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How to stop speaker humming

Updated July 19, 2017

Advances in audio technology have made home speaker systems more affordable. Many televisions now use surround sound systems to enhance the viewing experience. While speakers systems are easy to install, problems such as speaker hum can detract from the overall experience. The majority of speaker hum problems are easily fixed. Use a few simple techniques to eliminate speaker hum, saving a call to a professional repair shop.

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  1. Clean the cable ends and jacks. Remove each cable from its corresponding jack. Use compressed air to clean the cable's plug ends and the jacks they fit into. Dirt and debris can build up over time that will form a barrier that causes connection problems.

  2. Check cable and cord connections. If a cable is not completely connected to its corresponding jack, a noise problem will occur. Use a flashlight to inspect each connection. Firmly push the cable's plug into the jack. Repeat this process for each cable.

  3. Test the cables. Cables can be damaged over time from general usage. Turn the stereo or surround sound system on. Gently shake each cable. Listen for crackling or popping. If a cable exhibits any type of noise when it is shaken, replace the cable.

  4. Test the individual components. Disconnect everything from the system so all that remains are the amplifier and speakers. Turn the amplifier on and raise the volume level. If there is no hum, the problem lies elsewhere. If there is a hum, the problem is within the amplifier. Reconnect the system's components, one piece at a time. Check for a hum. When the hum appears, the last piece of equipment connected to the system will be the source of the problem.

  5. Check the wall socket. Wall sockets are supposed to be grounded, which reduces noise problems. However, the only way to know if a socket is having grounding problems, without taking the socket apart, is by testing the sound system using a different wall socket. Unplug the system. Plug it into a different socket. Note whether or not the hum continues.

  6. Move other electronic devices from the immediate area. Devices, such as a cordless phone, can interfere with the sound system, causing speaker noise. Move these devices away from the sound system. Preferably, these devices should be moved to another room. If this is not possible, move the device as far from the sound system as possible.

  7. Purchase a filtering power strip. Filtering power strips are designed to remove the potential grounding problems that cause speaker hum. This type of power strip can be purchased at any electronics shop.

  8. Install the filtering power strip. Unplug all the power cords used with the sound system. Plug the power strip into a wall socket. Plug each of the system's power cords into the power strip. Turn the power strip on. Turn the system on.

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Things You'll Need

  • Compressed air
  • Flashlight
  • Filtering power strip

About the Author

Hugh Patterson started writing poetry in 1978. He started writing fiction and non fiction in 2003. His work has appeared in "The Nervous Breakdown" magazine and a number of other literary journals. He also writes online book reviews. He studied chemistry and design at Ventura College and had a California Math and Science Teacher's Fellowship through the University of California Santa Barbara.

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