Get Rid of Hum and Noise

How Cable Management Mistakes Can Lead to Headaches


The below text is a transcription of the video.

Hey, so we’re here to talk about mistakes that really well-intentioned people make. In my left hand, I’ve got an AC power cord. This is a weapon of noise. In my right, I’ve got a standard REL high level cable for those of you who know REL well. This goes to, the blue speak on socket goes into the subwoofer. These go to your amplifier. So this is where people who really value aesthetics get it wrong and they create headaches for themselves and they wind up causing dissatisfaction phone calls. People who are working in stores don’t understand what’s going on. Suddenly there’s hum and buzz in their system like they’ve never heard before. It worked fine and now doesn’t. And it’s a very dilute kind of an approach. Nobody’s going, okay, I did this and then this happened. Never gets reported in that way.

When you plug a power cord into the wall, you think that power is going through the copper. What you’re not realizing is there’s about a three inch column all the way around it. That is an electronic field. It’s called an E-field. And in that E-field, you actually have current exploding back and forth rhythmically in an invisible column right around this cable. So here’s where things get goofy. I’m gonna undo this guy, can actually be my own worst enemy here. Alright, so I’ve got my thing plugged in, unplugged it. So, I really wanna make these cables. It’s just this rat’s nest of cables. I’m gonna make this look really nice. And what they do is, here we are, we’ve got this close, plugged into the sub. We’ve got this and we got all this cable here. And you know what they do?

I see this in stores too. Shame on them. And you listen to, you go, you’ve got a really noisy 60 cycle or 50 cycle hum field going in your REL. What are you doing? So, they run a bunch of tie wraps down and they make sure that these are in intimate contact with each other. You know where this is going. There’s that three inch column of an E-field that’s making energy back and forth. And by putting it either into the low level interconnects, if it’s a 0.1 LFE cable or into a high level right next to it, get this all nice and neat and tied together. And then they usually take it with the excess. Here’s what they do. They bundle it up and they really make sure that it’s a really small thing because then we can tuck it and we can put a black sock over it.

Then you won’t see anything. It’s awesome. At which point you actually have created an electrical component called an inductor, which is a coil. It’s used for all kinds of things. It’s used in crossovers. It generally rolls off high frequencies. So now you’re actually affecting the crossover on your subwoofer. Just a gentle suggestion. Please don’t ever freaking do this again. Keep them separated. If you want it to look pretty, great, no issues. Plug it in. Run this to an AC sock, for example on this side, the amplifiers on this side, and keep these things separated to every extent possible. Now, that’s not to say you can’t have some overlap, but if you do, try and have them cross at 90 degree angles to each other, right, or at just any kind of something other than pure parallel for 4, 5, 6 feet of length, that’s where you get the induction hum.

But if you come across at just a slight angle and you’re only crossing it an incident point, you’re fine. But I see this in stores all the time. They wrap them with about 40 different tie wraps, then they put a big piece of black grill cloth to wrap the whole thing up, drop it into sort of the shadow boundary at the boundary between the wall and the dark carpet. And they’re going out. We can’t seem to get the hum out of our systems. Yep, yep. Gonna happen a hundred percent of the time. That’s the way physics works. Okay? So just keep these things separated as much as possible, whether it’s your low level interconnects or high level cable, keep them away from the AC and you’ll be fine. It’s a really quick tip to keep a system clean, well-organized, quiet, and you’ll so much appreciate not having to try and chase down hum gremlins in your system that were induced by coupling between the two cables.

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December 14, 2023 - Posted in: Sound Insights