Background noise problem

Hi, I bought an Owl Pedal in June 2017.
I have tried it for several weeks and wanted to ask for clarification about a constant background noise that occurs when the pedal is working. In fact, it produces a background noise that makes very annoying to use the pedal, and happens either when used alone or in a pedal chain.
This happens with any preset, but it is emphasized with distortion/overdrive effects.
It occurs either when it is powered by PC (USB), by DC (9v, 300 mA isolated), and even when powered via USB (plug to USB, 2000 mA).
I would like to know if maybe it can be a problem of my pedal, or if this is an expected behaviour.


I can send you video/audio of the pedal, if it can be useful.

Hi there!

The noise floor of the OWL relative to the signal level should be very low. I recently measured the Signal to Noise ratio on a Rohde & Schwarz Audio Analyzer to be -97dB on an OWL pedal.
What sensitivity setting do you use, High, Medium or Low? What does your signal chain look like?

The main things that can cause bad hum or noise are

  1. signal levels: too hot, causing clipping, or too low, needing more gain later in the chain which brings up the noise floor
  2. noisy power supply, but is sounds like you’ve tried a few different options already
  3. ground loops: is the amp plugged in to the same power socket, or could there be a long earth loop? Sometimes when using an audio i/f, doing a round trip (e.g. computer to pedals to computer) can cause lots of hummm.

Things to try are: use the OwlControl app to experiment with different gain/sensitivity settings, turn the levels going into the pedal/s up/down, try connecting everything to the same power socket, or try a ‘ground lift’ on the amp/output if it has it.



Ok, thanks for the answer.
I did several attempts, trying to configure through the program via USB. I managed to get a sound more than usable on some effects, but not on others. For example, the background sound in effect like FreeVerb is much less than the noise under the Jot Reverb.

Regarding signal levels, I’m using a custom configuration with about output on -11, that seems to reduce background noise (and +10.5 on input, but I hear no difference even if I put it to +0).
Using the USB powe, instead of the 300mA power makes a little more noise reduction, but not a meaningful one.

Unfortunately, the amplifier does not have any ground lift input / output, and I confirm that the background sound is present, whether I connect it to the same power socket or connect the amplifier and the pedal to two separate power sockets.

So, I managed to get a good sound, but only with some effects, but I wasn’t able to completely elimiate the background noise, but only to attenuate it.
(Note: the Owl noise is still higher than the background noise of my whole pedal chain without the Owl.)

Tell me if I you need any more information.

hmm, it doesn’t seem right that you need that much attenuation: -11dB is loads.
Are you using a guitar and guitar amp? What happens when you plug the guitar straight into the OWL?

Ok, I’ll try to sum app all cases.

Guitar → Amp: no noise
Guitar → OWL → Amp: noise (only if OWL is not in bypass mode)
Guitar → Chain without OWL → Amp: no noise
Guitar → Chain with OWL → Amp: noise (only if OWL is not in bypass mode)

(as a side case, just for you to know, not a main problem right now:
Guitar → Chain with OWL and certain pedals (a Boss TR-2, in my case) → Amp: even noiser noise, even if the TR-2 is in bypass mode)

The “noise” specified above is the noise I was refering in the previous post: background rumor of variable strenght, depending which effect is used.

That’s strange, I’m starting to wonder if there could be a hardware fault with your OWL, or if it’s just behaving really unusually in your setup.

Can you try it with a different input source? Try something at line level, and set the Sensitivity to Low, Medium or High.


Hi, I already tried to use different guitars, different amplifiers and switching sensitivity.
In all cases the difference in the noise is not noticeable.
The only case in which the noise is absent is when the amplifier’s volume is very low, too low to play along with other instruments.

I’m pasting a link of a recording of the noise: you can hear how the noise is well-present event with a guitar playing. In this recording I’m giving the power through a socket-to-USB adapter.!mEkhEZzZ!KIKqeAhwBLFHFWFAyMBSWM6rRPKqeyAMqdbz108_ZWs

Maybe you can tell if is just the “normal” OWL noise, just higher, or maybe if there is something stranger ocurring.


Sounds like the high pitch buzz of a switching power supply. It shouldn’t be leaking through as much as you describe. Something could be wrong with your device - I’ll message you privately to arrange a return.

I just got the pedal and as soon as I turned the first effect on, this same noise rendered the pedal unusable. Can you please help me return an exchange as well?

Before you do, try this: input +12, output -12, save to owl.

It’s noisier than a normal pedal, but nowhere near as noisy as my Tonal Recall, and does so much more than it can do.

I’ll give it a shot. I noticed that changing the buffer size helps the noise, but then you feel a delay between when you hit a note and it’s played through your speaker.