Input noise/buzz/hum

  • Hi

    I'm pretty new to Bias Amp 2 and although I find the tones amazing I'm a bit confused about the noise levels. I've read online and ofc there's a multitude of things that can cause noise but I feel like Bias Amp 2 is adding a lot of noise and I wonder if this is normal for other uses?


    As you can see from the screen shot this is the noise level using the "British Rock 50 v2" preset downloaded from ToneCloud and untouched by me. My guitar (Tele with humbuckers) is plugged in but the volume pot is totally off. I'm resting my fingers on the strings to mute them. i.e. no gain from my guitar at all to try to produce a "base level" of noise. If I have the volume pot fully open the noise seen here roughly doubles. OFC with the noise gate on the noise totally clears up but I find that a bit distracting sometimes when playing/recording. Personal preference possible?

    Using any of the clean/blues presets are all fine however and have zero noise (proving my interface and cables are fine?) the gainer the preset, crunch > hi gain > metal > insane the more noise I get. Some presets have more than double that shown in this screen shot and are overwhelming without using the noise gate. I can understand a bit of noise either genuine from my signal chain or synthetic from the software but this all seems way too much for me. Or am I wrong?

    Are these levels of noise to be expected? Do others just use the noise gate and don't worry about the noise level? Or am I doing something wrong?

    For reference I'm running Windows 10 on a fairly well specced machine fully updated. Bias Amp 2, latest version. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 with the latest ASIO drivers. Cables are all decent quality and recently purchased. Other than the noise I can't praise this software enough. I have no CPU issues or input lag that others experience and the tones are superb.

    Any help and advise would be greatly appreciated.

    Many Thanks

  • Really surprised no one has replied to this. I am really the only one with noise/hum issues? Or do other people just use the noise gate even on extremely gainy presets?

    I've spent most of the week using Amplitude and there's virtually no noise at all so this is 100% a Positive Grid problem. After having such a good experience with Amplitude I'm considering ditching Bias Amp and Bias FX entirely which is a shame as it is good software and the tones are great.

  • @rich-williamson1980 You do have the Noise Gate off in that picture. When you're using a hi-gain amp, noise gates are a must.

    What you say about Amplitube isn't entirely true. You'll notice that many of the hi-gain amp presets there have noise gate on and built into the preset. If you turn the noise gate threshold off there, the noise is just as loud, if not louder, than on Amp 2. If you don't believe me, choose a Mesa Boogie Mark III or IV on the lead channel and turn the noise gate off. Careful though, the noise will blast you into next week. :)

  • @myxolydian said in Input noise/buzz/hum:

    @rich-williamson1980 You do have the Noise Gate off in that picture. When you're using a hi-gain amp, noise gates are a must.

    Thank you for replying. Yes that's my question, does everyone else use the noise gate? As I mentioned I find the gate a bit janky when the gate opens and closes, it's not the best experience in my opinion due to the volume of the noise. I'm therefore trying to use Bias Amp without the gate if possible. Amplitude also has a built in gate but it's not really required since there is so little noise that it isn't an issue even on the high gain/metal amps.

    It feels like Bias Amp is trying to "emulate" the noise you get when using high gain equipment but it's over doing it. I've noticed today that you can tweak the distortion knob in the preamp section which will reduce the noise dramatically to a manageable level without affecting the tone in any way that I can tell anyway. It's not much but if the noise is too much at least it's an option.

  • @rich-williamson1980

    @rich-williamson1980 said in Input noise/buzz/hum:

    I've noticed today that you can tweak the distortion knob in the preamp section which will reduce the noise dramatically to a manageable level without affecting the tone in any way that I can tell anyway.

    There you go, I didn't know that particular trick. Thanks.

  • Moderator

    @rich-williamson1980 Which input selector are you using on the 2i2? I'd also suggest to try using the Instrument Level to see how it goes, check this out!

  • I've been fooling around with this for a few days. One thing I've noticed is that if I load the plugin to a stereo track in ProTools (v11.2.2, 64 bit Windows) the noise levels go up to the point of this product being unusable.

    I first actually noticed it in FX2.. I loaded it into a stereo track because I was using stereo chorus, etc. The gate widgets in the FX chain were really strangling the sustain and sensitivity of what I was trying to do and so I turned them off. Massive, ridiculous amounts of hiss. Like "your amp is on fire" levels of noise. The noise was registering about 20 db below the guitar/amp levels on the master fader meter, which is just insane. For any amp, ever.

    I didn't remember this from playing around with the same amp model (JCM 800) in Amp 2, so I removed the FX plugin from my insert and replaced it with the Amp plugin. Still gobs of noise. Then I noticed it was all in the channel that didn't actually have any guitar signal present. This side should really be dead silent, but it isn't, by any means. So, why is the plugin generating noise on the unused side of a stereo channel?

    I deleted the track, created a new mono track, added the Amp plugin and voila, noise is gone.

    Yes the amp models have a noise gate built into them in Amp 2, but if you turn it off (on a mono track anyway) you get the normal kinds of hiss and hum you'd get from a JCM 800.

    So, something is definitely broken, somewhere. For me this seems to be related to stereo processing.

  • I was planning to post a question about Hum / Hiss, whatever noise we're talking about.

    I am trying to get a feedback from my FX2 to play the solo part of Gary Moore's Parisian Walkways.

    If I leave the Gate at the beginnign of the signal chain, I get no noise, but unable to get a feedback from my Amp, or my Sound system.
    If I switch the GATE off, the noise level comes as high as -12dB even before I play anything. Whether the guitar is plugged in or not, or if the volume knob is on or off.

    So I tried to make a simple test, with only 1 amp. Tested several of them, from JCM800 to HI GAIN stuff.
    Result is always the same. As soon as you turn the Gain up, you get an incredible noise.

    So I cannot get the benefit of having sustain from my guitar, as I always have to use a gate...

    For reference I am on a MACBOOK PRO, and my Interface is a Roland DUO CAPTURE (Battery POwered) or a QUAD CAPTURE USB Powered.
    Even on a full battery system, I get the same bad experience...

    Thanks for your thoughts & tricks in advance,


  • @alain-mizreh I absolutely have to comment on this. I have the same issues with BiasFX and BiasFX2, tons on noise on high gain amp models. Allow me to share what I've experienced and deduced. I own both a Roland Quad capture and a EIE Pro USB audio interface. By themselves, using a condenser or dynamic mic for recording vocals or instruments, both interfaces exhibit very low noise. When recording DRY electric guitar straight in to the interfaces, set on instrument level input setting (also high impedance matching) the recording are clean, clear and noise free at normal to high input volume levels. Even in Bias, if using a lower gain but still driven tone like for blues or light rock, the sound is nice and clear, with all noise gates off, silence is virtually silent. The problem arises when using high gain amp models with the Bias FX noise gate off.

    So why not just run the gate on all the time? Well, the problem is, as mentioned earlier, the gate and noise reduction pedals are 'janky' especially when notes are allowed to decay to the cutoff point, at which the sustain is just killed because the gate is set too high or the note decay breaks up into a digital mess for a moment right before the gate shuts completely. Truthfully, if you're just recording passages and make concessions for the gate limitation, in the way you play, by either just hard stopping everything, or vibrato a note to make it hang keeping it above gate threshold and then cutting it off abruptly, you can work around the issue, but it is annoying that you can't let a note decay all the way or even sustain a good amount without running into problems.

    Now, for me, the Roland Quad capture has it's own setup menu in the control panel of windows which installs with the driver. In that control panel for the Quad there is a native noise gate control. It also has a compression control but I generally set it on bypass as I like to record as raw a source signal as possible. But I digress, I personally have found the Quad capture's built in gate to work much better and cleaner than any in the Bias FX 2 software, The Quad gate doesn't have that digital garble like the Bias gates seem to, still, it seems like there is no way around the fact you'll have to make a compromise on long sustaining decaying notes when using a high gain amp model. I can live with that, and if I'm using a low gain amp for blues and such the issue pretty much disappears with the right settings.

    Don't know what it is exactly, but it seem that Bias picks up USB noise from the connection to the interface. I will mention I'm in a particularly EMI unfriendly recording space so your mileage my very. I've heard mention of USB power being the issue, such is the case, my Roland Quad Capture is USB powered ONLY. My EIE pro on the other hand however has it's own power brick but still communicated to the PC via a standard USB cable. I've read that using an adapter/power brick powered Interface with a USB cable modified with a severed (cut) power wire can eliminated the excess noise but haven't experimented with this yet.

    There are USB noise eliminator adapters available, though they tend to be rather expensive, I've read reviews that say the work great, I haven't had the stomach to drop 50 bucks on one yet though without knowing for sure it will work. I'm probably going to buy one that I know I can return if need be.

    If I record my own personal real world high gain amps into my digital audio interfaces using a Shure SM57 dynamic mic on the cabinets I get great low noise recordings. From what I've read it sounds like most of your high gain (metal) and the like Youtubers like Ola Englund mic their amps directly with a Shure SM57 or Senhieser. I have the amps to provide the tone. I may settle on a combo of some Bias FX modeling for high gain (metal) rhythms from time to time and real world mic'd cabinets for leads (or any combination really) but everyone is not so fortunate. It is nice to have options.

    I don't know of how much consequence this is, but when I have NO input cable plugged into my Roland Quad capture, start my recording software (Reaper 64) and start recording the Quad input with NO FX at all at normal levels, the interface has a very low noise floor, virtually inaudible. As soon as I insert Bias FX higher gain amp to that empty input signal (No gates in Bias or the Quad capture control panel) , I get amplified noise consisting for white noise-ish to almost digital static. With the Quad capture input set to High Impedance, the noise is actually worse, kind of like the Quad input is acting as a better antenna for EMI, which would make sense as antennas are high impedance devices because of the nature of over the air transmission.

    Could this noise be on the internal USB bus of the PC? I've read someone mention that using a different mother board solved their problem so it may just boil down to luck of the draw on MB design. I really need to install Reaper on my laptop, take it to the other side of the house, hook up my Quad capture and try running some high gain amp models in Bias FX but I've been to lazy to do this yet.

    Either way, I'd love to find out exactly where the noise is coming from. Without the extreme gain boost, interfaces and recordings are well within acceptable signal to noise ratio limits, but boy, when you kick in one of those high gain amps or pedals in Bias FX 2, it's amplifying the heck out of whatever low level noise exists to what seems like a disproportionate degree. I'm going to try one of those USB noise eliminators, and isolated power supply to plug the power brick of my EIE Pro into and possibly clipping the USB power wire. If I get anywhere, I'll post it around. Heck I've even read of people's cell phones digital signals bleeding over into their audio equipment.

    Just to finalize, Bias FX 2 can be very usable for high gain metal and such but having a digital audio interface with its own good noise gate helps a whole lot, the rest boils down to tweaking of settings and a little bit of compromise. Not to overstate the obvious but any time a signal is amplified/boosted/gained you're going to be raising to noise floor as well, hence is the nature of the beast with high gain tones and hence the need for noise reduction/suppression circuits i.e.pedals. What you don't want is anything in the signal chain adding more noise then absolutely necessary to begin with. While I don't have eons of experience with physical noise gate or noise reduction pedals it would seem obvious that they would suffer from the same limitations as the software based ones do most likely to a lesser degree. The real issue I image would be the particular gate's settings and characteristics of how hard, soft and/or effective etc. it is. I tend to think an analog gate or suppressor would probably be less harsh then anything but the highest end digital solutions.

    I sure hope this helps someone, it's been a far less than ideal experience for me up until the point I found a setup that works reasonably well.

  • The screenshot in the original post has the input level set to max. That's probably way too high. In my experience, I've had to back the input levels off. I've found this helps with the hiss and noise.

  • @kalinowski-jim yes the input in the original post picture is way too high and for that matter so is the output - neither should ever be set higher than the 0 mark and really sounds better when you back off the input just a little

    also a lot of gain controls in the chain when working with a DAW :

    soundcard gain + guitar gain + DAW input gain(s) + amp sim master gain + amp sim gain throughout the FX chain = it is easy to mess it up

    The noise is not much different than an amp set to a real dirty channel or with a distortion pedal turned on, yes it is super EASY to set up this app and get too much noise.

    Try a full stack boogie triaxis on the RED channel with a simul 2:90 tube amp and you will get the idea about noise, we tend to ignore it because with a real amp you are usually playing loud and the noise sort of takes a back seat but when you are playing through an amp sim at much lower volume settings yet with the same high gain of a cranked/distorted amp you will for sure notice the noise

    all in all this is an area that could use some improvement especially as mentioned with notes you are letting sustain to try and get some kind of natural feedback and instead you get a weird digital breakup

  • I've just installed new noiseless active emgs in the hopes that it would resolve this issue. But with my focusrite scarlett, reaper(two channels: 1) guitar in(send to ch2) 2) bias fx 2).
    It's heckin noisy if I add a high gain distortion pedal. Like heckin heckin noise.
    I'm new to DAWs, modelling, etc. But kinda bummed to deal with this challenge.

  • Yeah the whole hum thing is pretty annoying. I have the Bias Amp head Mini hardware unit. I play very clean amp models with little to no distortion and there is still a hiss that comes after playing anything then goes away. It makes it sound nothing like a real amp where the hiss is present then fades into the background when playing and returns when ceasing playing. The Bias Amp is silent, hum with playing , then cuts back to silent while hanging onto a sustained note, very annoying. I have put the noise gate at the maximum level before choking out all other sound and have cut most frequencies above 6.5k Hz in order to control the hiss. This however affects sustain and I also loose all those lovely high frequencies. I don't understand why this can't be programmed out digitally, a more sophisticated noise gate available, of different EQ models available to stop this problem ???????