Hope this helps someone with RFI problems

I have been living with a severe RFI, or what I thought was an RFI problem for quite some time. At high volumes, I was able to get an Oldies FM station signal out of my speakers when I listened to vinyl. Moreover, I always thought that the sound was lacking in detail and dynamics.

I tried EVERYTHING. Changed phono stages, bought ferrite clamps, strange paper stuff to put on top of my equipment, cable wraps, I even used tin foil over cabling. Changed the location of my equipment numerous times. Bought new cables, etc. I was even considering selling my tube based system and going solid state.

Some things worked alittle, some were a total waste of money and time. Was eventually able to dampen the radio station but there was still alot of noise. Needless to say I was aggravated.

On a whim, last week I brought an APC Smart-UPS unit home from work and installed it in my system. Turns out, the radio station and all the interferance was actually coming from my AC. My house is one big antenna.

The detail is stunning, dynamics are incredible. The music sounds like music again. Needless to say, I already purchased a PS Audio powerplant to replace the APC UPS unit.

I hope this helps someone with the same type of problems effecting their system. I really could not be any happier right now as I have been trying to get rid of the noise problems for 2 years.

Thanks for the thoughtful, and I'm sure helpful, post for a lot of people. I wonder if there is an easier way of eliminating this RFI without getting an expensive power conditioner?
I am curious, do you have dedicated circuits for your audio? Dedicated circuits eliminated huge amounts of noise in my system and the best tweek for the money. Glad you got results.
Rich, I've had the same problem for years. Mine is pretty low level RFI, but annoying nonetheless. Thanks for sharing your discovery!
Elseb: dedicated circuits would be a great addition. But it is cost prohibitive for me. I live in a stone home built in the early 1930's. Tearing into the walls and running new lines would be far more expensive then purchasing a power regenerator. Plus, there is no way that my wife would go for it (she has been very understanding through this process, but that would set her over the edge).

Sherod: It is not just a power conditioner. I have used several power conditioners on my system which have not made a substantial improvement in limiting the noise when listening to vinyl. I needed a conditioner with an on-line uninterrupted power supply and an isolation transformer because my AC was so horrible. Unfortunately, these types of units are expensive.

Therefore, anyone with a problem similar to mine should borrow an APC UPS unit from a computer setup and place it in their system to determine if the AC is the cause of the noise and RFI in their system. In my opinion, it is the cheapest way to figure out if you should spend the $$ for an expensive power regenerator/uninterrupted power supply unit from PS Audio or APS or similar company.

For me, the most aggravating part of this hobby is trying to figure out what equipment will improve the sound of my system before I shell out the money. For the most part, if you have a nasty RFI problem, you essentially have to purchase and try everything that supposedly corrects the RFI noise to see if it actually works. I must have wasted hundreds of dollars (if not thousands) on pointless tweeks and conditioners before I stumbled on the real reason for my problem.

Have a similar problem but it does not appear to be coming from the AC mains. Long and short, tube based phono pre is the problem. If one holds the wires up and about I can actually tune a fine selection of channels through the speakers, and I mean a clear and listenable section of radio stations . Dedicated AC, line conditioners et all did not do the trick. I have been able to repress the noise to a good degree with ferrite clamps. (5-6 bucks a shot at Radio shack) If you go that route clamp everything.... line in out, power speakers, everything.

I have had a solid state phono pre home and it does make a difference. Not wanting to go that route (I really enjoy the tubes with phono) I am somewhat at a cross roads. I can now listen provided I keep the volume down about 10-20db below where I would like it. Basically records are now at best mostly background music. On my proceed pre if I would normally listen at say a setting of 40, best I can currently do is about 20. Somewhere between 20-40 the hum, crackle and then voices of radio hosts kick back in and its all sorta lost.

Best I have found so far is clamp everything in the chain. All cables, speaker wires etc.... everything. This got me a listening volume between 20-30 on a good day.. a little shy if you want to get into something with a bit of bite, but at least useful. At the moment I am waiting on another Solid state unit to see if I can live with it. I also had a suggestion that I try some tube rolling as some tubes are less prone to RFI then others. Thinking of giving that a shot as well. Was wondering if anyone has any experience with this sort of problem and had any luck with rolling tubes?

After talking to a couple dealers in the area, I got a consistent question about where I live, and unfortunately for me, my little town outside of Philly came up over and over again as a problem area. You know.... that ugly feeling when the third of fourth sales guy in a row says "Do you live in.... town such and such", cause we always have problems there. Wonder if we can get real estate agents to start listing this sort of information for the audiophiles out there that have to live with it. :)
I have a similar problem with my system, I can hear a radio talk show during the daytime when I play vinyl. It is pretty quiet until I touch the tone arm of my TT, then it gets louder until I release the tone arm. I do not hear it at night time, can't explain this. So I try not to play my vinyl during the day time. I am thinking about a Richard Gray Power Co. conditioner.
03-23-08: Jsman
I have a similar problem with my system, I can hear a radio talk show during the daytime when I play vinyl.

I strongly recommend a decent power conditioner. Without one, your AC system acts like a giant antenna. I wrestled with RFI for several years until I got a PS Audio Quintet. It's very good at what it does and it's affordable. The Duet has the same design as the Quintet, but with four receptacles rather than ten. They come up on Agon from time to time for about $200.
I too live in an RF/EM nightmare. My system is literally 50-70' beneath high voltage power lines. These send out enough RF/EM that enter my sys. via phono cart., phono preamp or not to mention how it plays havoc with my phono cable. I've had no luck with a line filter. I'm glad you did. Actually, my biggest problem now is with EM from appliance motors, swithches as they turn on/off. I wish I could get some relief from these!!
Actually, my biggest problem now is with EM from appliance motors, swithches as they turn on/off. I wish I could get some relief from these!!
Gerardff (Threads | Answers)

Is your phono stage plugged into a power conditioner? A good one will take care of this problem.
I inserted a new integrated amp in my system a few days ago. Now, I have a
hiss/crackle/pop sound coming out of my speakers that is audible, even with
music playing at low volumes, from my listening seat.

Is this RFI/EMI? How can I tell if I am having this problem? I have all my
equipment plugged into a PS Audio Quintet. I have never had this problem
before. I only have a one source, digital system.

Thanks for your help.
"hiss/crackle/pop" sounds like a tube going bad. Is it a tube integrated?
It is not a tube integrated. It is SS.