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Need suggestions on avoiding electrical noise interference from my PC?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 
ishJJx3's Avatar
 

Need suggestions on avoiding electrical noise interference from my PC?

SOLVED: A higher-grade sound card for my PC was the answer. Sound Blaster Z was the answer I was looking for

Hi there, long-time lurker, and I'm finally here to ask for some suggestions for my current dilemma. I know this topic has been brought up countless times, but I have a specific case that I'm trying to combat at the moment, and would like some suggestions before I start throwing more money around.

So this is my setup. I have an X1204USB mixer. I have an AT2020 microphone plugged to it through a dbx 286s preamp + effects processor. I am listening to the output of my PC through a line-in on my mixer, with a pair of PreSonus Eris E4.5 Active Studio Monitors. My microphone's output is being sent to my PC through the mixer's USB connection.

The Problem: Electrical interference is coming through my monitors.

Source of the Problem: The PC. Electrical interference comes through the monitors only when the USB is plugged in between the mixer and the PC. When the USB is unplugged, my monitors are almost dead silent. I am still able to listen to the PC output through my line-in and have a clean monitoring experience.

I rely on using the USB connection to record my microphone directly to the PC through my DAW, or Audacity. The solution seems clear, right? Send the microphone output to the PC by other means, instead of USB. That's where the problems begin.

Scenario #1
I use the USB cable to send my microphone output to my PC.
My monitors are picking up the electrical interference.
My microphone recordings are clean.

Scenario #2
I use audio cables to connect my main mix output to my PC's on-board microphone input. (Motherboard: ASUS Z170-A)
My monitors are clean. No interference.
My microphone recordings are now picking up the electrical interference.

Scenario #3
I use audio cables to connect my main mix output to a sound card in my PC. (Xonar DG)
My monitors are clean. No interference.
My microphone recordings are still picking up electrical interference.

Note: I should point out that my PC's audio output is connected to my mixer via a digital optical cable. Then I used an DAC adapter to plug the cables into a line-in channel on my mixer. If I don't use this method specifically involving the digital optical cable, the electrical interference would also come through my PC audio output.

The USB has been a great solution for my audio recordings, but ever since I bought these new monitors, they've been picking up this electrical interference from my PC due to their sensitivity. And it's very noticeable at a normal listening distance which interferes and annoys me when working in my DAW.

So in the end, my question is: What is an effective solution to connect my microphone from the mixer to the PC-- without letting the PC's electrical noise interfere with my recordings or my monitors?

Any and all suggestions and recommendations are greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance ^^
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Here for the gear
 
ishJJx3's Avatar
 

At this point, the only thing I could think of that could be an appropriate solution is to use a higher grade sound card. I've seen some recommendations to use the Sound Blaster Z sound card. It boasts a 116dB sound-to-noise ratio, and reviews seem overwhelmingly positive in regards to the sound quality.

I'm going to visit the audio shop down the street today and ask those guys about this, and maybe shed some more light on what I should be doing.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Gear Head
 

Have you tried other USB cables? I know some cables have ferrite beads near the connectors which may help.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
Here for the gear
 
ishJJx3's Avatar
 

I have tried many other USB cables with and without the ferrite beads, to no avail.

I've found my solution. I went ahead and bought the Sound Blaster Z sound card. Connected to the line-in for mic, and optical out for PC sound. Works perfectly! No more electrical interference! And now I have four more clean outputs to use on the card if I want to put my music, or discord, to a separate line-in on my mixer.

So in the end, buying a better sound card was the solution. Sound Blaster Z was my answer.
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