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What's up with this amp?

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Hello all you helpful Customforgers,


I've got a new query that I'd like some thoughts on.


Since I decided to blow the dust off my guitar last year, I've been playing on a Roland Cube Lite. This is a solid state amp with 2 distortion channels powered by a proprietary 5.7 volt DC power adapter.


The thing is that outside of the clean channel, with all gain turned down, it seems to suffer from almighty hum/buzzing. The more distorted you go, the worse the hum. I always thought that this was down to my guitar having P90s rather than humbuckers. 


However, I just tried out my girlfriends crappy Elevation EG-10J which was bundled for under £100 with a cheap guitar from Argos. I'm guessing it is also a solid state amp (given that people are selling them on Ebay for £15!) but this one has a 'proper' power supply - i.e. an plug and lead that are in no way detachable from the amp itself.


To my surprise and horror, the buzzing is massively reduced from my more expensive Cube Lite - even when the overdrive is engaged and even with my P90s on my Gibson.


I don't like the tone though so I think I'll be in the market for a new, cheap practise amp. Can anyone confirm or deny my theory that if it has an 'inbuilt' power supply, it'll be quieter on the buzzing front?


Many thanks!

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Ummm. They all convert ac current to dc . Yours just does it externally. There are a lot of things that make noise come through as you increase gain and even the best amps suffer from this, but I suspect your issue is bigger than normal. I have a very good amp and it has a built in noise gate that kills the output if there is nothing coming in. But if I shut the noise gate off and crank up the drive it hums. I have a Roland Micro Cube as well and it's not horrible noise wise. Many things could be causing it, is there a TV on in the room? Nearby electronic noise will be amplified. Other electronic devices on that line, not just that plug but the entire section shared by that breaker. Bad ground for the house causing a float ? Or maybe it's a poorly designed amp. If it seems better on your friends try his amp at your house.

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 I'm Allergic To Stupidity. I Break Out In Sarcasm.

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Hi there - thanks for the reply. The thing is that the cheap amp that makes almost no noise is doing so in the exact same place, using the same power sockets, as the Cube Lite which is making the horrible din. That seems like a pretty big clue - which is why the power adapter vs inbuilt power lead caught my eye as a potential culprit... What do you think?

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Hum is just a fact of life with overdrive or distortion, and it's particularly and issue with high output pickups. BUT. It could be a grounding issue. Try switching to a power strip with a built in power surge circuit. Make sure your outlets are grounded properly that means make sure they are wired properly if I'm close I'll come help you check it out but get a friend if you can't be sure the outlets are right ( just because the little plug in light says they are grounded doesn't mean they are you actually need to check the wiring). If you still have problems, make sure your amp is properly grounded.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks all for the suggestions.


The story concluded with my sending the Cube Lite back to the shop who were unable to replicate the weird noises that I was getting from it all over my house as well as throughout my neighbour's house.


Anyway, given that they didn't think it was duff, they let me part-exchange it for a Blackstar ID:Core 20 which arrived today and which is AWESOME! I feared the same  buzzing, seeing as we never did figure out what was causing it, but it doesn't do it at all. Added to which it has way more features and 'voices' than the Cube Lite.


So, it set me back another £60 but I couldn't be happier with the end result!

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Thanks for posting an update and congrats on a happy conclusion. Yeah, Blackstar amps are pretty popular.  The company is made up of ex-Marshall employees, so they have good pedigree. I recently put some old gear for sale and my Marshall tube amps sold really quick, man, they hold value well (at least older Marshall stuff). Sad to see it go but needed the money to fund other gear.


Have fun with your new Blackstar amp!

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