What Is a Hum Eliminator? Why Do You Need One?

Learn about hum eliminators, their importance in audio setups, and how to choose, connect, and use one effectively for clearer, professional-sounding audio.

Ever laid down a beat, only to be ambushed by an unwelcome, persistent buzzing sound? It’s like an uninvited guest at a house party, harshing your vibe and making itself known over your dope tracks. It’s a real buzzkill, right? And, dude, it’s not just you – every music producer has faced off with this pesky intruder, the infamous audio hum.

So, what’s the deal with this audio hum, and more importantly, how can we get rid of it? Well, the knight in shining armor in this situation is a hum eliminator. Think of it as a bouncer for your audio setup, kicking out the undesirables so your tracks can party in peace. In this post, you’ll learn how Hum eliminators can amp up your music game.

What is a hum eliminator in audio? A hum eliminator is a dedicated device that tackles unwanted buzz sounds caused by electrical hums and ground loops, ensuring your audio output remains clean and clear.

Why do you need a hum eliminator anyway?

Your audio gear, whether it’s a mixer, an amplifier, or an audio interface, is like a finely tuned sports car. It’s designed to deliver high-quality, crisp sound, just like the sports car is designed to deliver speed. But just like a sports car can get a flat tire, your audio gear can pick up electrical hums and ground loops. And, man, they can really mess up your sound.

Image of a hum eliminator wiki commons
Image of a hum eliminator wiki commons

Think of it as driving your sports car with a flat tire – not really the smooth ride you signed up for, right? A hum eliminator is like the pit crew in this scenario, fixing the problem and getting you back to smooth cruising.

Now, why is it necessary? Let me paint a picture for you. Imagine you’re laying down some sick beats for your newest track, but there’s this constant, low-frequency buzz in the background. It’s muddying up your sound, and no matter what you tweak or adjust, it just won’t go away. Frustrating, right? That, my friends, is where a hum eliminator comes in. It steps up, tackles that buzz, and kicks it right out of your mix.

It’s not just about getting rid of the hum, it’s about ensuring that your sound is the best it can be.

Let me give you a personal example. When I was just starting out, I was working on a track that I was super stoked about. I had this amazing melody line; killer drum beats – I was vibing with it. But there was this annoying hum that wouldn’t leave. I tried everything, man – unplugging, replugging, adjusting the gain, the works. Nothing helped. Then I stumbled upon this thing called a hum eliminator. I plugged it in, and bam! The hum was gone, just like that. My track was clear, my beats were popping, and that annoying hum was a thing of the past.

That’s the magic of a hum eliminator, folks. It’s a total game-changer for any audio setup. It’s not just about getting rid of the hum, it’s about ensuring that your sound is the best it can be. So, don’t let that pesky hum hijack your audio – arm yourself with a hum eliminator, and keep your beats buzzing in the right way!

My favorite MIDI keyboard (at the moment):

AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3

What is a hum eliminator? Why do you need one? | 717qmgla7zl. Ac sl1500 | audio apartment
My favorite MIDI keyboard (at the moment):

AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3

I’m loving the AKAI MPK Mini MK3 for its compact design and the range of controls. It’s one of my essential tools. The velocity-sensitive keys and MPC-style pads are great for making beats, while the thumbstick and knobs give me precise control.

How does a hum eliminator work?

Let’s dive a little deeper into the nitty-gritty of a hum eliminator. What’s the secret sauce that allows it to knock out that irksome hum? Well, a hum eliminator works its magic through a process called electrical isolation.

Here’s the skinny. Your audio gear and the power supply it’s connected to can sometimes be a little… well, out of sync. There are voltage differences, ground loops, and all sorts of electrical misalignments that can cause that bothersome hum. But, when you plug in a hum eliminator, it essentially acts as a buffer between your gear and the power supply. It isolates the electrical circuits, smoothing out those voltage differences and breaking the ground loops. And voila, no more hum!

Image of a brown electric guitar laying beside guitar pedals unsplash
Image of a brown electric guitar laying beside guitar pedals. Source: unsplash

It’s like that one time when I was trying to record a guitar piece, and there was this low, rumbling hum that just wouldn’t quit. I tried different cables and different amps, but nothing worked. Then I plugged in a hum eliminator, and it was like someone had just cleaned my audio glasses. The hum was gone, and the guitar sounded crystal clear.

So, there you have it! While a hum eliminator may not look like much, the work it does on the inside is absolutely crucial for clean, hum-free audio. It’s not just a tool; it’s your audio setup’s best friend when it comes to fighting off those pesky, party-crashing hums. Remember, a happy audio setup is a hum-free audio setup!

What are the features of a hum eliminator?

Whether you’re a musician, a podcaster, or a home studio enthusiast, a hum eliminator can be a game-changer in your audio production journey. Here are a few key details to dive deeper into:

1. Isolation transformer: the silent hero

When it comes to battling the hum, the isolation transformer takes center stage. This component acts as a barrier, blocking the transmission of direct current (DC) while allowing the alternating current (AC) to pass through. By doing so, it effectively isolates your audio devices from the power source, providing solid and safe ground.

One of the standout features of a quality hum eliminator is its ability to provide outstanding common-mode rejection.

2. Suppressing humming and buzzing

Those irritating noises that sneak into your audio signals? Well, the hum eliminator works its magic here too. By utilizing capacitive coupling and a grounded Faraday shield, it significantly decreases differential noises like humming. It’s like having your very own noise-canceling headphones for your audio setup!

3. Outstanding common-mode rejection

One of the standout features of a quality hum eliminator is its ability to provide outstanding common-mode rejection. Now, what does that fancy term mean? It simply refers to how well the device cancels out unwanted noise while still allowing the desired audio signals to pass through. It’s all about finding that sweet balance between eliminating the hum and preserving the music you want to hear.

How do you use a hum eliminator?

Connecting a hum eliminator to your audio setup might seem like a daunting task at first glance, but it’s actually quite simple. Typically, you’ll want to integrate the hum eliminator into your signal chain, so it can work effectively to eliminate noise before the signal reaches your mixer or recording device.

Here’s an easy-to-follow guide on how to connect your hum eliminator:

1. Identify the source of the hum

Before you start connecting your hum eliminator, it’s crucial to identify the source of the hum. This is usually caused by ground loops, which occur when two or more devices in your audio setup share a common ground path. The most common sources of ground loops are amplifiers, mixers, and effects processors.

2. Choose the right connection type

Hum eliminators are available with various connection types, such as 1/4-inch TRS, XLR, and RCA connectors. Make sure to choose a hum eliminator with the appropriate connectors for your audio gear.

3. Insert the hum eliminator in the signal chain

Once you’ve identified the source of the hum and chosen the right connection type, you’ll need to insert the hum eliminator into your signal chain. The most effective placement is usually between the source of the hum and the mixer or recording device. For instance, if the hum is coming from your amplifier, connect the hum eliminator between the amplifier and the mixer.

4. Connect the audio cables

Now that you’ve determined the correct placement for your hum eliminator, connect the audio cables between your audio gear and the hum eliminator. Ensure that the connections are secure and that the cables are free from damage or kinks.

5. Power on your audio gear

With your hum eliminator now connected, power on your audio gear and listen to the results. You should notice a significant reduction in hum and other unwanted noise, allowing for cleaner, clearer audio.

By following these steps, you’ll be able to properly integrate a hum eliminator into your audio setup, ensuring that you can enjoy high-quality sound without the annoyance of persistent hums or buzzes. Remember, using a hum eliminator is an essential step for any aspiring music producer who wants to achieve professional-sounding audio recordings.

Closeup of audio cables connected to a device. Source: unsplash
Closeup of audio cables connected to a device. Source: unsplash

What are the popular hum eliminators in the market?

The table below provides an in-depth comparison of some of the most popular hum eliminators today. Each product has been assessed based on key factors that affect performance, such as the number of channels, price, and average user rating. The table also includes details on the type of connection each hum eliminator supports, allowing you to choose the best product to suit your specific audio needs.

Product NameNumber of ChannelsType of ConnectionPrice (USD)Average User Rating
Ebtech Hum X1Ground loop isolator$794.3/5
PYLE-PRO PHE4002Ground loop isolator$303.8/5
Behringer HD4002DI Box$284.2/5
ART DTI2DI Box$654.5/5
Morley Hum Eliminator2Ground loop isolator$754.1/5
Rolls HE182Ground loop isolator$454.4/5
Detailed comparison of popular hum eliminators

How to install a hum eliminator

Alright, fam, it’s time to dive into the installation process of a hum eliminator. How easy is it to get rid of those annoying hums and buzzes? Get ready for a smooth and hassle-free experience as we guide you through the installation steps.

  1. Gather the necessary equipment: You will need a hum eliminator device, audio cables (such as XLR or TRS cables), and any other connectors required to connect your audio equipment.
  2. Identify the source of the hum: Before installing the hum eliminator, it’s important to identify the source of the hum or noise in your audio system. This can help you determine the best placement for the hum eliminator and troubleshoot any potential issues.
  3. Power off your audio equipment: Before making any connections, ensure that all audio equipment is powered off. This will prevent any potential damage to the equipment and ensure your safety during the installation process.
  4. Connect the hum eliminator: Take one end of your audio cable and plug it into the output of the audio device producing the hum. Connect the other end of the cable to the input of the hum eliminator. If you’re using a stereo hum eliminator, make sure to connect both the left and right channels.
  5. Connect the hum eliminator to your audio system: Take another audio cable and connect one end to the output of the hum eliminator. Plug the other end into the input of the audio device you want to receive the hum-free signal. Repeat this step for each channel if you’re using a stereo hum eliminator.
  6. Double-check the connections: Make sure all the connections are secure and properly inserted into the appropriate inputs and outputs. Loose or improperly connected cables can introduce additional noise or hum into your audio system.
  7. Power on your audio equipment: Once all the connections are in place, you can power on your audio equipment. Check if the hum or noise has been eliminated or reduced. If not, you may need to troubleshoot the issue further or consult the user manual for your specific hum eliminator model.
  8. Test and adjust: Play audio through your system and listen for any remaining hum or noise. Some hum eliminators may have additional controls or adjustments to fine-tune the performance. Refer to the user manual for instructions on adjusting these settings, if applicable.

Advantages and disadvantages of hum eliminators

Exploring the world of audio equipment and engineering, we often encounter tools designed to perfect the quality of our sound. One such essential tool is the hum eliminator. To fully understand its role, let’s delve into the advantages and disadvantages of using hum eliminators in your audio setup.

Advantages of hum eliminators

Before we list the benefits, remember that hum eliminators are designed to tackle specific problems in your audio system.

  • Prevent Unwanted Noise: The main role of hum eliminators is to remove unwanted “hum” or “buzz” caused by ground loops in the audio signal. This ensures a clean and clear sound output.
  • Versatility: They can be used with various types of audio equipment, including mixers, speakers, amplifiers, and other sound systems.
  • Easy to Use: Most hum eliminators are plug-and-play devices, which means they do not require extensive knowledge or skill to implement.
  • Preserve Audio Quality: Good hum eliminators will remove the noise without altering the original audio signal’s quality or characteristics.

Disadvantages of hum eliminators

On the flip side, it’s important to understand that hum eliminators are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Here are some potential disadvantages:

  • Can’t Solve All Noise Issues: While they effectively tackle hum caused by ground loops, hum eliminators might not solve other types of audio noise issues, such as interference from radio frequencies.
  • Cost: High-quality hum eliminators can be expensive. For those on a tight budget, this could be a significant drawback.
  • Possibility of Signal Degradation: Some cheaper or poorly designed hum eliminators might degrade the audio signal, compromising sound quality.
  • Not a Substitute for Proper Setup: Over-reliance on hum eliminators might distract from resolving underlying issues in your audio system. They are better used as a tool to enhance an already well-constructed audio setup.

If you want even more tips and insights, watch this video called “Eliminating a Ground Loop/Hum/Buzz from Audio Source” from the John Rokas YouTube channel.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Do you still have questions about the hum eliminator? Below are some of the most commonly asked questions.

Can I use a hum eliminator with any audio gear?

Yes, hum eliminators are designed to be compatible with various types of audio gear, such as mixers, amplifiers, and effects processors. Make sure to choose a hum eliminator with the appropriate connectors for your equipment, such as 1/4-inch TRS, XLR, or RCA connectors.

Is a hum eliminator a one-time solution, or do I need to adjust it regularly?

A hum eliminator is typically a one-time solution that requires minimal maintenance. Once you’ve connected it correctly in your audio setup, it should effectively remove hums and buzzes without any further adjustments. However, it’s always a good idea to periodically check your audio connections and the condition of your cables to ensure optimal performance.

Can a hum eliminator affect my audio signal in any way?

A high-quality hum eliminator should not negatively impact your audio signal, as it’s designed to remove noise without altering the audio’s character. However, it’s crucial to choose a reputable brand and model to ensure that your audio quality is preserved. Some low-quality hum eliminators may cause signal degradation, so it’s important to invest in a reliable product.

Can a hum eliminator completely eliminate all noise from my audio setup?

While hum eliminators are incredibly effective in reducing buzzing and humming noises caused by ground loops, they may not eliminate every type of noise. It’s essential to ensure that your audio equipment is in good condition and properly connected to maximize the benefits of a hum eliminator.

Can I use a hum eliminator with any audio device?

Absolutely! Hum eliminators are versatile and compatible with various audio devices, including mixers, instruments, audio interfaces, and more. As long as you have a ground loop noise issue, a hum eliminator can be a game-changer in improving your audio quality.

Do I need any technical expertise to install and use a hum eliminator?

Not at all! Installing and using a hum eliminator is designed to be user-friendly, even for those without technical expertise. Just follow the manufacturer’s instructions and connect the hum eliminator to the appropriate cables between your equipment. It’s a plug-and-play solution that anyone can handle.


A hum eliminator is a valuable tool for any music producer or an audio enthusiast looking to zap that pesky buzz and achieve clean, professional-sounding recordings. Think of it as the superhero of your audio setup, swooping in to save the day and keep your signal clear of villainous hums and buzzes. Don’t let the humbugs ruin your audio – invest in a hum eliminator today!

So, did this article help you gain a better understanding of hum eliminators? And did I cover everything you wanted to know? Let me know in the comments section below – I read and reply to every comment. If you found this article helpful, share it with a friend, and check out my full blog for more tips and tricks on audio gear and techniques. Thanks for reading, and happy hum-eliminating!

Key takeaways

This article covered the importance of a hum eliminator in audio setups and how to use one effectively. Here are some key takeaways:

  • A hum eliminator is a device used to remove unwanted noise, such as hums and buzzes, caused by ground loops in audio setups.
  • Using a hum eliminator can significantly improve the quality of your music recordings and live performances.
  • To connect a hum eliminator, identify the source of the hum, choose the right connection type, and insert the device into your signal chain.
  • High-quality hum eliminators from reputable brands should not negatively impact your audio signal.
  • Regularly check your audio connections and cable conditions to ensure optimal performance from your hum eliminator.

Helpful resources

Image Andrew Ash
Written by Andrew Ash, Staff Writer

Hey there! My name is Andrew, and I'm relatively new to music production, but I've been learning a ton, and documenting my journey along the way. That's why I started this blog. If you want to improve your home studio setup and learn more along with me, this is the place for you!

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Edited by Nick Eggert, Staff Editor

Nick is our staff editor and co-founder. He has a passion for writing, editing, and website development. His expertise lies in shaping content with precision and managing digital spaces with a keen eye for detail.

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