Buzz and Hum

The studio environment is misleading. There is such tight control over sound that the notion of errant noise in the form of buzzing and humming is unthinkable. Such noise does occur when musicians bring in their instruments. Amplifiers, drumkits, pickups can all present challenges with noise.

I spent a great deal of time improving my guitar rig. I have a number of stage guitars that I use but more often than not it is the Paul Reed Smith Custom 22 or the American Fat Strat that gets called into duty. The stage backline is usually a Mesa Boogie F-50 1×12 combo. The pedalboard contains an Ernie Ball volume pedal, Analog Man Juicer, Analog Man modified TS-9 Tube Screamer, Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor and Boss DD-6 Digital Delay. I carry a Shure SM-57 for the stage and I close mic the cabinet usually at the centre cone position.

This rig is very quiet in the studio. But some venues are very frustrating. Yesterday I was on a stage where the incessant buzzing was driving me crazy. I found a useful website on guitar noise just to see whether I was missing something obvious: why was the rig whisper quiet in the studio and buzzing like crazy on stage?

I suspect that part of the issue is the power supply and part of the issue is airborne. This stage has a large lighting rig where the power source is being shared with the stage outlets. I am looking seriously at power conditioning as a way to reduce the harsh buzzing sound.

The quest for tone never ends.

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