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Old 04-26-2010, 09:05 PM
colinseven8 colinseven8 is offline
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Default 003 Rack & Terrible Preamp Noise

hey guys, i'm hoping you'll have some insight into my problem!

i have owned a 003 rack for about 8 months, and have only recently noticed a certain level of noise all across the frequency spectrum. since recently finishing recording school, i've attempted to apply many forms of troubleshooting with no success!

the type of noise i'm getting is captured in every mic preamp in my 003 rack. it sounds like hiss/white noise, with a little bit of the dreaded 60hz hum mixed in. i've eliminated the signal chain down to my 003 rack plugged into my core i7 pc via firewire, and both into the same outlet on the wall.

using the DI input on channel 1 (guitar plugged in) as an example, using tools like the bomb factory noise meter, trillium lane's master meter and ozone's spectrum analyzer show that at 0 dB gain on the channel 1 preamp, i get approx. 12 dBs of noise. when i turn the input gain up to 12 o'clock, i get around 32 dBs of noise.

here's what i've done so far:

-ensured a completely balanced signal path
-moved the 003 rack out of a rackmount, away from other equipment and the computer
-tried a new firewire cable
-tried both the onboard and PCI firewire port (PCI not digi approved, but is Texas Instruments-based)
-uninstalled and reinstalled Pro Tools
-tried an apex hum eliminator between my guitar and the DI to eliminate ground loops
-plugged all gear into monster power bar, status said "ground ok"
-plugged computer, LCD monitor, studio monitors, rack gear into furman power conditioner
-tried to ensure all audio cables are separated from power cables (or were crossed at 90 degrees)
-moved the position of the PCI firewire card and the nvidia graphics card
-plugged all gear into outlets in a new house to check against the power in my apartment
-checked the hum in headphones as well as the monitor outs
-checked the same setup through a laptop to see if it was just my pc...it seemed just slightly better through the laptop, but the same results whether it was plugged in or on battery power.

i can't think of anything else i've done at the moment, but i'm starting to run out of ideas! would this point to a defective 003 rack, or some other computer or power-related problem? i've posted the sandra report for my PC if that helps!

if anyone has any ideas of what to check/troubleshoot next, please let me know!





SiSoftware Sandra

Computer
Model : MSI MS-7522
Workgroup : WORKGROUP
Host Name : Recording-PC
User : Recording

Processor
Model : Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 CPU 920 @ 2.67GHz
Speed : 2.67GHz
Cores per Processor : 4 Unit(s)
Threads per Core : 2 Unit(s)
Type : Quad-Core
Integrated Data Cache : 4x 32kB, Synchronous, Write-Thru, 8-way, 64 byte line size, 2 threads sharing
L2 On-board Cache : 4x 256kB, ECC, Synchronous, ATC, 8-way, 64 byte line size, 2 threads sharing
L3 On-board Cache : 8MB, ECC, Synchronous, ATC, 16-way, Exclusive, 64 byte line size, 8 threads sharing

Computer
Mainboard : MSI MSI X58 PLATINUM SLI(MS-7522)
BIOS : AMI V3.6 07/14/2009
Bus(es) : ISA X-Bus PCI PCIe IMB USB FireWire/1394 i2c/SMBus
Multi-Processor (MP) Support : No
Multi-Processor Advanced PIC (APIC) : Yes
Total Memory : 3GB DIMM DDR3

Chipset
Model : MSI X58 I/O Hub
Front Side Bus Speed : 2x 2.41GHz (4.82GHz)

Chipset
Model : Intel Core CPU Generic Non-Core Registers
Front Side Bus Speed : 2x 2.41GHz (4.82GHz)
Total Memory : 6GB DIMM DDR3
Memory Bus Speed : 2x 536MHz (1GHz)

Memory Module(s)
Memory Module : OCZ OCZ3P1600LV2G 2GB DIMM DDR3 PC3-8500U DDR3-1066 (7-7-7-16 4-26-8-4)
Memory Module : OCZ OCZ3P1600LV2G 2GB DIMM DDR3 PC3-8500U DDR3-1066 (7-7-7-16 4-26-8-4)
Memory Module : OCZ OCZ3P1600LV2G 2GB DIMM DDR3 PC3-8500U DDR3-1066 (7-7-7-16 4-26-8-4)

Video System
Video Adapter : NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT (2x 112 SM4.0 1.5GHz, 2x 512MB DDR3 2x952MHz, PCIe 2.00 x16)

Graphics Processor
Adapter : NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT (2x112SP 14C 1.62GHz, 2x497.6MB 2x952MHz)
Adapter : NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT (2x112SP 14C 1.62GHz, 2x497.6MB 2x952MHz)
Adapter : NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT (2x497.6MB 2x952MHz)

Storage Devices
WDC WD6401AALS-00L3B2 (640.1GB, SATA300, 3.5", 7200rpm, NCQ, 32MB Cache) : 596GB (C:) (F:) (G:)
WDC WD1600JD-98HBC0 (160GB, SATA150, 3.5", 7200rpm, 8MB Cache) : 149GB (D:)
Optiarc DVD RW AD-5170A (ATA66, DVD+-RW, CD-RW, 2MB Cache) : N/A (E:)

Logical Storage Devices
Reserved (F:) : 100MB (NTFS) @ WDC WD6401AALS-00L3B2 (640.1GB, SATA300, 3.5", 7200rpm, NCQ, 32MB Cache)
PT HD (D:) : 149GB (NTFS) @ WDC WD1600JD-98HBC0 (160GB, SATA150, 3.5", 7200rpm, 8MB Cache)
C: Drive (C:) : 476GB (NTFS) @ WDC WD6401AALS-00L3B2 (640.1GB, SATA300, 3.5", 7200rpm, NCQ, 32MB Cache)
PT 64-Bit (G:) : 120GB (NTFS) @ WDC WD6401AALS-00L3B2 (640.1GB, SATA300, 3.5", 7200rpm, NCQ, 32MB Cache)
Optical Drive (E:) : N/A @ Optiarc DVD RW AD-5170A (ATA66, DVD+-RW, CD-RW, 2MB Cache)

Peripherals
LPC Hub Controller 1 : MSI LPC Interface Controller
LPC Legacy Controller 1 : Fintek F71882FG/F71883FG
Audio Device : MSI HD Audio Controller
Audio Codec : Realtek Semiconductor 888 High Definition Audio
Disk Controller : MSI 4 port SATA IDE Controller
Disk Controller : MSI 2 port SATA IDE Controller
Disk Controller : MSI JMB36X PCIE-to-SATAII/IDE RAID Controller
USB Controller 1 : MSI USB UHCI Controller #4
USB Controller 2 : MSI USB UHCI Controller #5
USB Controller 3 : MSI USB UHCI Controller #6
USB Controller 4 : MSI USB EHCI Controller #2
USB Controller 5 : MSI USB UHCI Controller #1
USB Controller 6 : MSI USB UHCI Controller #2
USB Controller 7 : MSI USB UHCI Controller #3
USB Controller 8 : MSI USB EHCI Controller #1
FireWire/1394 Controller 1 : Syba Tech TSB82AA2 IEEE-1394b Link Layer Controller
SMBus/i2c Controller 1 : Intel 801xx/63xx SMBus

Printers and Faxes
Printer : Microsoft XPS Document Writer (600x600, Colour)
Fax : Microsoft Shared Fax Driver (200x200)
Printer : Canon Inkjet iP3300 (600x600, USB, Colour)
Printer : Adobe PDF Converter (4000x4000, Colour)

Network Services
Network Adapter : Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller #2 (Ethernet, 100Mbps)

Power Management
Mains (AC) Line Status : On-Line

Operating System
Windows System : Microsoft Windows 7 Home 6.01.7600
Platform Compliance : x86

Windows Experience Index
Current System : 5.9
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  #2  
Old 04-26-2010, 10:30 PM
cwsand's Avatar
cwsand cwsand is offline
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Default Re: 003 Rack & Terrible Preamp Noise

Just curious - what are you testing each preamp with - a guitar or mic? Does it happen using different mics? Do you get the noise with no mics or instruments connected to the 003? What about using a DI? I've read on here that some 003's have been shipped and sold where some of the internal cables disconnect - you may want to pop the case off and check.
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  #3  
Old 04-26-2010, 11:54 PM
colinseven8 colinseven8 is offline
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Default Re: 003 Rack & Terrible Preamp Noise

hey, thanks for the reply! i've been testing with different mics and guitars, same deal with everything, though the DI inputs have more noise.

i definitely get the noise with no mics or instruments connected...i was just checking and when i use the XLR input with nothing plugged in, with gain at 12 o'clock, i get around 16 dBs of noise, and with the DI input with nothing plugged in, with gain at 12 o'clock, i get 20 dBs of noise. it doesn't show up on the pro tools track metering or the master fader, but when i put on these more accurate plugins that start around -100 dB as -inf, i can see that i'm starting at -85 to -80 dBs. things only get worse when i have something plugged in...white noise/static and a low hum/rumble that even the HPF doesn't really help reduce.

i thought it might have had a lot to do with dirty power, but i'm realizing that isn't the case. a few things i've narrowed it down to could be:

-buying a heavily shielded firewire cable, if it's picking up all kinds of noise from the computer
-possibly a bad PSU in my computer (apevia 750w...it's only 6 months old though)
-returning the 003 rack as defective

i just wanted to make sure i was checking everything i can before i take the step to return it. i'll check the internal cables and see if that is the case, thanks for the suggestion! any other ideas at all?
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  #4  
Old 04-27-2010, 11:09 AM
daeron80 daeron80 is offline
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Default Re: 003 Rack & Terrible Preamp Noise

When you say x number of dB of noise, with reference to what? A level in dB is log of a ratio, not an amount. It needs a reference point to be meaningful. If you mean that many dB above a 24-bit noise floor, then what you're describing is perfectly normal. All analog circuits have enough noise to register in the least significant bits of a 24-bit recorder.

The 002/003 preamps/line amps have a self-noise of around -85 dBFS. With gain at 12 o'clock, it's more like -70 dbFS. That's plenty quiet enough to do good audio work. Most mics will have at least that much self-noise. Any electric guitar plugged in will have a self-noise far greater than any mic. That's what gates are for.
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  #5  
Old 04-27-2010, 01:17 PM
Dism Dism is offline
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Default Re: 003 Rack & Terrible Preamp Noise

Quote:
Originally Posted by colinseven8 View Post
hey, thanks for the reply! i've been testing with different mics and guitars, same deal with everything, though the DI inputs have more noise.

i definitely get the noise with no mics or instruments connected...i was just checking and when i use the XLR input with nothing plugged in, with gain at 12 o'clock, i get around 16 dBs of noise, and with the DI input with nothing plugged in, with gain at 12 o'clock, i get 20 dBs of noise. it doesn't show up on the pro tools track metering or the master fader, but when i put on these more accurate plugins that start around -100 dB as -inf, i can see that i'm starting at -85 to -80 dBs. things only get worse when i have something plugged in...white noise/static and a low hum/rumble that even the HPF doesn't really help reduce.

i thought it might have had a lot to do with dirty power, but i'm realizing that isn't the case. a few things i've narrowed it down to could be:

-buying a heavily shielded firewire cable, if it's picking up all kinds of noise from the computer
-possibly a bad PSU in my computer (apevia 750w...it's only 6 months old though)
-returning the 003 rack as defective

i just wanted to make sure i was checking everything i can before i take the step to return it. i'll check the internal cables and see if that is the case, thanks for the suggestion! any other ideas at all?
In most cases, it's not your FW cable, so I wouldn't invest too much money in a silly overpriced cable that probably won't make a difference. The only thing heavily shielded cables are good for, is if it tends to be in contact with other cables, particularly power cables. I'd simply try a different FW cable first, over buying a new one, if possible. If you have another one kicking around, give it a shot.

Have you tried plugging it into a different computer altogether? It would be the easiest way to find out if it's your computer/FW ports, or the 003 itself.
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  #6  
Old 04-27-2010, 02:29 PM
daeron80 daeron80 is offline
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Default Re: 003 Rack & Terrible Preamp Noise

I've never heard of a firewire cable adding a small amount of white noise to an otherwise good audio signal. The firewire cable doesn't carry audio, per say. It carries digital communication between the computer and the interface, and that includes bit streams of encoded digital audio. If it affected the audio bit streams negatively, the result should practically always be extremely bad audio, not a little extra noise.
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  #7  
Old 04-27-2010, 08:27 PM
colinseven8 colinseven8 is offline
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Default Re: 003 Rack & Terrible Preamp Noise

thanks guys for the heads-up on

what a disappointing day...i went to try a replacement 003 rack and determined that the one i own is not defective. i went out and bought a outlet plug tester to check the power in my apartment and it checks out. even tried yet another firewire cable, and no change.

on a side note, i decided to plug my les paul into my boss gt-pro on it's own with headphones just to rule out a PC or 003 rack problem...and i've found a distorted rumble in the background, with an accompanying sizzly, fuzzy guitar, faintly heard in the background almost like there is 2 guitars playing...somewhat similar to the rumbling i've been getting in my pro tools rig.

seems like this might be off the Digi path now, tried 2 guitars and a bass and all 3 seem to be having the same problem with the gt-pro. checked cables, checked soldering in the guitars...man. apparently everything i own is screwed!

if anyone else has any ideas to check, feel free to chime in...but this seems to be equipment-wide, not just dig-related.
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  #8  
Old 04-27-2010, 08:31 PM
Dism Dism is offline
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Default Re: 003 Rack & Terrible Preamp Noise

Quote:
Originally Posted by colinseven8 View Post
thanks guys for the heads-up on

what a disappointing day...i went to try a replacement 003 rack and determined that the one i own is not defective. i went out and bought a outlet plug tester to check the power in my apartment and it checks out. even tried yet another firewire cable, and no change.

on a side note, i decided to plug my les paul into my boss gt-pro on it's own with headphones just to rule out a PC or 003 rack problem...and i've found a distorted rumble in the background, with an accompanying sizzly, fuzzy guitar, faintly heard in the background almost like there is 2 guitars playing...somewhat similar to the rumbling i've been getting in my pro tools rig.

seems like this might be off the Digi path now, tried 2 guitars and a bass and all 3 seem to be having the same problem with the gt-pro. checked cables, checked soldering in the guitars...man. apparently everything i own is screwed!

if anyone else has any ideas to check, feel free to chime in...but this seems to be equipment-wide, not just dig-related.
Hmm... it could be due the fact that you live in an apartment. So many people using the same power, there's gotta be some interference coming from somewhere. If it's showing up in all of your equipment, it's either a power issue, or an interference issue. I know you've tried power conditioning, but have you tried a ground lift altogether, just to rule it out?
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  #9  
Old 04-27-2010, 08:42 PM
colinseven8 colinseven8 is offline
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Default Re: 003 Rack & Terrible Preamp Noise

it's odd...i was having the same problem in a new house as well as my apartment...i can't remember if it was much better or not...but the problems were still in both locations...

when you said ground lift...did you mean taking the ground off of the device in question? my gt-pro only has 2 prongs and i'm still having the same problem as any of my 3-prong grounded devices...did i understand you correctly?
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Old 04-27-2010, 08:52 PM
Dism Dism is offline
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Default Re: 003 Rack & Terrible Preamp Noise

Quote:
Originally Posted by colinseven8 View Post
it's odd...i was having the same problem in a new house as well as my apartment...i can't remember if it was much better or not...but the problems were still in both locations...

when you said ground lift...did you mean taking the ground off of the device in question? my gt-pro only has 2 prongs and i'm still having the same problem as any of my 3-prong grounded devices...did i understand you correctly?
Yes. that is what I meant by ground lift.

It is entirely possible that interference can be caused by other machinery. The thing about Class B electonics (which is pretty much every electronic you own) is that they MUST accept interference from more "important" devices. Police scanners, air traffic communications, and a number of other things.

I recall a similar issue in a studio in an industrial complex next to a tool & dye shop. Occasionally, while they were working, nearly every piece of equipment was receiving a similar "fuzz" from their equipment running next door. Even with grounds lifted.
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