Is Your Amp Noisy? The Problem May Be Your Outlet.

If you’ve seen any of my videos then you know that I’ve been struggling with noise issues in my home studio.  Well, the other day I finally got around to doing some testing.  I knew that the noise didn’t exist if I played my rig elsewhere — but I never tested it by plugging it in in a completely different room in my house.

Voila!  Much lower noise and remarkably, the amp sounded better!  But in my home studio in the basement, of all places, the noise level was so much higher.  I have DiMarzio noiseless pickups in both my electric guitars — it really shouldn’t hum like that.  Especially with a clean amp.

So I bought this outlet tester from a local hardware store and plugged it in.  Everywhere else in the house, it tested that the wiring was correct.  Except for the three sets of outlets in the basement, where my amp was plugged in.  Lo and behold, all three of the lights lit up.  That’s definitely not normal.  So not normal, in fact, that even the device itself doesn’t tell me what it means when all three lights turn on.  I did some research and came up with some possible explanations (it can’t be that this circuit is wired for 240v!  I’m sure that would have fried the amp by now) but nothing conclusive.

Unfortunately, I’m about to go on a two-week vacation, so we’ll have to wait until after I return to call an electrician and find out what is going on.  I do know that the previous owner of this house finished the basement himself (it’s all brick) — he was a very handy man but it was decades ago and I have no idea what kind of standards/protocols he followed in terms of wiring.  Suffice it to say, I’ll keep you posted on what I find out.  I am relieved, though, that a) the problem wasn’t as wide spread as I feared, and b) it should be fixable.

So, the moral of the story is — does your amp sound bad/noisy?  Try plugging into a different circuit.  The problem may not be your rig.

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