Troubleshooting a Computer Speaker Humming Noise

By David Medairos

Noise and hum can be introduced into an audio system in a number of ways. The most common cause of a humming or buzzing sound in stereo speakers is a lack of proper electrical grounding. Because the electricity in your home operates on alternating current, the cycling back and forth of the electrical polarity can manifest itself as a 60Hz hum. Speakers and wiring placed too close to a transformer (often found in power supplies) can also be susceptible to interference and cause humming.

Things You'll Need

  • Ground tester
  • Power conditioner

Step 1

Check that all cables are installed securely. Gently wiggle all cables at their connection points while playing music and listen for any static or increased hum. Replace any cables and extension cords that cause noise or static.

Step 2

Place any transformers (often contained in plastic boxes inline with a power supply cable) away from your speakers and audio cables.

Step 3

Check the ground quality of the outlet your speakers a plugged in to. An inexpensive ground tester can be purchased at any home supply store and when plugged into an outlet, will indicate if there is an insufficient ground connection.

Step 4

Purchase a power conditioner. Power conditioners are available at any home supply store or electronics store, and contain noise canceling and ground level correcting circuits. Some models also have a ground lift feature, which can remove any noise associated with ground loop hum.

References & Resources