Questions & Answers

Input levels clipping but recorded levels very low

+4 votes
2,912 views
asked Jan 12, 2019 in Studio One 3 by aryfh (1,690 points)
Win 10, Studio One 3, Studio 192 Interface, Studio Channel.

When recording electric guitar directly into an input of interface (Studio 192, line input 2, mic preamp at 0), the input levels shown are strong and even clipping.

However, when viewing the recorded event (and of course also listening), the level is very low.

Why would the input level meters show close to 0dB but the recorded result is very quiet?

How do I get a good, strong signal recorded without clipping my inputs?

A similar thing happens with my PreSonus Studio Channel. When recording vocals, the recorded event will be fairly quiet when Studio Channel's meter is in mid-range. Only way to get the volume to be strong is to have the Studio Channel's meter slammed in the red. In this case, there seems to be no audible distortion or clipping in the final recorded result, although the Studio Channel's meter is pinned in the red at time of recording.

6 Answers

+2 votes
answered Aug 30, 2019 by jeanpaulcisneros (190 points)
I've exactly the same problem, haven't figured it out yet...I'm using the emulated output of my Blackstar amp using the instrument input. hopefully somebody can help with this....?
0 votes
answered Sep 2, 2019 by dennisg (160 points)
I'm also getting clipping using the Blackstar emulated output on both my Blackstar amps. I can't use any high gain sounds or push the valves/tubes at all. Always end up reamping with amplitude which is really rather not do because of all the processing power it takes on my computer...

Wonder if there's a cheap attenuator I can put in between to fix it...
+1 vote
answered Dec 23, 2019 by edwardwoelke (270 points)
A person could die of old age waiting for the Presonus team to answer a simple question!
0 votes
answered Mar 8, 2020 by eddyaceti (440 points)
Im having the same problem. Only it started when I upgraded to version 4; version 3 was fine. My song files still play at regular volume this issue only applies to sources coming from a line input on the Audiobox 1818vsl.
0 votes
answered Feb 1, 2021 by richardandrews2 (140 points)

I'm having a similar problem.  The input levels on the front of my Audiobox are set to zero and the signal from my guitar still clips.  I was using a Jackson with active EMGs so tried a Strat with passive pickups to reduce the signal - no difference.  I've been recording at home for a while but never tried mixing down until now.  The mixdown volume levels are really low and quite frequently clip.  I have read on multiple forums that the Audiobox USB 96 has a very common problem in being overloaded by guitar signals and the answer seems to be: get a different audio interface.  Has anyone found a solution to this or should I buy a Focusrite instead?  Hopefully PreSonus will reply soon..........................crying

0 votes
answered Jan 1 by davedaverson (240 points)

tl;dr - In my case it was a hardware failure; bad capacitors. I fixed it by replacing them because PreSonus wouldn't help.

I was experiencing this issue too with my 1810c -- low input levels while also audibly clipping (but not registering on meters) at low volumes on instrument inputs 1 and 2 (using guitars, passive pickups, both single coil and humbuckers). I didn't recall this issue always being the case. I hadn't played guitar in a while, but recently got back into it and wanted to solve this problem once and for all.

In addition to the 1810c, I have a 26c. So I swapped that into my setup, and what do ya know, it sounded great! This suggested that there was a hardware failure on the 1810c. I documented the issue and opened a support request with PreSonus. They said, yeah, sounds like a hardware failure, but your device is out of warranty (it's around 3 years old). PreSonus will not repair it, provide repair advice, or schematics. Basically they said I was on my own, which was a real bummer because I thought PreSonus (Fender) was classier than that.

Since I had nothing to lose by taking a peek inside the 1810c, I gave it a whirl. Upon doing so I immediately noticed that several capacitors had domed tops, which is indicative of failure. Specifically 8 capacitors, all of the same type, in two different sections of the board had the issue. The culprit caps:

  • C9A, C9B, C9C, C9D are marked with 1440
  • C9E, C9F, C9G, C9H are marked with 1448
  • (Marked with red arrows in picture)

Specs:

  • CapXon brand, GS series
  • 220uf 25v - Polar, Aluminum electrolytic
  • ~6.5mm diameter
  • ~11.5mm height (excluding the domed tops lols)
  • 2.5mm lead spacing
  • I think these have a ripple current of 310mA at 120 Hz based on the CapXon catalog, but I'm not certain.


These 5 caps have the same values as above, but were not visibly bad:

  • C90, C92, C93, C96
  • C146 (Might be marked C148. Hard to see in my pics. It's in the back right corner area next to C13 and close to the DC jack)
  • (Marked with green arrows in picture)

Image of capacitor locations: https://imgur.com/a/zNIrNoY


I'm no electrical engineer, but I do dabble in electronics so I decided to try the repair. Here are the replacement caps I sourced:

https://www.digikey.com/en/products/detail/rubycon/25YXJ220MT16-3X11/3567625

I think these are a suitable upgraded replacements, but if there's someone truly in the know, please post.

I carefully replaced only the visibly domed 8 capacitors. There were 5 more of the same type and value that seemed to be related to some other non-audio input/output functionality (guessing) that I left alone.

To my delight, the repair fixed the issue! My guitar tone is sooo much better now, and the input levels are great. If clipping does occur, it's registered on the meters and it tracks with the input gain being cranked too far, which is exactly what one would expect.


Hope this might be helpful to other people!

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