Unidentified Crackly Distortion When I Record

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Member Since: Mar 13, 2010

You can hear it here:


I know this isn't the best example because I have reverb on my guitar, but you should be able to hear it. It's like a gross crackly distortion.

I'm trying to narrow down what piece of equipment is actually causing this and it's been pretty tough.

I have the following:

I'm recording my Fender Blues Jr. w/ an SM57. The SM57 is using a Presonus Studio Channel for its Pre-Amp and that's being sent into one of the analog INS on the back of my Motu Ultralite Mk3. I'm using Cubase 5 to record in Windows 7 64-bit.

The guitar i'm using is a Godin Freeway SA and i'm using the middle single coil. The only pedal I was using was a Line 6 Verbzilla but I hear this noise even with the pedals off.

The levels are not clipping in Cubae nor are they on my pre-amp. I've tried moving the mic further away from the amp but I can still hear it.

Can anyone help identify this distortion?

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Marijuana Czar
Since: Oct 01, 2009

Mar 13, 2010 11:04 pm

I couldn't really hear much crackling in that sample.
But recently my guitar started outputting crackling noises,
and it was worse with reverb now that I think about it, but yeah I had to re-solder the wires on my input jack. Pretty simple.

Since: Mar 13, 2010

Mar 14, 2010 10:58 pm

I guess it's less of a crackle and more a soft clipping sound. It gets kind of dirty and abrasive when it shouldn't. I'm ruling out the guitar now because I actually tried outputting an .mp3 of beethoven w\ an x-amp into my amp and I could still hear it.

Since: Nov 11, 2007

Mar 16, 2010 09:38 am

cant hear it either. maybe record one w/o verb

Czar of Turd Polish
Since: Jun 20, 2006

Mar 16, 2010 04:55 pm

What are your buffer settings at for the MOTU and what are your computer specs? Might help get going in the right direction.

Since: Mar 13, 2010

Mar 16, 2010 11:01 pm

My buffer settings are set to 128. I have a 2.66 ghz Intel core2Quad w/ 4 gigs of ram.

So I just did a ton of tests.

Test #1:

Recorded Direct w\ a Radial J48. Sounds Fine for a direct recording. No crackle or anything weird.. just ugly as usual.


Test #2:

Recorded My Amp w\ an SM57. Plenty of garbage-y crackle distortion especially on the attack. Gross.


Test #3

Re-Amped the original DI Recording. Same Amp / Verbzilla Combo. Sounds almost completely passable. There's a little bit of the crackle in there but 90% less than the previous test.


So after this I tried playing in the other room thinking maybe the mic was picking up too much of my actual strings. This certainly helped clean it up a bit but wasn't causing the crackle.

Next I swapped the SM57 for an SM58. Why not. Same results so I'm guessing it's not the mic.

Next I did another direct recording and re-amped it with the x-amp but lowered the output volume to 1/4 instead of full. I had to make up for the lack of volume by turning up the amp. Barely any crackle but a fair amount of buzzing ( Noise suppressor didn't help).

On my last test I tried recording with the SM58 again but I turned my guitar volume down half way. Almost perfect. As good as the re-amped recordings. Conclusion? My only guess is the input on my amp can barely take anything at all. I have fairly hot pickups but I never had any problems like this on my old amp (A line6 Flextone II).

Anyway.. does any of this make sense?

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