Hey guys. Could I trouble you with a request for help, with a technical issue that’s troubling me?
Around 3 weeks ago, I noticed my USB microphone now had a soft buzzing sound in the background, that wouldn’t go away. Long story short, everything else below that line is that I can’t understand WHY there’s this bug; read on, there’s a mystery to solve
That microphone, a Klim My Voice, an USB-plugged microphone, served me perfectly for a year with work, games and skyping, until then, all good.
After the buzzing sound started, I contacted the manufacturer and they sent me a replacement mic… that had the exact same issue. Bad luck happens, but that was starting to be weird. Thus, I ran more tests.
And I noticed that weird thing: the mic buzzes on my desktop, on a new Dell laptop, on an old Dell laptop, at my father in law’s house’s desktop PC, at my desktop that booted a Linux live distro (tested with Ubuntu and OpenSuse)… With ONE exception: when it’s on the laptops, and those laptop aren’t plugged on the AC.
Yep: when the laptop runs on battery, without AC, the buzzing is gone.
And it’s gone in a split second. I tested recordings in which I unplug, replug, unplug, plug the AC back again, and that generated recordings with moments of silence, followed by buzzing, followed by silence, followed by buzzing.
After this, I ran plenty of tests to see if there wasn’t a blind angle to things, if I didn’t overlook things, to rule out possible explanations…
If you want, here’s the list of all I tested:
– Tested the 2 microphones, old and new, in 2 homes, and on 4 PCs. My win10 desktop, my desktop booting OpenSuse from USB, my desktop booting Ubuntu from USB, a new win10 Dell laptop, an old Win10 laptop, and my father in law’s very old desktop with a brand new win10.
In all cases, there was the buzzing, except when it was on the two Dell laptops and they weren’t on the AC but instead ran on batteries.
As the problem happens not just with Windows, but also with Linux, I regret to say it doesn’t seem to be caused by a recent Windows update.
Still, I deleted the mic from the devices manager in Windows 10, let it be reinstalled after a reboot, no change (the manufacturer doesn’t provide drivers for this product, it’s recognized by Windows and works), to no progress.
– There is no fancy effect in the mic’s properties in Windows 10, no noise correction or post-processing (not greyed options, no, no options at all.)
– The Dell laptops have a built-in webcam, recording audio and video, although with a poor audio quality (you hear the laptops’ ventilators and all, bit of a white noise). They record audio without any buzzing at all, with and without AC plugged in. I don’t have another external microphone to test with, regrettably (money doesn’t grow on trees, I’m not going to buy hardware just to run tests).
– The microphones have a “push me right or left” thingy, to adjust their volume. I noticed the volume of the buzzing follows the volume chosen for the mics, faint when the volume is low, strong when the volume of the mics are at their max.
– I gently (and less gently in the end) tried prodding the old mic’s body parts, it didn’t cause any change in the buzzing.
– The USB male and female plugging parts (end of the mic’s wire, part where it goes in the PCs) were thoroughly verified, dusted, multiple USB female plugs were tested, always to no difference in the end result.
– Because why not, I tested with an USB extension chord between a laptop and one mic, zero difference.
– The buzzing sound was not a software error, it was noticed on Skype (by an annoyed colleague, fuck him), I recorded it with Goldwave on Windows 10, with the default audio recorder built-in windows 10, and with Linux’s Audacity.
– Could an electric apparel cause electric disturbance affecting the sound recording? I got no technical knowledge to tell, but I’ll highlight I tested it at somebody else’s house (my dear father in law, without whom there’s no fixing broken sinks in the family, may he live very long).
Also, at home, I made an experiment (1) turn off every fuse in the breaker box, save the fuse for one room; (2) confirm the buzzing is present and disappears when I record sound on a Dell laptop and suddenly unplug the AC while it’s recording; (3) turn off that room’s fuse; (4) turn on another room’s fuse, bring the laptop to that room, test the very same situation happens. It would tend to confirm there’s nothing providing interference on the power network.
– I’ll mention the plugs in my home are earthed, as are they at my father in law’s home, the two places in which the tests were ran, so it’s not that kind of problem either. I tested on a non-earthed wall plug, though, and: same problem.
– I was tempted to to try switching (“just in case” ©®™ ) the AC adapters of the new and old Dell laptops, but they’re not the same model, the new one has double the voltage, and I don’t dare risk doing something that could, who knows (me, I don’t) perhaps damage the machine and void the new machine’s warranty.
– On the new Dell laptop, I ran the machine’s system diagnostics tools provided by Dell, and it didn’t find anything wrong.
And that’s it, for now, I’m at my wit’s end, I don’t see how else to explain it, and what I may do to fix that problem.
After all, it is possible the old mic simply broke, and the new mic was shipped defective. However unlikely, it isn’t impossible… Unfortunately, that doesn’t explain why the buzzing disappears once I unplug the laptops’ AC, does it?
Would you have an idea, about what may cause that problem?
Thanks if you can help ^^