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Laptop Power Supply Problem Noise!!


Hi everyone! Just joined this forum today and I wonder if anyone can help.....?
I've just purchased a laptop to run my music programs etc with a good spec and plenty of processor power. Well, everything was going smoothly until I plugged in my power supply, as my batteries were down on power - and to my horror, an awful noise (i.e. an electrical type noise) made it unbearable to continue to work.
I checked my cables, balanced, and even tried a magnetic cover for my cable from laptop, but nothing gets rid of it?
Has anyone experienced this before?
This is my first laptop, as I have just used a desktop previously, with no awful unwanted noise.
I use a Focusrite Saffire Firewire soundcard (which is fantastic) - but I know it's not related to soundcard as it happens with either Focusrite of bog standard laptop soundcard?
I'm really stuck? By the way, my laptop is a Toshiba Satellite.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
October 31, 2006 @07:02pm

From what I've read in a number of places, some laptop are just too noisy for any reasonable audio use. There isn't much that can be done about it except use battery or external power. I have not paid attention to manufacturers or models; I have no idea if it is a general problem with yours. Many laptops do not have this problem. Possibly the power supply in yours is simply defective. Since it is new, maybe a warranty replacement is possible.
October 31, 2006 @11:42pm

Don't have alot of info for you but I have never heard of a power supply making noise. That has to be defective so I would contact support for your laptop seller.
November 1, 2006 @03:57am

This is my first laptop, as I have just used a desktop previously, with no awful unwanted noise.

Unless you absolutely 'NEED' the mobility, a laptop(most anyway, sans a good DAW builder) can never replace a desktop for audio use. Go back to a desktop or if mobility is a must, invest in a rackmounted mobile rig or shuttle unit. While your dilemma is not the 'norm', I have encountered others with the same issue.
November 1, 2006 @04:08am

Hi All,
Thanks for your suggestions, I'll try different power supply first.
If no joy with that, can anyone recommend a laptop manufacturer which is good for audio use?
I still need to go mobile for audio/visual live gigs!
Thanks for your help.
November 1, 2006 @09:00am

Your welcome Milkie, hope you get it sorted out. Here are a couple of very good DAW builders for you to look at.........
Both have a very impressive client list as well as many satisfied customers that can be found on both the Sonar and Cubase forums.
November 1, 2006 @09:07am

I've no personal experience and have not paid much attention to these discussions elsewhere, but one recent post by a professional caught my attention. He mentioned that a test mixdown of 42 tracks, utilizing many effects, ran almost twice as fast on his 8400 series HP Compact notebook as the same mix did on his 3GHz P4 desktop.
Noise was never mentioned in that thread, but since he does a lot of on-site recording, my guess is that this is the same machine he uses for recording.
Perhaps you could ask that specific question.
November 1, 2006 @07:13pm

Hi all,
I am surprised that no-one knows about this issue.
This device solves the problem by breaking the ground loop, hence the reason it is called a ground-loop isolator.
It is not an alternative to high end xlr connectors, which I believe due to their balanced signals, will always avoid ground loops. I am not an expert so please don't try to pick my brain too much. However, my friend has used one for about a year and it reduced overall power by about 10% roughly, but 90% removed the annoying hum. Try it for yourself. In fact, radioshack sell them in the us :
It is much better than snipping the ground wire on your laptop psu. The issue of ground loop is caused by the bad shielding on your laptop sound card/on its way out of the laptop/whatever.
have fun...
November 15, 2006 @07:07pm

Hey guys,
Seen as know one else wants to help, here is how to fix your issue.
The cause of the noise is NOT due to faulty equipment/laptops/PSUs/data cables crossing power cables or anything like that, it is actually due to the inconsistent AC current that the majority of AC wall sockets provide.(especially in Queensland, Australia)
To counter attack this, you need to get a device known as a hum destroyer. Behringer make one but im sure other manufactures would too if you wanted to shop around. Check this one out for an idea...
Hope this helps :)
April 7, 2009 @10:45pm
john peakman

Hello,new to this site,but thinki might have a little advice...i have the same prob wi ma laptop..everything fine except noise from power supply...i unfortunately went the expensive and got myself a D.I box that cost £150..but it earth lift switches on it and this solved the prob right away...however i was speakin' to a friend they said try a power supply that does not have 3 pin connection and try two pin so there is no earth...
July 28, 2009 @06:24pm
john peakman

The expensive way is a D.I box with earth lift switches on it..or try a power supply wi no earth i.e PSU with two pin connection on the pack end...:)
July 28, 2009 @06:28pm

An unearthed power supply may work but research first as the earth is there for a reason! Once apon a time, the earth pin snapped of my guitar amp before a gig and not only did it cause other unwanted noises but I kept getting electrocuted from the microphone as my mouth was acting as the earth!
Looked like a real peanut on stage.... haha
July 28, 2009 @09:50pm

I had that same problem PsyTonic. The extension cord that one of our venues had was a two pin while my guitar rig is a three pin. I would not recommend using a PSU without a neutral ground. That would cause a whole different problem. I would say try a behringer hum destroyer. I have used one before to eliminate noise on my churchs venue. But then they redid the electrical and it solved that problem. I dont know what causes the hum though.
July 28, 2009 @10:05pm

I have spent a long time getting to the bottom of this issue and the best solution for fixing bad earth related noises in your home studio is to better the earth pole on your house by getting a metre long length of copper pole and extend the depth of your dwellings existing earth pole. (especially if you live in a "sandy-soil" area) Sounds overboard but works!
As for as portability - go the hum destroyer!
Hope this is useful to other people as this info was really unavailable to myself.
July 28, 2009 @10:30pm

Thanks to AndyH for his suggestion ... the "Radio Shack" piece works fine for me.
August 6, 2010 @02:50am