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Tracking down EMI sources, Axe-Fx 3 Noise Gate settings?

Discussion in 'Axe-Fx III Discussion' started by Variable, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. Variable

    Variable
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    Inspired

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    So, I've been getting some increasingly worse EMI in my neighborhood. Chicago is, in my opinion, absolutely horrible for EMI in general, but things are getting really bad in my house in particular. I'm wondering if anyone here who may be electrically inclined or who have dealt with this type of issue might be able to give me some insight into causes.

    In the attached recording I'm basically capturing two different noise profiles: one seems like 60hz hum, and the other you will hear is a sort of ticking / squeeking sound. The latter is my larger concern since it's louder and harder to get out in post. I also haven't been able to get the Axe3's gate where I want it since there is so much noise that it either nukes my dynamics and trailing notes, or flutters on activation and can't seem to clamp down on the noise.

    About 1/3 of the way through the file you will here the 60hz hum drop off. That's when I kill the mains breaker in my house. Shortly after I pick the guitar up from its wall hanger and point it at my water main (where everyone is by law required to ground in Chicago). What's interesting is I'm still getting a lot of EMI on the water main even with my own mains turned off. That's where you will hear the 60hz hum increase.

    Outlet testers in my house show the ground, hot and neutral are fine, btw.

    Some things I'm wondering from folks who hopefully know more than me:

    1) Do I have a problem with someone else's ground / neutral going into my water main? Clearly there's noise there even with the mains off.
    2) What might be causing the additional hum prior to me killing the mains breaker? I've gone through breakers one at a time, but none of them really reduces the 60hz style hum in the same way shutting the mains does in this recording.
    3) What the bloody hell is that squeeking noise? It's driving me bananas and makes recording almost impossible :(
    4) Does anyone have any magic gate settings on the Axe that don't destroy dynamics yet would help with this wacky EMI issue?

    Many thanks for any insights folks can provide!

    Hum recording:

    -Russ
     
  2. lqdsnddist

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    Basically anything electronic can be the cause, LED lights, dimmers, cell phones, wireless routers, PC’s, computer monitors. Our homes are just so full of stuff these days, and if it’s not ours, it’s a neighbor, or a nearby high tension line etc.
     
  3. Randy4Guitars

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    The power in my old house was so noisy it was ridiculous. I used to have a hi end stereo setup and it was really frustrating listening through all the noise. I never did figure out what the cause was but I got a PS Audio Quintet power center and it cleaned up everything. It was dead quite and sounded like a new stereo. Even the TV picture was better with more vivid colors. Even my wife noticed as soon as she saw the TV the first time. She asked if it was the same TV. She's about the last person that would notice any difference, and she was impressed, so that's how big a difference it made. In our new house I don't really notice any difference using it.
     
  4. fractalz

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    Get a cheap AM radio, tune to static and point it around. You’ll find the source.
     
  5. shemihazazel

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    Bruh, boy do I feel that pain.
     
  6. Variable

    Variable
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    Not that I wish this kind of EMI on anyone, but I'm glad I'm not alone :) I really wonder how the Chicago studios get around this, our electricity is the worst.
     
  7. Variable

    Variable
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    I have a cheap Blackstar Fly battery amp on its way to me this weekend. I'm going to grab a loose single coil pickup and start walking around my neighborhood with headphones. I'm sure it won't look weird (or any more weird than the weird people who live in my neighborhood).
     
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  8. fractalz

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    Pics or it didn’t happen :)
     
    Variable likes this.
  9. shemihazazel

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    Do you find, like I do, that sometimes it's worse than others? Some days the EMI in my place isn't so bad. On others, I have to wheel around my little home studio with my guitar to find the least bad spot in the room. It's infuriating. The Axe noise gate is great, but it can only do so much.
     
  10. Variable

    Variable
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    It's been pretty consistently bad at my place, though the ticking noise in the recording I attached is fairly new (last few months). I'm in the Avondale neighborhood around Belmont & Sacramento. I have a feeling someone's neutral is going through the ground system in our neighborhood instead of back to ComEd, I just need to confirm so I can refer it to ComEd since neutral going through ground = dangerous.

    I'm hoping we have a good electrician or electrical engineer on the Axe forum who will chime in, of course :D The ticking is really weird since it's actually lower than 60hz... I haven't done the math on it to figure out the frequency.
     
  11. shemihazazel

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    Dude. We're practically neighbors! I'm by Belmont and KImball.
     
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  12. bradlake

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    The North Side is strong with Fractal Force....I ‘m off of Diversey and Lakeview!
     
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  13. Variable

    Variable
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    Awesome! Maybe we should get a Northside Chicago Fractal Users group going or something. I had no idea so many Axe users were around my neighborhood.

    Brad, out of curiosity, how are the EMI issues in your neck of the woods?
     
  14. bradlake

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    I’m in a high rise, I have some issues occasionally , but not bad.
     
  15. shemihazazel

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    I definitely like that idea.
     
    Variable likes this.
  16. bradlake

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    A fractal hang would be fun...
     
    Variable likes this.
  17. shemihazazel

    shemihazazel
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    My place is a small apt in a converted worker cottage, so I'm not surprised that the electrical is a bit shit.
     
  18. SteveW

    SteveW
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    In my condo in Florida, I have EMI so bad it's almost unplayable. I move a few feet away and it's 90% gone. Can't use single coil in any case though...must stay in humbucking mode.
     
  19. boyedav

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    Have you tried powering your rig through a UPS? It that's the source of the noise, a UPS or even an isolation transformer may make a big difference. Or borrow one from someone or buy-to-try and that will at least tell you if the noise is making it in through the power grid. Good luck :)
     
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  20. SteveW

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    That won't work. I had the same issue and it comes from the pickups. I've tried a UPS running in battery only... Which made no difference.
     
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