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Laptop Audio, Clipping?


themetallikid
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So last night I was running through my STP presets in preparation for practice tomorrow.  I got through 19/24 songs....when I got to my preset for Fall To Pieces.   Now...   Everything sounded great, didn't have to adjust anything, mix of audio to Helix sounds was spot on for me.  All good.

 

On the Fall To Pieces preset, the audio coming from the laptop was staticy/crackly.  Not the first time I've encountered it on this preset.  The only preset this happens to.  I can change presets, and the audio is fine.  I can play my guitar through the preset and it sounds fine.

 

Few things to note,

 

1. This preset was created from scratch along with the rest of my STP presets

2. The preset is using favorites for all blocks, minus a few setting tweaks for the song, that are used in the rest of my STP presets that had no issue.  

3. I simple restart of the helix, changing presets or anything else doesn't resolve this.  It has worked in the past, but not sure what is causing it.   

 

Any ideas what could be causing this?  It looks like my input/output settings aren't any different than other presets.  I will post the presets if no one else has any ideas of what to check off the top of their heads. 

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It could be that you have a household gremlin that doesn't like that song. ;-)

OR

You could attach the preset so we can have a listen and try to track down the problem...

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It sounds like you're playing along to an audio recording of the STP song, right?  If so, what is the source of the audio recording and are you playing it from the laptop through just standard playback features or through a DAW or what?

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On 5/22/2022 at 2:21 PM, DunedinDragon said:

It sounds like you're playing along to an audio recording of the STP song, right?  If so, what is the source of the audio recording and are you playing it from the laptop through just standard playback features or through a DAW or what?

I'm playing the songs through Spotify on my laptop via USB to the Helix > Headphones out.  I'll attach presets below, good and the gremlin one.  However, what puzzles me is:

 

1) I have 24 songs in the preset list, I played through our set, this song is song #20 in the list and all the rest were fine.

2) This song plays fine on any of my other presets, clear as the other 23 songs in the list.  Whether I skip around or play in order does not matter.  I can remain on the Fall To Pieces song and choose other MP3's and its fine, I can stay on Fall To Pieces song and change presets and it plays fine.

3) The preset plays/sounds fine, just like the others in my setlist, when Spotify isnt playing. 

4) Turning off Helix did not remedy the situation after it was rebooted.   

 

Those 3 things have my trouble shooting mind at wits end.  The song is fine on its own, the preset is fine on its own, testing them with other songs/presets are fine, but together this song and preset crackly like a bad electrical wire though nothing has changed from the previous 19 songs.  

 

On 5/22/2022 at 3:50 PM, PierM said:

 

You never stop learning. :P

HAHA, yes, I shouldn't abbreviate it, but its a habit and I didn't think it was really relevant to the issue, but I get the confusion.   lol.  

 

 

I have attached the following presets from various spots of our setlist, they all utilize snapshots via Stomp Mode Layout.  I run my headphone output at about 11:00, into a headphone amp/splitter thing that was at about noon, and again...no clipping previous/post of this song/preset combo:

 

1 - Dead and Bloated - Stone Temple Pilots Spotify version from 2017 Core Remaster Album

6 - Crackerman - Stone Temple Pilots Spotify version from 2017 Core Remaster Album

12 - Dirty Lil Thang - Velvet Revolver Spotify version from Contraband Album

18 - Fall To Pieces - Velvet Revolver Spotify version from Contraband Album

 

I included another Velvet Revolver song from the same album we do in case its some sort of weird album processing, however, I have played Fall To Pieces along with this setlist before and its fine.  So this doesn't happen all the time, but when it does, I have no idea what is causing it, nor how to fix it.  I have not tried a different Spotify track of the same song......

 

Of course, as I'm typing this all up and I mention trying another Fall To Pieces track, I try to recreate the problem and its not there.  So, you may not be able to duplicate, which means no help for when it does happen.  

Crackerman.hlx Dirty Lil Thang.hlx Dead and Bloated.hlx Fall 2 Pieces.hlx

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A short clip would be helpful...just guessing, maybe it's modelled clipping from a stomp in the chain getting overloaded...I have heard it described as static by some people...anyhoo, good luck.

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On 5/23/2022 at 11:53 AM, spaceatl said:

A short clip would be helpful...just guessing, maybe it's modelled clipping from a stomp in the chain getting overloaded...I have heard it described as static by some people...anyhoo, good luck.

I'm not sure if you read both my posts, but the blocks in this preset, are saved favorites that are used in my other 24 presets for this project.  They all sound fine in the those presets.  Also it doesn't change or stop regardless of which snapshot I have engaged, and the static is on the actual Spotify audio, not my preset's sound.  

 

Again, the static goes away from the Spotify audio when I change presets to any other STP preset, it comes back when I come back to Fall To pieces.  I can stop the Spotify audio and it goes away and my guitar sounds fine.  

 

But again, it was fine this morning, Saturday night was not the first time this situation came up between Spotify/preset static.  

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Everything about this is screaming audio interface and buffer size because of the intermittent nature of it and the whole crackling and popping affect.  What's odd about that is that typically is associated with recording, which is the one thing you're not doing.  I can't remember any settings in the Helix that would effect this, so I have to think about Spotify.  Since I'm not a Spotify user and have no background with it I can't say for sure what might be happening, but I'd suggest looking at some of the configuration parameters in your spotify to see if there's something akin to a buffer size that can be adjusted to make it larger.  It would make sense to me that streaming would need to have some sort of configurable buffer space.  As you increase buffer space you potentially affect latency, so the smallest buffer space would likely be where it would be set.  But a smaller buffer does run into problems in any DAW when the CPU load on the computer rises or memory use rises significantly.  This is what causes the crackling and popping.  In your case, everything works fine if the CPU and memory usage are normal but if there's something going on in the background or a slowdown in network efficiency (like heavy traffic on the Internet) which causes the streamer to fall behind it would logically make sense that the popping and crackling might show up.  This could be associated with a streaming content that's particularly dense possibly like your one song you're having problems with.

This is all just guesswork based on the technical foundations involved in streaming and digital production, but it's worth exploring.  Again, the first place I'd turn to is Spotify to see if there's some configuration parameter involving how much buffer is being allotted to the streaming content. 

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On 5/23/2022 at 1:26 PM, themetallikid said:

I'm not sure if you read both my posts, but the blocks in this preset, are saved favorites that are used in my other 24 presets for this project.  They all sound fine in the those presets.  Also it doesn't change or stop regardless of which snapshot I have engaged, and the static is on the actual Spotify audio, not my preset's sound.  

 

Again, the static goes away from the Spotify audio when I change presets to any other STP preset, it comes back when I come back to Fall To pieces.  I can stop the Spotify audio and it goes away and my guitar sounds fine.  

 

But again, it was fine this morning, Saturday night was not the first time this situation came up between Spotify/preset static.  

Like a said, a guess...Have no idea what you mean by static...anyway, best of luck to you.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Ok, and its back.  Exact same scenario as in my OP,exact same song/preset.  

 

However...

 

This preset I attached is a brand new preset build.  From scratch.....using brand new favorite blocks (I redid my whole STP sound/preset list).  We varied our setlist order, this song is now song 18 in our setlist.  What has happened?  I am again getting a digital clipping/static type sound over the Spotify audio.  Here is what changed or changes as I tried to figure out what is causing this:

 

1) I have worked 2 nights updating my presets for songs 1-17....0 issues.  Played along to every song, let every song play as I was editing via HX Edit....0 issues

2) This preset was a fresh build and is even routed/structured different than the original I posted.  

3) While it was going on, I bypassed/engaged every block in my preset one by one - no change.  

4) While it was going on, I bypassed all of the blocks in the preset - no change.  Audio was still clipping

5) I played with the input settings (Gate, In-Z settings), output settings, Path 1>Path 2 settings....nothing changed the audio clipping I'm hearing.

6) I changed Helix presets - Audio is clear as it should be.  Back to this preset, clipping/static.  Change songs in Spotify, clear as it should be.  

7) Here is the damn stranger part.  I have played this song a few times this morning, and it was fine.  I didnt like something in my clean sound, made a change in the treble/presence/bright settings (maybe a .5 adjustment at most) and saved it and then the issue came back.  

8) Again confirmed that changing presets or mp3 songs clears the audio issue.  It really seems to be only when I play Fall To Pieces in Spotify and have the Fall To Pieces preset chosen.  However, it was working literally the previous 35 minutes while I created this preset.  

 

I have 0 clue what is happening, or what fixes this.....super annoying.  Good thing its a song I don't really need to practice as I've got it down.  But it sucks not being able to practice the mechanics of navigating the performance in real time with the song at home.  

 

I agree with Duned, that it seems like it'd be a buffer type issue, however, the previous 2/3 nights I have recreated presets (using the same favorites) across 6-8 presets and had 0 issues.  This is song 3 or 4 that worked on this morning.   So I dont see how a buffering issue would play out with less information being used in total during my sessions.  

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Round 2 of tweaking today....

 

Revisited the preset, played through the song.  Turned things on and GO!   Played perfectly.... Heard a few things I wanted to tweak.  I only adjusted channel volumes of the clean/dirty amps.....and was gonna have another run...and there is the noise again.  All the same parameters I outlined in the previous post are present.   

 

Makes 0 sense.  The USB audio would not be going through the preset or the audio would be f'd up every time you had a distorted sound for your guitar.   

 

I'll have to open a case and see what they say.  I'm really curious why its only after making tweaks to the preset and the clipping is only on the Spotify audio, nothing with my guitar sound. 

 

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