Noise w/ Rega Fono Mini/Audacity when Digitizing LPs

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Pavol Stromcek, Aug 13, 2019 at 3:21 PM.

  1. Pavol Stromcek

    Pavol Stromcek Formerly thoutah Thread Starter

    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    I recently got a Rega Fono Mini A2D for digitizing LPs, which I'm using with a MacBook and Audacity. I'm just plugging the turntable directly into the Rega with a USB cable going into the laptop.

    However, I'm getting a higher-pitched hissing sound, and turning the level knob on the Rega unit has no effect on the level of it, except to change the pitch of the hissing. When listening back to the digital files, it's audible in quiet sections, like when a song is nearing the end of a fade out, or in between tracks, for example.

    The Rega sounds fine and quiet when plugged into the Aux of my receiver, so it seems like something is up with the USB out, or perhaps it's something with Audacity?

    The weird thing I'm noticing about Audacity is that it's not letting me adjust the input volume - when I switch the Recoring Device to USB Audio Codec, the input volume slider defaults to the maximum volume and can't be moved. Not sure if this is adding noise that would otherwise be inaudible if I could lower the input volume?

    Is the Rega A/D just noisy? Or could this be something else? I'd appreciate anyone's input on this.
     
  2. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I have this unit and use it for occasional needledrops. The high pitched noise is likely interference of some sort. I recommend you completely unplug the computer and run it off battery power. That is important. The other thing is that some USB cables are made like crap and have poor shielding. That will give you the high-pitched noise - I had it happen to me. I'm not suggesting you buy an overpriced USB cable, just get something short and shielded and get it away from the Wifi router, smart tv, etc. when you record.
     
    Ripblade likes this.
  3. Pavol Stromcek

    Pavol Stromcek Formerly thoutah Thread Starter

    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Thanks! I was wondering if the USB cable I was using might be the culprit. I just grabbed the only cable I happened to have lying around the house (it probably came with our printer). I'll buy a shielded one, and hopefully that'll do the trick.

    I did have my MacBook unplugged, only because I was short on outlets in the vicinity of where I was testing this out. I was roughly 10 feet away from the WiFi router, so I don't think that would have contributed to the noise at that distance.

    At any rate, thanks for the advice!
     
    patient_ot likes this.
  4. Robert Godridge

    Robert Godridge Well-Known Member

    It might help if you could give samples of the noise,
    what's your turntable? has it an earth/ground wire and is that propperly connected to the phonostage?
    I get a similar problem if I don't have the ground wire plugged into my recording device, high pitched wining sound.
     
  5. Pavol Stromcek

    Pavol Stromcek Formerly thoutah Thread Starter

    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    When testing this out, I was using a Technics SL-1400, and the ground wire was definitely secured to the Rega Fono Mini.
     
  6. Robert Godridge

    Robert Godridge Well-Known Member

    Ah well that won't be it,

    It might be worth downloading the asio4all driver, by the way, that's how I make my 24 bit recordings, lower latency and could fix your issue/allow you to turn the volume down in audacity etc
    ASIO4ALL - Universal ASIO Driver For WDM Audio
     
  7. Robert Godridge

    Robert Godridge Well-Known Member

    Never mind my last post I think that's only windows!
     
  8. Pavol Stromcek

    Pavol Stromcek Formerly thoutah Thread Starter

    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Yeah, I may consider some other (Mac-compatible) software if I can eliminate the noise. I don't yet understand why Audacity's input volume is frozen at the max setting when it's set to receive input from USB, but I would like to have more flexibility with that.
     
    patient_ot likes this.
  9. Robert Godridge

    Robert Godridge Well-Known Member

    Have you thought of goldwave?
    GoldWave v6 Download
     
    JimmyCool likes this.
  10. Pavol Stromcek

    Pavol Stromcek Formerly thoutah Thread Starter

    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    I'm not sure if I've heard of it, but I'd certainly look into it if Audacity proves to be a pain in the rear.
     
  11. Robert Godridge

    Robert Godridge Well-Known Member

    It's worth a try and you can make cue files on the go with goldwave too!
     
  12. Pavol Stromcek

    Pavol Stromcek Formerly thoutah Thread Starter

    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Well, I got a USB cable that is definitely shielded, and I'm still getting the high-pitched static and whining noise. I even tried plugging it into a few different outlets just to cover all bases, and that made no difference.

    I should mention that I hear this noise regardless of whether the turntable is plugged into the Rega Fono, so we can definitely rule out the turntable or its connections.

    I think my options now are to try a different computer, and then maybe find some other free audio software.

    It could also be that the Rega Fono itself is defective, but I'd like to rule out everything else first.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019 at 10:44 PM
  13. Pavol Stromcek

    Pavol Stromcek Formerly thoutah Thread Starter

    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    So, I tested it on my work computer, which is a more recent MacBook Air, and I still get the same static/noise. Argh! I'm really starting to wonder if something is wrong with the Rega Fono.

    No discerning listener would tolerate the static I'm hearing, and yet you see countless positive reviews online by people using it as a USB interface for digitizing vinyl.


    The whole reason I'm doing this in the first place is because my Pioneer PDR-555RW CD recorder, which I've been using to do needledrops for the last 15+ years, recently died. I considered replacing it with one of those Tascam professional CD recorders, but I thought, why not cut out the "middle man" and just go straight to my computer? It would cost less and that's how most people digitize their LPs these days anyhow.
     
  14. Pavol Stromcek

    Pavol Stromcek Formerly thoutah Thread Starter

    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Was Googling this problem I'm having and found a thread on another message board where two people actually had the same problem: Noise recording with Rega Fono Mini. Help, please!

    Long story short: One person went through two Rega Fono Minis that both produced this static/hiss. After one of them talked extensively to someone from Rega, they weren't able to resolve the problem, and wound up going with a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, and the static/hiss stopped (but I think this requires a separate photo stage, as it's not a phono pre like the Rega Fono).
     
  15. Fedot L

    Fedot L Forum Resident

    Try “jetAudio” for your operating system. It does.
     
  16. Robert Godridge

    Robert Godridge Well-Known Member

    I really think this or part of it is eud to the volume weirdness,
    In windows, you can check a listen to this device box in your sound device settings, can you do that on mac?
     
  17. Pavol Stromcek

    Pavol Stromcek Formerly thoutah Thread Starter

    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    I did a little research on this input volume slider issue in Audacity, and Audacity's online user manual says this: "If the recording slider does not have direct control of your sound device's input level, it will be disabled and set to maximum." It goes on to say, "Note that Macs in most cases do not permit volume adjustment of USB audio devices. Use the gain control on the USB device if it has this, or adjust the level that is going into the USB device." And when I go into System Preferences > Sound > Input Volume, it has a volume control for the internal microphone, but that volume slider disappears for the USB device.

    And then, as I've mentioned, the output level on the Rega Fono does not have any effect on the volume of the static/hissing. It's just there.
     
  18. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    If it's not working for you and you've tried a reasonable amount of troubleshooting, return it.
     
  19. Pavol Stromcek

    Pavol Stromcek Formerly thoutah Thread Starter

    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    That's where things appear to be heading. I think this could come down to a compatibility issue between the Rega Fono and my Mac's sound card.

    At any rate, I may then have to decide between something like the Focusrite Scarlet 2i2, or going back to CD recorder-land and getting a Tascam Professional CD-RW900.
     
    patient_ot likes this.
  20. stereoguy

    stereoguy Its Gotta Be True Stereo!

    Location:
    Brooklyn
    We were all better off when we used actual gear to record and not computer software.
     
    Pavol Stromcek and missan like this.
  21. missan

    missan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Stockholm

    Normally I would agree with this, and this time is no exception.
     
    Pavol Stromcek likes this.
  22. Pavol Stromcek

    Pavol Stromcek Formerly thoutah Thread Starter

    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Update: I tried the Rega Fono with Garageband, which, unlike Audacity, does allow you to control the input volume in the software from a USB device, and I still got the same static/hiss.

    So, I suspect maybe something's just not simpatico between the Rega Fono Mini and the stock sound cards in both my MacBooks. It obviously works fine for some folks, but it just doesn't seem to be synergizing with either of my computers. I think I'm throwing in the towel on the Rega Fono and I will try to return it.

    I'm curious about something like the Focusrite Scarlet 2i2, but I also know that if I just spring for the Tascam Professional CD recorder, I will likely have zero problems and life will go back to normal. I really liked the idea of not having to keep buying CD-Rs and just recording straight to the computer, but I don't want to risk anymore headaches like his.
     
  23. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Is there any way you can try a totally different type of computer? I suspect it's as you say. I should mention that the PC I use for recording is fanless and runs on an SSD.

    I may try the Focusrite at some point - the company just released a 3rd gen version of the unit. Quite honestly I would not be surprised if you have trouble with any USB product. The CD recorder may be a safer bet.
     
    c-eling likes this.
  24. Pavol Stromcek

    Pavol Stromcek Formerly thoutah Thread Starter

    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Not really - pretty much everyone I know has some kind of MacBook. And I don't really want to buy another computer that's solely for digitizing my records. I'd rather just get a new CD recorder.

    Just out of curiosity, why do you think I would have issues with any USB product?
     
  25. missan

    missan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Stockholm
    You could also look into digital recorders. They are brilliant IMO.
     

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