Hearing local radio through speakers

I just bought a Rega Cursa/Maia and Planet for my B&W 602s with Audioquest Diamondback interconnects and Monstercable speakerwire. It sounded fantastic. I then took our christmas tree down and i moved my rack about 2' to its normal place. The only other thing i did was coil up the power cords (stock) with a rubber band. There is a local radio station tower about a mile away but i never heard this until i moved my system. Where do i start, Cardas caps, High $$ powercords?? Thanks and happy new year.
dfd9: i'd start by uncoiling the pc's. you've created an antenna with your wires somehow ("classic" rfi). reconnect EVERYTHING and make parallel runs of ic's and pc's, tho not touching one another, if possible. try not to cross ic's with pc's. if you must cross, do so at 90 deg. angles. if you're to start on the wire upgrade path, i'd begin with your speaker cables. -cfb
dfd9: I laregly agree with Cornfedboy. However, I just had a similar problem: I live across from the local phone company and 3 blocks from a major radio transmitter. I was getting great sounding radio and I don't even have a tuner. I tried everything including wasting a bundle on "better" cables, rf reduction devices, power conditioners, etc. Like the common cold, there is no real cure. You will notice that even products directed directly at the problem (like audioquest "RF Stoppers") only claim to "help reduce RF noise". I'd be glad to be proven wrong, but I'll bet that Cardas caps will do absolutely no good.

If Cornfedboy's suggestions don't work, you may try a few other things: (1)Move the system around; (2)try RF Stoppers (or just get some heavy iron plumbing pipe sections and run your interconnects and/or speaker cables through them. They do not have to fit snugly as long as they are made of iron and form a complete ring around the cable; (3) play around with the grounding. I could not advise ungrounding your system by using "cheater" plugs, but it does often work. You might instead want to get an inexpensive ground lift device (check radio shack). (4) put your Christmas tree back up.

BTW, what eventually worked for me was getting a new phono stage pre. All the ones I had tried were acting as a very powerful rf antenna. When I got the Linn Linto, my problems ended in an instant.

Good luck,
dfd9, sounds like Cornfedboy is right. Try his suggestions. My own problem was one where I could hear a radio station without the use of a tuner. I tried moving my system countless times and then I switched to Canare interconnects and speaker cables. Bye-bye RF problem.

Talk about a disaster! A radio station that I used to work at decided to build their own beautiful studios (instead of renting a building). Well, no one from management (who usually don't know Jack about electronics and radio transmission) bothered consulting with the Chief Engineer. Seems he would have told them that building the 50,000 watt AM antenna (we were both AM & FM...different formats) two hundred yards from the building wasn't such a good idea (they wanted to save on telephone line transmission charges.) EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT ON THE FM SIDE BECAME A RECEIVER FOR THE AM SIGNAL!!!! There was AM bleed through transmitted on the FM signal, and we couldn't use the production studio! The poor chief engineer spent three weeks constructing I don't know how many faraday shields! Fortunately, the other suggestions should take care of your problem, but if you need help with a faraday shield, let me know. Easy to construct, but ugly (WAF=0%) P.S.: Does anyone remember listening to WBZ radio on the telephone? Every time it rained in the summer, (the 1960's) you could hear WBZ on the telephones in Nantasket, MA due to the location of the towers!
I had this problem with my phono section in my active preamp (a forte2.. I know, I know, not a very good preamp)when I moved and there was a radio station transmitter about 1 mi. away.. drove me nuts! finally when I bought a separate Benz PP1 for my low output benz mc, the problem went away! apparently this benz phono unit is much better shielded? I was going to try mu-metal shielding inside my other preamp.. would this have worked? I tried aluminum foil around interconnects with no effect.
For the record, i'm still "bootlegging" off of my Brother's puter. Hope to have mine up and running this weekend.

Let's look at this logically. Most problems can be tracked easily if you do them systematically.

1) You state that you now have the rack ( and compomponents ) back in its' "normal place". Nothing has changed there other than if you re-arranged the placement of some components. If that is the case, put them back to where you originally had them.

2) You mentioned no other changes to the system other than the coiling of power cords. With that in mind, I would first unplug the power cords on BOTH ends ( component & wall outlet ), uncoil them and then firmly reseat them into their appropriate jacks. Try to pay attention to how you have the cables routed. Kelly gave you "sound advice" in terms of proper ( "most correct" ) cable routing.

If that doesn't cure the problem, try doing this in the following order. If step "A" doesn't take care of the problem, then go down the line until you've found the source and take the appropriate steps.

A) Carefully remove each and every interconnect from their respective jacks one by one and re-seat them. This alone may do the trick. If not, then....

B) Turn off your system and remove all of your interconnects from the system. Be careful as to remember which cable goes where and in what direction it was facing. The only components tied together should be your amplifier and speakers courtesy of the speaker cables. Turn the system back on and listen. If the RF signal is still present, it is either coming in through the power cord to the amp or your speaker cables. You can try substituting a power cord or speaker cables ONE at a time to see which one it is. Replacing one or the other may solve your problem. It would be rare that it was coming in through both at the same time, but it is possible. Zip cord i.e. "Monster" type speaker cable designs are somewhat known to be RFI prone. If the problem is not there...

C) Connect one interconnect into the system at a time and then check the system to see if that specific interconnect is acting as an antenna. Make sure that the system is turned off when making connections, then fire it back up to see if the RF makes an appearance. Start with the cable going from the amp to preamp and work your way BACKWARDS through the chain ( amp to pre, then pre to a source, etc ). Connect your sources ONE AT A TIME. If you don't have seperates ( i.e. integrated or receiver ) connect one source component at a time.

D) If you find the RF problem has returned after installing one specific interconnect, first try substituting a different interconnect into that position. If that cures the problem, your interconnect has a poor connection or a broken wire and needs repair / replacement.

E) If that does not correct the problem, put the original interconnect back into that spot and try lifting the ground on that component. A good suggestion would also be to swap power cords on that component to see if the power cord itself is defective or acting as an antenna. If that does nothing, reinstall the original power cord and leave it grounded. Next up is...

F) I would then try plugging that source & cable combo into a different input on the preamp / integrated / receiver. Pay close attention so as not to hook up a line level source into a phono input, etc.. If the RF goes away after changing inputs on the source, you may have a problem with your control center i.e. preamp. If it does not go away, you may have a faulty source component that needs repair / replacement. The problem in the component may be as simple as a loose screw or ground connection. It could be as difficult as an intermittent solder connection, which are sometimes a pain to find and correct.

G) You may sometimes run into a situation where you are getting inter-action between components. In other words, having either component installed into the system by itself does not create the problem. Only when two specific components are hooked up at the same time does the problem rear its ugly head. This can be tough to solve, but you can give it your best.

I would first try lifting the ground on one component at a time, first starting with one offending component and leaving the other grounded. If that does not work, reconnect ground to the first piece and lift it from the second offender. If that does not work, lift both grounds at the same time. If that does not work, we are back to playing with interconnects and the power cords.

H) Since different interconnects present different impedances to the components that they are tying together, you can sometimes tune / detune a cable junction to act as a "trap". To some extent, this MAY be some of the differences that we exerience when hearing differences in cable / component interfaces.

I) By using different cable designs with various lengths and / or geometries, you can effectively "tune" or "detune" the situation that was occuring. We do this by altering the impedances that the components on each side of the cable sees. This can be tricky at the minimum and may require having several different makes / models of interconnects on hand. Using the same type of cable but with a different length can have the same effect, but probably less pronounced.

J) The same can be said of the power cords. By playing with the impedance of the power cord, you can either "tune" or "detune" a specific situation into or out of existance. By playing with coils i.e. "adding loops", you can create a small choke or impedance change near the component. In effect, this "chokes" the RF off of the cable by altering the impedance that it was seeing. Adding RF Stoppers i.e. "ferrite CHOKES" to the system, you do the same thing, but to a greater extent ( depending on the size and grade of the ferrite being used ). You can experiment with different amounts of turns / looping and their placement to see what works best. Most folks would be best served by doing small, relatively tight coils near the power cord entrance to the component. I do not recommend doing this UNLESS it is a last resort, so keep this in mind.

K) Most of the time, i've found that it is a defective cable, poor speaker cable design or component in need of repair. This is usually found at or after the preamp in most of my experiences. If the problem exists BEFORE the preamp i.e. at one of the sources or cables feeding into the preamp, changing the gain on the preamp may / may not effect the volume of interference that makes it out to the speakers. This will depend on whether or not it is coming in through the ground side of a component or through the signal chain.

L) This is already TOO long but gives you some idea as to how to hunt down what can be a very frustrating and time consuming problem. Hope this helps.... Sean
Hi dfd9, not sure if the problem will go away, but I agree with gunbunny. You should not coil ANY cable EVER, since a coiled cable is an inductor. Instead of coiling, fold the cable back and forth over itself so there are no loops.

It's very unlikely that there's any problem with the speaker cables, since the signals on these cables are high level, and generally not susceptible to interference (this is why speaker cables are not shielded). Power cords might be susceptible to interference ... I dunno. Perhaps a shielded power cord would help. I would go this route as a last resort, or perhaps try a ferrite clamp on the power cords just to see if it removes interference junk from the power supply.

Interconnects are quite susceptible to interference, so make sure both ends of the interconnect are securely seated on the RCAs. Also, since some interconnects only ground the shield at one end you could try reversing the direction of the interconnect in case one of your equipment has a bad ground.

Lastly, if it's the equipment which is picking up the radio then try to determine if it is one of the sources or the preamp itself which is picking up the interference by checking whether the interference is on all sources (points to the preamp) or only on one source (points to the source).
If you isolate a piece of equipment which is the problem then at least you know where the problem lies. How you'll fix it I don't know .... moving it back where it was sounds the best solution since shielding is very difficult and expensive. Perhaps install a permanent christmas tree ?
I should add that i received my stuff last month and had to set it up right next to the xmas tree until i could take it down. I got a feeling i may have to live with this and maybe the lights on the tree were blocking the radio signals... Anyhow thank you very much for the advice. I'll let you all know how i do...