These days be a little retro has a real good vibe on our lifestyle. I went to my friend’s house on a weekend and all the conversation was around the old turntable with an amazing old selection of types of vinyl. To be honest, the next day I bought one at Walmart, and when I finished putting together this brand new turntable I have noticed a low-level hum.
After trying a bunch of things, and doing some research I thought I’d put together this article to explain what causes it and how to fix it. Here’s what I found.
So, why does my turntable hum at high volume? A turntable will hum at high volume due to:
- Cables being loose
- Improper grounding
- Speaker placement – facing your unit or being too close to it
- Subwoofers on a wooden floor
- Faulty RCA cable
- Bad acoustics based on your speaker layout
These are all really easy to fix.
If you want to know how to fix each of these issues this article will explain everything you need to know about how to stop your turntables from humming on high volume. As well as, helpful tips about stopping feedback on your turntables.
How Do I Stop My Turntable Humming?
Normally you keep your turntables at a medium volume when you’re playing it without headphones at home. But, every now and then you’ll want to really crank it up, especially when you have friends over or a family get-together. Here’s how to stop your turntable from humming…
There is a range of fixes and you’ll need to try each one until you find what’s causing it. The easiest thing to do first is to move your subwoofer and speakers and change the direction they’re facing. After that, you’ll want to check the grounding and the cables.
I’ll detail each of the different ways to stop your turntable humming with step by step instructions below:
1. Cables being loose
If your cables aren’t plugged in all the way it can cause your turntables to hum. You may have noticed when you plug your cables in or unplug them you get a low hum.
But, this is a really easy thing to take a look at right off the bat. Just check each of the connections to see if they’re plugged incorrectly. You can unplug them, and then plug them back in. Or, you can just press them to see they’re in all the way.
You’ll get a satisfying click when a cable is plugged into the jack. But, the cables at the rear of a speaker can also be a bit worn, especially if you move you assemble and disassemble your turntables a lot.
So, you’ll want to check they’re in good shape so that the wires make a good connection to your speakers. Here’s a complete guide for how to replace and repair your speaker wires.
2. Improper grounding
Improper grounding produces what’s called ground looping, and according to Wikipedia causes speakers to hum. Also fixing it can improve the overall sound quality of your speaker setup because it removes interference.
A complete guide with step by step instructions on how to properly ground your turntables can be found here. If you’ve already properly grounded your turntables, it can be worthwhile to check that it’s still in order. Because it might have changed especially if you’ve moved them around recently.
3. Speaker placement
The positioning of your speakers can cause your turntables to hum. If your subwoofer is facing your turntable, the air it produces can get picked up by your cartridge and cause a low hum that only gets picked up when you crank the volume right up.
Therefore, you’ll want to face your subwoofer away from your deck or move it so it’s positioned further away. Also, check that none of your other speakers are facing your turntables, as this can also cause feedback and create a hum.
4. Subwoofers on a wooden floor
If your subwoofer isn’t on a soft surface when it’s playing it can cause the surface it’s on to vibrate and the sound of the vibrations can get picked up by your cartridge. So, if it’s on a hardwood floor or a hard surface, you’ll want to put something underneath it to absorb the vibrations.
A quick fix is to use Blue Tak but it can get a bit messy as it gets squashed by your speakers. A better option is to get a subwoofer platform – also called a speaker riser. It’s a soft pad that you put under your sub and other large speakers.
However, I’d try the other fixes in the article before getting one because you might not need them. Here’s one I recommend based on the number of positive ratings. Click here to check it out.
5. Faulty RCA cable
A faulty RCA cable can cause speakers to hum. The easiest way to fix this is to get a different one and swap it out to see if it’s causing the issue. They cost around $5 for a 4 ft (1.3 meters) cable. So it’s cheap to get a brand new one, and a good way to be sure it isn’t the cable if you test it by using some spares you have lying around.
Also, your RCA cable may not seat correctly in its port. If you rotate it while it’s plugged it may create a better connection and remove the hum.
6. Bad acoustics based on your speaker layout
The positioning of your speakers can be causing a hum. So, it’s a good idea to move your speakers around and see if that removes it. You could spend a while trying out a bunch of different speaker positions. So, you’ll want to try this step last.
However, sound waves can bounce around the room in ways that produce standing waves, which can make their way into your cartridge and cause interference. And can be what’s causing your turntables to hum. Try angling your speakers in a different direction to see if that fixes it.
That’s it for the ways to stop your turntables from humming. Hopefully, if you tried each of these steps it will fix your speaker hum. If it doesn’t you may want to have an expert audio electrician take a look at it, to see what’s causing the issue.
You may be getting a bit of feedback which can also cause your turntables to hum. Below is more detail about feedback and how to remove it.
Why Am I Getting Feedback From My Turntable?
Feedback can be really hard on the ears or produce a low level of noise that you can hear through your speakers. Here’s what causes it:
Feedback is produced when soundwaves from the speakers get to your cartridge. It’s created when there’s bad acoustics because of the speaker placement, or if a speaker is facing your cartridge. The soundwaves get picked up by the cartridge and play through the speakers again and again.
As the sound gets picked up by your cartridge it can keep getting louder and louder until it becomes unbearable. It’s really common with microphones when someone accidentally walks in front of a speaker when they’re wearing or holding a microphone.
How Can I Reduce My Turntable Feedback?
Now that you know how feedback happens on your turntable you’ll want to get rid of it, here’s what you need to do:
To reduce turntable feedback you’ll want to move your speakers and change the directions they face. Even a slight change in the position of your speakers can reduce the feedback you’re getting. But, finding the right spot involves trial and error until you find the best position and angle for them.
Each room has a unique shape and size, and this affects where the waves bounce and whether they make it back to your cartridge. And end up causing feedback.