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  #1  
Old 11-19-2009, 12:58 PM
njcolburn njcolburn is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 5
Default Low volume from monitor and headphones, and unwanted distortion problems

I'm really frustrated with my sound quality and volume issues. I have an Alesis QS 8.1 that I'm using as a midi controller on my Rack 003. And I have a speaker with bare wire connections in the back that I'm using as a monitor. The problem I'm having is I can't get a decent volume or sound quality from any instruments or audio inputs. I'll set up an instrument, say, mini grand, and even if I turn my monitor volume all the way up on the rack, I get a low volume. Also, when I hit a chord, or turn up the volume in Pro Tools, I'll get a dirty, cracking sound. Every time. I don't think this is a problem with my speaker or headphones, because I can get a loud, clear sound from them if I plug them into my CD player or keyboard amp. Also, pro tools is recording the distortion. I have a Rack 003 and Pro Tools LE 8.

SiSoftware Sandra

System
Host Name : OWNER-0DFAED023
User : Admin
Workgroup : MSHOME

Processor
Model : Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.40GHz
Speed : 2.39GHz
Cores per Processor : 1 Unit(s)
Threads per Core : 2 Unit(s)
Internal Data Cache : 8kB, Synchronous, Write-Thru, 4-way, 64 byte line size, 2 lines per sector
L2 On-board Cache : 512kB, ECC, Synchronous, ATC, 8-way, 64 byte line size, 2 lines per sector

System
System : Dell Computer Corporation OptiPlex GX270
Mainboard : Dell Computer Corp. 0Y1057
Bus(es) : X-Bus PCI IMB USB FireWire/1394 i2c/SMBus
Multi-Processor (MP) Support : 1 Processor(s)
Multi-Processor Advanced PIC (APIC) : Yes
System BIOS : Dell Computer Corporation A03
Total Memory : 1.50GB DDR

Chipset 1
Model : Dell 82865G/PE/P, 82848P DRAM Controller / Host-Hub Interface
Front Side Bus Speed : 4x 200MHz (800MHz)
Total Memory : 1.5GB DDR
Shared Memory : 1MB
Memory Bus Speed : 2x 167MHz (334MHz)

Video System
Monitor/Panel : Dell P780
Adapter : Intel(R) 82865G Graphics Controller

Physical Storage Devices
MAXTOR 6L040J2 40GB (ATA133, 2MB Cache) : 37.27GB (C:)
HL-DT-ST CD-RW GCE-8483B (ATAPI33, 48x CD-R, 48x CD-W, 2MB Cache) : N/A (D:)
COMPAQ DVD-ROM SR-8583 (ATAPI, 32x CD-R, 4x DVD-R, 512kB Cache) : 7.95GB (E:)

Logical Storage Devices
Hard Disk (C:) : 37.27GB (21.87GB, 59% Free Space) (NTFS) @ MAXTOR 6L040J2 40GB (ATA133, 2MB Cache)
CD-ROM/DVD (D:) : N/A @ HL-DT-ST CD-RW GCE-8483B (ATAPI33, 48x CD-R, 48x CD-W, 2MB Cache)
Pro Tools Loops (E:) : 7.95GB (CDFS) @ COMPAQ DVD-ROM SR-8583 (ATAPI, 32x CD-R, 4x DVD-R, 512kB Cache)
3.5" 1.44MB (A:) : N/A @ MAXTOR 6L040J2 40GB (ATA133, 2MB Cache)

Peripherals
Serial/Parallel Port(s) : 1 COM / 1 LPT
USB Controller/Hub : Intel(R) 82801EB USB Universal Host Controller - 24D2
USB Controller/Hub : Intel(R) 82801EB USB Universal Host Controller - 24D4
USB Controller/Hub : Intel(R) 82801EB USB Universal Host Controller - 24D7
USB Controller/Hub : Intel(R) 82801EB USB2 Enhanced Host Controller - 24DD
USB Controller/Hub : Intel(R) 82801EB USB Universal Host Controller - 24DE
USB Controller/Hub : USB Root Hub
USB Controller/Hub : USB Root Hub
USB Controller/Hub : USB Root Hub
USB Controller/Hub : USB Root Hub
USB Controller/Hub : USB Root Hub
USB Controller/Hub : USB Mass Storage Device
FireWire/1394 Controller/Hub : OHCI Compliant IEEE 1394 Host Controller
Keyboard : Standard 101/102-Key or Microsoft Natural PS/2 Keyboard
Mouse : PS/2 Compatible Mouse

MultiMedia Device(s)
Device : SoundMAX Integrated Digital Audio

Printers and Faxes
Model : Microsoft XPS Document Writer

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

Operating System(s)
Windows System : Microsoft Windows XP (2002) Home 5.01.2600 (Service Pack 3)
Platform Compliance : Win32 x86

Network Services
Adapter : Intel(R) PRO/1000 MT Network Connection

Device Information
Device Type: FireWire/1394 Serial Bus Controller
Device ID: bus1, device 9, function 0
Windows Device Name: OHCI Compliant IEEE 1394 Host Controller
OEM Device Name: Lucent/Agere Systems (Was: AT&T MicroElectronics) FW322/323 IEEE1394 OHCI FireWire Controller
OEM Hardware ID: FUN_0, VEN_11C1, DEV_5811, REV_04
Device NameL RISQ Modular Systems FW322/323 IEEE1394 OHCI FireWire Controller
Product ID: VEN_1235, DEV_5811
Revision: A5

If you need more info, tell me how to get it please. I'm using a 400 Mbps 6pin FireWire cable that came with the rack. And my Alesis is connected to the Rack with midi cables I bought from RadioShack.
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  #2  
Old 11-19-2009, 02:05 PM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Norwich, CT
Posts: 35,427
Default Re: Low volume from monitor and headphones, and unwanted distortion problems

I am suspect about your monitoring. "speaker with bare wire connections in the back that I'm using as a monitor" sounds like a bad way to listen(is it stereo or mono?). The outputs of the 003 should feed either powered speakers by way of shielded and balanced cables(not computer speakers BTW) or a stereo power amp(again via shielded cables) with bare wire feeding the power amp outputs to passive speakers. Once you get your monitoring squared away, then you may find problems with the computer itself(but I don't think that is the issue with sound). That computer may not be a good choice for Pro Tools. At the very least, you NEED a second hard drive for recording(and NOT a USB drive).

BTW, Kudos to you for being a newbie, AND posting a Sandra report. Nice to find someone that takes the time to try to post with the proper info(but we still need more as described above).
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  #3  
Old 11-19-2009, 09:04 PM
njcolburn njcolburn is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 5
Default Re: Low volume from monitor and headphones, and unwanted distortion problems

So what you're saying is that I need to buy powered studio monitor(s) and an external hard drive, and that should give me a nice loud, clear sound from Pro Tools?

I tried running the L and R monitor outputs from my rack to the inputs on my reference amplifier, which then output to bare wire into passive speakers. (I just switched the ends of my input/output cables from my Alesis keyboard to the rack)

But I wasn't getting any sound.
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  #4  
Old 11-20-2009, 07:07 AM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Norwich, CT
Posts: 35,427
Default Re: Low volume from monitor and headphones, and unwanted distortion problems

What exactly is your "reference amplifier"? The 003 outputs are designed to run +4 and balanced. If your amplifier has RCA inputs, those are -10 and unbalanced(so that is not a good hookup). Getting loud and clear means doing things correctly(which includes mic technique, proper gain staging and correct monitoring). As for monitors, there are tons of decent(and affordable) powered near-field monitors available, starting at under $300/pair(if money is tight, look at the Behringer Truth 2030A).

As for hard drives, your audio drive does not have to be external(unless you work on a laptop or an iMac). Installing a second internal drive is often very easy, and is also the cheapest route as a good 500 gig drive can be had for about $70(WD caviar BLACK are excellent). If you decide to go external, you can use eSATA or firewire. The only problem with firewire is; you absolutely NEED an approved firewire controller(TI is the most dependable) in the computer, and the external case MUST use an Oxford chipset(this is not always easy to determine). OWC, Glyph and WD firewire drives seem to all be working. Hope all this helps.
__________________
Gigabyte X79/intel i7 3930K, 32GB RAM, DIGI003 Rack
https://www.facebook.com/search/top/...0sound%20works


The better I drink...the more I mix.....

BTW, my name is Dave, but most people call me.........................Dave
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  #5  
Old 11-20-2009, 02:45 PM
njcolburn njcolburn is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 5
Default Re: Low volume from monitor and headphones, and unwanted distortion problems

You make a good point. Here's a description of the amp I'm trying to use:

The input is via 1/4 jacks. Output is 1/4 jacks or push clip (bare wire) terminals. Frequency Response: ±1dB 20Hz - 20kHz. Noise: 100dB below full output. Damping Factor: 200 @ 8 ohms. Input Sensitivity: 5 VRMS for full output.
Input Impedance: 7 kohms, unbalanced.

I'm not sure what +4 balanced means, but because the description says its unbalanced I can see why its not working.

Thanks. You're expertise is greatly appreciated. Looks like I'm going to making some upgrades.
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  #6  
Old 11-20-2009, 10:17 PM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Norwich, CT
Posts: 35,427
Default Re: Low volume from monitor and headphones, and unwanted distortion problems

I'm not really sure on your amp(post the actual brand and model might help, brand and model of the speakers too). It is possible to feed an unbalanced input from a balanced source, but that won't help if the amp input is designed for a -10 level input(a +4 signal will clip a -10 input pretty easily). In any case, a decent set of powered speakers may help(but I can't be certain, not knowing exactly what you have). Different headphones can make a huge change as well. For instance, some older and very popular studio phones(like older AKG K240's) were 600 ohms(which made it handy to power a dozen sets off of a Crown D-75). 600 ohm phones will be real soft when used with an Mbox or 002/003. Today, there are several phones in the 40-60 ohm range that will play plenty loud and clear for you. A few good choices are Sony MDR-V600, Sennheiser 280, Beyer DT770. The Sony and Sennheiser's are both about $99 and a good investment(I don't recommend mixing on any headphones, but these are great for recording and for reference/comparison). Whatever speakers you have (or get in the future), will be affected by the room acoustics. If you have the typical home setup(spare bedroom, garage, basement), the acoustics of the room can make even great speakers sound bad. If the room is on the small side, a smaller woofer(why I recommended the 2030A with a 6" woofer) can be a bit better as the low frequencies are what gets the most screwed up due to room dimensions. If you google John Sayer and Ethan Whiner, you can read up on lots of good advice about room tuning, bass trapping and such.
__________________
Gigabyte X79/intel i7 3930K, 32GB RAM, DIGI003 Rack
https://www.facebook.com/search/top/...0sound%20works


The better I drink...the more I mix.....

BTW, my name is Dave, but most people call me.........................Dave
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