Powerline adapter causing speaker static

You're not imagining it. Stepping off the subway, you pop in your wireless earbuds, climb up the stairs and out into a busy intersection just to have the soundtrack to your morning commute cut out or go static. That's what frequently happened to Scott Stonham of Berkshire, England every time he approached one of the busy train stations on his daily commute.

powerline adapter causing speaker static

On Reddit, dozens of users have complained about their wireless headphones cutting out or crackling like "static" in major urban hubs like New York City or Chicago. Some even compared the phenomenon to skipping Discman CD players of the 90s. The issue — commonly referred to as Bluetooth interference — has been around since the dawn of wireless technology itself and can be caused by a variety of reasons. Physical objects like metal doors can block signals, or your Bluetooth device may be using a frequency that's simply overcrowded.

But it's that latter explanation that some worry could get worse as wireless technology continues to grow in popularity and get built into things like speakers, household appliances and even city infrastructure.

Already, Apple 's AirPods could be the company's most popular accessorywith some estimates putting shipments for the product above million by Apple released the second generation of its hit product last month, with updated features like increased battery life and improved voice commands.

The popularity of wireless devices like Apple's AirPods or Samsung's Galaxy Buds means increasingly more people are competing for space on a limited number of airwaves, said Jan Rabaey, a professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at the University of California Berkeley and the director of the Berkeley Wireless Research Center.

All wireless gadgets compete on a limited amount of available space in the available spectrum, Rabaey said. And your Bluetooth devices operate on just a fraction of that spectrum, he said, between 2. That means your headphones are competing with most other wireless devices, including Wi-Fi routers, cordless phones and even odd appliances like microwave ovens and cheaply made power adapters.

That frequency range -- along with a handful of others -- are considered "unlicensed bands," Rabaey said, meaning anyone is allowed to broadcast on them without FCC approval. But there are several other frequencies that are licensed, he said, meaning they're owned by private companies.

powerline adapter causing speaker static

But for years, there's been a push to open up more frequencies for public use, said Neil Grace, a spokesman for the FCC, in an email. And last year, the FCC proposed changing how frequencies in the 6 GHz range can be used, hoping to open some licensed space up for public use — or possibly sharing it.

That's on top of 5 GHz opening up for commercial use over the last decade. While Bluetooth doesn't operate at those higher frequencies which require more power, opening up those ranges to the public could help alleviate traffic overall, Rabaey said.

And as wireless technology continues to advance and grow in popularity, the FCC may need to do more to keep traffic at manageable levels, he said. For those experiencing a lot of Bluetooth interference today, solutions are limited but pretty straightforward, Rabaey said. You can stay away from highly populated areas where there's lots of Wi-Fi use, or you can switch back to wired headphones, he said.

Using newer Wi-Fi routers that operate on a higher frequency can also help alleviate overall traffic in your area, Rabaey said, and investing in higher quality Bluetooth devices with better wireless chips will likely help, too. Apple also said it was addressing issues of connectivity and interference with their Bluetooth devices.

The company said that includes using the new H1 wireless chip in the newest AirPods that aim to increase robustness, including in areas of high radio-frequency interference.I seem to have this odd problem when I try to use powerline network adapters in conjunction with my Macbook Air and the Thunderbolt ethernet adapter.

I can "hear" a static or hissing sound as the data is transferring if am wearing headphones and working on my Air.

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When the file transfer completes, the noise quiets down. Very strange. In effort to troubleshoot this I have tried multiple configurations. If I plug the Air directly into a switch via ethernet no powerline via the same Thunderbolt adapter, no noise. If I plug a different Mac that doesn't use Thunderbolt into the powerline adapter via ethernet, no noise.

I have gone through two sets of powerline adapters from different companies. Tried different outlets in the house. Even tried switched headphones, same result. Does anyone know what is going on here? What happens when you use the grounded extension cable that came with your power supply, instead of the two-prong duckhead? You mean for the Macbook Air?

USB Ground Loop Sound Interference Solved

I am using the 3 prong. It does this when on the battery as well. The Powerline adapters are 2 prong, however. Hi, this is happening to me too! The noise is created every time a packet is sent or received.

I only hear it with headphones. I'm on essentially the same setup. However, I'm powering the Air via the thunderbolt display power. Has anybody solved this? I'm thinking I need to put some kind of a filter on the power strip that my devices plug into. The powerline ethernet is plugged directly into the wall, of course.

Also, it probably is not a ground loop. I can disconnect the powerline ethernet and it will still create noise. Just the plugging in the powerline ethernet unit creates the problem.If you have a Windows 7 machine with a Realtek sound chipset or drivers, then you may have run into a problem where you randomly hear crackling or popping or static while playing audio through your speakers or even headsets. I realized after doing some research that this is a pretty tricky problem to fix and it can be caused by all kinds of issues from latency to drivers to other hardware, etc.

If you find a different solution that works for you, please post a comment and let us know. Of course, the first thing to try and do in these situations is update the drivers. In the case of audio crackling and popping, you should update the BIOS drivers, video drivers and sound card drivers.

For Realtek, make sure you go to their site and download the latest driver directly from there. If your computer has a line in or digital audio in port, you may want to disable it if you are no longer using it. If you enabled it for some reason, such as for recording audio from a TV or some other device, then if you forgot to disable it, it could cause the static while playing audio.

Depending on your system, there could be a high latency affecting performance and thereby causing serious audio problems. It will help you figure out what is causing the latency, such as a network adapter.

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On the download page, they also have an entire explanation of how to use the program to figure out which device is causing the latency. Basically, you want to see green bars like above and nothing in the red area up top. Getting rid of these will fix the crackling problem. Any other type of real-time software should be disabled.

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Then check to see if the static is gone. As strange as it may sound, you could have your speakers or headphones plugged into the wrong jack on your computer. On lots of machines you have the normal headphone jack, but you may also have some other jacks like HD Audio or something else.

Find the different ports and try plugging your speakers into the different ones and see if the issue goes away. It has solved the problem for a lot of people. This is especially true if you have a digital audio plug on the back of your PC. Try the normal analog in that case.

Some users have reported that disconnecting their mouse and keyboard from the PC fixed the audio popping problem. It could be because some ports on the computer are only for PS2 mice and keyboards, so a USB keyboard or mouse will cause problems. Not sure exactly of the details, but give it a shot. Hopefully, you have figured out something so far to fix your audio problem!

Founder of Help Desk Geek and managing editor. He began blogging in and quit his job in to blog full-time. He has over 15 years of industry experience in IT and holds several technical certifications. Read Aseem's Full Bio.Editor's note, July 16, We updated this story with new illustrations and new tips and tricks throughout.

So you just unboxed your new entertainment gear, hooked everything up, and you hear a buzz, whine, hiss, chatter, or any number of other annoying noises that have been known to plague audio equipment. You might even see some banding or waves on your TV. So you take it all back to the store, only to watch the salesperson plug it in and have everything work perfectly.

PC Speakers Crackling (Already Tried Common Fixes)

What the…? Then again, it could be bad wiring, defective equipment, or just a noisy electronic environment. Note: Some noise is inherent, such as tape hiss, or hiss when you turn up the gain on an input. The most common manifestations are a loud buzz or hum coming through the speakers, or scrolling bands on a TV screen. It could also be a much quieter, yet equally annoying buzz or hum that you only hear when the room is otherwise quiet.

A ground loop in entertainment equipment typically occurs when one or more pieces of equipment are plugged into the AC alternating current at different locations, then connected together by electrical versus optical signal cables—RCA, HDMI, composite, component—whose shielding is connected to ground.

In the simplest terms, this creates a single-loop antenna that just loves to suck in various types of noise via electromagnetic induction.

powerline adapter causing speaker static

You can see how a loop is created in the diagram below. Anything that breaks the loop will remove the noise, and the easiest way to do it is to power everything through a single AC socket. Problem solved.

You're not alone if your Bluetooth headphones keep dropping their connection in the city

Most multimedia setups can be handled easily by a single amp circuit and most household circuits are at least that. Self-powered speakers and subwoofers come to mind. Look up Lee Harvey and Stone the Crows for an extreme example of what can happen with high-powered equipment. There are also DIY solutions online that are less expensive if you have the skills.

Ground loops are hardly the only thing that cause electrical noise; pretty much any device with a motor hair dryers and blenders, for instanceas well as light dimmers and failing fluorescent fixtures will create this type of interference. It might be audible through your audio equipment or visible on your TV, or it might not. You might be able to make that work—if you live alone.

If there are other people under the same roof, perhaps not. This requires the electrical power to go through a conversion to DC direct current and then back to AC, which will remove all the noise.

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This is also known as dual conversion. A true online UPS is expensive. Slightly cheaper than an online UPS, but absolutely effective against all kinds of line noise is an isolation transformer. An isolation transformer is one of those products whose name describes it to a tee—it employs a special, shielded transformer that turns dirty AC into clean AC via electromagnetic induction—yes, the same thing that causes ground-loop noise.

Power Line Noise

Isolation transformers are designed for use with delicate diagnostic equipment, where even minimally noisy AC can cause spurious readings. The back of the ISHG isolation transformer, which is designed to eliminate all AC noise that could affect sensitive testing equipment.Menu Menu. Search Everywhere Threads This forum This thread. Search titles only.

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Powerline Causes Audio Hum. Thread starter airickm3 Start date Apr 24, Sidebar Sidebar.Forgot Password? Although the problem has been around since the dawn of radio communications and broadcasting, power-line noise is on the rise.

The proliferation of electrical and electronic devices that are potential victims of power-line noise, coupled with today's increased dependence on mobile and wireless communications, have each contributed to this increase.

Dealing with a power-line noise complaint does not have to be time consuming or expensive -- and it's the law! A little knowledge can go a long way toward avoiding a fine from the FCC.

Power-line noise can interfere with radio communications and broadcasting. Essentially, the power-lines or associated hardware improperly generate unwanted radio signals that override or compete with desired radio signals. Power-line noise can impact radio and television reception -- including cable TV head-end pick-up and Internet service. Disruption of radio communications, such as amateur radio, can also occur.

Loss of critical communications, such as police, fire, military and other similar users of the radio spectrum can result in even more serious consequences. Let's now take a look at power-line noise, and how to best handle a complaint in a timely and economic fashion. Virtually all power-line noise, originating from utility company equipment, is caused by a spark or arcing across some power-line related hardware. A breakdown and ionization of air occurs, and current flows between two conductors in a gap.

The gap may be caused by broken, improperly installed or loose hardware. Typical culprits include insufficient and inadequate hardware spacing such as a gap between a ground wire and a staple. See Figures 1 and 2. We'll be discussing more specific causes of power-line noise in a later section. Note: The terms "gap" and "conductors" should be interpreted broadly in this case. While not a source of power-line noise, a gap can exist in the commutator of a motor.

A gap can also exist between insulator units and other parts of a utility structure. In some cases, the "conductor" can be the wood on the utility pole. A brief mention should be made concerning corona. Contrary to a common misconception, corona discharge is rarely, if ever, a source of power-line noise. Corona discharge is defined as the partial breakdown of the air that surrounds an electrical element such as a conductor, hardware or insulator.

In reality it is typically nothing more than a minor annoyance, as the noise caused by it is usually confined to lower frequencies. This noise does not propagate very far from the source because it is a low-current phenomenon that does not couple into the adjacent wires. You've received a power-line noise complaint and investigated it. Based on your investigation, you've now concluded the problem is truly power-line noise. What next?

The good news is locating and correcting most power-line noise sources is not particularly difficult or expensive.By Jagged24January 3, in 2 Channel.

Fix Audio Static Crackling Popping with Realtek Sound Card

I recently extended our Ethernet network at home using adapters that plug into existing power sockets and communicate over the electrical wiring using the HomePlug AV2 standard. When the network is active, there is now an audible hiss in my audio system that changes in tone and volume. Any advice on possible causes and how to deal with them would be welcome. Many thanks. I use a similar product and I solved the issue by ensuring that my mains leads, interconnects and cat cables were all separated from each other rather than crossing paths.

Don't these devices spew an enormous amount of RFI into the mains, which could explain what you're hearing? It might also be that your phono stageapplies such a large amount of gain to the turntables minuscule signal that you can hear the noise, which is not noticeable via other connections as they don't apply anything like the same amount of gain.

I could, of course, be entirely wrong, but someone truly knowledgeable on this matter will come along any time soon When you don't use the powerline adapters Does it change pitch? I get DC leakage through my mains supply, and it makes the coils on the transformer vibrate. But when I merged my cinema kit with the hifi, I was getting another issue Might be worth trying I use Devolo ethernet over power adapters Might be worth a try? I get a similar problem. It only happens on the phono stage and the problem occurs on a similar set up in the dealers shop so we were able to try a number of things.

He spent a lot of time on the problem and concluded that the arm was picking up RF. The effect I get is pops and hiss. I need to turn off both Powerlines to fix it. In his shop it only happened on the LP12's with a Linn arm fitted. Other arms were fine on the LP12 and there was no problem with other decks. At the time I had a Lehmann Black Cube phono stage and Henley Designs provided a capacitor to the fitted to the RCA input sockets and that fixed the problem for a while but then it returned.

Sorry, I don't know the capacitor value. I then bought the Roksan Caspian Reference which was exactly the same.

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He finally found that disconnecting the arm's earth cable fixed it. I haven't got round to trying I myself as I can easily turn off the Ethernet. These devices do indeed work by injecting RF signals into the mains. It sounds like this is getting into your system and causing interference. They are particularly troublesome when receiving radio signals.

The mains wiring in a home wasn't designed to carry RF signals, so tends to re-radiate them all over the house so often even a mains filter will not resolve the interference. The best solution is to avoid this technology and use wireless LAN or wired network connections, in my opinion. If you "do" have to use a powerline adaptor PLA try not to use the mains socket on the front of the unit, if its has one. Do not plug the unit into the same mains block as he rest of the hifi.


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