There is nothing more annoying than hearing a hum or a buzz when you are trying to listen to music. We have many awesome Tube Preamp Reviews here on the site for you to look at, but it was a recent experience with this Tube Box DS2 that caused me to go down this rabbit hole or trying to figure out why my buddies preamp was making is very annoying humming sound all of a sudden.
Today, we will look at how we found out there was something wrong with his tube preamp and what we did to fix it. Please note, that if you have a rather expensive tube preamp and are not 100 percent confident in your fixing abilities, you may want to go and take your preamp or even turntable to a place to get it repaired.
How It Began
So here is the setup. My friend has a Tube Box DS2 and he has this amazing Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC Esprit SB The Beatles 1964 Record player which I am so jealous of and have made him promise me is left to me in his will if he has an early demise. Which he is reluctant to do in case I take things into my own hands next time we go camping. In all seriousness, my buddy has a freaking sweet setup and I have experienced the sweet sound of his turntable many times.
Then it started, he called me saying that there was a weird hum from his setup and he couldn’t figure out what it was. We played around and it turned out this hum was his tube preamp causing problems so we got to work.
Replacing The Tubes
You can purchase replacement tubes from many places, if you look on eBay, for example, there are a ton such as this Vox AD120VTX / ENGL Tube Preamp E530 -New PREM JJ ELEC Full Tube Replace Set which you can get for a decent price. There are replacement tubes for many different tube preamps on eBay so if you do go down this route, it is on you to make sure that you are getting the right ones. I have to be honest, at the price my buddy paid for his tube preamp, he nor I were comfortable with replacing the tubes, but if you are curious about how you would go about doing this. Check out this Wiki How article that shows you how to do this. Hey, if you are comfortable with this, more power to you!
Those Damn Cables
Remember that awesome Beatles turntable I told you my friend had? Well, that came with this very high-end RCA cable and it served my friend very well. Well, my friend was doing a bit of reorganization of his turntable set up and in doing so he put his receiver over the cable and it must have damaged it. I say this because we changed the RCA cables and we used a cheap set of RCA cables that we found on Amazon for like 10 bucks and the hum was gone! So, in the case of my friend, it was a damaged RCA cable that was causing the hum.
A Few Other Bits Of Advice
While we have looked at many types of preamps on the site. I wanted to give a few other little bits of advice if your tube preamp is making an annoying hum before you go rushing out to buy something new or even try to change the tubes. I know this is the most basic thing ever, but honestly, the number of times unplugging everything and plugging it back in securely has fixed an issue I have had is insane!
If you are like me and lucky enough to have various bits of audio equipment in the house, you can always try and change things out. For example, you can try a different set of cables (like we did for my buddy) you can try a different cartridge, speakers, and so on. If you try changing one element of your setup and the problem is still happening, you can remove that component as a potential cause for the problem.
Hope this post has been useful in helping you out if your tube amp hum increases with volume. You might also be interested in what happens when your turntable hums upon touching the tonearm and if you still need a preamp if your receiver has a phono input.