So, Crackling... Please Chime In!

  • About a month or so ago I posted a thread about crackling problems with my TI (when using Virus Control). I received very few responses, which I took to indicate that other users do not have the same types of problems.

    However, I did some digging around the internet and found plenty of posts on other forums about the TI and crackling. In the meantime a couple of users on this board have also started threads about crackling issues.

    At first, I suspected that the problem may be related to Windows 7 because I have had my Virus since 06 and not experienced crackling like this until recently. I also tried rolling back the drivers to OS 3 point-something, messing with buffers, bought a new usb card all to no avail.

    I sent a patch to Access support along with an Ableton project file to see if my issues were reproducible. I would like to note that the patch that I sent utilizes many of the Virus' features that drain resources, and I selected this patch specifically because the crackling was totally reproducible. HOWEVER, it is essential to note that I have issues with MANY of the TI's presets sometimes relating to polyphony and other times (seemingly) not.

    Jorg from Access music tested the Live set on a Mac and in Cubase and indeed confirmed crackling which he related to voice stealing. He also confirmed that there was no crackling when using the TI through traditional midi/audio outs with no Virus Control.

    At this point, my Virus is largely unusable. I simply cannot get single patches into audio without crackling. Again, I am not simply talking about my hog of a patch, but many of the presets that used to be useable. I told Jorg as much and he replied:


    I forwarded both your Ableton Live session as well as your report in general to our R&D department. I'm sorry to say but things like that simply will take time to investigate and to address. I ask for your understanding.
    First our engineers need to find out what is causing this exactly and then they can try to address this.

    I cannot offer you a solution for this at this point other than you trying to keep the amount of voices low if possible.

    Well, as much as I appreciate Jorg's sympathetic tone (which I take to be sincere), keeping the voices "low" is not a viable solution because the crackling comes on single low bar, low polyphony patches. I often can't use a unison of 2 or the analog filter (with no effects) without glitching.

    I do not think I have been offered a workable solution in keeping the voice count "low" and as far as I am concerned Virus Control is defective (at least for some users that fall within the recommended specs guidelines).

    This is also compounded by the fact that Jorg has confirmed that Virus Control crashes Ableton in Windows 7.

    So, what's going on? Access has confirmed reproducible glitching in Virus Control where there is none in stand alone.

    So I ask again: Are other users having a problem with crackling audio. Please chime in, because if enough users are experiencing this, perhaps it will get fixed sooner...

  • I tend to find I get this now when using lots of automation of the virus control, although it might not be the case. Possibly you weren't experiencing it before becasuse you weren't taking the virus to it's limits with modulation data been transfered.

    I've just dicovered too that if I use the audio outs of my sound card as the out put routing and not my virus I can take it further than usual. Not that I like doing this because I get more noise from my sound card, even though it's an emu (think thats due to my wires).

  • Thanks for responding mitchiemasha!

    The thing is, I'm having issues with single patches and no automation. I get crackling with many of the factory pad sounds when using only 4 notes.

    At first I was worried that the problem was my Virus. However, since Jorg at Access Music confirmed crackling with my test patch (which is very resource intensive) on a TI2 and experienced similar results, I think the issue is Virus Control.

    I don't, however, understand why more people aren't experiencing this, which again, leaves me with some doubts as to whether or not it's my system.

    If you want to test it out, try sequencing some chords with the pad sound "chapel."

    Oh and another thing to note is that the crackling is not as apparent when the filter is all the way open. Perhaps you hear it during automation because its presence is revealed more easily with the filter closed.

  • You know I am with you on this SOS judging by my thread started about PCI USB controller alternatives to remedy this very issue. I literally have no clue what else to say as Jorg tells me everything should be fine, Timo has no ideas either then 'try eliminating stuff in your system to see what is causing the crackles' etc. I have done so much troubleshooting on this, my head is mush on even remembering what I have tried there have been so many variables I have eliminated as what could be causing the issues. I am completely exhausted on this issue. It has consumed my mind so much the past while that it is a bit disturbing how much it has had an effect on my life in general. 8|

  • Yeah I hear you Fringe. It's like all my free time is spent trying to get the Virus to work. Jorg, however, didn't tell me everything should be fine, but that he doesn't know if/when the issue can be fixed.

    There have to be other people experiencing this.

    Please check out the thread I posted in the feature requests forum about a patch editor.

  • Well I gave up on VC years ago as it just does'nt work with my set up no matter what I do & never will. Like others have said it took up sooooo much of my time it was becoming counter productive to the music making process, i.e. too much time spent trying to fix something that cannot be fixed & not enough time producing music which is the reason I bought it in the first place. I just use midi/audio now as its the only way I can produce anything with the synth without pulling my hair out/wanting to throw the thing out the window. :thumbdown:

  • Sorry to hear that berni, although, at least you're comfortable with good old midi/audio.

    I may be as well, but I really like programming in VC and would miss the ability to automate a clocked LFO (unless I'm missing something). I also don't have many spare audio channels on my soundcard so it would be 1 part at a time (for audio).

    Anyways, I have read a TON of comments over the years about people giving up on VC and simply sticking with the hardware.

    Anyone else having crackling, zipper noises? Please contribute.

  • Yep. Crackling for me too, along with these other problems...

    1. Arpeggios coming out of sync with samples in the host, even when my Snow is in 'SEQ' mode (i.e. tempo tied to the DAW).
    2. Selecting sounds in the Total Control browser can lead to very odd patch names on the synth, e.g. Select 'C-Rave SV' in TC, the actual synth shows "@5: xG" ?(

    I'm guessing there's a problem with the data being transferred via USB altho TC doesn't say there's a problem and I cannor for the LIFE of me get it to sync correctly. I'm on the verge of giving up on total control and going back to MIDI too.
    I gave up on Access support a long time ago as they just said 'we can't reproduce your error so cannot help' for another problem I had.... looks like they've given up on this problem too! To be honest, Total Control just turns the synth into a VSTi... a very expensive VSTi at that! I'm annoyed at spending so much money on something I could download off the web for free that does much the same thing.

    Yes, its easier to program via TC, but it's nice to have that 'hands-on' approach to synth work anyway so TC won't be missed that much if it means I spend more time writing music than I do reinstalling drivers, unplugging cables and resetting the synth. :cursing:

  • I have similar problems.
    I'm using Logic 9 and another audio interface (Focusrite Saffire pro 40), and I can't use the settings described in the TI2 Manual for the virus -audio when I have my Saffire running.
    That means, I configure my saffire as always, plug in the TI2.
    Logic then asks me if I want to use the "new audio interface Virus Ti2".
    I say NO, because else it switches off my saffire.
    Though I said no, audio is transmitted through USB, but in many cases jittery(crackling) . When exactly, I don't know. it seems random and lasts a random time, at least a few seconds.
    This is why I mostly unlpug the USB and use MIDI cables and Audio outs. I can live with it, but I can understand that it might drive others mad ;)
    Anyway, it's a great sounding machine - but not perfect, then again, which synth is perfect? ;)

  • I made a bit of a discovery last night when attempting to fix the problems I was seeing.

    I had the Virsu demo tune playing in my DAW, and could hear an arpeg. track moving out of tune every bar or so accompanied by a crackle just before. I was switching off and on my other USB devices one at a time and by a process of elimination found my USB soundcard (M-Audio FastTrackPro) was causing the problems, as the arpeg. track soon regained sync and no crackles were heard when it was switched off. I guess this is pretty likely, as the amount of data transferred by a USB soundcard would be massive when writing digital music (compared to a mouse or kbd anyway).

    Has everyone else who has these problems tried disabling their souncard and using the built-in audio interface in the Virus instead? Worked for me. Although it's a 'workaround' rather than a pure fix, it may keep me using TotalControl for a few days longer.

    Hope this helps someone anyway.

  • I got some crackling/zipper type noises when I first updated to 4.5.

    IIRC, this was when using USB outputs which I generally prefer not to use.

    I haven't noticed any issues when using the analog outs.

    On another note though, I have experienced delays going out of sync which is a pain even when using the analog outs. And I get heaps of sync errors. This is with the release.

    It's quite odd that this software seems to be causing more issues for more long term users as time progresses.

    VC ran so much better on my old Macbook than it does on my newer snazzier MBP.

    I never had problems getting my Macbook to recognize the TI, now with my MBP I have to load up VC then keep unplugging the USB cable from the TI and plugging it in again until VC finally detects the TI. I can't wait until the USB port fucks up after so much 'use'.

    Sadly, I only discovered this method after 6mths of troubleshooting with both Ableton and Access. Neither of their support teams suggested something as simple as plugging the USB cable in again.
    In another post I also made the suggestion that this be added to the setup guide but as I'm guessing my case is an isolated one it probably wont get published.

    Does anybody else have the same problem with getting their MBP to recognize the TI when using VC?

    I think that Access need to look at offering a version of VC that only handles MIDI via USB and routes the audio through the analog outs.

  • So I got so desperate this afternoon as well as determined to not give up editing my patches through VC, that I decided to get the patches sounding the way I want through the VC GUI, but in the common page select my patches to play out of the physical analog outs of the unit and directly into my audio interface (Echo Audiofire8) in which I monitored live through a Cubase audio channel instead of from the USB outs. THE F'IN THING CRACKLES THAT WAY TOO! Surely this can't be normal? Even if not relying on the USB to transmit the audio, the analog outs crackle just the same as long as VC is open and the patches are being edited through it?! There goes that idea and I have now completely lost any option I thought I had, as well as all motivation to want to do much for the next while musically as I completely pissed and depressed at how everything to do with my Virus continues to go down the shitter. Is VC turned off and an oldskool midi cable literally the only way to go here???

  • Quote

    Is VC turned off and an oldskool midi cable literally the only way to go here???

    At this point, yes. If you check my first post you can see that Jorg said there is no solution at this time. In fact, I haven't been monitoring this thread because I'm trying to figure out if it's worth it for me to keep the Virus without Virus Control or to sell it and just get Zebra. Mind you, this is after 5 years of owning the Virus and while I'm comfortable with the Virus hardware I actually program much faster with VC.

    Oh and by the way, you don't literally need to use a midi cable, you can use a usb cable with the Virus's "synth" port.

  • Thanks for the replies guys, I do appreciate it. I was really thinking the crackles were only due to actual audio streaming via USB into my sequencer, not by using USB simply to control the parameters of the VC GUI. Talk about a disappointment and really has me wondering what the issue is to cause these crackles, pops and clicks when all it is doing is taking care of parameter changes and not actual audio. I was heartbroken to hear the noises when selecting the analog outs. I was really thinking something was wrong with my unit when I heard that as I thought the analog outs were suppose to be trouble free and only the USB audio was prone to artifacts. The only thing left to test is direct midi, with VC not even loaded into my projects. I am completely lost and have to start all over now as I have no clue how to find my way around the Virus like I did in VC. Patch browsing is going to be a real chore, in fact, the entire experience is not sounding to be good at all.

    Thanks for the tip on using the USB synth port instead of an actual midi cable.

  • Actually, patch browsing from the hardware isn't too bad. You can use the search feature to browse through sound categories and the soft knobs in conjunction with shift can scroll through patches and banks. I agree, however, nothing beats having it all in front of you like in Virus Control.

  • I got around this morning to digging out my old Mogami snake and hooking up the Virus to my interface, that alone was already more trouble than I should have had to go through to use this thing lol. I created audio channels in Cubase for which to monitor the incoming signal, create audio tracks for which to record and play back my sequences. Far too much work compared to VC but it worked. I then realized there is no recall-ability of my patches once the unit is turned off like in VC so now I am learning about sysex dumps which I finally got working. Far too much work but it is settled now. I then realized, VC is basically SEQ mode, which is what I was playing around with this morning. I had 3 patches loaded on 3 parts, set each part to a different pair of stereo outputs. I thought I would get smart and load VC, set up 3 patches the way I like, then turn off VC and have it play back through the analog outs without VC. Of course this didn't work... that would be too easy right? I got thinking. If VC is simply SEQ mode, why can we not load VC to browse patches, setup our patches etc, then turn off the VC plugin, have the Ti stay in SEQ mode as if set up manual and have it play through the analog outs without interfacing with VC to avoid the crackles. What is the difference between SEQ mode set manually on the hardware and SEQ mode initiated by VC because to me they look the same on the Ti's display. This would be brilliant if Access could sort something along these lines, even if just for patch browsing and tweaking. No automation would take place I know that, but if we could just browse and setup our patches in VC, turn it off and dump Sysex on what we created in VC to a midi track for import later into SEQ mode we could have the best of both worlds. A fantastic browser and editor as well as glitch free playback through the analog outs which cannot happen for a lot of us in VC mode. Am I missing something here? Sounds certainly plausible, in my head anyways.

    Oh yea, having to get used to manual CC for automation totally sucks now too. I really miss the automation of VC, not to mention some things cannot be automated via CC like LFO clock sync etc.

  • Just had another idea that of course didn't work. I loaded up VC, imported a few patches, set them up the way I wanted, then went to the config page and tried to dump my arrangement via sysex while it was in SEQ+VC mode. Of course it didn't work. No data was being passed to a fresh midi track while recording, despite the exact same method working while in manually set SEQ mode, so that too ends that idea. Why can we not dump sysex data of the patches in SEQ+VC mode but we can we do them in just plain SEQ mode. This could be another work around to our noise problems that appears to be blocked. There really is no easy ways around this at all. Is this a possibility in a future update Access? To be able to dump sysex data of the patches in SEQ mode if set through VC? I would love to setup my patches, dump the sysex, save that midi file and import it into my project and have it setup the Virus accordingly to play back in SEQ mode through the analog outs.

  • I recently experienced horrible crack pops and out of sync problems with my Virus TI2 Polar.
    Several causes: I switched OS to Win 7, updated from Ableton 7 to 8, installed new PCI soundcard, updated Virus OS, All around the same time so I didn't know what was causing my newfound and horrible problems.

    Sometimes VS would tell me there was an out of sync problem.

    This kind of problems totally drove me nuts, and I set to solve it.

    First thing I did was installing a new PCI USB card in my computer, and used it dedicated for the Virus. That didn't help, so I also switched the physical location of the USB card to a different PCI slot. Also that didn't help.

    To test whether the problems were caused by other USB equipment attached to my computer. I removed all of them (including my keyboard and mouse), still the problems occured.

    I read something about the internal PCI/USB whatever transfer speed is the bottleneck, so I disabled my PCI soundcard in the hardware control panel. Althought it didnt seem to be necessary, as I was not using my soundcared. It did solve my problems to a large extent. No more out of sync and lag problems. However, now and then some cracks, but then again i'm using some wild patches :).

    I'm interested in reading other people's experience about this matter. To be honost, I was quite d