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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, just recently I've been getting a high pitched whining type noise that seems to mostly be coming from my speakers when my radio is on.. I don't have a stock radio, I'm running an Alpine CDA-105 headunit along with 4 focal access speakers run off of a JL Audio XD/400 amp, and have a jl 12w7 subwoofer run off of a Boston Acoustics GTA 1000m mono amp. It changes pitch with engine revs/rpms in neutral and while driving, and is mostly noticeable on low volume and it is driving me nuts.. I know that this isn't a car audio forum but with my OCD I'm hoping that one of you guys may happen to know what it is.. Thanks in advance


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Corvalis TTX
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Sounds like electrical alternator whine. Has it always done this with the aftermarket audio components or is this a new thing?

This sort of whine is usually due to poor electrical filtering on the power wires of electrical components. It's possible, if this is has just started happening, that a discrete component (a capacitor for example) inside one of your audio components has failed. You could also have a bad ground, if I remember my electrical theory correctly.
 

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Car so nice, bought twice
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Hi, just recently I've been getting a high pitched whining type noise that seems to mostly be coming from my speakers when my radio is on.. I don't have a stock radio, I'm running an Alpine CDA-105 headunit along with 4 focal access speakers run off of a JL Audio XD/400 amp, and have a jl 12w7 subwoofer run off of a Boston Acoustics GTA 1000m mono amp. It changes pitch with engine revs/rpms in neutral and while driving, and is mostly noticeable on low volume and it is driving me nuts.. I know that this isn't a car audio forum but with my OCD I'm hoping that one of you guys may happen to know what it is.. Thanks in advance


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For me it was my phone dumping a ton of noise into the Aux in. I think it was whenever I had my phone plugged in charging so the grounding was maybe being shared with the car which probably isn't a very clean grounding setup. I'm runinng BT and
and haven't heard the "fake supercharger" whine since.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
For me it was my phone dumping a ton of noise into the Aux in. I think it was whenever I had my phone plugged in charging so the grounding was maybe being shared with the car which probably isn't a very clean grounding setup. I'm runinng BT and http://www.amazon.com/PAC-Ground-Isolator-3-5-Applications/dp/B001EAQTRI and haven't heard the "fake supercharger" whine since.
Hey Drowned it's still going on, haven't been on lately.. I have an Iphone 5 and use spotify mostly.. I usually keep my volume on medium (if this matters?).. I recently got a new iphone cord as it was giving my headunit which is an alpine a current error reading and I couldn't charge my phone half of the time so I knew I had to get another one and hey maybe it would help sound quality but nope well maybe but at least not this issue. I also have no aux in it has no Bluetooth etc but it's a very expandable model and still isn't cheap I believe it's the CDA-105 unit.. Anyways long story short is there is a usb 2.0 cable for anything other than cd and radio.. I actually tried using a female headphone port to usb converter I got off of eBay (not for that reason just wanted to see if it worked as I've never seen one of those before) it didn't lol.. But back on track I am going to go to a car audio shop and it's going to be a new one this time,, I am going to post my dreadful terrible experience about the last place pretty soon. Thanks for the suggestions!


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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sounds like electrical alternator whine. Has it always done this with the aftermarket audio components or is this a new thing?

This sort of whine is usually due to poor electrical filtering on the power wires of electrical components. It's possible, if this is has just started happening, that a discrete component (a capacitor for example) inside one of your audio components has failed. You could also have a bad ground, if I remember my electrical theory correctly.
Hey Markus, no capacitor and this just starting happening a few days ago when I posted this.. I did just find out that my left front speaker wasn't working and found out that an RCA cable was loose as if you were trying to get some stubborn headphones to work and you rotate them.. It could very well be a grounding issue. Thanks for the advice and I'm going to probably bring it into an audio shop.


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BringTheIntegraBack
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That alternator whine you have going on will never get out of your head. Even once your audio guy fixes the install, you will keep hearing that wheeee wheeeeeeee in your head as though Maxwell the pig were in your ears.

Have your install checked; if the noise has only just appeared after months/years of a good install, something has come loose or, as Markus said, something has failed. Good grounding of components, especially to a common ground, and good RCAs keep such noises at bay in most installs.

But that wheeeee stays with you forever once you have experienced it!
 

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lol wut
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My best guess would be one of two things. Either your ground (-) for the amp is poor or you have your RCA cables running alongside or too close to the power wires for the amp, which could transmit noise like that if they are poorly shielded cables.
 

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Honda Nation
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I always make sure I sand down the ground point on the chassis to bare metal to remove all the paint and any dirt. And then ground your entire system to that one point.

There is something called potential difference. A car's voltage can measure differently depending on where on the chassis you test at a ground point. Make sure all the aftermarket components are grounded at the same point and that the paint is sanded down to the bare metal.
 

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Alternator whine is a grounding issue 100% of the time. Sometimes it's vehicle chassis grounds, sometimes it's the HU, or amp wiring, or a bad cable, or even internal grounds in the HU or a component itself. The signal wires too-close to power wires thing is a myth perpetuated by cable companies that want to sell you shielded cables, then as a result taken up by installers who run signal on one side and power on the other side of the car. Not that it's a bad idea to do that, but it's exceedingly difficult to induct noise from your car's power to signal wires via proximity.

That said, in a new-ish car, it's generally going to be wiring. Does it do it regardless of source? If not, what sources are clean? Suisunca has it right.
 

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Alternator whine is a grounding issue 100% of the time. Sometimes it's vehicle chassis grounds, sometimes it's the HU, or amp wiring, or a bad cable, or even internal grounds in the HU or a component itself. The signal wires too-close to power wires thing is a myth perpetuated by cable companies that want to sell you shielded cables, then as a result taken up by installers who run signal on one side and power on the other side of the car. Not that it's a bad idea to do that, but it's exceedingly difficult to induct noise from your car's power to signal wires via proximity.

That said, in a new-ish car, it's generally going to be wiring. Does it do it regardless of source? If not, what sources are clean? Suisunca has it right.
How is it a myth when I can test this fairly easily and get consistent alternator whine by taking my CHEAP rca cables near a power wire? the amp power wire has a "field" of sorts, closer more whine. While it is true that grounding can produce whine. Cheap RCAs near power wires will induce whining, trust me.
 

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Honda Nation
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Alternator whine is a grounding issue 100% of the time. Sometimes it's vehicle chassis grounds, sometimes it's the HU, or amp wiring, or a bad cable, or even internal grounds in the HU or a component itself. The signal wires too-close to power wires thing is a myth perpetuated by cable companies that want to sell you shielded cables, then as a result taken up by installers who run signal on one side and power on the other side of the car. Not that it's a bad idea to do that, but it's exceedingly difficult to induct noise from your car's power to signal wires via proximity.

That said, in a new-ish car, it's generally going to be wiring. Does it do it regardless of source? If not, what sources are clean? Suisunca has it right.
How is it a myth when I can test this fairly easily and get consistent alternator whine by taking my CHEAP rca cables near a power wire? the amp power wire has a "field" of sorts, closer more whine. While it is true that grounding can produce whine. Cheap RCAs near power wires will induce whining, trust me.
I can assure you that running RCA - ANY RCA - line output audio cables next to the 8 or 4 gauge main power wire will create massive interference. That power wire has upwards of 30 amps of current running through it. That will create magnetic interference.

Think about the engine bay setup of late 1950s and early 60s Corvettes. Those equipped with radios had a large shield plate behind the distributor cap, as the high voltage going through the spark plug wires would interfere with the then AM-only radios which were inside the dash and just inches away from the distributor cap in the engine on the other side of the firewall.

I know this learning first hand. In my very first car-fi install on my own car in 1998 I learned, as I ran the power and audio down the driver's side of my 1990 Chevy Beretta GT. When I turned on the system I had massive constant buzzing. Thinking about the high current in the power line, I moved the audio cables to the other side of the car, turned it on again, and it worked flawlessly.
 

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I can assure you that after performing many hundreds of installs during my career as a car audio guy that running the signal wires nest to the power wires will not, in and of itself, cause audible interference regardless of what gauge the wire is. If there was noise in the line, it wasn't caused by the proximity of the wire. More likely there was a ground loop causing the signal you were hearing, and when you moved the rca's it was no longer picked up. If you'd fixed the power circuit in your install you would have also cured the issue without moving the cables.

Ignition wires have over 20,000 volts running through them...not quite apples to apples there.

Also, speaking of 'cheap' rca's, this is another myth. As long as the connections are good and low resistance, cheap cables work great. Monster Cable invented the consumer cable market all by themselves in the early 80's. They learned from the wacky high end audiophiles who swear there is a meaningful difference between various iterations of extremely expensive cabling (proven over nad over...and over to be false).
 

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How is it a myth when I can test this fairly easily and get consistent alternator whine by taking my CHEAP rca cables near a power wire? the amp power wire has a "field" of sorts, closer more whine. While it is true that grounding can produce whine. Cheap RCAs near power wires will induce whining, trust me.
If your signal wires pick up a whine, the problem is the whine, not the cable proximity.
 

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Very common troubleshoot error..
I was always told, keep the remote bass cable or also known as blue color wire seperate from your red power cable. Run your cables on separte sides.
 

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Very common troubleshoot error..
I was always told, keep the remote bass cable or also known as blue color wire seperate from your red power cable. Run your cables on separte sides.
The blue wire is the remote turn on, switched with accessory or power antenna output from the head unit, which is low current 12v power. That can run on the same side as your high current constant 12v red wire without problems.

The audio cables are the ones you need to keep separate.

Now, dietDrThunder suggested that the power wire will not interfere with the signal wire. I have been an electronic technician, not just with car fi equipment but with medical equipment as well, for 15 years. I can assure you that the red power wire WILL interfere with audio when they are both active, laying next to each other. dietDrThunder is completely incorrect here.

I am not sure if dietDrThunder understands electrical principles completely. The power wire, following the laws of physics, sprays out magnetic waves in all directions. These magnetic waves will be picked up by other wires in the vicinity, which is what I was saying about the RCA cables.

Anyone who does not believe me, go ahead and run your power wire and RCA cables on the same side of your car, then power up your stereo and see what happens.
 
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