What's That Hissing Sound?


I have noticed a slight "hissing" sound emanating from my speakers when the system is using my TT.  With the system on, but nothing playing, I get this noise if I turn up the volume on the preamp.  By comparison, if I switch over to the CD transport, I can turn the volume to the max and get nothing but dead silence from the speakers when no disc is playing.  I have tried everything I can think of from switching our PCs, interconnects, change the ground wire...... but nothing seems to work.  Am I missing something or is this just normal when using an analogue signal.  TT is Thornes, phono stage is JC-3+, amp is Hegel h590.    
bigtwin
If it sounds like general noise (not 60Hz hum), it could be the noise floor of the phono amp or noise being picked up by the phono wiring. Most likely it is the noise floor of the phono amp.
My guess is you are hearing noise from the phono preamp, due to the high gain needed for the phono cartridge. Maybe an impedance miss-match, but could be the phono stage preamp noise.
Higher output cartridge and/or balanced connection can help reduce the noise,  What cart and what type of connection are you using?
lol @fuzztone that’s what Joni said.

@bigtwin it’s in all likelihood your phono preamp. I have a tube phono stage, and depending on the tubes, hisses more, or less. Probably more than your JC-3.


No bbkeske, that was her Reckless Daughter :-)

Yes bigtwin, this is normal behavior for phono sections or stages, plus or minus a little. You probably can not hear it with music playing. The JC 3 is an excellent phono stage. If you want to increase your signal to noise ration you get a cartridge with a higher output. There are several excellent high output cartridges out there from AT, Goldring, Clearaudio, Ortofon, Soundsmith and Grado. 


Unless I am missing something, the OP has not mentioned what cartridge he is using, so it is not for sure that the hiss comes from the demand for high gain from the phono stage. If the OP is not using an LOMC cartridge, then I would wonder whether something is oscillating or whether the system is picking up RFI from somewhere. Are you using long ICs anywhere in the chain from cartridge to amplifier, especially at the front end? Shielded?
What's wrong with zealous audiophiles trying to solve a problem without all the details?  I don't see any issues, especially on a Saturday.
Dear @bigtwin :  You phono stage is dead silence design, no problem about with your MC .

Trouble could be coming from the tonearm wires or from the tonearm to phono stage IC cable that can be taking that " noise " levels if are not good shielded.
You can try to " route " those cables in different way away from electronic transformers or other system cables including the electric power cables. Check too that the tonearm input connectors makes a tight conection with each of the 4 cartridge output pins. In the other side you can clean all the input/output connectors between the tonearm and phono stage.

Even you can test it moving/putting yopur TT in other position/location and see what happens.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
R.


Excellent points by @lewm and @rauliruegas
TT, amp, who cares?
Cartridge output is????
"...I get this noise if I turn up the volume on the preamp.."

First, quit doing that, your record surface noise is louder than that. If you want to eliminate it, use attenuators on the output of your phono preamp. Details? I don't need no stinking details!  
But you do need a stinkin' badge.
@fuzztone   Thanks for the smile.  I'll put that LP on first tonight.  
It’s your phono stage’s noise floor. If you have a low output MC cartridge (below say 0.5mV), then turning your preamp’s volume up to a hearty listening level for that cartridge will indeed reveal some of that hiss noise. No matter how much marketing materials and professional reviewers swear that a given phono stage is "dead quiet", there will always be SOME amount of audible hiss at the volume level I like to listen to. What you will also notice is that there can be quite a difference in the level of hiss between different phono stages, at the same net volume output. My $$$$ VAC Renaissance phono in part earns its keep because its noise floor hiss is really significantly lower than cheaper phono stages. 

The lower output you go in MC cartridges, the tougher this noise floor hiss issue becomes. One way to fight back it to use a SUT of a higher ratio (but not TOO high or you will actually move backwards!), but then sometimes a SUT will give your ground hum gremlins which are hard to track down. And a ground hum is WAY worse than a hiss, IMO.
@bigtwin
If you want to confirm if the slight "hissing" sound is from the JC-3+ phono stage, disconnect the turntable rca cables from the JC-3+ input, insert a pair of shorting plug to the JC-3+ inputs, turn up the volume and see if you still can hear the hissing noise.
If you can’t hear the noise then the problem is from upstream.
If you still hear the noise then it could be caused by the phono stage noise floor or the interconnect cables from the JC-3+ to H590. My suggestion is using balanced XLR cable instead of single ended RCA cables. That will let the phono stage send higher output to feed the H590, hopefully it will reduce noise as well.

https://www.amazon.com/shorting-Terminators-Reducing-Insulation-Stopper/dp/B086X1XWB2/ref=sr_1_1_ssp...=




@imhififan ...best routine yet to follow, work ones' way Out to the potential issue.*s*  But without cart type info....*shrug*, an exercise in frustration?.....perhaps....

Doesn't sound like a ground fault unless it's limited to the TT itself, since none noted elsewise.

Be patient, the small annoyances are the hardest to isolate and destroy. ;)  Keep all hammers and similar far away.....*L*
Post removed 
Hiss comes from phono stages noise floor. If you turn up the volume and and is just audible a foot or so from speaker, not a big problem, unless that sort of thing really bothers you. Now if you have hum along with the hiss, that can be a problem from a noise standpoint.
I doubt that an audible hiss coming from the JC3+ phono stage, due to its inherent S/N ratio, is the problem, but the OP isn’t helping  to identify an alternative explanation.

cartridge?
length of ICs?
ICs shielded?
routing of ICs?
both channels?
etc

Very common.

This happens because of all of your sources the output of a phonograph cartridge has the tiniest output.

Because of this, phono preamps have to use a lot of gain ( multiply the input voltage ) compared to line level or active sources (CD, Tuners, streamers, etc.) and in that high multiplier is usually quite a bit of noise too.


Bigtwin, this is not a normal analog connection noise. Everything should be dead silent with the equipment you have.

Is this "hissing" coming from 1 speaker or both? How far away from your amp & pre-amp is your TT? Any chance you've got a satellite TV receiver(s) close to or in proximity to your TT? Are you using a power conditioner? If so, make sure cables, especially power cables, are not resting on or near it. For that matter, make sure your cables, interconnects, power cords, etc. are as separated from each other as possible. Another obvious thing to check are all the connections to make sure they're all clean, tight and accurate, including connections to main AC sources. Does the TT have hard-wired interconnects or are you using separate interconnects?
The JC3+ is a well designed SS device that ought not to be the source of the hiss in this case. I and others have said this repeatedly. Unless it’s broken. But we don’t have all the info.
Keep in mind that a lot of phono stage manufacturers will spec noise with the inputs shorted, which tells you absolutely nothing about the actual performance when connected to a cartridge. 

Due to the inherent thermal noise of any resistance, cartridges have a noise floor.  For ease of example let's just say that whether MM or MC, about -75dB from a cartridge post-RIAA is doing rather good. 

Similarly the large input resistance of an MM stage has a noise penalty, so when you discount extraneous noise you'll typically find that for engineered solutions noise on the output of an MM or MC stage ends up being about the same.

If the "hiss" is white noise, you're likely dealing with thermal noise, and there's nothing practical that can be done about that.  If you've hums or buzzes you're dealing with extraneous noise, and you may be able to address that depending on where it's being picked up.  

My guess is white noise.  Commonly noticed on tube gear.   At normal listening level, can you hear this hiss from you listening position?

Unplug the turntable from the preamp.  Of course, power amp OFF.  Insert grounding plugs into the phono inputs.  If the hiss goes away, it is coming from turntable and or it's connections.  60hz hum is a more common symptom of this. 
If the hiss stays it is the phono front end of the pre amp.  Check this against another JC-3. 
I had similar but could be heard at normal volume setting at the listening position.  I forget the details.  The preamp regulators to the front end had shorted.  Both + and - rails, left and right channels!  What are the chances of that!.  Repaired...quiet.  Well. max listening volume setting, no disk playing, ear up against the tweeter.  Yeah.  I call this good.
 
Hello bigtwin.  You are using a lot more "gain" (amplification) when using  Phono preamp as a source. The hiss you hear is the residual "noise" inherent in any amplifying device. Think of it as the noise made by electrons moving through the wires. The same kind of thing would happen if you were using a magnetic tape deck or microphone pre-amp/ mixing board.
It's what we have to live with. Be of good cheer; it means the equipment is working!
I continue to disagree with the idea that the hiss is inherently coming from the JC3+, unless it’s defective in some way, but none of us has sufficient information to argue with because the OP has left the building, like Elvis.
The JC3+ has an unweighted MC SNR of -67dB. While that is excellent, it is not silent or dead quiet. If you turn the volume all the way up without any program material you will hear a hiss. This should be well under the noise floor of the record and at normal listening levels inaudible. Yo might be able to hear it if you put your ear to the speaker. 
@rauliruegas , there is no such thing as a dead quiet phono stage. Their SNR is always considerably worse than a preamp or amp. Given the output of cartridges it has to be that way. Perhaps we can come up with a way to digitize a low voltage signal. That would eliminate the noise from the additional gain stage. Raul! You should work on that, a digital cartridge. Better yet use a laser stylus. No friction, no skating, NO JITTER. Get on it with your buddies. 
@lewm, listen to mulveling. Its just normal background hiss. Summer Lawns. 
Dear @mijostyn : The OP posted:

""  "hissing" sound emanating from my speakers when the system is using my TT. ""

So seems to me that he is hearing that hiss when playing a LP and its phono stage if not " dead silent " it's silent enough for you can hear that hiss if you take in count that his cartridge output is a " healthy " 0.3mv.

R.
I own three high gain phono stages. I do not use a SUT. I am currently using three phono cartridges on three different turntables that have an output of .2 mV or lower. (As you might recall, the Ortofon  MC 2000 actually puts out .05 mV.) In none of these cases do I ever hear anything approaching hiss at any volume level. None of my phono stages should technically be much different in signal to noise ratio from the JC 3+. I do realize that whether the system is straining or not is also a function of the input sensitivity of the amplifier and the efficiency of the speakers. Like I said, we do not have enough information to argue about the cause of hiss in the OP‘s system. We don’t even know whether the hiss is equally audible in both channels. I also realize that some mid-fi components might produce noise whilst amplifying the signal from a low output moving coil cartridge. I am giving the JC 3+ credit for not being mid-fi in terms of SN ratio.
You know what? Now that I re-read the OP, he could be hearing the noise floor of his system, since he states that he has to turn up the volume with no LP on the turntable, in order to hear the hiss.  Like the late great Emily Latella (character created by the late great Gilda Radner), I would have to say, "Never mind". Or to quote a Henny Youngman doctor joke punch line, I would tell the OP, "don't go like that".
Right. He is hearing the tradeoff.   

With digital there is nothing extraneous, the noise is all intrinsic to the signal. That's why it sounds so bad. But on the other hand when not listening to it, silence. No music, but no hiss either.  

With analog the signal is amplified 8000 times, easily the highest gain in all of audio. So of course it is extremely hard (read: expensive) to have the same low noise floor as is common with even the cheapest digital. So you get a fair bit of extraneous noise. The signal on the other hand, is music. Sweet wonderful involving music.   

That is the tradeoff.
You are hearing the difference in the signal to noise ratio of a phonostage compared to a line level source, nothing to worry about it is totally normal.There will always be a low level hiss from most if not all vinyl setups when the volume is turned up with no signal because of a lower signal to noise ratio for most if not all phono products.
@rauliruegas , I think you misinterpreted the language Raul. He did not say "playing a record", he said "using my tt system."  This is different.
No big deal:-)
Maybe someone can tell me when this is not the case? The comment earlier about surface noise from the record being greater is also valid in most cases. It’s been a long time since I had a really high end phono front end. I have dabbled with returning to my vinyl roots on numerous occasions only to default to my Bel Canto’s superb digital playback capabilities regardless of the source’s digital format. With a wall full of CD’s, two 8TB hard drives loaded with music files, and Qobuz streaming service, as much as I enjoy the idea of vinyl, and the sound it is capable of producing, the law of diminishing returns has set in for me.
Thanks to a nice dealer in LA, I got to demo the Sutherland Duo and the Zesto Andros Deluxe II in my system at the same time for about 2 weeks. The Duo is solid state while the Andros is tube based. Both state how quiet their gear is. The Duo was much quieter, almost no hiss with volume turned way up vs. the Andros which had a noticeably louder hiss, but I wound up keeping the Andros cause it was quite noticeably more dynamic with crazy floating separation of instruments.
The Andros is also almost twice the price so it was a tough decision but it was worth it.
If the noise is noticeable while music is playing at any volume that you would potentially listen at, I would shy away from it. If it is only audible when you are turning the volume way up with nothing playing on the phon input, who cares, especially if you would never listen at that volume level?
My system like your. TT is Thornes, phono stage is JC-3+, amp is pass labs + AR ref 3 preamp, cartridge AT-ART9.  I had same issue with hiss sound. I spend many test and I found phono cable is issue. I used cardas cross, audioquest water or earth all of them are not eliminated hiss sound. I finally use phono morrow cable ph4. Hiss sound reduce 90%, and of course can not compare with cd player source that complete dead silence. 
Changed Phono cable instead use regular interconnect it work in my system.
bigtwin—I suggest that you try this…
Run a length of #18 stranded hookup wire from an exposed ground point (like the shell of an input or output plug) on your low-level preamp chassis directly to the AC power line GROUND POST on the same AC socket as used to power your system. (This simple connector…https://statictek.com/product/ground-plug-adapter/…makes that easy.) Check to see whether that serves to reduce the hiss level.
@vdotman, that is a very reasonable approach. If I did not have a large record collection I would probably do the same. Seeing as I have I might as well make use of it. The very best recordings I have are hi res digital
files. I assume one of your hard drives is for backup?  8TB is a pile of music even in high res files. I have 1.5 TB loaded. Most of it is 44.1/16
Judging at the rate I am buying music I can expect to fill another TB during my life span.
The hissing noise is the background sound of the analogue magnetic tape used to record the music.  If you listen closely, and start LP's from way off the beginning of the recording, you can hear the hiss come in just before the music.  Direct Disc do not have these sounds, nor do digital magnetic tapes.
@danvignau 

What if the turntable /source isn’t turned on. 
I read your question, but none of the intervening posts.  I had the same (or similar issue) and it drove me nuts. Bottom line,  First, rule out tube rush. I have Aesthetic IO eclipse (lots of tubes) so make sure you have ultra low-noise tubes.  It was also fun to tweak the sound to my liking.  But the real problem was the wireless access point - a google mesh. It was on top of an ACS round corner trap, about 4 feet away from my TT, and at basically the same height. At the time I had a Linn Krystal LOMC cartridge and it was picking up the RFI. Stumbled onto it one day when my internet was down. Was pissed and went to my room to listen to vinyl.  No hiss - then next day it was back.  After thinking through what was different, I moved the WAP (no jokes please) and that was the answer.  FWIW, thats my story       
Apparently, your phono section is a bit noisy, but not your amp or other inputs.  The signal from the phono section is probably the cause this hiss.  However, to check this, unplug your phono wires from your preamp. If the hiss goes away, you might try a different cartridge or tonearm wires, I suppose.  Anyone else?  Should he try shorting the phono input RCA? If so, what should he expect?
Hello,
If you have a low output cart you need the Sutherland TZ Vibe phono stage or even better it’s big brother the Sutherland Little LOCO. These phono stages have such a quiet noise floor due to drawing the current signal vs the voltage signal which is low. So you get a noise floor that is so quiet you can hear a church mouse fart in between passages. I am not joking. When You are not familiar with the album and track list you will get up to flip the record before it is done. Plus, A sound stage so big you can even listen at very low levels. The TZ Vibe is $1400 which has to be a steal at this performance level. If you want to try this out for yourself this dealer in the Chicagoland area lets you demo in your home. https://holmaudio.com/
You will swear you are listening to streaming it is so quiet but with all the advantages to analog.