Engine Noise in audio system won't go away... - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 04-24-2011, 01:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all. 1981 Camaro Z-28. Lots of engine noise through speakers. I tried a low-level noise filter between deck (CD player) and amp with Monoprice shielded RCA cables. While I was testing, I disconnected the deck from the amp, and noticed that the noise was still there!! So, it's either originating in the amp or speakers/speaker wire... Please help me eliminate this problem...it is terrible since I have to crank the music really loud so I can't hear the whirring anymore (making low level listening impossible). I have a wire direct from positive and negative terminals of battery (also tried grounding to chassis, no effect). The positive wire is spliced to power the deck and the amp... HELP!

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post #2 of 26 Old 04-25-2011, 10:26 AM
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I assume you still have noise when you disconnect rca's on the amp side? What type of amp? How large are your power cables? What type of front speakers (separates)? Rear speakers?

First, It has been my experience over the years that noise is induced mostly due to the routing of RCA cables near interference producing modules/Power cabling and other things. Try routing a set of RCA's over the carpet direct from deck to amp and see if noise goes away. If so, re-route your cables.

With the assumption above, you should be able to isolate the problem. If you still have noise when you disconnect RCA's at the amp, the problem will be something entirely different. There are many different things that can be causing this. But start with the RCA's and fill us in.
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post #3 of 26 Old 04-25-2011, 12:13 PM
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Crutchfield sells a $20 device that cancels out this type of noise.
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post #4 of 26 Old 04-25-2011, 12:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brian_97_4Runner View Post
Crutchfield sells a $20 device that cancels out this type of noise.
If it is between the deck and amp, I already have one.

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Originally Posted by Daledkwb View Post
Try routing a set of RCA's over the carpet direct from deck to amp and see if noise goes away.
Thats what is going on...I have nothing "installed", ie. routed anywhere yet. RCA are very short (12" or less) and are separated from power cables. The power lines are a decent gauge, but I will have to measure to tell you exactly.

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post #5 of 26 Old 04-25-2011, 02:53 PM
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With not knowing what kind of equipment you are using I can only guess. You had mentioned that you ran both power and ground to the battery. Is the head unit also being supplied power from these connections? If not, that could be part of the problem. Not that you have to have the positive side connected, but the negative side can cause ground loop noise/whine. It's subjective, but maybe try grounding your amp or amps to the car and not the battery or try running the deck ground from the amp ground.

Power cable sizes for audio amplification will depend on several factors and can also cause noise. For instance, I always follow my own rule of running at least 10 gauge power cable in ANY installation. Only in some specific type applications will I run both Positive and Negative cables to the battery (exotic cars) and they always have to be the same size as each other. I don't use anything smaller than 10 gauge ever.

I could continue, but first I would like to know exactly what you have as far as amp, deck, speakers (front/rear), size of power cables, etc. Please let us know also if the noise is just out of the front or both front and rear or more noticeable from the right side or left (equal). We will do our best to help you better understand what's going on here and how to resolve after you provide that information.
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post #6 of 26 Old 04-25-2011, 03:33 PM
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My guess would be the RCA jacks themselves. RCA jacks are really crappy when it comes to making PROPER contact for grounding. In the past I've actually had do to a fine sanding on the grounding part of both the male and female sides of the RCA jacks to get noise free operation.

If however you're getting noise with nothing at all plugged into the amp then the amp itself has a grounding issue (that can be an external grounding issue or even an internal one)
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post #7 of 26 Old 04-25-2011, 05:19 PM - Thread Starter
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  • Deck: $ONY CDX-5000X
  • AMP: LEGACY (Series II)
  • Speakers: Sony XPLOD of some sort (don't remember).
  • RCA cables are brand new from monoprice (premium).
Someone asked me to disconnect the RCA cables at the amp side (not deck side) and see if noise is still there.
.
I am also wondering if there might be a speaker wire short...If I had another speaker, I could run a short piece of new cable to one and check that out...

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post #8 of 26 Old 04-25-2011, 05:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caper_1 View Post

[*]Deck: $ONY CDX-5000X[*]AMP: LEGACY (Series II)[*]Speakers: Sony XPLOD of some sort (don't remember).[*]RCA cables are brand new from monoprice (premium).

Someone asked me to disconnect the RCA cables at the amp side (not deck side) and see if noise is still there.
.
I am also wondering if there might be a speaker wire short...If I had another speaker, I could run a short piece of new cable to one and check that out...

9 times out of 10 you will find a ground issue.

I would start by running all grounds to one location - and I don't mean all to the chassis. Bring your amp ground and head/deck ground together. Also ensure the battery and engine are properly grounded to the chassis. I've found many a battery to engine ground then very week engine to chassis ground etc.

You mentioned you had dedicated positive and negative runs from the battery. Isolate both positive and negative leads from your equipment to these leads. Try that connection then try with battery to chassis and equipment to chassis etc.

Bottom line, it would take to long to type all of the items I would try yet isolation and methodical tests/diagnostics are required. If you just wire up the head and speakers (no amp) do you get the engine whine?

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post #9 of 26 Old 04-25-2011, 05:38 PM - Thread Starter
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well I just went out to check the wires...pretty sure its a 12 gauge power cable...
.
***I just found out something weird. I just bought new RCA AND a RCA noise filter at the same time, and it made no difference. I just disconnected the RCA of the filter from the amp side, and the noise went away. I plugged the NEW RCA cables directly from deck to amp, and I didn't notice any increase in noise. How weird is that? It is like the filter is actually MAKING noise, and it seems the new RCA may have fixed the problem, at least to a bearable level...it is very difficult to listen for subtle sounds when you have a 350 engine with a decent cam idling away at the same time... I will report back when I connect everything up and give it a good test.

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post #10 of 26 Old 04-25-2011, 05:38 PM
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Typically, if you had a short in the speaker wires you would have a scratchy to really loud crackle or even pop noise. That would not be a good thing.

Go ahead and try unplugging the RCA's at the amp and let us know if you still have noise. If not, go ahead and ground your amp close to where it is (not to battery) and install the ground loop isolator. Try the module on both sides of the RCA (deck side first, then amp side) and see which makes a difference. Hopefully your problem will be resolved.

I can say without hesitation that it's possible one piece of the puzzle is bad. Meaning your amp is most likely experiencing some interior difficulties. Maybe faulty or defective? With more entry level equipment where costs are low, you end up getting parts that can go bad with the slightest bump or touch. Just be aware that this is a possibility.

Let us know if you still have noise after that...
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post #11 of 26 Old 04-25-2011, 05:41 PM
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Sorry, got lag...
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post #12 of 26 Old 04-25-2011, 05:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KJSmitty View Post

If you just wire up the head and speakers (no amp) do you get the engine whine?

Ugh, I don't have a wiring harness so I would have to unscrew each wire, and then connect them to the high level inputs of deck by twisting each one...if it came down to it, I guess I would have to do it...but read above..just found out some new info.
.
Also, just attached a pic of the car in question, if anyone was curious
LL

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post #13 of 26 Old 04-25-2011, 06:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caper_1 View Post

Ugh, I don't have a wiring harness so I would have to unscrew each wire, and then connect them to the high level inputs of deck by twisting each one...if it came down to it, I guess I would have to do it...but read above..just found out some new info.
.
Also, just attached a pic of the car in question, if anyone was curious

Very nice,
I had a 76 Trans Am with a transplanted Chevy LS6/454 crate motor. All said and done she had near 800 HP on a cheater/NOS system. All under the hood with a nice street / stock look. I was ahead of my time back in 1981 - I had the typical two 6x9s in the corners of the rear deck yet added two 10 inch drivers between those. Powered by two 400W amp/EQs for bass only. I was a hard working HS then College student. OK, you've brought back some great memories..... Sold it in 93, regret it sometimes.

Seriously, check your engine grounds. You should have a minimum of one cable between the engine and the front subframe then a second between engine and the firewall to ground the entire chassis. All connections need to be with clean, non-painted surfaces. Near all engine whine issues involve "grounding" issues.
Go from there.

Love DIY
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post #14 of 26 Old 04-26-2011, 05:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caper_1 View Post

I plugged the NEW RCA cables directly from deck to amp, and I didn't notice any increase in noise.

Again... it's been my experience that 80% of the time it's the crappy design of the rca plugs that makes the noise.

And the noise filters... I don't think I have ever seen one that actually works... just more crappy rca connections with the potential to go bad.
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post #15 of 26 Old 04-26-2011, 06:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Just to clarify:
  1. Old setup: Old RCA to amp = Noise
  2. New: New RCA to New isolator to amp = Noise
  3. New: New RCA direct to amp = no noise (so far).
I will report back when I have everything hooked up and take it for a spin. Thanks for helping all.

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post #16 of 26 Old 04-26-2011, 08:30 AM
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Glad to hear you pretty much got it figured out. Sorry for the late reply yesterday, I was typing while you and bigbarney were touching on the main problem. RCA's are always the first thing to look at and then grounding. Noise can drive one crazy, especially when in a car environment. Nice car by the way!
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post #17 of 26 Old 04-26-2011, 06:36 PM - Thread Starter
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quick question, monoprice doesn't seem to sell car intallation wiring (power wires)...is there a difference between this and speaker cable? ie, 12 gauge speaker cable or 12 gauge lead from battery? insulation is different...just wondering where I can get cheap wire in case I want to install a sub in the trunk. Thanks.

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post #18 of 26 Old 04-26-2011, 08:00 PM
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That all depends. Wire is wire ofc vs ofc or CCA vs CCA. Now remember that you are running the risk of a fire if you use to small of a wire gauge and have to large of a current draw.

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post #19 of 26 Old 05-18-2011, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
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ok, got the car kinda on the road today. Had severe noise from front speakers, but the rears was solved by new RCA cables. New cables in front did not fix it either. I tried the noise filter on the front, and it worked. I don't think the noise is totally gone, but I don't notice it with car running in driver's seat, so all in all, it is "good enough" now and I can enjoy tunes again. Thanks all.

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post #20 of 26 Old 05-18-2011, 07:21 PM
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I didn't see anyone mention putting a choke in series with the +12V feeds. Can work miracles and very cheap.

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post #21 of 26 Old 05-18-2011, 07:22 PM
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Hi can someone please tell me how to get a picture on my profile. Also how the hell do i start a new thread of my own, its really bugging me cant find it anywhere!
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post #22 of 26 Old 05-18-2011, 08:10 PM
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Hi can someone please tell me how to get a picture on my profile. Also how the hell do i start a new thread of my own, its really bugging me cant find it anywhere!

Look up Avatar in this FAQ section. All your questions are answered there.

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post #23 of 26 Old 05-19-2011, 11:37 AM
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Yeee I have seen this link and it tells me to click the link 'create new thread' or something like that but I don't see it on my screen? maybe i got to be a paid member to create new threads or something =/ Well all I wanted to do was ask a question with regards to system break in/burn in so I will fire away here on this post...

Basically I have subwoofer system consisting of: Sony Xplod head unit, two vibe blackair door speakers and tweeters (360w max/ 120w rms), vibe space 2x12" ported subwoofer enclosure (6000w max/ 2000w rms), two blackair amps (one amp for each sub speaker) and a delta splitter signal box.

What I wanted to know is not whether system break in exists or not because I know for fact it does to some extent, but what the best way to break in the system was (vibe recommends 30 hours at low/mid volume at mid bass and then graudally build from there).

I left it on my drive playing at very low volume 5 (max volume on head unit is 34) for about 8 hours continuously on repeat. I heard that to get any sort of productive burn in you have to play at at least mid volume because it wont work the speakers at all at such low volumes otherwise. However when i checked after 8 hours of playback on low volume my speakers were slightly warmed up and i could see the subs vibrating a lil so surely they must be working a tad bit right?

I do drive round normally with volume 20 or so to break them in but if im not driving and i dont want my neighbours to hear it playing on the drive I play it low volume with windows wound up. I want to know if this will still help with the break in process or will it only work when playing at mid volumes?

Thanks guys, any help with this or how to get the most out of my system in general would be much appreciated! =D
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post #24 of 26 Old 05-26-2011, 03:37 PM
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have you upgraded all the rca interconnects - got to think that this would be the noise issue

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post #25 of 26 Old 05-26-2011, 05:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brenttom View Post

have you upgraded all the rca interconnects - got to think that this would be the noise issue

My post above says it all. Yes I replaced all the RCA with new ones from MP. Had to add the noise filter between deck and amp

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post #26 of 26 Old 04-25-2012, 06:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

I didn't see anyone mention putting a choke in series with the +12V feeds. Can work miracles and very cheap.

What do you mean by this? Spring time again. I will be getting a new head unit (something cheap with USB) soon, and then starting over.

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