Signs of poor electricity in home...?

Ok folks I know pretty much that all homes have crappy power for electronic gear. However my dilemna is that I have continued to have a buzz type sound come from my spkrs whenever amp is powered on. This is the same case with three different amps and a recvr. I just completely disconnected everything and have all the gear everywhere in the living room. This was no small task.
Nht Controller
Nht Power 5
Nht Power 2
Oppo 83
Toshi HDDvd
AudioControl Bijou EQ
Panamax 5500ex
Nht A1 x 2 for bi-amping mains.
Nht X2

I use Signal pwr cables and my own custom made.
Signal, Bluejeans, monster ic's
PS Audio powerport

I have eliminated any cable combo as the culprit and have it narrowed down to the fact that with an amp plugged in, powered on, and just spkr cable connected to a spkr I get this slight buzz/hiss type noise. I mean nothing connectected to amp but what I said...electricity...and spkr cable direct to spkr. It is not the hmmmmmmmm of's a hiss like white noise makes when a tv channel would sign off-air if you are old enough to know what I mean.'s bugging me to pieces. I have went to the breaker box in garage and eliminated it being the fridge in neighboring room, etc. Even with the Panamax it still gets noise to the spkrs mid/twtr...mainly mid. Volume has little or no effect on it if you are wondering.

So????? Dirty house power and what do I do. Would having a seperate/dedicated line help? I don't have dimmer lamps or any other of the typical buggers in the ac chain. No tv either as I have a Pj setup which plugs in where I use to have a ceiling fan and installed box/receptacle to pwr it.

I don't hear it if source is playing but sitting idle all 5 spkrs doing this is annoying. Suggestions please.

Showing 14 responses by mnnc

Hifihvn...interesting ideas. I will try some of your sugg...however, the loose connections in brkr box...forget it unless I kill pwr from outside main and then what do I tighten? When I look inside brkr box all I see is brkrs sticking out and ON or OFF. Where are the connection screws? Our pwr feeds are underground type. I could call pwr provider and have them do a chk/service if it's at no charge to me...pardon the pun. Thanks.

JJones...what would foil do or more important what would it prove? Again, excuse my ignorance, what would the plugging lamp into same plug/receptacle prove? What am I looking for during experiment/troubleshooting? Thank you too.
So a 'cheater' plug is one of those adaptors that has 3 female/2 male...? Basically eliminating use of the gnd pin being plugged in? Will this not hurt my gear? Not all the amps/recvr I have are being used at same time and a couple of them differ in design concerning having 2 prongs in their iec or 3 prongs. This is by the nature of the manufacturers design. All gear is US 120v.
Well, I'm not sure if it's an ac buzz as I 'm not really sure what an ac buzz is. I am figuring that based on other users of the same gear report no noise/buzz/hiss. The noise is slightly audible from main listening position @ 11ft. in a moderately quiet room and clearly audible as you approach the spkrs closer. Particularly from middle channel which produces the most. The best way to describe the noise is it's a whining you might have in a car audio system when alternator buzz is heard through the spkrs...just not as pronounced. The mains are 87 or 88db rating at nominal 6ohm. All spkrs are Nht Classic series.
Detredwings...I have had this problem with all amps. I have current amp plugged in to wall, and using one spkr cable to test main L, C, main R. No preamp connected at this time...amp is solo. I still get the whine/hiss. I am basically bench testing so to speak.

Concerning cheater plug...can I use a 1 male to 3 female type plug which is used for plugging in and powering 3 things from 1 outlet? I have a couple of those around the house for desk lamp/phone charger/etc. It has ability to accept 3 prong plugs but only has 2 prongs to plug in receptacle. That would work for testing purposes would it not?

If I use headphones to test for noise I will have to connect prepro to amp of course which I can do in a moment as this thread is happening in real time almost and I appreciate all the help/advice.
I did the cheater plug method and extension cord method and results are no fix. Seems like anywhere in the house yields this high freq pitch from mid/twtrs. It is audible from within a foot or two and if you pay close attention in a quiet setting, which I have, you can hear the whining noise from farther away. It is not audible over source playing though.

I think I'll contact the pwr co tmrw and see if they can get a tech out hear.

In the meantime I am going to unplug the router which is at opposite end of house in back spare room/office. House is ranch style and I am next to garage in living rm.

If after all possibilities are eliminated and I still have this are there some things I could do to lessen it like better shielded spkr wires or ic's. My bluejean cables are known for the ability to reject emi/rf noise due to shielding on the cable/s. I was thinking a Ps Audio conditioner or something. My Panamax 5500 is not a cheap piece by any margin but it does not eliminate the noise.

I appreciate the help folks. Just want rig to be more quiet. Concerned this high pitch will hurt my gear whether it be preamp/pwr/or spkrs.

Btw...amp plugged in alone is dead quiet as I suppose it should be as it uses B&O ice power class D.
Unplugged modem/router and no difference.

I am going to contact the pwr co tmrw and have things looked at to chk if all is within spec. Our pwr, phone, cable lines are undergnd though we don't have cable tv and junction boxes are every few houses or so.

I am going to turn off all brkrs except one used for powering rig and see what happens. I'll post with a follow up.

Mlsstl...I have unplugged/seperated all gear. It's lying all around the lvng rm. Wife is giving me weird stares while I promise a quick fix...sshhhhh.

Anywho, No tv as stated in initial post. Don't have a tv in rig...those are reserved for bedroom and son's room. I use a pj with no tv/sat connected...dvd/br only. I don't watch tv personally...occasional news/weather.

Noise is definitely high freq pitch like a shortwave radio band when out of tune...a whining noise.
Sop1...I understand however, noise is clearly audible though not loud-loud...but there nonetheless. If I were to cover my ears/plug them I don't hear anything hardly. Thanks.

Hifihvn...What I meant by 'amp alone' is just that...amp plugged in and powered on...nothing connected but power cord of course. When I then connect a spkr the noise is evident. The noise, whatever is causing it. has to be travelling through amp and then on to spkr/s. Center channel seems to do it most/loudest if you wanted to look at things comparatively. I had a Yamaha recvr(rxv2500) in rig a few yrs ago...hiss. Then got a BA 7120 recvr...hiss. Then bought a BA 7200 pwr amp...hiss. Now with Nht amp...hiss. So yes it's a problem with all the recvr's/amps I have had in the loop. I now have minimized setup to include:

pwr amp
oppo Br
dual a1 mono's/x2 combo bi-amping the mains lower end...
...and the svs beast.

The Panamax does help as I connected things without it...noise was more prominent...disturbing. So the Panamax is helping quite a bit.

I just purchased a PS Audio noise harvester...going to see if it helps. I just can't go spending lots right now to solve this. At the moment it's reasonable and clearly audible when within a a couple feet from mains/surrounds. The center channel seems to amplify it the most and if it's quiet in here, which it is most of time, I can hear the whining noise sitting on the couch 10 ft away. Thanks for the advice/help. I 'm going to call pwr co as I said I would...this week if I can remember to do so with everything else going on in my life at the moment. I appreciate the help/concern...much thanks.
Visiting the thread has me wondering more now...I am going to unplug the cordless phones, microvave oven, and satlt boxes tomorrow and listen to what happens.

I unplugged the modem/router and it made no difference. Also tried the fridge and no difference. Just unplugged freezer in garage and no effect. That only leaves the phones, microwave, and satlt tuner/s. Better not mess with that now...wife is watching her shows and I need micro wav to warm up my java...hehe.

We do have a couple giant towers, cellular I guess, less than a mile as a crow flies. My sons rig has only the slightest bit of this noise and in order to hear it you must crank the volume up to refernce level or so without any souce playing. I put together a 5.1 system in his room a couple yrs back for his b-day and he does not have this issue using a little Denon 5.1 recvr/tv/xbox, etc. That little rig will blow you away in his 10x12 room.

Anywho...I'll continue troubleshooting tmrw while home alone and follow-up. Thanks again.
Coxhaus...I'm thinking about what you suggest and it reminded me that the direct tv gnd lead from the dish/cables tie in to the main somehow outside near main breaker box and my ac repairman showed me it contains a main switch/brkr from the street and two for the compressor and one for blower unit.

Explain a bit more if you would please what you mean by clamp to main brkr box...? Clamp to what part...there is 220v in that booger somewhere...yikes. Thanks.
I have a psa harvester on the way...we'll see if that helps. Accorcing to my Panamax which shows both volts and amperes the voltage is usually about 122-124 and amperes are 1.1-1.5 when rig is being used.

I have pwr co coming out later in the week...maybe something will be found...maybe not. are saying that 'you should hear...' some hiss/whining noise? It does dissipate as you move away from twtr/mid. Can't hear it from a couple feet but the center channel seems to do it the most.

I understand plugging all gear being used into a pwr one used for offices/computers...but how do I 'lift' the gnd...not sure how to do this. Thanks.

Should I pull the receptacles out of wall here in living rm andchk for secure connections? I know they all work if I need to use them though only a couple are used for anything...the rest have nothing plugged in them.
Vicdamone...I'm comfortable with chkng the wall plugs myself...not a problem. I replaced a some with powerports. I'll investigate and see what happens. Thanks for the tip on 'lifting' the gnd...I can try that too. mean iec adaptor? Why would I need that? All my gear is standard iec except the hddvd player which is unplugged/not used right now and it's a 8 shaped female plug I think called an A7 type. Anywho, doesn't matter as it's not being used.