AN1x low output?
ManaTau80
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#1
16th January 2014
Old 16th January 2014
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AN1x low output?

I'm running an AN1x into an RME Babyface (line level, bypassing the preamps) and then straight into Ableton. I find that, in Ableton, I have to add anywhere from 6 to 12 db of gain in order for the signal to hit -18 dBVU, which is what I usually aim for when recording.

Does the AN1x normally have such a low output, or does something seem off?
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16th January 2014
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It's all in how the patches are programmed. I have no problems with AN1x output...
ManaTau80
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16th January 2014
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Everything sounds fine once I boost the signal in Ableton, I just expected the output to be hotter.

This applies to both the factory presets and my own patches, so it's not the way I'm programming it. Again, using a TS to XLR cable, straight into the line inputs, and with the An1x turned up all the way, I'm nowhere close to hitting -18 dBVU -- whether or not the preset's overall volume is also up all the way (i.e. 127).

On a related note, how important is gain staging with the AN1x? Are the oscillators supposed to start clipping if turned up past a certain point (I'm not sure if the Prophet 5 did, which I know the AN1x is modeled after), or is the gain clean, with any saturation/distortion duties left to the feedback control?
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16th January 2014
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You should use a TRS to TRS balanced cables into line/instrument inputs, not TS to XLR... Balanced cables add 6 dB of gain compared to unbalanced.
ManaTau80
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16th January 2014
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The Babyface only offers XLR for line in. (The mic preamps are switchable, and there's a single instrument input on the side.)

I'm using TS because I read in several places that you should avoid connecting TRS to an unbalanced output, especially when connecting to something balanced. Here's an example thread:

balanced trs cables with unbalanced in/outs

I'm certainly no expert on any of this, so tell me if I'm wrong. Could this be the culprit behind the low volume?
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16th January 2014
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I would argue it could be. I'm using TRS to line ins 1/2 on my TCE Impact Twin and AN1x is pretty much the same output level as my Kurzweil PC3K8 or my V-Amp Pro...
ManaTau80
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16th January 2014
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Why would that be? According to that thread (and several others), the most likely result of using a balanced cable with an unbalanced output would be a loss of signal, and possible noise, because the second path to ground is unused. (I think.) Do balanced cables add 6 db of gain when they're connected to unbalanced gear? That doesn't seem possible.

I'd test it out right now, but I don't have the right cables. Any electricians in the house?
ManaTau80
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16th January 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ManaTau80 View Post
On a related note, how important is gain staging with the AN1x? Are the oscillators supposed to start clipping if turned up past a certain point (I'm not sure if the Prophet 5 did, which I know the AN1x is modeled after), or is the gain clean, with any saturation/distortion duties left to the feedback control?
Also, any ideas on this? I've experimented, but with my already established volume issues it's hard to tell.
Oli
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16th January 2014
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I haven't seen anything indicating that the AN1x uses balanced outs. I'm guessing it doesn't, and if so there would be no benefit to signal strength from using TRS.

Manual states AN1x provides +4 dBm.

I haven't had any issue with signal strength from my AN1x. I also haven't been aware of clipping from osc levels/mix. I don't think it was very closely modelled on a P5. I think it was more just conceptual.

Are you using an editor for your patches?

Have you tried a different power supply? A few people have reported issues with power supplies which weren't providing sufficient current.
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16th January 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ManaTau80 View Post
Do balanced cables add 6 db of gain when they're connected to unbalanced gear?
They add 6 dB of gain when connecting balanced gear. Or rather, unbalanced cables lose 6 dB when connected to balanced gear.


Also I don't remember AN1x oscillators ever clipping...
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I just received my AN1X and while running through the presets yesterday, I also found that the output was lower than my SY77 and MR Rack. It came with the original power supply.

Peter.
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16th January 2014
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Thanks for answering the clipping question. Because I'm having volume issues, I didn't want to crank both oscillators up and saturate the signal without realizing it.

No editor -- I'm on a Mac, and prefer programming on the synth itself. I haven't tried a different power supply (don't have one handy), but mine is the original one as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDragon View Post
They add 6 dB of gain when connecting balanced gear. Or rather, unbalanced cables lose 6 dB when connected to balanced gear.
Unbalanced cables lose 6 db only when connecting balanced gear to balanced gear. If connecting unbalanced to balanced it doesn't make a difference. If anything, using a TRS cable to connect unbalanced to balanced could result in signal loss, but never gain.
ManaTau80
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16th January 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pschelfh View Post
I just received my AN1X and while running through the presets yesterday, I also found that the output was lower than my SY77 and MR Rack. It came with the original power supply.

Peter.
Out of curiosity, how soft is the output? And are you using balanced cables?
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16th January 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ManaTau80 View Post
If anything, using a TRS cable to connect unbalanced to balanced could result in signal loss, but never gain.
Never noticed this in practice, personally.
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About 6dB lower than my other synths. I used the same cables that were connected to my SY77, unbalanced intrument jacks.

Peter.
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16th January 2014
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I think it's just a possibility, along with hum, but certainly not a guarantee (or even a probability). My point was only that using a balanced cable wouldn't increase level in this case, so it must be something else.

Anyway, it seems like I'll have to try another power supply. Out of curiosity, for those of you with an An1x and no volume issues, do you often have the main volume knob all the way up?

I appreciate all the help so far.
ManaTau80
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16th January 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pschelfh View Post
About 6dB lower than my other synths. I used the same cables that were connected to my SY77, unbalanced intrument jacks.

Peter.
Sounds like we have the same issue, although mine is probably more like 8 - 10dB lower than what I would expect.
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16th January 2014
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Interesting...

You go first.
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Ahah, I'm still at work, I was hoping you'd go first!

Peter.
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16th January 2014
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It's not the hottest synth in my collection, but I have never found it to be a problem. No problems with pushing the osc volumes to 127. On some settings maybe, but what synth wouldn't?
#22
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Maybe it's some kind of protection on the AN1X? I read that there's a 'feedback' parameter in the amp section that can raise the volume quite a bit when you dial it in? Some testing to do in the weekend...

I guess the lower output is not that big a problem, as long as the left/right volume is equaly balanced.

Peter.
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Yep, Feedback parameter can cause quite a ruckus.
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16th January 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oli View Post
Have you tried a different power supply? A few people have reported issues with power supplies which weren't providing sufficient current.
I've also read about issues with the power supply, but I don't see how this would affect the output volume? Then again, I'm not an electrician.

Anyway, I ordered a replacement on eBay (12v - 1A), so I will find out soon!

Peter.
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16th January 2014
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Mines fine, compared to other hardware I have.

The only one I have with a quiet output is the Virus, but it's known for that.
ManaTau80
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16th January 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pschelfh View Post
I've also read about issues with the power supply, but I don't see how this would affect the output volume? Then again, I'm not an electrician.

Anyway, I ordered a replacement on eBay (12v - 1A), so I will find out soon!

Peter.
Let us know how it goes.
Oli
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17th January 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pschelfh View Post
I've also read about issues with the power supply, but I don't see how this would affect the output volume? Then again, I'm not an electrician.

Anyway, I ordered a replacement on eBay (12v - 1A), so I will find out soon!

Peter.
1A is certainly plenty. The one I recall was a really cheap, old 300mA supply, which would significantly drop voltage as the current increased. Ideally, the voltage should remain stable, and supply however much current the application requires.

It's probably not an issue in this case. Just thought I'd ask.

The reason I asked about the editor was just for an easier overview of patch structure, as it may relate to output level.

I don't have to run the synth at full volume to get a suitable output.

If these things are ruled out, then opening the synth for a service seems like a good next step.
#28
17th January 2014
Old 17th January 2014
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My AN1x is a bit quiet, nothing the mixer can't adjust for though.
In your situation, you should go TS jack - TS jack into a DI box, and then treat the incoming signal to the sound card as mic level, as that's what the output of a DI box is - balanced mic level.
Pad the DI as it's line level signal coming from the AN1x.
You'll need 2 x DI boxes, or a double for stereo. (AN1x does cool stuff in stereo!)
If the soundcard does phantom power, (I see the babyface does) then turn it on, & that'll power your DI boxes.
Batterys in the DI's might sound better, depending on the quality of the phantom power.
I think that's the best way to feed your soundcard with the sort of signal (ie balanced) that it wants.
#29
17th January 2014
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The output should be comparable to the rest of your gear. I've had mine from new since 98 and the power supply needed replacing about 18 months ago.

However it was obvious that it was dying as the output dropped to practically nothing and was noisy as hell.

Have you tried running it direct into a mixer using unbalanced leads? I run straight into a mixer along with my other stuff and it is on a par.

From experience, there is no obvious built in protection from the feedback. Depending how you program a patch, cranking up the feedback will get loud.
#30
17th January 2014
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I've noticed a 'gain' adjustor on the mother board. I suspect people may play with this and boost it only to find that it to be too hot so they turn it back down and overcompensate.

It would be interesting to get the schematics to be able to adjust this per the factory spec.
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