Audible Noise When Using USB Connection on Boutique Units

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Audible Noise When Using USB Connection on Boutique Units

Postby RickJP909 » 13:48, 12 August 2017

Hi, all.

I decided to start a new thread because it appears that this problem isn't going away and Roland don't seem to be responding to requests for assistance with this issue so this post will hopefully pop-up on Google searches when people are looking for this problem, making it more publically visible.

I also have to say that as a long-standing Roland user and fan, this disappoints me deeply. I've also put a support request into Roland to get an official response from them so I'll keep you all posted.

I have a JP-08 and only the other night, I decided to use the USB for MIDI and power to my computer because since the firmware update, MIDI now works over USB! I also bought a fantastic editor for the JP-08 which works brilliantly so apart from wanting to use that, the main idea being that I could use one cable for power and MIDI instead of needing 3 cables to do the same job and relying on batteries!

However like you guys, I noticed the same horrible low frequency hum and pulsing tone emanating from the main audio out. I've also tried various tests and the common link is definitely the USB cable as when that's connected, I get the noise but removing the USB, it goes back to normal.

Having done some research, I found that loads of users on Gearsluz and the Reddit forums have also experienced this issue and the only common workaround is to use the traditional MIDI connections and audio out on batteries or a separate USB power adapter which Roland don't seem to recommend, therefore making the use of MIDI or Bus Power over USB unusable which I think is a massive shame!

See one of the many Gearsluz discussions here:
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/electro ... ected.html

I was also looking into maybe buying more Boutique units but I'm afraid that this issue has put me off until a suitable and workable solution is found using USB.

Can anyone add to this or found something workable over USB?

Cheers! :-)
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Re: Audible Noise When Using USB Connection on Boutique Unit

Postby YoUHatejefF » 10:38, 13 August 2017

Yes it's the dreaded USB audio ground-loop problem.

It is something that I personally have been struggling with for years on anything that has both a USB connection and an audio connection to the pc. This applies to pretty much anything that I run into my little mixer and then into the audio interface (in my case an Emu sound card) that has a USB connection even if it's just for midi control.

I like to run my vst soft synths on a separate USB interface and run them through the mixer to try to give them a slightly different sonic character from the sound card. I get plenty of USB noise doing this so unless that was the "sonic character" I was after, I'm actually making things worse doing it this way!

The only solution I've found so far is to get an audio isolator and pop it between the problem device and the mixer. I got a cheap one for less than £10 on eBay and it has done the job for years. It probably does impact on the extreme high/low frequencies of the signal but cleans up 90% of the noise.

Another solution would be to look into Asio audio routing using a piece of virtual-audio cable software and not use to physical output of the device. This would route the digital audio into the DAW. I don't have much experience with that but I've heard it's a thing!

It's not a perfect solution but as I said, the audio isolator works for the most part. It's currently sat between my JX and the mixer and the output is pretty much noise-free.

Hop that helps!
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Re: Audible Noise When Using USB Connection on Boutique Unit

Postby RickJP909 » 22:35, 16 August 2017

Thanks for your answer as you highlight some interesting points.

The good news is that I got a response from Roland and they are looking into the matter so lets see where this goes as it was a rather tardy reply!

However, I have to say that my Moog Sub 37 which uses USB for MIDI doesn't exhibit the same problem as the Boutiques so I don't think these problems are true of all USB synths.

I think the issue arises because the USB is carrying power and sharing it with audio and creating noise from interference.

It's therefore a shame that the Boutiques can't be switched to a USB MIDI mode only or even audio and MIDI but no power. That might resolve the issues.

I'm not a fan of audio filters as I've found they affect the sound, sometimes at the extremities.
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Re: Audible Noise When Using USB Connection on Boutique Unit

Postby cloudburst » 22:45, 16 August 2017

RickJP909 wrote:It's therefore a shame that the Boutiques can't be switched to a USB MIDI mode only or even audio and MIDI but no power. That might resolve the issues.


They can. To force battery powered mode (with USB plugged in) the following button needs to be held each time you power up:
JP-08: Patch Preset 1
JU-06: Patch Number 1
JX-03: Patch 9

CB
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Re: Audible Noise When Using USB Connection on Boutique Unit

Postby RickJP909 » 23:27, 16 August 2017

That's awesome CB, thanks.

I'm now off to conduct some further tests using batteries over USB to see what effect that has.

Standby....
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[SOLUTION FOUND] Audible Noise When Using USB Connection...

Postby RickJP909 » 23:44, 16 August 2017

Great news guys, thanks to CBs info, I've found the cause and a solution which works for me.

The source of the noise in the audio chain is in fact the power over USB, otherwise known as Bus Power which is provided by a USB connected computer.

While ideally I wanted to dispense with using batteries, I also wanted to use MIDI over USB thus reducing the amount of cables I have to the unit.

So powering up the unit with the Patch Preset 1 button pressed (JP-08), forces the unit to run on batteries and bypass USB power, which results in no noise in the audio chain.

Why this solution works for me is that I'll use the unit as is most of the time running USB Bus Power (to conserve batteries) and MIDI over USB but when recording, I'll power up the unit using the bypass combination so that I can record the audio without any noise interference.

I hope this provides others with a suitable and usable workaround.

Meantime, I'm going to relay this new info back to Roland to see what they can do in terms of doing something which might help via means of a firmware update.

Happy music making... :-)
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Re: Audible Noise When Using USB Connection on Boutique Unit

Postby jerry_merry » 12:49, 17 August 2017

DO all the boutiques. Phase 1 and Phase 2 suffer from the USB audio noise. Considering this was a key selling point for Aira Link this sounds pretty shoddy. Ive been tempted to jump in but all this talk of noise and having to use batteries and weird start-up procedures just sounds like they are cheap nasty toys?
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Re: Audible Noise When Using USB Connection on Boutique Unit

Postby RickJP909 » 21:57, 18 August 2017

jerry_merry wrote:DO all the boutiques. Phase 1 and Phase 2 suffer from the USB audio noise. Considering this was a key selling point for Aira Link this sounds pretty shoddy. Ive been tempted to jump in but all this talk of noise and having to use batteries and weird start-up procedures just sounds like they are cheap nasty toys?

There is another solution to avoid the problem and that's to use the normal DIN MIDI connections with a USB power adapter or on batteries all the time.

Apart from this issue, the units are amazing in their audio quality. If the GBP wasn't so weak right now, they'd make amazingly good value for money! I've seen the JP-08 going for around £299 so it's still a great buy at that price.
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Re: Audible Noise When Using USB Connection on Boutique Unit

Postby PugFace » 12:55, 22 August 2017

You don't need to run on batteries. This is a very common problem with USB powered audio devices. The USB power creates a ground loop with your audio circuit. This is a very common problem for audio circuits in general. The solution is to get a ground loop isolator. Its a very low cost solution. I use the Behringer HD400 and I have many, many of them carrying spares just in case. They are that cheap. Behringer call it a hum destroyer but it does more. With USB it removes the crackly noise too. My JU-06 would not be without it.

I have absolutely no noise.
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Re: Audible Noise When Using USB Connection on Boutique Unit

Postby mimoid » 07:15, 25 August 2017

I have a studio full of synthesizers and sound units, mostly controlled by USB, and only a few of them display this behavior. Even the ones with USB power (like the Novation Bass Station 2) are relatively quiet. There is some minor high pitched whine with a few of them (like the minilogue), but that's easily managed by adding a noise gate in the insert point (I am using Cubase). The JD-XA is also a bit noisy if I use the analog outputs, but since I am using it with the MX-1 Aira mixer as an USB audio device, it is not really a problem for me.

The Boutiques (JP-08, JU-06 and JX-03) were on the other hand much worse, in fact nearly unusably loud. I ended up selling them all as they all exhibited this annoying pulsating high pitch whine when connected through USB. I could run them using regular 5-pin MIDI without the noise, but it just got too cumbersome.

I am using powered USB hubs with high quality cables. Changing cables and moving units around in the mixer makes no difference, i have xome to the conclusion that USB noise is something that comes with some synthesizers. Probably some corner cutting to keep the price down. If you can't live with it, you should get another synthesizer.
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Re: Audible Noise When Using USB Connection on Boutique Unit

Postby chisel316 » 23:49, 27 August 2017

I had this problem with the JP-08 when it was plugged into the same USB hub as the JU-06. I got another hub so I can separate them and the noise went away. I'm using the Boutiques with an iPad, so the USB is only for power and not for MIDI.
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Re: Audible Noise When Using USB Connection on Boutique Unit

Postby RickJP909 » 22:37, 29 August 2017

PugFace wrote:You don't need to run on batteries. This is a very common problem with USB powered audio devices. The USB power creates a ground loop with your audio circuit. This is a very common problem for audio circuits in general. The solution is to get a ground loop isolator. Its a very low cost solution. I use the Behringer HD400 and I have many, many of them carrying spares just in case. They are that cheap. Behringer call it a hum destroyer but it does more. With USB it removes the crackly noise too. My JU-06 would not be without it.

I have absolutely no noise.

Thanks for your suggestion. I'm not a fan of using filters in audio circuits because I've always found they adversely affect the sound in that they either add some harmonics or they remove certain ones thus resulting in a change in the overall sound character. Having worked as an engineer in several studios, I've always preferred to find the root cause & deal with it. To date, I've successfully managed to remove hum from the audio chain in every single installation I've dealt with without resorting to using audio filters.

In the case of the JP, this hasn't been possible without using the workaround of using batteries when recording.

So, I therefore looked into your suggestion & looked at the reviews of the product on Amazon & as I feared, that filter appears to remove hum in a way which other filtering products I've come across work. According to one savvy user, he noticed a sharp low cut being applied to the audio chain from around 200Hz which resulted in all bass frequencies being removed thus rendering that synth useless for bass sounds.

To achieve that, there's a really easy trick which is freely available in all DAWs & decent mixers & that's to engage the low cut circuit/button or just apply your own low cut EQ by lowing the frequency until the hum goes! That's a trick I've used to clean up old buzzing recordings on multitracks & also the polar opposite to remove hiss! However, you have to be careful not to remove frequencies which will cause changes in the sonic character.

I've also used notch filters to great effect to pin-point the exact root frequency hum so buying a general filter when with the right knowledge & skill, one can achieve the same using your own tools for free isn't something I'll be doing on this occasion because I don't believe it'll add anything to my current setup.

Lastly, please don't take this the wrong way as I'm always happy to investigate new ideas & put some research in, even trying ideas when something seems to work because technology is constantly advancing so thank you for bringing this unit to my attention. Of course, if it works for you then who am I to argue so stick with it. :-)

Cheers.
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Re: Audible Noise When Using USB Connection on Boutique Unit

Postby subj » 14:07, 30 August 2017

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Re: Audible Noise When Using USB Connection on Boutique Unit

Postby JonoF » 02:27, 21 September 2017

Hey guys,

I just wrote this in another post (sorry hadn't seen this one) but I managed to fix this problem 100%
by getting a USB Isolator.
https://hifimediy.com/usb-isolator

Zero noise now for all my boutiques and all my other synths.

Hope this helps

Cheers,
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Re: Audible Noise When Using USB Connection on Boutique Unit

Postby RickJP909 » 13:02, 21 September 2017

JonoF wrote:Hey guys,

I just wrote this in another post (sorry hadn't seen this one) but I managed to fix this problem 100%
by getting a USB Isolator.
https://hifimediy.com/usb-isolator

Zero noise now for all my boutiques and all my other synths.

Hope this helps

Cheers,

Hi Jono.

Thanks for posting this update. I've just had a look at the link & this actually looks a viable solution because it's isolating the earth rather than filtering the audio which does affect the overall sound such as bass frequencies but I noted one important issue with it. The Boutiques require up to 400mA & that isolator states that it can only work with devices which will run with a max current draw of 200mA which isn't enough for my JP-08 apparently.

Can you confirm what Boutiques you are running? Does it work for example if you load up a sequence & play it as that'll draw more current than when it's just sitting there idle.

Many thanks.
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