Commercial Sound and Video Systems
Published: May 09, 2014

Hums, Buzz, Hiss and More…

Sound and video systems can suffer from hums and other noises.  In audio, they can be heard and in video, they can actually be seen.  If you are hearing the wrong sounds out of your audio system or seeing Hum bars or other distortions on your video screens, here are a few tips to help diagnose the issues.

First, do your best to identify the symptoms.  A hiss is different from a hum, which is different from a squeal.  Let’s start with the most common, a “hum”.  This can often be caused by AC power challenges.  The first thing to check is to see if the equipment is plugged into a dedicated and isolated AC outlet.  If the hum changes (in volume or tone) when you turn on lights, shut down unrelated equipment or if you change outlets, it’s usually an AC issue.  Consult with you A/V Contractor, but most likely you will need an Electrician to resolve the matter.

If the sound is more like a Buzz or Hiss, this could be caused by lose ground wires or improperly adjusted (often over-driven) ins or outs.  Check for loose connections or unplugged cables.  If that does not help, turn all volume controls to zero and bring them up equally but none past 50% until you have the desired volume.  If the unwanted sounds persist contact you’re A/V Contractor for assistance.

Noises can often occur in A/V systems and may be brought-on over time or come and go intermittently.  If basic troubleshooting (as noted above) has not fixed the problem an experienced trouble-shooter will be necessary to isolate and eliminate your concerns.  Keep in mind, although these odd noises can be annoying and have a negative impact on any presentation, they could also damage your systems.  Protect your technology investment and contact a true professional for Tech support. is ready to help you whenever the need may arise.

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