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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