Buzzing or audio noise on a live stream can come from a lot of things. It can come from the cables, audio mixer, or directly from the source audio, like a microphone or another sound source. This post will teach you how to identify what is causing the buzz and how to troubleshoot it.

Identify the Source of the Problem

If you have the ability to, your first step will be to mute all channels on the soundboard and un-mute them one-by-one until you find out which source is causing the problem. You could also use the “solo” function if your soundboard has one - this mutes all channels other than the “soloed” channel, so it makes it easier.

If you are unable to mute channels with your soundboard, or if this still doesn’t solve the problem, the issue could be your cables. Try swapping the cables one by one. It is really important to use a systematic troubleshooting approach here, so that you're not inadvertently messing up something that was working fine. Your goal is to isolate the root cause and maybe avoid that issue in the setup in the future. Remember to only change one thing at a time when troubleshooting!

Troubleshoot the Problem

Once you have identified which source or equipment is causing the buzzing, use a systematic troubleshooting approach again to try to fix the root problem.  An easy thing to try is changing cables that connect the problematic piece of equipment to the soundboard, or to other equipment.  If the equipment uses wall power, you might try plugging it into a different outlet (or a few different outlets!) to see if that helps. If any of the problem equipment has a “ground lift” switch, try toggling that and see if it makes a difference.  As a last resort, you could try another piece of equipment to kill the buzz like the Rocktron Buzz Kill AC Hum Exterminator.

If you are only hearing the buzz in the recording, then it is coming from something after your audio mixer.You can follow a similar troubleshooting procedure as described above to see if you can fix the issue between the mixer and the BoxCaster. Specifically, make sure that the cables going from your mixer to the BoxCaster are as short as possible. Minimize the number of times they cross over power cables, and if they run parallel to power cables, keep them as far apart as possible. Use as few adapters as possible to get from the outputs of your soundboard to the inputs of the BoxCaster.

Try to avoid mixing unbalanced and balanced audio signals. To learn more about that, check out this video we created: Balanced vs. Unbalanced Audio Cables.


Unbalanced Audio


Balanced Audio


Published by Wade Clark on January 19, 2018 in Tech Tips, Audio

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