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My whole setup started sounding distorted and broken!
Old 18th March 2020
  #1
My whole setup started sounding distorted and broken!

Hey. I had an issue some time ago with my Juno-6 which I suspected to be broken due it sounding distorted with clicks and pops in the sound. Sent it to synth doc and waiting for the results. Now after I rewind some time I am having/facing a larger scale issue with my whole setup. I am running a modular system + analog synth + pedal board fx + tape machine + Macbook Pro running Ableton Live 9 + audio interface and everything sounds distorted. Almost like if I ran it through some blown out cabinet or something. Clicks, pops, weird buzz, signal drops etc. I tried just modular - simple OSC through filter to VCA - mix - interface (square wave) and it had a distorted, clicky quality to it as well. When I try and record a drum machine straight into my interface without it even remotely touching modular or anything else it needs a lot of gain to get proper recording levels with a lot of background hiss etc. I tried different audio interfaces, different headphones and much more to no avail. What evil is this?



Here some audio examples recorded with Mopho X4 into Scarlett 8i6 3rd gen:

https://soundcloud.com/mnchrme/test-x4/s-Rq2PM

https://soundcloud.com/mnchrme/test-x4-2/s-6Qx4UIzGCig

https://soundcloud.com/mnchrme/drown-spell/s-KtWnN
Old 18th March 2020
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Westlaker's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Are your audio and power cables tangled up or making contact with one another?
Old 18th March 2020
  #3
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
It’s hard to say. I just got my perfect FireFace 400 back from the shop. I kept hearing a fixed frequency ringing on its analog inputs. I now realize that I was hearing the ATC-X that I’d been running an output from the RME to its ring mod input.
Old 18th March 2020
  #4
Not anymore. I have taken apart my whole setup and just layed down modular + mix + computer + synth into one shared outlet and with cables apart from each other. Nothing changed. I am wondering what this might be?
Old 18th March 2020 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mnchrme ➡️
Not anymore. I have taken apart my whole setup and just layed down modular + mix + computer + synth into one shared outlet and with cables apart from each other. Nothing changed. I am wondering what this might be?
It could be your audio interface. Here’s what I should have done that I didn’t really do. Disconnect everything. EVERYTHING. Update all your drivers and what-not. Then, slowly start adding one part at a time. If a simple synth going into any analog input sounds bad out the headphone jack or your monitors, I’d say it’s got to be your audio interface.
Old 18th March 2020
  #6
I have tried that. I swapped my audio interface for the old one and this issue was still present. Deleted audio registers in my Mac and then installed them again. I have honestly no clue, really.
Old 18th March 2020
  #7
Lives for gear
 
becks bolero's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
do you have another computer? try going into something other than your macbook
Old 18th March 2020
  #8
I have done a separate test where I took everything out and just used my Portastudio as a "mix/master". So I simply took my analog synth and sent it to one of its tracks and monitored through headphones. The sound is still broken? When I am listening through different headphones it sounds the same.
Old 18th March 2020
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Could be Corona. If it starts sounding like an organ, try hooking it up to a ventilator (pedal).

IDK for real. Could it be RF interference, or some interference coming through the power lines from a different circuit or outside? You've tried headphones too, or different speakers? A different power strip? Different outlet?

How else can it not be the synth, cables, interface, computer, speakers, power strip?... There has to be something you're missing.
Old 18th March 2020
  #10
I have tried different headphones. I notice the weird "crackly, wobbly, unstable, distorted, clipping" sound even when replaying certain newly recorded files on different audio devices. I took my synth to other room with my headphones and dialed in some sort of japanese patch and hell that distortion/clipping was there. I switched headphones and it was the same as before. I tried switching different power outlets, cables, used different synth/sources - modular osc, drum machine, another drum machine, another synth etc. to no avail. When replaying sound via active monitoring (PA) I can hear it in there too. Any ideas?
Old 18th March 2020
  #11
Seems like you've found the sound I've been chasing my whole life.
Old 19th March 2020
  #12
You mean a sound that sounds unstable, almost like if you recorded it to a broken boombox and then played it back to your friends? I guess I hit the jackpot with this one.
Old 19th March 2020 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mnchrme ➡️
You mean a sound that sounds unstable, almost like if you recorded it to a broken boombox and then played it back to your friends? I guess I hit the jackpot with this one.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worship_the_Glitch
Old 19th March 2020
  #14
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
borrow another synth and try that.
Old 19th March 2020
  #15
Maybe your mains power is not right?
Old 19th March 2020
  #16
Here for the gear
 
Could be a faulty AC adapter on any electric device.. In worst case not even in your house.. The noise produced by a bad adapter travels thru the powergrid.. I have had issues at work where we had to locate such problems.. We then use am radios to track it down, and almost every time a faulty ac adapter was the case.. (sometimes it was other equipment, like dvd players or routers or even a fridge)

What you can do, is try take out all electronic equipment in your house.. Start with the easy stuff.. Chargers, lamps, routers etc..
Old 19th March 2020
  #17
Lives for gear
 
tux99's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Have you or one of your neighbours recently started using powerLAN (ethernet over the power lines)?

Try taking some of your more portable synths to your parents/relatives/friends house to test if the problem persists there too.
Old 19th March 2020
  #18
I have a lot of synths in my arsenal so I just took them for a drive one by one and it's all broken. At times I am unable to pass the signal straight out of my synths output to the input of my audio interface at constant level. Same with drum machines which need a lot of gain - which introduces a lot of noise. When using some of the synths with basic patch dialed in I can hear something modulating within the sound. I had problems with current draw before on this spot and that got fixed before. It could be anything but I have no clue. My guess is it might be power/interference because my whole setup cannot be broken from one day to the other, no? Computer is in fine order. I have replayed some of the projects within Ableton Live and from storage and these issues weren't present. It's only when I try to monitor/record something. - As you pointed out it is worth trying it from different power grid. I will be moving soon due to quarantine towards countryside, so I am taking a basic setup for ambient with me. Hopefully this problem won't follow me there!
Old 19th March 2020
  #19
This is how an another synths basic patch without any tweaking sounds like -> https://soundcloud.com/mnchrme/x4-test-3. Dirty without reverb. Recording levels are even, interface is set to 12 o'clock and I have like -9,39 on the master.
Old 19th March 2020
  #20
Your audio samples are too complex to hear what is really going on.

Some examples with some silence and then basic waveforms being ramped up to full level and down again might be more illustrative.

I assume you have listened directly to the synths through headphones without the audio interface and computer in the signal path? I ask because what I can hear sounds vaguely like bit reducing or clock jitter which analog gear can't do by itself.

Also, you aren't using the same cables for all configurations are you?

Last edited by ambiguous signal; 19th March 2020 at 12:27 PM.. Reason: Typo
Old 19th March 2020
  #21
Yes I did listen through headphones or via tape machine (so I take my computer and audio interface out of the signal chain) to no avail. I am using a plethora of cables and even switched everything couple times to check if that's not the problem. It sounds like bit reduction for sure. I will try basic waveforms.
Old 19th March 2020 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Addict
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Davve00 ➡️
Could be a faulty AC adapter on any electric device.. In worst case not even in your house.. The noise produced by a bad adapter travels thru the powergrid.. I have had issues at work where we had to locate such problems.. We then use am radios to track it down, and almost every time a faulty ac adapter was the case.. (sometimes it was other equipment, like dvd players or routers or even a fridge)

What you can do, is try take out all electronic equipment in your house.. Start with the easy stuff.. Chargers, lamps, routers etc..
Isnt that basically the ripple noise?
Old 19th March 2020
  #23
Gear Maniac
 
Just do a basic 1 osc saw filter sweep. I couldnt hear anything out of the ordinary on the examples you posted. But i dont know how they are supposed to be.
Old 19th March 2020
  #24
Lives for gear
 
Praxisaxis's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
If it were me and I’d gone this far, I’d take a synth + computer to someone else’s place and try it there. If there’s no problem there it’s overwhelmingly likely to be some problem with your power source on site , or some kind of interference.
Old 19th March 2020
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Musicncars's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Maybe check audio buffer in comp?
Old 20th March 2020
  #26
I did. Changed all the settings and buffer size, sample rate etc. Nothing changed. I have honestly no clue. My last resort is to take it somewhere and try it out. I wonder from where this originates...
Old 20th March 2020
  #27
Deleted 5a55dd9
Guest
Are you running the signal too hot ? have you changed some input db setting somewhere ?
Old 20th March 2020
  #28
Levels are at normal values. On my synths, modular, drum machine. Audio interface preamp input is in green values and there’s a lot of headroom left on my master. No compression, no limiting, no dynamic processing. Still it sounds harsh, overblown. Sometimes I can hear rumble, noise, modulation in the background. Sometimes more noise. The signal itself sounds quite driven as well. When everything is silent there’s nothing going on - only some feedback loop of unknown origin. The clicks/pops start to happen as I play my stuff kinda. I can setup a free running osc from my modular and get it down to line level and the result is the same.
Old 20th March 2020
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Jpro600k's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Please rest your head and body.
Is your physical condition OK?
Old 20th March 2020
  #30
Apart from minor flu I am okay. Also I know how my setup should sound like if I am using it on a daily basis for tens of years excluding some pieces of gear I have acquired recently. I tested everything again and everything external has that quality I am describing to it. I tried VST synths inside my DAW and they sound clean without any “interference”. I’ll have the opportunity to test different power grid this weekend. I thought it might be a gain staging issue but that’s not the case unfortunately.
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