#1
I don't know whether it's Amplitube which sounds like crap or whether it's solely because of the audio interface. I read in the past some less-than-enthusiastic reviews from users of the Fast Track C400, but almost all of them basically complained about an older version of its driver tending to crash the PC; it has since been updated and mostly fixed (though at times when waking my PC from sleep-mode, Amplitube [so it's possibly not the interface] crashes when trying to record the input).

I add here a short thing I've just recorded so you could hear it yourself; I just went with one of the distortion presets Amplitube 3.5 offers. As you can hear at the end, there's also a rather noticeable amount of noise at this level of distortion - much more than I think there should be. I don't know whether it's the interface itself being crappy, my setup/grounding not being ideal or something else.

Thanks in advance.

http://picosong.com/uESz/

Edit: I've added an update; please check my newer comment below.
Last edited by TLGuitar at Oct 4, 2015,
#2
Lower the gain and use a noise gate.

Anyway, was I you I'd try and change amp sim altogether.
Try LePou's stuff, then the softube amp rooms and then bx_rockrax.

If you want to stick to amplitube, which sucks if ya ask me, try at least tailoring the settings to work best with your gear - presets may be a good starting point but they can't work for everything right out of the box.
Name's Luca.

Quote by OliOsbourne
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Quote by Cajundaddy
Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
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Last edited by Spambot_2 at Aug 16, 2015,
#3
Quote by Spambot_2
Lower the gain and use a noise gate.

Anyway, was I you I'd try and change amp sim altogether.
Try LePou's stuff, then the softube amp rooms and then bx_rockrax.

If you want to stick to amplitube, which sucks if ya ask me, try at least tailoring the settings to work best with your gear - presets may be a good starting point but they can't work for everything right out of the box.


Well, it all pretty much sounds like crap however I tailor with it. The gain on Amplitube itself isn't really that high - it's either that or not using a serious distortion at all; if you're talking about the knob of the interface - it was almost at the lowest when I recorded this, actually, and unless I'm strumming out chords the clipping indicator is at the very bottom most of the time (there's a "Pad" button, but it isn't supposed to be used with a guitar signal as it would turn it way too weak).

And the noise gate - are you suggesting a physical one between the guitar and the interface? How well do they usually work and does it affect the sound more than reducing noise?

And... My main point of view about this is how good some recordings using the (I think) Axe-Fx unit sounded with their many different effects (they've used others than just-distortion, of course). Is the difference here more because of the hardware or because of its own software? (I didn't see Fractal Studios referring to the Axe-Fx as "an interface", but isn't basically anything which converts A-to-D an interface in this regard?)
#4
Quote by TLGuitar
if you're talking about the knob of the interface - it was almost at the lowest when I recorded this, actually, and unless I'm strumming out chords the clipping indicator is at the very bottom most of the time
I was talking about the gain in amplitube.
I don't really know if it was high or low, but lowering it would help.

Also the thing you're referring to as clipping indicator is probably the level meter, and while it can show signal clipping it's supposed to show the level of the signal and if it's clipping, not info about clipping only.
Quote by TLGuitar
And the noise gate - are you suggesting a physical one between the guitar and the interface? How well do they usually work and does it affect the sound more than reducing noise?
No, a physical one would be a waste of money in your situation, a digital one is gonna be better.

A noise gate simply reduces the signal of a certain amount when the signal level is lower than a threshold.
The threshold you can almost always decide and the amount of reduction is usually infinite (so no signal coming out when the signal going in is low enough) but you can sometimes set it yourself.

So, it simply doesn't affect the signal when its level is higher than the threshold.
Quote by TLGuitar
Is the difference here more because of the hardware or because of its own software? (I didn't see Fractal Studios referring to the Axe-Fx as "an interface", but isn't basically anything which converts A-to-D an interface in this regard?)
An AXE-FX (or a kemper or a pod-hd for that matter) aren't only audio interfaces.

Actually the AXE isn't an audio interface even...

An audio interface is a device that converts an audio signal of a certain type to a signal of another type and allows you to interface with it with either type of signal.
The most common ones are analog to digital (and back) audio interfaces, like the one you have on your desk - they convert analog signals to digital and back, and they have analog and digital I/O.

An audio interface can be a digital only audio interface, say one like the Weiss AFI1, converting digital audio from PCM over firewire to AES/EBU over XLR or to PCM tover ADAT lightpipe and back.

The AXE tho has only analog audio I/O, so it's not an audio interface - it's a digital fx processor.
Specifically an amp simulator with a shit ton of funny fx.

The kemper and the pod also have USB audio I/O, so they are, among other things, audio interfaces.

Stuff made with the AXE sounds good because of two reasons mainly:
1. it's a good sounding amp simulator, unlike amplitube
2. people who buy that stuff usually know what they're doing

The audio conversion from analog to digital is very marginally important TS, so your problem is almost entirely solvable with software.
Have a look at the amp sims I listed.
Name's Luca.

Quote by OliOsbourne
I don't know anything about this topic, but I just clicked on this thread because of your username :O
Quote by Cajundaddy
Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
Quote by chrismendiola
I guess spambots are now capable of reading minds.
#5
Hey, thanks for the reply!

About the level meter - yes, I know; I meant that it also indicates when the audio clips over the upper end, and it's usually really at the lower-end (I don't know if too low, to be frank, but the dynamics of the guitar input seem to be pretty wide) of input-volume.

About the noise gate - well, again talking about Amplitube, but the one they have (which seems to work according to your description) gets really silly results: you may use an amp with sh*t-ton of noise and it would halt the sound completely when your guitar is silent, but as soon as you strum a single note, you can hear a wall of noise forming along it. And basically, even if the noise gate successfully bridges the parts of complete-silence and guitar-playing, the noise in the background is still there with the notes you actually want to hear, and to my comprehension is also mudding-out the sound. I assume the noise I hear is ground-noise, and the best aim is fixing the grounding issues, but I'm not sure how. My setup is pretty much Guitar->Audio interface->Desktop PC connected to AC socket.

About the Axe-Fx: well, I pointed out about interfaces basically being audio A-to-D converters, but how does the Axe-Fx connect to your computer if it doesn't convert the signal into digital? Do you need a separate A-to-D for it, or is it supposed to go into a sound card with an analog input?
#6
Quote by TLGuitar
you may use an amp with sh*t-ton of noise and it would halt the sound completely when your guitar is silent, but as soon as you strum a single note, you can hear a wall of noise forming along it.
This is how noise gates work.
Lowering the gain helps because you don't need that much and doing so would help you with the noise.
Quote by TLGuitar
and to my comprehension is also mudding-out the sound.
It really should not, but amplitube's noise gate may well suck.

Simply try another noise gate.
Quote by TLGuitar
I assume the noise I hear is ground-noise, and the best aim is fixing the grounding issues, but I'm not sure how.
It may be a 60 cycle noise, yes.
It may also be a 120 cycle noise or whatever else.

Is your guitar grounded?
If not you may wanna try and ground it.
Is your cable good?
If not you may wanna get a better cable.
Quote by TLGuitar
how does the Axe-Fx connect to your computer if it doesn't convert the signal into digital?
You don't connect it to a computer.

The AXE does convert your sound into digital to process it, but it converts it back to analog before sending it to the outputs.
Quote by TLGuitar
Do you need a separate A-to-D for it, or is it supposed to go into a sound card with an analog input?
The two things you just described are actually the same thing:
a sound card with an analog input IS an ADC/A-to-D/analog to digital converter.
Name's Luca.

Quote by OliOsbourne
I don't know anything about this topic, but I just clicked on this thread because of your username :O
Quote by Cajundaddy
Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
Quote by chrismendiola
I guess spambots are now capable of reading minds.
#7
In "mudding-out the sound" I meant that the noise itself is still in the signal; if the noise gate only silences the parts in which nothing but noise is heard, the noise is still present in the DI that gets processed into the distortion guitar sound, and thus hurts its integrity. You might not hear it as "noise" in these particular moments, but it's probably strong enough to interfere with the clarity of the guitar sound as it really doesn't seem to be that low in volume.

Is my guitar grounded... Well, I have a 2010 Les Paul Studio. I assume there should be some grounding component inside it as I remember my Stratocaster had one at where its wires are (though I don't recall it working too well either), but I haven't really checked into this.

My cable is new and pretty thick, so it shouldn't be the issue (I've used before this one a pretty old cable which did seem to increase the noise a bit, but the new cable only has so-much of an effect).

And are you not supposed to even connect the Axe-Fx into an analog audio-card input (because that to me would mean "connect to your computer")? I know audio cards have an A-to-D converter for their analog inputs, but I meant why wouldn't the Axe-Fx retain its signal as digital after it obviously processes it in its digital form?
#8
Quote by TLGuitar
In "mudding-out the sound" I meant that the noise itself is still in the signal; if the noise gate only silences the parts in which nothing but noise is heard, the noise is still present in the DI that gets processed into the distortion guitar sound, and thus hurts its integrity. You might not hear it as "noise" in these particular moments, but it's probably strong enough to interfere with the clarity of the guitar sound as it really doesn't seem to be that low in volume.
That's still how noise gates work and still the reason why you should lower the gain.
Quote by TLGuitar
My cable is new and pretty thick, so it shouldn't be the issue
Age and thickness aren't necessary indications of quality in a cable.
Quote by TLGuitar
And are you not supposed to even connect the Axe-Fx into an analog audio-card input (because that to me would mean "connect to your computer")?
How are you supposed to do anything in this situation?

Yes you can connect an AXE to an audio interface with analog inputs.
Quote by TLGuitar
I know audio cards have an A-to-D converter for their analog inputs
Not only audio cards.
Everything with analog inputs and digital outputs has at least one ADC.
Quote by TLGuitar
I meant why wouldn't the Axe-Fx retain its signal as digital after it obviously processes it in its digital form?
Because there are also DACs before the outputs.

A DAC, or Digital to Analog Converter, converts the processed audio back to analog.

I actually was mistaken tho, I remembered wrong - the axe fx II indeed has digital outputs as well, sorry for the confusion.
Name's Luca.

Quote by OliOsbourne
I don't know anything about this topic, but I just clicked on this thread because of your username :O
Quote by Cajundaddy
Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
Quote by chrismendiola
I guess spambots are now capable of reading minds.
#9
Well, I think I have this model (the 3M length): http://www.kirlincable.com/product_show.php?id=616

Regarding the background noise: that's why I said the real fix would be diminishing the actual input-noise as much as possible. Only being able to use a low amount of distortion because otherwise the impure DI gets too muddy is a big compromise. I've tried once to install the Fast Track's drivers on some laptop to see whether running it on its battery power (rather than connecting it to the AC socket) would eliminate the grounding-issues and resolve the noise (basically so I could verify the cause of the noise), but for some reason the drivers didn't want to install so I couldn't use the interface with it. I should probably find a different laptop and try again.

And regarding the Axe-Fx: obviously it would have a D-to-A converter if it sends out an analog output, but my point was "why"? But if it sports both types of outputs that would make much more sense.
#10
I'm going to do a bit of a bump here:

In continuation to the issue I've discussed above: I got a hold of a laptop which managed to run the Fast Track C400 drivers and tested AmpliTube while running it from its battery.

The strong noise was still there, though I can't say whether it was a bit weaker than with the desktop PC or not. I did notice something else: when I play using the interface, I output the processed signal into my real amp's 'Return' so I could listen to it in real-time as I don't own 1/4" headphones. I've tried before while using the PC to record without connecting the interface to the amp and then to listen to the exported result from the PC, but it didn't seem to change anything. I now tried that with the laptop, so nothing would be "in touch" (I hope) with the home's electrical grid; the noise was still very audible, but I did notice that while it was connected to the amp's 'Return', my guitar has also demonstrated the "extra noise while not touching the metal parts" grounding issue; the noise difference wasn't demonstrated while the interface wasn't connected to the amp.

So, now more specifically as I have concluded it has (almost) nothing to do with my computer and home's electricity:

A. Has anyone here ever used the Fast Track C400 (possibly with other amp simulators) and hasn't experienced such a terrible noise issue?
B. Has anyone here used a different interface with AmpliTube 3 and hasn't gotten so much noise (which would lead me to the conclusion that the interface is not good/is malfunctioning)?
C. As I assume there is also a problem with the guitar's own grounding - is there any way of fixing that part of the issue? It's a 2010 Les Paul Studio.

Thanks in advance.
#11
I use Amplitube to record and I use the pedals and/or effects in the rack. I ALWAYS bypass the amp and cabinet. This way I can use my gear; my guitar into my wah or distortion, then into my amp, then I run my amp into my interface into Amplitube and I only use the pedals and/or rack effects in Amplitube. This gets me an awesome tone. I've never been able to get a good tone with the amps and cabs in Amplitube.

That's my two cents anyway...

*edit: by the way, my interface is the Alesis iO2. And while I don't like the tone of using Amplitube's amps and cabinets, I can get a decent tone. It's not too noisy or that bad, just don't like it as much as MY amp. And are you using the noisegate in Amplitube?
Last edited by bbzswa777 at Oct 4, 2015,
#12
I TL;DR'd but as a peer with the same kind of setup in the past I can tell my experience. I have had C400 for almost three years. I have had problems with the ASIO drivers not installing and recently I think I broke its grounding and then starting to crash uncontrollably. Crashing stopped after several driver installs.

I don't recommend this device for this reason, but I have got past these problems. Now for Amplitube: I always have thought that Amplitube sounds dull. I never got a decent edgy sound with it. I like the effects but that's about it. It is a great tool to play with, but honestly it's bad for recording great tones. Nowadays I use BIAS and I'm impressed. It did not take long to get a tone. As for the noise I've got no problems with moderate gain. You might be using more gain than required.
#13
@blacknex I use the gain that many of their presets offer, and most of them are extremely noisy on-the-get-go. If I can't use that it means I can't use it for anything Metal. Most of the gains from the "Custom Shop->German Gain" are completely noisy (I've used one of them in the attached example). I don't use their noise gate because it sucks, but either way it's just a mask for the actual tone your setup has produced, and I think there's a level of noise which is just unacceptable.

Did you read my latest comment?
#15
@diabolical You get no/almost no noise using your setup? As I said, I use a Les Paul Studio, but I do have in addition some HSS Stratocaster I haven't touched in ages sitting around, but I don't think it would make any difference (I don't believe this amount of noise is supposed to come "from" the guitar; as I said, it seems like there's a bit of additional grounding hum when I don't touch the strings, but it's minor in comparison to the whole buzzing going on).

What kind of interface do you use?
#16
@TL - I can load some of my patches up for you to try out, I'll post links.

I use PreSonus Firepod and/or Edirol UA4fx. No issues with either - I have noise gate on my patches though as you normally would when playing through hi gain amp.
#18
Quote by diabolical


Well, I don't usually use the noise gate I have available in my AmpliTube as it sucks completely (it makes the not-playing moments completely silent, but as soon as it picks a bit of string signal the whole wall of noise comes back and it sounds terrible), but I still believe the level of noise I have is way more than should be. That's why the noise gate probably doesn't really work well.

I will try what you've added later, but my question is whether there's a really great amount of noise in your high gain settings when not using something like a noise gate? That's how you can truly asses the quality of your input signal. Take a listen at the link I've added to understand what I'm experiencing (the last couple of seconds are the noise alone with no actual playing from the guitar).
#19
Quote by TLGuitar
Well, I don't usually use the noise gate I have available in my AmpliTube as it sucks completely (it makes the not-playing moments completely silent, but as soon as it picks a bit of string signal the whole wall of noise comes back and it sounds terrible), but I still believe the level of noise I have is way more than should be. That's why the noise gate probably doesn't really work well.

I will try what you've added later, but my question is whether there's a really great amount of noise in your high gain settings when not using something like a noise gate? That's how you can truly asses the quality of your input signal. Take a listen at the link I've added to understand what I'm experiencing (the last couple of seconds are the noise alone with no actual playing from the guitar).


You may have a grounding issue - does the noise reduce drastically when you place your hands on the strings and then pop and return when you remove them?

Also, aim your guitar away from your computer monitor.
#20
Quote by reverb66
You may have a grounding issue - does the noise reduce drastically when you place your hands on the strings and then pop and return when you remove them?

Also, aim your guitar away from your computer monitor.


Hey. As I've updated in my latest comments here, I eventually tried to test the Fast Track C400 and AmpliTube with a laptop running on its battery power (so it's disconnected from the grid). It didn't solve the noise issue (though I can't tell whether it went a little bit quieter or not). Regarding the "not touching the strings" noise - I did see that (because I currently don't have 1/4" headphones) when my Fast Track's headphone output went into my actual amp's 'Return' so I could hear the processed guitar in real time, there was a bit more noise while not touching the guitar strings (but there was still plenty when touching them); when I didn't connect the Fast Track to my amp, so the whole setup really had no contact with the electrical grid, the "no touch noise" was no longer present, so I assume there's also some issue with my guitar's own grounding. But the really strong noise was still there either way. I wonder what would cause so much noise while everything runs on the laptop's battery?
Last edited by TLGuitar at Oct 8, 2015,
#23
OK, for some reason I thought it was "pic" and not "picosong".
The song wouldn't play all the way though but from what I heard at the end...
That noise floor seems perfectly normal, you'll have to learn how to use your noise gate. Try one of my patches and see what you get, let me know.
#24
Quote by diabolical
OK, for some reason I thought it was "pic" and not "picosong".
The song wouldn't play all the way though but from what I heard at the end...
That noise floor seems perfectly normal, you'll have to learn how to use your noise gate. Try one of my patches and see what you get, let me know.


Until what second does it play? The noise at the end is from about second 23 until 25.
Either way, that's only one example. There are many presets which are much, much worse.

I also have an issue with the general quality of the tone. It almost always seems way too muddy, and I suspect it has something to do with the noise floor mixing with the actual signal of the guitar-playing. I've heard plenty of simulated amp recordings that sounded very, VERY good, and were crystal-clear. I've heard several which were probably from this Axe-Fx unit, but I don't know whether the difference in the tone's quality is from the sound card actually doing its job or the amp simulator being better (probably a combination of the two).
Last edited by TLGuitar at Oct 9, 2015,
#25
Hey. So, I tried to use a different amp sim to compare the general results. I've looked a bit and saw plenty of stuff on YouTube praising Positive Grid's BIAS. Actually most of these did sound pretty great to me, but it did seem like they were just employing some strong marketing using famous guitar channels, and I've seen a bunch of people replying that Revalver is better in their opinion - just not as strongly marketed.

I've got a hold of Revalver 4; I haven't gone through all of it yet, but it seems like its distortion effects handle noise better and it sounds overall better than AmpliTube to me. The noise gate also seems to work more organically than AmpliTube's. But, I still would have liked a clean input tone, and it just seems like the one coming from my Fast Track isn't clean enough. Using too much noise gate can filter out long sustains, for example, and overall it won't clear up the guitar tone itself.

I decided to check this, and it seems that while connecting my Les Paul into the interface does add some more noise, the Fast Track generates much of it on its own without the guitar even being connected. As it seems like the base gain on it (without pressing the "Pad" button) is rather high as it is, I now usually set the knob to its lowest possible position (and the indicator might still show slight clipping if strumming chords hard enough); I've recorded some short test where – with the noise gate disabledthe guitar is connected (I play a bit) while the FT's gain is at its lowest, and then I unplug the guitar and let it go on for a few moments. You can already hear some hiss here being generated from the interface's naked signal going into the distortion. I then connect the guitar again while setting a slightly higher gain, and finally unplug the guitar while raising the gain to about 9 o'clock, and then to 12 o'clock. You can hear plenty of noise in this, and I don't know if that's "normal" and how does that compare to other interfaces when the guitar is not even connected.

(don't mind the terrible playing)
http://picosong.com/Sacd/