StudioLive AR8, AR12 and AR16 Hybrid Mixers
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Hello

I have a StudioLive AR12C for a couple of months, and today I noticed the following problem.

When I'm playing a project in Ableton, the sound plays on the "ST 13/14" "USB Return" channel Even when the fader is fully down, and the Master fader in the "U" position

With the fader completely down, I can vaguely hear the highest frequencies by bringing my ear closer to the tweeter of my monitors, it is really an almost negligible volume, but enough to listen to it in my studio in silence.

I have done a test, redirecting the audio again to an Ableton track, with the fader completely down, and I can visually see if I put a metering device on, that a signal is being collected below -80 db, which contains the high frequencies from the audio played in Ableton.

I don't understand why this happens, I have done the same test with other channels, and I have not noticed the same problem, since when I lower the fader completely, in Ableton nothing that is on that track is recorded, it only happens on the channel "St 13/14" which is the "Superchannel", if I play from a bluetooth device, or from the SD card,the same issue is noticed, with the fader completely down, the audio minimally filters to my monitors and is recorded in the Ableton track.

I need help to identify if it is a hardware issue, or if it is something that I am doing wrong.

Attached photos.
Thanks

Attachments
Mixer Problem 2.png
Here you can see how with the fader completely down in the mixer, some audio frequencies are still returned to a track in Ableton
Mixer problem 1.png
This is how the sound returns with the fader raised
User avatar
by SwitchBack on Sat Feb 10, 2024 7:23 am
Hi and welcome to this forum :)

This may simply be crosstalk. The AR mixers are analog mixers. In analog mixers there's always some level of crosstalk and 'signal leakage' via other routes than just the intended route. It is most noticeable when some (input) levels are very high where the rest is really quiet. High quality analog mixers are designed to have less of it. Lower quality designs may show more of it. And some channels may suffer more from it than others, due to board layout and/or power demand.

In your case you use USB sends 1/2. The mixer converts the digital input to an analog signal. The analog signal and even the conversion can cause crosstalk. -80dBFS isn't bad but if it bothers you then you can try these options:
  1. Use a lower USB send level, especially if the 13/14 fader is some distance below unity anyway (when you use the channel in your mix). Lowering the USB Send level will lower the crosstalk level by the same amount and the 13/14 fader (when you use the channel in the mix) will be closer to unity. Win-win.
  2. Use USB sends 3/4 to mixer channel 11/12. This mixer channel may exhibit less crosstalk with the USB send levels you used before.
  3. Do both :)
User avatar
by jesuspena on Sat Feb 10, 2024 3:58 pm
Hi!

Thanks for your answer!

Trying to assimilate all the information you provide me,

I'm kind of relieved that you say it's Crosstalk, and that it's not a manufacturing defect, that would cause me to have to send my mixer in for service, since 75% of all my hardware has had to be repaired in warranty, or returned as soon as i bought it for being defective, and I'm a little fed up with my bad luck. :cry:

I have read about Crosstalk, and i had understood that the audio was added from other parallel channels, do you think it is possible then that this feedback on the same channel is crosstalk?

I understand your suggestions about adjusting the gain structure, in fact i have a question about it.
Do you think i should put the master channel on "Unity", and raise the channel fader until reaching the appropriate volume, or on the contrary, i should leave the channel fader on "Unity" and raise the master fader, until reaching the desired volume?

If i do the second option, the "Crosstalk", is almost negligible.

Where i am clear that i do not want to attenuate the level, is in the Ableton master fader, since i understand that this would affect the bit resolution of the mix.

I understand your advice to reduce the USB signal (In this case the Ableton master), but from Windows, i cannot control the volume of applications that run with Asio drivers, since Asio is designed to avoid being controlled by Windows.

So i have no choice but to control the level of my audio applications (Ableton and other Daws) with the faders of my Studiolive.

Do you have any more advice to give me? :D

Thanks for your time!
User avatar
by SwitchBack on Sat Feb 10, 2024 5:11 pm
jesuspena wroteHi!

Thanks for your answer!

Trying to assimilate all the information you provide me,

I'm kind of relieved that you say it's Crosstalk, and that it's not a manufacturing defect, that would cause me to have to send my mixer in for service, since 75% of all my hardware has had to be repaired in warranty, or returned as soon as i bought it for being defective, and I'm a little fed up with my bad luck. :cry:
Such a high early failure rate warrants an investigation. Is there a pattern in the types of failures? Is there a common factor which might explain the quick demise of your hardware? Think power surges, electro-magnetic fields, high temperatures, static electricity...
jesuspena wroteI have read about Crosstalk, and i had understood that the audio was added from other parallel channels, do you think it is possible then that this feedback on the same channel is crosstalk?
Crosstalk is when one (part of a) circuit affects another (nearby) circuit unintentionally. The Super Channel on AR mixers is the channel closest to the main output circuitry. You may have crosstalk right there. Channel 11/12 is further away from the main output circuitry so it may exhibit less crosstalk to the main output.
jesuspena wroteI understand your suggestions about adjusting the gain structure, in fact i have a question about it.
Do you think i should put the master channel on "Unity", and raise the channel fader until reaching the appropriate volume, or on the contrary, i should leave the channel fader on "Unity" and raise the master fader, until reaching the desired volume?

If i do the second option, the "Crosstalk", is almost negligible.
Given only those two options I would prefer to have my channel faders closer to unity, because that gives finer control over the relative levels in the mix. But if that means that the main fader is far below unity then I would seriously question my input levels. Input levels can be too hot to work with, you know. And that goes for digital input levels too.
jesuspena wroteWhere i am clear that i do not want to attenuate the level, is in the Ableton master fader, since i understand that this would affect the bit resolution of the mix.
The AR16c has a 24-bit interface so lowering the USB input level to where faders can be used at unity won't do any harm to audio quality. Running the converters close to their maximum limits could. Your DAW should have an option to lower output levels for monitoring without lowering the main output level. And yes, you can't do this from Windows' system audio.

Hope this helps :)
User avatar
by jesuspena on Sun Feb 11, 2024 6:56 am
I think It's not something related to my environment or the conditions of my studio, i really don't have that much hardware, i think it's just bad luck, but my Elektron Digitakt came with several blown LEDs from factory, my Akai MPC came with overheating problems in its PSU, my Elektron Digitone had problems with one of its encoders after 6 months, i recently bought a Mackie Onyx, which came with a problem of loss of stereo balance (one channel always sounded louder than the other)
That's why i ended up returning it and buying the Presonus StudioLive Ar12c :)

The only thing i can think of in the case of working with Ableton is to insert a "postfader" gain atenuator on the master channel, it would be the only option to attenuate the signal without touching the master fader.
Then, when exporting the mix for mastering, i would only have to eliminate that postfader attenuation until reach the optimal level.

You have helped me a lot with all your advice, now that i understand the root of my problems, i will try to find a solution, i have good friends that i could consult, and perhaps they will know how to help me.

Many thanks for everything :thumbup:
User avatar
by SwitchBack on Sun Feb 11, 2024 7:11 am
Ableton doesn't have an option to set up a cue bus or solo bus? Depending on the settings that would allow you to monitor one or more individual channels (using solo) or monitor the main output (default).
User avatar
by jesuspena on Sun Feb 11, 2024 2:05 pm
SwitchBack wroteAbleton doesn't have an option to set up a cue bus or solo bus? Depending on the settings that would allow you to monitor one or more individual channels (using solo) or monitor the main output (default).


Yes, it has that option, what do you propose i do with it?

I understand that i can send the master output to the "St 11/12 USB 3/4" of the mixer, instead of 13/14
And also send the master output to the "Cue" output and control the volume level that goes to the mixer on the "Headphones" knob

That would help to control better the level that enters in the mixer, is that what you are thinking about?
User avatar
by SwitchBack on Sun Feb 11, 2024 2:19 pm
The idea is to not send the master output to the mixer but to send the cue output instead. That way you can keep the master output level as you like, and set the cue output to a lower level more 'pleasant' for the mixer.
User avatar
by jesuspena on Sun Feb 11, 2024 4:47 pm
SwitchBack wroteThe idea is to not send the master output to the mixer but to send the cue output instead. That way you can keep the master output level as you like, and set the cue output to a lower level more 'pleasant' for the mixer.


It seems like a good idea, at least put into practice it is effective.

What do you think of my other idea, to put a plugin that attenuates the signal (for example -20db) as a "postfader" insert in my Master Channel?

Let's say i set a volume attenuation of -20db to send to the mixer, when I'm mixing a track, and i want to get a good mix to export to Master at -6db, so with that attenuation in the master, let's say i make a mix at - 26db, and then when i need to export for master, i turn that plugin off and the mix goes back to -6db just the way i need it to export.
I hope i have explained myself well :D

I'm also thinking about using the "Control Room" output for my monitors, instead of the "Main" output, i suppose it would send a lower signal to my monitors, and could have a higher level on the faders.
My monitors already have their trim level at the lowest, and that's why i can't reduce at the end of the chain.
User avatar
by SwitchBack on Tue Feb 13, 2024 5:20 am
jesuspena wroteWhat do you think of my other idea, to put a plugin that attenuates the signal (for example -20db) as a "postfader" insert in my Master Channel?

Let's say i set a volume attenuation of -20db to send to the mixer, when I'm mixing a track, and i want to get a good mix to export to Master at -6db, so with that attenuation in the master, let's say i make a mix at - 26db, and then when i need to export for master, i turn that plugin off and the mix goes back to -6db just the way i need it to export.
I hope i have explained myself well :D
Yes, that will work but it's one more thing to remember never to forget. It will catch you out occasionally.
jesuspena wroteI'm also thinking about using the "Control Room" output for my monitors, instead of the "Main" output, i suppose it would send a lower signal to my monitors, and could have a higher level on the faders.
My monitors already have their trim level at the lowest, and that's why i can't reduce at the end of the chain.
Output levels for Control Room and Phones can be set independent from the AR12's main fader setting. But it will not lower the USB input level which seems to be really high in your case. Apart from being high enough to be audible in the main output even with the fader down it will also be too close for comfort to the maximum input level of the DA-converter, which may cause distortion in the mixer. Way better to send a lower level from your DAW to your mixer or at least have it in line with the mixer's mic/line input levels. :)

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