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intermitant interference buzz from telecaster pick ups


S&L

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a few weeks ago we went out with a bluegrass/country/rnr/skiffle band we work with regularly and brought in an x32 desk to see if we could crack multitrack live recording, using just the desk and a laptop. so far, so good - it worked like a treat and the band got a few rough track mixes. they were that happy they want me to do a series of show recordings in the autumn and winter months, and mix down with a view to putting together a live CD.

we had one major issue I couldn't sort out and it only applies to one venue but we are likely to be recording there again at some point.

the venue: a tidy, up market social club in a country village. all modern - the stage is just an area at one end of the room, suspended tile ceiling timber floor.

the problem - one of the two guitarists plays a telecaster through a small amp that I then mic up. at ONLY THIS VENUE when he faces stage front (amp behind him) his guitar buzzes as though receiving interference - when he turns through 90 degrees (right shoulder to audience, left shoulder to amp) the buzz disappears. it sounds for all the world, otherwise like a grounding problem - the sort that usually lessens with a ground lift. this is a large band working in a small space (8 band members) but this issue doesn't occur at any other venue. now I can correct a little in the mix but is there anything I can do or he can do to eliminate this interference. I'm at the edge of my practical knowledge here, since it's not a problem I often encounter. patient answers and suggestions welcome!

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When you say only at this venue, has it happened there on more than one occasion/visit?

 

I had a problem which only happened at the same venue time and time again and it turned out to be an old induction loop which no one knew about or used. Turned it off after we found it and gone were the problems. Could the pickup be picking up a loop?

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I'm fairly sure there is no induction loop there since it's a sports and social club rather than a proper theatre. they only have a 'turn' on at the weekend - but of course I will ask when I'm next there. I have only been there once so far. (no induction loop signs)
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Single coil pickups are damn good interference detectors! In my studio I can find two wall wart PSUs, the mains transformer in a big chunky amp, and it can also find my Behringer S16 - which at close range emits a weird hissing noise. If there isn't an induction loop is there anything else with big transformers in. The 125A three phase feed to some dimmers in my venue is a great place to hang headsets on, but wow - do they hum!
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Single coil pickups are damn good interference detectors! In my studio I can find two wall wart PSUs, the mains transformer in a big chunky amp, and it can also find my Behringer S16 - which at close range emits a weird hissing noise. If there isn't an induction loop is there anything else with big transformers in. The 125A three phase feed to some dimmers in my venue is a great place to hang headsets on, but wow - do they hum!

 

emergency light power units maybe? or tv screen adapter....either way is there anything I can do to cure this interference? or just buy him a les paul?

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When you say only at this venue, has it happened there on more than one occasion/visit?

 

I had a problem which only happened at the same venue time and time again and it turned out to be an old induction loop which no one knew about or used. Turned it off after we found it and gone were the problems. Could the pickup be picking up a loop?

 

There are intentional induction loops, and unintentional induction loops. Bill Whitlock of Jensen transformers has written about this and talks about it in his seminars. It is possible, and he sites some examples from personal experience, to have a current loop in the structure of a building, generally in the plumbing system if cold water pipes are used for safety grounds. The current in the pipes sets up a magnetic field. When the guitar is rotated into alignment with the field the hum starts. The solution involved isolating the plumbing between 2 adjacent buildings.

 

I will try to find a copy of his explanation to post a link.

 

Mac

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...is there anything I can do to cure this interference?

Unless it's something simple you can turn off then all you are left with is changing the guitar.

 

And don't discount there being an AFIL (loop), lots of non-theatre spaces have them installed and permanently on.

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...is there anything I can do to cure this interference?

Unless it's something simple you can turn off then all you are left with is changing the guitar.

 

And don't discount there being an AFIL (loop), lots of non-theatre spaces have them installed and permanently on.

 

thanks Brian - that's the answer I was striving for - not good news but ce la vie.

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If you want find the source your options are,

 

A) he uses a different guitar for the one gig

B) he stands funny for the gig (the facing sideways thing)

C) you live with it live and rerecord the guitar tracks in postproduction

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