High Pitched noise coming from Monitors (only laptop audio)

Sorry for the post, but I wasn’t exactly sure what category this belongs in, if there’s a better place in the lines forum for this post please let me know and I’ll move it there

Whenever I use my monitors I get a strange high pitched sound but only when my laptop sends audio output. It’s really strange because once the audio from my laptop stops, the monitors stop giving a high pitched noise. I know its not for all audio since I’ve put audio directly into them, and its not my interface because I’ve tried monitoring the inputs and there’s no high pitched noise that way either. It’s only when my laptop sends the audio out. (I’ve tried this with two macbooks and both give me this issue). Any idea what might be misconfigured?

Solved: Needed to use TRS cables (as opposed to mono 1/4 in. cables from the interface to the monitors.

Scarlett 18i20
Yamaha HS5 pair
Macbooks (2018 and 2015 models)

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What happens if you remove the power supply and run the macbooks off battery? My Yamaha’s pick up a similar whine and I suspect it is related to the switching power supply of a laptop.

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Are all your audio connections on XLR or TRS? I had many problems with all sorts of noise interference and ground loops, but when I committed to make sure that all my recording and monitoring chain was on XLR and/or TRS then everything was clean. I could raise preamps on mixer or my interface and I would just get regular white noise from the electronics.

So way back when I first encountered this problem I removed the power supply and thought that might be the cause of the problem, removing the charger didn’t change the problem so I reorganized all my stuff to go into a single power strip.

Going to try using TRS cables @mattmatt , good suggestion. Currently I’m only debugging by using my interface and laptop (no inputs) so if those cables solve the issue I’ll know to use TRS across my line ins too or at least reproduce the issue if those regular mono 1/4 cables are the issue.

this has happened to me before. make sure they are all on the same surge protector. try a different surge protector if you have one around

does the surge protector need to have some special quality/feature? one issue I have is that the outlet doesn’t have the third leg so I needed to attach my surge protector to an extension cord that goes from three pins to two.

ah, so I’m assuming this is an older home, without grounded outlets? I’ll be honest, I don’t have any experience with this, but I have heard that noise can be an issue with those (and could potentially be the cause of this issue). someone else might know tricks with that/safe ways to handle it. good luck, and I’m sorry you’re having to deal with it, noise is no fun to troubleshoot

Most of the outlets are grounded, somehow this one in the closet was not upgraded when I assume the other outlets were. I think I’ll also pay an electrician to stop by and upgrade the outlet (I see guides, but also since the outlet will power valuable equipment I’ll probably opt for the safer professional service).

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ah yeah makes sense, if you have an extension chord, I’d try running all your equipment to one of the three prongs and see if that helps the noise problem

Hmm ok, so update I just tried moving the equipment to the closest three prong outlet and the issue persists. The odd thing about all this is that it’s only giving me that buzz from laptop audio (software like ableton and chrome will trigger the high pitch noise when they’re about to output audio.

Trouble shooting noise can be soooooo much of a headache. Ive lived to close to massive radio/communication towers before and it was THE WORST!

Seems like you have received some basic solid advice to get you going on the troubleshooting front. Do you have access to any other monitors you can test with? just for the sake of ruling things out. Do you get the noise when going from your interface and listening with headphones?

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Can also happen if you connect synths via USB instead of midi, as usb is not opto (de) coupled. Had this with my prophet 12

hmm i do have a overhub (usb hub for elektron gear) but i would think elektron users would see and complain consistently about this issue right?


No noise in the headphones, just the monitors

This reminds me completely of the situation I had before. Run the output on XLRs or TRS and make sure that your interface is set to +4db and not -10db. A balanced connection between your interface and your monitors will probably solve your problem.


Probably a good time to say, thanks to everyone chiming in with their ideas. Gotta test out that pair of TRS cables tomorrow. :crossed_fingers:

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Solved! The TRS cables did it, thanks everyone!!!