Focusrite Scarlett Buzzing Sound? 8 Things To Check

The Focusrite Scarlett interface range has been a popular choice of audio interface for many years; whether for a home or professional studio setup.

Like any audio interface setup, however, there can be buzzing and other sound-related glitches when using the Focusrite Scarlett gear.

In this article, I will discuss everything related to buzzing and humming issues on the Focusrite Scarlett as well as some helpful solutions to these issues. Let’s get into it!

Constant Buzzing

A constant buzzing is not uncommon in audio interface setups and this buzzing is irrespective of:

  • The DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) being used
  • The software instruments or plug-ins running
  • Devices and music equipment connected to the setup

There are a few essential things to check in trying to troubleshoot this issue. In this section below, you will find tips gained either by research or personal experience.

It is essential to try these fixes while the buzz is present, but no other devices and music equipment are connected to the setup.

#1 Check the Power Supply to Interface

This is a good place to start in attempting to find a fix to the problem; it is often the case that power supply issues and other electrical factors can result in a buzz in your setup.

If your interface does not require an external power supply, then feel free to skip this solution.

If your interface does require an external power supply, then be sure to always use the original power supply unit that the Focusrite Scarlett came with.

I also recommend that you inspect the power cable in case there are any nicks or loose ends as this might interfere with the power supply to your unit. If your cable is damaged, its best to order a new one.

#2 Ground Loop Issue

Another power-related issue that could be causing the buzzing problem is the instance of a ground loop.

All electronic devices should be powered from the same mains plug point (i.e., audio interface, studio monitors, PC, or laptop).

Every audio setup is an electronic circuit, and every electronic circuit should have a common “ground.” Electrical interference can occur if multiple power sources are being used, which can result in buzzing.

Another way around this issue is to place a Ground Loop Noise Isolator in the cable chain between your interface headphone port and your headphones. This is a small and relatively inexpensive device that can mitigate the buzz issue.

Should the buzz be mainly in the studio monitors, then it is best to run all devices off an AC outlet plug.

#3 USB-Related Causes

There is a variety of USB-related troubleshooting that can be done to minimize or eliminate buzzing issues.

The step I suggest is to test your USB cable connecting the audio interface to your PC or laptop.

  • Swap out the cable in use for another one and see if the problem persists.
  • Be sure to use a high-quality USB cable to ensure the best results.
  • Shielded USB cables are ideal to use in audio recording & monitoring as they reduce the issue of EMI (Electromagnetic Interference).

It is not recommended that a USB hub or USB extension cable be used when connecting your audio interface to your PC or laptop; these have been reported to degrade audio quality and cause power-related issues.

The last potential fault to check is a damaged USB port on your PC or Laptop. If a USB port is not functioning fully, it can cause a variety of audio and power-related problems.

Depending on your USB port issue, technicians may need to examine your laptop or PC for repair.

#4 Audio Cable Faults

Once the USB cable has been checked and tested it is also advisable to check every other cable in the audio setup.

Most monitors connect to the audio interface via an XLR to XLR or XLR to TRS 1/4 jack and a fault in these cables can cause an audio buzz (or low hum).

Check the soldering on each terminal point on either end of the cables and, where possible, use high-quality 3-core cable.

I recommend Mogami 3-core cable with either Mogami, Neutrik, or Amphenol XLR/jack connectors.

Please also take a look at our article, Focusrite Scarlett Sound Distorting? 3 Solutions

#5 Software and Driver-Related Issues

Each Focusrite Scarlett has supporting software and drivers that help the audio interface function fully.

It is important to always run the latest drivers for your audio interface; not doing so can introduce a host of audio glitches into your setup. You can check Focusrite’s website to download the latest drivers for your audio interface.

It is also useful to install and run Focusrite Control. This software is a user-friendly control surface that enables the user to make changes to their Focusrite Scarlett interface.

Changes can be made to, among other things, sample rates, clock source, talkback, and speaker switching. The downloadable install file can be found on the Focusrite download website.

#6 Hardware Malfunction

If none of the troubleshooting attempts solve the problem, then what might be the problem is a hardware fault.

It is not unheard of to receive a faulty audio interface at purchase and there may be either an internal circuitry issue or an external port issue on your Focusrite Scarlett unit.

Please take note of your warranty and look into returning the faulty unit for assessment and replacement.

#7 Audio Glitches within DAWs

Some buzzing issues occur exclusively within DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations).

Below are a few ways to troubleshoot this issue:

  • It is advisable to set your Focusrite Scarlett as the input and output device within your DAW.
  • Set your buffer rate to the highest possible setting (taking into account recording latency); running your setup at a low buffer rate reduces latency but can increase audio glitches and buzzing.
  • Make sure that the sample rate within your DAW preferences is set to the same rate as your Focusrite Scarlett interface (this can be checked within the Focusrite Control software).
  • Be sure to close all unnecessary software on your PC or laptop that is running in the background; audio glitches can be caused by a strained or overloaded CPU. Check the task manager to see if any program or software is using too much CPU power.
  • Try a different DAW and see if the issue persists; if there is no buzz in another DAW, then there is an issue between your preferred DAW and your Focusrite Scarlett.

#8 Studio Monitors

If you are having buzzing or hissing issues in your studio monitors, the issue might be with the monitors themselves.

There are great monitors at very affordable prices but some downsides must be taken into account.

One of the drawbacks of cheaper monitors is that they have less internal shielding than high-spec monitors, which means they are more susceptible to unwanted noise in playback and recording.

It’s important when wiring up your audio setup that you consider where all devices will draw power from (ideally all from the same mains plug outlet) and consider where the gear is set up in a particular room.

Electronic interference is often connected to the source of power and the position in a particular building or room.

Comparing Issues Between Scarlett Generations

There have been three generations of Scarlett audio interfaces to date, and each edition offers many upgrades.

However, some common issues have been reported – one of them being buzzing or hissing issues.

The 3rd generation Scarlett has made great strides to minimize noise issues and these problems are less prevalent than in the 1st and 2nd generation editions.

In our opinion, it is worth getting the latest Scarlett generation available.

Also check out my article, Focusrite Scarlett Too Quiet? 4 Quick Fixes

Final Thoughts

As seen above, there are a variety of reasons for buzzing and other audio glitches. I advise starting with troubleshooting power-related issues first, followed by cable faults, as these are far more prevalent.


Why is there unwanted hum/noise in my monitors?

Why does a Circuit Always Have to Have Ground?

Focusrite Control Tutorial: 1 – Understanding Focusrite Control