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ARG, PLEASE someone help me with my 2i2 noise problems!
Old 13th January 2015
  #1
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ARG, PLEASE someone help me with my 2i2 noise problems!

I have serious noises with my Scarlett 2i2. Basically whenever I use a 1/4" input there is all kinds of ugly loud static-like noise on that channel (either one). Actually, if a cable goes from the input of the 2i2 to the input of an amp, the noise will be heard also, indicating that noise is coming out of the 2i2 input! There is NO noise when using a mic input. (I also use the 2i2 as my sound card and there is no noise when I listen to music.)

It's a fairly recent problem that cropped up a few months ago and I figured the 2i2 hardware was to blame. Already replaced a funky outlet & put the scanner on a different circuit (both of which were producing noise). But yesterday I decided to determine for sure whether I should just spring for a new audio interface.

I do my recording on my desktop. So I installed the Focusrite drivers on a laptop. Connected everything up. Zero noise! Also quiet when I did that test with the 2i2 input going to amp input.

Ah damn, it's my desktop computer, I thought. The laptop was on the same circuit so it probably wasn't the circuit itself, but who knows. So I disconnected everything to troubleshoot. And here is the weird part of it: with the power cord DISCONNECTED from the desktop, and with the 2i2 going to the amp I STILL got that horrible loud staticy noise. Keep in mind that the 2i2 is powered by a USB cable and with no power cord the 2i2 is not powered either! Pull the USB cable and silence. Put the USB cable in the laptop and silence. Plug the USB back into the disconnected computer - any USB jack - and the noise is back!

What the freakin' hell?

At my wits end trying to figure this out. If I had hair, it would have been all pulled out by now.

Does anyone have a suggestion? I'm considering buying a firewire card and a new interface at this point, but this bizarre problem HAS to be solvable.
Old 13th January 2015
  #2
Lives for gear
You don't mention what the source of the audio is that's plugged into the line input on the 2i2. Guitar? Preamp? Keyboard?
Old 13th January 2015
  #3
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enossified's Avatar
Lift the ground on the USB cable, problem solved.
Old 13th January 2015
  #4
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escape set's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by enossified View Post
tried this a while back, it only diminished the problem. whatcha need is a ground loop isolator from radio shack. set u back about $20.
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ARG, PLEASE someone help me with my 2i2 noise problems!-2015-01-13-13.30.21.jpg  
Old 13th January 2015
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by escape set View Post
tried this a while back, it only diminished the problem. whatcha need is a ground loop isolator from radio shack. set u back about $20.
Doesn't look like this is appropriate as it's designed for RCA jacks. Here there is just a USB powered interface and a 1/4" cable between amp (or pedals) and interface.
Old 13th January 2015
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enossified View Post

Ya' know, I really DID a whole bunch of googlin' for this problem but once I started included "ground loop" in the search I found a number of other very similar posts - including here, even down to the 2i2.

So I'm gonna start cutting one of my USB cables. The comments in the link suggest trying to remove just the shielding before clipping black.

Thanks - I'll let you know how it goes.
Old 13th January 2015
  #7
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Ah, no go. First stripped the shielding on the USB cable, confirmed no continuity between ends. Still got the horrible noise when plugged into a desktop USB. Then snipped the black wire. Still noise. (For fun I tried the modified cable on my laptop but it would no longer power the 2i2.)
Old 14th January 2015
  #8
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Jesus H, cutting USB cables?

Again, please tell us what the source is here: you can't just ram an amp into a line input and hope for the best.
Old 14th January 2015
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
Jesus H, cutting USB cables?

Again, please tell us what the source is here: you can't just ram an amp into a line input and hope for the best.
The modification was one suggestion in a link here to an article on removing ground loop noise in a USB cable. No biggie, it didn't help.

The typical setup is usually guitar through pedal board direct in to the 2i2 (inst setting). I might also from amp out to 2i2 (line setting). If I use 1/4" the noise happens. No noise if I go to amp and MIC it into 2i2.
Old 14th January 2015
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zdub View Post
The modification was one suggestion in a link here to an article on removing ground loop noise in a USB cable. No biggie, it didn't help.

The typical setup is usually guitar through pedal board direct in to the 2i2 (inst setting). I might also from amp out to 2i2 (line setting). If I use 1/4" the noise happens. No noise if I go to amp and MIC it into 2i2.
What about guitar direct, no pedal, no amp? And I'm assuming you're switching to Instr when you're using guitar and pedal? How long is the patch cable?
Old 14th January 2015
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
What about guitar direct, no pedal, no amp? And I'm assuming you're switching to Instr when you're using guitar and pedal? How long is the patch cable?
Thanks. Should have added this info, but if I plug direct (I used an acoustic to eliminate coil hum) and 2i2 on instr then the noise is still there. This was one of my first tests to reduce the variables. Tried different cables as well. Can reduce noise by turning input volume way down (you can never turn it "off" on the 2i2; it's still loud enough to record but not to easily monitor). However it's just a reduction in the jibber static and it's still there. Easiest to hear by changing to line even though one normally wouldn't do this when going direct.

Although the 2i2 has served me well, I was considering a new interface because it has clipping issues when going direct unless you use a DI box. At this point, I'm considering a Behringer FCA610 and firewire to avoid this weird interaction with my desktop & USB (though I wonder if a powered unit would work OK.)
Old 14th January 2015
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zdub View Post
Thanks. Should have added this info, but if I plug direct (I used an acoustic to eliminate coil hum) and 2i2 on instr then the noise is still there. This was one of my first tests to reduce the variables. Tried different cables as well. Can reduce noise by turning input volume way down (you can never turn it "off" on the 2i2; it's still loud enough to record but not to easily monitor). However it's just a reduction in the jibber static and it's still there. Easiest to hear by changing to line even though one normally wouldn't do this when going direct.

Although the 2i2 has served me well, I was considering a new interface because it has clipping issues when going direct unless you use a DI box. At this point, I'm considering a Behringer FCA610 and firewire to avoid this weird interaction with my desktop & USB (though I wonder if a powered unit would work OK.)
Do you have another computer you can test with? Using a USB hub? Front jacks on the tower (assuming it's a tower)?

Mine is whisper quiet: I only hear noise when I'm using a dynamic that requires a lot of gain like an SM7b, but that's just the noise floor coming up when I crank it and totally expected.
Old 14th January 2015
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
Do you have another computer you can test with? Using a USB hub? Front jacks on the tower (assuming it's a tower)?

Mine is whisper quiet: I only hear noise when I'm using a dynamic that requires a lot of gain like an SM7b, but that's just the noise floor coming up when I crank it and totally expected.
Per earlier posts, it is quiet when using a laptop. The noise is restricted to the PC but - and this is the real mystery - also occurs with the powercord removed to the PC. So how can there be noise in this situation?

To elaborate: my test scenario has the input of the 2i2 going to the input of an amp. Even though one would normally not do this, this test always corresponds to whether there will be noise in normal situation (line out of amp or guitar to line in on 2i2). That is, if there is noise when connecting the 2i2 input to amp input (test scenario), it will also have noise when the amp line output is connected to the 2i2 input (normal recording scenario).

Thus, with the laptop there is zero noise in the test case and in the recording case. With the PC, even disconnected from the power (and thus no power to the 2i2 either), there is noise in the test scenario (and recording case). Pull USB out and plug it into laptop and the noise goes away. A ground loop modification to the USB cable didn't help. Any USB, any 1/4" cable.
Old 14th January 2015
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zdub View Post
Per earlier posts, it is quiet when using a laptop. The noise is restricted to the PC but - and this is the real mystery - also occurs with the powercord removed to the PC. So how can there be noise in this situation?

To elaborate: my test scenario has the input of the 2i2 going to the input of an amp. Even though one would normally not do this, this test always corresponds to whether there will be noise in normal situation (line out of amp or guitar to line in on 2i2). That is, if there is noise when connecting the 2i2 input to amp input (test scenario), it will also have noise when the amp line output is connected to the 2i2 input (normal recording scenario).

Thus, with the laptop there is zero noise in the test case and in the recording case. With the PC, even disconnected from the power (and thus no power to the 2i2 either), there is noise in the test scenario (and recording case). Pull USB out and plug it into laptop and the noise goes away. A ground loop modification to the USB cable didn't help. Any USB, any 1/4" cable.
Ok, you've mentioned this twice now, so it can't be a typo: connecting amp input to 2i2 input is not a valid connection.

As far as "still noise when computer unplugged", how are you hearing noise?

What you need to do is determine if you have a defective unit; to do that, stick with the intended connectivity (guitar to line input of 2i2 set to Inst), and attempt to record/monitor on both laptop and computer.

Can you hear noise in the recorded .wav file if you playback through computer speakers?

It could very well be bad grounding on the monitors themselves and nothing wrong with the 2i2 at all, but doing all this crazy USB cable modifications and input-to-input shenanigans is not really doing you or any of the readers of this thread any good.
Old 14th January 2015
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
Ok, you've mentioned this twice now, so it can't be a typo: connecting amp input to 2i2 input is not a valid connection.

As far as "still noise when computer unplugged", how are you hearing noise?

What you need to do is determine if you have a defective unit; to do that, stick with the intended connectivity (guitar to line input of 2i2 set to Inst), and attempt to record/monitor on both laptop and computer.

Can you hear noise in the recorded .wav file if you playback through computer speakers?

It could very well be bad grounding on the monitors themselves and nothing wrong with the 2i2 at all, but doing all this crazy USB cable modifications and input-to-input shenanigans is not really doing you or any of the readers of this thread any good.
I KNOW that it's not a "valid connection" and I thought that my previous posts clarified this quite well. It is a TEST scenario that also correlates with a normal connection when recording. It demonstrates a fundamental difference between how noise seems to output from the input jack of the 2i2 when the USB cable is connected to the PC - even with the power cord disconnected - but NOT when connected to the laptop.

The speakers are irrelevant to the equation. I can disconnect them and "SEE the noise" on the mixer (Reaper) when recording. The noise is in the resultant file.

Really not sure why some folks are harping about the USB cable mod. This was based on a suggestion made here, pointing to a link regarding ground loop problems. It made sense to at least TRY it, which I did. The mod was quick but didn't help.
Old 14th January 2015
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zdub View Post
I KNOW that it's not a "valid connection" and I thought that my previous posts clarified this quite well. It is a TEST scenario that also correlates with a normal connection when recording. It demonstrates a fundamental difference between how noise seems to output from the input jack of the 2i2 when the USB cable is connected to the PC - even with the power cord disconnected - but NOT when connected to the laptop.

The speakers are irrelevant to the equation. I can disconnect them and "SEE the noise" on the mixer (Reaper) when recording. The noise is in the resultant file.

Really not sure why some folks are harping about the USB cable mod. This was based on a suggestion made here, pointing to a link regarding ground loop problems. It made sense to at least TRY it, which I did. The mod was quick but didn't help.
Ok, fair enough, but you came in here heavy on rant, unorthodox test methods, and logical leaps of faith like modifying USB cables, when common sense would dictate that it's an unnecessary step, especially when one considers that the same USB cable on a different computer works fine.

If you can see the noise in the file, great, then something is wrong with your computer's ground or possibly USB bus.

Have you tried a different USB port on your computer? I asked earlier, but are you using the front jacks on the tower?
Old 14th January 2015
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zdub View Post
I have serious noises with my Scarlett 2i2.
I have owned two of these 2i2's and both made noise so I took them back and got a 2i4 which turned out to make a low level gargling type of sound which can be clearly heard on a recording. Now I just use it as a sound card for my lap top, but it's totally useless for any serious recording!
Old 15th January 2015
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitalis View Post
I have owned two of these 2i2's and both made noise so I took them back and got a 2i4 which turned out to make a low level gargling type of sound which can be clearly heard on a recording. Now I just use it as a sound card for my lap top, but it's totally useless for any serious recording!
I have zero issues with mine.
Old 15th January 2015
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
Ok, fair enough, but you came in here heavy on rant, unorthodox test methods, and logical leaps of faith like modifying USB cables, when common sense would dictate that it's an unnecessary step, especially when one considers that the same USB cable on a different computer works fine.

If you can see the noise in the file, great, then something is wrong with your computer's ground or possibly USB bus.

Have you tried a different USB port on your computer? I asked earlier, but are you using the front jacks on the tower?
Not sure where I ranted but if so I apologize. Tried a USB ground loop mod suggestion made here, didn't work, end of story. Not sure why I have to keep explaining that.

All USB ports front & back (including a 3.0 port) same thing.

Guess I can try installing a PCI USB card and see what happens, or a power conditioner, or maybe just spring for a new interface that isn't powered by the computer USB (thinking of a firewire interface.)

Thanks for all the suggestions folks.
Old 16th January 2015
  #20
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Luke_Focusrite's Avatar
 

Hi

Very sorry to hear you are experiencing issues with your interface.

Please raise a case with our support team and we will do everything we can to help:

Contact | Focusrite

We look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Luke

Focusrite UK Technical Support Engineer
Old 28th January 2015
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke_Focusrite View Post
Hi

Very sorry to hear you are experiencing issues with your interface.

Please raise a case with our support team and we will do everything we can to help:

Contact | Focusrite

We look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Luke

Focusrite UK Technical Support Engineer
Thanks, Luke. At this point I have determined the issue is not Focusrite specific but is one or more of 1) motherboard USB 2) computer power supply (but probably not) and 3) line ac.

Going to see if a Furman line filter will can help.
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