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Kat Dalton
USB Dual Pre questions
on Oct 23, 2009 at 8:22:15 pm

First of all, I am not an audio professional but need help from some :-)

I just bought the inexpensive ART USB Dual Pre to get audio in/out of my Macpro laptop. I work with FCP and am starting to learn Soundtrack Pro. I use my old video system to capture video, then I move clips to laptop system (or use still images). The Dual Pre is connected via USB to computer and to self-powered speakers. In Mac operating system prefs, sound in/out set to the Dual Pre.

Noticed that when I listen to recording in Soundtrack via Dual Pre, there is a buzz in the background. In FCP I don't hear the buzz, but there is a click whenever I turn audio clip on or off.

My old video system (Aurora, G4) has balanced audio in/out and I never experience the clicking when turning clips on and off in FCP. I don't have Soundtrack on old computer so can't comment on buzz there.

Would I hear the clicks in FCP no matter what audio interface I used?

Is the buzz a software issue, as I don't hear buzz in FCP?

Do I need to get a more expensive audio interface? Would firewire be better choice? I had chosen USB because my external hard drive is firewire and I thought I should split things up.

Thanks,
Kat






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Kat Dalton
Re: USB Dual Pre questions
on Oct 24, 2009 at 12:46:21 am

I realized that the buzz is there in Soundtrack whether a file is playing or not.

Then I saw that if I change the input setting in Soundtrack to something other than the Dual Pre, the buzz goes away. So the input setting can only be set to the Dual Pre when recording. Otherwise, there's a buzz. I also have to turn the Dual Pre "pre-amp/computer" knob to "pre-amp" when recording and to "computer" when listening.

Kind of a nuisance to have to constantly change these two things as I record/listen, record/listen. I didn't have to constantly change input settings with my Aurora video system. I just set the input and output to Aurora and left them.

I also don't like the way I hear clicks when I open and close files or windows.

By the way, if I open OS Sound Preferences, I also hear the buzz if both input and output are set to the Dual Pre. When I close the Preferences window, the buzz goes away.

No buzz in Quicktime even if Dual Pre selected as both input and output in OS Sound Preferences. No buzz in FCP either, but I don't have input into FCP set to Dual Pre because I can't (FCP isn't seeing it).

Am I doing something wrong?

The Dual Pre doesn't require any drivers.

Do I need a more sophisticated audio interface? Would I be better off getting hardware and software that are meant to work together? Such as a MOTU ultralight with MOTU software?

Thanks.





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Jordan Wolf
Re: USB Dual Pre questions
on Oct 24, 2009 at 7:09:51 am

Make sure that your interface and computer and ANY devices that are connected to either of them are on the SAME circuit.

After that, get back to us.

Wolf
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Ty Ford
Re: USB Dual Pre questions
on Oct 24, 2009 at 12:00:26 pm

Hello Kat and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

ART makes some nice things, but this appears to be one made for a low price point.

If you are using the AC adaptor, try not using it. That will eliminate a problem Jordan refers to.

From your explanation (and thanks so much for the details) it sounds like the problems are in (or caused by) the device. Points to you for navigating the sound control preferences. Have you also looked at the Audio/MIDI utility in the Mac Utilities folder?

As to Firewire, or not, USB, itself, can be cantankerous, but you're right, an over-extended FW bus can be as well.

Sound Devices makes a much more expensive USB interface that is exceptionally well-built.

http://www.sounddevices.com/products/usbpremaster.htm

At $549 from B&H, it's a LOT more expensive, but it does a lot more and is built like a tank.

Please let us know how you make out.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Kat Dalton
Re: USB Dual Pre questions
on Oct 24, 2009 at 3:25:54 pm

Hi Jordan and Ty,

Thank you so much for your replies.

The buzz is there even if Dual Pre not plugged into AC outlet (running off USB power).

I went to Audio/Midi utilities folder and set in/out to Dual Pre. Unfortunately, that didn't help either. But thanks for cluing me in....I didn't know about that folder.

So I am looking around for replacement interface. The Sound Devices one you suggest, Ty, looks nice. I'm also reading a lot of rave reviews from users of the Apogee Duet. The fact that it is designed to integrate with Apple software is a plus. It's firewire, though. But I would think all these people raving about it are using it with FW hard drives. As you say, Ty, USB is cantankerous.....so it's not perfect either.

Both of those devices have unbalanced out for speakers. My powered speakers have balanced inputs. This isn't a problem, is it? My cables have TRS plugs. Can I use those in the TS socket in Duet, or should I get new cables? The Sound Devices unit has RCA out to speakers. Would a TRS > RCA adapter affect sound?

I should've known I couldn't get away with spending just 79 bucks!

Thanks again,
Kat



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Ty Ford
Re: USB Dual Pre questions
on Oct 24, 2009 at 3:52:13 pm

KAt,

I have no experience with the Apogee product.

Running unbalanced lines always opens the door for interference. Having said that, I do have some unbalanced connections here at my studio that work very well.

I have had problems in getting unbalanced Mac system audio into my Pro Tools hardware, but solved the problem by using non-powered hum-buster, passive transformer boxes.

You say your speakers have balanced audio inputs. TRS or XLR?

If TRS, they may be "smart jacks" as most are today that accept TS or TRS.

Regards,

Ty Ford

PS: about getting away with $79. No one was more surprised than me that iDVD could burn NTSC or DVD discs a the click of a button, rendering standards conversions facilities obsolete.

As the technology changes we can be pleasantly surprised...sometimes.

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Kat Dalton
Re: USB Dual Pre questions
on Oct 24, 2009 at 4:52:56 pm

Hello Ty,

The inputs on my speakers are "3-pin XLR female/1/4 inch TRS Phone Combo, balanced." With my old video setup, I used cable with XLR into speakers and TRS out of mixer (which was connected to audio/video hardware). I read that one can put TRS plug into TS socket, so I thought I could use my old cable with Apogee (which has TS socket for out to speakers). Or do I need new cables? TS both ends?

You are right, _sometimes_ the new technologies can be cheap and good!

Thanks for your help. Beautiful guitar playing, by the way.

Best,
Kat


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Ty Ford
Re: USB Dual Pre questions
on Oct 24, 2009 at 4:59:15 pm

Kat,

Thanks!

I'd try the cables you have first.

Regards,

Ty

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Kat Dalton
Re: USB Dual Pre questions
on Oct 24, 2009 at 5:02:17 pm

Will do. Thanks again!

Kat



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