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Help me solve a mystery! Strange interference


Sep 5, 2021
I have a desktop setup with a seriously strange and unusable issue. My audio pops and breaks up (it's the DAC). It happens every few seconds (while playing audio only) however ONLY on my desktop setup. On my wifes computer it is fine. Heck it is better then fine it sounds way more transparent and detailed then it ever did on my PC when it was working (it sounded mushy, muddy). The DAC in question is a Burson Conductor 3 Reference connected via USB and Optics (both have the same issue so I can rule out the usb cable). So only when the dac is on my side of the room connected to my computer does it have any issues. On the other side of the same room it's completely fine. I am including a picture of the setup as I wonder if there could be some form of interference. This used to be a random event. For instance if I worked on the PC and moved it around a bit I would have this issue. Jiggling wires or turning everything off and on again would usually fix the issue until now. I have swapped DACs with my wife and am using her Questyle CMA 400i and it works flawlessly on my setup so whatever the issue is only the Burson is effected by it.

As I type this I wonder if It has any relationship to the circuit breakers. My PC is connected to a 4ft strip under my desk with a very heavy load on it. That's connected to a breaker with the rooms ceiling fan and a air purifier, a SUB and the lighting. My wifes PC is on a seperate breaker with just her PC, monitor, speakers and a phone charger. No other outlets are on that breaker. Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated! P.S. I have a very annoying speaker hum only when the ceiling fan is on :rolleyes: and when I turn the fan off my speakers pop.
Are these led strips?Does your wife's desk also has some of those?

I have seen them causing havoc in measurements but not to the point as to interrupt a DAC,I have only seen this with dimmers on the same grid.
3 separate LED strips with individual power supplies. The one has a 120W digital PSU to run it.
a alexa
1200W PC (draws 800W on average)
100W USB charging station
Ceiling fan
room lights
air purifier
backyard flood light

Draw at breaker is 1150-1200W hasn't tripped yet. The hum is caused by the ceiling fan, just figured that out at least. Not sure what to do about it.

Edit: Wife does not have LEDs. Her circuit is on a GFI breaker that feeds a guest bathroom receptacle thats never used. She's lucky with that.
Dimers in PVM mode on same power phase line are the worst in producing low EMI which you can't shake off (you can by simply disabling it by letting it at 100%). Then come switching power supplies and some aren't bad which others can be pretty horrible. There are medical one's with both autended EMI but in highs (same as most power conditioners) with filters and deacent shielding but still not guaranteed to solve the problem but at least you get good quality one's with good warranty which of course you must pay for.
Back to simple question your wife laptop and in her corner does it have those especially in quantity as your PC has? Is it the same if you put it when your is (no interference)? If that's the case I am out of ideas especially if you tried Toslink already (which eliminate PC power supply as a surce). Obviously DAC has it's own powe input and supply.
I do love a good mystery!

You've narrowed it down to the dac and the circuit everything is on, so that's a VERY good start. If you had not done that, there are way more options for cause.

It happens every few seconds
I think this might help in diagnosing.

If it were power supply related, that should be more constant I would think. So my first thought is do you have something that cycles on the circuit? LED lights that change, or dim might do it.
So only when the dac is on my side of the room connected to my computer does it have any issues. On the other side of the same room it's completely fine.
This is your location clue.

Does it have the problem at the same level everywhere on your side of the room, or is there more of an issue on one side of the desk?

Play, pick up the dac, and move it around. Maybe you can find the spot by finding where the problem is worse? Then you should have narrowed the cause down significantly.

Actually, you can turn EVERYTHING off, and just fire up what you need. Still the problem? You've narrowed. Problem goes away, you've narrowed. But waving things around is more fun!

You will find it eventually. The clues are there, you just have to follow them to find the murderer (of sound).
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