White whale noise issue - UK advice?

I have a big noise issue with a white whale module. I don’t have the Ext5V or Switch but I do have an intellijel board with plenty of 5v power.

I read that I may need to lift the ground, even with an Ext5v. But I’m in the UK. Anyone know if that’s safe at all?
would love to hear someone’s experiences and solutions for UK power considerations.


What kind of noise are you experiencing? Does it appear as soon as you attach the grid to WW? Does it change when you turn on more lights on the grid?

As you’re powering everything from the one power supply, the typical ground loop noise shouldn’t be the problem – this typically only happens when using a separate power supply for the grid where both supplies are grounded.

One idea might be to try moving the WW to a different location in your case to see if that changes the noise? The Intellijel PSU is meant to be really great and have star grounding though, so I’d be surprised if moving the module changed anything…

I know it’s a totally different situation, but I’m in the UK and ground lift my bass guitar all the time to solve ground buzz. I’ve never had an issue, but I’ve no idea what the science is behind it all. Maybe I’m spending half my life very close to an electric shock.

Hi Galapagoose, thanks for your reply.
The noise appears as soon as I attach the grid. Tried two different cables. Also, I have an earth sea and there is also a noise through that but much quieter. Noise does increase the more lights I turn on and with white whale it’s loud. In terms of pitch, it’s high, over 8khz I’d say.
I bought the intellijel supply for exactly the reason that Its so good so am surprised too. Really don’t want to have to add an ext5v after going to the lengths of the PSU.
I also hear the noise when I connect other modules to the audio out so it’s coming through other modules. But, the further away the module is, the quieter it is. Very odd. I’ll try moving stuff around. Any other ideas are very welcome.

Hi, small update, I found out it was actually the stereo out of my Pittsburgh Modular Outs module. Replaced for an Intellijel uJack and it’s all good.

Ah well there you go! Thanks very much for reporting back – I guess there isn’t much / enough power supply filtering on the Pitts Outs module or something of that sort.

Hey Galapagoose,

I am experiencing the same high pitch whine and I am in Cyprus where we use the same plugs from the UK.

The sound is audible (not just from the speakers but from the module itself!) as soon as the grid is plugged in on White Whale. The more lights light up the louder the noise it get. For example, if set on memory recall setting where there are 2 lights one the whine is reduced.

I have tried moving around the module in my 6u Elite case (make noise bus board), which has redundant amount of 5V. I have also tried any conceivable way of reducing the noise by trying different cables, DI-box, different mixers/soundcards, into octatrack…but nothing…

Should I get the ext5v, is there event a point in doing so if I am somewhere where plugs are grounded? Is this even safe??

I hope you can help me…

Thank you,


Ext5V is the best policy for using grid+monome modules from my point of view.
This will isolate the ground plane for the grid, i.e. no noise issues, and won’t stress out your busboard either.

You can’t remove noise that is being dumped onto the ground plane, you need to isolate it. Everything creates noise, some are just more noticeable than others.

Do you have the 1A +5V makenoise busboard version? If you only have the 500mA version, I would not power the grid with it.

Ground / Ground lift is fine anywhere really, it is better practice to have a mains ground though.
As an example, pretty much every single guitar pedal in the world is not grounded to mains earth.

Mains ground (earth) with any modular powered bus board is determined by the power brick powering it.
Typically an IEC ‘kettle’ style input to the brick will have mains earth connected. Although there are exceptions, Meanwell GSxxAxx for example. All Makenoise busboards are supplied with mains earth power bricks. Specifically for pressure points/rene as they need the mains earth to allow you to use the touchplates.

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Hey darylc,

Thank you for the advice. So it looks like I will be purchasing the ext5v. Even though I have the 1A 5v version.

Thanks a lot!


Just to be clear regarding the noise source, if it’s not in your speakers, could you check whether the noise is physically coming from the WW module, or the grid itself. Read this thread and see if it seems like it applies to you: 2015 grid noise fix.

I’d suggest trying to fix that physical noise before worrying about noise in the sound output as the physical noise could be radiating into the power (and thus sound) system.


Yes, I did read through relevant posts and it is 100% coming out of the module itself.

Just ordered an ext5v. I hope it solves the issue.

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i had the exact same issue with my White Whale (when i still had one) – used with Switch, US power. curious to hear your results with ext5v.

can’t wait to find out for myself, as I am performing with it two weeks from now! will keep you updated for sure.

Hey there, can I ask what is the Ext5V ? I’m also experiencing high pitched noise when I plug grid into the the white whale.

I’m using the intellijel 80w power supply.


Ext5V was just my abbreviation of “external 5Volt power”
Ideally you power your grid from another source other than your case power if your having any noise issues.
There’s a few choices to do it. Monome Switch is the nicest of them, there’s also the open source Off World power solution, which just uses USB power and there’s similar ways of making your own.

Just a note on your power supply - depending on the type of power brick you have, that is probably adding to the issue.
GS90A - is not grounded to earth and will most likely add noise.
GSM90A - fully grounded to earth and should not add noise, but you still may have some noise from the grid depending on the intellijel power supply board itself.
If you’ve not had an issue up until now apart form the Grid I wouldn’t worry about it and just get an external 5V power solution for the Grid.

Hi darylc thanks for your reply.