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Thread: Help Urgently Needed! Crackling in Headphones with Focusrite's Saffire 56.

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    Exclamation Help Urgently Needed! Crackling in Headphones with Focusrite's Saffire 56.

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    I'm having trouble with my new Saffire 56 from Focusrite, and I really don't know what to do next. Any help would be greatly appreciated!



    Here's the problem:

    When I plug a microphone into my brand new Saffire 56, record-enable a track in ProTools and listen to the input through my monitoring headphones, there is a heavy crackling noise (sounds like paper being crumpled up) overlaid on the audio. This noise is also there when I playback a track.


    After many hours of unsuccessful troubleshooting with Focusrite's tech support team, I exchanged the Saffire I had just bought for a new one, thinking the problem may have been that the headphone jack was damaged on arrival. The new Saffire arrived today, I hooked it up and... same problem!



    Through troubleshooting I have learned that...

    1) The audio files themselves are not corrupted, because when I play them back in iTunes through my laptop's internal speakers, there is no crackling.

    2) My headphones are not at fault, they do not crackle when plugged into other devices.

    3) Pro Tools doesn't seem to be at fault, because when I set my Saffire as the Audio Output Device for my laptop and play songs from other sources (iTunes) through it to the headphones, that audio crackles too.


    My Setup:

    Mac OS X 10.6.8
    Pro Tools 9
    Focusrite MixControl
    Saffire 56
    Headphones


    Again, if anyone has had this problem or has an idea what may be causing it, please post! My project has hit a huge wall because of this and I have no idea what other troubleshooting I could try.

    Thanks

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    Your description seems pretty clear but I wonder if you could post an MP3 to give me a better idea of what you have. I have beautiful recordings using my Saffire PRO 40 which I suspect has similar pres to your 56. Do you get crackling with nothing plugged in to the Saffire? Do you have audio cables lying in close proximity to power cables? Do you have a mains filter? Just preliminary questions...

    This is not a home. Its a studio that I live in...

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    It would also be worthwhile if you tell us the things the Focusrite support people tried with you.

    Possibly repeating things they tried, two areas I'd look at if I was you would be:

    -Download and install the latest drivers (preferably ASIO) for the Focusrite.

    -Try adjusting the latency/buffer size to higher figures in case it's a buffering problem.
    That's what I do. I drink and I know things.
    -Tyrion Lannister (and Bobbsy)

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    I've attached a copy of the audio with the crackling preserved.

    Yes, it crackles with nothing plugged in to the Saffire as well.
    I have a lot of gear hooked up, so there are audio cables near power cables (not sure what effect that would have?).
    I don't have a mains filter.

    I installed all the new drivers with the guidance of the tech support person, and tried adjusting the buffer size.

    While working with tech support I also adjusted the different I/O settings in Saffire Mix Control (Routing Section) and ProTools, had them look through my Macbook's system information, tried plugging the headphones into Headphone Input 1 and 2, and plugging the mic into various inputs.

    Thanks for the replies, I really appreciate it!
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    With nothing plugged into the Saffire, I doubt that whatever audio cables are near power cables would have any effect (but audio cables shouldn't be routed near power cables anyway).

    But the crackling sounds to me like a driver conflict. I am sure tech support would have taken you through that. Do you have many firewire devices connected simultaneously? If so, try removing all but the Saffire and try again. Just making eliminations. Is the internal sound card (if any) disabled? In the DAW, what driver mode are you using (ASIO, MME, WDM etc)?

    This is not a home. Its a studio that I live in...

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    I think you need to isolate all possible variables hardware wise: move your computer and interface into another room, plug only your interface/mouse/keyboard into your computer, make sure all wireless phones/devices are far away, and record once again with a different cable/mic. If this doesn't solve your problem, then your issue is most definitely software-related.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jillian View Post
    My project has hit a huge wall because of this and I have no idea what other troubleshooting I could try.
    So this is something that just started happening? Ie. The setup has worked in the past?


    Take a look in Audio/Midi setup. (shift-apple-U from finder).

    You should see your interface listed there. Toggle some of the values for it, like sample rate and clock source.
    If you have no other gear, clock source should be set to internal, but toggle it anyway if that's where it was.
    I've had weird occurrences where these things just need reset.

    If that's a no go, go into Pro Tools and switch your IO hardware to built in audio. (Settings>Playback engine>Current engine).
    This will require a PT reboot. After that, go in and switch back to your proper interface.
    Again, you're really just toggling settings to reset.

    While you're in there ^^ make sure your hardware buffer size isn't set very low like 32/64. 256 or 512 would be a safe point for testing.
    If CPU usage limit and host processors are set to the maximum value, notch them both back one.

    Hope that helps.
    ---------- Steenaudio Website ----------

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    The only firewire device that is connected is the Saffire.
    I have a mac, so I believe the driver mode is CoreAudio
    I have no idea about the sound card, I've never done anything with that.

    No, it hasnt worked in the past. I just bought the Saffire and this happened when I first hooked it up.
    I toggled around all the variables all over the place (mac, MixControl, Pro Tools) with tech support, and it didnt help. And buffer size and CPU usage are all set to the appropriate values.



    Also, today I tried hooking the saffire to the mac via its firewire cable, then the mac to monitor speakers via the speaker's audio cable, and playing audio out of the speakers. This time, songs in iTunes and previously recorded audio files played through the monitors with no crackling. However, when I plugged a mic into the Saffire and did a test recording of my voice, it sounded like it had some sort of robot effect on it. Unlike the recordings done with the previous hardware path, these recordings were corrupted. When I played them in itunes through my macs internal speakers, it still sounded robot-y.

    I'm not sure what caused this or what it might mean about the original issue.

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    Now that Itunes is exhibiting the problem, are commercial songs affected?
    ---------- Steenaudio Website ----------

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    iTunes isn't really having a problem, its just that the recordings made with the new hardware path are corrupted (the robot-y-ness is an inseparable, recorded part of the audio), and itunes is just playing back the audio as it is.

    With the previous hardware path, commercial songs as well as my recordings played through the saffire to the headphones with crackling.

    With this new hardware path, commercial songs and previously recorded audio play out of the monitor speakers with no crackling, but newly recorded audio is corrupted with a robot-y sound.

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