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Distortion a sign of interface failure?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques  
Author Distortion a sign of interface failure?
hi, I've got an e-mail into Focusrite re my 1st generation Scarlett 6i6 (see below) but have just discovered the problem I was originally trying to sort is now back.

I have my OB 6 going into a Soundcraft signature 12 line in. The master out goes to my 6i6, the aux out goes to my monitors.

I've noticed that particularly on some of the darker pads I'm getting distortion when I record. I've checked that neither the Mix control (the software mixer that routes the 6i6 audio) or the Cubase mixer is anywhere near max. The synth is only at 50% vol and there is no gain on the channel input. But it's distorted.

If I then stop routing the audio into the 6i6 and switch to the monitors the distortion disappears, I can turn up the synth and it sounds fine.

So I'm thinking the problem must be the interface - does that sound right? Anyone else had something similar?

Below is a note to Focusrite which goes through the other problems I've had with it. It's about 6 years old now

Ticket sent to Focusrite

"I’m having major problems with my first generation Scarlett 6i6 after moving the unit. I’m running audio in from a mixing desk into line in 3&4 – and out to the mixing desk for monitoring via line out 1&2.

When I’m making any changes to the hardware set up I have both the PC and interface powered down. I then power up the Scarlett and then the PC. I’ve tried various things, shifted the power to another socket and checked that the power and USB connectors are properly inserted.

A couple of times as I’ve run out of ideas I’ve simply I left everything alone and just tried powering down the PC, then the interface and then reversing the process. After 5 or 6 attempts I get everything working ok.

From those various powering down and up cycles I’ve been getting;

Continuous noise with red on the gain knobs for inputs 1 &2 (even though there is nothing going into input 1&2), or green continuous lights on the gain knobs. Both are turned to zero and the 48V button is not depressed.

Other times although the PC is seeing the device but when I open up the mix control it first asks to update the firmware and if I say “yes” it fails and tells me the hardware is not connected. Other times the mix control comes up and it then has channels 1&2 taking an input from Anlg 1 & 2 (I then turn those to OFF). Other times I don’t seem to be able to get a sound at all.

And as said, after several attempts it just works.

The only thing I haven’t tried is using a different USB port on the PC because right now it’s working ok so I’m loathe to touch anything.

I’m wondering if this is the interface failing? If so I assume it’s not economical to repair?"
Have you tried using the interface direct monitoring? If that sounds OK then the problem is probably with your computer/DAW buffering.
hi, thanks for the reply. I'm not sure how to do that? I'm not very confident with these things.

I think I might have found a way to simplify this. I've connected the synth directly to the Scarlett 6i6 line in 3&4 and so have taken the analogue mixer largely out of the equation ( I think).

So I'm attaching as much info as I can think of

To try and simplify this I've just connected the synth directly to the line in 3&4 of the Scarlett and have the same problem. At about a quarter volume the synth sounds clean, a fraction higher and it distorts.

I'm attaching a number of image and sound files.

1. Clean jpg - the synth is at about quarter volume. Cubase is showing only -20 meter peak level.
2. Clean.wav

3. distorted.jpg - the synth a little higher than quarter volume. Cubase is only showing -8 meter peak level
4. distorted.wav

5. I have then included an image of the Cubase routing. You can also see the images of the two audio files

The fault could be anywhere in your system. To diagnose it you need to eliminate parts of your setup until you locate the source of the problem.

You have already done the first step by removing the mixer. Next would be to take the computer out of the equation to test the interface by itself.

Your 6i6 can operate as a stand-alone mixer and you can set this up using the 'MixControl' software. Set the interface's inputs to feed directly to the outputs. Once that is set up disconnect the computer, send signals to the interface inputs and monitor the outputs.

If they sound OK then it is likely the problem is software based.
hi, good suggestion.

I turned off the mixer and computer, sent the line out of the synth into the 6i6 and then monitored via the headphone jack. Anything above 9 o'clock on the OB6 volume it distorts. It seems to have a very short travel to go from too quiet to distortion.

I'll see later whether one of the mono synths does the same.
is it the same on all of the inputs?
ok, I just tried plugging in to the inputs on the front with the jacks. At a tiny bit above the level I get continuous green lights it distorts.

I thought I'd try a slightly different level from the synth, but before I changed anything and simply hit play on the synths sequencer it just went crazy again, huge amount of noise red lights..
Have you tried updating the firmware?
I've used the latest software provided by Focusrite...I've just sent them a couple of updates on what I've found..
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