Airport Express static noise from speakers

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Crius, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. Crius macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2009
    Don't know if this is the right section in the forum to post this (sorry:) ). But I need some help from audiophiles and Apple experts. I have no knowledge about audio equipment so i hope someone is willing to help me out:).

    Currently i have an airport express connected by 3.5mm audio cable to the line in of my speakers. My airport Express is hooked up to a ethernet cable, and transmits wifi signal to share my internet.

    When i turn up my speakers to 80% i can hear static noise (speaker interference). Is there something i can do about this?
  2. Sedulous macrumors 68020


    Dec 10, 2002
  3. Crius thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2009
    Double checked, its not loose. Its definitely coming from the AE. Since i unplugged it and connected the cable directly to my mp3 player and no static interference there. Could it have something to do with the AE transmitting Wifi and thus affecting the signal? I used a regular cable not optical.
  4. Sedulous macrumors 68020


    Dec 10, 2002
    Hmm, I am not an audiophile. It could be that the AEx just does not have high fidelity. Does the noise change if you move the AEx to a different location/orientation? Is it audible only when something is being transmitted or is there always line noise?
  5. Crius thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2009
    thanks for ur reply's sedulous. Yes the line noise is always there. I can hear the static when there is no music playing and i turn up the volume. It sounds like when you hold a phone close to a speaker. if i play music i can cover the sound though. But its annoying if the song is finished and you hear the interference.
  6. Rampant.A.I. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2009
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone 4s: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Couple if things you can try:

    Change the wifi channel your Airport uses with Airport Utility.

    Plug the Airport in to a different wall recepticle.

    Try using a shielded or thicker audio out cable.

    What other electronics are near the audio out cable? Power cords, etc. Try moving these as far as possible away from the audio out cable.
  7. Crius thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2009
    Thanks Rampant! Will try this, although really moving the airport express to a different location will be hard. There is another tv receiver nearby which is also plugged in to the wall just like a meter away from my AE. The audio cable passes this box and its cords. Actually there are many cords and sockets near my AE.

    I use the old 3.5mm cable of my creatures JBL speaker set. How can i tell if its a shielded cable?
  8. Sedulous macrumors 68020


    Dec 10, 2002
    Seems to me that you are hearing 60 Hz hum from the AC power. Without hearing it myself I must say this is but a guess. Certainly try the advice from RampantA.I.. Temporarily moving something to test may be troublesome but at least it helps nail down possible solutions. I doubt changing wifi channels would help but moving the AEx could improve things if something nearby the AEx is interfering. A shielded cable has braided wire around individually insulated wires. Often cables will say if they are shielded on the outer insulation. I have my doubts that the creature speaker cable is shielded but I am using those speakers on my MBP without issue (again, I am not an audiophile but have never noticed much line noise).
  9. Crius thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2009
    Ok so here's what i did :).. Moved the AE ... didn't help. Switched 3.5mm cable.. no effect... Probably both of them are not shielded though, so thats still an option. I did find out that if i unplug the ethernet cable, the static interference is gone, as is also when i unplug the entire AE, or turn wifi off. So its either the wifi signal or the ethernet cable. Any other suggestions i could try to block of that interference?
  10. Sedulous macrumors 68020


    Dec 10, 2002
    Try swapping the ethernet cable. It isn't surprising that unplugging the AEx stops the line noise. It is worth considering that unplugging the AEx ethernet cable turns off the audio circuitry, so therefore any noise it is generating is eliminated. This theory is doubtful because the AEx still is capable of streaming audio even if an ethernet cable is not attached. So either the ethernet cable you happened to be using is introducing/receiving noise or the A/D circuit is simply noisy. Again, I have not noticed excess noise from my AEx, but I use mine remotely so it does not have an ethernet connection. Is it possible for you to try streaming audio without the ethernet cable?
  11. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    is it a hum/buzz?
    do your speakers have a ground pin?

    it's quite possible that you have a ground loop going on.
    try a ground lift on the speakers

    what's at the other end of the ethernet cable? try swapping out that piece of gear also.
    if it's going into a cable modem/router, try unplugging the coax cable (cable tv cable) going into it and see if that fixes it?
  12. Crius, Jan 28, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012

    Crius thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2009
    tried this. Results no interference, but can still play music. So it definitely has something to do with the ethernet cable

    @waw74 yes its like a buzz sound, not sure if i can find a ground lift, will look into that. also the other end of the ethernet cable is connected to a router 2 floors down. The other end of the ethernet cable (which is very long) does have its connector clip broken. Could that cause it? I mean the clip that flat thing in the middle, that makes sure it stays connected. (So when i plug that in the router i don't hear the click, that the cable is in, if you know what i mean :) )


    Only hard thing to swap out of this process is the ethernet cable, as it has to pass two floors through many walls etc. ****. :) I will try to bring my speaker and AE downstairs and connect it to a short and different ethernet cable, and try the entire setup to see if the interference is gone. Maybe the AE always causes interference when an ethernet cable is connected, or i have to swap the cable. Will post findings.

    (Really appreciate the help. Thanks guys!)
  13. Sedulous macrumors 68020


    Dec 10, 2002
    Wow, that is a long cable and it does sound like it is the source of the noise. Hope you have a solution that works for you.
  14. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    as long as the plug is well seated, it shouldn't be a problem that the clip is missing, and even then it should just cause the network to drop out completely.

    quite possible the ethernet cable got too close to an electrical wire in the wall. or is probably running directly alongside one.

    if that's the case, it's actually causing a current to be created in the ethernet cable. (see induction, the magnetic field from the electric, will cause a current in the ethernet, just like a generator).

    not sure what problems it will cause, but probably not a good situation. might cause damage to your network gear.
    and there is the possibility of someone getting shocked off the ethernet cable.

    if you can't re-run the cable, take a look at a powerline ethernet adapter to get the network signal upstairs.

    for a ground lift, all you have to do is cut the ground pin off.
    if the speakers don't have a ground pin, then you don't need to lift the ground.
    if you don't want to damage your speakers, you can get a short grounded extension cord, and cut the pin off of that.

    keep in mind, the ground is there for a reason. it's relatively safe to unground some speakers, but for power tools, and anything else that has a large amount of electricity going near your body, the ground is absolutely necessary as a safety precaution. Improperly grounded equipment can cause severe injury or death
  15. Crius thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2009
    Okay, so here are my findings. I brought the entire setup downstairs, switched out the ethernet cable for a different one, turned everything back on, problem remained. The interference is still there.

    What we can conclude from this that either my AE is broken and the the audio signal is influenced by the ethernet cable, or this problem is considered "normal" for any Airport Express.

    Is there anyone who could try this issue on an setup where the AE is connected by Ethernet cable, and that you use the wifi for airplay? The interference can only be heard when the speakers are on 80% or higher volume level and not playing any song.
  16. jflinn macrumors newbie

    May 16, 2012
    I had the same problem with my Airport Express. I could here an AM radio station between songs when the volume of the AMP was turned up. I isolated it to the Ethernet cable at the router. My Ethernet cables are cat 6 which are shielded and 50 feet long. I use this cable to connect the AEX to router. If I unplugged the 50 foot ethernet cable at the router but leave it plugged in at the AEX, the AM radio station would go away.

    To remedy this problem, I connected a second router with only the AEX connected. All other ethernet connections are on the first router. Some of the other connections are Cat 5 cables which could be picking up the AM radio station. I also only enabled the wireless on the first router.
  17. davidoloan Suspended

    Apr 28, 2009
    You could try a digital lead out of the Airport Express to a DAC then to the speakers.

    Or add a few switches your network to reduce Ethernet cable lengths.
  18. mazetheamazin macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2012

    I had the same problem, when I unplugged the usb chord from AEx the humming stopped, I simply just replaced the older USB chord with new shielded one and the humming stopped.
  19. dkrieb macrumors newbie

    Feb 10, 2007
    Mohnton, PA
    AirPort Xpress hum issues with AudioEngine spkrs

    Was able to isolate and identify hum issues caused by AirPort Express connection to audio in connection to Audioengine self powered speakers. Problem was resolved by using shorter (1-2') length mini jack wires from airport express to speaker input. Apparently longer lengths pick up interference. Also better insulation shielding woould help.

    Problem all gone.
  20. Jcrdesign macrumors newbie

    Sep 28, 2012
    Problem Fix

    Read through all the comments and for me what fixed this was removing the USB connection to my printer. After this the was absolutely no buzzing! :D

    Problem Fixed!
    (My printer is an HP Deskjet and AirPort Express Generation 2)
  21. acejacek macrumors newbie

    Nov 17, 2013
    Buzz from ethernet cable

    Topic is one year old, but i think it's worth to add my $0.03.

    I discovered, that noise in AirPlay in generated when Express is connected to Extreme with ethernet Cat6 cable, with shield. Both routers are far away and probably connected to different power circuits. Bringing common ground (via ethernet shield) causes lots of noise in AirPlay amp.

    I solved problem simply by peeling off the insulation and cutting the shield (foil and cord) out:
    Looks ugly, but solves issue permanently. Don't forget to protect wound with some kind of electrical vinyl tape.

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