M-Track Quad, Hissing, Crackling Sound Issues and Input Questions

Recently purchased an M-track Quad. I'm impressed with it overall and love the value, but I have some issues that I can't identify/fix.

1. When plugged into a USB 3.0 port I get hissing/crackling/popping and distortion at seemingly random intervals. If I am recording, this shows up in the track. After switching to a USB 2.0 port this has been dramatically reduced, but I still get the odd crackle here and there. Is the USB 3.0 port problem a known issue? Would be nice if it could be fixed with a software update or something, USB 2.0 may not always be available.

Even on USB 2.0, certain things I do on my PC seem to make a crackle or pop. About 80% of the time when I open or close Sony Sound Forge I get a crackle noise.

2. Probably related to #1 above. After switching to USB 2.0 this only happens rarely, but every once in a while I get severe distortion out of the M-Audio monitors that I have plugged into output 1 & 2 on the M-track Quad. It lasts for about 3 seconds and then disappears and everything is normal again for another couple hours. This happened frequently with USB 3.0. I haven't been recording yet when this happens on USB 2.0 yet, so I don't know if it will show up in the recording, but it's happened a handful of times. Any ideas what might cause this?

3. I have major problems with a Rode NTG-2 in Input 1, but it works fine in Input 3. I am using exactly the same settings and cable on both inputs (phantom, level, mic/line).

When NTG-2 is used on Input 1, there is a very loud constant hissing noise on the track. It goes away completely with Input 3. Any idea why this might be?

Another mic I have (EV RE50) works perfectly clean on Input 1, so it doesn't seem to be a bad port.

Are there differences between the 4 front XLR inputs?

PC specs:
Windows 7 x64
Asus Maximus V Formula mobo
Core i7 3770K
32GB Corsair RAM
Asus GTX 780
Crucial SSD drives

Using Sony SoundForge 11 Pro for recording.
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  • Hello again!

    When on this Windows 7 machine, had you adjusted the buffer size in Sound Forge since moving to the USB 2.0 ports? Start at 512 samples and move up.

    When you get the symptoms (clicks/crackling) while recording, turn the MONITOR MIX knob all the way to the left and see if it persists. This will identify if it's hardware or software related.

    Oddly enough, on a computer with USB 2.0/3.0 ports, I've actually seen the type of USB cable have an effect. I'm not sure of the details, but if you haven't already, try a different USB cable.

    Regarding the NTG-2; only one input channel has this noise problem? Same mic on other channels is good? Does the hiss go away when phantom power is turned off?

    Let me know and we'll get to the bottom of it!
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  • 1
    Hi Dan,

    Thanks for the reply.

    I don't think the buffer size in Sound Forge has anything to do with these issues, because they happen while doing anything on the PC, not just recording in SF. The distortion, crackles, pops etc. happen when playing music, videos, or even for system sounds like clicking through folders. Seems to be completely random.

    However, for some reason I am not able to adjust the buffer size for the M-Track Quad in Sound Forge. I'm looking under Options -> Preferences -> Audio, selecting the M-track Quad, and the buffer option is grayed out. The "advanced" button is also grayed out. If I select other audio sources, I can adjust the buffers. Driver compatibility issue maybe?

    I have been using the USB cable that came with the M-Track Quad, I'll switch to a new one and see if it makes any difference.

    I'm always turning the monitor mix all the way to the left when recording, have already been doing that.

    The NTG-2 is giving me some really strange issues. Previously, I had only tested it in XLR ports 1 & 3. I just tested it in every port. Here is the result:

    Port 1 = Loud hiss immediately audible in headphones, shows up on recording. The hiss is constant and steady. the hiss is louder when I turn up the gain, quieter when I turn it down.

    Port 1, phantom power off, no battery in NTG-2 = Lots of crackling, hissing and distortion. Louder with more gain, quieter with less gain. Sounds very different when phantom power is on.

    Port 2 = As soon as I plug the NTG-2 in port 2, there is a background noise in the headphones that sounds like a far away ambulance siren. It does not get louder when I crank the gain up, and it is not audible in the recording. When I unplug the NTG-2 from port 2, the siren noise takes a while to go away... about 40 seconds.

    Ports 3 and 4 = NTG-2 works normally, no issues.

    I also tested a dynamic mic (RE50) in all 4 XLR ports, it worked without issue in all ports. There is no noticeable difference in any of the 4 tracks when recording with the RE50.

    Any ideas? Seems really odd to me.
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    • Ok now I am 100% certain that I have a defective unit. I'm getting buzzing/hissing noise coming from the headphone port without even having a mic or anything else plugged in. If I turn the mix to 100% USB (all the way right) it goes away. If I flip the headphone monitor switch to channels 3-4 only, it goes away. When I have channel 1-2 or All in headphones I get the noise... even with nothing but power cord and headphones plugged into the M-Track... not even USB or monitors.

      I thought maybe my headphones were going bad, but I got the same result with another pair, and the sound transfers to recordings from Channel 1. It's something coming from the unit internally.

      Looks like I need to RMA or return it unfortunately.

      Thanks for the help.
    • Okay, I'd agree. Technical support will be happy to help!
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  • 1
    I am having the same issue. DId i buy your defective unit or is m-audio selling a bunch of cool looking bricks to people?

    I only have usb 3 ports on my laptop. I am using ableton 9 w/ windows 8.

    All I hear is loud hiss. I have my keyboard plugged into input 2 and I hear nothing through ableton or even through the direct monitoring. Its completely dead just a loud hiss/static. Sometimes if I turn my keyboard all the way I can very very faintly hear my keyboard. I checked and made sure the cord I have going from the keyboard to the maudio unit was good as well.

    The drivers say they are compatible with windows 8 but I guess not. Unfortunately, I will have to return. Not enough time to debug hardware.
    • Hello Mario,

      Thanks for posting. I'm sorry to hear of your difficulty!

      If these symptoms occur when you're MONITOR MIX knob is set all the way to the left, DIRECT, then it is more likely a hardware problem.

      Do you have any other sources to test with? (microphone, guitar, etc...)

      Does this same hiss and low input volume happen on input 1 as well?

      Let me know and I'll be happy to help!
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  • Helo.
    I have bought a m-track quad and I hear crackling noise when I play on my guitar.
    I have an:
    iMac 27"
    3,5 GHz Intel Core i7
    32 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
    OS X v.10.8.5
    Can someone help me out with this?
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  • 1
    I've tried a new USB cable, switching from USB 3.0 to every 2.0 port on my computer. I didn't have any crackling for a day, and now I'm getting it again. Randomly, not even when any sound is playing. It's not my speakers, as it happens through my headphones as well. It's impossible to record with random buzz/crackling noise. It's unbelievable to me that the unit has been out for 8 months without any update to drivers to fix the supposed incompatibility with Win 8/USB 3.0. So unhappy that I bought this product.
    • Hello Matthew,

      Thanks for posting. I'm sorry to hear you're having trouble!

      Does this crackling still occur if you turn the MONITOR MIX knob to the left, on DIRECT? Do you happen to have another computer you can try to reproduce the issue with?

      Would you be able to provide a recording of this crackling, via some type of file upload site?

      Let me know and we'll get to the bottom of it!
    • ok, tried to take a video of the clipping sound, but it just comes as the the music cutting out. here's a video. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7T-... sorry for the quality, but this is basicall what happens every 1-2 minutes. sound totally cuts out and there's a pop sound. if i'm recording, the gaps in audio show up in playback.
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  • I’m frustrated
    Hello. I am using a Quad Track plugged into a Windows 8 Surface Pro with a USB 3 port and i use ableton live 9. I too am having problems with crackling, particularly when using all 3 usb ports on the back of the unit connected to devices such as a novation launchpad, akai mpc mini and other power hungry peripherals. I think that the crackle could be the result of usb power deficiency or excess data transfer. I have overcome the crackle by plugging the peripherals in in a different order and by plugging the most power hungry peripherals into an independently powered usb hub that is then in turn plugged into the back of the quad track. I have never had this problem when there are no usb peripherals plugged into the usb ports on the back of the unit.

    With my current set up the sound seems stable but this is very annoying and i certainly don't have confidence in this product to use in live performance.
    • Hello Mike,

      Thanks for posting!

      Given the troubleshooting you've described, this cause is likely isolated to USB bandwidth, primarily excess data transfer and the priority your computer is giving each device (depending on the order of connection).

      You do not have any other USB ports besides what is available on the M-Track Quad?

      Do you have another computer you could compare performance with?
    • Hello Dan, thanks for the reply.

      Unfortunately the Surface Pro only offers one USB 3.0 port. I am not currently able to test the Quad Track on any other computer at this time.

      I have read that there may be a compatibility issue with the Quad Track and USB 3.0 ports. Could this be a factor in the potential data transfer issues?
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  • I’m frustrated
    1
    Hello,

    I'm experiencing the same problem. I'm hearing Intermittent cracking that occurs no matter what I'm doing.

    I'm using the latest M-Track Quad Beta, the latest version of OSX Mavericks connected via a USB 2 port. The same crackling happens.

    If I remove the usb cable and plug it back in I'd be lucky to go a few minutes without it happening again.

    When the crackling occurs the whole computer becomes sluggish. This is a massive problem and is impacting on my productivity at work.

    I have read and tried all the recommendations in this thread and have hit a brick wall.

    Surely this problem can't be brushed under the carpet for much longer? Are all M-track Quads defective? How does M-Audio/InMusic plan to address this issue?
    • view 1 more comment
    • I too am experiencing the same problem. I have a MacBook Pro 8GB Ram and am using a M-Track Quad with Pro Tools 10. We just recently got it and when I tried recording tonight for the first time, I noticed the static and popping noises. Also, the Keyboard I was trying to record distorted on at least 3 "G" notes. I researched online and found out that this is common. Have you found a solution yet?
    • Hello Timothy,

      Static/popping vs distortion are quite different symptoms. It's tough to say that they're common as there are so many potential software related causes, most of which are resolvable. We'll need some more info to figure it out.

      How often does the popping/clicking occur?

      How many tracks are you using in Pro Tools? (audio, instrument, or MIDI)

      What version of Mac OSX are you running?

      What is the model/speed of your processor? (ex, Intel Core i3 2.4GHz)

      In your Pro Tools playback engine settings, what have you chosen for "H/W Buffer Size"?

      The distortion specifically on the G notes would very likely be due to input gain settings. What is the brand/model of keyboard? What level in Pro Tools are these being recorded to? (in dBFS)

      Thanks for you time! Let me know and I'd be happy to help!
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  • I’m FRUSTRATED
    1
    Same for me im using a quadcore.. AMD... its crackling only when the monitor mix is to USB 100% but ... thats what i need to be if i want to hear the monitor track while im recording my vocal.... getting frustrated... no issue is solved by moving the buffer... size....someone here achieved solving thier problem with online assistance ?!
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  • I just purchased an M-audio Quad. On my Window 7, 64-bit laptop (i7 with 8GB), I get distortion/crackling ALWAYS. I have a mic plugged into any of the 4 channels and say "test" and the monitor output is delayed and distorted (I understand the latency). If I monitor directly, there is no distortion on my mic. When I recorded and bounced the distorted waves to a final mix, there was no distortion when playing the bounced file on my laptop (with the laptop speakers).

    I tried my Windows 8.1 desktop (i7 with 12 GB) and there was no issue, until I added a 2nd plugin to my acoustic guitar track. So, at this point, I can only use my desktop, and after adding a plugin to my acoustic guitar part, I have to bounce to a final mix and start over. I'm wondering if I should try to return my Quad and get am even simpler m-audio M-track plus. It's only 2 channels, but it might work.
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  • 1
    This seems to be a very common problem..

    I have the base model M-track, even with no inputs plugged in I get cracking and popping on playback.. If I fresh boot my PC it manages not to do this until about 5 mins has passed and voila, its back again..

    I have to say the audio quality these pieces of hardware is great, until the popping starts then it is almost unlistenable. I have tried all the suggestions here as well as everything I can think of in the off chance its something random I have done wrong..

    My PC MB has plenty of USB inputs, Have tried them all with no luck, tried every playback setting, buffer size, KHz etc. Made sure that all my programs playing audio back are set to the same playback settings as the M audio program/interface and in windows sound settings. Tried lower the levels as I thought they maybe be peaking, no change. It even occurs at low volumes.

    I thought it might be just a fault in windows but appears here that apple users are getting the same issue. I am running Windows 8.1 x64

    Maybe it is a driver issue?

    I uninstalled the M audio driver and sure enough the generic windows driver does not pop or crackle, however the audio lost some of its body.

    Would be great to see an updated driver or simply a solution to this, I really hate listening to audio through my Motherboard sound chip and what's more I can't plug my guitar and XLR mic to my PC.
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  • 1
    NOTE: I posted this to M-Track Quad - Crackling with guitar topic as well
    Hi Dan, having same issues. Has there been any other discovered fixes? I have a Keystation 88 running with Ableton Live 9 Lite Software (32 bit) loaded on a 32-bit OS laptop - Windows 7.
    Have tried everything you suggested to the others who posted above. Really need this resolved. Thank you.
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  • Still not sure if it is a hardware or software issue. I know someone who plays keys for a band that is on their European tour right now. He also uses Abelton Live 9 but different keys(more expensive!). Ill text him today. If he has run into the same issues, I'll post it. Take care.
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  • Ok - DISCOVERED WHAT WAS CAUSING THE STATIC!!!!
    It ended up being the cable end that plugs into my laptop. When pulled out about a 1/8. the static stopped. Placed a rubber spacer onto the brass plug end, taped it up and then plugged it back in. As simple as that! Hope this helped everyone. :-
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  • I’m frustrated
    Good you found a solution to your problem valerie, but in my case it works fine on the generic windows audio driver and this only starts happening when I install the m-audio driver..

    Come on M-Audio, a response would be nice, I have posted a separate topic and no reply on that either.

    Is it not easy enough to go back and take a look at a driver that already exists and see if there is an issue with it that maybe causing these problems?

    If I directly run my mic and guitar to my speakers there is no sound issue, only when playing through USB so surely this is a software issue?
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  • I’m frustrated
    Hi,
    I too have the same issue. Sometimes I need to restart the device few times to continue with the recording. It works for sometime and again I encounter with the same issue.

    Loose Goose: how to revert back to the generic drive ? Would you please give us the steps ?

    Thanks in advance..
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  • Manjuke,

    All it did was uninstall the M-audio program that comes up when you go to programs and features (uninstalling a program).

    Then I unplugged my M-track, went into device manager, audio inputs and outputs section and right click and uninstall any thing that is listed as M-audio. Then reboot your PC.

    After you have booted back into windows, plug your m-track back in and windows should automatically install a driver for it.

    Hope it works for you, solved all the problems for me.
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  • I’m frustrated
    Hello.
    A week ago I bought m-track quad.
    For a week, everything was fine, I was very pleased. Until today.
    After 1-2min the sound began to be distorted and hissing (If latency is lower it happens faster - in highspeed it is around 30 sec.). It happened out of nowhere. I did not change the configuration of PC. What is stranger when I change the samplerate or resets the interface problem disappears for a few seconds / minutes (randomly). Is there any solution to this problem? I can still return it to the store.

    What i already done:
    -Changed Monitor mix knob to direct (No problem in direct signal)
    -Reinstaled drivers (No effect)
    -Tried to install asio4all drivers (No effect, same problem as on original drivers)
    -Changed to USB 2.0 port (No effect)

    -Tested on: Guitar witch active pickups connected directly to interface, Shure SM57 Dynamic Mic, sE2200a ii condenser mic.

    I have:
    MSI Z87-GD65
    i7-4770K
    8GB DDR3 1600MHz
    SSD Disk
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  • 1
    O my god...I can not believe I am reading this...THERE is no DOUBT it is a hardware problem or this unit is incapable of handling asio format at all. I doubt the processor on the unit can handle it....I have had an m track for about a year now and have been fighting this issue...it just so happens that I cant go buy another unit as I as most of us im sure are financially struggling ....for 99 % of us statestide customers (US). I have to tell you since the day I purchased a commodore vic 20 a long time ago ....oooh correction ..commodore 64 it had color....I have never been so completely frustrated with a product.... for so so long i kept thinking driver conflict...software issue...hardware conflict...wrong configuration...and the like...correction everyone....these units are plain and simply DEFECTIVE.. there will be no fix ive spent a year trying....what this company needs to do is either fix the problems replace a whole hell of a lot of units that have brought enough frustration to the masses as to equal the energy of a nuclear bomb.....or stop stocking shelves in stores with their equipment that THEY KNOW BY NOW IS DEFECTIVE....you can start with mine please .... thank you
    • Yes its pretty ridiculous. just look at this forum the absurd quantity of people complaining of this issue FOR MORE THAN A YEAR, yer the m-audio employee answering the question keeps acting like he don't know the existence of the problem, keep pointing fingers towards absurd causes like INTERNET CONNECTION... The unity obviously got some design flaw which makes this problem extremely common. I will never buy another equipment of M-Audio this is just ridiculous.
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  • 3
    Hello,
    like everyone else I bought a M-Track unit, that should be working, but really doesn't. It crackles non-stop, even when playing a simple mp3 on Windows media player. Either on USB 3 or 4 with Win7 and a lot of RAM. I can see here that M-Audio doesn't reply their unhappy customers which is quite a shame.
    I tried to use ASIO4ALL and I had the same issue. I don't know what this can be, but it's really shameful that they don't update their drivers, or at least reply clients...
    M-Audio are you there? like everyone else there's no crackling when using the inputs, only when playing back from the computer -from the USB as it reads on the device.
    • I know mate, I started a new query saying that I was having all the issues everyone else was having and said it doesn't seem to have the crackling with the generic windows driver. A tech support guy asked for my specs and then basically shafted me by saying nothing was wrong with it if it works with windows driver. Why then with its specifically designed driver it has such bad problems? Seems like they are doing their best to run from this. All I say is everyone in this thread start their own new topic complaining about this very thing. Spam them enough and they might actually listen
    • My friend from reading the forum the problem is obviously in the manufacturing, here the employee keeps pointing finger to the USB, the computer, the driver, the cable, the power supply in another thread he even attempt to blame the noise to the INTERNET CONNECTION. From what i read 99% of the people did not end up finding a solution to this problem.
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  • I’m frustrated with M-Audio Support
    Hi LG,

    This is the issue.

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  • 1
    Hi so what would be your solution?
    thanks for the help,
    J
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  • I’m frustrated, dissapointed
    Hi Dan R,

    Is there any resolution for this issue ? Can we return the product if there's not solution ??????
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  • I’m frustrated, dissapointed
    Hi Dan R,

    Is there any resolution for this issue ? Can we return the product if there's not solution ??????
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  • I’m frustrated like the other guys
    So i have the same problem, but only when i turn on the phantom power, the noise appear in the 4 channels, M-Audio Company's gonna do something??!!!.
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  • I’m frustrated
    I am from Brazil and have the same problem! A hiss, like white noise in background! Oh my God!
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  • M-Track Quad
    Please please M-audio / control Painel and updates drives / everyone here need help.
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  • This is also a physical concern for me because a few times I've had my headphones on and this has occurred, blasting my ears with full-force white noise. It hurt and left my ears ringing for awhile; causing me to be concerned about hearing damage (thanks M-Audio). M-Audio's complacency in the face of this issue really brings me to question their integrity as a company.
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  • I just changed my port settings and started working fine for me i hope it last !!!! sounds good right now .I disabled port setting on windows !
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  • Hi Darrell,

    Could you please elaborate more on how you disabled the port setting on windows ?
    It would be great if you could provide the steps.

    Thanks
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  • Since it's obvious M-Audio isn't going to do anything about a faulty product, I would suggest that all of you start leaving negative reviews on as many sites as you can. This is atrocious customer service and people should hear about it.
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  • Pls i need help. We just bought M-Track quad. It wont play out at all. even the headphone port wont play out. then the outputs port at the back wont play back too. am just so tired. what can i do?
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  • I experienced same problems as you guys today,my m track quad (9 months old) suddenly started to make small(sometimes big) cracks,pops and clicks when sound was playing in reaper,pro tools,or youtube and windows media player.I reinstalled the driver for quad (i have windows 7 64bit sp1) and the problem was fixed.
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  • I have same problem with quad... When monitor mix is on the left, i hear crackling. I tried all usb ports and 2 different computers. Hissing is rising up and suddenly i hear a big crackling noise. Than going down. Continously every 5 min. When monitor mix is on the rigt to the usb, no problem... And also if I close all input channel volumes, it helps the hissing sound...

    I will try to give it back to the supplier and try to buy another card!
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  • Hi,

    Dan, could you give me the process for a return/exchange?
    I would like to change my quad for a m-track eight, if the eight doesn't have the same problem.
    Indeed, I experience the same issue, and this post is answered but not solved. Many users experience the same crackling problem whatever the configuration Windows/Mac, audio listening, guitar recording, ....
    My configuration is Windows 7 Home premium SP1 64 bits.
    Some times the sound is clear (after rebooting the card), sometimes it crackles. It's clear for a time, and it crackles again.

    Thank you for your support.
    Julien
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  • 1
    I have had the same problem on my mac, for months! Pls do something for Yosemite users.
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  • 1
    I am having the same problem I am from Argentina, what can we do ?
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  • Hello all,

    Thanks for posting!

    If you're experiencing a symptom you would describe as hissing, crackling, or similar, this can be caused by many different things. As with any USB audio interface, microphone/guitar preamp, or mixer, troubleshooting is required to find out exactly what the cause is first.

    If you're experiencing these type of symptoms, please contact the technical support team nearest you directly. Doing this over the phone or with a one-on-one email will be the best way to better isolate the source of the issue and, in most cases, find a solution for you.

    Here are the support contacts:

    USA & Canada
    Phone: 401-658-5765
    Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30AM - 6:30PM EST

    Germany
    Phone: +49-2154-81299-20
    Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 5:00PM CET

    UK/Europe
    Phone: 44(0)1252-896040
    Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 6:00PM BST

    Brazil
    Phone: +5511 - 3222-6476
    Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 6:00PM BRT

    Email
    http://www.m-audio.com/support/contact

    Have a great day!
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