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Struggling with my USB interface

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by ThatBrianGuy, Dec 12, 2018.


  1. ThatBrianGuy

    ThatBrianGuy

    Nov 14, 2017
    All, anyone, everyone,

    I wasn't really looking for one, but I was at my local Guitar Center a few weeks ago and wondered past the shelf with the USB interfaces. A GC guy was there, so I asked him. Why would I want/need one of these? I'm not a professional recording guy, and when I do record I just line-in off of a crappy Behringer mixer I bought about 100 years ago into Audacity. He told me the sound would be amazing, and I'd never go back to line-in again. He talked about flexibility and all the cool stuff. It's going to be cleaner, "bigger" and just make everything sound better. So I bought one.

    I picked up the PreSonus AudioBox USB96 for $79. I came home, plugged it in, installed the software and the DAW it came with (which is really all I wanted anyway) called Studio One. Plug in my active music man directly in to the front of the interface, and played a string. Overwhelms the interface immediately and I'm getting clipping and all kinds of red lights, and nastiness in my headphones etc.. So I start tweaking....and tweaking....and tweaking and I just can't seem to be able to play anything really without getting clipping/distortion. So I switch out to my passive Fender Jazz. It's a little better but even light slap stuff is redlining everthing. So I switch to my passive P-Bass. Same thing. I have every volume down on the front of the interface, I have every level in Studio One down as low as I can go and still see a wave form. I'm still getting clipping and red indicators when I get even the slightest bit aggressive. I'm to the point now where I'm turning down the volume on my bass which I don't like to do because I seem to loose tone when I do that.

    I tried running through my bass head with the XLR line out, I've run through my SansAmp to help control the level etc, but I'm left with a horrible flat, muffled tone.I also seem to get a VERY slight, almost like a chorus effect, when I'm playing. Sounds like digital compression or something. I started looking for Youtube instructions for setting this thing up. Everyone just plugs it in, plugs any random bass into the front of it and it sounds amazing. My stuff all sounds muffled and horrible.

    Anyone experience this with their USB interfaces? I'm 95% sure, I'm just doing something wrong, because my old line-in method sounded way better.

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. DirtDog

    DirtDog

    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Checklist - same for all interfaces and DAWs, whether you're plugging in an active or passive bass direct or through your SansAmp.

    1. Input gain on front of interface set to an appropriate level (unity gain)
    2. Input gain on recording channel in DAW set to an appropriate level (unity gain)
    3. Channel fader up and main fader up to taste.

    At this point, you should be able to hear yourself cleanly and record without clipping.

    The chorusy effect you're hearing is related to how you're monitoring the recording track. Look for an option to "direct monitor" or "hardware monitor" the track. You may also have to play with the mix control on the front of your interface to select how you monitor the playback signa. Small chance it might be related to latency. Find the option to reduce latency in the Presonus interface settings.

    If this doesn't work, could you post some screenshots of your settings?

    From the manual:

    Power User Tip: When monitoring your inputs through Studio One or another DAW, it is important that you turn the Mixer knob all the way to the Playback position. Monitoring both the input signal and the playback stream will create a doubling effect that will make monitoring difficult.


    Power User Tip: Never run your input levels higher than the channel inputs can handle. If you overdrive the analog-to-digital converters, it will cause digital distortion (digital clipping), which sounds terrible and cannot be undone.

    Recording an Audio Track

    2. Select Record Enable on the track. Turn up the Input 1 level on your audio interface while speaking/singing into the microphone. You should see the input meter in Studio One Artist react to the input. Adjust the gain so the input level is near its maximum without clipping (distorting).


     
    MonetBass likes this.
  3. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    i'm 100% sure that you are correct! turn down your input gain --- your bass, apparently. your insistence on keeping your volume up for 'tone' is more of a 'live playing thing' and has little to do with the recordings you're trying to make. if you can't make the red overload lights go away with your input gain controls (first and foremost your bass!), then you've got other problems in the audio chain. you have too much gain. good luck! :thumbsup:
     
  4. ThatBrianGuy

    ThatBrianGuy

    Nov 14, 2017
    Thanks @DirtDog! The first part of that reply I can verify I've done. Input knob is turned all the way down to it's lowest possible setting. If it's turned up even a little bit, I get the red lights and clipping. In the DAW, I have the channel slider down around 25% or lower and the main volume, I'd have to check on that to see what that is, but that shouldn't only effect the monitoring right?

    The 2nd half of the reply has probably solved that chorus effect I'm getting. I'll play with that. I've been checking for ideas in the Prosonus support forums, and they suggested I open a support case with them. There seems to be several posts of people with clipping issues, and it turned out to be a faulty unit. So, we'll see I guess. I'm going to keep playing with it, I don't think the unit is bad at this point.

    Thanks! Huge help
    Brian
     
    DirtDog likes this.
  5. DirtDog

    DirtDog

    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    You’re
    welcome.

    Seems like you’re doing things right so not sure why you’re getting crap results. As @JRA says, turning down your bass volume at source should yield better results, but that doesn’t seem to be the case based on your first post. Perhaps it is just a faulty unit.

    This is a long shot, but what happens when you toggle the phantom power on and off?
     
    JRA likes this.
  6. Mcgiver69

    Mcgiver69

    Sep 28, 2005
    England
    Have you tried to only connect your instrument to input #2? As far as I remember input #1 is not padded so that might be the reason you're clipping. Try the second input and do what others advice and I'm pretty sure it will work.
     
    Whousedtoplay and DirtDog like this.
  7. blip

    blip

    Jun 1, 2010
    MPLS, MN
    @Mcgiver69 Good idea, but the manual makes no distinction between inputs.

    @ThatBrianGuy The max input level is listed as -3dBu. While I have no idea what that means, it seems awfully low. Any chance you have a DI handy, preferably one with a pad?

    From the manual:

     
  8. Mcgiver69

    Mcgiver69

    Sep 28, 2005
    England
    Yeah unfortunately sometimes they miss on that. Usually those 2 input interfaces have the 2nd input calibrated for instruments exclusively.
     
    Whousedtoplay and blip like this.
  9. And I

    And I Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    in my experience the presonus audiobox preamps don't do have much headroom. presonuses higher end interfaces are decent. their cheap stuff is... well... cheap.

    also, it seems like the guitar center person talked you into buying something you didn't need by lying to you about the sound quality. you yourself said you weren't looking for it and you're not trying to do recording professionally. i'd say return it and go back to what you were doing since it was serving your needs perfectly. get Reaper if you want a cheap DAW that is more full featured than Audacity. and check out these if you feel the need to upgrade the hardware.

    US-1x2 | OVERVIEW | TASCAM

    Scarlett Solo | Focusrite

    they're both pretty cheap pro-sumer level stuff but better quality and offer more headroom than the audiobox in my experience.
     
    Datsgor likes this.
  10. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    I've recorded my active Jazz bass through the exact same interface with no clipping issues. As others suggested, turn down the line level on the input you're plugged into until it stops clipping in the DAW.
     
  11. And I

    And I Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    input knob is all the way down according to the OP
     
  12. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    Yeah, I saw that. I just wanted to make sure he was covering everything. That's odd that it's still clipping. Maybe there's something wrong with the interface?
     
  13. Badwater

    Badwater

    Jan 12, 2017

    Sounds like a faulty unit. That should not happen with a passive bass if the levels are down low. The Audiobox USB I had needed 75% bass volume, and the interface gain up to about 50 to 70% for a good clean signal at -12db. I would take it back to the Guitar Center and ask for a replacement.
     
  14. Whousedtoplay

    Whousedtoplay

    May 18, 2013
    TEXAS
    You have to adjust the levels/knobs on your AudioBox!
    Presonus AudioBox with Studio One is (in my personal opinion) the best DAW for the money.
     
  15. Whousedtoplay

    Whousedtoplay

    May 18, 2013
    TEXAS
    It has a microphone input and an instrument one - don’t get mixed up.
     
    ThatBrianGuy likes this.
  16. ThatBrianGuy

    ThatBrianGuy

    Nov 14, 2017
    Hmm.. Yeah, kind of a long shot, but I'll give it shot.

    Brian
     
  17. ThatBrianGuy

    ThatBrianGuy

    Nov 14, 2017
    This is what I'm finding too. I have a support case open with Prosonus but they keep closing it because I haven't provided them with a video yet. I'll get that done, but that's going to take some time to get through all the scenerios.
     
  18. ThatBrianGuy

    ThatBrianGuy

    Nov 14, 2017
    I like Studio One so far. I have no experience with any DAW so, I don't have much to compare it to, but it seems good. Knobs are all the way down. If I run through a DI I can get a very narrow band where it still has enough juice to get a little character and not clip. I have to play VERY VERY light on the strings and no slapping or popping.
     
  19. Bodeeni

    Bodeeni Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2010
    NYC
    Something is not right, I have a very similar Presonus 22VSL and my input and outputs settles in around 12 oclock (half on), plus or minus a little. Regardless of the bass, and I use several. You should not get a clip light on the unit the way you do. I would exchange it. The Presonus gear is good
     
    Whousedtoplay and ThatBrianGuy like this.

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