Noise generated from DAW controller

Has anyone had an issue with noise picked up on an electric guitar that is generated from a DAW controller, in my case an X-touch One. It seems to be caused by the running clock digits on the controller.
It goes away when I turn off the controller while recording, but obviously not an ideal solution.
Please let me know if anyone has a solution.


Hi Tim,

Are you on a laptop ?
You need at least one equipment to be properly grounded and see if that removes the noise.

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Quick test:
Just touch one of the metal screws on the xtouch and/or on your interface to check if that reduces the noise. If so, then run a wire from that screw to the ground on your wall plug.

Also make sure you use quality shielded cables and that you muted all inputs you don’t use.

Noise gating does not ‘repair’ anything, it just hides the problem, but could be a reasonable solution in some cases.

I have an HP printer that emits so much noise, I have to unplug it from the wall for recording… even if using excellent cables (shielded and properly grounded, etc.).

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Electric guitars can be very sensitive. Turn the guitar 90 degrades usually helps, and you also need to be sure that the guitar is as good as it can be. Have you tried a other guitar?

You’re right, the guitar can also be sensitive to interference, but then, the quality of the guitar and cables will have absolutely no incidence on being less sensitive.

Turning your seat to the right angle when you hold your guitar in playing position will indeed prevent the guitar to pick up electromagnetic fields.
When the pickup coils are on-axis with the EMF, they will pick up the signal, but if you turn the coils 90 degrees they won’t pick it up anymore because they will be off-axis.

When you just listen to the DI signal of your guitar, you won’t hear any particular noise, because it is very low. If you put an analyzer on the guitar input and set it to display lowest levels, you will see the frequencies of the actual noise.

  • Big transformers, generally those in UPS, will produce large EMF in the same frequency of your mains (50 or 60Hz). This low frequency hum can be picked up by any guitar or microphone, up to several meters from the unit.
  • High frequency electronic chips contained in electronic products, like your X-Touch controller, your computer, audio interfaces and hardware synthesizers, just to mention a few, will instead emit high frequency EMF, and thus, high pitched noise will be picked up by the coil.

However, all electronic devices are not created equal, and some will emit much more EMF than others.

That’s why it is always conceivable to record as far as possible from the desk, because that’s usually where you have many EMF emitting devices gathered in a single spot.

The real problem is when you amplify this signal with a high gain amp, overdrive, etc.
It will bring up the noise so much that it can be very unpleasant, depending on how close you are from the EMF source.

Thank you. Makes sense. Like many of us I have several pieces of equipment within two feet from my pickups. I think perhaps I’ll try a foot switch for recording start/stop and get away from the equipment completely.

Thanks again!!

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I’ll give that a shot. Sounds like your kind of talking about something similar to a ground-loop, like the problem many sub woofers have where you have to eliminate the ground wire to the wall to stop the noise.
I’ll definitely do some experimenting. Maybe I’ll have to learn how to play guitar while keeping my finger on the X-touch screw :slight_smile: