How To Fix Turntable Hum: The Most Common Turntable Problem

Have you just set up your turntable, only to find that there is an annoying humming noise? Find out how to fix it.

Turntable hum refers to the constant electronic humming or buzzing noise that occurs when the amplifier is set to the input the turntable is on.There’s nothing worse than getting your freshly purchased turntable, plugging it in, and having it sound totally off. There’s a few different sounds that can go wrong with a turntable, hum being one of the most common.

 What Causes Turntable Hum?

Hum is caused when there is a problem with the wiring somewhere in your audio system. If hum occurs when your amplifier is set to all inputs, not just the one that your turntable is on, then you have a different problem than what this article discusses. If hum only occurs on the input which the turntable plays through, it is logical that the turntable is the source of the problem.

Some readers of this article may have a phono preamp as part of their system, which can also cause hum. If you have another turntable lying around, try plugging that in to the same preamp. If there is still hum, then the phono preamp is likely the source.

Faint hum is a problem with cheap turntables. If you cannot perceive the hum when the turntable is playing music, then you may have to learn to live with it. Cheap wiring and build quality can make this noise rather difficult to get rid of.

Fixing Turntable Hum

fix turntable hum

The very first thing to check is that the ground lead from your turntable is grounded. Most amplifiers or phono preamps have a ground post to connect the ground lead to. Go ahead and do so if you have not already. This will fix most problems with turntable hum. Note that not all turntables have ground wires. If not, don’t worry. Not all designers perceive them as necessary, and this is not a ‘bad sign’, but an engineering choice.

Next, make sure that your turntable, preamp (if you have one) and amplifier are all plugged in to the same power board.

Then, check all the cables on your turntable to ensure they are connected securely. Check the RCA cables that plug in to your amp/preamp, the tonearm wires and especially the cartridge connections. Often they can be loose.  You can further troubleshoot the cartridge wires by connecting the {blue and white} and {red and green} wires together using an alligator clip. This should eliminate the hum. If it does not, then the wires need replacing.

The cartridge itself can also be a source of hum. Magnetic field interference can mess with particular cartridges. Play around with the positioning of your turntable – as far away as possible from the rest of your equipment is ideal. This may require a less aesthetically pleasing positioning of your turntable, but can often fix the annoying turntable hum problem.


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