What are the reasons for distortion? (hum)

The majority of audio electronic equipment uses a power transformer or transformers for their power supply. Mains power starts out being a pure sine wave at the power station but ends up having a lot of distortion imposed upon it by the time it reaches your equipment at home. The distortion comes from other equipment connected to the same power line and could be industrial or domestic in nature, such as pulse-width modulated electric motors (eg. vacuum cleaners, heat pumps), household heating, washing machines, phase-controlled industrial equipment in factories, light dimmers, etc.

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