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Static with Firebox on new Dell XPS Studio 435 MT

Discussion in 'Computers / Software' started by ManicMonkey3, Oct 21, 2009.

  1. ManicMonkey3

    ManicMonkey3 Guest

    I was recording on a 2.6ghz PIV computer with a PCI firewire card and a Presonus Firebox. It worked fine but the CPU was often overtaxed and gave me some clicks or pops. I just "upgraded" to a much more powerful computer. I ditched the whole hard drive with Vista installed, installed a new hard drive and put Windows XP on it. I'll try to arrange some sort of dual boot thing later on. I installed my Cubase SX3 and Waves plugins fine and set it all up, but my Firebox seems to have a low level of static that I can hear through my monitors. The sound gets louder when the hard drive is working, etc. The volume control on the Firebox seems to have no effect on the static. Only the monitor volume control seems to matter. I am not sure whether this noise is getting recorded. It is a shame because this new computer is fast as hell and really rips through the software. Cubase starts up so quickly now. I had the same problem when I was running Vista. Dell suggested downloading the newest bios- no effect. I updated the firmware on the Firebox- no effect. I think perhaps a PCI-e Firewire card might work. Obviously, electrical noise is somehow getting through the Firewire cable. It sounds like radio static and is relatively quiet, but noticeable when nothing is playing over the speakers. Again, the other computer I used with the same Firebox and monitors was fine. I am running the Firebox through a Firewire port attached to the motherboard currently.
  2. Spase

    Spase Active Member

    Are you using just one hard drive?
  3. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    Are you using balanced cables between the monitor and the FB?
    You should also check with headphones a recording of of silence in the room to see if you can narrow it down to something in the recording chain or just a monitor/FB issue.
    Trying to isolate the problem is always a good start, unhook the firewire but leave the monitors on turned up etc.
  4. Johnny_B

    Johnny_B Guest

    You are not using a Texas Instrument equipped FW card...
    Replace it with one, and it will work.

    FYI, I use a Presonus FB in 64bit with no issues, down to 2ms latency.
    It's an awesome little box.
  5. ManicMonkey3

    ManicMonkey3 Guest

    Firebox and Dell

    Thanks. I think it is the Firewire card, too. I think I vaguely remember this problem with my old computer as well before I got the firewire card and was using the Firewire on the motherboard. It was so long ago that it was sort of a vague memory. I will go ahead and drop the $40-50 for a PCI-e Firewire card. It sucks that the regular PCI cards are like $10, but PCIe is so expensive. Still, I can't wait years for the price to drop. I'll have to write down the name of that Texas Instruments chip to make sure the card I get has it.

    Should I deactivate the Firewire on the motherboard in the device manager or does that have no effect.

    To answer a few previous suggestions: yes I am running balanced cables. I was literally running the same configuration on a 2.6ghz PIV computer running XP moments before I hooked it up to the new Dell i7 XPS STudio 435 mt and the noise was not there.

    I do plan to record to an external drive, but I have not hooked it up yet. I recorded some vocal tracks just to test it and everything is good except for the background noise on the monitors. It's not that loud, but it's unacceptable for pro audio. It's like having tinnitus or something.

    Here's a question about drives. I have a 1 terabyte Samsung drive on this thing with 32megs of buffer memory and a 3 gig per second transfer rate. My external drive is a 160gb USB 2.0 drive. Woudn't I be just as well off recording to the built in drive?

    My ultimate goal is to run XP on this drive with my recording stuff and Windows 7 on the original drive (currently running Vista 64) for all of my day to day stuff. It is like having two computers in case I catch a virus on my main one. I do have my old PC for recording, but it just isn't powerful enough to run lots of tracks and plugins at once.

    I'll probably buy an external eSATA drive to record tracks to soon.
  6. ManicMonkey3

    ManicMonkey3 Guest

    to Johnny B again

    Wow, 2 ms latency. I'm psyched. On my old 2.6PIV I had to crank the latency up as far as it would go to prevent snap, crackly, pop. I hope it runs clean as a whistle now.

    Lot's of Leprechaun idioms in that last bit. "Argh, ye can't have me gold!"

    Any opinions on the new Firestudio Mobile? Worth upgrading or just a slight improvement?

    I might add that I recently got a UA LA610 channel strip, so I'm not using the Presonus Pres any more anyway.

    The converters on the new one are supposed to be better, as is the clock, but I don't know if a guy like me would notice or not.
  7. Johnny_B

    Johnny_B Guest

    Re: to Johnny B again

    FireStudio mobile is better in a few ways, while not in another:
    You can daisy chain a plethora of FS mobiles for multiple I/O connectivity, but you are limited to ONE Master output (stereo)

    Firebox has more than one pair....
    The converters/mic pre are better than the firebox, but it is really up to your ears and what you use for monitors that will enable you to have a clear distinction between the two.
  8. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    At this level of gear you are not going to "hear" any significant difference in the converters. Anything you do hear has to do with the analog circuitry in and out of the converters.
  9. Johnny_B

    Johnny_B Guest

    I have no doubt that due to your 1,000+ posts here...you'll have the upper hand in this discussion, however the fact is the opposite of what you have incorrectly asserted :wink:

    I welcome the op (and yourself to) GO to GearSlutz for much more detailed information (regarding this brand new to market Presonus FireStudio Mobile) than a sweeping generalisation found here.

    The fireface 800 has poor mic pres for it's price point, and has nothing to do with its superior ADA converters inherently found within.
  10. ManicMonkey3

    ManicMonkey3 Guest

    to Johnny B again

    Well, after work I drove 20 minutes to MicroCenter, bougth a PCIe Firewire card for $60- man, a regular PCI is like $10- and drove home another hour in traffic. Well, I hooked it up and the noise is greatly reduced, but not gone. I think it was about like this on the other computer and I got used to it. It is quite an improvement though. It was distracting though. The sound is not any better but the radio interference is less. I guess there is some better grounding/shielding when you go through a PCIe slot. I'm not sure it's true pro studio quiet, but it's good enough for me. I don't think my previous system was any quieter.

    Well, I'll hold off on the new Presonus Firestudio Mobile until I hear some new reviews. I already know this UA LA610 has moved my sound up a lot compared to the stock Firebox pres. I could get a similar quality of tone on my stock presonus after running a Waves 10 band parametric eq and a compressor, but I think I'm still getting more "headroom" (to be means loud, clear and full, but I'm a ^#$%ing idiot at recording and everything else I've ever tried) and a better sound- garbage in garbage out scenario. The Waves plugins really are amazing though- much better than the ones included in Cubase. I haven't heard Cubase 5 plugins though.

    I did disable the motherboard Firewire ports, but I didn't hear any difference.

    Anyway, thanks for the tip on the card. I thought that would do it, but I wanted confirmation before spending a couple of hours driving to round one up. I like MicroCenter because you can return almost anything if it doesn't work out.
  11. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Congratulations on starting the process of configuring and streamlining a computer properly-starting with proper components. Do all the research you can and take it all with a grain of salt.

    Resources such as Gearslutz can be quite useful for a discerning person with time, but I only believe about 11% of what I read there. Most folks there seem to have an agenda that doesn't always encompass objective evaluation-or sometimes veracity.

    That said, there is a wealth of objective fact and subjective but reasonable opinion there (GS) in addition to the agendas for someone willing to verify independently what they read.

    The key to it all is "trust but verify" your researched opinions/gut regardless of the sources.
  12. Johnny_B

    Johnny_B Guest

    Re: to Johnny B again

    Bummer about the card, you might have a ground loop issue?
    Have you conditioned your power? You might have a voltage issue, anyway, check here for information (unbias, and objective opinions)


    Concerning the firestudio mobile you asked about...

    I'm sorry you find that people there have an agenda.
    Many professionals post there and share their knowledge....

    The Presonus up for discussion isn't Hi-FI professional per say, but its sound quality IS a cut above the rest, in this segment of the market.

    It seems you are set in your ways, too bad.
  13. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Re: to Johnny B again

    I read and value what those professionals have to share at GS. Most of the folks that post there are not those professionals and either "pile on" or are just plain full of it. The trick is to know which category the particular posting falls into. I've never posted there but when I have the time to sift, I browse through GS. I thought I was fairly complimentary of the site as a resource providing one verified what one read. There is always more to learn.

    I am perfectly willing to believe the new Presonus unit is a step up from it's predecessor not having personally checked it out. Are the AD or DA chips indeed different? Presonus pretty much uses the same chips in most of their gear which then makes it the analog portions that change. Actually that's pretty common for most manufacturers.
  14. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    I think, by and large, it is bad form to be at one forum and suggest that another forum has better or somehow more valid information. Often the same users can be found at multiple top level forums about any subject really.

    They are both different services trying to achieve the same goal which is to cut thru the crap, weed out the trolls and maintain a high level of signal-to-noise with the least amount of violence.

    Good luck to all of 'em swat I say :)
  15. Johnny_B

    Johnny_B Guest

    What is with the reading comprehension? (or lack thereof?)
    The SOLE reason for posting a GS thread here, and for mentioning them in the 1st place is because:

    They got together, talked (and bought) and compared the interface in question to other notable interfaces...it's another place with different information.

    Jack also misconstrued what I had said as well, sheesh :roll:
    I think it's bad form for a moderator to make sweeping generalisations about a forum he doesn't moderate, but I guess your rose coloured glasses don't see that, ey?
  16. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Twice now I have stated that there is good information at GS. If I feel there are more than it's fair share of blowhards then that is my opinion and does not change my estimation of the good information available there to the discerning individual. It won't stop me from going there on occasion to research a product or interest either.

    Truly, one has to evaluate any posting generally on the internet or in print media from anonymous individuals regardless of tenor and tone.

    Now, as a whole we need to either get back to the OP or start a new thread.

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