Volume question/muffled tone (module volume affect EQ?)

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btownninja
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Volume question/muffled tone (module volume affect EQ?)

Post by btownninja » Tue Mar 24, 2020 6:36 pm

I just received my SYN-2 and SLO module today. I've been tinkering with it for a couple hours but can't seem to get it to sound right? I'm wondering if I'm doing something wrong or if maybe I got a faulty unit/module.

My setup A:
Guitar in and using the XLR direct outs with cab sim enabled (into my Focusrite 2i2). XLR set to low (if I depress the XLR level, the output clips even when I lower my gain all the way on the 2i2)

Setup B:
4 cable method to my Katana Artist

Question:
How am I supposed to manage the input volume? On other pre-amp pedals, volume is treated similar to output, but on the SLO SYN/SLO setup, if I turn the volume past about half on the module, it stars to sound like a muffled mess. Even on the blue channel, anything over about 70% volume sounds like it's clipping really badly (and fizzy). Turning it down much seems to sound weak/thin. This is true on both setup A and B.

All in all, it just doesn't sound right? I've watched a ton of videos on YouTube about it, but mine sounds like a completely different module even via the DI. I know the Katana isn't the best power amp, but that doesn't explain why the DI out sounds clipped even though it's not clipping my interface.

Thank you



Edit: I think I was able to fix it. It seems like it was a combination of the correct level settings with the effects and amp loop. When it was in the low setting 9n the effects loop it makes a horrible noise but not on high. Meanwhile the to/from amp level had to be low. The DI still sounds really clippy past 70% or so but that might be normal.

EDIT 2: It seems like volume on module is also heavily affecting EQ
Last edited by btownninja on Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Lespauled
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Re: Volume question/muffled tone

Post by Lespauled » Wed Mar 25, 2020 10:59 am

Check your levels in the Focusrite software. Make sure they don't clip. If you're adding gain, turn down the level.

I have found that sometimes you get a better sound by turning the bass down. It can make the sound seem muffled out of the cab. Start with the EQ knobs at noon, and the natural tendency is to "add", but try subtracting instead, and see how it sounds. Depending on the cabinet/speaker combination, you might find the sounds you're looking for.

btownninja
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Re: Volume question/muffled tone

Post by btownninja » Wed Mar 25, 2020 11:10 am

Thanks for the reply.

the 2i2 has a visual ring to show clipping and it's certainly well within the "green", so I know it's not clipping there. Just seems to be how the DI sounds on this thing. I had a friend record a DI output of his and it was similar. Nothing EQ/mastering can't fix really. (or just cab sim off with IR) I just noticed this because I was planning to use my interface as a cheapo headphone amp using DI. Not really ideal.

For the SLO, I certainly had to cut a lot of bass. I found my sweet spot to be about 10pm on the B, 2pm on M and 1pm on T with volume around 2pm as well. I think something that I'm not used to is just how much difference the adjustments make on these. On my JVM410H or Katana, the difference between say 10pm and 2pm isn't hugely noticeable like it is this module.

All in all, I dialed in a bit less bass and a bit more upper mids via abq/ts9/ge-7 to make this thing sound EXACTLY like I wanted. I'm very happy with it now. I was going to remove the post, but wanted to leave it in the event anyone else has similar experiences.

btownninja
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Re: Volume question/muffled tone

Post by btownninja » Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:11 pm

It might not be working as expected still. I believe the volume knob on the module is affecting the EQ too.

I notice a sweep on the EQ has I adjust the volume. It almost sounds like a wah effect almost? It's anywhere from 50% to 100% where I hear it the most. The mids/highs seem to get lost past about 75%.

When I run a spectrum analysis, I see a sharp drop in the 1.2k - 2.2k range.

Does this look normal? Here are the two side by side. I recorded it via DI. Both tests were an open A note on the same guitar

Here's the EQ comparison between about 50% volume and 100% volume using the cab sim: Image

Here's the EQ comparison between about 50% volume and 100% volume with the cab sim disabled: Image\

In both tests, I can see the EQ getting less and less even the higher the volume is turned up.

btownninja
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Re: Volume question/muffled tone (module volume affect EQ?)

Post by btownninja » Sun Mar 29, 2020 12:00 pm

Just to 'test' (and cause I wanted it), I bought the Vai module to see if it had similar behavior. It doesn't seem to have the same EQ drop off like the SLO.

Synergy support said it was normal, but something still seems off.

Can anyone else with an SLO module see if you get the same results?

Mike P
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Re: Volume question/muffled tone (module volume affect EQ?)

Post by Mike P » Sun Mar 29, 2020 12:25 pm

Without being in the same room and seeing how all of this is connected, it sounds like a Gain Staging issue to me.

1. Disengage all of the 2i2's front panel buttons, including the Inst, 48V button and Air
2. Set your Gain knob on the 2i2 fully counter-clockwise (approximately 7 O'Clock)
3. Verify that the Gain on your DAW's Input is set to Zero
4. On the SYN-2, turn the SAG and Volume fully counter-clockwise
5. On the SLO, set all of the knobs to 5 (approximately 12 O'Clock)
6. With the Speaker Simulator engaged, connect an XLR cable to the SYN-2's output and set the gain button to High, then connect to the 2i2
7. Arm a track in your DAW to monitor the signal

Is it still muffled and if so, can you please post a clip?

If all of your gain staging is correct and it still sounds "muffled" to your ears, it's likely the sound of their Cab Sim that's seemingly causing the issue. At that point, you can research Speaker IR's for use in your DAW. They're almost invisible in terms of CPU usage but there are hundreds of options available, which can be great but also extremely time consuming in order to find the right speaker or combination of speakers.

Good luck and please keep us posted!
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Jaded Faith: Vybe Deluxe
Sacred Groove: MK22+|Rectifier
Salvation: Camerica
Synergy: SYN-2(4)|Diezel VH4|ENGL Savage|Friedman HBE|Metro Plex|Soldano SLO
Synergy Amps Artist: http://synergyamps.com/artists

btownninja
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Re: Volume question/muffled tone (module volume affect EQ?)

Post by btownninja » Sun Mar 29, 2020 12:59 pm

In my tests, the 2i2 gain was set to 0, same with my DAW (Tested with both Acid 10 and Audacity to be safe). I start to get a little clipping without the cab sim, but the EQ is affected far before the clipping starts.

Just to be clear too, this isn't just the DI, it's also the 4 cable method to my amp that has this results. 95% of my playing is via this method, I was only using DI to eliminate as many factors as I could.

I ordered a Vai module to test, and it does NOT seem to happen with my Vai module.

Here are two recordings via the DI. One with cab sim, the other without. Both using the SLO module.
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... sp=sharing

Mike P
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Re: Volume question/muffled tone (module volume affect EQ?)

Post by Mike P » Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:40 pm

btownninja wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 12:59 pm
In my tests, the 2i2 gain was set to 0, same with my DAW (Tested with both Acid 10 and Audacity to be safe). I start to get a little clipping without the cab sim, but the EQ is affected far before the clipping starts.

Just to be clear too, this isn't just the DI, it's also the 4 cable method to my amp that has this results. 95% of my playing is via this method, I was only using DI to eliminate as many factors as I could.

I ordered a Vai module to test, and it does NOT seem to happen with my Vai module.

Here are two recordings via the DI. One with cab sim, the other without. Both using the SLO module.
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... sp=sharing
One issue at time, please.

After listening to both files, it sounds like you're overloading the input of the Focusrite.

Initially, the tone sounds fine but deteriorates, by what I can only assume, is you manually turning up the volume, in which it becomes overly saturated and compressed because your audio interface doesn't have enough headroom to support that much input gain.

FYI, your audio tracks shouldn't be recorded any hotter than -6db and in most cases, the files should be around -10db overall.
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Jaded Faith: Vybe Deluxe
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Salvation: Camerica
Synergy: SYN-2(4)|Diezel VH4|ENGL Savage|Friedman HBE|Metro Plex|Soldano SLO
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btownninja
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Re: Volume question/muffled tone (module volume affect EQ?)

Post by btownninja » Sun Mar 29, 2020 3:22 pm

As far as I know, this is all one issue I'm reporting.

Again, when I run this through my power amp, the exact same thing happens through the power amp. Anything more than about 50% level on the SLO starts to get muddy.

As I mentioned, my interface isn't clipping. I an put the same 'load' (straight into my Katanan, no SYN-2) through the 2i2 via my Katana's DI and I don't have any of this EQ deterioration even when clipping. I also used to record using my JVM410H's DI out without any of these issues. I could push my OD red level 100% and it would retain it's EQ curve.

Mike P
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Re: Volume question/muffled tone (module volume affect EQ?)

Post by Mike P » Sun Mar 29, 2020 3:35 pm

btownninja wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 3:22 pm
As far as I know, this is all one issue I'm reporting.

Again, when I run this through my power amp, the exact same thing happens through the power amp. Anything more than about 50% level on the SLO starts to get muddy.

As I mentioned, my interface isn't clipping. I an put the same 'load' (straight into my Katanan, no SYN-2) through the 2i2 via my Katana's DI and I don't have any of this EQ deterioration even when clipping. I also used to record using my JVM410H's DI out without any of these issues. I could push my OD red level 100% and it would retain it's EQ curve.
It's not EQ deterioration I'm hearing, it's an overly saturated signal.

Why is the volume increasing on the demos you sent? When it's at the lowest position, it sounds fine. The saturation increases as the loudness is increased.

Again, this sounds like a Gain Staging issue that you'll need to work through but first thing first: The Volume on the SYN-2 should be set fully counterclockwise while the volume on the module shouldn't be any higher than 12 O'Clock but if it's still clipping and saturating, turn it to 9 O'Clock.

The best connection to your power amp would be via the 1/4" FX Send, as it bypasses two additional circuits if the Cab Sim is not needed (like when connecting to your power amp). If you're connecting to a power amp using the XLR Output, the Cab Sim needs to be Off.
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Synergy: SYN-2(4)|Diezel VH4|ENGL Savage|Friedman HBE|Metro Plex|Soldano SLO
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btownninja
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Re: Volume question/muffled tone (module volume affect EQ?)

Post by btownninja » Sun Mar 29, 2020 3:51 pm

I am connecting to my power amp via 1/4" send, not XLR (which is what I mean by 4 cable method). The volume on the SYN-2 doesn't do anything in this setup. See screenshot at the bottom of this post.

In the demo, I was slowly turning up/down the volume knob on the SLO module. It almost has a 'wah'/boomy effect which is what prompted me to look at the EQ spectrum where I can see (and very easily) hear a difference. That's what I mean by EQ deterioration. Interface saturation sounds very different. I even just did a test guitar -> TS-9 -> interface and tried to reproduce using the volume on my guitar or the level on the TS-9. It started clipping, yes, but I did not get the same "wah" or boomy effect. Even looking at the spectrum, EQ looks the same.

I understand that it sounds fine between 0 and ~ 40% volume, but I'm trying to determine why it sounds awful above 50%. That doesn't seem normal from any gear I've ever used. Even on the Vai module, 0-100% volume is all usable without any noticeable muddying/EQ loss. Looking at the spectrum at 50% and 100% is basically identical.

At this point, because it seems like it's clearly not normal otherwise I'm sure someone else would have had this question/issue before, I'm assuming it's a bad module. I've switched everything from cables to modules and still only get it on my SLO unit. I just cannot imagine a volume knob would react like this purposefully.
Here is my wiring setup. Note for these tests, the complete effects chain is 100% bypassed. Guitar is direct into the front of the SYN-2 and all pedal board cables are removed.
Image

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Re: Volume question/muffled tone (module volume affect EQ?)

Post by btownninja » Mon Mar 30, 2020 2:03 pm

Working with Sweetwater on an RMA, but wanted to do a couple updates here. I appreciate all the replies so far, but I don't think I'm really getting anywhere. It's hard to explain, but so easy to hear in person. I'm still not sure if this is a quirk of the module or a problem. What I would really like to see is someone else set theirs up with a DI (cab sim enabled) and record a clip red channel, max gain, and module volume from 0 to 100 volume. Sweeping from 50% to 100% with max gain is the easiest and most clear way to hear the difference. Even on the blue channel with like 20% gain, I can hear the difference, but it's not as drastic.

I recorded two videos on this topic. They are both poorly shot, but still demonstrate the issue (ignore the mess, this is a brand new home office that I'm still setting up).

These demos have a new example. I set the module to about 70% volume, record through my looper, then compare that loop at maxed output (clipping) to the module maxed output (clipping) to show the huge difference in tone. it would be pushing the interface the same in either scenario. I do the same with my amp test.

First video shows this issue using the DI with cab sim:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WNdU-KA1DM

Second video shows this issue using my Katana wired 4 cable method as shown in the last post:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdFVb8lkzGs

Mike P
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Re: Volume question/muffled tone (module volume affect EQ?)

Post by Mike P » Mon Mar 30, 2020 2:36 pm

I can't hear the module due to the video camera picking up the sound of plucking strings.

Have you opened the tube cage to verify that they're properly connected and didn't shift during shipping?

If so, have you tried swapping the tubes in the Soldano module?

FYI, I have four SYN-2's and nine modules, including an SLO. The Volume on each module is set somewhere around 5 or 6 because I want to leave plenty of headroom for the module, interface, DAW and plugins.

The output of each module is super hot so proper gain staging is a must and in my experience, no two modules are equal in output.
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Jaded Faith: Vybe Deluxe
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Salvation: Camerica
Synergy: SYN-2(4)|Diezel VH4|ENGL Savage|Friedman HBE|Metro Plex|Soldano SLO
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btownninja
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Re: Volume question/muffled tone (module volume affect EQ?)

Post by btownninja » Mon Mar 30, 2020 2:53 pm

Mike P wrote:
Mon Mar 30, 2020 2:36 pm
I can't hear the module due to the video camera picking up the sound of plucking strings.

Have you opened the tube cage to verify that they're properly connected and didn't shift during shipping?

If so, have you tried swapping the tubes in the Soldano module?

FYI, I have four SYN-2's and nine modules, including an SLO. The Volume on each module is set somewhere around 5 or 6 because I want to leave plenty of headroom for the module, interface, DAW and plugins.

The output of each module is super hot so proper gain staging is a must and in my experience, no two modules are equal in output.
I just took a flashlight to it and it does look like MAYBE the 'right' tube isn't completely seated, but it should be more than enough in to get good contact. I don't want to remove the shielding for risk of not being able to return it.

Image

I don't mind keeping mine around 50% volume, but I lose the benefits of a potential boosted second (red) channel because if I push the volume even a little, it just doesn't sound right unless I re-dial in the B,M,T controls.

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Re: Volume question/muffled tone (module volume affect EQ?)

Post by Mike P » Mon Mar 30, 2020 5:48 pm

The tube cage is easily removed and replaced. It's just two small Phillips head screws and removal will not void your warranty.

I don't have tube cages on any of my modules so it's easier to swap out tubes when necessary or when looking for a different tone.
www.mikeplas.com
Jaded Faith: Vybe Deluxe
Sacred Groove: MK22+|Rectifier
Salvation: Camerica
Synergy: SYN-2(4)|Diezel VH4|ENGL Savage|Friedman HBE|Metro Plex|Soldano SLO
Synergy Amps Artist: http://synergyamps.com/artists

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