Noticeable hum with headphones, but...

My roommates are studying for finals so I have had to do all my listening via headphones for the past few days. I noticed that there is a noticeable hum with both my extremely cheap Panasonic ear buds and my slightly (albeit just a little bit) better quality Fannie Wang 2000’s. The odd thing is that the hum is only noticeable in the left ear.

Has anyone else experienced this? I have also checked with the speakers plugged into the system and there is no noticeable hum coming from either left or right channel.

Yes, I hear it too but I’d call it more of a buzz or fizz. It’s quite obvious with quiet music and does get in the way of the music a little. My headphones are nothing fancy, just an old Sony MDR XB700 Megabass. When powering my speakers I can hear it too from 5 feet away but it’s not as bad as with headphones.

Is it also only on the left side?

The buzz is on both left and right and it gets louder as you crank up the volume even if no music is playing.

Both sides makes much more sense then mrfochs report of hum on only one side.

When there is a hum on both sides, I immediately think there is a ground loop issue.

A hum on one side implies a cable fault, a loose connection or an issue with a component - either the Sprout or something upstream.

Can you contact us on Monday? We should probably have a look at it.

Paul, I assume you are talking to “Bimmerman” as I agree with “Elk’s” statement that there might be a loose wire or ground loop issue. I assume my issue is a result of bad headphones and not the unit as the hum cannot be replicated with speakers from any of the other outputs.

Oops, sorry. Thanks.

Paul McGowan said Can you contact us on Monday? We should probably have a look at it.
Well, it's quite a distance to send it back to Boulder as I'm in Malaysia.

I did open up my unit to take a look and the noise suppressing fixes that Scott mentioned such as the copper tape is indeed there.

Maybe my speakers are too revealing perhaps? I’m using a pair of Kef QX1 with supertweters. On a positive note though, the hiss/fizz does sound very much like analog magnetic tape hiss and lends a rather nostalgic sound to modern material.

Perhaps I could add more insulation by applying a product called Stillpoints ERS Cloth which the manufacturer claims is virtually impenetrable to RFI and it comes in 8x11 inch adhesive cut sheets. Worth a shot you think?

The Sprout is an amazing feat of engineering and I’m not expecting it to be super quiet but a notch lower in the hiss/fizz area would be perfect for me.

Today I went to use my desk set up that has the sprout and to my dismay, the left channel only made a loud buzz/hum both from the front headphone jack and the 3.5mm output jack on the back. I did some testing with speakers and headphone and both resulted in same issue. I also tried both audio input from the USB cable and bluetooth. I lastly, tried shutting off the Spout for a while thinking maybe it was too warm. I waited a few hours and then turned the Sprout back on. Now I get an almost inaudible, piercing high tone that comes from the left channel. I have tested the speakers with other inputs and they seem to be fine with no noticeable issues with the left or right speaker.

Any ideas on what could be causing this series of odd issues?

It has been a week and no response here or through the online support form. Any thoughts as to why my Sprout is making an extremely high pitched whine from the back 3.5mm output?

You might want to give PSA a call. Sometimes that’s the fastest way.

Thanks. I will try to reach them tomorrow during business hours.

Yes, sorry. Call Alex. This is not a problem I am familiar with.