In an analog signal it is alternating currents that mimic the sound wave; so in my mind DC should never produce audio but is that true? In a ground loop the noise is caused by differences in ground potential of either side of the loop allowing current to flow but is it AC or DC?

Is a ground loop caused by voltage potential between the grounds only or that plus EMI combined?

To add to the question clearificarion. If I have an unbalanced output from a mixer to an input with a different ground I will get noise on the receiving input even when no signal is being sent from the mixing desk. What is making the current alternate between ground references? This was the case recently with a church that asked me to fix a buzzing in their video feeds. Fixed it with an 8 dollar transformer from amazon because they did not want to convert to balanced equipment and proper interfaces but this is beside the point of my question. I’m just trying to actually understand physically how it works rather than just knowing how to prevent it

  • a) upvote removed & downvote given for completely changing the question after three people bothered to answer it & b) my answer removed for arguing over my initial complaint.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jan 5, 2020 at 17:25
  • "Is a ground loop caused by voltage potential between the grounds only or that plus EMI combined" Mark answered the first half, I answered the second. You then moved the goalposts, introducing a new theme entirely, a specific product issue not even touched upon before three of us had wasted our time. I asked you to raise that as a separate question. You argued & continue to. I shall no longer respond to you.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jan 5, 2020 at 17:59

1 Answer 1


Sound is derived from vibrations which in turn are generated or represented by changing current levels. Sound can never be derived from a static voltage or current. Your statement that "DC should never produce audio" is - to all intents - true.

A ground loop is the unexpected flow of current in a circuit caused by a potential difference between two points in that circuit. Effectively what you have is two points in a circuit which you might believe to be ground, but which actually have a potential difference between them and cause unintended currents to flow in the direction of the potential difference.

A ground loop can become audible if the potential difference alternates as this then becomes part of the signal.

Ground Loops can be AC or DC - remember any instantaneous change in DC should be considered AC for that change therefore a change in DC can generate unwanted sound in a ground loop scenario, however once the DC stablises, then there is no longer an AC component present and therefore no sound will be induced.


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