#1
My band is trying to do some DIY demos. I went in with my drummer today to run some tests. We're running our mics into a behringer mixer, through a Roland UA101 interface and are recording to Sonar 6 producer on my drummers laptop. We were getting strong signal into the computer, but we tried several mics and xlr cables and kept getting a crackling sound on playback. You could hear the audio, but there was that sound happening in top of it. I know it's not the mixer, since the same thing happened while using a different preamp, and it's not the interface, since it sounded fine when we played some mp3s off the laptop. I'm thinking it could be a driver issue with Sonar. Any ideas?
#2
Driver issue is probably a good possible cause. Make sure the drivers on the laptop are up-to-date, especially those for the interface. If that doesn't fix it, make sure that you're using the correct type of USB interface. USB2.0 and USB3.0 use the same connector, but plugging in a device with faster throughput than the laptop can handle will cause issues as packets are dropped.
#3
Is your laptop charger plugged in? I've found that when I record my keyboard through my audio interface and my laptop charger is plugged in, it creates a crackling in the recording. I have an HP running windows 7 with beats audio
#6
Could be clipping as you're sending the mixer output at line level into the interface mic pres.

Try going into a line input if one exists.
#7
Quote by tim_mop
Could be clipping as you're sending the mixer output at line level into the interface mic pres.

Try going into a line input if one exists.



It's not that - the interface has two preamps built into it, and we still got the sound even when we plugged the mics directly into those. (Only reason we're bothering with the mixer is for drums, as we'll be using more than two mics for those).
#8
Okay, could you put up a clip so we can listen?

EDIT Just to clarify, when you plug the mixer out's in are you making sure the inputs are set to line rather than mic?
Last edited by tim_mop at Feb 14, 2014,
#9
Quote by tim_mop
Okay, could you put up a clip so we can listen?

EDIT Just to clarify, when you plug the mixer out's in are you making sure the inputs are set to line rather than mic?



The inputs are solely line level on the interface, except for the two with preamps built in (there are 10 total - 2 mic w/built-in preamps, 8 line).
Can't post clips since we were using my drummer's laptop, but I'm going to go over to his place to futz with the buffer settings. If that still doesn't work, I'll post some clips of the noise.
#10
I agree with the clicking/crackling being possibly caused by clipping in the digital recording. Unlike analog recording, distortion in digital recording usually sounds like a "snap" or click. This is especially present on drums or vocals with a lot of uncontrolled dynamics. Lower the incoming signal about 1/2 way and see if it goes away. If that works you might want to try a compressor on the incoming signal.
#11
A couple of thoughts. There are a couple of things this could be:

- overdriving your input. Your USB interface may have knob to control the input level. If you overdrive the input stage, you'll get an overdriven sound. If you have the channel output on in Sonar, you should be able to play through (without recording) and see if this occurs. Another test - try recording some soft sounds (guitars or vocals instead of drums). If you talking records OK, but not the drums, it's probably something in your input levels.

- Watch the meters in Sonar. There are separate ones for the track you're recording as well as a master level. If you overdrive the software, it will have a sticky red icon on the level showing you went over.

- Watch the CPU meter. If while you're recording and you push the CPU too high, you'll get audio dropouts. If you have effects, etc, you might need to turn those off (or if you have other things running on the laptop, turn that junk off).

- You can also adjust some parameters in the audio setup in Sonar. You hopefully are running with the ASIO type drivers. If it asks if you want to do an audio test and setup, be sure to say yes. This allows Sonar to customize settings for your PC and audio interface. This is also where you could tweak the buffers and latency.

Anyways, best to first nail down if it's the CPU dropouts, overdriving, or something else before turning the knobs in Sonar or you might make things worse.
#12
I've ruled out overdriving - was watching the output on the mixer, on the interface and in SONAR, and wasn't redlining anywhere. We were getting the sound even by talking softly into the mic, and after dropping the gain down on the mixer.
Also ruled out CPU dropouts - I used to get those on my old laptop, so that was my first assumption, but was monitoring the CPU, and it was all normal.
Thanks for the help, guys. It appears it's a problem with the settings in SONAR, so going to try messing with the options in there. If all else fails, we'll reinstall it and if problems continue, contact their customer service, which I've found is generally pretty good as these things go.
Thanks again.