Portable player + aux jack = unwanted noise?

By

Zak Billmeier

Zak Billmeier grew up in southern Vermont and coastal Maine. After graduating from Mary Washington College with a Geography degree he still isn't sure quite what to do with, he eventually settled in the mountains of Central Virginia. He spends his free time chasing his daughter around, taking pictures, gardening and cooking. Zak traces the roots of his interest in electronic gadgets to the Casio wristwatch with a built-in calculator he received as a gift one year as a child. He joined Crutchfield's car A/V team in 2007.

More from Zak Billmeier

I put in a dock-and-play satellite radio recently, connecting it to my head unit through its aux input. With channel guide in hand, I began flipping stations in earnest, ready to program in my favorites. But something was happening — a "swirling" sound that got louder and faster as my engine speed increased.

First I disconnected everything, cleaned all my contacts, then reinstalled. No change. Tried turning the built-in FM modulator on/off. Still no change. Checked the antenna wire. Nothing. What was I going to say when everyone on my block found out that a guy that works at Crutchfield can't even hook up a portable satellite radio in his car?

I didn't have any luck finding a solution online, but I knew I couldn't be alone with this, and I took comfort in the fact that I'm lucky enough to work at a place full of experts who are trained to solve problems like this one. And my expert co-workers came through for me. "It's a ground loop," I was told. "You need to move the ground wire from your cigarette lighter to the same place as the one from your stereo." Which, I am certain, is the right way to do it.

But I found an easier way, right on Crutchfield's website: the PAC SNI-1/3.5 noise filter. It's a little black box with male/female 3.5mm miniplugs that you stick between your player and your stereo.

PAC SNI-1/3.5 set up

The SNI-1/3.5 goes between your player and your stereo's aux jack.

I don't know what's in that little box, but whatever's in there completely killed the noise I was experiencing. Problem solved, and installation took 10 seconds, maybe 13. So if you've plugged in a portable player to your new stereo's aux jack, and you're hearing a hiss, a whine, a hum, or a click, this little black box could be the answer to your problems. After gushing about it, I tested it with a co-worker who was having a similar problem, and he promptly ordered an RCA version

PAC SNI-1/3

The PAC SNI-1/3 has 3.5mm connections

PAC SNI-1

The PAC SNI-1 has RCA inupts and outputs

If you have a similar problem, give us a call. Our Advisors will be glad to help.

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