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Dimmer switch hum in system that disappears when I touch equipment

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Pushpaw, Jan 8, 2021.

  1. Pushpaw

    Pushpaw Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Here's my issue:

    My turntable/audio setup gets a loud hum in it only when I turn on a specific light with a dimmer switch on a wall near the setup (across the hall essentially). It's one of those dimmer switches that is only really installed in one spot (at the top of a staircase) but there is a paired switch at the bottom of the staircase that is on the wall but no connected to the wiring in the ouse, and the switches communicate with each other wirelessly.

    I have identified the issue, and one solution is simply to turn off the light. That works as long as no one wants to be in the basement. If the wife is in the basement and I'm upstairs listening to music, I have to put up with the hum. Basically, can't listen to anything quiet (classical for example). Have to switch to loud music to cover the hum.

    I have found a second solution: if I touch the equipment, the hum goes away (presumably because I'm grounding it??) I can touch the RCA interconnects at back of the TT, or I can touch the headphone amp or the phone preamp (both aluminum) or I found out tonight I can touch the AC power conditioners I have at on the floor. One is a PS Audio Ultimate Outlet and the other is a PS Audio Duet. I plug the Ultimate Outlet into the wall, and the Duet into the Ultimate, and the equipment into the Duet.

    In any case, I'm wondering if anyone knows of a way I can eliminate the hum with the dimmer switch on. I propose some kind of high quality grounding surface that I could set my power conditioners on? That would act as a ground to the whole system, in the way that I do when I touch it? Is that a thing?

    I could by some shielded phono and rca interconnects (was going to go with Graham Slee CuSat50) but I was hoping for a "grounding" solution if possible since I don't even know if the cables will work for this issue.

    Any suggestions? Would someone be willing to be permanently installed beneath my audio system to act as a human ground? :laugh:
     
  2. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    I am not familiar with the PS but many conditioners have a ground lug have you try connecting them? Those noises can be a pest to fix. You could try different phono connects but the problem could be getting in somewhere else so you could be wasting your money. Hiring someone to touch the amp while touching their nose with the other hand is too complicated, there must be an easier solution. Do you get the problem only with the TT?
     
    Pushpaw likes this.
  3. Pushpaw

    Pushpaw Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Good idea but when I checked there is no ground lug in sight.

    if you want to read more on PS Audio Ultimate Outlet, here’s a great review PS Audio Ultimate Outlet AC conditioner They don’t make them anymore but can be found on secondhand market. The most noticeable and instantaneous system tweak I have ever purchased.

    To answer your question, I only have a TT as audio source so not sure if the hum is there only with TT. But i disconnected it from the amp and the buzz stopped. So that likely indicates it’s via the TT that the buzz is entering the system. Good thinking!

    maybe those shielded interconnects will do the job after all.
     
    Uglyversal likes this.
  4. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    Shielded cables are a great way to limit those problems but you always have the chance the interference might be entering through the cartridge or tonearm but if the piggy bank won't break by all means try the cables.
     
  5. Swann36

    Swann36 A widower finding solace in music

    Location:
    Lincoln, UK
    @Pushpaw I realise that Russ Andrews might not be the easiest manufacturer for you to access, i'm not sure where in the world you are based ...but i see you have some Graham Slee kit and Russ is a similar UK small manufacturer and a Hifi genius .....

    here is a link to Russ's knowledge base on Grounding which may well give you some answers ...

    Russ Andrews - Hi-Fi mains and cable specialist

    if the link doesn't work ...simply go to russandrews.com and then search in the knowledge base for Russ's Upgrade Steps and you'll find the first step talks about how & why to ground kit.

    I've no afiliation to RA other than being a very happy customer of power cables & extension blocks ....good luck
     
    Pushpaw likes this.
  6. Swann36

    Swann36 A widower finding solace in music

    Location:
    Lincoln, UK
    Pushpaw likes this.
  7. Bananajack

    Bananajack Phorum ... wat Phorum? Where am I?

    Location:
    Singapore
    Get a power plug, connect the grounding wire only to the grounding pin
    and plug it into the electric socket. Should work.
     
    R. Totale, bluesaddict and Pushpaw like this.
  8. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    Replace the dimmer switch with a normal switch, Dimmer switches cause issues in some situations, usually at switch on/off. I have two near the hi-fi that don't have issues but UK lighting is earthed. Maybe your lights are in some way connected to the power cable by way of a spur? If the buzz is coming through the mains all the other suggestions concerned with shielding and earthing equipment should not work. You could also wire a suppressor into the light switch (try Russ Andrews for this). The problem is the switch and your mains wiring.
     
  9. Get the missus one of these

    [​IMG]
     
  10. @Pushpaw
    Which amp are you using?
    The older of the 2 listed in your profile is electrical Class 2, and the other is electrical Class 1.
     
  11. Pushpaw

    Pushpaw Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks! Will see if this info helps.

    I actually mainly listen through the Graham Slee Solo Ultra Linear Diamond Edition headphone amp. The amp doesn’t come on at night.
     
    SeeDeeFirth likes this.
  12. Pushpaw

    Pushpaw Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Which grounding pin? The one on the TT?
     
  13. Vinyl source?
    Direct connection between phono pre and headphone amp?
     
    Pushpaw likes this.
  14. regore beltomes

    regore beltomes Forum Resident

    Location:
    Helenville, WI
    Common problem. Dimmer sw. radiating RF. Buy a dimmer sw. that has a RF supressor built in.
    The problem is the dimmer...not your equipment !
     
  15. Waterloo17

    Waterloo17 Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    It may cost a few bucks, but you might want to have an electrician check that the dimmer switch is the correct one for the application. They aren’t all rated the same. It may not be installed correctly either. Also, you need to use lightbulbs specifically made to be dimmable. They’ll be marked that way on the package.
     
    Pushpaw and vconsumer like this.
  16. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    This.
     
  17. Pushpaw

    Pushpaw Forum Resident Thread Starter

    yes

    Yes, this is one way to go. Thanks.

    The wife wouldn’t be ok with that.
     
    SeeDeeFirth likes this.
  18. What happens when the Accession is hooked up to the recent Technics amp?
     
  19. Pushpaw

    Pushpaw Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Incredibly interesting stuff. I’m wondering if grounding the equipment casing as he discusses is what I need. Since the hum disappears when I touch the equipment, it seems that what he’s talking about is a way to have that same effect using grounding wires and an “RF router”. He also talks about improvements to the sound.

    Thanks again for this!
     
  20. Bananajack

    Bananajack Phorum ... wat Phorum? Where am I?

    Location:
    Singapore
    Yes, Ground wire from TT to the grounding pin of the electric plug
    Then plug it into a free electric outlet
     
  21. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    Change the dimmer - obvious and simple solution.
     
    Vinny123 and Dennis0675 like this.
  22. Swann36

    Swann36 A widower finding solace in music

    Location:
    Lincoln, UK
    It sure is interesting stuff ....but i wouldn't ignore @Classicrock 's comment about change the dimmer switch for a quick & simple solution either

    you could assuming once that fixes the issue or doesn't ? get really into the Russ Andrews grounding ideas for either fixing the issue or simply for improving the sound
     
  23. Pushpaw

    Pushpaw Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Not so obvious is that my wife won’t want it changed. Seeking another solution.
     
  24. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 Night flyer

    Location:
    Ohio
    Why would your wife have an issue with changing the switch? You can have a dimmer you just need one that works differently. The older type dimmers that are a knob and not a fader are always problematic.

    You can also run an extension cord to get your system on a different circuit.

    You can have a dedicated line run for your system.

    You can also try to run a second ground cable between your turntable and phono stage.

    But really, if your wife is saying changing the dimmer that slightly changes the brightness of a light bulb is an unacceptable, you have biggers issues that you might want to take to a different forum.
     
  25. brubacca

    brubacca Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    This is a really unfair and inappropriate statement. We have no idea what is going on in each others lives. Feel like we should just support each other in our audio journeys.
     
    Swann36, aphexacid and Pushpaw like this.

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