So I was changing a lightbulb last night…

I had just finished listening to a record and decided to change a lightbulb that had gone out directly above my turntable. When I started unscrewing the bulb I noticed a faint buzz coming from my speaker. I then turned the volume way up on my amp and tried again. Turns out the buzzing was happening when my hand touched the metal light fixture, not the lightbulb. 

At first I thought the tubes in my phono stage were picking up an EM field from the light fixture and out of curiosity I grabbed a piece of foil and covered the phono stage and then tried tapping the fixture again, same buzzing. Then I switched the input on my amp to my DAC and tried the tapping, no buzzing. Switched the input back to the phono stage and tapped the fixture, buzzing continued. Then I covered the tonearm with the foil and the buzzing went away almost completely. 

So it appears my tonearm is picking up some sort of signal from the light fixture but only when I touch the fixture. If I turn the lights off there is no buzzing when I tap the fixture. The setup is in the basement and I use LED lights that are recessed in the ceiling and wired to an “LED” dimmer switch. The audio gear is on a dedicated circuit.

Any of the knowledgeable folk on here have an explanation for what’s going on? Doesn’t effect SQ AFAIK since the buzzing only occurs when I touch the metal fixture. Seems odd but I thought it was interesting and maybe a chance for me to learn something from the members. 

I uploaded a video of this happening to Imgur that I’ll try pasting here:   




holmz The tonearm is carbon fiber, the clearaudio ‘Satisfy Carbon’. I wasn’t really looking for a solution with this thread I just thought it was something interesting to share here. Although after a handful of people recommended ditching the dimmer for a regular switch, I’ll likely do that soon because now if I ever listen to a record with the lights on I’m going to think I hear the buzz

For sure it is interesting.
That is why is would be nice to know the mechanism that causing it.


I agree on replacing the dimmer, the other option would be to replace the lights if incandescent or halogen are available, and probably the dimmer.
Whether it helps or not I also like the orange colour more, even not around halloween.

The last house had incandescent lights, and the new one has LEDs.

If you change the dimmer and keep the LEDs, then it would be interesting to know if touching the frame results in the same deal happening.

I am assuming that the frame is tied to the safety ground, which means that there is likely some difference in ground potential.
But if that were the case then it make little sense that hum is 60/120 Hz, I would think you would need a lot more voltage.

It would also be interesting to just get an extension cord near the tone arm to see if that also induces the hum.

I had problems with an appliance (Anova Precision Combi Oven) that caused a terrible buzz and excessive heat in my toroidal transformer in Mac amp. The variable speed fan seemed to be the culprit, causing "DC in the Mains". My understanding is that light dimmers are notorious for causing the same issue... I bought a DC Blocker which helped, but didn't solve the problem - so I had to ditch the appliance. Your issue sounds different, as you've described a different symptom, but my experience has made me very leery of dimmer switches... 

I had a similar issue in my music room. All outlets (PS Audio) plus recessed LED lights were on the same circuit. The lights were connected to a dimmer switch. I had a terrible hum coming from my speakers when the phono input was engaged. Once I disconnected the dimmer and the lights put on a simple on/off switch most of the hum disappeared. But not all. I am awaiting an electrician to physically move the wiring for the lights to their own circuit in my box.