I know the Audient iD4 box is low-noise, but this is pushing it
January 6, 2021 at 3:01 am4 months, 1 week ago(@musicbdfood)
So, being tired of inflicting my noisy 7-year-old i5 CPU on my music friends, I’ve just set up an iD4. On GarageBand and QuickTime it registers input and plays output on Apple Music at normal levels. On the current SJ, when I connect to localhost, I get ~10 ms latency but the VU needle never gets off far left/bright green, no matter how loud I play. Should I worry that my friends will not only stop hearing old noise but new music as well? Might there be a simple software method for adding input gain if they can’t hear me properly? The mic gain and phantom voltage are working on the box. It only has a few controls and they all seem to work well. Kindly advise.January 6, 2021 at 6:14 pm4 months, 1 week ago(@musicbdfood)
So, a test violin/cello duet with dear friend Tim Carter has shown that some VU needle deflection and audible (not huge) sound can come from turning up the mic gain all the way. Of course this courts a bit of distortion. Have installed blackhole on my MacBook, and hope that can increase input gain from the iD4 box, though the available instructions have more to do with output gain. Anyone who has succeeded at this is welcome to share.January 6, 2021 at 8:26 pm4 months, 1 week ago(@jgspix)
Blackhole only connects the audio of one app with another. Nothing else, specially no amplification. If you don’t need it (and don’t know how to use it) don’t use it.
It is unclear what you had before and also how you enter the interface. You might have an electric bowed instrument or a mic (and what kind of). That would be very different to handle. But since you have level with other apps it seems that it is working at least in some way.
The VU meter of soundjack might not be as sensitive as the indicators of other apps. The optimum level is rather in the middle than 3/4 full, I think.
If you use a mic, check if it is a condenser which needs phantom power (48V) or a dynamic one (if it is a ribbon mic don’t activate phantom power because it would kill the ribbon immediately). Dynamic mics have a lower output level and might need to have the gain almost fully open.
Have you checked the mirrors? The signal from the mirrors is usually a bit quieter than the direct one because of the lower volume setting (which you can change).
The iD4 is not made for passive electronic instruments as it has no Hi-Z (high impedance) input, only mic and line. So for electric guitar or bass or, even worse, a piezoelectric pickup (violin, viola, cello, double bass, classical guitar) that interface won’t be of much use without a high impedance buffer or preamp.
A screenshot of your left part of the stage might be helpful.January 6, 2021 at 8:43 pm4 months, 1 week ago(@jgspix)
I need to correct myself. The tech data from the manufacturer is not complete, so I was guessing there is no Hi-Z input.
There is an instrument input, but the input impedance is not clear, probably 500 KOhms which is a bit too less for low frequency instruments with a passive piezo input. Bass frequencies might get weak with an impedance like that.
Anyway, it rather seems to be problem with SoundJack or the setup of SoundJack.
Hard to help by text, even by remote screen access. But the screen picture might give a first information if something is setup in a wrong way.January 7, 2021 at 3:05 am4 months, 1 week ago(@musicbdfood)
Dear Joerg –
Thanks very much. I play acoustic classical violin and sometimes sing Lieder usw. The iD4 advertises as a tool for recording voice (on mic) with an optional electric instrument (on line in). My SoundJack setup is the same that has been through a dozen chamber music sessions and is embarrassingly ordinary. I merely changed my audio-in option from CAD U37 USB digital condenser mic to iD4, and audio-out from headphones to iD4. The sampling rate remains at 44.1K and the jitter buffers and CODEC settings within normal ranges. The iD4 (as output) plays classical MP3’s, GarageBand exports, and voice memos with rich, clear sound. I have to believe, as both a string player and baritone, that a mic and audio box that can capture my singing voice can work comparably for the violin or viola. I appreciate the insight into blackhole, which (as one would expect from your description) produces an aggregate sound identical to the iD4 alone. No gain, no pain – just no particular use. But then one can ask, what software between the iD4 (as input) and SoundJack *would* let me sound louder? If you really want to see a screen capture from [Stage] I’ll provide it, but it truly is ordinary.January 7, 2021 at 10:08 am4 months, 1 week ago(@jgspix)
it might have been a typo, but the sample rate for SoundJack is 48 KHz, not 44,1 KHz. But I’m rather sure on a Mac that will set automatically, but better check it in Audio-MIDI-Setup. Also check if something got muted in Audio-MIDI-Setup when selecting your iD4 there.
You are right, what works for singing would work for acoustic violin or viola too. It might be a bit less volume with the stringed instruments, depending on mic placement and your voice volume, but it should work.
You wrote that you worked with a USB condenser mic before, but what kind of mic do you use now? If it is a condenser with an XLR-connector, did you engage the phantom power (48V) on the back of the interface?
Do you get a signal on your headphones connected to the iD4 and with the iD4 selected as output when you select the internal mic of the mac for input (this is possible on a Mac but not on Windows)?
We need to check where the problem lies, so if the headphones at the iD4 work with the internal Mac mic, we get a step further. Could you tell me what mic you are using?
Also a condenser needs to be connected by XLR on both sides. The XLR-TS-cables only work for dynamic mics and should be avoided where possible. The iD4 might also accept only line level on the T(R)S connector inside the XLR-connector, so that’s one more reason to avoid these types of cables.
Alex is constantly working and changing things and sometimes it can happen that it does not work correctly, but this is rather seldom.January 7, 2021 at 10:17 am4 months, 1 week ago(@jgspix)
And please check with Quicktime as I explained before. And Audio-MIDI-Setup. These are the main sources for software problems outside of SoundJack or any other audio software.
If the same happens with Quicktime and you checked the current mic type, the use of a two-sided XLR-connection-cable and phantom power before, it might be that the mic input of the interface is defect.January 8, 2021 at 11:27 am4 months, 1 week ago(@musicbdfood)
Dear Jörg –
Nailed it; thanks truly. A new XLR-XLR cable encouraged the iD4 line-in/mic input to preamplify the Shure 33-3010 dynamic unidirectional mic. I gave a voice lesson with it and the iD4 over Google Meet and everything worked.
Yes, surely, as to the 48 KHz sampling rate; I understand from the recent discussion about different rates inadvertently changing key that this is a meaningful issue. Audio-MIDI-Setup showed the iD4 had no muting, and 48 K sampling. While I had toyed with the iD4’s 48V power button, there was no perceptible smoke or audio quality degradation from the mic. The phantom power stays off now.
The headphones clearly registered a signal out of the iD4 when I selected it as output and the internal MacBook mic as input. Its sound playing recordings is nuanced and rich, with very still backgrounds.
I rather miss the old VU meter widgets now that everything in SJC210106 is extra sleek. I don’t suppose they could be an option…?
DanielJanuary 8, 2021 at 5:12 pm4 months, 1 week ago(@jgspix)
Yes, sorry that I didn’t write back yesterday.
When I drove to shopping I thought that the quiet sound could probably happen because of a bad cable. And most probably using a dynamic mic because with a condenser it depends if phantom power and shield gets through the cable at all.
Well, You were quicker than me and found the problem. Congratulations for identifying the problem yourself!
Alex temporarily switched back from the linear bar to the old VU-meters, but that can change back any time. I think there were problems with the new meters.
Please ask Alex yourself for keeping the old VU-meters as an option. I don’t have any influence on that (I’m just being a kind of beta tester for Alex with music tech and computer science background) and the more are asking Alex for that, the higher the probability to get them back in some way.
BTW, the meters are part of the web site, not the SJC. So changes like that can happen any time.
For the new version which needs a new SJC there is the website dev.soundjack.eu where you need to get a new SJC from this site (incompatible with the regular one). But this is testing for errors, not for regular musical collaboration.
Have fun with SoundJack!January 8, 2021 at 11:57 pm4 months, 1 week ago(@musicbdfood)
Thanks so much for your kind and timely help, Jörg. I will definitely mention my hope of a VU meter option directly to Alex.
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