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Distortion

Connecting Hauptwerk to MIDI organs, sequencers, ...
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dsenechal57

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Distortion

PostSun Jul 05, 2020 9:10 pm

Hoping someone may be able to help. I am running V on a new-ish Dell PC, Core i5 9th gen with 16GB RAM. I use a Focusrite Scarlett as an interface between the MIDI keyboard and the computer, and ASIO4ALL v2 as my Hauptwerk audio output device. I tried using the Scarlet as the output device, but got a lot of distortion. When I first got things set up, everything seemed to sound pretty good, using both the internal organ speakers and also external.

However, recently, I noticed that I am getting quite a bit of distortion. I've checked the speakers and the physical PC output by running audio from a different source through the whole system and it sounds fine. So, the problem must have something to do with Hauptwerk itself. I've tried the usual Restart Computer, Restart Hauptwerk, etc., and doesn't make a difference. I've also checked all of the output levels and nothing seems to be maxed out to the point that it would distort.

Anybody have any ideas what might have changed, or a setting that I might be able to adjust to reduce or eliminate the distortion?

Thank you very much.
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dhm

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Re: Distortion

PostSun Jul 05, 2020 11:36 pm

Why use ASIO4ALL when Focusrite interfaces have perfectly good native ASIO drivers (which are recommended for Hauptwerk)?
Douglas Henn-Macrae
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http://www.midi-organs.eu
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dsenechal57

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Re: Distortion

PostMon Jul 06, 2020 1:10 am

Thanks for the reply, Douglas,

I tried that during my initial set-up, and got terrible distortion. When I did the ASIO4ALL, that worked very well, and for quite a few months, until the recent distortion issue presented itself. As an experiment, I switched back to the Scarlett and got the same heavy distortion that I'd received when I was first doing the set-up (noticeably worse than what I'm getting with the ASIO4All presently.

Since I played another audio source through my set-up and it sounded fine and distortion-free, I don't know quite what to think at this point.

Dave
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mdyde

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Re: Distortion

PostMon Jul 06, 2020 3:56 am

Hello Dave,

I'd definitely recommend using the Focusrite Scarlett's manufacturer-supplied ASIO driver. (Make sure you have the latest driver version installed, and/or perhaps try re-installing it if needed.) It should work, and give the best performance.

For troubleshooting PC audio problems, try working through the steps one-by-one in the 'Performance tuning: Other operating system and computer optimizations and diagnostics' section in the main Hauptwerk user guide (on the Help menu in Hauptwerk; pages 253-255 in the current v5.0.1 version).

E.g.:

- Make sure that no other applications are running at the same time as Hauptwerk that are configured to use the Scarlett for audio output, and that Windows itself isn't using as its default audio device (since Windows or other applications running in the background might then try to play sounds through it, e.g. preventing it switching sample rates properly).

- Make sure you aren't over-filling the PC's RAM. (See whether the problem also occurs using St. Anne's, which is is small.)
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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randallschmid

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Re: Distortion

PostMon Jul 06, 2020 6:28 pm

Hi Deseneshal57,

I am confused/concerned by one line in your original message "using both the internal organ speakers and also external." and have a few questions:.

Is your midi Keyboard connected to Focusrite?

Is your Focusrite connected to your computer using a USB cable?

Are your external speakers self powered and connected to your Focusrite outputs using balanced cables?

If ''yes" to all of the above, do you hear distortion when using headphones connected to the Focusrite?

How do your "internal organ speakers" get their sound input?
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dsenechal57

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Re: Distortion

PostThu Jul 16, 2020 2:03 pm

Sorry for the delay in replying, Randall. I got locked out of my account and it took a bit to get back in. Anyway...

I am using a MIDI-capable Ahlborn Galanti Angelus organ. MIDI out goes to the Focusrite, which then goes into the PC with a USB.

The Focusrite is then connected to the Ahlborn AUX IN using balanced cables, which allows use of the organ's internal speakers. The external speakers are essentially a stereo system using a pre-amp, two power amps, a couple of Polk towers and a subwoofer. They're connected to the organ's AUX OUT jacks.

As an FYI, YouTube, mp3s, etc. coming out of that same computer sound wonderful (it turns out that the organ has a really good internal sound system!). It is only the Hauptwerk itself that has distortion. Wondering of there is some sort of setting in Hauptwerk that is a mismatch for the Focusrite.

Hope this give some sort of clue as to what might be going wrong.
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micdev

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Re: Distortion

PostThu Jul 16, 2020 2:52 pm

Hi Deseneshal57,

In Hauptwerk what is your trim dB setting (go to View | Large control panels | Audio MIDI...)

amp.JPG
Audio Midi Performance


When playing (with Volume control at 100, does the Audio meter peak in the RED? If so, decrease the Trim dB until you are below the RED while playing large registrations. If the sound is too soft, then you can't push the Hauptwerk too high (distortion); also on your Focusrite (I don't know your model) you do have a knob to incrase the volume, maybe it is set to low and it is forcing you to increase the volume in Hauptwerk

If you use headphones connected to the Focusrite, do you have the same distorsion?
Best regards
François

Virtually sharing my enthusiasm and experience with you
Worldwide technical assistance, consultation and ready to play system.

http://www.HauptwerkConsultant.com

AND Hauptwerk Support Manager
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randallschmid

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Re: Distortion

PostThu Jul 16, 2020 3:05 pm

Have you tried connecting your external audio system directly to Focusrite outputs or headphone jack to see if the distortion is caused by the Ahlborn?
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randallschmid

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Re: Distortion

PostThu Jul 16, 2020 3:14 pm

I also took a look on the Galanti website. I see that some organ models have aux inputs with a switchable mic/line setting. If your input is set to mic rather than line, you will ;likely have overload distortion.
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dsenechal57

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Re: Distortion

PostFri Jul 17, 2020 6:27 pm

Thank you all very much for the suggestions. The levels were peaking at about 75%, with the gain at 100%. Just to be on the safe side, I backed the Audio off to 80%. The Trim was at -10db, so I left that alone. No noticeable difference.

My Ahborn actually has a separate Aux In and Mic In jacks. As a experiment, I tried running the computer and also the Scarlett audio through the Mic In jack, and that was a big No-Go.

So.... I would describe the distortion as a sort of shrill, metallic overtone (I did try turning off the reverb, with no change). I am using the basic St. Anne's organ.

Any chance someone might be able to record an mp3, a minute or so in length, using St. Anne's? That way, I could do a comparison and better determine where the distortion is coming from (or maybe I'm just being overly critical)? My email is youngdaveradio@gmail.com

Thanks again for all your advice!

Dave
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randallschmid

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Re: Distortion

PostFri Jul 17, 2020 6:40 pm

I suggest looking at the below topic, which explains how to search contrebombarde for performances created using St. Annes.

viewtopic.php?f=20&t=17705
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robsig

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Re: Distortion

PostFri Jul 17, 2020 9:57 pm

I just updated to HW V a few days ago. I just noticed tonight that when I play loud with the Steinkirchen sample-set I also get crackling in my headphones.

I looked at the Audio Midi Performance and the graph does go into the red, even if I turn the Trim DB lower than -10. Strangely, when the red bar lights up, it stays lit after I have released all the notes. And crackles on the first note. After a moment the light turns off. I will have to do more experiments tomorrow to see if I can fix the crackling with that trim function. Turning the volume down on the Focusrite doesn't seem to help.

I will try out some of my other sample-sets tomorrow. It seems I had the same problem with one or two other sets.

RS

I am also wondering if I can be damaging the headphones with the distortion? (AK-712)
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IainStinson

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Re: Distortion

PostSat Jul 18, 2020 2:46 am

As you running on Windows, have you disabled the Sysmain system service (Superfetch on older Versions)? Turning this off saves cpu usage ( periodic demands).
How much free memory is Hauptwerk reporting your machine has available? HW 5 needs some free memory available to run its audio system. I try to leave around 4GB free on a 64GB machine.
Iain
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robsig

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Re: Distortion

PostSat Jul 18, 2020 10:21 pm

Well, my problem has been solved by backing off the trim DB setting until the audio didn't go into the red. I checked all my organs and several of them did go into the red (with the resulting crackling) since I upgraded to HW V. So for several instruments I was able to make the improvement.

dsenechal, you mention leaving the audio trim at -10. I would suggest you try backing off that number and seeing if it makes a difference. Perhaps it won't in your case, but in mine it solved the problem.

I did notice that trimming the DB setting made the sound less bright. Is that simply an illusion because the volume is lower?

RS
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mdyde

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Re: Distortion

PostSun Jul 19, 2020 4:45 am

Hello robsig,

Glad to hear that you've resolved your audio level problem.

Just for reference: upgrading to Hauptwerk v5 doesn't in itself change any level settings, although if you had reset or changed your audio existing audio settings/routing when upgrading, and you had previously adjusted levels for audio outputs (or were routing/mixing things differently) then that could of course result in the overall levels being changed.

robsig wrote:I did notice that trimming the DB setting made the sound less bright. Is that simply an illusion because the volume is lower?


The level setting makes no difference at all to the frequency content (e.g. brightness) of the audio signal that Hauptwerk outputs. Hence any perceived difference is probably just a psycho-acoustic phenomenon, unless perhaps your speakers were distorting a little due to the higher signal level, which could add harmonic content.
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.

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