Audio update, now with Janet Jackson

Okay, so last night I had a near nervous breakdown over audio issues. Because that’s what normal people do right?

Don’t answer that please.

So, here was my problem: My ART USB Phono Plus for, whatever reason, did not agree with my new computer. When I went from line-in to USB (analog-to-digital) all the high end on my recordings got cut off. It didn’t matter what USB port I used, or how I configured my recording setup, no matter what I did it always sounds the same. And my other preamp, the cheapo regular one, gave me crazy R/F interference that practically made it unusable.

I was just about ready to call it quits for the night, but then I had an epiphany: What if I used my ART Preamp like a regular pre-amp? Meaning I would hook it up to my computer via USB for power, but then run audio cables from the line-out on it into the line-in on my computer? Maybe that would bypass the shit filtering that was going on with the USB connection and I would get my high-end sounding better?

Tried it. It worked. I could finally hear the high-end. I was happy. That’s where I left things last night, with my “MY SHIT SOUNDS DOPE” update.

I spoke a bit too soon though. While my shit sounded good, “dope” was a bit of hyperbole (especially DOPE in caps).

Upon further review, I was still getting a good deal of line noise. Nothing crazy, about the same that I had before, but since I was no longer losing the high-end, I think I was able to hear it better. It was driving me crazy. So, then I had another idea: the ART USB Phono Plus can be powered by either USB or AC. What if I powered it by AC? Would removing USB from the equation help?

Bought an AC adapter for it, plugged it in, gave that a go. Nope. Actually it made it worse. At least I thought it did. So then I plugged the USB connection back into the computer while leaving the AC adapter plugged in, and then I tried to do a compare and contrast between recording via the USB and recording via the line-in. However, I noticed something odd; with the ART running off both USB and AC power it generated far less line noise. It was nearly inaudible over my speakers, and very quiet over my headphones. I suspect that  may have properly grounded it? Maybe did something to block off more RFT? I don’t know.

I could still hear it enough for it to moderately bug me though, so I decided to give some software filters a chance. First I tried Audacity. As always, it fell short. The noise removal in that doesn’t do the job for me. It removes it from quiet sections just fine, but if you’re working with anything that has bursts of noise in a quiet section then you can still hear the noise buried int he louder parts, at least I can anyways. No matter how much I fiddled with the settings in Audacity I couldn’t get it to work. The hiss removal in iZotope wasn’t much better either.

Then I remembered that the maker of my favorite click removal software, ClickRepair, also sells a program that removes line noise, aptly called DeNoise. I download that and gave that a shot, sticking mostly with the automatic settings.

Wow!  It works great. Between my reduced line noise coming in and the added help of DeNoise, my recordings are quieter and clearer than ever before. The difference is pretty amazing, Now I think my shit sounds dope. I don’t know though. You be the judge with tonight’s recordings.

Janet Jackson
Miss You Much (Mama Mix)
Miss You Much (Sing It Yourself Mix)
Miss You Much (Oh I Like That Mix)
You Need Me
I was going to test out my new setup with an abstract orchestral composition by Ryuichi Sakamoto, but I thought it might behoove me to use a song that people have actually heard before, so they can compare and contrast. Hence, Miss Jackson (if you’re Nasty).

Beastie Boys
The Beastie Boys Medley
Hey Ladies (Extended Funky Mix)
These are both from “Ultimix” LPs, special DJ only records. Typically, these things tend to suck. They’re usually quick and sloppy re-edits that don’t add anything new or original to the tracks. These mixes are pretty good though, the “Hey Ladies” extended mix ads a lot to the track and is a lot of fun.


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