Over To You: How Can I Stop My Fridge Interfering With My DJ Gear?

Marshall Fridge

Despite this rather cool rock and roll fridge (we couldn’t resist it as an illustration!), truth is that domestic electrical appliances can play havoc with delicate audio equipment.

Digital DJ Tips reader Andrew writes: “In my two-bedroom apartment I have all the usual mod cons/appliances such as big TV, fridge and many electronic items. Often many items are switched on at the same time. Then there is my studio, iMac, s4, Yamaha monitors, large amp connected to four sets of speakers and a sub.”

“All the sound equipment is connected via a surge protected board that says it gives cleaner energy to my beloved toys. But when the fridge in the kitchen turns on or off automatically a surge is heard through the speakers. If many lights and other appliances are on the noise is louder. My question is what can I do to stop the surge noise and better take care of my equipment?”

Digital DJ Tips says

Most homes have at least two power and one light circuit. Usually the power is split between opposite sides of the house, although I guess in an apartment you may only have one circuit. If you have more than one, try pulling one fuse (turn the main switch off first) and you can work out which power points are on which circuit. Then try to keep thing with motors or things that cycle on (thermostats etc) off the one you plug all your DJ gear into.

You could also look at power conditioners (Furman does a good range) but they’re not cheap. However, I’m sure some of our readers have experienced the same, so I’d love to throw this one open.

So, have you had to deal with clicks and hums coming through your speakers due to non-related gear? How have you dealt with it? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Comments

  1. Alfie Gunningham says:

    Maybe you could try a ground loop isolator, they are very cheap online and it did the job for me.

  2. You could try a ground loop isolator..I had similar issues when running a booth from generators .

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_loop_(electricity)

    There are some relatively cheap ones out there so it’s worth a shot.

  3. Great topic. Look forward to hearing some comments. I had similar issues when using a fog machine at gigs. When I would click the fog machine on I would get a pop in my speakers..uhgggg! Having done that a few times, when hooking up my power cords, I now just search around for an outlet on a different circuit only for the fog machine, but sometimes have to run a 50 ft cord to find one . I use a Furman Conditioner for all my power but in this situation it doesn’t suppress the surge well enough for the fog machine… I still have to test out to see if I get that speaker pop, but knowing that, I test on my headphones … a lot cheaper test risking my powered mains and subs.

  4. Hi! I’m dealing with the same problem and I’ve got only 1 Circuit for all my devices. I hope to solve the problem with the (unused-)high Voltage connection that can easily be switched to three additional normal Voltage connections. Cheers

  5. The solution is simple ..
    You need to eliminate the grounding connection on your power cord.
    I had this problem years ago with my PA system and found this solution which works the best.

    How do you do that ? The answer is a 3 Prong to 2 prong grounding converter.
    Check the link below and see what it looks like.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000I96AUM

    Use this converter on your extension cord and connect all your DJ related equipment to it. The humming noise will dissapear magicly.

  6. I deal with power protection during the day so I would have to suggest a couple of things such as plugging your equipment that generate the most line noise on a surge outlet closest to the cord. Secondly, fridges are notorious for surges and line noise. If its line noise your dealing with get a isolation transformer its like a dedicated circuit in a box that handles surge and specifically line noise. Tripp Lite has models that range from 250 watt capacity to 2400 watts. Isolation transformers are called power conditioners in other markets, but it might be what you need to help with the issue.

  7. Lets get serious for a moment. Where do I buy that fridge Phil. Your holding out on us.

  8. When I used to live with my parents, the air conditioner would send surges and mess up my sound. I usually had good surge suppressors so I never worried about something damaging my gear…just a recording messed up. Add to this the general brown-out conditions that hit major cities in heat waves.

    If I was in your scenario, the cheapest solution would be to perhaps turn down your fridge when you’re going to play/record, then turn it back up when you’re done. In my old place I’d simply turn the AC off when I wanted to spin music..

    However, Phil’s solutions are the more solid ones.

  9. You can buy a Furman conditioner to keep our equipment safe.
    This one would do the trick :)
    http://www.furmansound.com/product.php?div=03&id=M-10LxE

    • I agree this is probably the best product for all-problems-electrical.
      Typically at big events lightning systems do have the9ir own connection to the power grid or independent generation, at small ones, beware of dimmers.
      If you have some digital processor or gear of any king, especially if you are installing the DJ gear at any party/event, get that Furman unit, you’ll take out a very real location worry… one that is usually found only the moment everything is already installed a few minutes before the event starts. and quite distressing and hard to solve without the power conditioner/noise suppressor.

      For the noise induced at the cabling and Audio or DJ gear, a separate article would probably be necessary. That Rane paper cited by DJ Gard a few post below, has been quite the official info resource at the Audio world for decades already. grab a copy and carry it with your equipment or place iit at your favorites, it might help at last minute.
      Good article.

  10. I’d go with a ground loop isolator as well, that said, in the mean time I’d turn the fridge off when I hit record and start it as soon as I was done. Just don’t go for a 48hour record-a-thon using that method;)

  11. How do you tell the local bar to turn off the ice machine though? Hit thomann for a “hum eliminator”

  12. HankBizzle says:

    I had a similar problem years ago where my Parents water bed heater gave me static through my mixer. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what it was but a mate who was a sound engineer diagnosed it within seconds lol.
    It wasn’t in the same room or anything it was through the wall from my bedroom, I just got my old man to move the control box to the end of the bed further from my room wall and it stopped giving me problems.

  13. The use of balanced audio cables and lifting the shield on one end of all your cables will not only with your fridge problem, but any AC hum in any room. This is good to know for all you mobile DJs playing in various rooms. Here are a couple of links to check out:

    http://mikeriversaudio.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/grounds_and_shields_revised1.pdf

    http://www.rane.com/note110.html

  14. If you’re getting “dirty power” because your equipment is plugged into the same circuit as something dirtying the power and you’re dealing with 3-phase power, try moving where you connect your power into another phase of the main power (this means another outlet inside the house or to another color on the 3-phase (Red-Blue-Black) outlet box (when you’re touring). This solution takes little more than MAYBE a power extension cable and it normally works just fine.

    If you’re getting RF Interference because of the A/C pump motor, you’re either going to have to RF shield the area where your equipment is, turn off the offending device (as D-Jam suggests) or… move your equipment to another area outside the area effected by the RF Interference.

    The above solutions including ground loop isolators and power conditioners work (very well) when you know what kind of problem you have, but it makes a lot of sense to try the cheap and easy solutions first.

    BEER ME!

  15. Ferrite magnets worked well for me. You see them on a lot of Usb cables its that barrel looking thing on the one end. You can buy these that just snap around a cord. I put them on my sound cables and power cords closest to the termination point and it did the charm.

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