because swapping out the machine for another removes the noise.
 

Vajra

Silver Level Poster
I'm just guessing but I noticed that you have the same cooler as I do and some people complain about pump cooler make buzzing noise similar to this one here
Does that sound like anything you experience?
 
Last edited:

SpyderTracks

We love you Ukraine
Moderator
Cheers for the replies.



Touching the case or the metal part of my desk gives me static discharge type shocks if I'm also holding my guitar.



PCSpecialist advised me to look for any loose cables but everything looked really neat and tidy in the back. Nothing protruding.

I'm kinda baffled by this tbh. I was sure at first it was a grounding problem in some element of my musical gear chain but after going through processes of isolation I'm 99% sure now it's something to do with the PC's internals because swapping out the machine for another removes the noise.
I would definitely raise that with PCS then, @Scott is right, there's something causing a connection with the case somewhere, it could actually be the motherboard with a standoff that's making a bad connection and passing the current through to the external of the case.

But especially on an Audio related PC, you can't be having that, aside from the small harm to life!
 

Cloud9

Active member
Cheers Spyder, will do! I've been in touch with PCS already and they've been good with the troubleshooting ideas. They want me to try taking the PC down to the kitchen (hope my back doesn't give out lugging the Fractal down the stairs haha) just to confirm it's not the electrics in my house. But like I said I don't think it can be since another PC on the same socket isn't affected.

Good shout about the standoffs.
 

Cloud9

Active member
I'm just guessing but I noticed that you have the same cooler as I do and some people complain about pump cooler make buzzing noise similar to this one here
Does that sound like anything you experience?

Not sure that would be connected unless somehow inside the mobo it's managing to bleed across?

This is the kind of noise I'm getting: https://voca.ro/1lj8xyg8xr6c Mains hum sort of thing. And it's pretty specific because I only observe it when I connect up electric musical instruments with pickups and try to record/monitor their inputs (and why I thought I had non PC related shielding issues for ages). Playback is totally fine otherwise. The onboard audio seems ok too although I can't exactly replicate the recording conditions without using an external interface.
Have you tried it with the panels off?

On the list for tomorrow!
 

AgentCooper

RIP Julee Cruise ☹️
Moderator
I’m only a recording hobbyist but I am a keen guitarist so this question may have little bearing on the thread… what guitar are you using? Whilst it wouldn’t affect the static shockablilty you’re experiencing, I’m just wondering if the pickups and possible interference they’d create may be adding to the scenario.
 

Cloud9

Active member
I’m only a recording hobbyist but I am a keen guitarist so this question may have little bearing on the thread… what guitar are you using? Whilst it wouldn’t affect the static shockablilty you’re experiencing, I’m just wondering if the pickups and possible interference they’d create may be adding to the scenario.

Pickups were my first thought too but the hum is totally gone when using a different computer which makes me think it's unrelated. I was using a Strat in the clip posted above.
 

SimpleGamer

New member
I am having a similar issue myself with my 1 month old PCS tower, no static shock but audio interference. I have posted a topic on here asking for advice but just wanted to post here incase someone finds you an answer. Good luck my man n hope you get it sorted. I cant produce any music til mine is sorted unless using my laptop so hopefully get some answers :)
 

Cloud9

Active member
I am having a similar issue myself with my 1 month old PCS tower, no static shock but audio interference. I have posted a topic on here asking for advice but just wanted to post here incase someone finds you an answer. Good luck my man n hope you get it sorted. I cant produce any music til mine is sorted unless using my laptop so hopefully get some answers :)

Interesting to hear of a similar issue although I think they may be of a slightly different nature. Is yours more to do with monitoring? I don't get the mouse interference (I have heard of this happening on audio PCs before - tbh it's probably more easily resolvable than mine)

@Scott No difference with the panels off btw.
 
Top