I am encountering a funky distortion problem during tracking. The equipment is: an old 2001 yr., 800 mhz Dell pc running Windows XP , M-Audio Delta 66 soundcard, ART Pro-Channel mic pre...software: Cakewalk Sonar 3 Producer Ed. I am tracking at 44.1/16 bit (the computer will not handle higher sample rates/bit depths without audio drop-out).(Note-the problem happens regardless of microphone selection).
When tracking, I have a slight distortion on certain loud passages. It is not the typical horrid digital clipping, but a slight static-like sound. The Delta 66 is set with an input level of "consumer." I've played with the levels on the Pro-Channel, sometimes riding the pre-amp gain, pre-amp output and/or master output pots. The distortion is inconsistent, appearing intermittently. The visual clips of the recorded tracks in Sonar do not appear to be peaking or clipping. Sometimes I believe the problem is in the monitoring/output stage of the Delta 66, because I can alleviate it somewhat in post-production by lowering the levels of the passages where it occurs.
1) Do you know what is causing the problem?
2) Is there a way to solve it with the equipment I have?
3) I previously used the Aardvark Direct Pro 24/96, but when I upgraded to XP, I switched to the Delta because Aardvark did not support a WDM driver. Under the old MME running on Windows ME, I had no such problems with the DirectPro. Is there a way to go back to running the DirectPro (is there a driver out there that will run on XP, or an emulator or something??) Is this a good idea? I realize the Aardvark equipent is not only much more expensive but also better than the Delta 66.
4) Should I just buy a new soundcard? Which one, given the rest of the set-up?
Thanks, Brian B.