Recording's saturation & clipping despite low adjustments on Scarlet

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TomintheBoondox
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Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2023 2:16 pm

Recording's saturation & clipping despite low adjustments on Scarlet

Post by TomintheBoondox » Mon Dec 04, 2023 5:09 pm

Hi everyone,

I keep getting saturation / peaking while recording my guitar with my Scarlet 2i2 in Ableton despite careful input adjustments.

I am taking the line output of my guitar amp (Fender Super Champ DX), and doing my best to adjust levels correctly on the Scarlet. The “inst” button is de-activated, but the problem occurs even if I keep the Scarlet input gain very low, only occasionally flashing green. Even if I reduce the volume of the amp (which also lowers the line-level output) to a very discrete level, thus obtaining a very low-volume graphic for the track in Ableton arrangement view, the recordings only sound "clean" for very gentle playing, and sounds saturated/overmodulated as soon as I go beyond arpeggios or very gentle strumming. The live sound from the amp sounds good, and this problem occurs while taking line-out from both my Super Champ and my Koch Jupiter. Same problem.

I’m new to Ableton and DAW in general, but I have recorded for years with my dedicated multitrack recorders (Yamaha MD8, Boss BR600), using this same basic line-output source configuration, and have never had so many problems obtaining clean-sounding recordings.

The only solution I see is to plug my guitar directly into the Scarlet, but his presents two problems, ( 1 ) being that I will not hear the real-time reverb I get with my amp (and which I really like to hear), and ( 2 ), as my computer is maybe not the most recent, I have the latency set rather high, and it interferes with playing. Using direct monitor on the Scarlet would (I believe ) mean that I will not hear the mix from Ableton.

Perhaps I should just live-mic my amp like the professionals, but this all strikes me as un-necessarily sensitive equipment as compared to my good old dedicated multitrack recorders.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Tom

silentio246
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Re: Recording's saturation & clipping despite low adjustments on Scarlet

Post by silentio246 » Tue Dec 05, 2023 2:27 pm

Based on your description I see no reason, why it should not work. Live is also a computer-based multitrack recorder. As long as you use line levels and line inputs of the Scarlet and every component is working properly, there should be no problem.
Could you make a test-recording with your guitar directly into the Scarlet?

TomintheBoondox
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Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2023 2:16 pm

Re: Recording's saturation & clipping despite low adjustments on Scarlet

Post by TomintheBoondox » Fri Dec 08, 2023 8:44 am

Thanks for the feedback and thoughts, (sorry to be responding so late, but the site didn't notify me desite my having activated e-mail notification).

I will do this experiment very soon for evaluation, but I hope to solve the problem through my amps, because direct guitar input will mean playing "dry", (in my case,with no reverb), which is good practice, but really isn't much fun). Of course I can add effects via ableton, but I have big lag time, so will have a choice between dry guitar or lag-time with ableton effects.

But the experiment may yield thoughts about where my problems my lie, so it is well worth a try, and I will definitely give it a go later today.

In the meantime, thank you very much for your help and suggestion.

TomintheBoondox
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2023 2:16 pm

Re: Recording's saturation & clipping despite low adjustments on Scarlet

Post by TomintheBoondox » Fri Dec 08, 2023 1:32 pm

I just made a few further tests, first using my Stratocaster through the amp (since its single coil pickups are far less powerful than my Les Paul's humbuckers), limiting both Scarlete input level, and guitar volume level as well, and while this might have mitigated the phenomenon somewhat, I still have saturation and clipping even at low levels.

I then tried both guitars plugged directly into the Scarlet, and experimented with different levels on both Scarlet and guitars, and I still observe clipping and distortion on recorded material.

I also make sure to lower my studio monitors, just in case they were the ones being saturated, but this was not the case. Saturation is in the recording.

I am beginning to wonder if this has anything to do with my computer's sound card, but I thought the Scarlett replaced my sound card, negating the need for any special sound processing abilities on my computer, itself. Am I mistaken, here ?

I will next try live-micing my guitar amp with a voice mic, and see what the results are. I can even do this while smultaneously recording it via the line, as my Scarlett has two inputs.

In the meantime, I am happy to discover that "direct monitor" on Scarlett does not keep it from playing back pre-recorded material :)

silentio246
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Location: Germany NRW

Re: Recording's saturation & clipping despite low adjustments on Scarlet

Post by silentio246 » Sat Dec 09, 2023 4:29 pm

We need more info:
What does it sound like, when you play other material, for example samples/sounds from the Live Library?
What are your computer specs?
What are the audio preferences in Live (audio driver, latency)?

TomintheBoondox
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2023 2:16 pm

Re: Recording's saturation & clipping despite low adjustments on Scarlet

Post by TomintheBoondox » Sat Dec 09, 2023 5:52 pm

Ableton's on-board files and downloads sound great (samples, drums, grooves, etc... ). I don't quite understand how to use all these different file types, but I've played around with them and they sound very good.

I've also recorded with my bass without this specific problem, but I play gently, and usually not even chords.

I would like to upload an image or PDF I've prepared with screenshots of my Ableton settings and system info, but I don't see how to do it.

Here is basic info :

Intel Core i5 3.2Ghz
Ram 8Go
Windows 10 V22H2

Ableton Live 11 lite settings :
Sampling 4410
Latency in 47.9 / out 49.9 (I set them high because I believe it will go easier on my system without affecting quality of recording).

Lots more info available, but if I can upload a PDF / image that would be easier. Otherwise if you specify information to look for I will relay it.

Thank you very much for your time and any advice you might have to offer. TOM

Tarekith
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Re: Recording's saturation & clipping despite low adjustments on Scarlet

Post by Tarekith » Sat Dec 09, 2023 9:06 pm

We don't host images natively on the forum, but you can upload any pictures you want to share here: https://postimages.org

Then just post the links to them on the forum.
Tarekith
Ableton Forum Administrator
https://tarekith.com

silentio246
Posts: 79
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 2:31 pm
Location: Germany NRW

Re: Recording's saturation & clipping despite low adjustments on Scarlet

Post by silentio246 » Sat Dec 09, 2023 9:19 pm

Do you use the ASIO driver from the Scarlet?

TomintheBoondox
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Re: Recording's saturation & clipping despite low adjustments on Scarlet

Post by TomintheBoondox » Sun Dec 10, 2023 7:56 am

Yes, I believe that is how I configured it. Here is a link to a screen shot showing both my system and Ableton settings for audio. Please let me know if there are other configuration windows which might be of help.

System & Ableton Settings :

https://i.postimg.cc/ThM9gyd6/All-in-one-info-grab.png

TomintheBoondox
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Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2023 2:16 pm

Re: Recording's saturation & clipping despite low adjustments on Scarlet

Post by TomintheBoondox » Sun Dec 10, 2023 8:09 am

Tarekith wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2023 9:06 pm
We don't host images natively on the forum, but you can upload any pictures you want to share here: https://postimages.org

Then just post the links to them on the forum.
THANKS FOR THE TIP :D

silentio246
Posts: 79
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 2:31 pm
Location: Germany NRW

Re: Recording's saturation & clipping despite low adjustments on Scarlet

Post by silentio246 » Sun Dec 10, 2023 9:45 am

TomintheBoondox wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2023 7:56 am
Yes, I believe that is how I configured it. Here is a link to a screen shot showing both my system and Ableton settings for audio. Please let me know if there are other configuration windows which might be of help.

System & Ableton Settings :

https://i.postimg.cc/ThM9gyd6/All-in-one-info-grab.png
Your computer seems capable for such a simple task. The right ASIO driver is selected. Latency could be smaller. I have a similar computer with a Focusrite interface, here the latency is around 26 ms. Some tips for optimizing: https://support.focusrite.com/hc/de/art ... optimieren#

The distortion seems to ocurr in the input of the system. The line out level from the guitar amp could be too high.
Make sure you use the line input, the mic input could distort.
But I dont understand, why your clean guitar recording is distorted too! Any device or overload (RED!) in that channel in Live?
Could also be a defective unit (Scarlet).

Otherwise, I am running out of ideas, sorry.

TomintheBoondox
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2023 2:16 pm

Re: Recording's saturation & clipping despite low adjustments on Scarlet

Post by TomintheBoondox » Sun Dec 10, 2023 11:48 am

Only green on the input while recording.

Is it normal for me to be getting input meter readings on Ableton even when Scarlet gain is all the way to the left ("zero") ? I have a reading and sound in both direct monitor and post Ableton (with latency) when scarlet input gain is at zero, and this is the case not just with line-input, but even with a direct guitar input, and with the "inst" inactive,

As it happens, from testing and re-testing, I feel there is possibly less clear saturation, just a muddy sound I don't care for, and perhaps I can attenuate that as well as I get to know the equipment better.

In the meantime, I will try lowering the latency a bit, as you suggest, and try listening to live monitoring more closely to see if I can hear what's going on.

I hope it is not the unit, so I will keep playing with it a while to see if it isn't me.

Do you suppose there is any on-line analysis they could do on my unit ?

Thanks again for your attention in this matter.

TOM

silentio246
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Location: Germany NRW

Re: Recording's saturation & clipping despite low adjustments on Scarlet

Post by silentio246 » Sun Dec 10, 2023 5:00 pm

TomintheBoondox wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2023 11:48 am
Is it normal for me to be getting input meter readings on Ableton even when Scarlet gain is all the way to the left ("zero") ? I have a reading and sound in both direct monitor and post Ableton (with latency) when scarlet input gain is at zero, and this is the case not just with line-input, but even with a direct guitar input, and with the "inst" inactive,
Yes this is normal. With my guitar clean into Scarlet Solo and input gain full left I have up to -12 dB in Ableton Live.

silentio246
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Location: Germany NRW

Re: Recording's saturation & clipping despite low adjustments on Scarlet

Post by silentio246 » Sun Dec 10, 2023 5:18 pm

TomintheBoondox wrote:
Sun Dec 10, 2023 11:48 am

I hope it is not the unit, so I will keep playing with it a while to see if it isn't me.

Do you suppose there is any on-line analysis they could do on my unit ?
The Scarlet is okay, I think. Just a wild guess. When in doubt, try to ask Focusrite Support or a technician at a music store.
Maybe they can also help with the level problem.
Meanwhile I have the impression, that the line out from the amp is to hot for the Scarlet. Maybe you should put a small mixer between them to attenuate the signal.

TomintheBoondox
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2023 2:16 pm

Re: Recording's saturation & clipping despite low adjustments on Scarlet

Post by TomintheBoondox » Sun Dec 10, 2023 6:47 pm

I'll contact them as you suggest, and in the meantime keep messing around with it, see if I can isolate factors,

Thanks again for running through various parameters with me, as it's great background troubleshooting before I'm actually talking with them.

TOM

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