Anyone else experiencing lots of noise with VST AMP Sims

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by TommyG, Apr 25, 2017.

  1. TommyG

    TommyG Tommy G

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    I'm trying out the Mercuriall U530 VST on my iMac and its really noisey.
    Im going through a direct box into my audiobox USB interface.
    The noise is excessive especially when strumming the strings. A high pitch noise is always there also.
    Not sure if its just the free version or am I doing something really wrong.
    Anyone experience this ?

    Thanks......
     
  2. SymbolicDeath

    SymbolicDeath SS.org Regular

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    Are you using a noise gate plug-in as well?
     
  3. TommyG

    TommyG Tommy G

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    hmmmmmm. No I am not...
    I was just testing the basic demo plugin. Good thought though.
    I can try that out. Thanks
     
  4. SymbolicDeath

    SymbolicDeath SS.org Regular

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    Yeah a noise gate is always necessary with plug ins, unfortunately. They're very noisy, especially with gain. What DAW are you using?
     
  5. EverDream

    EverDream SS.org Regular

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    This is something that I still don't understand, does anybody know the reason why software plug-ins are so noisy compared to hardware? Even hardware amp modelers/simulators are quieter, so it doesn't even have to be an actual amp to not be noisy, just as long as it's dedicated hardware for creating the distortion.

    Why is this? Is there some actual physical component in the hardware that isn't in a computer that makes it less noisy? Or is it because in order to be that quiet in software it would have to use a ton of CPU power that would be way too high for practical real-time use with computer specs today? Seems like if that was the reason though, they should still develop it and add it as a special render(standalone)/bounce(daw) mode that you use once you're satisfied with how it sounds in the normal real-time mode.

    By not rendering in real-time it could use the limit of whatever cpu power your computer has to still get the job done, by just taking as long as needed. And of course that still wouldn't be as nice as dedicated hardware that can get the job done in real-time, but at least it would be an option.

    Basically you'd dial in a sound you like and a recording you're happy with, but of course there is a lot of noise, and it's very noticeable during quiet sections, and then you click "bounce" or "freeze" in your DAW on that track (or clip), and wait for however long it takes (obviously the faster your CPU and the more cores, the less time you have to wait), go do something while it does that, come back and then play your bounced track (with fx disabled now) and you hear what you heard before bounce but with way less noise, more around the level of noise you'd hear on dedicated hardware, and then you can still add a noise gate at this point if you need to and the gate would have less work to do, and it'd sound way more natural.

    Is there a software amp that does this? Where when you bounce it, the noise is just as low as hardware (real amp or amp modeler)? Or are they all still noisier than hardware, even after bouncing? And if that's the case then... why? Do software amp developers just not want to spend the time developing such a feature, or is it actually impossible without some physical component that isn't in a computer, like I asked about earlier in this post?

    If anybody knows the answer please enlighten me, because I've always been baffled by this. It doesn't even really matter because I use dedicated hardware anyway, but it's just kinda crazy to me why software is always so noisy, I don't get it?!! :shrug: Anybody have any idea why?
     
  6. steelyad

    steelyad Hop Pole Studios

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    Amp sims are not noisy at all, it's a common misunderstanding.

    The interface/DI box you use must have some internal self-noise, which you wouldn't normally hear but when you use a high-gain amp sim that gets brought up to an audible level. This is where the difference between a cheap interface and DI box becomes immediately apparent compared to the higher end equipment.

    The reason equipment like the Helix or Axe Fx doesn't have this noise is that their input stages are designed specifically to work with the rest of the hardware in the unit, and are usually where a lot of the money is spent on hardware design - it's one of the reasons the good modelling gear costs 1-2 grand and not 200-300.

    I personally use a Groove Tubes DI into a higher-end Focusrite converter, and if you see any of the videos on my channel you won't hear background hiss, and I don't use noise gates, but I do use Thermionik plugins, and occasionally X50, and Amplitube 4.
     
  7. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    ^ Yup. It's not the software to blame, the software is just boosting what's already there.

    I wish interface quality was the solution though, that hasn't been my experience. Running a very high end rig using RME. Extremely excessive noise across various setups in 4 different properties. Using the Axe FX too was just as bad when it was hooked into the PC rig.

    Just seems that hooking a guitar into a system with lots of plugs and accessories, is much noisier than simply plugging into a standalone amp. On top of that, sitting near the PC brings noise into the pickups. Guess I need to look into ground loops and get some separate power installed when I buy a house etc.

    I really struggle with this. I have to use broadband noise removal. A noisegate isn't much help because the noise is still so audible ontop of the signal.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2017
  8. steinmetzify

    steinmetzify CHUG & SLUDGE

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    Yeah I use that sim a lot, it's my go-to anymore. Check out GGATE, it's free and works great.
     
  9. Elric

    Elric SS.org Regular

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    Man, I have been struggling with this a ton. I am considering a new interface but I am worried I am just in an electrically noisy environment, so much WiFi, light dimmers, ceiling fans, etc.

    I have the focusrite Scarlett Gen1 and think it is generally a good interface (latency is good, really like the features, compatibility is good). But man, I get lots of hissyness, artifacts, old fashoined noise, etc. A noise gate DOES NOT work because the most annoying part is this hissy 'sizzle' that sort rides on top of the sound of the notes as they decay. To stop the noise you have to choke the signal to cut off actual notes.

    I have tried a lot of stuff (line noise conditioners for computer, running on battery, new cables, etc) but I don't know if an interface would help or just be a waste.

    I was considering the Clarett as it is Thunderbolt (I'm on a Macbook) but I don't know if the Clarett is substantially upgraded over the Scarlett or maybe an Apogee as most Mac users love them (but these don't have 5 pin MIDI; I use a 5 pin MIDI foot controller with the computer; so I'd probably have to buy a second interface for MIDI or new foot controller). The Zoom TAC-2r looked intriguing too but no one ever talks about it.

    TL;DR: anyone have any recommendation for a good $500 or less interface for the Mac? Preferably with 5-pin MIDI?
     
  10. Sumsar

    Sumsar SS.org Regular

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    Hmm honestly a lot of the issues mentioned in this thread sound like ground loop issues.

    Does your interface have a dedicated power supply? Having a usb powered interface should solve that problem.

    Is your guitar also connected to an amp through the DI box? Try not connecting the amp.

    Also if possible try to use a laptop which is just running on battery, completely removing any ground loops.

    Also are you connected to any effect pedals that have their own power supply? try removing that.

    Personally I am running a fairly cheap active DI-box (Palmer pan02) into a fairly cheap interface (Focusrite 2i2) and I don't have this kind of problem. Only time I did have it was when I was also hooked up to a guitar multi effect with its own power supply through the DI box which caused high pitched static noise.
     
  11. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    Sounds like how I would describe quantization distortion, which is an artifact of digital and most noticeable in the decay of the notes.


    You can get a 5 pin to USB MIDI adapter cable if you want to continue using your current controller.


    I've only heard good things about the Audient interfaces, the id14 and id22. The Focusrite Clarett line is supposed to be pretty good, too, but that is just what I've heard as I have not used them myself.
     
  12. cw2908

    cw2908 SS.org Regular

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    It can also be an issue of impedance. Amps are designed to specifically take guitar line or pedal signals (High/Low gain inputs). Things like analog input capacitors are working here to reduce noise and normalize levels. Signal to noise on passive guitar pickups is fairly high because the output signal is so low. Lossy cables, pots, etc will further introduce noise into the chain.

    On the other hand, an interface is likely designed to take any range of inputs (usually multiple in the same jack) with different gain and impedance levels based on switches, etc.


    On the other other hand, crank a 5150 and tell me its not noisy. The big difference comes in the fact that digital signal processing is not as natural sounding as analog circuitry. Companies opt to use specific materials in specific capacitors not necessarily because mathematical capacitance, but because the dielectric material has an impact on the sound. This isn't happening at the same level in DSP. Not to mention its much more difficult to programmatically account for handling noise in every possible FX chain someone could want to use in their DAW -- but this isn't much different than using your regular 5150 setting and then deciding you want to put a ratt in front of it and hearing some ungodly roar the second you turn standby off.
     
  13. BouhZik

    BouhZik SS.org Regular

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    you mean guitar going into passive DI box going into interface takes care of the noise when you use amp sims?
     
  14. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    When I mic my amp, my noise level is 15 dB lower than when I go direct and use Lepou or Ampire. The gain stage being in front of whatever is so noisy helps a lot. Also string noise is a lot more tame (not sure how to describe that specifically).

    Whatever specifically is causing the noise in the first place doesn't much matter if there are multiple simple ways to get rid of it. Those would be to mic your amp, use an outboard amp sim (like a POD), or use a VST noise gate.

    The devil is in the signal chaining:

    When you use an amp:

    Guitar -> Preamp (gain stage) -> power amp -> cabinet -> microphone -> interface -> preamp -> track

    When you use a plugin

    Guitar -> interface -> preamp -> track -> preamp sim (gain stage) -> cab sim

    Even though it is more streamlined, the gain stage which is most sensitive to noise moves from the front of the chain where the signal is cleanest, to the back of the chain, where the signal is noisiest.
     
  15. BouhZik

    BouhZik SS.org Regular

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    ^so, if I get it right, when using amp sims, going thru a DI box before an interface is pretty much pointless?
     
  16. schwiz

    schwiz Lefty

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    No, its best practice. Impedance.
     

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