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Microphone Month 3

Sweetwater Forums [Archived]

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Distortion problem on tracking


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.
September 15, 2005 @01:42am
Dave Burris

You may be overdriving the analog inputs to the converter or preamp. Check the specs on the output voltage of your preamp and the input voltage of the converter.
September 16, 2005 @01:25pm

Also, having your input levels set to "Consumer" may be a problem, as consumer level is usually -10, verses +4 for "Pro" try changing your input level settings and see what happens.
September 16, 2005 @10:45pm

I found this link in another forum. It might help.
September 28, 2005 @05:44pm