What budget sound card/USB interface has the best electrical shielding?
Apr 29, 2019 at 5:31 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 10

James H

New Head-Fier
Apr 25, 2018
I've always suffered from sensitivity to electrical fields. For example, I can't use telephones because if I put a telephone to my head I get a nasty pain after a few minutes. My problem's never been too bad with headphones and earbuds, and over the last ten years or so I've been very comfortably using a low-power pair of Sennheiser earbuds. (Earbuds seem to affect me less than headphones.)

But about a year ago things changed: my earbuds broke, and I moved into a new house that feels a lot more electric (I think the wiring must be bad here). And now, no matter what headphones or earbuds I wear, I get terrible ear pain (regardless of volume).

Someone recently suggested getting a sound card or USB interface, with electrical shielding - and I've decided to give this a try! (Up until now, I've always just plugged straight into the back of my motherboard.)

So could anyone please advise me on what sound cards/USB interfaces have the best electrical shielding? I I don't want to spend much money (as this may not even work). A secondary requirement would be ASIO/low latency as I do use a MIDI keyboard sometimes.

Oh and someone mentioned the Lexicon Alpha? Is the electrical shielding on this any good?
Apr 29, 2019 at 11:13 PM Post #2 of 10
I doubt going to an external USB DAC/amp or sound card or Audio Interface will fix the issue.
As it takes the same amount of electricity, to get to a certain volume, no matter what the headphones are jacked into.
Apr 30, 2019 at 12:16 AM Post #3 of 10
No idea if this will help but there are power surges out there that are supposed to “clean” up the noise.

Something like that and an external power supply source that is quality made if your dac/amp requires it. For usb power I would go with Anker, when I was researching phone chargers I tried to find what brand the more OCD people went after and they seemed to have been among the top dogs back than, and two years of daily use at home and less than ideal enviroments have proven their quality to me.

Computer wise a power surge that cleans up the power, followed by a quality power supply, and lastly a motherboard designed to with electrical noise and shielding in mind. I heard of references to the, concerning a motherboard once or twice before on ones targeted towards corporate use, no clue if it’s marketting or not. But I do know I think my current board marketed something like that and when I did a rebuild using all the same parts except a new mobo/cpu/cpu fan I stopped getting noise in my Xonar DG. But that’s hardly conclusive.

I know there are USB adapters to clean noise as well which may or may not help with a usb dac/amp.

Just a few idea I have no idea if any of them will work.

Order I would try things:
- power surge
- dac or dac/amp. I hate being that guy who keeps repeating what I bought but it MIGHT keyword MIGHT work for you. Refurbished Audioengine D3, $45 shipped with 30day trial period, and same warranty as new. Nothing to lose except return shipping if it doesn’t work. I remember seeing a tear down and it had two parts in there to clean up the electrical noise if I remember correctly and someone commenting it was overkill. I would look further into it before you quote me though.
- computer PSU is more involved and is more of the I want this to work measure.
- new motherboard, this is a desperate times call for desperate measures Hail Mary I hope this works. It’s possible it can but it’s very labor intensive, between back ups, rebuilding the computer and reinstalling everything.

Another option not touched on is if you can get Bluetooth working properly, that would be one of the more painless routes. There are Bluetooth adapters for headphones out there.
Apr 30, 2019 at 4:24 PM Post #6 of 10
That's not helpful. Wikipedia reports it as a "pseudo science" because it's rare and has not been scientifically confirmed. If Wikipedia had been around three hundred years ago, it would have reported all electronics as pseudo science.

It was certainly not a "pseudo science" which gave me terrible, unexpected, undesired pain all my life whenever I came into close contact with devices emanating electrical fields. And it's not a "pseudo science" which now gives me the same terrible, undesired pain when I use headphones.
Apr 30, 2019 at 4:58 PM Post #7 of 10
That's not helpful. Wikipedia reports it as a "pseudo science" because it's rare and has not been scientifically confirmed.

The majority of provocation trials to date have found that such claimants are unable to distinguish between exposure and non-exposure to electromagnetic fields.[2][3] A systematic review of medical research in 2011 found no convincing scientific evidence for symptoms being caused by electromagnetic fields.[2] Since then, several double-blind experiments have shown that people who report electromagnetic hypersensitivity are unable to detect the presence of electromagnetic fields and are as likely to report ill health following a sham exposure as they are following exposure to genuine electromagnetic fields, suggesting the cause in these cases to be the nocebo effect.[4][5][6]
May 1, 2019 at 6:08 AM Post #8 of 10
The fact of the matter is that the phenomenon does exist because I have it. I am not lying!

I suffered from it all my life since childhood. Then, decades later I found out that my biological father also suffers from it (he didn't raise me so I didn't know this growing up). Neither of us had ever heard of EMFs or knew anything about the technology, but our symptoms are identical. I am telling the truth about this!

As for Wikipedia…

Just because one review found no "convincing" evidence, that doesn't mean the phenomenon doesn't exist. The article itself clearly states that a significant proportion of trials did in fact show that the condition was real. The trials which failed could have been down to any number of reasons, including any combination of the following:
  1. Trial conditions and equipment were significantly different to those in the real-world, such that the effects were not felt.
  2. Participants may have had some sensitivity to EMFs, but only a mild form which wasn't strong enough to pass a clinical trial.
  3. Participants in those studies may not actually have the condition. There is a well-known and common phenomenon whereby people can hear about a condition and falsely diagnosed themselves. In complete contrast to this scenario, I suffered alone with the condition for decades before I had ever heard of EMFs.
  4. If the condition were shown to be true, it would have profoundly negative financial ramifications on huge sectors of the consumer electronics industry. Therefore there is an incredibly strong vested commercial incentive to dispel such claims at all costs. When you combine this with the fact that many (if not most) such trials are directly funded by (or have clear ties to) these very industries, then it seems not only possible but likely that some bias could occur in such trials. This has been known to happen in many other fields of research, such as studies into the health effects of mobile phones.
We must also bear in mind that…
  1. Wikipedia itself is written and edited not only by impartial spectators and members of the public, but also by exceedingly biased organizations with agendas. One would have to be incredibly naive not to think that many Wikipedia articles were aggressively "policed" by big-money corporations and PR firms seeking to put a positive spin on the facts - no different to what happens in the media.
  2. Similar things also take place on web forums, especially commercial forums such as this. (I am not accusing you of being an industry shill, but all of us can succumb to the misinformation put forth by commercial propaganda campaigns.)
I would also like to quote the testimony of a forum member who knows a great deal about electronics, and said:

Being sensitive to electric fields is a very real thing & there is enough documentation, case studies, etc which support this, most people tend not to bother with research, etc
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May 2, 2019 at 6:19 PM Post #10 of 10
Nobody tell him the planet he's on is one gigantic electromagnet.
How can Earth have a gigantic electromagnet field, when the Earth is flat?

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