ONE: Troubleshooting

Grounding Noise

The direct-coupled design of USB and Firewire audio interfaces can be susceptible to grounding anomalies that are difficult to discern. This can manifest in a variety of audible ways including hum, artifacts, and noises which can modulate with activity from the mouse, hard drive, wireless network, printer activity, or other functions of the computer.

One way to begin troubleshooting is to monitor the outputs of the audio interface with headphones. If the noise isn’t audible then it’s likely that a grounding issue exists.

If you look at the components of a computer based recording system, grounding noise can emanate from a multitude of sources. A few examples of these sources include:

  • Input (Instrument, line-level device, etc.)
  • Audio cables
  • Audio interface power supply (if applicable)
  • USB/Firewire cable
  • Computer’s AC
  • Attached peripherals/devices
  • Powered monitors or amp

A grounding problem could also be caused by the power, AC circuits, and power plugs of the room, or even the building you are in.

To troubleshoot the issue you’ll want to systematically remove, add or replace components in the system until the device (or devices) introducing the grounding issue has been discovered.

  • Because variables can exist within the same space from one circuit or AC outlet to another. Experiment moving devices around to different AC outlets. The preferred setup in a audio/computer system is for the power to be provided from the same AC circuit/outlet.
  • If a MacBook is being utilized, typically the AC power adapter (Magsafe) includes a  3-prong power cable and 2-prong adapter. Try utilizing the 2-prong adapter (North America). Does running the MacBook on batteries (=floating) solve the problem?
  • Utilize balanced cables (1/4″ TRS or XLR) when possible particularly when the audio interface is equipped with balanced inputs or outputs. Balanced circuitry is less prone to ground loops as the ground does not carry signal.
  • When unbalanced cables (RCA, 1/8″ or 1/4″ TS) are utilized keep the length of the cable to a minimum, under 10 feet (3 m). Longer lengths can amplify and exacerbate grounding noise.
  • Separate AC power wiring from audio cables.
  • Ground lifting the AC of a device may resolve the problem. This should be done with extreme CAUTION, as grounding exists for safety. You’ll want to consult with the manufacturer of the device about the implications of configuring the power in this manner. In North America this can be accomplished cheaply with a 3-prong to 2-prong ground lift adapter attached to the AC plug. In other countries a power strip without a ground may suffice.
  • Depending upon the severity of the issue another product may have to be implemented to resolve it. This could be a DI with a ground lift option (for input sources like a keyboard, guitar, etc.), a transformer based solution like those offered by Jensen and EBTECH, power conditioning or regulating device.

If you have questions, are unable to resolve this or any issue contact Apogee Support for assistance.

http://www.apogeedigital.com/contact-support.php

How do I know what version of Maestro is installed on my Mac?

To find out what version of Maestro you have installed:
  • Open Maestro 2 (found in your Mac’s application folder) and click on the “Apogee Maestro 2″ menu in the upper left-hand corner of the desktop menu bar
  • select “About Maestro 2″. This will bring up a window showing you which version you have installed (see example below)

When using Apogee interface with Cubase, Sonarworks, output volume level goes to max.

Symptom: When opening a session or selecting Apogee as the audio device, the output goes to full volume every time.

Solution: 

  • In Cubase, go to Devices > Device Setup > Control Panel > Core Audio Device Settings. Under Options, verify that set device attenuation to 0 dB is unchecked.

NOTE: In Cubase 10 and up, this setting is in Studio Setup > Control Panel

  • In Sonarworks, go to Systemwide settings and deselect the “Adjust output device gain checkbox.

How is this possible? All modern Apogee interfaces have input gain and output volume that are digitally controlled rather than an analog potentiometer that must be physically turned. The advantages of digital control are many:

  • Improved Sound Quality (turning the gain doesn’t cause a “scratchy” sound, and enables the advantages of our Step-Gain preamp technology)
  • Settings can be saved to presets that can be recalled later.
  • You can also control the output volume directly from the Mac’s Keyboard, Touchbar, or Volume icon in the Task Bar.

Cubase:  In Cubase this is called “Device Attenuation.”  The intent of this setting is to attenuate, or lower your volume, so you don’t get blasted.  When selecting any audio device with this setting turned on Cubase sets the device’s output volume to 0, since most simple sound cards have 0 as the lowest value.  Since your Apogee is rating the Outputs in digital decibels, where 0dBFS is the highest value, this setting will have the unfortunate opposite result, maxing out the volume.  Be sure to disable this setting to prevent getting blasted.

Sonarworks Reference 4:  This is a sound calibration software that many customers may have and forget is even running.  It has a setting to Auto adjust output device gain, or volume.

Please remember, many other softwares not listed here have these types of settings so be sure to check all the softwares on your computer!

ONE: What sample rate should I record at?

ONE for Mac (first generation) offers a choice of two sample rates, 44.1kHz or 48kHz. So, what’s the best sample rate to record your project at? It’s a good idea to avoid unecessary sample rate conversion stages, so the answer is determined by the sample rate of media on which you plan to distribute your recording. If the final distirbution media is CD, record at 44.1kHz. If the media is video or TV, most often 48 kHz is the best choice. If you’re part of a larger production chain, and aren’t sure, ask whomever is responsible for assembling the final product – they’ll undoubtedly appreciate the forethought.

 

ONE for iPad & Mac (second generation) offers a choice of four sample rates: 44.1kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2kHz or 96kHz.

 

 

ONE: How do I set the volume level of my powered speakers?

Most powered speakers offer an input volume control, often labelled as input sensitivity. Rather than describe an overly complicated method for setting this control, the easiest way to determine the right setting is to note where you generally set ONE’s output level. If you find yourself rarely turning the output past a very low output level (say, -35 dB), decrease the input sensitivity on the speaker.

If, on the other hand, you find yourself setting ONE for full output and the speakers aren’t loud enough, increase the input sensitivity. Ideally, ONE’s output should be at 0 dB when you’re listening at your absolute maximum desired volume.

I hear a delay between what I play and what I hear in my monitors. Can I do anything about this?

This delay is called latency, and is caused by your computer and/or recording software.

Using the low latency mixer found in the Apogee Maestro 2 application may help. Click on the mixer tab to configure it to your desired settings. Be sure to set your desired output to “mixer” on the output page.

For more on using the Maestro Mixer: Read More

Error on launch of Avid Pro Tools (9 and up)

Symptom: Error on launch of Pro Tools: ”Pro Tools could not initialize the current playback device. Please make sure that the device has been configured correctly.” [381131]

Resolution: This could be an issue with the Current Engine setting in the Pro Tools Playback Engine.

This has been resolved in some scenarios by picking a different Playback Engine:

  • Launch Pro Tools
  • When the splash screen appears on the screen, hold down the “n” key on your keyboard, which will eventually open the Playback Engine dialog for Pro Tools.
  • At the top of this window, you will see the ‘Current Engine’ drop-down menu.
  • Choose a different Engine (such as Pro Tools Aggregate I/O)
  • Click OK.
  • This should allow Pro Tools to launch.

If the solution above fails, you can try deleting the “com.apple.audio.AggregateDevices.plist” preference on Mac OS X. You can find this preference file in the following location:
Macintosh HD > Library > Preferences

http://avid.force.com/pkb/articles/en_US/troubleshooting/en381131