ground noise with Cubase Pro 9

Hi List,

after opening the Cubase I do have some ground noise / main hum only appearing while cubase is running. After Cubase is shut down the PC is 100% quiet. Any idea where this could be coming from? Is maybe a denoiser or dehummer a solution? Do you have any suggestions which one is working ok with Cubase in the lower pricerange as well as low latency?
Any idea if such a plugin will be included in any upcoming Cubase Pro Versions e.g. 9.5 / 10?

Thanks for your Support
Lars from germany

You need to solve this at source, not with a de-humming plugin.

Audio device?? Driver? Computer type? - Much else connected to the computer?

If a laptop can you unplug power?
If a usb sounddevice your desktop PC needs to be grounded.
If it’s a hum, it can also be a feedback loop.

A ground loop is a “loop of wire” that is not grounded. So, often, it’s a simple matter of removing one thing at a time to find the culprit. Be careful and protect your speakers when doing this. There’s a lot of info on the web about how to isolate and eliminate ground loops, but, again, be careful, and read up on this topic before attempting to correct the situation. Ultimately you may need an isolation transformer, etc., but often the issue is a bad cable or an incorrectly grounded piece of equipment in the signal path. Good luck.

Hi, I’ve now worked on some solution options e.g. connection ALL studio devices into the same plug and seperating a second PC which is not mandatory for the daily studio sessions: And it helped eleminating some of the ground noises and the (now little) noise is now always the same no matter cubase or any other programs are running or not. BUT:!!! There’s still some noises while the system is running. Maybe it’s normal, because I can only hear it when I turn my monitors to the very maximum. Is there an average figure how much noise a “normal” studio setup is making while eg cubase is running but not actually playing? My soundcard RME HDSPe AIO is providing a tool called DIGI Check. So I’ve made a screenshot of the noise. Maybe someone could tell me if the remaining noise is not normal average and an option to further reduce it? Thanks for all the help.

Hi ihtlueders,
Please, permit me to help you with your noise problem.
First off, I’m a bit concerned about when you say ‘I can only hear it when I turn my monitors to the very maximum’.
Are these powered monitors, or speakers with an external power amp?
Do you have an external mixing board or are you coming directly out of your computer to the Amplifier/ Speakers?
Once I have that information, I can give you advise on how to clean up your system.

A good alternative to grounding your analogue connections is to use fibre ADAT or SPDIF connections from your audio interface.

If that option is available to you your digital noise problems may well disappear, as there is no electrical ground to loop. The integrity of your digital audio data will be 100%.

I’ve had a number of desktop and lap-tops which have introduced terrible levels of noise into my audio. Cheap PSUs and general poor internal component screening are major culprits, but the total lack of mains ground on most lap-top PSUs is often significant too. Un-balanced audio connections don’t help much either.

It’s often less about ‘hum’ and more about a ‘roar’ of bleeps hisses and burbles.

Give it a try - it’s been a ‘free’ cure for me on multiple occasions.

Does one of your display monitors have a VGA cable? For me, DVI and HDMI are fine, but as soon as I use VGA I have a noise problem.
Higher quality VGA cable solved it.

Hi Rick, I use speakers with an external power amp (ALT OUT of my mixing desk) and I use an external mixing board (A&H ZED14). So from the analog out of my soundcard the signal goes into the ZED14. There it’ll be mixed with some of my other synths and then the Rec Out goes back into the analog in of my soundcard.

I use the A&H ZED14 which has no ADAT or SPDIF connections (my soundcard has). Is there a way to route the audio signal internal without going through the mixing desk and just routing the external synths through the A&H ZED14 merging all in my RME HSPe AIO? But maybe the noise will remain?

I have an RME HDSP 9632 and I also have a problem with high background noise through the cards built in analogue outputs. (unbalanced on my home music system). I researched a little and found numerous reports of high background noise with these RME slot cards, you can find various attempts to resolve it, insulating it form the PC chassis etc… I contacted RME support and they said you have a ground loop. They suggested trying headphone amp to determine if it was the rsult of the equipment it was connected to. This was inconclusive as the HP output at FULL is still low gain… fairly sure I still heard low level noise. There should be totally zilch noise given the card is supposed to be “SNR 110 dB RMS unweighted, 113 dBA”.

I put a DAC on the SP/DIF output (which has superior fidelity) and I work like that, high noise floor has gone as it is isolated by the digital data stream, this DAC also connected unbalanced to the same mixer inputs as the RME was. The noise floor consisted of changing warbles and a type of hum that changed depending on what the computer was doing (i.e loading a project, mouse movements etc). There was some reported issues in combination with modern PSU’s over at Gearslutz. Specifically Seasonic X series. (which I have in this machine) The issue is possibly related to the PWM (pulse width modulation) of the PSU voltage rails as part of the efficiency drive with PSU’s. This is not what I expected for an overpriced, aging PCI card.

I purchased one as RME keep the drivers for Win10 up to date, it is nice and stable.

I could try putting my old PSU back in or trying the balanced cables you can buy, isolating it etc. etc. and seeing if anything changes but have not the time and solved it by using an external DAC. I have not been partcularly impressed. Previosuly I had an old Layla 3G in that was deathly silent, same PCI slot. I changed it because there was a driver issue that was infrequent and unpredictable with W10. I preferred not to have to deal with that and so treated myself to the RME card.

So whilst I cannot narrow down the specific issue (time, inclination, sorted it out with external DAC) I am still left feeling disappointed that my first RME experience was not as expected. I hope you get to the bottom of the problem. At some stage when I have time I might investigate it more but for now it is a non issue due to use of external DAC.

Why don’t you do it the other way around? Feed the signal of the ZED14 output into your RME soundcard and also connect your speakers to the RME? To me it makes no sense to first feed it into the ZED14 and then return it to the RME again. If anything it will add more noise to chain and possibly more issues like unwanted (ground) loops and added distortion? It’s also advisable to use ‘balanced’ cables as much as possible. Synths are usually don’t have balanced connectors so they don’t matter that much but powered speakers certainly do and it’s very important to connect these with balanced (XLR) cables. Hope this helps?

This may or may not help. When you pay top dollar for a basic I/O you tend to just expect it to work (balanced or unbalanced) connected to a basic system where other basic I/O has previously worked silently and noise free. Layla3G and my DAC audio works “A OK” immediately, balanced or unbalanced outputs, not having to jump through hoops (loops ?)

Clearly this series of card/s has been very successful and seems to have worked for the vast majority of people. However given its
age it is not beyond the realms of possibility that it may not be compatible with every new item of PC hardware that subsequently exists since
the cards design/last hardware revision. Just have to work through it if/when you have time and inclination to try and troubleshoot the issue.

First, I need to say that nothing I’ve posted here should be construed as technical advice. Whatever you do is at your own risk. If you want equipment serviced, seek the services of a qualified electronic equipment technician and, if necessary, a licensed electrician.

Noise is going to be introduced with each piece of equipment and identifying its cause, reducing it or eliminating it can be tricky, dangerous, time consuming and costly. Making a studio space more quiet is usually possible.

Noisy fans and A/C power supplies, buzzing guitar amps, anything and everything can induce noise at numerous points in the signal chain. Taking a step back, the room itself my not be being fed correctly grounded A/C. BE CAREFUL. If you you don’t know how electricity works, don’t monkey around with it. You can get a basic circuit tester which plugs in and gives basic readings – good enough in most cases. Assuming you have clean power at the source, then follow each piece of equipment, step by step and see what noise appears on your meters and monitors, if any. Once all the components are connected, you’ll know what your setup’s noise floor is. Will that noise floor be acceptable? In some cases, yes. The level is low enough that it is covered by the recorded tracks. In other cases, it is unacceptable and noise is being recorded on your tracks – buzz on the vocal track. Perhaps you need several setups. Some for recording, others for mixing. Once tracks are recorded, you can pull noise-generating equipment (turn off or unplug instruments, disconnect equipment from the patchbay), remove what you do not need from the signal chain to get rid its noise.

Look for things that create A/C line noise other than your recording equipment. Lighting fixtures, cable TV boxes, appliances on the same circuit may induce noise on the line. Perhaps one of your computer’s is not correctly grounded? If possible a dedicated “home run” circuit or circuits is best. I use an eight outlet A/C distribution box that feeds everything I’m currently using – a modest setup. In the studio room, we have two dedicated circuits – “home runs to the box.” Listen to your space because sometimes the noise you’re hearing is an acoustical sound in the room and not in the electronics. Do a sweep frequency listen – lows, low-mids, mids, highs – and look for where the noise is, don’t disregard what’s there. Often it will be the typical 60 or 50 cycle hum, but sometimes not. I’ve heard squeals, clicks, pops, LFO sweeps – noise comes in many strange forms.

Anyway, it sounds like you’re doing a lot of this kind of work and getting things sorted out. It’s tricky, but not complicated. It can be time consuming, costly and dangerous, so, again, if you’re not sure, ask a qualified expert for help. D.I.Y. is fine, D.I.Died sucks. :slight_smile: It’s really easy to fry your speaker drivers, a piece of equipment, or yourself when working with your A/C feeds. There’s a lot of detailed info on the net, of course, and I look forward hearing what others have to offer on this thread and topic. Good luck.

Excellent thread over there. It’s going to be vexatious when there’s system noise issue with the internal components. I’ve been lucky and am not suffering these kinds of noise issues. That goes all the way back to 2014. I’ve not read it all, but there may be some useful posts there.

Hi lhtlueders,
I can’t believe it!
I wrote you out a step by step method to locate and correct your hum problem and somehow it has disappeared.
I had even checked it after submission.
What I DIDN’T do is copy and past it into a text document as a back-up.
So Sorry!
If you still need assistance let me know and I’ll re-write it.
At the moment, I just don’t have the time.

Arggg! I was looking for your post. It’s possible to “save drafts” on the board. In the article mentioned above there’s some good posts about this particular issue. There’s also some possible solutions posted for it. It seems to be a component level noise issue.

Let me try again…

First, I’m going to assume that you’re not getting shocked from touching any metal on any of your components.
Just to be sure, you can pick up an electrical outlet tester at the hardware store that will glow green ( or amber) if the outlet is wired properly and the ground is functioning as it should. I would also recommend you pick up 4 to 6 ground-lifts. (see below) they come in very handy in audio environments such as stage and studio.

Also, your DAW, Mixer and Amplifier ( and other connected equipment ) should all be plugged into the same electrical outlet using a good surge protector ( at least 1000 joules ) or better yet, an A/C line conditioner. I highly recommend Furman PL-PLUS C 15 Amp Power Conditioner. Amazon sells for $239.00
I can’t rave enough about it… read the reviews.

Anyway, back to your hum…

Always turn off your amplifier before plugging and unplugging power cords, Turn down the amplifier volume before plugging and unplugging audio cables.

Now, unplug the electrical cord of all equipment that is connected directly or indirectly to your mixing board. You will leave your power amp and Mixer still connected to the A/C power, but turned off.

With the mixer on and the Master faders on the Mixer pulled down, turn on the Amplifier and bring up the Volume controls on the Amp.

Do you have the Hum?
I would assume not, but let me know.

If you do have hum, you need to install a ground-lift on your Amplifier. a ground-lift plugs onto the end of the electrical cord and converts the 3-prong plug to a 2 prong. Let me know if that doesn’t clear the hum.

Btw, I have never had an issue with using ground-lifts where needed, as long as no one tries to defeat it’s polarity by reversing it in the outlet. NEVER, EVER do that, people!

If you have no hum, bring up the Master faders.
Do you have the hum, now?

If you have no hum, then the electrical connection between the Board and amplifier are functioning properly.
At this point I should tell you that there can be more than one piece of equipment that can contribute to this so it’s important to continue to check the rest of the equipment, but do so one at a time, and disconnect each one before testing the next.

And, there is no point in continuing if you have not cleared the hum on the previous equipment (the Mixer and the Amp).

So assuming we’re making progress, lets connect the power to the DAW (computer). REMEMBER: the Amplifier is powered OFF!

Master fader out of the DAW is pulled down. Mixing board is turned on next. Faders down. Next, turn on the Amplifier.
Amplifier Volume up.
Mixing board Master fader up.
DAW Master fader up.
How are we doing so far?

If you have a hum now, Power amp off, install aground lift on the DAW electrical cord.
By now, I hope you see the pattern were using.

Once the electrical has been straightened out, we can talk about noise coming from audio cables.
I’ll be happy to help you further if needed.

Let me know what’s happening and feel free to ask questions.

Best wishes…

Hummm. Just installed this version for first time, tried a project I had done in Cubase 8, and I also notice some noise on one track - drums I had taken from one of the available loops within the program which I had re-recorded as audio and silences are humming !

For all other tracks (some made with mic on guitars, some direct instruments), no issue, no noise !


Rick, nice post, and I think you provide a good overview, however, I don’t recommend lifting the ground. I recommend correctly grounding equipment and working with A/C power that is stable, in phase and, above all, grounded. I will only lift the ground on a component within a system if there’s no other way to obtain that signal and that almost never comes up. Anyway, as I said before, none of what I’m saying in this post is technical advice and users should always consult licensed electricians or technicians for any issue having to do with electrical power usage, including RFI or EMI noise issues in their systems.

The article, above says that the RME card has some self-noise problems and posts over there offer possible solutions. What I was wondering about that – is the noise recorded on tracks or just present in the monitor?