Audio Interface, periodic buzzing
I hope this is the right place to ask this question..
so I got a new Motu M2 Interface about a month ago. Since then there are periodic buzzing sounds coming from the Headphone Amps at "random" times. Sometimes it runs 3 hours without a Problem and sometimes the buzzing happens twice in 5 minutes. Turning the Interface off and on again "fixes" the buzzing temporarily.
The output meter isn't showing anything of it and I already sent the first unit back and received a new one, with the same result. So at this point I am suspecting some Problem with my PC. I am not unfamiliar with how to setup a PC properly for Audio Production, so I already worked through "all" the common steps. Got a suspicion, that it might has to do with my PSU, which is an older unit... but that's really just a guess into the dark.
I'm working on Windows 10 with fairly new Hardware and I'm starting to run out of ideas. I also recorded the buzzing ( https://voca.ro/1llmN9gokfKO ). Sorry for the noisy Background...
I would really appreciate any idea or advice on how to figure this out.
This does not sound like a hardware fault. It's more like a deliberate spoiler of the type that are put into trial or demonstration programs/drivers so that users can get an idea of whether they work before purchasing, but you can't use them for serious work without having the bleeps in there.
Thanks for the reply. I know what you mean, but that's not the case. It doesn't happen with any specific piece of software, it's across the system with any sound played back. I of course use the official Motu driver too.
I see that the graphic I had in my post appears as a small illegible rectangle instead of the waveform I intended. It was OK in preview. I'll do a bit more experimentation to see if I can get it to show properly.
Thanks for clarifying, but yeah... It really isn't related to any demo sound or something. Only happens with this Interface, at "random" times. But then again I also tried it on another computer, without being able to reproduce the issue.
Could be a ground loop hum from your electrical, and transmitted through the USB port on the interface.
You can test by trying a different outlet or using a ground lift adapter. Be aware the ground lift removes the protection offered by the electrical ground, so it's not a permanent solution.
Hm, that's possible. I will look into that, thank you.
I'm just wondering why it happens so randomly with sometimes 3 hours without any issues. I thought a ground loop would make the hum appear permanently. But then again, I am not very educated in electrical engineering :)
Welcome to our community.
Have you tried another usb port?
You could try reinstalling the M2 driver as there could have been a glitch that occurred during the initial install.
Yeah, I've tried different USB Ports. Both USB2 and USB 3. Seemingly with no result.
Will try and reinstall the driver though. I think I only installed it once, when the first Interface arrived a month ago.
There's a variety of things that cause ground loops/noises and one of them is if there are things like refrigerators or air-conditioning units, machines with a compressor on them. They can cause buzzes when them compressor kicks in. I had a similar issue at a night club where the buzz would disappear completely, then re appear sporadically. Lifting the ground relieved the problem. The long term solution is re wiring the electrical or using an isolation transformer can also relieve the problem.
Thanks for the explanation. That sounds reasonable. I'm gonna try looking into that and hopefully that solves it. Gonna try a different Outlet first and maybe try a ground lift adapter afterwards. Thanks again
I have to emphasise that this repetitive sound is not random interference. It's a carefully generated and spaced deliberate incursion, very like the sounds that are added to demonstrations or evaluations to stop them being used professionally.(i,e, for money). I have not heard this particular one before, but I have heard and analysed many like it. Why it appears not to be present sometimes I do not know.
The fact that it only happens when using one particular computer would indicate that it is likely to be associated with the ASIO driver installed on that computer. I would try updating the driver.
I didn't listen to the link until just now. Doesn't sound like ground hum. Definitely sounds like a digital noise of some sort.
I understand the thought, but it still doesn't make sense to me. I am using the regular Motu driver, there is no trial or anything like that. I've used an UR 22 before this, with the same build and software (besides the driver) and never experienced this issue. There is also not a single topic regarding the driver, that I could find, that has similar problems. Thanks anyway, but I already reinstalled my audio driver.
I'm just gonna try different scenarios and see where it gets me. Different Outlets, nothing attached to the computer other than the interface... stuff like that.
Reinstalling, yes, but was it the latest driver? The Windows version installer should be v90087 dated 17 Dec 21, and the Mac version v89383 dated 13 Oct 2021.
Yep, got v90087. Used the version before this as well, with the same issues. But once v90087 was released, I downloaded it.
OK, well, I'm stumped on that one in terms of the MOTU installation.
However, some time ago I was called in to look at a problem on a user's PC where the DAW audio output was periodically being corrupted by odd bell-like noises. What I found there is that the default Windows audio output had been set to be the audio interface, so some system audio was mixed in with the output from the DAW. Simply specifying that the default audio should go through the PC motherboard sound output fixed that. Might be worth checking on your system.
The issues are not limited to my DAW though. It's a systemwide thing. I also tried virtual interfaces like Voicemeter Banana, with no result. Thanks again for your effort and time. Since my Laptop hasn't any issues at all, i gravitate towards a hardware issue with my computer. In which case it can only really be the PSU, which is kind of old. I just know I NEED to fix this. It drives me insane :)
I think you may have missed my point - it's not a DAW thing. The DAW should be configured explicitly to use the MOTU for audio I/O via the ASIO driver. The Windows default audio (which most other Windows programs will use) should be set to use the standard motherboard audio I/O. This may well have the name of the motherboard audio chip manufacturer such as AMD or Realtek.
I see. But that's not an option and not the solution to the Problem. I already used the Interface in that way and the buzzing appeared anyway. And regardless of that, the Interface has to work normally systemwide as an default output device.
Just to give an update, right now I am gravitating towards one or two options. First I'm gonna switch the cable and get Ferrite Rings to supress magnetic interferences. If that doesn't work I'm gonna get a new PSU and if that doesn't work I will switch to an Interface that isn't USB powered.
I hadn't gathered from your previous posts that you intentionally had the MOTU configured as the default audio device. This is not a recommended configuration for serious audio work.
What I was suggesting by the trial separation of DAW output (via the MOTU) and system sound output (via the PC soundcard) was as a diagnostic step, so you could see whether these regular low-level beeps are originating as system sounds, or are some function of your DAW and ASIO driver.
Interesting. I always thought the "best practice" was to disable the built in audio. Wouldn't that make the audio interface the default sound device by default lol?
I'm wondering if I've been Doug something wrong all this time.
Yes, it would. When I've installed audio interfaces, both for myself and for other users, I usually make sure the default audio is the CPU motherboard, or whatever other output channel the user wants. There are special cases, such as podcasting, where you may want system audio to go through the main audio interface, but for DAW work, it's best to keep the squawks and bleeps out of your headphones and main monitors.
I agree with you on that point. It's just not practical in my case since I do a lot of work in between DAW and Game Engine and I need my Interface for proper monitoring outside of the DAW.
I'll say it again - you need to diagnose your problem. The way you go about a logical diagnosis has nothing to do with how you want or need to run your system in normal operation. For diagnostic purposes, you need to split the sound routes out of the computer so that the DAW output comes out of your MOTU and everything else outputs via the motherboard audio.
If the low-level beeping now comes out of the motherboard port, you can forget about the DAW and the ASIO driver being a problem, and look at the rest of the system to see where it's originating. It may be that you will find that some other sound source has controls that allow you to choose the audio device it uses, or it may have its own slider in the expanded controls of the system audio. Try bringing all the sliders to zero, then see which one, if any, controls the beeping volume.
If the beeping sound continues to play out of the MOTU even when the DAW is the only thing that uses that output, you have to break that path down. Route the DAW output to the motherboard audio and see if the beeping moves. If it stays on the MOTU, then either the ASIO driver is awry, or your M2 interface has internal gremlins.
Then quickly restore your routing to shoving everything out through the MOTU, as you wanted it, and take time to ponder over your findings.
I'm gonna give this a try on my new system, the onboard audio might end up useful. I've always just disabled system sounds anyway, as they kind of bug me lol.
Just wanted to give an Update:
After testing out some things and not getting any result, I was close to buying a new PSU (Probably will do that anyway in foreseeable time, thinking about one from Seasonic), but before I did I switched my graphics card with an older one I still had here and so far, after more then 6 hours of runtime, no buzzing whatsoever. I am still careful with predictions but it actually seems like it was the GPU causing interferences.
Thanks again for all the input.
If it's an NVIDIA graphics card I can link you to some tweaks for it.
It's an AMD Card, but I would still be interested on what you would tweak exactly.
Ah I see, thanks anyway.
not sure how many pci slots you have but you can often fix things like this by simply placing your cards in a different order.
If I recall from my last build... the graphic goes on top of the slots, or just below the main interface port (not sure) but placing pci cards in a particular order has always been something I do, to get the best and quietest results in a pro audio recording system.
I also use a separate power supply just for the AD converter. Makes a big difference when it comes down to ultra quiet.
I've been troubleshooting the exact same issue with my own Motu M2. I have a Mac Pro that dual boots between macOS/Windows 11, and a work laptop (Windows 10). The work laptop is by far the worst offender. Flipping the buffer size to any other value within the MOTU driver software will solve the issue for a while, but it always comes back.
macOS almost never has this issues, but the problem comes up within Spotify, Discord, and Microsoft Teams. All of these programs use GPU hardware acceleration in some manner (AMD, Intel GPU here), usually over video call.
I'm going to flip off any GPU hardware acceleration, see what happens, and report back. I believe the issue maybe related to power and the GPU in some manner. Still hunting myself.
Thanks for the explanation. That sounds reasonable. I'm gonna try looking into that and hopefully that solves it.