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I recently got an iMac (27" 2010 model) and when I have my Rokit 6 KRK monitors plugged in via RCA to 1/8" adapter, I am getting a low buzzing sound. The sound gets louder whenever I scroll the mouse or the hard drive starts spinning. Any idea of what could be causing this?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Plugging active monitors (or basically anything sensitive if you had a good ears) directly into onboard audio is almost never a good idea. There is little exception to this rule. To get clear audio output, the best way is to invest in a professional audio interface, for example, the el cheapo '0202 USB' from creative labs (eh, their subsidary, E-MU).

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Would doing this have any negative effect on the monitors? I've read in some Apple forums and people who had the same setup and problem used a ground loop isolator ( to fix the problem. Would this work with no damage to the monitors? – roflwaffle Sep 18 '10 at 16:38
depending on your supply frequency, ground loop usually gives noises in harmonic frequencies of the supply frequencies - e.g. if your supply is, 220V/50Hz then the noises due to ground loop would be 50Hz, 100Hz, 150Hz, 200Hz etc etc. – bubu Sep 19 '10 at 0:51

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