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Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby basic channel » Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:05 am

Hi

I recently installed a couple of new 1TB WD Blue Caviar drives.

Using DAW today I noticed an annoying (quiet but noticable) high pitch noise - bit like a fax machine signal.

At first I thought it was the new drives, but it's actually coming through speakers.

So I'm guessing this is some kind of electrical interference.

I also replaced my old CRT monitors with 2 flat LCD's a while back.

Hardware attached = BCF2000, BCR2000, Kenton Plugstation, TC PoCo Firewire, J-Station, RME Multiface

Any ideas exactly what this could be & how to eliminate it ?


thanks
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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby Mike Stranks » Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:27 am

Have you had a read of this:

Funny Noises With Your Audio

HTH. Mike
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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby basic channel » Sun Aug 07, 2011 1:07 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:Have you had a read of this:

<a href="/forum/showflat.php?Cat=&Number=222392&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=365&fpart=1#222392" target="_blank">Funny Noises With Your Audio</a>

HTH. Mike

Thanks

However that does seem to be referring mainly to laptops.

This is a desktop DAW.
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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby Martin Walker » Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:24 pm

It does indeed, because so many laptop owners suffer from this problem, but it's not exclusive to laptops - you can have ground loop problems on desktop-based computers too, and in fact with any audio system where at least two items are earthed via their mains cables.


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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby Guest » Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:36 pm

Would it be advisable to not have the monitors on the same mains out, or wouldn't it make a difference seeing that they are attached to the graphics card?

Thanks
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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:22 pm

You’ll invariably have far fewer grounding problems if you plug your entire studio into a single main outlet and use distribution blocks in a star formation to give yourself more sockets.

Even plugging in one device to a mains outlet on the other side of the same room has given me problems in the past, because the wiring for this may come from an entirely different part of the building, resulting in the two sockets having many metres of main cables between them (and hence a potentially HUGE ground loop )


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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby basic channel » Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:11 am

Thanks

I've tried arranging all power leads to come from a single outlet - no change.

I've tried turning off /on all attached hardware sequentially to try & narrow it down - no change.

The only thing I've found for sure is that turning the amp volume down turns the sound down (only thing going into amp is twin phono from RME Multiface.

Also detaching outputs from Multiface kills the high pitched whining.

So something created by soundcard and/or leads from soundcard to amp ?

No signal is registering on any of the RME TotalMix channels.

There are also a LOT of cables crossing each other around the back of the DAW e.g. power, MIDI, ADAT, S/PDIF, Firewire, USB

Is this faint fax-machinelike sound the type associated with a groundloop problem ?
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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby Guest » Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:36 pm

It probably is the hard drives. Does the sound go away when your drives are idle

Which IRQs are being shared with your RME and what is your OS?
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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby basic channel » Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:43 pm

Music Manic wrote:It probably is the hard drives. Does the sound go away when your drives are idle

Which IRQs are being shared with your RME and what is your OS?

What sort of HD interference would be audible via the soundcard output, but not register on the RME TotalMix mixer ?

The noise is there moreorless all the time, but does vary in pitch & rhythm, as I say much like a fax machine signal ... or a harddrive seeking !?

I don't recall the previous 350GB Caviars doing this. Be gutted if I have to remove them to cure this
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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Aug 10, 2011 5:23 pm

basic channel wrote:I've tried turning off /on all attached hardware sequentially to try & narrow it down - no change.


You need to physically disconnect the attached hardware to break a possible ground loop - whether it's switched on or not may affect ground loop levels slightly, but the noise will remain.

Also detaching outputs from Multiface kills the high pitched whining.

So something created by soundcard and/or leads from soundcard to amp ?

No signal is registering on any of the RME TotalMix channels.


This suggests the ground loop is created when you connect the Multiface to other gear, and therefore you've found your culprit - a DI box (or balanced I/O between the Multiface and that gear should kill the whines as well

There are also a LOT of cables crossing each other around the back of the DAW e.g. power, MIDI, ADAT, S/PDIF, Firewire, USB


Try to keep analogue audio cables well away from all those, but otherwise you should be OK.

Is this faint fax-machinelike sound the type associated with a groundloop problem ?


Yes, that's exactly what most people get - a faint whine that changes with any activity of your mouse, hard drives and graphics card.

You're nearly there now!


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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby mydrumming » Wed Aug 10, 2011 7:09 pm

Hi basic channel,
I had the exact same issue with my saffire pro. This really annoying digital noise that changed and sometimes stopped if I moved the mouse. The solution for me was to run my fire wire connection on a fire wire card and not the motherboard. Might be worth a try.

Hope it helps.
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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby basic channel » Wed Aug 10, 2011 7:53 pm

Martin Walker wrote:
basic channel wrote:I've tried turning off /on all attached hardware sequentially to try & narrow it down - no change.

You need to physically disconnect the attached hardware to break a possible ground loop - whether it's switched on or not may affect ground loop levels slightly, but the noise will remain.

Also detaching outputs from Multiface kills the high pitched whining.

So something created by soundcard and/or leads from soundcard to amp ?

No signal is registering on any of the RME TotalMix channels.

This suggests the ground loop is created when you connect the Multiface to other gear, and therefore you've found your culprit - a DI box (or balanced I/O between the Multiface and that gear should kill the whines as well

There are also a LOT of cables crossing each other around the back of the DAW e.g. power, MIDI, ADAT, S/PDIF, Firewire, USB

Try to keep analogue audio cables well away from all those, but otherwise you should be OK.

Is this faint fax-machinelike sound the type associated with a groundloop problem ?

Yes, that's exactly what most people get - a faint whine that changes with any activity of your mouse, hard drives and graphics card.

You're nearly there now!


Martin

Many thanks - I feel like a dog with a bone now !

The MF breakout box has the previously described phono L+R analogue output leads attached, plus an ADAT In (from plugstation) & s/pdif In (from J Station).

I did detach the digital In's, but to no avail.

Where exactly should I attach the DI box / balanced IO you suggested ?

Also, when connecting the gear to a single mains socket I just kind daisy chained the 4-way multisockets. Is this correct ?
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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby basic channel » Wed Aug 10, 2011 7:57 pm

mydrumming wrote:Hi basic channel,
I had the exact same issue with my saffire pro. This really annoying digital noise that changed and sometimes stopped if I moved the mouse. The solution for me was to run my fire wire connection on a fire wire card and not the motherboard. Might be worth a try.

Hope it helps.
Paul.

Thanks

That's not really an option for me as I already use a TI chip pci-e card for Firewire to avoid the dreadful onboard Agere fw chip !
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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby Indigo2 » Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:46 am

If the computers mainboard is a Gigabyte with an X58 chipset, then you could have a problem, that could be fixed by disabling the C1E and the EIST in the BIOS.
I've experienced this several times.
See for instance this thread http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1139845
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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby basic channel » Thu Aug 11, 2011 9:00 am

Indigo2 wrote:If the computers mainboard is a Gigabyte with an X58 chipset, then you could have a problem, that could be fixed by disabling the C1E and the EIST in the BIOS.
I've experienced this several times.
See for instance this thread http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1139845

No - it's an Asus:

http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_775/P5KEWIFIAP/
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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby Martin Walker » Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:05 pm

The Gigabyte UD5 squeal is a well known annoyance to DIY PC builders. Sometimes the noises can be heard acoustically from vibrating PSU components, but for most musicians the problem is audible as background noises in the output of their audio interface (particularly so with Firewire models).

If you hear such noises from your Firewire audio interface, unplug other audio gear from it and listen to the headphone output in isolation. If the noises have gone, you’re suffering from a ground loop, and can resort to the usual cures, such as balanced cabling or a line-level DI box.

If the noises remain, you might be another victim of the dreaded ‘UD5 squeal’, whose cure is to disable the ‘C1E CPU Enhanced Halt state’ in the Advanced CPU Features section of the BIOS, which should also cure any PSU noises. This parameter is normally used to reduce power consumption but, due to an unfortunate design flaw, can produce a noisy side-effect with this motherboard model.

However, permanently disabling the hardware throttling schemes named EIST (Enhanced Intel Speedstep Technology) and C1E enhanced halt state is also recommended on many PCs that have them listed in their BIOS, to avoid the processor clock speed being changed behind your back. Basically if you're suffering from background noises, try disabling both of these before you tear all your hair out.

Also, you should resist any temptation to install specialist overclocking utilities from your motherboard manufacturer, such as Gigabyte’s EasyTune, which also result in audio drop-outs for the same reason.

You should also make sure your Windows Power Scheme is set to ‘Always On’ under Windows XP, or ‘High Performance’ with Windows Vista and Windows 7.


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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby basic channel » Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:33 pm

Martin Walker wrote:The Gigabyte UD5 squeal is a well known annoyance to DIY PC builders. Sometimes the noises can be heard acoustically from vibrating PSU components, but for most musicians the problem is audible as background noises in the output of their audio interface (particularly so with Firewire models).

If you hear such noises from your Firewire audio interface, unplug other audio gear from it and listen to the headphone output in isolation. If the noises have gone, you’re suffering from a ground loop, and can resort to the usual cures, such as balanced cabling or a line-level DI box.

If the noises remain, you might be another victim of the dreaded ‘UD5 squeal’, whose cure is to disable the ‘C1E CPU Enhanced Halt state’ in the Advanced CPU Features section of the BIOS, which should also cure any PSU noises. This parameter is normally used to reduce power consumption but, due to an unfortunate design flaw, can produce a noisy side-effect with this motherboard model.

However, permanently disabling the hardware throttling schemes named EIST (Enhanced Intel Speedstep Technology) and C1E enhanced halt state is also recommended on many PCs that have them listed in their BIOS, to avoid the processor clock speed being changed behind your back. Basically if you're suffering from background noises, try disabling both of these before you tear all your hair out.

Also, you should resist any temptation to install specialist overclocking utilities from your motherboard manufacturer, such as Gigabyte’s EasyTune, which also result in audio drop-outs for the same reason.

You should also make sure your Windows Power Scheme is set to ‘Always On’ under Windows XP, or ‘High Performance’ with Windows Vista and Windows 7.


Martin

Thanks again

The Multiface is a pci device, so I'm guessing some of the above doesn't apply ?

However will investigate those BIOS options & keep my fingers crossed.

If this noise is only heard when the 2 phone cables are plugged in (Multiface analogue outputs --> hifi amp), then maybe better shielded cables might help ? What's the difference between balanced & shielded in this context ?
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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby basic channel » Fri Aug 12, 2011 8:35 pm

Update:


I've tried disabling those mboard options in BIOS - no change.

Tried pulling power on all attached hardware one by one - no change.

One thing I hadn't tried was pulling the cable connecting Multiface to pci card - that killed the sound, same as pulling the audio leads. Does this add any further info ?

I can't remember the spec on these phone cables - although they do say "noiseless microphone cable 20/0.12" on the casing.

Also sound does not alter in level when moving the output faders on TotalMix (and as mentioned before, doesn't register on the VU meters) - so I'm assuming this sound won't make it's way in to any recordings ?
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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:58 pm

OK - now you’ve made those BIOS changes and there’s no difference it must be a ground loop, as confirmed by the fact that the noises are only heard when connecting cables between the Multiface audio outputs and your hi-fi
inputs.

So this is where you need a stereo DI box to break the ground loop - between the Multiface outputs and the hi-fi inputs.


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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby basic channel » Sat Aug 13, 2011 12:23 am

Something like this should do it ?


http://www.dv247.com/studio-equipment/samson-s-direct-plus-stereo-direct-box--34384


Does it matter about balanced / unbalanced inputs+outputs here ?
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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby Mike Stranks » Sat Aug 13, 2011 7:20 am

If you're connecting to a standard amplifier with line-level inputs you'll need something like this:

ART CleanBox II

or this:

ART DTI

... reason being that these isolators keep the signal at line-level - which is what you want - whereas a DI drops the signal to mic-level.

Regards. Mike
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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby basic channel » Sat Aug 13, 2011 10:18 am

Mike Stranks wrote:If you're connecting to a standard amplifier with line-level inputs you'll need something like this:

ART CleanBox II

or this:

ART DTI

... reason being that these isolators keep the signal at line-level - which is what you want - whereas a DI drops the signal to mic-level.

Regards. Mike

Thanks

But now I'm a bit confused again

That product refers to 60Hz hum. But I'm not getting that - mine as much more high pitched than that.
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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby Guest » Sat Aug 13, 2011 1:29 pm

basic channel wrote:

Thanks

But now I'm a bit confused again

That product refers to 60Hz hum. But I'm not getting that - mine as much more high pitched than that.

Monitors and brightness levels?
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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby Mike Stranks » Sat Aug 13, 2011 9:16 pm

basic channel wrote:
Mike Stranks wrote:If you're connecting to a standard amplifier with line-level inputs you'll need something like this:

ART CleanBox II

or this:

ART DTI

... reason being that these isolators keep the signal at line-level - which is what you want - whereas a DI drops the signal to mic-level.

Regards. Mike

Thanks

But now I'm a bit confused again

That product refers to 60Hz hum. But I'm not getting that - mine as much more high pitched than that.


I think you'll be fine... these boxes usually do the biz where any sort of hum-loop is involved - and from all the investigations you've done that defo seems to be what you've got.

Of course, no guarantee is given or implied!
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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby basic channel » Sun Aug 14, 2011 2:14 pm

Just ordered !

£40 seems a bit steep, but if it cures this it will be worth it.
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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby Martin Walker » Mon Aug 15, 2011 12:03 am

The ART Cleanbox II has solved countless ground loop problems for musicians over the years without compromising audio quality - fingers crossed that it solves your problems too

Let us know how you get on!


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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby ef37a » Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:25 am

http://www.orchid-electronics.co.uk/

These guys make an interesting range of products including a single channel earth breaker traff box for £19, handy for isolating guitar amp FX loops say.

I know no more about them than the link! Maybe a review of some of the products could be arranged?

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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:08 am

Nice find Dave... I'll be looking more closely later...
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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby ef37a » Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:20 am

Mike Stranks wrote:Nice find Dave... I'll be looking more closely later...

Err just for the record!
I suggested that site NOT because the products are a wee bit CHEAPER (but that don't hurt?)but because I like to promote home grown companies where I can.

The "re amp" box looks particularly good value. I wonder why they don't describe it as such..trade name perhaps?

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Re: Annoying high pitch noise from DAW ...

Postby zenguitar » Mon Aug 15, 2011 12:49 pm

Orchid Electronics have been at the Exeter Analogue to Digital show for the last 3 years, and they have have a fine reputation in the South West.

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