UR22mkII quirks?

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Shadow_7
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Posts: 166
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:35 pm

UR22mkII quirks?

Postby Shadow_7 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:21 am

So I've been using the steinberg ur22mkII a month-ish or more. I got some minnie maggies when I got this interface. I'm still using an old panasonic RX-540 to drive them. Pretty much all of the levels are controlled by knobs on the device (ur22mkII). With a knob to mix the inputs with the output (works with an iPad). There's no alsa mixer settings. I'm okay with that. It sounds good, output and input. With decent sampling rates 24 bit / 192kHz. So onto the quirks.

The minnie maggies really crunches / sounds bad when you play a clip with clipping. It could be that I have the ribbon speakers at an angle since they don't fully fit in the book shelf. Severely reducing the levels outputted to the stereo helps make it sound less bad. But there's no alsa mixer levels. Soooo... at the moment I have a pulse over jack setup on a RPi 3B+. With the 7" screen and I have jack_mixer running to lower the output -36 (dB I assume) in software by adding an input source and routing through it with qjackctl. With the jack_mixer in the middle I can turn the knob on the steinberg ur22mkII up to full and the headphone preamp (presonus hp4) to full that feeds the stereo. At which point it still sounds good / less bad and the EQ meter has at least a couple LEDs light up (< 50% height) on the RX-540.

The clipping still crunches. I have a Jessica Andrews CD that sounds particularly bad, from the clip crunch, I like the artist. Otherwise it seems like it runs hot in terms of audio output levels. I am powering the ur22mkII from an external usb power cable (one of the reasons why I got it (over the focusrite 2i2), is this feature), instead of the USB bus. I've moved it from the 2.4A plug to an older 1A plug and still basically the same. Anyone else observed this behavior? The output being HOT for higher end speakers?

I kind of wanted to use this setup to record in the middle of a corn field type setup. Although on a 10k mAh battery the interface alone drains it 1% per minute, so not really an option baring more beefy mobile power sources. But I'd probably be using something like a pocketchip for the recorder since it gets a good solid 4 hours on it's own power. I really need to build a custom desk to setup the speakers right / normal. And I should test the speakers with my older m-audio mobilepre (16 bit / 48kHz). With the current setup I do have to turn the stereo up 2x's as much as I did with the older 48" magnepans (that have almost no bass, but sound amazing, even 20 years later).

Maybe these quirks go away if I set up the speakers right. Or get a more modern alternative to the stereo to power them. Or with any/all other sound interfaces. But not something I can test readily at the moment. There is a bit of jank in the current setup. To the stereo with RCA, a headphone preamp in the middle (but it has knobs and MUTE). Plus stereo cables too fat for the stereo to the speakers. A stereo that's more than twenty years old now. 1970s wiring near high power lines. And such and such and such...

Shadow_7
Established Member
Posts: 166
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:35 pm

Re: UR22mkII quirks?

Postby Shadow_7 » Thu Sep 06, 2018 5:09 am

I guess none of that is completely accurate. I tracked down a few issues with the speaker wires. Provided by the company that sold me the $1,500.00 speakers. And what I thought was clipping was the poorly connected right speaker. I still seem to need to lower the output for the best sound, but around -10 now instead of -30.

Plus a few other software quirks. After an update the jackdbus on my RPi 3B+ was crashing consistently on the hour every hour (which didn't crash April-June before I updated). Which I tracked down to being triggered by iceweasel / firefox on the client machine(s). Other sound sources were not crashing jackdbus like mpv. Taking the long way around, of running pulse locally on the clients to the snd-aloop (Loopback) device, then alsaloop on a different user to route that to the pulse server and jackdbus is now completely stable. One caveat though of having the restart alsaloop on the client machine each time I have a new audio source. BUT... this route I can push the jackdbus to 24 bit and 192kHz on the RPi 3B+ without issues.

$ alsaloop -C hw:Loopback,1,0 -f S24_LE -c 2 -r 192000 -n -A -t 50000 -P default 2>&1 > /dev/null

For the client machine(s) with the default-server= in the client.conf of pulseaudio for the one user that runs alsaloop. The rest run a default pulse setup after selecting the loopback device with pavucontrol. Except for autospawn = no, so I can switch around to many users. I'll probably find a lazier way of doing this. And each layer adds latency. Not that critical for media consumption, but for live performance it would be stupid to run this kind of setup.

Shadow_7
Established Member
Posts: 166
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:35 pm

Re: UR22mkII quirks?

Postby Shadow_7 » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:42 pm

So a different stereo amplifier (NAD C 316BEE), some NEW stereo wiring, and it's much better now. I do still need to -6dB with jack_mixer to keep things from sounding ODD. Lowering the media players volume (95%) also helps a bit. Otherwise finally happy-ish with the way things sound. The OLD pioneer rx-540 from 20 years ago was cutting out on the right channel and it was time to modernize. Plus lower watt-age and less bulky. I still need to pulse over snd-aloop and alsaloop for the routing to keep the 3B+ stable as well. It's just much simpler to restart alsaloop than to stop/start jack and pulse over jack plus jack_mixer and jack routing on an SBC. Sanity semi-restored.

I'll probably still get a different audio interface eventually. I intended this one more for recording in the field anyway. Now that I have a pinebook that might be sooner than later. I like the pocketchip, but I'm just not a thumb typist.


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