Struggling n00b seeking help / Yamaha Steinberg ASIO Drivers

Hi gentle folk,

After buying Cubase 8.5 Pro and trying to set it up for simple recording for the past three weeks, I am at the end of my rope, and thought I would join the forum and attempt to reach out to people with potentially a bit more experience and insight before doing something drastic.

I’m running an instrument into a Yamaha AG03, which then goes into a Windows 10 machine [64 bit, 32GB RAM, 3.5GHz i7-5930K CPU] running Cubase. When I set up the device and VST connections, there is no option to monitor the sound directly through the PC’s speakers as I did with a previous DAW and I/O device; the only option is to go back into the AG03. When I researched this predicament, I found information somewhere (don’t remember where) that indicated Cubase could potentially route output signal a different way but it depends on the I/O device’s drivers. “Fine”, I thought, "I’ve got a free analog jack on the speakers, so I’ll just route from the AG03 monitor out back into the PC speakers. But I encounter several problems this way. First of all, there is some high-pitched signal noise that is loud enough to be very distracting. It is there on every output including the headphones. Second, the sound, including said digital noise, comes and goes intermittently anyway. I can play guitar and not touch anything else, and one minute I will have no sound coming out of my monitors, and the next it will come back.

So my best guess according to my limited technical knowledge is there is some kind of defect with the AG-03, but if it is indeed a limitation of the device driver in combination with Cubase that necessitates routing back into the device in the first place, then maybe an AG-03 isn’t right for me anyway, even though in every other respect it suffices. If you are in agreement that this is the case, can you recommend a better input/output device?

It also appears within the realm of possibility that Cubase is to blame; while investigating this I have come across a lot of reports of people not able to get any sound even though they seem to be doing everything right and they can visually monitor input and output levels. I expect a lot of bias in favor of Cubase here, but if it’s necessary, switching to another DAW is also on the table.

Any insight that might help me to decide what to do next would be highly appreciated.

Its sounds like a feedback loop.

To be clear, you’re going from:
Cubase>AG-03>PC Speakers? (Aka - you’re looping the sound back into your computer then out to speakers?)

I personally am a fan of Focusrite USB interfaces.

I go Cubase>Focusrite>External speakers

First Cubase can only communicate to one audio device/interface at a time. So for example if you are recording audio from the AG-03 you can’t have it playing back via your computers internal speakers, it would have to use speakers connected to your AG-03. This is because the latency (i.e. the delay caused by going through electronic circuits) is different for different interfaces. While Cubase tries to compensate for latency, it can’t do that with multiple devices. So you are limited to one and are right to hook the speakers up to the AG-03.

SkillSet is probably right that you have a feedback loop causing the noise (although without actually experiencing it we can’t be 100% sure). Most likely this is caused by how you have the AG-03 configured. I’m not familiar with the device and can’t offer specifics.

Regarding the intermittent playback, double check to verify it’s not a bad cable.

Setting up your audio configuration can be one of the trickiest parts of setting up a DAW, & unfortunately it hits you at the very start. But the good news is you only need to sort it out once. and I’m sure folks here can help. Configuration issues are often easier to see rather than describe. Can you make a sketch of how you have your computer, AG-03 and speakers connected (be specific with details) and post it here. Also a screen grab of your VST Connections window & the control/configuration window for the AG-03 would be helpful.

Oh how charming, the forum ate my first reply because my login timed out. Going from AG03 to PC, then back to AG03, the only option Cubase allows, then from the balanced outs to the monitors. I don’t see how it could be a feedback loop.

Thanks for the tip – I have to assume the AG03 is the problem so I’m looking at the Scarlett 6i6. It looks like it’s either going to be that or the Roland Tri-capture, I think.

Many interfaces (don’t know about AG03) allow you to route internal audio in ways that have the potential to create feedback loops. That’s where seeing the actual configuration becomes useful. Also when you say “Going from AG03 to PC, then back to AG03…” it’s not really clear what that means. It could describe very different things depending on the reader’s assumptions.

I’m more inclined to think that it is a configuration problem rather than an equipment problem.

Nicely put raino.

I’m a huge fan of the Scarlett series.

As raino said, the worst part is setting up your audio; once you get it rolling you’re good to go. I had the same experience; I contacted the manufacturer of the interface to help me get going in Cubase. Maybe a fresh install of updated drivers with a guide from the manufacturer could offer some solutions?

Wishing you the best of luck, Cubase is whole new world when it starts producing sound. I can see your smile of amazement now lol.

Start with the basics and work up…too many variables at the moment.

Connect AG03 to Computer and disconnect everything else…check the manual and make sure the AG03 loopback feature is disabled.
Do you hear this noise on headphones?

If this is OK connect monitors…now do you hear the noise?

If still OK, Play some windows audio…some premade mp3 or similar…all working with no noise or not??

If you got this far you know there is nothing wrong with the AG03 or your computer…if you fell at the first hurdle then the interface is either faulty or isn’t playing well with your computer. But we can come back to that if necessary.

Thanks guys, I will give it another try or 6 this weekend, staring with what Grim suggested. To be clear, I am routing a guitar (or nothing; problems persist even when I unplug it) into the AG03’s Hi-Z input, the AG03 is connected via USB to the PC. I am able to play and monitor levels visually even when the sound drops out.

I have the AG03’s balanced outputs connected to my monitor, but the noise and dropouts are the same if I just plug headphones into the AG03.

When the sound drops out, the noise goes too.

Oh, also, the AG03 has three settings: Dry CH 1-2G, Input Mix, and Loopback. I confess I don’t fully understand what they do, but I have tested on each of them.

I took a quick look at the manual (such as it is). Don’t use “Loopback”, that will create a feedback loop. The “Dry” setting will let you record channel 1 on one track in Cubase and channel 2G on a 2nd track, both of these would be mono signals. So if you sang into a mic on ch1 while playing an electric guitar plugged into 2G each would end up on their own track all alone. But if doing the same thing with it set to “Input Mix” you would get a stereo recording that included both the guitar & vocal combined together on a single stereo track.

This is a pretty limited interface and if you wanted to record anything even slightly more complex than the above scenario you’d probably need a more sophisticated interface. But you might want to live with it awhile so you get a good understanding of what additional features you’d find useful.

Update: nothing I tried made any difference with the Yamaha device, so I picked up a Steinberg UR242 (ultimately had better features than the Focusrite stuff for me), and lo and behold, no noise. There is still some silence when I first begin playing and instrument, or switch to pulling up a video on the web, because my Vanatoo T1s apparently switch back and forth between inputs depending on where a signal is coming from. Might have something to do with one input source being digital. But there are no longer any mysterious dropouts in the middle of playing. Everything is stable and predictable. So case closed. Now to embark on the long journey to really learn Cubase.