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Microphone Month 4

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Picking up radio through my computer speakers


I recently moved to the apartment upstairs from where I used to live. Somehow, the location change has made my Sony SRS-D313 speakers more sensitive to a local Mexican radio station, and I now pick up the broadcast whenever I turn the speakers on.
Power goes to the speakers through a sub-woofer that both the left and right speaker plug into, but the right speaker seems to be unaffected. The left speaker has all of the controls (volume, bass, headphone jack, sound card input). Adjusting the volume on the speaker does not change the volume of the radio pick-up, so for general listening, it's easy to drowned out the unwanted radio noise. But for more quiet stuff, I've resorted to using my headphones (plugged into the same cable that comes from the sound card to the speakers--I can hear still the radio if I plug them into the speakers' headphone jack).
I've tried moving the speakers to all rooms of the apartment and plugging them into different outlets, but whenever the power is on, I hear the radio. This never happened in my previous apartment downstairs and it's pretty annoying.
Any ideas?
July 12, 2006 @06:51pm

maybe this will work
try covering the audio cables with foil then ground the foil to a common ground not related to the ground your computer is grounded to..
this is in essence shielding your system, a very poor excuse for a properly balanced and shielded system but, hey, it just might work.
im sure i will catch some flack for the suggestion,
but it is something you can try.
or you can build a faraday cage around your room where your computer is located.
but that would be extremly expensive.
im sure others will have some brillant ideas that will work.
in the mean time, learn spanish.
July 13, 2006 @02:51pm

Unfortunately, the magnets within speakers are perfect radio frequency antenna. Pro audio equipment have transformers in them to filter out the random RF singals around us. I think your best bet is to sell you system on ebay and research a system that uses balanced cables and has adaquately shielded speakers. Magnetically shielded means you're protected from interferance from other electronic equipment; but you need something that specifies RF protection. I'm not sure about what the consumer audio world offers, you'd have to research it. You must be near a broadcast station :) gl, hope you can fix it without to much expense.
July 16, 2006 @06:54am

Unfortunately, the magnets within speakers are perfect radio frequency antenna.

no, that is not quite right.
The purpose of magnetic shielding is so you can place your speaker next to a Cathode Ray Tube based monitor.
A long unshielded (unbalanced) run is what makes a good antenna.
July 17, 2006 @12:14pm

Unbalanced cables are likely the culprit. What sort of sound card / interface do you have?
I'd recommend trying a set of speakers and/or an audio interface with balanced connections.
August 6, 2006 @03:34pm

Does this foil stuff really work? What if someone stops by the studio while i'm trying this and i get cought LoL.No serious though.I have heard about it this before but never heard about grounding it.Maybe this is the secret.Does it matter if the foil is tin or aluminum?
August 6, 2006 @05:59pm

Never tried it, but my bet is that it works to a certain extent. But adding shielding doesn't make your cables balanced. Balanced cables eliminate noise by using common mode rejection. That's the only way I know of to really solve the problem.
But the foil thing sounds like an interesting experiment, at least - if you do it, let us know what happens!
August 7, 2006 @03:15am