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PC noise when recording - I'm totally stumped

Discussion in 'Recording' started by thisnameistaken, Apr 15, 2008.

  1. thisnameistaken

    thisnameistaken Active Member

    Solution: An M-Audio-recommended PCI Firewire card solved this problem for me. The VIA chipset firewire on my Asus board was the cause of all the noise.

    Original post

    Wondered if anyone here can help me, I've been struggling to figure this out all day. When I try to record, I get nasty crackling along with the audio signal. I uploaded a brief example if that will help identify the problem - sorry it's quiet, I was trying to make the point that nothing's clipping!


    The crackling is louder when the input signal is louder, it tails off with note decay and there is no noise if the input is silent. It's almost as if the input signal is like a "carrier" for some interference from somewhere. I also tried monitoring through my card's direct out and there's no crackle there, it only shows up on a recorded track. I'm also not asking much of my computer - just one track recording at 44,100, no tracks playing back.

    I'm pretty sure it's an issue with my PC rather than my audio interface (M-Audio firewire 1814) because I tried recording through my mobo's onboard line input and got the same crackling.

    Things I've tried so far:

    Disabling mobo's onboard audio and LAN.
    Physically unplugging all peripherals except audio interface, mouse, keyboard and monitor.
    Checking/changing PCI latency (seems my audio interface is the only device using the PCI bus anyway).
    Different cables.
    Different instruments (a Warwick bass, a Stingray).
    Different recording software (PT M-Powered / Audacity / Windows Sound Recorder!).
    Checking/changing sample rates/bit rates, and buffer sizes (up to 4096 samples and still no change).
    Latest drivers/firmware for the M-Audio interface.

    The only thing left to try that I've found on my Google travels is a different Firewire chipset (mine's VIA, M-Audio recommend Texas Instruments) but given that I get this crackling from the onboard audio on my motherboard too I don't think that will help.

    PC consists of:

    Intel Core 2 Duo E6600
    Asus P5B-E motherboard
    - Intel P965 chipset
    - VIA OHCI Compliant IEEE 1394 Controller
    - Attansic L1 Ethernet Adapter
    nVidia 8800GTS graphics (PCI-E)
    Western Digital 250Gb SATA drives (x2)
    Lite-On SATA DVD-RW (x2)

    It's all in an insulated Antec P182 case, with a posh-looking Corsair 620W modular PSU, I deliberately bought very quiet high-capacity fans.

    Any suggestions? This is the first time I've tried to record on this PC, and I don't have another firewire-equipped PC available to try this box through.
  2. mwacoustic

    mwacoustic Guest

    Hmmm... sounds like you have already done a lot to track this down.

    If you zoom in on a recorded waveform, can you "see" the crackling? In other words, can you tell if it is an issue with recording or just playback?

    Along the same lines, can you play back other (pre-recorded) sounds, and/or CD's cleanly?
  3. thisnameistaken

    thisnameistaken Active Member

    Hi. Thanks for the reply.

    It's definitely noise on the recording, not during playback. It's not hugely visible on the waveform but it is there, and the crackly noises are identical each time I play it back.

    I can play back other tracks, CDs and so on fine - it's only stuff I record on this PC that is affected.

    3:30am... been trying to resolve this for 12 hours so I'm going to bed! Hope someone has a bright idea I can borrow tomorrow. :)
  4. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    It also crackles when you record via the onboard audio input?

    Very strange.

    Assuming it's on, is there a way to turn this noise filter thing off (from the Asus website)?

    Noise Filter
    Eliminate background noise while recording
    This feature detects repetitive and stationary noises like computer fans, air conditioners, and other background noises then eliminates it in the incoming audio stream while recording.
  5. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    Texas Instruments firewire chipset is the recommended way to go. M-audio said it, and many will support it here and at other stops on the 'net.

    I personally have had issues with Via board chipsets over the years so I already hold a grudge :).
  6. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Hang on Space,

    The problem is also prevalent in the onboard audio input (which being onboard, is not FW)!

    Chipset shouldn't matter in this instance - the computer should be able to record audio into software via the onboard hardware regardless.

    I've never had such problems with chipsets, including Via, outside of IRQ conflicts - which in and of themselves do not correlate to chipset issues - move card to a new slot, problem solved...

    The noise filter feature specifically states that it works "while recording".
    His issue only happens "while recording".

    Perhaps he'll have more info when he wakes up...?
  7. EricUndead

    EricUndead Guest

    Are you overclocking anything?
    MIC and MIC cable been changed?
  8. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    I noticed that the inputs are marked line/inst but there is no "instrument" setting. There is only a switch for mic/line. Is it at all possible that you are plugging direct but need some sort of DI box before the input?

    Edit: nevermind. I see that the mic preamps double as Direct Injection inputs.
  9. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    Via has had issues in the past few years, it is well documented.

    Now when the audio was being recorded using the onboard audio port, was the firewire port being used as well, plugged in? It matters.

    So the manufacture of >his< card, M-Audio, recommended a TI...I would pay attention to that. It only means that the M-audio will most likely not be able to talk properly with the
    Via chipset.

    They just don't play well together. Hell mack, whats a new card, 5, 6 bucks? Small price to pay.

    Have a good day.
  10. thisnameistaken

    thisnameistaken Active Member

    Ooh, nice find, but I've just trawled the BIOS settings and read my motherboard manual cover to cover and can't find any mention of it! There's nothing in the BIOS, no option in the SoundMAX panel, nothing I can find in Windows to switch it off. I will persevere with it though.

    I've never overclocked anything. I was using an instrument, not a mic, but yeah I've tried different cables and instruments.

    Hmm. I tried again and I've found that the noise through the onboard inputs is different - more like a constant hum. I hadn't noticed that before. The noise through the FW box on the other hand almost sounds like a very subtle bit crusher effect that just crackles in at random.

    If I can find a FW card for sale in York today with a TI chipset I'll buy it, but I hate that vacant look you get on the faces of sales assistants when you ask them questions like that...
  11. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    "What's firewire?" they say.

    I went into Maplin Electronics (note to Google: Maplin Electronics are overpriced and clueless) and asked if they had any "powered speakers". The guy didn't seem very clear on what a powered speaker might be and referred me to the catalogue.
    God knows what would've happened if I'd said "active speakers".
  12. thisnameistaken

    thisnameistaken Active Member

    Well York came up empty - looks like an internet job.

    Will report back in a few days. Thanks for the advice so far everybody.
  13. GentleG

    GentleG Guest

    I would first try to test recording without any instruments attached
    And recording with only a cable attached

    Way back I had a problem with an usb-modem being the cause of a similar problem.

    The trick in finding the problem is to remove / disable everything and add stuff one at a time

  14. thisnameistaken

    thisnameistaken Active Member

    Sadly I already stripped the damn thing and couldn't get rid of the crackles. New FW card should be here in the post tomorrow anyway, hopefully that will sort it out. According to M-Audio:

    I've ordered a model that they specifically recommend, so if that doesn't work it might be new motherboard time.
  15. quadrivium

    quadrivium Guest

    I'm having a problem just like what you describe but with different gear, a Diamond Xtreme sound card with SPDF Input and Cubase Le. I can record fine if the sound source is coming from an internal file or internet source such as youtube, but the sound card input produces a track with the sound source along with crackling and distortion etc... I'm suspecting there is some hidden setting buried somewhere in Windows (XP Pro) that I need to keep hunting for as I am getting the same effect if I use a different soundcard (Creativ Extigy)
  16. thisnameistaken

    thisnameistaken Active Member

    OK, the M-Audio recommended PCI Firewire card arrived today and...

    Totally fixed my problem. Can't believe I spent a whole day scratching my head like a stubborn idiot before I thought about spending £13 on a PCI card.

    Thanks everybody for your advice and support. I'll update the first post with the solution to make it easier for any future readers.
  17. mwacoustic

    mwacoustic Guest

  18. EricUndead

    EricUndead Guest

    Yeah I bought a firewire card for my FP10 that had TI chip and was a combo. I had to eat the return 15% restock fee and buy a TI FW400 only card. was cheaper also so with the restock it pretty much washed so at least the new card worked.
  19. quadrivium

    quadrivium Guest

    Thanks for letting us know, I might be having the same problem, which model M audio card did you get? thanks!
  20. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    Which one of the two cards you referred to in a previous post require firewire?

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