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Monitor noise with certain DAWs

Discussion in 'Recording' started by mattcalgary, Mar 2, 2009.

  1. mattcalgary

    mattcalgary Guest

    Right now I only have demo versions or the E-MU versions of DAWs since I cannot afford full versions and really enjoy using more than one.

    I recently picked up an external monitor (screen) to use from my laptop to create some much needed workspace (my laptop is 14.1" :()

    When I open Cubase and Ableton, I get a slight hiss or buzzing from my studio monitors. Volume doesn't change anything and ground loop is not a factor I know for sure (had this issue initially but is solved now). It seems to be directly tied to these programs.

    Fruity Loops does not do this at all. Moreover, I use foobar to play music through my studio monitors and don't have this issue either.

    Would anyone know what is causing this? Sorry if I posted this in the wrong section!
  2. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Hi Matt,

    I know this might sound insanely stupid, but experiment with the brightness and contrast settings on the external monitor (and/or laptop) and let me know if it has any effect at all on your audio noise.

    Sometimes there can be crosstalk in the spectrum of audio and video signals that can cause audible noise in the speakers - particularly if the screen has something on it that is a very bright white. This is especially true of CRT monitors and standard consumer TVs. If you're having similar problems with an LCD monitor it would be the first I've heard of such a problem, so I would be interested in your findings.

    Good luck.
  3. mattcalgary

    mattcalgary Guest


    Thanks for the reply. I will attempt to change the settings and see if that has any effect, although it is a brand new LCD monitor.

    I'll take a look at the settings in Ableton and Cubase as well, who knows if something gotta buggered up without my knowing or realizing.

    Would certain DAWs be more sensitive to interference than others? I would have to assume the VGA cable has shielding on it but do not know for sure as there is the black rubber jacket on it instead of clear.

    Thanks again,
  4. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    The crosstalk can occur in the cables or inside the device. It does seem odd certain apps make noise and others don't, when nothing else has changed.

    Just out of curiousity, how did you eventually solve the old ground loop problem?
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Depending upon the program, you might be experiencing pass through audio monitoring, which can include unterminated microphone input preamp noise. This can be particularly problematic with onboard computer sound cards, in combination with the "Windows" mixer. You would need to go to your Windows mixer, select properties to select your monitoring sources. Mute what you are not using, such as, microphone, synthesizer, CD. You may also be listening to real-time generated dither? Dither just sounds like different colors of broadband noise such as Brown, pink, white better known as hiss. People can explain the mathematical blah blah that dither is. But it's really just noise in different flavors, mathematically generated of course. There's nothing wrong with your program.

    Playin' with computer audio since 1996.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  6. mattcalgary

    mattcalgary Guest


    I actually unplug my laptop as a cheater plug isn't really safe and buying a transformer is money I don't really have. It's a little bit of an inconvenience but I don't sit and record for more than a couple hours at a time anyways so it works out.

    I'm using an E-MU 0404 which comes with the ASIO driver, which as far as I understand, bypasses the soundcard and the windows mixer. I do have to admit, even before my monitor addition, Cubase would show the slightest master input level (not audible to me) even though my 'preamp' volumes on the interface box are off. It's quite bizarre.

    Thanks for your help guys/gals,
  7. mattcalgary

    mattcalgary Guest

    Well I'm at home now and trying to rectify the situation, only for something new to come up!

    I've discovered that almost all applications (Cubase, Ableton, Firefox, Foobar), except for Fruity Loops, will cause this buzzing...with increasing volume as the window ON the monitor of the program gets larger! It's like it's drawing power or creating noise based on the window size. Now I'm completely dumbfounded, no idea what's going on and more angry than before!

    EDIT: I've discovered the buzzing is only coming from the monitors as I've tried with my headphones and get nothing but pure silence.

    EDIT2: Well got it working. No idea HOW! I unplugged everything from the E-MU, moved it, still didn't work, moved it now it's gone. I noticed that I have the E-MU's USB and the monitor's VGA cable by shear coincidence at 90 degrees to each other, and kept the VGA cable tucked away the the E-MU.

    Hahaha this has got me hysterical. Being an ex-electrician, I'm clueless of what happen, nothing adds up! Maybe a charge was being built up somehow and when I unplugged everything it discharged. Although I took my laptop on the road with me to today, so apparently it has nothing to do with that. I guess only time will tell.......until then...Thank you!
  8. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Did you experiment with the screen brightness and contrast? Is the Fruity Loops window darker in color than the others?
    Do you notice any difference if you move any of the cables? or move the speakers further away from the computer?
  9. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    You should disable the onboard sound card in your bios if your computer has such a thing.
  10. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Space, I imagine his computer has a BIOS.

    Also, all computers have onboard sound, at least all computers made in the last 6 years anyway.
    As far as I know.
  11. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    CM, I do appreciate your attention to detail.

    People find it easier to deal with someone that speaks directly at their level, rather then over the head from the start, when it comes to computers and the multitude of issues that can arise.

    So this is not a question of does it have a bios, which they all must, and a soundcard, that laptops do. It is more a fishing expedition to see if the poster is interested in pursuing this farther with "what is a bios" and "how do you disable a soundcard".

    Which I was hoping you would answer for him, in the event he does :)
  12. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member


    Well for some reason I felt the need to expand on what was a joke.

    If he wants to know, I can explain what I know about BIOSs and give him the abridged version of my experience with onboard soundcards.
    (Think "bloody awful").
  13. mattcalgary

    mattcalgary Guest

    Hey guys,

    I wasn't going to get too much into disabling my soundcard because I do take my laptop to school and listen to music there from my laptop. Appreciate the help though :D
  14. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    It is a reversible action (and takes about 30 seconds once you get used to it). I suppose if it's not causing whopping problems, you can ignore it.
  15. robcranmer

    robcranmer Guest

    Are you sure it's the monitor causing the noise? I use a (brand -x that rhymes with Stacey) external hard drive that is notorious for being noisy....and ...it sets right next to my 30" monitor!
  16. mattcalgary

    mattcalgary Guest

    It's funny that you mention an external HD because I do have one! After my 'accidental fix', I don't seem to be getting any noise, knock on wood.

    Here is a picture of my 'studio' :lol:


    It's certainly not ideal by any means but it's what I have to work with right now. The harddrive is tucked away in the back (you can see the top of it peaking over the chair).

    As for the BIOS, I'll definitely see if it makes any difference next time I'm recording!

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