Darkstar crackling problem when disconnected from everything

  • I think I've bought a duffer.

    When playing long sustained pads the sound breaks up into a crackle between both stereo channels. Shorter sounds I don't notice this so much.

    I've unplugged it from everything (no audio outs, no USB just power and headphones) and the issue is still there.


    Originally I thought this a problem with my Audio Interface and ADAT causing the problem but it seems not.


    I have read on this forum about voltage regulators and capacitors breaking and causing this but I'm no synth repair man although I can solder, and do have a multimeter.


    Anybody have experience of how to troubleshoot this ?


    I'd rather not get into a debate with the vendor from ebay and the listing did state that he "would not take returns"...although I have contacted him for his stance.


    Cheers.


    Rob.

    Access Virus TI2 | Access Virus DarkStar | Access Virus Polar (White) | Komplete Kontrol S61 | Roland A-800 PRO | Casio CDP-120 | Arturia MiniBrute | MPK Mini | MPC Live 2 | Maschine mk2 | Mac Pro 12 core | Cubase Pro 8.5 | Komplete 10 Ultimate | Saffire Pro 24 | 8 channel ADAT | KRK Rokit 5 Monitors | KNS-6400 Cans | Faith Naked Venus | Gretsch G5421 | Tanglewood TSE-605 | SE Magneto Mics | Blackstar Amplification

    Edited once, last by rhbmcse ().

  • Very sorry to read you have hardware issues with your new acquisition. I have no clue about synth hardware, but maybe abraxa can help with some advice.


    You could also try to contact Access Music support. Maybe there's a certified repair center in the vicinity.

    Bass Player and Synthesist.
    Virus TI2 Darkstar | Virus TI2 Desktop | Sub 37 | Voyager RME | Machinedrum | Analog Four | Digitone | MPC Live | NI Maschine+
    Mac OS 13.6.6 (Ventura) | Cubase Pro 13.0 | Ableton Live 9.6 | Logic 10.8 | MainStage 3.6 | NI Komplete Ultimate 14 | RME Fireface UFX+

  • > I'd rather not get into a debate with the vendor from ebay and the listing did state that he "would not take returns"


    From what I understand, that clause is only valid if the item sold arrives as described. If it's faulty and the seller conveniently left out this fact, you should be able to dispute the purchase and demand a refund.


    That said, can you upload an audio sample?


    Please also perform the following test:

    - Leave Virus off for 30 minutes

    - Turn Virus on and play the sustained pad that causes the crackling

    - Leave Virus on for 30 minutes

    - Play the sustained pad again


    When boes the crackling appear? Immediately after starting from cold? Does it become worse after 30 minutes? Does it stay the same?


    As you can probably guess, I want to see if temperature plays a role. There's a 5V regulator on the main board that runs too hot because Access didn't give it a big enough heat sink. That regulator feeds the output circuitry, so it's plausible that it needs replacement. However, it would suck if you'd replace it only to find that it's something else. Unlikely from my point of view, but possible. Hence why going the return route *may* make more sense.


    You could measure the 5V coming out of the regulator but if you take the Virus apart to access the internals, your chance for a refund may be impacted, so I'd only recommend doing this once you know for a fact that you're going to keep it.

  • Yet again - this forum proves to be the most friendly and helpful ones that I've ever come across.


    abraxa I'll certainly provide an audio sample just as soon as I've finished work and have some time at the Virus - how would you like this delivered ? - Can it be uploaded here ?


    Please also perform the following test:

    - Leave Virus off for 30 minutes

    - Turn Virus on and play the sustained pad that causes the crackling

    - Leave Virus on for 30 minutes

    - Play the sustained pad again

    I will certainly do so - just as soon as I'm free from the shackles of work.


    I'd like to keep it - it's pretty much an immaculate Darkstar.


    Incidentally - as far as I can see, one the seller lists the item as 'Refunds not accepted' when one tries to click on 'return item' (which is the only route to get to their resolution centre) it allows you to type your reason for return etc but the box to actually send it is greyed out so there is no way to progress it.


    If it's a simple fix with the soldering iron and a 5v VRM I'm up to the job but will obviously liaise with the seller who will probably browsing this forum anyway looking for an answer - in fact I know he is ! I don't believe this was intentional on his part - I've spoken at length with him on the phone and he's a genuine guy. I'd rather keep it.

    Access Virus TI2 | Access Virus DarkStar | Access Virus Polar (White) | Komplete Kontrol S61 | Roland A-800 PRO | Casio CDP-120 | Arturia MiniBrute | MPK Mini | MPC Live 2 | Maschine mk2 | Mac Pro 12 core | Cubase Pro 8.5 | Komplete 10 Ultimate | Saffire Pro 24 | 8 channel ADAT | KRK Rokit 5 Monitors | KNS-6400 Cans | Faith Naked Venus | Gretsch G5421 | Tanglewood TSE-605 | SE Magneto Mics | Blackstar Amplification

    Edited once, last by rhbmcse ().

  • If it's on a certain sound: this happens in extreme cases, during the MID EQ (19/24Hz) + EQ Mid Gain (+16 db) + LOW EQ on +16 Db/458Hz with Release Env Amp >120

    I'll check that - it is certain sounds... Thanks.

    Access Virus TI2 | Access Virus DarkStar | Access Virus Polar (White) | Komplete Kontrol S61 | Roland A-800 PRO | Casio CDP-120 | Arturia MiniBrute | MPK Mini | MPC Live 2 | Maschine mk2 | Mac Pro 12 core | Cubase Pro 8.5 | Komplete 10 Ultimate | Saffire Pro 24 | 8 channel ADAT | KRK Rokit 5 Monitors | KNS-6400 Cans | Faith Naked Venus | Gretsch G5421 | Tanglewood TSE-605 | SE Magneto Mics | Blackstar Amplification

  • Lioio


    Mid Eq = 1024 Hz

    Mid Eq = Gain Off

    Low EQ = Gain Off

    Low EQ = 78Hz

    Release Env Amp = 80


    Seems to be well within the parameters specified ?

    Access Virus TI2 | Access Virus DarkStar | Access Virus Polar (White) | Komplete Kontrol S61 | Roland A-800 PRO | Casio CDP-120 | Arturia MiniBrute | MPK Mini | MPC Live 2 | Maschine mk2 | Mac Pro 12 core | Cubase Pro 8.5 | Komplete 10 Ultimate | Saffire Pro 24 | 8 channel ADAT | KRK Rokit 5 Monitors | KNS-6400 Cans | Faith Naked Venus | Gretsch G5421 | Tanglewood TSE-605 | SE Magneto Mics | Blackstar Amplification

  • abraxa - I left it off all afternoon and just fired it up - the crackling is evident from the first chord that I played.

    I'll leave it on for a while now and keep testing but it does seem to be there from cold.


    I'll record and example into Cubase now using the Audio outs - still not sure how I can share ? - Please advise.


    Cheers.


    Rob.

    Access Virus TI2 | Access Virus DarkStar | Access Virus Polar (White) | Komplete Kontrol S61 | Roland A-800 PRO | Casio CDP-120 | Arturia MiniBrute | MPK Mini | MPC Live 2 | Maschine mk2 | Mac Pro 12 core | Cubase Pro 8.5 | Komplete 10 Ultimate | Saffire Pro 24 | 8 channel ADAT | KRK Rokit 5 Monitors | KNS-6400 Cans | Faith Naked Venus | Gretsch G5421 | Tanglewood TSE-605 | SE Magneto Mics | Blackstar Amplification

  • abraxa Crackles recorded here:


    Crackles – Google Drive


    As you see - not all the time and sometimes when the display is indicating only 3/5 on the "stressometer" - it's totally at random but not something I can record with. Admittedly it's a complex patch with 6 notes but my TI2 61 note handles this patch without an issue.


    Is the polar hardware lesser ?

    Access Virus TI2 | Access Virus DarkStar | Access Virus Polar (White) | Komplete Kontrol S61 | Roland A-800 PRO | Casio CDP-120 | Arturia MiniBrute | MPK Mini | MPC Live 2 | Maschine mk2 | Mac Pro 12 core | Cubase Pro 8.5 | Komplete 10 Ultimate | Saffire Pro 24 | 8 channel ADAT | KRK Rokit 5 Monitors | KNS-6400 Cans | Faith Naked Venus | Gretsch G5421 | Tanglewood TSE-605 | SE Magneto Mics | Blackstar Amplification

  • yes.

    for attachment it 's Here: Smiles/ Attachments/ Settings

    You need before to compress your audio to ".zip" :)

    I posted a link above to my google drive with the offending crackles - please click ! :)

    Access Virus TI2 | Access Virus DarkStar | Access Virus Polar (White) | Komplete Kontrol S61 | Roland A-800 PRO | Casio CDP-120 | Arturia MiniBrute | MPK Mini | MPC Live 2 | Maschine mk2 | Mac Pro 12 core | Cubase Pro 8.5 | Komplete 10 Ultimate | Saffire Pro 24 | 8 channel ADAT | KRK Rokit 5 Monitors | KNS-6400 Cans | Faith Naked Venus | Gretsch G5421 | Tanglewood TSE-605 | SE Magneto Mics | Blackstar Amplification

    Edited once, last by rhbmcse ().

  • No crackling heard in your example :) So it's not the VIRUS :) test your VIRUS by plugging it into a friend's house :)

    You need better headphones my friend - go back and listen again. I'm not sure how you CANT hear that - particularly at the end.

    Access Virus TI2 | Access Virus DarkStar | Access Virus Polar (White) | Komplete Kontrol S61 | Roland A-800 PRO | Casio CDP-120 | Arturia MiniBrute | MPK Mini | MPC Live 2 | Maschine mk2 | Mac Pro 12 core | Cubase Pro 8.5 | Komplete 10 Ultimate | Saffire Pro 24 | 8 channel ADAT | KRK Rokit 5 Monitors | KNS-6400 Cans | Faith Naked Venus | Gretsch G5421 | Tanglewood TSE-605 | SE Magneto Mics | Blackstar Amplification

  • OK - so I managed to reproduce this on my other virus. It doesn't give up anywhere near as quickly as the DarkStar indicating that there must be some kind of HW difference between the two units despite my belief that they should be indentical - they clearly are not. The TI2 61 has apparently more processing power ?


    The TI2 handles the patch as a SPLIT playing other parts as well and has to be really pushed to break up, the DS gives up much sooner. Anyway I'm satisfied that the HW is OK which I'm very relieved about.


    Thank you all for your inputs as always.


    Much appreciated.

    Access Virus TI2 | Access Virus DarkStar | Access Virus Polar (White) | Komplete Kontrol S61 | Roland A-800 PRO | Casio CDP-120 | Arturia MiniBrute | MPK Mini | MPC Live 2 | Maschine mk2 | Mac Pro 12 core | Cubase Pro 8.5 | Komplete 10 Ultimate | Saffire Pro 24 | 8 channel ADAT | KRK Rokit 5 Monitors | KNS-6400 Cans | Faith Naked Venus | Gretsch G5421 | Tanglewood TSE-605 | SE Magneto Mics | Blackstar Amplification

  • The link with the recordings unfortunately doesn't work for me - I receive a 404 error message.


    Quote

    The TI2 handles the patch as a SPLIT playing other parts as well and has to be really pushed to break up, the DS gives up much sooner

    I'm a little confused - isn't your Darkstar also a TI2? So you have a TI2 desktop and a TI2 Darkstar?

  • Yup I have a TI2 61 key and a TI2 Darkstar. The TI2 61 seems to handle this patch better than the DS for some reason.

    The link with the recordings unfortunately doesn't work for me - I receive a 404 error message.

    Yes - I removed it from my google drive. Satisfied that it's not a HW error now although there are differences between the two. If I push the TI2 61 it also breaks up with this patch, just doesn't seem to do it so readily, but it does do it. Clearly the virus doesn't like this patch much which surprises me - I thought the TI2 could handle pretty much anything. I was wrong.

    Access Virus TI2 | Access Virus DarkStar | Access Virus Polar (White) | Komplete Kontrol S61 | Roland A-800 PRO | Casio CDP-120 | Arturia MiniBrute | MPK Mini | MPC Live 2 | Maschine mk2 | Mac Pro 12 core | Cubase Pro 8.5 | Komplete 10 Ultimate | Saffire Pro 24 | 8 channel ADAT | KRK Rokit 5 Monitors | KNS-6400 Cans | Faith Naked Venus | Gretsch G5421 | Tanglewood TSE-605 | SE Magneto Mics | Blackstar Amplification

  • The question still remains, whether the cause for the crackle is

    1. digital audio clipping because the DSPs ran out of headroom (bits) while calculating the waveform — this is what Lioio suggested with the EQ, but there are a couple of sound design moves that can result in the signal getting to loud.
    2. audio degradation because the DSPs didn’t have enough power (processing cycles) to calculate all the sounds in time

    Regarding the difference between two TI2 models: From the software they seem to be identical, which makes sense. Also, all TI2 are dual DSP systems, and all use the same Motorola 56k processor. But AFAIK, the different hardware doesn’t use the same PCBs, so there have to be minor variations which could add up to become perceptible.


    However, one of the more obvious reasons could be that there were several generations of the same DSPs used over the years. I’m not sure, but AFAIR even with varying clock speeds.

    Bass Player and Synthesist.
    Virus TI2 Darkstar | Virus TI2 Desktop | Sub 37 | Voyager RME | Machinedrum | Analog Four | Digitone | MPC Live | NI Maschine+
    Mac OS 13.6.6 (Ventura) | Cubase Pro 13.0 | Ableton Live 9.6 | Logic 10.8 | MainStage 3.6 | NI Komplete Ultimate 14 | RME Fireface UFX+

  • I reduced the volume a lot and still got the break up - more inclined to think that its maxing the DSPs out but they're not at a full 5 bars when it breaks up. It's weird, but does it on both Virus' so Im content that it'n not a duff unit which was my main concern.

    Access Virus TI2 | Access Virus DarkStar | Access Virus Polar (White) | Komplete Kontrol S61 | Roland A-800 PRO | Casio CDP-120 | Arturia MiniBrute | MPK Mini | MPC Live 2 | Maschine mk2 | Mac Pro 12 core | Cubase Pro 8.5 | Komplete 10 Ultimate | Saffire Pro 24 | 8 channel ADAT | KRK Rokit 5 Monitors | KNS-6400 Cans | Faith Naked Venus | Gretsch G5421 | Tanglewood TSE-605 | SE Magneto Mics | Blackstar Amplification

  • The „stressometer“ indicates the complexity or „stress factor“ of the patch, not the current CPU load. A patch with level 1/5 can be played with much higher polyphony (something like 90 or so, we did some tests here on the forum) than a patch with level 5/5 (max polyphony about 6) before voice stealing will occur. Also, the Virus will apply several strategies before starting to steal voices, such as temporal „smearing“ where chords are audibly arpeggiated, envelopes become less snappy and LFOs fall out of sync, as well as audible degradation of complex sounds by reducing the harmonic spectrum which is most obvious on FM sounds.


    Also important to know is that voice stealing and graceful degradation are handled differently in MULTI and SEQ modes. It seems that in SEQ mode, Part 1 can use both DSPs while all other Parts are only using one DSP with all odd numbered share one DSP and all even numbered Parts share the other DSP. This knowledge can come in handy to optimize distribution of load for an arrangement.

    Bass Player and Synthesist.
    Virus TI2 Darkstar | Virus TI2 Desktop | Sub 37 | Voyager RME | Machinedrum | Analog Four | Digitone | MPC Live | NI Maschine+
    Mac OS 13.6.6 (Ventura) | Cubase Pro 13.0 | Ableton Live 9.6 | Logic 10.8 | MainStage 3.6 | NI Komplete Ultimate 14 | RME Fireface UFX+