Rega Planar 10/Aria MC Phono Stage HUM


Hey all. I recently took delivery of a Rega Planar 10 and Aria Phono Stage. Hooked it up yesterday. Result: pretty significant MC hum. I’ve done some interwebbing on the matter and have seen the P8/Aria post at this forum, and see that the Aria seems to hum quite a bit. Most of the suggestions about fixing the issue are directed towards checking for grounding issues, etc. The rest of my system is fairly straightforward (Hegel H160 integrated; Hegel CDP4A; top shelf Supra wire) so after hooking it all up, I unhooked everything except the Aria to the amp and the speakers. Same hum, same volume. I did typical ground checks and that doesn’t seem to be the issue. I took the Aria and put it one more shelf away from the amp (as far away as the cable allows) and lo and behold the hum volume was cut in half. While at the new position, the hum would be "tolerable" at any particular music volume, it’s annoying when there’s no music signal going to the speakers. Standard light background white noise is somewhat expected, extraneous signal hum doesn’t work for me. So, if, indeed, this is a simple proximity issue (I don’t feel like buying more wire and putting the Aria across the room), is there an elegant shielding solution for the Aria? Is this an issue of Aria design (possibly an engineering "compromise" as Roy Gandy might suggest)? What are other phono stages at a similar price point ($1500ish) which perform musically as well as the Aria? I see I see the Parasound JC3 Jr might be an option. Looking forward to suggestions. Thanks!
5f7b2ede 49a5 4af8 8c92 9ec23f7038b0sumadoggie
I would get rid of that Aria, you may minimize it, but it sounds like it will always be a problem, even if minimized, you deserve no hum.
Yah, I'm kinda leaning in that direction already.  I think we all deserve no hum.  The question is, how much does no hum cost?  I would like no hum to cost about as much as an Aria.  A bit of a cost benefit analysis as always. 
calling millercarbon

can you review how to find and kill phono loop hum please

:)

seriously, i have had two arias in my system for the past 6 years, with various tt/cart combos NEVER had hum
I see jjss49 has activated the bat beam.

Phono noise is tough because its everywhere and so all you can do is try and track it down. In this case the OP seems to have narrowed it down to the phono stage and even understands the designer is happy with selling a poorly shielded phono stage. Well it probably sounds good on a test bench, just not in the real world.  

So the problem we think is EMI from adjacent components. You could redesign it to be properly shielded, or put the whole thing in a Faraday cage. I'd go with the Faraday cage. Search around, buy your fabric, ground it, wrap it around the phono stage, see how it works.  

What this does, the magnetic fields that are inducing hum in the stage hit the fabric and induce current in that instead, only now its harmlessly shunted to ground. As a bonus the phono stage will probably sound even better than it did before. Because stray EMI is everywhere, just not usually strong or obvious enough to bother. Might be this will work even if just used as a blanket with the phono stage placed on top. Might be something even simpler like a sheet of aluminum foil connected to ground and the phono stage on that. All these are variations on a Faraday cage. 

Tune in next week when we will discuss where the offending EMI came from. Same bat time. Same bat channel.


If everything else is unplugged/unconnected except the Aria to the integrated amp, the only thing left as the source of the hum would be the wall, yes? I turn off the Aria with everything else disconnected and the hum vanishes. Turn the Aria MC back on, viola, hum reappears (no hum with MM even with the volume cranked, just a bit of white noise). Is the Aria is picking up some stray signal (wall outlet; WiFi router)? Or is the Aria is the source of the signal? As mentioned it got quieter when moved a shelf away from the integrated? Having had a decent amount of experience with Hegels, I’d be quite surprised if it was causing a problem with another piece of equipment... but I’ve been unhappily surprised before.

millercarbon posted just before I wrote this follow-up. It does seem, even though I wish it no to be, that the Hegels emissions are inappropriately stimulating the Aria. As I mention: further the Aria from the energized Hegel, the Aria is quieter. I am interested in this Faraday experiment, and will likely do that. That said, are there other-than-Aria phonos in that price range which are "properly" shielded?
No one should have to endure this. If Rega can’t offer a solution, they should buy the unit back.

The Faraday is a good suggestion. An inexpensive option is copper sheets available online
Hence, a reason why I will not own a Rega.  Too many hum complaints.
"Hum" is generally used to refer to a 60Hz or 120Hz pure tone. Do you really have hum or what is more loosely defined as "buzz", which is a mixture of frequencies?

Assuming this really is EMI and not a grounding problem, a Faraday cage may work, but by definition, a Faraday cage must totally surround the shielded component and be grounded. That would make it impossible or awkward to access the controls on the Rega preamplifier. If just putting the Rega on top of a shielding material works, that’s great, but it’s not a Faraday cage. Maybe easier to open up the chassis and install a shield inside, once you figure out the source. Anyway, I think this is a solvable problem and not a reason to discard the unit if you otherwise like it.
Or, if the amplifier can be shown to be the source of EMI that disturbs the Rega, it might be more practical to shield the amplifier, since you don't have to fiddle with it all the time.
While I don't have a frequency meter, and don't know if it's 60 or 120, it's certainly a hum tone.  

Should the wall outlet screw be grounded?  There are Faraday cages on Amazon in which the Aria would fit and when slightly modified the cables could be accommodated.  While cutting a hole for cables isn't ideal, perhaps that's a way to go.  

I did order some isolating fabric which arrives today.  I'll update the thread with my findings.  
By the way, there is a "grounding post" on the back of the Aria.  Is this just there if the Aria is used with a different TT to prevent a ground loop, or can this post be used to help ground the Aria itself?
Thanks for the DM. One key to preventing hum is having only one path to ground that is the same for everything. The Aria is already connected to ground via its power cord. So you connect the turntable to the ground on the Aria, and nothing else connects to that ground unless its another turntable. 

If the integrated is between the turntable and the phono stage then the phono lead has to go past it and there's a small chance it picks up hum along the way. Fooling around with phono lead routing is always a good idea. You can sometimes hear noises come and go while you're moving it, touching it, etc.  

Also, fields coming out of the integrated aren't necessarily equal in all directions, nor is the phono stage equally shielded from all directions. So there's always the chance that above it picks up noise, below it doesn't. Tracking these things down is my least favorite thing about phono, and explains why if you ever hear my system as totally to die for awesome as it sounds when playing music it would drive some guys absolutely crazy when its not. My standard is if the noise level is only about as much as groove noise then you call it good enough and get onto something else. You'll get there. 
I experienced no hum when I had the Aria and the RP10/Apheta 2 MC cartridge. Since then, I've upgraded my RP10 to the Planar 10 and Apheta 3 and I've upgraded the Aria to a Luxman EQ-500, again no hum.  I think the Aria is a good value phono stage but the Luxman is quite a bit better as it should be for the higher cost.  My vacuum tube Luxman produces less hiss (almost non-existant) than the Aria at high volume levels.
If what you have with the Aria is truly "hum", then I am beginning to doubt it's due to EMI, but your story certainly is consistent with airborne interference, which usually is EMI or RFI.  Except you've now revealed that you had no hum with your old turntable and phono cartridge.  The problem arose when you substituted one Rega TT for another.  Was the Aria situated as close to your integrated amp back then, as it is now?  If so, the information about re-positioning the Aria in your room having solved the problem to some degree, is out the window.  And I am getting more convinced the problem is or was due to grounding. Either your components are grounded to two or more different nodes, such that ground in one case is a few volts different from ground in another case (a ground loop, in other words), or something just isn't properly grounded.

But have we all been through a a time warp in the last 24 hours since your OP?  You say now that you upgraded the Aria to a Luxman (which is indeed an excellent unit) and your problem is solved.  When did you go out and buy the Luxman?
And yes, the ground lug on the back of the Aria certainly is for grounding. Millercarbon mentioned that the Aria should be grounded to house AC ground via its power cord, but that assumes you are using an IEC standard, 3-conductor power cord and that your electrical outlets are properly grounded.  If you have an older home, that isn't always a valid assumption.
lewm that was smatsui a different poster.  Last TT setup I had was a VPI and Audible Illusions back in the ealry 2000s.  
The isolating fabric came a short while ago and when I have a few extra minutes I'll wrap the Aria and see what happens.  Then I'll wrap the Hegel.  Then I'll do a little jig...
OK.  Aria wrapped in isolating cloth - no change in hum.  Switching Aria and integrated positions - no change in hum (Aria originally two shelves below, I switched them (and all cable routing) and them switched them back (and all cable routing)).  For kicks, I put the isolating cloth under the integrated (no change):I think I'll just leave it there.  

So the only thing that decreased the volume on the original hum level was to move the Aria from directly below the integrated to two shelves below the integrated.  Is it possible I got crap isolating cloth from Amazon?  The Aria was wrapped at least twice in the cloth on five sides and the back, while open for the cables, has a lot of extra cloth draped over the back.  
Is it ERS cloth?  You may need to wrap the component completely so that no part of the chassis is uncovered, and then ground the cloth.  A true metal cage is better in this case if only because it allows for cooling.
Before you get that crazy, try using a cheater plug on the Aria, so that it is not grounded to the mains.  As long as you have interconnects plugged in, the unit will still be grounded via the ground of the ICs.
Not ERS.  "Faraday": EMF, EMI, RF blocking fabric.  

OK, cheater plug next.

Any love for Aria RCA out/Hegel XLR input balanced cables?
Balanced operation might help, but if the Aria circuit is not balanced internally, you will not get the benefit of balanced operation. It takes more than an XLR input and three conductor cables to have balanced operation. For that matter, the amplifier may not be a true balanced circuit. You would know that.
I've never had hum in anything, SS or Tubes, that I could not find and eliminate, over 50 years of various equipment, bargain, garage sales, used, new, ...

lack of hum does not involve more money.

you had no hum, you have it now, you have tried enough, out damnnnn spot.
Lady Macbeth never heard of Shout.  It would have done wonders for her guilt complex.
Yah, I'm going to try the cheater plug and call it a day.  The return box is on deck and ready to shout it out.  

I've seen that the Parasound JC3+ (a bit more) and Jr (similar price to Aria) are well thought of phono stages.  Any other SS phonos I should look at in the 1500-2k price range (with all the performance of stages costing 10x as much, of course).  
Interesting update: to further the notion that the Aria's hum is an issue of stray capacitance from my Hegel integrated and not a grounding issue, I took a longer set of RCAs (not high quality), and put the Aria on the floor blow my rack, maybe an extra five inches away, but also with another shelf in between it and the Hegel.  The hum got quieter again to the point where it was barely audible with my ear next to the speaker with the Hegel turned up proper loud.  

So, is a good-enough solution just longer interconnects and put the Aria on the floor?  
It's got nothing to do with "stray capacitance". Hum can result from the magnetic field of the Hegel's transformer being coupled to the Aria by induction when positioned too closely together. Increasing the physical space between them or changing their relative positioning will usually resolve the issue as you've found. If you have to use longer interconnects to achieve the required positioning it would be preferable to lengthen the Aria's output cables rather than the tonearm cables feeding the Aria's inputs.
If you look at the power socket on the back of the Aria you may find it only has two pins, the one pictured on Regas web site does.
I don’t know recent Rega arms, my RB300 had a ground cable which grounded the mounting pillar but the actual ground for the arm is through one of the RCA outers, I forget which channel, there’s a soldered link inside the pillar. A rather odd arrangement and one I’ll revise if I ever use the arm again but with a Rega phonostage it should work with this setup. Ae you connecting a ground wire from from the deck to the ground post on the aria? Try removing it. Another test is to ground that post, if the amp has a ground post too that might be the best bet for that, assuming the amp isn’t double insulated too.
Yah, I strayed from this forum and read an article from which I took that "stray capacitance" was an issue.  I now understand better that EMF from the Hegel's transformer is the problem.  The P10's RCA out would need a short extender to get the Aria to its current lowest noise position.  Since the interconnects I used to move the Aria to its current position are of the Radio Shack variety, I suspect an 6" extender on the Rega cord wouldn't degrade the signal.  

The Aria does only have two pins and the P10/RB3000 has no separate grounding wire to the Aria.  The Aria does have its own grounding post, though.  

At this point my plan is to distance the Aria from the Hegel as much as practical (under my component rack on the floor), which virtually eliminates the hum. Perhaps not an aesthetically perfect solution, but if it gets the job done without handing out more cash for a better shielded phono stage; or a "better" pre/amp set-up (god forbid.  I love my Hegel), then I'll be happy with the result.  It's the music that matters.  
Brother/Sister - Sorry to read about your Planar/Aria hum. I have a Planar 10 as well, which feeds an Aura phono stage. It not only hummed but also picked up a radio signal and broadcasted it when my volume setting was slightly higher than a casual-listening level. I had already grounded the Aura, so I tried something else to cancel out the noise. Shutting down the system, I disconnected the two turntable cables and continuously wrapped them around each other to form a double helix. I then plugged them back into the Aura, powered up and - bam - no noise. The silence startled me. Be well. Jim
@sumadoggie - The Aria has a two pin plug, so it is not "grounded"

Many amps have an issue with ungrounded source components - i.e. HUM
- my Bryston has this issue
- my Bluesound Node 2i causes hum if it is the only connected component
- However, my Simmaudio Moon phono stage IS grounded
- So when the phono stage IS connected - the hum goes away

So try this ...
- using a piece of wire
- connect one end to the Aria ground terminal
- touch the other end to a mains ground point

The hum should STOP - if it stops
- attach the free end of the wire to the ground pin ONLY on a mains plug
- plug it into any mains outlet
leave the other end connected to the phono ground terminal

If this DOES NOT stop the hum - you have a more serious issue

Regards - Steve