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Awful Noise

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Postby rparker » July 3rd, 2012, 12:26 pm

One more noise issue and I should be done. (knock on wood)

I've got a guitar that connects to a computer via USB. the software that it uses is a LE version of Guitar Rig. I get an awful racket. It happens on any machine, cable, headphones or speakers, guitar rig or amplitude, two different vesions of ASIO driver, etc, etc. I can stop the noise by unplugging and pluging back in the USB cable. Turning it off from the ASIO4ALL driver set up window also works.

If anyone has any clue, I'm - ahem, all ears. The only thing consistent is the jerk playing the guitar. I'm not saying sane, just consistent. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

The noise. http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=11744323

The recording timeline:
0:03 audio starts. Noise right away.
0:09 An attempt to stop noise just by muting strings. works once in a while.
0:13 I unplug the guitar's USB cable. (nothign else hooked up)
0:24 after missing the connection twice, I hook it back up to no noise.
0:41 It sounds like it's about to happen again.
1:03 The nois ebegins to come back.
1:09 It's in full force now.
1:30 You can't even tell it's a guitar any more.
1:44 I unplug and plug much quicker this time. It's a guitar again.
2:01 I stop recording. It's worked fine for 15 seconds.
Roy

"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin
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Postby greybeard » July 3rd, 2012, 12:40 pm

Can you access the guts of the guitar?

USB is a digital connection - those sort of noises shouldn't happen. It makes me wonder if there is a control board with a dying component. It is also possible that there is a ribbon connector that is coming loose.
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Postby rparker » July 3rd, 2012, 12:48 pm

It's a semi, Epi ES339 Ultra, but it has the standard LP back cover complete with additions for the nanomag (piezo-like pickup). I'm going to take me a little look.
Roy

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Postby rparker » July 3rd, 2012, 1:05 pm

ha! I opened the back, took a tiny little look-see. I saw nothing loose and closed it right back up. Circuit boards and all kinds of wires. Out of my league.

Meanwhile, the local GC manager (Eli, who is absolutely AWESOME!!!!) has people at his WHQ asking people at their WHQ about this, and hopefully someone will have an official answer within a few days. It'd be nice to have it ready for an upcoming road trip as it's a really niffty feature being able to plug a guitar straight into a USB port, but in the end, a resolution is all that's really required.
Roy

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Postby imalone » July 4th, 2012, 12:02 am

This sounds a bit like the problem I had when I first got my Mustang. The sound is very digital and related to guitar volume (louder when the guitar is played louder). I finally tracked it down to the USB connection itself. It's still not clear exactly what was happening but it looked like samples being missed; if I looked at the waveform the sign would change at intervals, causing noise. I haven't tried looking at yours in audacity because I don't have a sounclick account and mp3 encoding might well have destroyed that signature anyway.
For me running the amp through a USB hub worked, instrument manufacturers typically say you should go direct into a computer, but for whatever reason (something to do with timing and device priority if I had to guess) that didn't work for me. Another possibility might be a conflict between sound devices, have you tried recording with only the ES339 enabled in ASIO4ALL (i.e no playback device)?

Edit:
Mine was also apparently related to Windows XP USB drivers, as there were no problems in Linux with the same setup.
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Postby rparker » July 5th, 2012, 7:09 pm

imalone wrote:have you tried recording with only the ES339 enabled in ASIO4ALL (i.e no playback device)?

I have not done that, but then again, how would I be able to tell if something is wrong?

One of the more common aspects of this whole this is that some people claim that it can start making noise just sitting there, hooked up and waiting to go. Indeed This happened to me when I was doing the recording. I expected to play something clean and got caught off guard. I was hoping for audio where it sort of ramped up so that folks could here that as well. I didn;t have to wait long.

On other fronts, no news or word from anyone today on what they plan to do. Maybe tomorrow. :D
Roy

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Postby imalone » July 6th, 2012, 2:47 am

rparker wrote:
imalone wrote:have you tried recording with only the ES339 enabled in ASIO4ALL (i.e no playback device)?

I have not done that, but then again, how would I be able to tell if something is wrong?


You'd have to record then play back afterwards, it's a troubleshooting step rather than a solution. Using it through a hub would be more interesting.

rparker wrote:Some people claim that it can start making noise just sitting there

Ah, it's a known problem with the Epi Ultras?
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Postby rparker » July 10th, 2012, 3:40 am

imalone wrote:Ah, it's a known problem with the Epi Ultras?

Well, it would be if they would recognize it. they still have not posted any response to at least a couple of threads at gibby-epi land, nor have they responded to my direct inquiry via web.

I think I mentioned that my local GC manager is escalating the issue. He's going through the high and mighty types on his end who are talking with the high and mighty types on their end. I hope to know something by tomorrow. It's like I told him...the July 4th holiday week is tough here.

I also brought the guitar in to show his tech my set-up and to get any idea if he thinks I'm causing it with some sort of improper settings. He said it looked fine and even measured to confirm.

I was just thinking that this is a three-straight bad Epis. Everyone that's been around and have read my threads know that I do enjoy my epiphones. However, the past year or so has ended up with three bad ones on my lap. The only one that could have been spotted in store was the neck anlge issue, but I mail ordered that one. The other two involved USB, which I could not test. My only fault is that I did not test the second USB guitar for long enough.

What I'm getting at, and this is true for all guitars, is that you need to pay great attention when you get them right away, and throughly check out all functionalities in quick fashion. I was left having to explain why I didn't know about this problem until 5 months had passed.
Roy

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Postby TRGuitar » July 10th, 2012, 7:18 am

Sorry to hear about your troubles Roy. When it comes to my gear I'm a little old school. I have one guitar with active electronics and have thought of swapping them out for old fashioned pickups. My son has a Ibanez bass that has a fabulous multi laminate neck and only cost $299. It came with cheap active electronics that developed scratchy pots in short order. Not as easy of a fix as they are on a circuit board. He hated the active electronics anyhow so he had me install new pots and a set of Jazz pickups we had laying around here. He is happy now. I know you got lots of high end high tech recording gear so you wanted the USB guitar. I hope you get it sorted out. I'm looking foreward to hearing some stuff.
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Postby rparker » July 24th, 2012, 10:58 am

I've been dealing with some new treatments, so staying out of public places for a few days. I did want to update this.

I finally got someone to listen to that clip. The total vibe of this whole issue took a dramatic turn. My local GC manager (who again is GREAT) finally got a response from the Epi/Gibby folks. They gave him an official line which was basically something like we can't control user environemtns, blah blah blah. He of course had to pass it back to me, with a note asking if I had complied with everything mentioned in a pair of documents.

Trying to be a responsible consumer, I went through all the motions including the vague ones to the tune of about an hour and a half or so. Something donned on me at the end. They would not have said what they said about a point they made if they had heard the clip.

I emailed back my GC manager stating I was in compliance. I implored him to listen to the clip, and that he did not even have to admist he had not. Just promise me that he did at least then. He had not been able to get to it through their firewall. We found a way. Upon hearing it, he wanted to push right back to Epi/Gibby. He asked my permission to send them the clip and some of the info I had with it, examples being like what I posted earlier in this thread. Of course.

I got another response asking if it was alright for them to contact me directly. Again, yes of course, but only would if they listened to the clip. I tld him that I refused to talk to anyone from there unless they heard the clip. Not being a jerk or anything, but it avoids a lot of BS conversation and canned responses if they actually heard the problem. I got an email on Monday stating that the noise was indeed not atypical and they wanted my guitar to take a look at.

Yay!!!!

The guitar is sitting in my foyer right now wrapped in blankets I don't care if I ever see again and double boxed. fedex is supposed to be here tomorrow sometime to pick it up.

While it's pretty fantastic that they could go through all of this including having long discussions with the engineering department without listening to the clip. a lot of my time and stress could have been saved. At least they are going to look at it now, which I am very pleased to announce. i didn't ask about a turn around time. I'll give them a week or so after the box leaves and see what's happening at that point.

On another note, I had a car battery die in my wife's car and ran into a fiasco with the warranty situation with that. What the heck has happened to customer service? Boneheads.
Roy

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Postby TRGuitar » July 24th, 2012, 11:17 am

Sounds like progress Roy. I've gotten so I don't pay attention to warranties when choosing what to buy cause I don't plan on them being honored without a fight anyhow.
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Postby rparker » July 24th, 2012, 11:50 am

TRGuitar wrote:Sounds like progress Roy. I've gotten so I don't pay attention to warranties when choosing what to buy cause I don't plan on them being honored without a fight anyhow.

Man, ain't that the truth. I laughed outloud the last time someone tried to sell me on a warranty. I felt bad about it right away and apoligized for my rudeness. He just smirked.
Roy

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Postby rparker » August 15th, 2012, 4:34 am

It's supposed to get here today. They replaced the whole input jack assembly. They also left it plugged in for extended period of time as well as having two people play it for over 30 minutes each.

This is a quote from him. I'm pretty stoked up right now for obvious reasons. "I am having our artist set up expert put some extra time and effort into making sure your guitar plays great. It'll play better than ever when he's finished."

I know, I know. One my age should know better than to get excited about things like this until it's in my hands and functioning. Still......
Roy

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Postby greybeard » August 15th, 2012, 5:39 am

Well, I'm going to put in a word for the CRM guys.

It's not always easy to get companies to "honour" warranties - true. The question is "Why?"

Part of my job is CRM - apart from my main duties, I also deal with support enquiries. I can't tell you how much of my life is spent dealing with "serious customer concerns" over things that are a) described in the documentation, b) solvabe with 2 minutes thought, and c) not part of the warranty agreement.

The easiest way for a lot of people is simply to call the support line and ask for help, on topics which are not even part of the support agreement. If I have a lot of other work to do, I will also make life hard for the customers, in order to filter out those with a real problem and those who are just too bone idle to use their brain. Many of these "problems" are on the level of "Hi, can you tell me how to empty the ash-tray?"

Sadly, the responsibility for it being tough to get movement on warranty complaints is the customer and his laziness. Not everyone is like that, but there are enough of them to cause those in CRM to distance themselves until they can sort the wheat from the chaff.

In your case, I think that they went a bit too far with it, but they're human, too.
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Postby rparker » August 15th, 2012, 7:04 am

Greybeard, there's no doubt that the issue is two ways. I would not ever, ever, ever want another job where I have to deal with public, and for the issues you describe.

It is sad that I have to go through hoops to prove sanity. well, even that's relative, I suppose.

The guitar came in. No change. I'm bummed. I'm waiting on one more bit of info - some promised ASIO4ALL settings on their known good set-up. Perhaps some sort of base settings would help as I've long forgotten the default settings upon installs.

If the settings and subsequent efforts do not resulve the issue, I've giving up. I'll still have a piezo equipped 2-HB semi-hollow to play using everything but USB. I've already purchased a small travel sized multi-effects proc for the road. A digitech RP255. It's no Eleven Rack, but it's good enough.

Oh, and an accidental find. Some signal bleed in the piezo -> HB switch. Not really an issue that's worth whining about, and I get free effects. :lol:
Roy

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