Help with a whine.

Hello! So… Let me preface this with a run down of my equipment. I just recently upgraded to the Tonor XLR kit with the M-Audio M-Track Solo. Not the issue ( Well, there is an issue but it’s completely separate ) . For the output, since the M-Track Solo can output a monitor, I got the Maker Just Mixer S , a 3 port mini mixer, so I can run an 3.5mm patch cable from the PC out, another 3.5mm patch cable from the M-Track Solo, and for good measure, a USB C to 3.5mm adapter so I can watch vids on my phone ( I only watch one tv show a week so it’s not worth setting up a tv and cable box in my bedroom just for it, can watch it on the Spectrum app on my phone) . All great , right? Nope. I got a buzzsaw like whine in the background that goes away when I unplug or turn down the PC audio. So I thought, great, the nice braided patch cable I bought is total junk, and grabbed the cable out of the Maker box, nope, whine persisted. I swapped the PC in and M-Track Solo in, nope, persisted. I finally swapped out the USB power cable thinking it’s a grounding issue and it went away. Great! Problem solved. Nope. After about a day it returned. So I am at a loss. Hell, the Maker can run off of 2 triple a batteries, made it worse not better. Now both the USB C to 3.5mm (and it’s unplugged from the phone atm) and the PC patch cable inputs whine. So I am at a loss here. How do I fix this, does anyone know?

a buzzsaw like whine in the background that goes away when I unplug or turn down the PC audio

Like that?

That’s mosquito whine caused by badly filtered USB battery (in the computer) and an interface that has no filtering, either. This usually shows up with a home USB microphone (see: Yeti Curse). We do have a pre-baked filter for it.

This is based on the idea that most USB systems work the same way. They don’t have to do that, but it’s usually cheaper to use pre-baked components in computer construction.

The solution is change the computer. We tried all sorts of patches and work-arounds and no dice.

there is an issue but it’s completely separate

What is the issue that’s completely separate and can’t possibly have anything to do with this?


Is this a laptop whose battery is so weak it needs to be plugged into the wall forever?


Nope, this is a desktop and the whine is more like a buzz saw or table saw. When I have the headphones plugged in directly to the PC, nada. Which is why I swapped out the patch cable to no avail.

This perhaps?

As far as I know, every place I’ve ever lived (in the US) had at least one power outlet wired wrong.


I thought I had this here somewhere.

That came from the local hardware store. If you get a simple one, they’re pretty cheap.

It does have a bias. If it says you’re OK, you’re probably OK. if it says a socket is broken, stop using the socket and call an electrician.



Are you able to record/capture some of the buzz and post it here?
It may help in identifying it’s source.

And post back if I hit it.

That last one is important. See two of the errors on the checker have red dots? Those two wiring errors can kill you.


Ok, took some fiddling, and digging out my lapel mic so I could record straight from the headphones, but here we go.

The actual high-pitched screeching is USB error, or the data stream leaking into the battery cables.

I applied Mosquito-Killer after 1 second.

This is the plugin.

And I set it for 8 mosquitos.

This is not a completely free “get-out-of-jail” card. Mosquito Killer is removing 1KHz and multiples of that tone from the show. If someone in the show rang a bell at exactly one of those tones, it would vanish.

Anything else we can do?


Try this setup on a different computer. You can try it on a different USB connection on this computer, but that’s not a stable test.

I bet the problem either vanishes or changes a lot.

Macs tend to not have this problem because they cost too much. One of the things you pay for is top quality USB connections. Almost all Mosquito problems happen on Windows machines.


Uh, that isn’t in the recordings, it’s in my headphones when it’s plugged into the mixer. I’ve swapped out the patch cable from the PC to the mixer but it didn’t fix it. I’ve swapped the USB power cable on the mixer (it’s USB powered) and it only fixed it for like a day.

Well, what do you recommend? I need at least a USB A to Micro B to power the mixer and a normal USB A to B for the M-Track and that’s all the USB involved in the sound system.

  • does a quick Amazon search *

How do those sound?

there is an issue but it’s completely separate

Remember that? Was was the separate issue?

I can go into Full Moon Territory. When was the last time you unplugged the computer power cable—both ends—and plugged it back in? Remember that cable whose symptoms change? Google how to clean the ends. Alcohol??? The mixer has microphone inputs, right? Are they turned all the way down? If you’re using one of them, do the symptoms change with microphone volume?

You have a classic unstable system. Change anything and the problem changes. Normally safe actions produce bad reactions. Problems come and go.

Since the show isn’t affected, I would just put up with it. The only other option I can see is change the computer. I can see weak or damaged USB services causing this. That’s the box sitting in the middle between all these cables and devices.


Oh! The separate issue is the M-Track Solo can’t be set to ‘1 channel’ or ‘mono’ , so it outputs stereo with the mic on the left side. Everything in the sound path is clean except the PC input to the mixer, if I plug the headphones in directly to the PC, clean. If I turn down the PC input on the mixer it goes away, I can listen to the phone though the USB C to 3.5mm cable though the mixer to the headphones and it’s clean, the mic monitor from the M-Track Solo though the mixer is clean, it’s only the damn PC input and I’ve changed out the patch cable from the headphone out on the PC to the mixer twice with no change. That’s the part that frustrates me the most. I even changed the USB cable that powers the mixer and it went away for a few hours and returned. >.<

Does it change when you touch things? I recently bought—and quickly returned—a USB desk microphone that created its own wall power hum that I could change, but could never make go away enough for production. The kiss of death was when I found I could touch the metal case of the laptop and the hum would vanish.

Take any cable with exposed metal (RCA sound cable?)

and join your devices while listening. Like touch a metal part of the computer and the mixer.

I wasn’t kidding about shutting the system down and reseating the computer power cable several times.


The mixer is plastic. O.o

Can those power bricks plug in to the power strip backwards? Does the noise change when you do that? That’s the device you can run on batteries and the problem gets worse, right?


Doesn’t have a power brick, no. I plugged it into my 6 port Anker charge station (it has a spare port) normally but I have plugged it into the PC as well with no change to the noise, which is when I changed out the USB cable that powers it. If I remember right it has the standard safety plug on it, can only be plugged in one way unless some idiot snips the wider blade narrower.

As Koz wrote, you unfortunately have all the symptoms of USB noise, PSU generated hash and possibly
a ground loop or two.

As I understand it, it’s all being fed into a mixer which has gain.
It’s this gain that is amplifying the small noise differential caused by low quality USB cable.

What I have found over the years is, the average Chinese USB cable is sub-standard.
The strands (especially the earth), is far too thin and has loads of resistance.
It’s this resistance that causes a small volt drop across it, which is then amplified by your mixer or amplifier.
Bet you that the higher you turn the level on the mixer, the louder the noise is and it’s not linear
in relation to the level setting of the mixer.

I would start as follows:

  1. Get a better USB cable, the thick see through ones, where you can see the silver earth braid inside are good.
    Avoid the thin blue, cream or black USB type cables, generally they are rubbish.
    If this works, great, then you got away with just the small cost of a good USB cable.

However, if the noise persists, remember it could also be the above and a combination of PSU hash then,
you are left with a few other options:


Replace the computer - Not ideal due to cost and reloading all the software.


See if your current computer has optical (a.k.a. SPDIF) output/s.
If it does, then just buy a short SPDIF cable and a SPDIF to RCA converter.
I’m not going to recommend a specific one, as they are all pretty much the same and it’s against forum rules.
A quick search on Google will turn up plenty units and manufacturers and suppliers.

So what does this SPDIF do?

On your computer (if it has SPDIF), the audio is also available as a modulated light source on the SPDIF port.
(Think of SPDIF as a short distance, low power fiber feed that only contains audio).
Then by using the SPDIF cable (essentially optic fiber), the audio is sent to the converter and converted back to RCA.

However, because the connection between the computer and the mixer is using light and not copper wires,
any earth loops or other noises that propagate over copper conductors are gotten rid of.

If your computer does not have SPDIF, there are PCI-e sound cards available that have SPDIF inputs and outputs.

Note that on some computers, the SPDIF port is also the 3.5mm headphone jack port.
Many older Macbook Pro’s have this as well.


Use a USB to bluetooth “dongle” type of transmitter, then a bluetooth receiver whose audio output feeds the mixer.
Note however, that if your USB ports are very “dirty” (i.e. loads of interference of bad contact), the noise will still
be audible over Bluetooth.

Other problems with BT is the latency (up to 1 sec) and compression used.

Depending on your application, the last two may not be a problem.

Just remember, which ever way you choose, please do your research first and buy any add-ons from a supplier
that will let you return the goods, if for some reason you are not happy with them.