Followup on annoying buzz

Discussion in 'Amps & Cabs' started by living room rocker, Apr 14, 2020.

  1. living room rocker

    living room rocker Active Member

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    Posted this subject 6 weeks ago and just following up. I'm not too concerned about this other than the fact my amp is still under warranty. I get an annoying intermittent buzz coming through my Boss Katana. Sometimes it's quiet as a mouse, other times the buzz is very audible. Only seems to happen on preset tone patches that incorporate a compressor in the effects chain. If I hookup my computer and remove the compressor from the patch's chain, no more buzzing.

    My internet research says this is a very common problem. I've tried everything I can think of to diagnose the issue. Visually inspected my guitar's connections and solder joints, replaced the guitar cable with new, killed every circuit in the house except the amp's, disabled every battery driven device, checked the wall outlet's ground, etc, etc. The only consistent thing I've noticed is that turning down either my SG's volume OR tone knob silences the buzz.

    Does this sound like an amp issue, guitar issue, electrical interference, or "dirty power"? Can something happening at my neighbor's house, utilities supplier, or general locale cause this kind of thing?
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2020
  2. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    I have been setting up a music room in my new house and after several weeks of no issues, my amps, solid state and tube alike starting getting a theremin type sound, worse with P90s, worse with tubes, unplug the guitar and it was still there. What had changed? I was literally pulling my hair out trying to find the source. I even considered that an electrical system spike had somehow fried all the amps. Then it struck me that the only thing I had added since first setting up the room was a full spectrum lamp that uses a fluorescent tube and hence a ballast circuit. It was plugged into the wall socket, but not turned on. I unplugged it and the noise went away. I would guess that your issue is also environmental. Like tracing intermittent shorts in a MG ignition, you just gotta keep looking....
     
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  3. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    I notice you don't say if you tried it on a different circuit, in another room, on another floor, outside, etc.

    I was going to say, go to a friend's place and try it there ... but you can't for now.
     
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  4. living room rocker

    living room rocker Active Member

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    Haven't tried it outside or someone else's place yet.....that'll be my next steps.
     
  5. living room rocker

    living room rocker Active Member

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    Surprised to hear that it took unplugging the lamp, not just turning it off.
     
  6. DBluesMi

    DBluesMi New Member

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    I have LED recessed lights in the kitchen on the other side of the house (on a dimmer) - buzz like crazy through my amp every-time they are on. So I turn off the lights when I practice.
     
  7. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Did the dimmer come from China? Decent dimmers have circuits that prevent that kind of interference leaking into your house wiring.
     
  8. Zman28

    Zman28 New Member

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    A few years ago i read an article on Power Conditioners. I absolutely will not tolerate any buzz or humm. Furman seemed to be the leader in the field at the time. I purchased their SPB -8 pedal board which includes a conditioned power supply. Immediately the noise was gone. I just looked it up and i bought it back in2007. I also found Boss pedals back then were pretty noisey, so i swapped them out for Fulltone pedals.
    I have an original 1968 SG Special with P90s and i used to have a lot of noise from it. Now it is dead quiet.
    I have had no issue, then one day the noise was back. I searched my board for a connection issue, took every pedal off and still nothing. Then i looked at the pedal boards power cord and found it plugged in to a power bar! My wife had vacuumed the room and unplugged it from the wall and plugged it into a power bar.
    So i would say invest in a power conditioner. My board has a courtesy 120 plug. My amp goes there. I have 4 Fender tube amps and a DSL100 all dead quiet.
     
  9. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    great thread and all good advice.
     
  10. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    Living room Locker,

    I have hunted weird noises in what I thought were caused by amps, speakers, guitars, basses and found varying other factors. Heard some noises while in different houses, different amps, different everything. Like you, nailing down the cause requires a keen observation of when and why in order to find out what is the cause.

    In fixing cars, I learned this lesson early. Systematically test, don't just guess. Also, hunt one thing at a time and eliminate the obvious and easiest potential cause.
    The first time I disconnected all the spark plug wires from my 4 cylinder Datsun's distributor, I realized I had failed to designate which wire went to which position on the cap. Thus I learned about firing order and had to find the order for the Datsun.


    With your Katana, Do you have another amp as a control? Can you set up your Katana, SG, Compressor, " computer?" all to the Katana and get the buzz to happen?
    Then disconnect only the speaker end of the cable off the Katana and plug into the other amp. With all conditions in the house ( electrical devices all off, no dimmers, verified good grounding to your electrical system, do both get the same noise or not? The key here is to look for a problem 1 constant at a time. In your case, you are suspecting the Katana.

    If the answer is only the Katana buzzes, then you are on your way to eliminating what DOES NOT cause the buzz. Outside influences would seem to not be the cause.
    Going by assuming the Katana was the only buzzer, then like you said, mess with compressor or not. Set the Volume the same on your guitar, run the chain through compressor that you presume is contributing to the buzz. Get it to buzz, then back off the volume/ gain/ etc on the AMP and see if it still buzzes. Back volume or gain down to almost nothing until you either keep hearing the noise or no volume as you play the guitar. Then increase the volume till it buzzes. Keep increasing the volume and listen to what happens to the buzz, does it buzz louder, buzz every strum, or if playing leads or what? Is this a Katana 50 or 100 watt combo or head and cabinet?

    Another factor, is the room itself. Any loose objects on shelves, light fixtures, windows, stacks of paper, sheet metal duct work etc. It was already mentioned to switch locations to test. Change and report back.


    Also, not specifically for a Katana, but some buzzes are tube related. On those amps, are all the Tubes, securely in their sockets? Some type amps especially ones where the tubes hang upside down, can loosen in the sockets. Also with the amp on, tap on the tubes with a chop stick, any microphonic noises? Speaker screws tight, reverb tank not rattling,, all manner of possibilities.

    I think you get the point on how to eliminate causes.

    Oh and a side note on how I found a noise or not and why it drove me crazy.

    The cause eventually turned out to be a dimmer switch in the room below where I play. The reason I struggled to find the noise, was it was intermittent. If memory serves, I would get odd noise with an amp sometimes, and sometimes not, certain guitars and then not those same guitars. I think my final way I figured out the cause was I was getting the same noise with different gear, no buzz from Laptop Transformers, guitar effects ( as I plugged straight into amps)
    When my solid state Fender Princeton Chorus started making odd noises, I knew it was obviously not tube related. MY tube amps are a Marshall 50 watt head and 4x12, and a Fender Twin with 100 watt, and 2x12. Having eliminated the cause of guitar string buzz, bad grounds, guitar cord and all the normal guitar related factors, that lead to amp, or house. Being able to make all the amps NOT act up is the key. If I could relocate them to another circuit in the house, I was able to make the problem go away. Return to the location I could make it occur and get it to be present again took some go/ no go scenarios. With all powered devices in the house turned off, Except for the fridge, I got no noise in any of my amps in the normal room upstairs where I jam. Sitting next to my laptop running, amp and guitar was noise free. Eventually I nailed it down to the dimmer switch for the living room downstairs.
    With only the light on in the living room, I was able to make the noise happen.,
    Dimmer off, noise gone.

    Switched amps, got same result.
    Switched guitars, got same result.

    Dimmer off, Good to go.

    Now this is not saying a dimmer is your cause, but you see how to test for things, short of getting inside with test meters and cheking out just your amp for any out of spec readings.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2020
  11. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    Living room. I posted this to some other friends and one amp tech mentioned this,,,

    The buzz comes from a blown solid state part, such as an op amp, transistor or power amp chip.
    It can be returned to Roland repairs or a tech shop...
    It's not user serviceable.
    But I think the idea is: throw it away and buy a new one.
     

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