Saturday, 8 September 2012

Alesis MultiMix 4 noise problem

There is a high pitch noise in background with MultiMix 4. It's a cheap USB mixer/interface. I have read others complaining about it, so there may be a quality issue with MultiMix. That thought was confirmed when I tried another USB interface, in this case Vox Tonelab ST (bypass mode without amp simulation). While it also has noise, it's more like regular noise type.

Luckily I was able to fix the problem by switching off input from ASIO4ALL settings for MultiMix. It appears that the input section is the culprit. Maybe it's just the fact that input is receiving a signal which can be affected by other sources.

I don't know if grounding would solve the problem. It's difficult to say since wall outlets in my room are not grounded at all. Yes, this is an old house. I've read people trying to solve similar problems with all sorts of ground wiring from the device to computer case etc. but I would be very careful when trying that kind of modifications and certainly wont encourage people to try it without proper knowledge. If you don't have grounded outlets there isn't a lot you can or should do.

I guess the issue can be just MultiMix 4. It's not the most expensive piece of hardware and maybe has poor protection against sources that can increase noise. However I'm not planning to buy another USB interface, because I can turn off the input and get noise free sound for mixing and also the noise doesn't seem to affect sound itself (only monitoring) so it's possible to record instruments.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Home studio 1.1

I was planning to get studio monitors, but since my current setup has a tabletop computer (=noise) I thought there is no point to get expensive monitors yet. So I was digging through my stuff and found these.

Creative Gigaworks HD50. When I bought these they sounded bad and I threw them away. Now it's different, because making music with headphones only is annoying, even with my "studio" headphones (AKG 272). As an physical object they have weight and it's like having a helmet on your head all the time.

However I was able to improve the sound quality using a mixer. It's a good idea to get one, because computers don't seem to have good amplifiers and using outputs from computer with thin cable (one that came with Creative) is sure to add noise.

I have Alesis MultiMix 4 as mixer, placed on top of my computer. With good quality 6,5mm (thicker cables usually means less noise) Cordial cables run from main out and then using a Cordial 6,5mm mono to 3,5mm stereo converter piece (you can see it in first picture) the sound quality was improved. MultiMix is one of the cheapest USB mixers, but in comparison it destroys Acer's internal amplifier.

The cool thing is that I can adjust the overall volume from the mixer which is faster than adjusting from computer. And I can plug in headphones with separate headphone volume level so I can check out stuff if I need to hear something without too much noise from the computer.

This studio isn't really ideal, because there is no laptop computer (less noise) and I have to set up my midi keyboard in place of computer keyboard. It could be better to have a dedicated studio with everything set up ready, but I really have to complete my first song before I can start dreaming about that.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Presonus Studio One V2

I've been using Pro version for couple of months. It was around 350€ so it's one of the least expensive DAWs and it's a pro version without any limitations. The great thing about Studio One is that it's easy to use. The user interface is well designed and doesn't require you to read help files to figure out stuff. It's really easy to start writing songs and try out different things.

The number of built-in instruments are limited, but maybe it's just good. You don't get lost in having too much options. There are four built-in tools: Mojito which is a monophonic synth, Impact (sample player with sample library), Sample One (basic sample player) and Presence which has some kind of internal sound type with a number of options to tweak the sound, including effects section.

There is also a good amount of effects to lay over sounds. You can also use Ampire XT as an effect. It's a virtual guitar amp with stomp box section, having the typical effects of a pedal board.

Then there is Native Instruments stuff you can download, including Reaktor, Kontakt and Guitar Rig. I haven't really tried out them that much, other than Guitar Rig. It had a huge latency and ridiculous amount of noise coming from some mystery place so it's not good for recording guitar.

Studio One (64bit version to be exact) doesn't have an internal engine to run 32bit VSTs like some other DAWs, but that's more the problem with VST developers, because there should be 64bit native versions to run in 64bit DAWs.