Buzz when recording thru Behringer UFO202

Using Mac OS Mojave 10.14.6 and Audacity 2.3.2

I’m recording vinyl into my Mac using Audacity and a Behringer U-Phono UFO202 audio interface and there is a noticeable buzz on the recordings when I listen thru headphones. I’ve gone back to some that I did when I first got the interface and, tho i expect there to be a little buzz with a vinyl recording, it’s louder and more intrusive now in quiet sections, tho still reasonably bearable to listen to.

This is the second 202 interface I’ve had and the first one packed up because of severe buzzing (far worse than it is now). I’d put that down to that one probably being a knock off (I got it off of eBay and there was no box, the badge fell off, etc). I’ve made sure that the turntable isn’t anywhere near any plugs, which had been a problem in the past, but moving it further away has made no difference. I’ve wondered if this is to do with excess use of the Amplify effect? However, it’s tricky to find a balance with recordings which are very quiet and need to be boosted up that doesn’t result in some interference.

I also record cassettes into the computer and there is some v low level interference with that too, a kind of v quiet, cyclical crackle that i assumed came from the rotation of the tape somehow, but that i can’t hear when listening to the source cassettes. I’ve had this 202 for about 18 months and, looking back to some recordings from the end of last year, it was already a little worse there than when i first got it.

Is this just a thing with these? Do they need to replaced regularly? Is it worth a slight upgrade to the UCA 222, or is that much the same? Is there anything else that would be useful for this that doesn’t cost a great deal more money?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Does your turntable have a “ground” (earthing) connector? If so, is it connected to the ground connector screw on the UFO202?

No, no ground connection, it’s a rega rp1, you just plug the rca connections in. i tried to flick the switch on the 202 to the phono setting and it did something alarming so i put it back.

I should say that I’m playing the turntable thru an amp first and then connecting that up to the computer thru the 202, not plugging the turntable straight in

Yes, you should say that :smiley:

What about if you connect the turntable directly to the UFO-202 (leave out the pre-amp) and set the UFO-202 to “Phono”?

I will give this a go, tho I’m sure I’ve been on here a very long time ago when I first started and someone said that would sound pretty rough. Thanks for yr help

A UCA-202 would sound rough without a separate phono pre-amp, but the UFO-202 should be reasonable as it has a phono pre-amp built in (turned on by the “phono” switch).

I just did a recording of a very quiet song and this does sound better, thanks a lot

Ok, i recorded the stuff that was a problem and i’ve gotten rid of the problematic buzzing. But the sound is a little harsh from not going thru the amp i think. It’s far from bad, but is there a way to do this without going straight into the interface? It does seem to compromise a little on quality

If the pre-amp that you were using previously has a ground connection, you could try connecting that to the ground connection on the UFO-202 and see if that reduces the amount of buzz.

Also, use reasonable quality audio leads for all analog audio connections. They don’t need to be expensive leads, but they must be “shielded audio leads” and not just lengths of wire, headphone leads or speaker leads.

The leads are all fine, but linking the ground connections sounds like a possibility. I’ll have a look for a wire to go between them, thank you

Just plugged this in and I can tentatively say that this seems to have solved the problem. I perhaps ought to have known, the amp gets a lot of static on it and i get tiny shocks off of it sometimes.

the amp gets a lot of static on it and i get tiny shocks off of it sometimes.

If you are getting “zapped” (a quick static discharge) it’s normally your body that’s carrying the charge. Then when you touch ground (or a grounded amp) the charge you your body is discharged and you might feel and see a spark. Then the charge is gone until you walk around again (usually on carpet) and build-up more charge.

If this is happening you should be careful when plugging-in and unplugging connections because a static into the internal electronics (through the inputs/outputs) can sometimes fry the circuits! If you touch the grounded metal case first to discharge yourself, it should be safe.

If you are getting “zapped” (a quick static discharge) it’s normally your body that’s carrying the charge.

What could also be happening is, that since the amplifier and the rest of the equipment (interface,PC etc) didn’t have a
common ground, there was a differential between them.
This is very common (pun intended) with equipment that uses switch mode power supplies.
The supplies, internally, create a virtual ground (normally thru capacitors) and the chassis hovers at half-mains, or thereabouts.
Luckily, the capacitors form quite a highish impedance so it’s not lethal, but it is enough to “zap” electronic devices.

Below, a schematic of the input stage of a typical SMPS, note the two capacitors going to a GND point.
If that GND point is not connected to other grounds, it will float (the chassis along with it) to half mains voltage.
This is also the reason why you see earth straps between metal racks in server rooms, broadcast stations, etc.
Each metal rack creates a common ground to all the equipment mounted in it, but that earth may not be connected
to the next rack and so on.

By strapping the racks together, they are all at the same earth potential and no nasty surprises in the form of shocks,
buzz and mysteriously blown equipment.

I’ve never managed to do anything that’s impacted the equipment, but I’m not altogether sure what’s causing it. It can happen when connecting the amp to a macbook, where I can feel an uncomfortable charge touching the computer, but this can sometimes get a similar charge from being plugged in to the mains, which goes away when the cord is removed. Also, I’m sure I’ve just felt a light charge on the amp before (like a prickly feeling when touching the casing), and have certainly felt it on the end of the cable that connects the amp to the mac. They’re both plugged into multiplug adaptors and I have not really enough understanding of electrics to really understand how I would deal with the problem.

But I just popped into say that I may have wasted a fiver on the grounding cable, because I just found that removing the electrical tape that I was using to insulate the connections between the turntable’s rca cable and an extension that connected it to the amp has gotten rid of the buzz, and if i put it back on then it comes back again. Which is very puzzling, but something of a breakthru anyway (I took it off the other day when i got a new extension cable and didn’t understand that this had been helping my recordings : )

But I just popped into say that I may have wasted a fiver on the grounding cable

No need to buy a special cable, any cable, with a few centimeters of the insulation stripped back on both ends,
will serve perfectly as a ground cable.
(For audio work anyways, high frequency and also mains, is a whole different kettle of fish).

Yep, grounding issues can be maddening at times.
There are times where grounding something, eliminates the shock, but in turn creates other problems like a louder buzz.
That normally happens when, the ground circuit runs via sensitive circuits with high gain.
So what you may find is you have the following scenario:
You create a common ground with an extra lead, this causes the buzz to be louder.
This is because the only ground is that audio section, if you follow the ground through the computer, you may find it stops there.
i.e. it does not carry on to real ground.

Another “gotcha” in grounds is the length of the ground wire and it’s diameter.
Simply put, the longer a cable, and the thinner it is, the more resistance it has.
The greater the resistance, develops a greater differential voltage by the current passing through it, ohm’s law.
Now that increased “noise” voltage acts on the high gain audio circuits and a louder buzz is the result.

Your head spinning yet? :smiley:

The bottom line is, make sure you have a good common ground/earth through out your whole chain.
I know, easier said than done, but it’s how it works.

Did anyone ask you so post some of the buzz yet? It doesn’t have to be power problems. It would be awkward if we just spent days solving a problem you didn’t have.

We have pre-baked power hum and buzz tools if you just can’t solve it any other way.


Your head spinning yet? > :smiley:

I have literally zero idea what any of that means : )

I’m feeling more on top of this atm but I thought that the other day too, so if I run into any more trouble then I will do this, thank you

OK, this has gotten out of control again and i have no idea what’s causing it now, it’s seems to come and go randomly, so i am posting some buzz. This is from between songs (some may like to try and guess the artist!), it’s pretty quiet but it’s still annoying when yr listening on earbuds, and also i just want rid of it

Check all of the analog audio leads. If possible, swap them for other leads. You’re in a European country, right? I can hear 50 Hz mains hum.