How to Get Rid of Speaker Hum

Written by rob kemmett
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How to Get Rid of Speaker Hum
The humming noise is most audible when the TV and stereo are turned off. (Gary Cornhouse/Photodisc/Getty Images)

We have all heard it: that nasty little hum coming from your speakers when you're trying to watch your favourite TV show or listen to your favourite song. The hum is often in the background, but it is still annoying. The humming sound is a low-frequency buzz that often results from voltage differences between the ground wire, the wire attached to the chassis, the incoming cable feed or one of many other audio or video components connected to the speaker system. This nuisance is known as a "ground loop," but it is resolvable. Troubleshoot the problem to eliminate that hideous humming once and for all.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Ground isolator
  • Coax cable

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  1. 1

    Disconnect the subwoofer from the receiver at the end of the receiver. Leave the subwoofer powered on. If the hum disappears, you have a "ground loop" that is entering your system through your receiver or cable TV box. If you still hear the hum, a new subwoofer may be in order.

  2. 2

    Disconnect the wires, which may be either coax or HDMI cables, between the cable TV box (or satellite feed) and the receiver. If the hum disappears, contact your cable service provider and make a complaint. If they have received similar complaints, they might know how to fix the problem and supply you with a ground-isolating transformer. If they have not received similar complaints or do not know what you are talking about, you will have to fix the problem yourself.

  3. 3

    Fix the hum yourself. It is a simple procedure that can be done in just a few minutes; no electronics expertise is needed. Purchase a ground isolator and a line of coax cable long enough to fit reach from the cable TV box to the receiver. Both can be purchased at electronics stores and retailers with speaker or audio departments.

  4. 4

    Connect one end of the coax cable to the "In" port on the receiver.

  5. 5

    Connect one side of the ground isolator to the other end of the coax cable.

  6. 6

    Connect the original coax cable to the other side of the ground isolator. The hum should disappear.

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