Weird resonant tone in my monitors?!?

I talked about this over at I would like to hear your music made with Renoise or other Daws - #2999 by stoiximan
My conclusion there was that it came from the guitar, but now i realized the guitar is not the cause, it just happened to trigger the tone because electric guitars are naturally loud in the area where the resonant tone occurs.

Ok, so here is the case. My monitors start resonating badly everytime i play a loudish note with a lot of 130Hz in it (around C4 in Renoise). I have pretty much ruled out anything, but the monitors.
I have tried 2 different sound cards, i’v tried with soft synths, bass guitar and e-guitar and whenever i get close to loud on C in the lower octaves my monitors starts booming like crazy. There is nothing weird in the spectrum view either, no spikes or anything.
Could this be a grounding issue? My monitors are connected to a non grounded outlet, so i guess that could cause some noise, but then i would assume i should hear some 60Hz humming?
Could it be caused by something in the computer or wifi or something?

Any ideas? Time for new monitors?

if i understood the issue - the resonant is only present at your room - or is it present in the recording as well?
if it’s only about reproduction - either speakers or the room
if room: be it with

  1. measurements to counter eq (this will make things worse usually - as it’s static counter-eq, but as we all know, sound reacts differently at different levels - depending on the acoustics of the room),
  2. put audio dampers/isolation/, or
  3. change speaker setup/placement
  4. get used to it, and ‘ignore it’, (use headphones more often to get another dimension of same tune… )

if speaker:
play same tune on different set of speakers to determine if the issue is really coming out of speakers - you can do this also by playing same tune on couple different sets of headphones…

or if the sound is being recorded in the first place - with that resonance, then you need to inspect from the source > amp > whatever is in between… i’d gladly help

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Could a friend of yours give you his monitors to try and see if you have the same problem?Try a grounded outlet,try wifi off and move anything close to your monitors like your smartphone away from it.Try different usb on your computer,it could also be some faulty usb cable or the monitors cables going in your usb card.The best option here is to try some other monitors so you can rule off everything i said above if they work properly of course.Last try a different daw you never know


It’s definately not the source, i’ve ruled that out. I will try to connect it in my bathroom which has grounded outlets and connect my guitar directly to the monitor and see if it still makes the noise. If it does, then it has to be a problem with my monitors.

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Now i’ve tried everything and i can also rule out the monitors, as they both sound just fine when plugged into any other outlet. I can’t really see how it could be the room either as it just doesn’t make sense that a normal living room should produce this kind of awful sound, it’s just way too loud and unlike the kind of sound you expect.
I’m pretty sure the problem is electrical, some disturbance on the mains power from things connected to the same wires. I really suspect my 10+ year old desktop computer, maybe it’s caused by the huge fan inside it or cheap power supply? I will probably have to get an electrician to add some more wires and outlets.

Edit: I just tried to hook up a cheap bluetooth speaker and it produces the same awful sound.

It can be electrical yes. Ground loops can cause weird hums and buzzes.

What happens when you disconnect all electrical piece of equipment except the monitors. And feed it a signal from a mobile phone or another battery powered device?

You can also try getting a Ground Loop Isolator. They are fairly inexpensive and may solve your problem. Or if you’re handy with electronics you can pretty easily build your own.

It can also still be the room. Depending on the size and layout of the room* it can be the resonance of the room. The way the sound waves bounce around in your room can cause unexpected and unwanted build up in frequencies. Which can cause an over emphasis of certain frequencies. Or mask them completely. Try looking into Room Resonance / Room Modes / Standing Wave for information.

*room size and dimensions play a huge role. But also what is in the room and what materials the floor and wall are made off.

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Now i actually think you might be right. I tried moving the monitor around and tried disconnecting everything, tried with different outlets, powered the sound card/guitar processor with a power bank. I can’t make the to monitor sound normal around my work station. The sound is unbearable, i hope it will help when i hang up some paintings and stuff as the walls are mostly naked at this point.
I just moved in to a different appartement, so that’s why i haven’t noticed it earlier.

I have never experienced anything like this before, just my luck that i chose to put my work station in the worst possible location of my appartement.

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Maybe there is just an odd resonance in the workstation room. You know, like the length of a pipe makes a noise…a certain distance between the walls makes the frequency, and then the sound bounces forth and back like echoes, and creates a resonance, kind of like a comb filter with bandpass filter at your 130hz sounds. If the walls are hard and bare, like bare concrete or something like that, then the effect will be much stronger.

Maybe it can get better, if you move the monitors to another place in that room? Or you can try to put thick mats or another means that absorbs the sound onto the walls, when you find the right place where the resonance can be lessend. As well you can try to use an eq to reduce the sound in the resonating frequencies. Some people even make a measurement of the room at the listener position, and calculate a full spectrum/FIR EQ from it to correct the sound and lessen the resonances.

It’s just your room. :grin: I also have a resonance at 130 Hz and I correct it with Drc

Pretty sure there is some cheaper alternative to Sonarworks on Windows.

You can measure your room for free with REW + a mic for 30€. The EQ you can apply with Equalizer APO

Yeah that is what I meant.

It is good nonetheless to install some sound absorbing material where the resonance is, as it will not only boost, but also blur the frequencies/transients that are affected. So both actions together are probably best way to do it.

Bonus is, with room measurement and correction filter you can get totally linear sound, and free-form adjust the eq curve to your taste. You can then push any equipment to that curve, so you get a similar sound even when you switch/upgrade the equipment.

make sure to measure/calibrate exactly where your head/ears will be. with this kind of treatment the sweet spot will be very precise. always better to treat the room best as possible. get some foam block and put them in the upper/lower corners, put in a couch, rugs, hang some tapestry, etc

This is in my living room, so adding a lot of crap everywhere on the walls is not desirable. I think i eventually will make a wall that makes a barrier between my workstation and the rest of the room and then try to coat the walls around it with some foam or whatever.

Thanks for all the tips. :slightly_smiling_face:

“with some foam or whatever.”

This will not work. For 130 Hz you need thick panels and you need to understand where the problem comes from. Sonarworks is the best solution imo

Lilith is right. These kind of low(er) frequencies require deep/large/thick absorption panels indeed. There is plenty of information on what you need to build exactly, once you have proper measurements. But it’s gonna be big and heavy. And with the prices of wood these days probably not all that cheap either.

Random foam isn’t gonna help (with this problem). You’ll have better luck with a book case filled with thick, heavy books in front of the wall directly behind you. Paper/books are an excellent absorption material. And you can pick up loads of old books for next to nothing.

Room correction software tends to work. Personally I don’t really like it. But it’s better than nothing.

The easiest thing you can try is relocating your monitors. If your room is a pretty much square it most likely won’t make a difference. But if your room is more rectangular in shape you can try turning them 90 degrees to the left or to the right.

Hmm, but if i make a wall that turns my workstation into a cubicle and then covers all the walls surrounding my workstation with pictures and shelves, wouldn’t that change the sound of that room significantly?
I don’t really have any money to spend on this atm, so i can’t afford building this wall now.

lilith: are you sure this sonarworks thingy will solve my problem? I mean if it just adjusts the eq to better suit my room, then wouldn’t i be able to to the same with software eq? I tried lowering the 130Hz area manually and it compromises the sound dramatically. So how can this thing fix my problems with eq without compromising the sound?

If i covered the beton walls with 6mm gypsum plates, do you think that could solve my problems?

I also concidered using some sound absorbing panels that the company i work for sells, and use in the ‘cubicle’. I can get these for a reduced price because of some minor transport damage, but they aren’t really cheap. They look like this:
Do you think these would solve my problems?

The sonarworks and other drc solutions don’t work like a manual EQ. You have to measure the accoustics with a calibrated microphone…then a software will make a filter that is much finer than normal eqs, and that will accurately correct the frequency response when it is applied to your global audio, so you get the response you desire.

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that looks like what this guy has Dom & Roland – Producer Masterclass with Computer Music (Part 1) - YouTube


They look similar, they have a backing of some thick and stiff felt type material and oak trellis on top.

I wouldn’t spend money on absorption at that stage. It’s a waste of money, really! A measurement mic like the Behringer Emc 8000 and a bit time to get into REW is a good starting point. REW can also generate filter curves based on your room response or export a impulse response of your room. The latter can be inverted via freeware and loaded into a convolution reverb. That’s the way I do it and it is as good as sonarworks.