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Tascam Porta Two cracking/distortion


I have a Tascam Porta Two.

It's been in good working order for the last six months but yesterday I noticed during playback that the sound I recorded onto Track 1 plays back with light cracking and distortion. You almost can't hear it if you're not listening closely, but its definitely there, making for a gritty/ugly recording. This happens when I record directly and when I use the bus to bounce two tracks onto track 1 (E.g. the tracks on 2 and 3 sound fine when played back on their respective tracks but when I bounce them onto Track 1 they get the crackle!) I think the issue must lie in the recording process because music recorded earlier on track 1 doesn't have the crackling.

Cleaning the tape heads didn't help. Would demagnetizing potentially solve this? (I'd rather not buy a demagnetizer but...) Does this sound like a job for a technician? :-/ Looking for any info I can get...


Mixing Tibetan Singing Bowls - Confusing Distortion

Hi all,

I'm helping to mix a meditative recording that consists mainly of bowed Tibetan singing bowls. Examples coming up momentarily...

The trouble we are having is that some of the deeper tones seem to pile up on one another to create apparent distortion. Thing is, I'm not sure if it really is "distortion", or just the natural way that certain frequencies interact with one another.

What's making this extra confusing is that this so called "distortion" sounds very different depending on what we use for monitoring. On my Event Opals there is no obvious distortion. At quiet volumes (which is how this music will be experienced) it's soft and relaxing to the ear. Listening on my Sennheiser HD 25 headphones sounds similar, but listening on my Shure SRH 1840 headphones reveals some pretty gnarly and unpleasant distortion sounds.

I'd LOVE to know how this sounds to you on your monitors/phones.

These short samples illustrate the problem. On my Shure headphones the distortion becomes quite apparent around the 18 second mark:

Here's another one. Distortion sounds when the second bowl kicks in at the 9 second mark.

This is making me unsure as to whether or not my headphones are faulty, or if they are simply revealing a genuine problem. There is no actual digital or analog distortion in the signal chain and no effects processing in use.

The tone of the bowls is fairly simple - they are almost just oscillating sine waves, and I'm wondering if that is the problem. The exact same notes played on a more harmonically rich instrument, like a piano for example, sound but totally distortion free. Are the singing bowls simulating harmonic distortion or sum/difference tones or am I just overreacting?

I'm rather confused at this point because I'm not sure if I have an unsolvable mixing problem or an equipment problem, or some other weird psychoacoustic problem. It would suck to have to throw out this whole recording simply because the nature of the instruments makes them impossible to mix without certain note combinations sounding distorted. This experience is really made me paranoid about releasing music that might sound awful on certain headphones. Again, I'd LOVE to know how this sounds to you on your monitors/phones and any other thoughts you might have.


PreSonus Firestudio 2626 asymmetrical clipping distortion positive side -6dbfs, bad units on Ebay

I wanted to find out if anyone has had a simiar problem with PreSonus Firestudio 2626 asymmetrical clipping distortion issues. The positive side only of recorded waveforms clip at -6dbfs on some channels as can be seen and verified in my DAW(Sonar). I have two of these Firestudio 2626 units and one unit has the problem on every analog input channel and my second only has it on only one channel. It appears to be in the A/D conversion for the analog channels because the insert and aux analog outs do not have the asymmetrical ciipping as verified on oscilloscope.

Very odd to have this exist on both of my units. Both were bought second hand. I have checked other forums and cannot find postings on this problem. Seems that if two different units exibit same issue it's probably a more widespread problem. I would go so far as to warn others from buying these on Ebay as that seems to be the place people dump equipment with hard to find defects.
Pretty sure this is going to necessitate another expensive PreSonus repair

The Distortion Of Music

This is a documentary about the current state of fidelity, with industry people talking about what is happening in the world of compressed-data (MP3) based music delivery.

I would suggest that you watch the whole thing, but I found the section from 13:00 to 18:00 to be particularly compelling; food for thought and discussion.

Both pro's and cons are discussed.

Not all necessarily my own views or opinions ( so don't kill the messenger), but it's done in an intelligent way, so I thought I'd share.


The ZDT Zero Distortion Preamplifier series

These look excellent. I've never had the opportunity but hope to grab a chance to try anything in this series.…"]View:…]="…"]View:…]

The ZDT Zero Distortion Preamplifier™ series is based on discrete circuitry designed by DAvid Blackmer, establishing a new standard of sonic excellence in electronics. This exacting new standard provides frequency response from 1Hz to 200kHz +0.5dB, a rise time of 0.27 microseconds and distortion of less than 1 part per million (0.0001%), eliminating all possibility of sonic degradation. These preamps are so fast, so clean and so transparent that you don’t even know they are there. It is like plugging your microphone into a “piece of wire with gain”. You will hear clarity and detail with the ZDT preamps that is not available in any other preamp at any price.
  • Zero Distortion – less than one part per million
  • High output level +30dBu
  • Very Low Output Impedance will drive long lines without interference or signal loss
  • True 48 volt phantom, polarity reverse & clip indicator
  • Separate XLR & 1/4” Phone (t-r-s) outputs, each with its own gain/level controls
  • 1/4” Phone connector output will drive balanced or unbalanced inputs
  • Lowest Noise of any preamp on the market
  • All Discrete Components; Class A Amplification (No ICs in the signal path)
  • No Electrolytic Capacitors in the signal path
  • Greater Transparency with minimum signal path and minimum features
  • Available in 1, 2 and 4 channels
  • 500 Series preamp available

Having used the Millennia, Grace and Benchmark preamps this Earthworks unit is in a league of its own. It's as true to the source as they come. This thing transmits such a startling 3D image it's almost haunting. It's dead quiet and has gobs of headroom and gain. The beauty is that the 1024 delivers the precise characteristics of what ever mic you hook it up to. Of course paired with an Earthworks mic the combo serves up a vividness that has to be heard to be believed. If I ever see fit to add coloration into my mix I would rather start with the cleanest and truest signal possible and then process after for effect. Without a doubt the finest preamp I've ever owned. A masterpiece by the legendary DAvid Blackmer.

Distortion with ST59

For a week now I've been getting this almost bit distortion (I guess you can say) on my voice recordings. Here's a sample of what I did today and it just sounds awful. It's already on -10db, I even did what the troubleshooting says by lowering the preamp, turning off phantom and then turning it all back on but nothing. And it's not that it's too loud because if I lower the volume or whatever it's still there.


It almost seems like it's because it's too loud but no matter how much I play with the levels it's there. I've had the mic since March of this year.

Alesis M1Active 520 - One speaker has distorted bass

Hello guys!

I've just bought a second hand pair of 520 Active and swapped a tweeter. Everything works fine except one thing: One of them has a clear,non distorted <100hz response and the other one sounds like something touches the cone( even though this is not happening ).
I've opened the box to replace the tweeter and arranged all the cables in such way the airflow is not affected.
Switched the inputs between them, same result
What do you think? Is the amp damaged?
I'll post a recording to show you exactly what I mean.
M1active - YouTube
As you can see, the first monitor has a higher gain setting than the other one, to reveal the difference

Thanks and looking forward to hear your opinions,