Troubleshooting Noise Within a Eurorack System

There are two things I would do before putting more money into this issue.

First:

This is not standard. Unless have everything turned up 95% or something, you really shouldn’t have any noticeable hiss in your audio equipment. Perhaps investigate the cause of this and see if it’s related in some way to your modular issues. I have a memory of reading something years back where somebody had hiss issues in their audio system. The issue turned out to be that the property they lived in was older and did not have proper grounding. Not necessarily saying that’s what your problem is but it’s those sorts of things that might be worth looking into.

Second:

I see you’re in New York. You are lucky as you have access to at least one modular dealer there. Maybe take your problematic modules round to them and ask their advice. See if you can try them in one of their systems and find out if the ringing issue is still present. If it isn’t, then you can see what’s different between their setup and yours - it may give you somewhere to start.

Most busboards, like the Intellijel units, market a specific PSU but you can use whatever (e.g. subbing a linear unit) as long as the output is correct. Be aware that there can be a modest amount of wiring. Generally nothing excessively complex.

This seems like a good spot to bring up something I encountered while installing/testing modules in my brand new Intellijel 7u case last night.

One of the modules I installed is the Intellijel 1u Noise Tools. Curiously, noise from that module seems to bleed on through to the right outputs of the Cold Mac only, audibly following the rate of the clock or the random pulse depending on what’s selected. The path is simply any output from Cold Mac (with no inputs) to the Intellijel i/o tile and then from the balanced 1/4" outputs on the back to my mixer.

If I take an output from the Linix instead of Cold Mac to the i/o tile, that bleed from the Noise Tools seems to disappear. Any ideas around further debugging what seems to be a bleed problem between two specific modules?

my guess is that Cold Mac is more susceptible to noise pickup than other modules.

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Yeah, I figured that might just be the case. I was also monitoring with headphones, which I’m sure accentuated the problem last night. Testing this morning, it wasn’t so so bad.

It’s really unfortunate given how expensive all this stuff is but I’ve come to the conclusion that these noise issues are sometimes completely unavoidable. After I splurged on the Intellijel Triple Power Supply my noise leakage issues stopped but it didn’t solve any noise problems within individual modules. The Morphagene is still the worst offender. So after buying an expensive PSU and a Furman I’m still having noise problems. Next step is to buy Izotope RX and use it when things get really bad.

Noise problems are usually only really a problem in certain limited cases. If you’re making really quiet music, do lots of amplifying etc. I also have a module here which creates an audible noise and is being picked up by any mixer/VCA I have tried to far. It’s fortunately not being amplified by Ears, which would be a bit of a problem.
I did have a lot more issues with noise with my previous mixer but since adding the WMD performance mixer to the system that seems to be a lot better. The noise floor is so low I can’t hear it even with the headphones and the volume relatively loud.

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Which btw. is not to sell you the Performance Mixer, any reasonably well designed mixer should work just as well. :slight_smile:

Semi-related inquiry, posting here instead of starting a new thread:

Sometimes while playing sound through my computer/interface/monitors, I get an audible click/pop in my audio output that does not have a clear origin. I’ve noticed it happen while playing my synth through my interface and while simply listening to music through my interface via my computer; not coming from the synth itself. Unfortunately, if this noise occurs while I’m recording my synth, it’s present on the recording. You can hear it happen at various intensities in this clip, at 0:20 and 0:47:

https://soundcloud.com/suddenforever/distortion-click/s-hx1Wd

Clips are from the same session and I was not doing anything to provoke the noise directly (i.e. I was just listening) . My hunch is that it’s some sort of grounding issue, since I live in a 100 year old building with multiple apartments; the power strip I have my set-up plugged into has it’s “not grounded” light illuminated. I get a similar noise when I turn a fan on while listening to my stereo, different power strip, other side of the room… If this is some sort of external noise interference, would something like a power conditioner / DI prevent this from happening? Any chance there could be another cause / solution entirely?

I’m not sure, but the click at 0:47 sounded to me like your interface dropped a few samples. Mine did this a lot when the hub it was plugged into was “overworked”—backing up my hard drive, syncing my phone, etc?

I suppose that could be possible, however at the time I wasn’t doing anything other than recording, no plug ins running, internet browser was probably running. Also plugged straight into my interface from my computer, USB 3.0.

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Came across an announcement of the following tonight:

https://midi-hardware.com/index.php?section=prod_info&product=NKP

I’ve ordered a dozen to try them out, they look quite interesting.

Edit: I probably should have given some small description that they are called “Noise Killer Plug” and they are supposed to filter noise/ripple from switching power supplies.

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Woah! Ordering these immediately. Thanks @unity2k !

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Thanks for the link!

These prove to be worth the purchase?

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They are worth it to me, though to be honest my system is incredibly quiet. I bought my supply of these in case I get a module that requires filtering. For now they sit behind modules such as the ER-301, Magneto, and my E-370.

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I have finally chased down some noise ghosts in my system and got it pretty damn quiet, but I think I am indeed going to snag a handful. I have a couple situations in mind where they could possibly be really beneficial.

Eurorack user here, I’m getting a weird high pitch whine (usually just a dull hum that I’m used to) so I know something is wrong.

I have my digitakt and my modular through separate channels on an external mixer. The digitakt channel is clean but my modular channel has the whine even when my modular is turned off, what could this mean?

Thanks in advance.

Do you have a grid on 5v of the power supply? I’ve gotten such a hum before in that case (that I don’t get when decoupling power w an offworld)

Trouble-shooting noise has been the most-present / least-fun part of getting into Eurorack :sweat_smile:

I would recommend, if you haven’t already:

  1. make sure that you are well-under the max power consumption of your power supply. (I think I see people kicking around 80%, but I have no idea why that target is chosen.);
  2. unplug everything. Add modules until the noise is present. (Or the reverse.) This how I discovered that my Hermod was always noisy in my Intellijel 7U, regardless of number of other modules plugged in.

Good luck!

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Is there a Morphagene connected in your eurorack system?