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 Post subject: Audio Recording Crisis
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:06 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:52 pm
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This is a blog post. To read the original post, please click here »

UPDATE:
I'm an idiot, the problem WAS one of the cables, I somehow tricked myself into thinking I tested multiple ones when I didn't. Have bought a new one and am resuming recording. Feel free to continue sending any advice regarding "micro pops" I can get sometimes, not sure if the source is natural or not, though that's far less critical an issue.

- - -

This is a quick update / post for advice. Last night I noticed two recording sessions I made for the next Game Dungeon episode ended up being severely flawed to the point I had to throw them out. What would happen would be my voice would be recording normally, then would suddenly cut out to drastically reduced volume. It has since stayed highly erratic. People have sometimes complained of crackling in the live video chats with fans, it's possible that was a prelude to this. You can listen to a sample I recorded here:

Sample of recording screw-up

Feel free to [url=mailto:[email protected]]email me[/url] with any suggestions if you're knowledgeable with this sort of thing. I'm really stumped as to what the problem is.

THINGS I'VE TRIED SO FAR:
-Swapping different microphones
-Swapping different XLR cables
-Trying microphone that doesn't need phantom power
-Changing USB ports for my DAC
-Uninstalled / updated DAC drivers
-Trying different audio editors (Audition / Audacity)

POSSIBLY USEFUL INFORMATION:
-I am using a Focusrite Scarlett Solo DAC for my audio. I've owned it for about a year and a half.
-I've had a lot of "ghosts in the machine" with my USB ports on this motherboard in the past. It got so bad using external hard drives was simply unreliable (would reliably cause file copy errors) unless I plugged them into a different port. Whenever I plugged in a device like the webcam, I would often have to plug the device back into an old port for it to work again. It got so bad I bought a PCI-E USB 3.0 add on card, which solved the problem completely. Since I wasn't experiencing any problems with my DAC, I left it plugged in to the motherboard. Since then, I've switched to the add-on card, but the problem persists.
-My motherboard is an Asus P8P67.
-In the past I used a Xonar DX soundcard. It had great sound, but would periodically give me severe driver problems to the point that I felt like it was unusable for the long term. I haven't used it since I had the DAC
-I have not experienced any audio playback problems at any point in time, just recording.
-I am absolutely willing to buy new hardware if necessary, but I don't want to waste my money if I have good equipment and made a bad diagnosis.


CURRENT PLANS:
-If I can find the right cables, I plan to use an old pre-amp and redirect everything using motherboard audio. If that works, the sound won't be quite as good, but will hopefully be good enough to finish the next episode. If that doesn't work, I'm completely out of ideas
-This has delayed the next episode by at least a day. If I get it solved today, then I'm predicting Wednesday for its release. If not, then everything is in limbo until this gets fixed.
-In the event motherboard audio works, I don't want to do that as a long-term solution (I can hear the difference between dedicated soundcard / DAC audio v. motherboard audio). I'm certainly open to suggestions.


ADHD version: Ross is having for real audio problems. Will finish next Game Dungeon as soon as he gets a temporary fix.


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 Post subject: Re: Audio Recording Crisis
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:46 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2016 10:35 am
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Just guessing, but it sounds like a bad/loose connection between some cables. Maybe some dust gathered inside your ports or there has been some corrosion on the pins?
To test that you could wiggle your cables around at the connectors and whenever it's at a spot where it's working right, try holding them in place and see if the problem stops.


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 Post subject: Re: Audio Recording Crisis
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 6:55 am 

Joined: Sun May 27, 2018 11:30 am
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Ahem. This is likely a HW problem, but there is a way to prove it, if you can 1) test DAC on another PC, where you'd be allowed to install drivers for it (even a tablet or a smartphone would do, if there are Android or iOS drivers), or 2) switch back to Xonar (just for testing, not using actually).

As for now this seems to be a bug in the DAC's analog circuit controlling amp gain — some sort of loose wire or a component having bad contact with the PCB. You can open the DAC, clean it from dust and look for anything loose. Another cause — volume/gain knob (a variable resistor) on the front wears out, if you move it often (or never). There are two on this model (mike and instrument), so you can try second one with a mike having a 1/4" jack and no phantom power. If you've found a faulty knob, slowly turn it around target value a few times — it may enhance the contact (temporarily).

Anyway, other audio devices (like motherboard audio) should work fine with the same set of microphones.


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 Post subject: Re: Audio Recording Crisis
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:03 pm 
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I had exactly the same problem with my sound amplifier, and it turned out to be the volume regulator. I ended up disassembling the amplifier, and just f*cking soldering the regulator contacts together to short-circuit them, and then just using the software volume slider to regulate volume.

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 Post subject: Re: Audio Recording Crisis
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:42 pm 

Joined: Sun May 27, 2018 11:30 am
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ScumCoder wrote:
I ended up disassembling the amplifier, and just f*cking soldering the regulator contacts together to short-circuit them, and then just using the software volume slider to regulate volume.

Yeah; well, overgaining is also bad, if you have sound clipping in loud segments. And we all know Ross likes to scream at things :o


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 Post subject: Re: Audio Recording Crisis
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:43 pm 
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Tacit wrote:
Another cause — volume/gain knob (a variable resistor) on the front wears out, if you move it often (or never).

That's what it sounds like to me. If turning it doesn't work, sometime percusion repairs work. (hitting the knob) Bear in mind, there is no way to permanently fix the knob, it would require replacement. That is, if it's the root cause. If not, it could be any number of things inside the DAC. (including a short circuit, or dust, or an burnt transistor, or a failing capacitor, etc.)

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 Post subject: Re: Audio Recording Crisis
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 12:43 pm 
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Man, between this and
Quote:
I screwed up a setting on the recording and have to redo 1-2 days worth of footage

this is probably the most rage-inducing episode so far. I don't know about you, but re-doing something I have already done is THE worst possible thing for me. If I were you I think I would have become utterly depressed and just ditched everything, went on to work on something else.

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