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View Full Version : "Crackling" through XLR Mic/M-Audio FastTrack




cleanup
Dec 21, 2006, 07:41 AM
Just purchased the M-Audio FastTrack Studio for my iMac. It got some pretty bad reviews but I'm on a budget, and it's definitely better than the crappy Stereo headset I was using beforehand.

My problem is this: when recording I often encounter "crackling" at high points of volume or certain frequency extremes (too low or too high). I know it's not a problem with the microphone, however, beacuse when I use the interface's built-in monitor, everything sounds crisp and clear. Recording, however, I often encounter the crackling especially if I sing while playing the guitar (acoustic). The Windows drivers for the thing allow you to set a higher latency setting, but the Mac drivers don't (what the hell?).

I thought it might be a connection problem, so I used a male-to-male stereo 1/8" mini-jack cable to connect the FastTrack's output to the iMac's line-in. I still get some crackling (and yes, I did make sure it was recording from line-in in the System Preferences/GarageBand).

So, it's not the microphone or the connection. My last guess is it's something to do with my iMac. I even went into the Audio MIDI Setup and fiddled with the FastTrack's buffer size. The highest setting just seems to make my voice really deep and soulful (and frankly, sound ridiculous) and the lowest accelerates the recording and makes me sound like a chipmunk for some reason.

I'm lost. I was going to go buy a popscreen for the mic beacuse I thought that might be the problem but obviously not (since it sounds perfect through headphones in the interface's monitor)... so...

What's the deal? Any help? How can I change the interface's latency setting on a Mac? :(



zimv20
Dec 21, 2006, 01:07 PM
when I use the interface's built-in monitor, everything sounds crisp and clear. Recording, however, I often encounter the crackling
just to be clear:
1. what you record has the crackling (at times)
2. using the fasttrack monitoring sounds fine at record time, but not at playback

is that right?

cleanup
Dec 21, 2006, 01:14 PM
just to be clear:
1. what you record has the crackling (at times)
2. using the fasttrack monitoring sounds fine at record time, but not at playback

is that right?

Right. Whenever I listen to the mic feed through the FastTrack directly (the signal has not been recorded/gone to the iMac) it sounds crystal clear. Only when I play whatever I recorded back do I get crackling.

Any ideas?

zimv20
Dec 21, 2006, 01:23 PM
it could be that you're overloading the analog->digital converters. if the problem goes away by turning down the gain knob, then that's it.

or it could be a clocking issue: the converters in the fasttrack are being clocked independently of the software on your mac. one needs to be slaved to the other.

those problems sound different. if you post an mp3 demonstrating the problem, i could probably tell you which one it is. or if it may be something else.

cleanup
Dec 22, 2006, 02:52 AM
Well, here's a short recording (http://www.rokema.com/albert/20061222-164000-918.mp3). The first time I play the FastTrack's mic input is at a reduced gain, the second time it's at full. If you turn your volume up you can notice some buzzing/crackling when it's at full. But, I am worried that I simply couldn't hear it the first time because it was too quiet to hear it. But I'm not sure because it wasn't very loud even at full volume with headphones.

I just wish it would sound as clear as it does through the FastTrack's monitor, which sounds good regardless of input level.

Also, i think it might have something to do with GarageBand (you said something about software?). I seem to get more buzzing when I record in GarageBand than when I record with a simple audio recording program, which I used here.

I also recorded another short clip where I play while singing, at two gain levels. I didn't notice any buzz at all. Simple audio recording program.

Maybe it's GarageBand?

Thanks for your help so far, zimv20!

dormilon
Dec 5, 2008, 08:53 AM
Hi, this problem is happening with me. Cleanup, did you ever find out what the cause of it was?

Please help, its driving me crazy, and if its something easy to fix I don't want to find out after I've replaced my mic.

Thank you.