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Viewing topic "Output level and noises"

     
Posted on: August 02, 2009 @ 11:06 AM
Joomusik
Total Posts:  52
Joined  10-15-2006
status: Experienced

Hi all, I got an issue with my Motif Rack ES.
I’m using the analog outputs of my Motif Rack ES
to go into my MOTU 896HD Soundcard via Jacks.

The problem is that the output of the Motif Rack ES
is very low. My 896HD inputs are set to LINE +4 dB.
This should be enough for a good dB level but once I record
on Cubase 4, you can’t even see the wave. You have to normlize
to continue working. The output level of the Motif Rack ES
is set to 127.

The other isse I have is a high frequency noise(whoosh) every time
I record with the Motif Rack ES. The cables are good and I really
don’t know where this could come from.

Any help would be appreciated.
Jo

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Posted on: August 03, 2009 @ 05:26 AM
TonyPhillips
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Total Posts:  844
Joined  09-16-2005
status: Guru

This may be an obvious question, but, do you have the VOLUME knob of the rack turned up all the way?

Do other instruments plugged in the same way have any issues?

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Posted on: August 03, 2009 @ 08:59 AM
Joomusik
Total Posts:  52
Joined  10-15-2006
status: Experienced

Yes, volume knob is up to maximum.
I really don’t know what else to do to get the volume up.
The noise is another story. Maybe by turing the Motif Rack ES volume up,the background noise would not be audible anymore ?
Any more suggestions ??

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Posted on: August 04, 2009 @ 09:25 AM
TonyPhillips
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Total Posts:  844
Joined  09-16-2005
status: Guru

Are you using Three-conductor “Balanced” cables (Tip/Ring/Sleeve) or standard 1/4” “instrument” cables (Tip/Sleeve only).  The MOTIF is UNBALANCED, so make sure you’re using the right cable.

Does this happen on ALL inputs on the MOTU?  Do you have the GAIN on the MOTU set correctly?  There’s all kinds of things that could affect this.  The WHOOSHing you’re hearing is probably an artifact of normalizing a terribly week signal.  You’re boosting not just the signal, but the noise as well.

Try using the SP/DIF.  That’s what I use anyway… :)

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Posted on: August 04, 2009 @ 10:46 AM
Bad_Mister
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There are several factors that affect the output level of individual PARTS of the Motif-Rack ES.

1) The overall Volume parameter found in [UTILITY] > [GENERAL] > Volume (Of course, if you are using analog outputs, then the MAIN VOLUME knob is in play - it is not if you are using a digital output).

2) The OUTPUT GAIN parameter found in [UTILITY] > [OUTPUT] > L&R;GAIN = +6dB

3) The Channel Volume parameter of each PART within the MULTI found in [MULTI] > [EDIT] > press [MUTE/SELECT] so L.E.D’s go OFF (SELECT function) > Select the individual PARTS > PAGE to the OUTPUT screen. Each PART has a VOLUME control. When exporting individual tracks to audio you can increase this freely as necessary. (Yes, it undoes your pre-mix, what I call the “MIDI Mix”, but exporting individual track to audio means you are going to do another mix - your real mix).

4) The Velocity of the Track as you recorded it.

This final one is usually the culprit… when recording MIDI tracks musicians pay no attention to the overall audio Volume of what they are playing - they are doing what I call MIDI MIXING… in other words, when you are working with just MIDI tracks and you are putting in background Strings, as an example, you wind up playing those strings softly with low velocity so that it quite naturally sits in the background.

Now later when you want to export this MIDI track and render it as audio, you are surprised that the output level is so very low. Well, yes, it has low output level, that’s how you played it.

Had you recorded the data as audio your concern would have been how much “level” on the meter I am getting. See my point? No one pays attention when initially mixing MIDI what the low velocity means to the audio recording. It is natural - you are mixing as you go. Fitting everything together. In a recording studio the engineer has two mixes: one is (scientific) the individual sends to the multi-track (everything optimized as to record level). They only listen to that to check to make sure it is recording properly. The other mix is (subjective) its the one they listen to - it is called the “monitor mix”, it is the one where they put things in a musically balanced context.

The mix going to the multi-track is like an argument - everything maximized as to audio level. The Monitor mix is musical - everything in its correct proportion.

Well, when recording MIDI tracks you naturally do the monitor mix and have no concern for the multi-track’s scientific mix. Okay, that is a statement of the problem.

What to do? ... you can adjust the output of the individual PARTS. (You have to because you are now going to do another MIX in audio-land, as it were).
... you can adjust the velocity of the performance to increase its output volume

There are several ways to raise the Volume of a PART - but you have to be careful not to destroy the musical performance - this is particularly true when adjusting the velocity of the MIDI tracks (again, do this only with extreme caution).

If the sound is a velocity swapping Voice, changing the VELOCITY either by OFFSETTING the VELOCITY of the MIDI performance can change the musical effect. For example, OFFSETTING the velocity on a velocity swapping bass sound or on a velocity swapping snare drum would alter the musical intention.

The best way to deal with this whole thing (and it only comes with experience) is to recognize as a musician doing MIDI tracks you play one way - with no attention to overall audio output… and that way has really nothing to do with the engineering credo of getting great level on every audio track. 

This is because you are mixing (when you do the MIDI tracks) and then mixing again (when you now want to render the MIDI tracks to audio). If you know that in advance you can prepare for that when you are doing your initial tracking session.

VELOCITY OFFSET: you can offset the velocity of an incoming MIDI stream as follows:
Press [MULTI]
Press [EDIT]
Press [MUTE/SEL] to select the SELECT PART function
On the “VOICE” page scroll to the bottom, there you will find the Velocity Depth and the Velocity Offset parameters.

This is their purpose. If you look at your track data, and using the backing Strings as an example, you find that you never exceed a velocity of 55 to play this part (now you can understand why it hardly makes any significant movement on the audio tracks meters)… you can use the VELOCITY OFFSET to raise (add to) the velocity by adding a value to each note-on event. 64 is no change but a setting of 80 will increase the velocity of all incoming data by making it play as if you had added 16 to each velocity value…

So if you determine that in order to get good audio record level from this string part you may need to significantly raise the velocity of the performance data.

I would recommend that you first attempt to raise the PART’s Channel Volume first, and use the VELOCITY OFFSET as the last resort to fix the output level of a pre-mixed MIDI performance.

Hope that helps.

Image Attachments
VelocityOffset.JPG
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Posted on: August 06, 2009 @ 11:39 AM
Joomusik
Total Posts:  52
Joined  10-15-2006
status: Experienced

Thanks Tony and Bad Mister. I am again imressed by the great help you are giving.

@Tony: I use the normal Jack cables with 2 poles and not 3.
The inputs of my MOTU are set to LINE +4dB. This should not be a problem at all. My MOTU Soundcard only accepts Optical in as ADAT. It also has AES/EBU, whatever that is. It has not SPDIF in/out.

@Bad Mister: I need to study your comments carefully.
Let me work on that and I will report the results.

Thanks again Jo

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Posted on: August 06, 2009 @ 12:07 PM
Joomusik
Total Posts:  52
Joined  10-15-2006
status: Experienced

@Bad Mister: Before I start testing the items 3 and 4,
I’d like to know if I can make these adjustemnts with
the Motif Rack ES Multi Part Editor 2.2.0 within Cubase 4.
Making each of these settings on the Rack itself seems very
time consuming. Thanks Jo

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Posted on: August 07, 2009 @ 10:00 AM
Bad_Mister
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Total Posts:  36648
Joined  07-30-2002
status: Moderator

It is not that time consuming (lol) it took me 10 times longer to describe than it does to do it. You simply have to know where it is.

Yes you can do it with the Editor - see screen shot below: (Again you have to know where to find it). To change the Volume of the PART simply move the Fader (easy enough)

To change the VELOCITY OFFSET and VELOCITY DEPTH you have to click “DETAIL” right below the Fader to open the Detail parameters of the PART in question; select the “NOTE/VEL” tab.

Image Attachments
VelocityOffset1.JPG
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Posted on: August 09, 2009 @ 11:37 AM
Joomusik
Total Posts:  52
Joined  10-15-2006
status: Experienced

I should have mentionned that I use the Multi Part Editor. Sorry.
I figured out how to make all these settings, which increased
the output level by a few dB.
If you do a Musical Mix with the MIDI data only,using the standard settings, the overall output might be OK if the output knob is set to max. Using the same standard settings, I find it frustrating that the volumes for rendering single MIDI tracks into Audio are so low. Now, I think I can get the best possible out of my Motif Rack ES.

Anyhow, thanks for all your help an time.
Bad Mister you are a good mister ! All the best !
Jo

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Posted on: August 09, 2009 @ 12:04 PM
Joomusik
Total Posts:  52
Joined  10-15-2006
status: Experienced

I found out something else that amazes me..
When I reduce the sound level to max by using the knob,
the background noise is still 100% there.
When I switch off the Motif Rack, the background noise dissappears
totally.

This tells me that the noise is fed from the power supply/converter or cable into my monitoring setup.

On the other hand if I render only the Motif Rack ES without
playing a note the same noise is on my Audio track.

I learned how to maxomize the volume coming out of the Motif Rack ES, but the background noise still seems excessive to me.

Any recommendations ??? Jo

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Posted on: August 09, 2009 @ 12:46 PM
Bad_Mister
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Total Posts:  36648
Joined  07-30-2002
status: Moderator

I cannot hear the noise but it sounds to me like it is ground noise induced into your USB cable. You may want to invest in stereo channel ground lift DI box (hum eliminator). There are many on the market.

The Motif-Rack ES is extremely quiet by itself, however, if you are getting a constant noise it is most likely through the computer <-> USB connection inducing noise into the audio system.

Not sure what type of computer you are using but the best and recommended way to rid systems of this problem is by running the audio through a Hum Eliminator circuit

You can see if this is truly the problem by leaving the audio connection of the Rack ES to your sound system and disconnect the USB cable if the noise disappears then you will know. I’ve never heard any noise coming from the Motif-Rack ES itself.

I have owned more than a dozen computers, and the USB connections between computers and whatever audio device is a notorius source of all kinds of noise. You can hear the drive access activity through your audio chain…

There are some simple solutions to ground problems but not knowing where in the world you are located, I hesitate to recommend any but the safest and most professional.

Do a search for 2-channel hum eliminator boxes… it will serve you well.

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Posted on: August 09, 2009 @ 01:47 PM
hdreamer
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Total Posts:  221
Joined  12-29-2007
status: Enthusiast

I didn’t read the whole thread but I guess this might help. You said that you have noise problems - buzzing, humming…
I had this problem and could not solve it and was very close to buying DI box. Luckily, I found very cheap and effective way to my problem.
In attachments you have 2 pics and as you can see on the power cord I added “addings”. And yes, those things solved my problem. Until now (one year), everything works great - no noises..

hope it helps..

Image Attachments
1r.jpg2r.jpg
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Posted on: August 10, 2009 @ 09:40 AM
Bad_Mister
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Total Posts:  36648
Joined  07-30-2002
status: Moderator

Yes, that is just the kind of thing you do not want to recommend as this can be very dangerous without analyzing exactly what is the cause of the ground problem. A ground problem can be very simple (in some cases) and very complex in others… You would not want to recommend something that is not an electronically approved solution, would you?

I get nervous just looking at your solution. I promise not to tell any electricians about it if you will admit that this is your own obviously home-cooked solution to an electrical problem… which you probably should not be recommending to someone who may be in an entirely different part of the world than you. Okay?

Yikes....!

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Posted on: August 11, 2009 @ 06:20 AM
hdreamer
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Total Posts:  221
Joined  12-29-2007
status: Enthusiast

Well :) I’m not electrician that’s for sure but this solved my problem. I asked in a shop if I plug my laptop through these things will that be OK, and they said YES. The noise is gone and electricity keeps going through an extended chord (those little things). It’s not actually complicated and not dangerous also. Of course, it would be better not to have these extra plugs, but it works.
What if I bought laptop in USA? I couldn’t plug it in here in Europe. I would go to shop and buy that extra plug so I could plug it in. And everything would work perfectly. The same story with me - I just go from Europe plug to USA plugs and from USA plugs back to European plug. That’s why I have 3 of them. And everything works perfect.

CAUTION: The picture I presented is home made cooking. It works with me in Europe but may not work with you somewhere else. Before doing this, get advice from your nearest electrician!

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Posted on: August 15, 2009 @ 11:15 AM
Joomusik
Total Posts:  52
Joined  10-15-2006
status: Experienced

First of all I come from Germany. We have those 3 Pole
220 V / 50 Hz Connectors with +/- and Case Ground.

@Bad Mister: I found some Hum Eliminators for about 80 USD,
but when thinking about using one, I will not solve the source of the problem , right ?. I understand I need to be careful and you are 100 % right on that. Will a Hum Eliminator change the quality of sound coming out of my Motif Rack ? Would changin the USB cable to a high end cable make a difference ?

@hddreamer: thanks for the pics. I travel to the US at least twice a year. I’ve seen and used these adaptors. Where do you connect them to ? Is it for the power supply of your PC or the Rack ?

I will ask my Electrician for advice before taking any unusual action on that.

Thanks for your help. I hope I will fully solve this soon.

Jo

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