Recording a stylophone -- how to remove distortion
You are Unregistered, please register to gain Full access.    
Advertisements


Hardware and Gear Hardware, gear, equipment; Whatever you call it, talk about tangible, physical music-making stuff here. Synths, Modular, drum machines, controllers etc all goes here.

Reply
Thread Tools
Old 01-11-2014, 03:26 PM   #1
TL072
Master of the LFO
TL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond repute
Posts: 469
MC Status: 6660
Thanks: 103
Thanked 133 Times in 100 Posts
Recording a stylophone -- how to remove distortion

I have been trying to record a stylophone with my little laptop, but the sound is extremely distorted -- we are not talking shitty soundcard distorted, we are talking roaring overdriven noise. In the past I have used a pre-amp to make this record, but I would be interested to know why I simply cannot plug it in as I think it would aid my understanding of hardware.

I have been puzzling over this a little and I was hoping someone in the community with some electrical engineering knowledge might be able to offer some suggestions.

Here are some observations that I think are relevant, but since I moved I have not bought testing equipment and so I having a bit of trouble confirming at the moment. The things that I think may be relevant are:
  1. The output of the stylophone is for headphones
  2. The laptop is not grounded
  3. There is some kind of impedance issue

I know that headphone level is strong than line-level since headphone voltage needs to be able to move headphones (e.g. the speakers in them). Research I did at some point suggests that this is not significantly higher, thus I think it should be possible to reduce the volume and get a clean signal? I have looked into some simple circuits that use resistors to attenuate the signal, but have not yet built them.

The laptop power adaptor does not have a ground pin, the stylophone is battery powered (and indeed you can hear how noisy it is in general), perhaps the effect is really bad version of hum / ground-loop?

Finally, I am no expert on impedance, but I know it is important in terms of moving signals between devices. If I am not mistaken for most audio, you want a very high impedance in the destination, and very low one in the source? My knowledge breaks down at about this point.

Anyway, if there is nothing obvious that I am missing, but you can think of some reading that I might help, I am always interested to improve my knowledge, and perhaps solve this mystery in the process.

Cheers!

Advertisements

TL072 is offline   Thanks Reply With Quote
Currently Listening To: Mouse on Mars
Old 02-11-2014, 10:47 PM   #2
Automageddon
IDMf ArtistModerator
Automageddon is a savage MCAutomageddon is a savage MCAutomageddon is a savage MCAutomageddon is a savage MCAutomageddon is a savage MCAutomageddon is a savage MCAutomageddon is a savage MCAutomageddon is a savage MCAutomageddon is a savage MCAutomageddon is a savage MCAutomageddon is a savage MC
Automageddon's Avatar
Less kids, more synths.
Age: 38
Posts: 9,764
MC Status: 269461808
Thanks: 1,037
Thanked 2,764 Times in 1,838 Posts
Re: Recording a stylophone -- how to remove distortion

It sounds like a level problem, like the input being too loud.
I'm sure you already tried the obvious, turn the volume down.

Try recording something else, to make sure the problem is not with your soundcard.

------------------
Automageddon is online now   Thanks Reply With Quote
Thanks to Automageddon
TL072 (11-11-2014)
Old 03-11-2014, 02:30 AM   #3
Son of Akira
IDMf Artist
Son of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MC
Son of Akira's Avatar
over yonder, behind them old railroad tracks
Posts: 1,316
MC Status: 47684970
Thanks: 318
Thanked 363 Times in 259 Posts
Re: Recording a stylophone -- how to remove distortion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Automageddon View Post
It sounds like a level problem, like the input being too loud.
I'm sure you already tried the obvious, turn the volume down.


Try recording something else, to make sure the problem is not with your soundcard.
This is not quite as obvious as you think, as new laptops have all sorts of "smart" device additions like gain makeup and compressors and normalizers as DEFAULT settings. It's really kinda bizarre to somebody that works with music/audio but I guess it makes sense if they want somebody with no knowledge to just be able to plug in some hardware and have it not be too quiet (you know, because, learning stuff is for losers).

The laptop i'm typing on has a gain of 24 dB and a noise gate as the default out of the box.

I'm convinced the problem here is some weird counter-intuitive default setting (like, a setting that makes no sense to even exist to a person with a background in audio)

Last edited by Son of Akira; 03-11-2014 at 02:36 AM..

------------------
Son of Akira is offline   Thanks Reply With Quote
Thanks to Son of Akira
TL072 (11-11-2014)
Old 03-11-2014, 02:38 AM   #4
Son of Akira
IDMf Artist
Son of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MC
Son of Akira's Avatar
over yonder, behind them old railroad tracks
Posts: 1,316
MC Status: 47684970
Thanks: 318
Thanked 363 Times in 259 Posts
Re: Recording a stylophone -- how to remove distortion

Quote:
In the past I have used a pre-amp to make this record, but I would be interested to know why I simply cannot plug it in as I think it would aid my understanding of hardware.
Did you use the preamp with the same laptop?

------------------
Son of Akira is offline   Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2014, 06:54 AM   #5
TheWizar
Savage Mad Cunt
TheWizar is a savage MCTheWizar is a savage MCTheWizar is a savage MCTheWizar is a savage MCTheWizar is a savage MCTheWizar is a savage MCTheWizar is a savage MCTheWizar is a savage MCTheWizar is a savage MCTheWizar is a savage MCTheWizar is a savage MC
TheWizar's Avatar
Vermont
Age: 26
Posts: 1,212
MC Status: 4837848
Thanks: 35
Thanked 209 Times in 171 Posts
Re: Recording a stylophone -- how to remove distortion

They might have cheaped out on the output stage of the stylophone. I imagine they designed it with a dc bias on the output. Basically, you need to put it through a 20hz hardware highpass, or an isolation transformer.

Check your recorded waveform to see if its really high up (above the zero crossing and off centered) or really low - use audacity. If it is, it's a dc bias problem.

If that's the case, something like this will probably fix everything
Amazon.com: PAC SNI-1/3.5 3.5-mm Ground Loop Noise Isolator Works with iPod/Zune/iRiver and Others: Automotive [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]

Also, looking at a video on this online, it seems that the output of a stylophone is pretty loud. You might have good luck running to a hardware mixer and simply turning the level down.

------------------
My latest work:
TheWizar is offline   Thanks Reply With Quote
Thanks to TheWizar
TL072 (11-11-2014)
Old 11-11-2014, 03:44 PM   #6
TL072
Master of the LFO
TL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond repute
Posts: 469
MC Status: 6660
Thanks: 103
Thanked 133 Times in 100 Posts
Re: Recording a stylophone -- how to remove distortion

I was distracted for the last couple of days having trouble logging into IDMf, thank you for your many answers.

I did not know that sound cards have built in boosts and gating and so on. I do not believe the sound card is processing the input. Is it a hardware or a software operation? In particular, I am using Linux, so I have quite low-level access to the sound card mixer, but if this is a function that occurs at the hardware level, then it seems possible.

Also, I do use the pre-amp (actually a direct box that I use to amplify microphones) with the laptop, I have used it to record with a microphone as well. I recently got a Monotron Duo and this records fine when I patch it into the computer's microphone input, a little bit of noise, but this is to be expected with a cheap sound card and noisey analogue circuits like the Monotron. This fact alone suggests that it is probably not the sound card built in "features".

Re: DC bias, I technically know about DC offset, but it not occurred to me. I will be sure to check that when I get home. If I understand from your suggestion, does the DC bias problem occur where there are issues with ground?

Yes, the Stylophone is really loud, but the volume control has little effect -- which seems to suggest to me that it is much much higher output. However, it is really odd that when headphones are plugged in, it does not overdrive to the same degree.
TL072 is offline   Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2014, 10:09 PM   #7
TL072
Master of the LFO
TL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond repute
Posts: 469
MC Status: 6660
Thanks: 103
Thanked 133 Times in 100 Posts
Re: Recording a stylophone -- how to remove distortion

Right so I did that test. Even with the volume completely off, there is a waveform that is centered around 0, but about half of the available headroom. It is quite a hum.

If this is the noise floor, then for some reason it is really really amplified. However, again, the odd thing is that when headphones are plugged in, it is not too loud...

Confusing...
TL072 is offline   Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2014, 11:18 PM   #8
Benwaa
Guest
Posts: n/a
Re: Recording a stylophone -- how to remove distortion

sounds like a shit connection to me in the stylophone
  Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 13-11-2014, 08:28 AM   #9
RUncELL
Soundscaper
RUncELL has a reputation beyond reputeRUncELL has a reputation beyond reputeRUncELL has a reputation beyond reputeRUncELL has a reputation beyond reputeRUncELL has a reputation beyond reputeRUncELL has a reputation beyond reputeRUncELL has a reputation beyond reputeRUncELL has a reputation beyond reputeRUncELL has a reputation beyond reputeRUncELL has a reputation beyond reputeRUncELL has a reputation beyond repute
RUncELL's Avatar
Essex
Age: 42
Posts: 366
MC Status: 3410
Thanks: 49
Thanked 68 Times in 58 Posts
Re: Recording a stylophone -- how to remove distortion

When you use cans the hum is not as bad but when you plug into your mixer/ soundcard the noise is worse.. Sounds like a ground loop to me.
And its best to match impedances.

Get a D.i (direct injection) box and use the earth lift switch.
RUncELL is offline   Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 13-11-2014, 10:18 AM   #10
Benwaa
Guest
Posts: n/a
Re: Recording a stylophone -- how to remove distortion

stylophone is battery operated so it couldn't cause a ground loop
And if the hum is present in earphones then the sound is obviously emanating from the stylophone. again, sounds like a shitty connection in the stylophone


info on what a ground loop actually is and how to avoid it: [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]



now go check your stylophone connection
  Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 14-11-2014, 09:22 AM   #11
RUncELL
Soundscaper
RUncELL has a reputation beyond reputeRUncELL has a reputation beyond reputeRUncELL has a reputation beyond reputeRUncELL has a reputation beyond reputeRUncELL has a reputation beyond reputeRUncELL has a reputation beyond reputeRUncELL has a reputation beyond reputeRUncELL has a reputation beyond reputeRUncELL has a reputation beyond reputeRUncELL has a reputation beyond reputeRUncELL has a reputation beyond repute
RUncELL's Avatar
Essex
Age: 42
Posts: 366
MC Status: 3410
Thanks: 49
Thanked 68 Times in 58 Posts
Re: Recording a stylophone -- how to remove distortion

Your'e right, my bad for not reading the post properly, if it's battery operated then it's isolated.

Maybe you have just been unlucky and got a faulty one.

If it's your laptop, then the noise would still be there whatever you record.
RUncELL is offline   Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 14-11-2014, 09:41 AM   #12
Evelon
IDMf Artist
Evelon is a savage MCEvelon is a savage MCEvelon is a savage MCEvelon is a savage MCEvelon is a savage MCEvelon is a savage MCEvelon is a savage MCEvelon is a savage MCEvelon is a savage MCEvelon is a savage MCEvelon is a savage MC
Evelon's Avatar
Posts: 7,578
MC Status: 214389848
Thanks: 884
Thanked 2,828 Times in 1,763 Posts
Re: Recording a stylophone -- how to remove distortion

Phantom power or replace battery in DI box. (new batteries in Stylophone?). Lift ground on DI box. Enable/disable -10dB pad. Replace shitty cables. Try alternative mixers, inputs, recording devices, etc. Find the source of the problem.
Idk. Who's your daddy and what does he do?

Last edited by Evelon; 14-11-2014 at 10:53 AM..

------------------
Evelon is offline   Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 14-11-2014, 10:40 AM   #13
SpinVector
Soundscaper
SpinVector is a savage MCSpinVector is a savage MCSpinVector is a savage MCSpinVector is a savage MCSpinVector is a savage MCSpinVector is a savage MCSpinVector is a savage MCSpinVector is a savage MCSpinVector is a savage MCSpinVector is a savage MCSpinVector is a savage MC
SpinVector's Avatar
melbs
Posts: 372
MC Status: 6892084
Thanks: 50
Thanked 65 Times in 51 Posts
Re: Recording a stylophone -- how to remove distortion

Could be your cable. That would explain why the noise doesn't present in the headphones.
SpinVector is offline   Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 15-11-2014, 07:10 PM   #14
TL072
Master of the LFO
TL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond reputeTL072 has a reputation beyond repute
Posts: 469
MC Status: 6660
Thanks: 103
Thanked 133 Times in 100 Posts
Re: Recording a stylophone -- how to remove distortion

I figured out the answer. It is sadly less exciting that hoped. It turns out that my sound card has a microphone boost setting. I am not sure how or why it was not a problem with the Monotron (perhaps I turned it off at the time), but that boost was like a +10db switch or something close to that.

Do not ask my, but the suggestion of checking the cable some how got me to stumble across this.

Thank you for everyone's input, suffice to say I have many more things to check next time I have a problem like this.


Cheers!
TL072 is offline   Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 19-11-2014, 01:35 AM   #15
Son of Akira
IDMf Artist
Son of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MCSon of Akira is a savage MC
Son of Akira's Avatar
over yonder, behind them old railroad tracks
Posts: 1,316
MC Status: 47684970
Thanks: 318
Thanked 363 Times in 259 Posts
Re: Recording a stylophone -- how to remove distortion

Quote:
Originally Posted by TL072 View Post
I figured out the answer. It is sadly less exciting that hoped. It turns out that my sound card has a microphone boost setting. I am not sure how or why it was not a problem with the Monotron (perhaps I turned it off at the time), but that boost was like a +10db switch or something close to that.

Do not ask my, but the suggestion of checking the cable some how got me to stumble across this.

Thank you for everyone's input, suffice to say I have many more things to check next time I have a problem like this.


Cheers!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Son of Akira View Post
This is not quite as obvious as you think, as new laptops have all sorts of "smart" device additions like gain makeup and compressors and normalizers as DEFAULT settings. It's really kinda bizarre to somebody that works with music/audio but I guess it makes sense if they want somebody with no knowledge to just be able to plug in some hardware and have it not be too quiet (you know, because, learning stuff is for losers).

The laptop i'm typing on has a gain of 24 dB and a noise gate as the default out of the box.

I'm convinced the problem here is some weird counter-intuitive default setting (like, a setting that makes no sense to even exist to a person with a background in audio)

Advertisements


------------------
Son of Akira is offline   Thanks Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Cancel / remove Account? elcap Suggestions & Feedback 26 13-01-2017 01:22 AM
How do I remove/reduce a reverb from a sample? Suiyoubi Sound Design, Mixing, & Studio Techniques 15 06-03-2014 06:34 PM
Remove PA 60 cycle ableton mossamp Tutorials Section 0 04-01-2013 09:09 AM
Remove HDD icon in 'My Computer'? help! Suiyoubi The Side Room 4 09-10-2011 12:25 PM


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 08:42 PM.


Electronic Music Forums

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.