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D-tar Solstice noise?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by tony-moore, Mar 29, 2005.


  1. Any other Solstice owners out there experiencing white noise or hiss problems? I've had mine since December and have been using it with my GK MB150 to monitor. Tonight, I had an ampless gig (live recording reheasal) and used in ear monitors and a really nice wedge. Even with no signal passing thru (and even nothing plugged in!) and all volumes (and even eq) turned all the way back, the noise was very audible.

    Has anyone else experienced this?

    Tony
     
  2. robgrow

    robgrow Supporting Member

    May 1, 2004
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Tony,

    How is your gain structure setup? Are you plugging the line level output of the Solstice directly into a mic level input on a PA or recording mixer? If so, you may need to use a pad or possibly a good transformer direct box to reduce the nominal output level of the Solstice down to something closer to mic level. (A loss of at least 20dB will probably be necessary if this is the case.)

    If a gain structure mismatch is not the problem, the Solstice may need repair.

    Rick Turner of D-TAR is a member here. Hopefully he'll see your post and have a comment.

    -bob
     
  3. flatback

    flatback

    May 6, 2004
    Bolinas Ca
    All of the above...My D-Tar is fairly quiet and I have recorded with it too. Check bad cables, read Dtars instructions about gain structure on the Solstice. Go into effects return on GK. For small gigs I use the GK with the Solstice going into the effects return and it sounds...usable.
     
  4. Aleph5

    Aleph5

    Feb 24, 2004
    Tennessee
    For small gigs I use the GK with the Solstice going into the effects return and it sounds...usable.

    How should the Solstice be used w/ a GK for small gigs (or big 'uns)? Or should it at all? I've thought about adding the Solstice or Equinox w/ my GK to have a better preamp.
     
  5. flatback

    flatback

    May 6, 2004
    Bolinas Ca
    I use the solstice as a preamp for full circle pick up going in to input 1 with that vol turned up high (12 0 clock) then adjust master Gain for overall volume, patched out of solstice into fx return of GK. On most gigs tho I go straight into a powered PA like the Mackie 450 or Pub 280 (better choice)
    Do not try to blend a mic into the GK it cant hack it and it just sounds bad. But into a PA you can get really good results depending on the quality of your mic.
    I find myself too close to the drummer or piano (mostly) and end up with a lot of bleed so I have just been using the pick up lately.
    All t he Best,
    Piro
     
  6. Aleph5

    Aleph5

    Feb 24, 2004
    Tennessee
    Thanks for the advice. I used to be considering blending a mic into a Solstice, but now I have been leaning toward just my wonderful Full Circle (too) into the Equinox. I've heard that the GK preamp better suits an EBG; the Equinox should be better, double the input impedance to 2Mohm, and allow much more EQ tailoring (though maybe too much :eek: ). I wish I had a Pub 280 :p , but I'm not ready to drop the bucks. :bawl:

    The mic blend would be complicated as a minimum. Also there's this: The louder I'm amplified, the more I often experience drastically deadened tone with my valued sustain virtually eliminated. I can minimize it if I get my direct out-fed bass out of the house monitors :spit: (!) and carefully position/adjust the GK, etc. But my theory explaining this is as follows: There is acoustic feedback getting into the bass that is subtractive. That's the only thing I can figure. And therefore when you add another input device (second pickup, mic, or whatever), you mess with phasing by adding at least one more signal that's likely not going to be in phase with the first, which would more likely make this effect much worse and unlikely better.

    Any thoughts on this?
     
  7. JohnThomasson

    JohnThomasson Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Mesa Boogie, DR Strings, Fender, Source Audio & Fishman
    I 've had this noise appear a couple of times in two different ways. My settings were the same night after night and I almost never had any problems, but a couple of times I had that white type of noise. Once it was only in the line out to the PA and not my amp and one time it was reversed and the noise went to my amp and not the PA. This is different than the typical ground noise and flip the lift didn't help at all. I love my Solstice and this only happened a few times.
     
  8. flatback

    flatback

    May 6, 2004
    Bolinas Ca
    That's the only thing I can figure. And therefore when you add another input device (second pickup, mic, or whatever), you mess with phasing by adding at least one more signal that's likely not going to be in phase with the first, which would more likely make this effect much worse and unlikely better.
    Check out the phase buttons on the solstice...very useful when blending a mic.(sometimes even with just the pick up)
     
  9. Rick Turner

    Rick Turner Commercial User

    Jul 14, 2004
    I design and build electric basses and pickups under the Turner, Renaissance, and Electroline brand names.
    It's all about gain structure. Please read the excellent gain setting instructions that Kevin Beller wrote up. It's all on the D-TAR website at www.d-tar

    Generally, you want to run sources fairly hot.

    Play around with the relative settings of gain and master volume. Make sure you've got controls you're not using turned down...for instance the mic inputs should be turned off if you're not using them.

    Also note that you've got about six dB of headroom left when you see the input overload light just begin to flash.
     
  10. Hey Guys,

    I'm very familiar with gain structure. Audio recording is a hobby of mine and I have a home studio where we've done much semi-pro recording. I did read the Solstice manual before using it and had the Solstice manual with me at the rehearsal.

    Please note this "white noise" is being generated from the unit even WITH NO INPUTS (nothing plugged in at all) and ALL VOLUMES TURNED down. So the only thing the FOH is seeing is the line level the Solstice is providing it. It only stops generating the noise when muted.

    This venue has one of the best PA's and live engineers in our entire region (Southern Ohio, KY, IN). I'm not talking about plugging into a combo amp and playing a coffeehouse scenario...

    I ended up using a Fishman Pro EQ DI to finish the reheasal and had no problems at all.

    I'll bring the Solstice with me to the gig on Saturday to confirm everything...

    Tony
     
  11. I forgot to list all the details of my rig if it matters. I thought I had done this, sorry!

    Shen 3/4 with Fishman Full Circle (I also have a Dyn B but I'm not using it for this gig)
    Guild RI Starfire EBG with Hammon DarkStar pups
    D-tar Solstice
    - direct to FOH

    Tony
     
  12. JohnThomasson

    JohnThomasson Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Mesa Boogie, DR Strings, Fender, Source Audio & Fishman
    Mine did the same as Tony without anything plugged in. I am also very familiar with gain structure and this happened on two different occasions using the same settings I used on the night before, and on the night after the noise happened. It was in my pedal board and the settings never changed. I think it happened once at the House of Blues in Chicago and once at Irving Plaza in New York. At least it was that level of venue and P.A. It is usually fine, but it just does that every once in a while.

    I still love it. I was listening to a board recording the soundman made of the show I played last night and it sounded amazing. The Full Circle and Solstice really work well together. Maybe not just like a mic, but as good as it gets for a pickup and blending with a band.
     
  13. flatback

    flatback

    May 6, 2004
    Bolinas Ca
    I still love it. I was listening to a board recording the soundman made of the show I played last night and it sounded amazing. The Full Circle and Solstice really work well together. Maybe not just like a mic, but as good as it gets for a pickup and blending with a band......



    Here Here!!!
     
  14. JohnThomasson

    JohnThomasson Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Mesa Boogie, DR Strings, Fender, Source Audio & Fishman
    I'll try to get a copy of it and post some clips on my site. I'm also playing there on Saturday and I hope to get a copy. They usually record the shows at this venue. I do have some other board recordings from there, but it is with the Full Circle/Fishman Bass Pro EQ platinum combo.
     
  15. I completely agree with the sound! Notice I'm not even bothering to use the Dyn-B anymore...

    BUT - in a "quiet" gig, my Solstice is noisy enough to be unusable :-(

    Tony
     
  16. Billy D-TAR

    Billy D-TAR

    Mar 31, 2005
    Hey gang,

    Hope all is well. Thanks for all the post.

    This e-mail is a concern, since we went to a lot of trouble to make the Solstice extraordinarily quiet.

    Let's explore some other possibilities that I gleaned from R&D when a user the other day was experiencing noise along these lines:

    <<The main XLR output of existing Solstice units is at line level (high level) and is not adjustable. This works well when the Solstice is connected to a line-level input, but causes problems if the FOH engineer plugs it into a mic-level (low level) input on the mixing board. The mixing board mic inputs have so much gain that they amplify the low level residual noise and the normally inaudible switch pops from the Solstice. One clue that that is what's happening is that one or more volume controls somewhere in the chain end up being turned down essentially all the way to keep from overdriving the mixing board.

    The best solution for this is to have the FOH/monitor engineer plug the Solstice into a line-level input (which is what the Solstice is intended to drive). Other FOH/monitor solutions could be to switch in the mixing board mic input attenuator on that channel, or to install an external XLR attenuator at the mixing board on that channel. Another option is to feed the main 1/4" output of the Solstice into a good DI box, and then use the Master Volume control on the Solstice to reduce the signal to mic level. If two FOH inputs are available, the Ch1 and Ch2 XLR outputs of the Solstice (which are mic level) can be used, and then mixed together by the sound engineer(s).

    The next production lot of Solstice preamps will have the main XLR output, as well as the main 1/4" output, adjustable in level with the Master Volume control. We have occasionally modified old units (e.g. Glen Phillips) to have this feature, but we can't modify more than a couple units in engineering without delaying new products.

    We have had a few complaints about the high XLR output level in the past, which is why we modified the production design. >>

    I hope this information adds to the discussion.

    Thanks~

    Billy Gill
    Sales Manager
    Duncan-Turner Acoustic Research
     
  17. flatback

    flatback

    May 6, 2004
    Bolinas Ca
    This is what I like about the cats at Dtar. They stand by what they make and then make it gooder.
    I like the unit, It never fails to give me lots of usable quiet clean sound in any possible configuration I could need and its ugly so no one will want to steal it.
    The truth is if they made a more demure front vinal I'd probably slap it on there....
     
  18. Billy D-TAR

    Billy D-TAR

    Mar 31, 2005
    Hello again,

    R&D asked me to post these questions on their behalf:

    1) Does this noise happen only on the XLR output or is the 1/4" output involved as well?

    2) When the noise occurs, is there anything unusual about the cable from the Solstice to the amplifier or mixing board, such as length, use of a snake, or anything else obvious?

    3) Has anyone experienced the noise when using the 1/4" output and a DI box?

    4) Were there any problems with the AC power line, such as low voltage, when the noise occurred?

    Thanks.

    Billy @ D-TAR
     
  19. JohnThomasson

    JohnThomasson Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Mesa Boogie, DR Strings, Fender, Source Audio &amp; Fishman
    That D.I. out level issue is my main complaint. Our touring FOH eng. has figured out a work around, but I still don't get to really let the pre amp go full throttle. Unfortunately it is not worth selling and getting a new one of the next version. I would hate to go back to the Fishman if
    it becomes and issue again.

    My noise problem has only happened a few times, but most of the time it is super quiet. I use it for all types of instruments in my home studio. My Fishman Pro EQ platinum and Schertler Pre-A make more noise, and that is just a small amount. I'm super picky.
     
  20. I'll be at the same venue on Saturday and I will try and address all the points you mention Billy.

    Adding the DI level control is very essential. Can I also recommend that you have graduation marks for mic and line levels? This would make life alot easier when you only have a few minutes to setup and play...

    It's often unreasonable to expect to be able to have a line level available. I'm usually plugging into a gang box on stage that is already preconfigured and many times inputs are already labeled to make things flow smoother. Also, it's very common to only have 10-15 minutes to setup and start playing and you just have to make things as easy as possible for the foh or monitor engineers. There's nothing more of a buzz kill than messing with gear and then have to be in the pocket a few minutes later...

    All that said, I REALLY appreciate the responses and attention from the Duncan folks, Rick Turner and Steve Barr. Fine folks indeed.

    Tony