Dwarf Noise (Solved)

Thanks for giving it a go Frank_Paul - it does sounds like your power supply might behave differently to mine, but just to check…you need to keep the power supply plugged into the Dwarf, just disconnect the feed from the wall - is that what you did?

All the best,


Frank I am in the same boat as you.

I tried both the new mixer power cable, as well as a new PSU for the dwarf, new PSU made things worse on my end. I reverted to my normal set up with the new mixer cable.

I’m starting to question my audio interface. The noise is mostly gone, and I put a filter on the master channel of my mixer to kill the high frequency noise, but it’s still there.

I’ve pulled the recorded file from both my mixer SD card, and through AUM. Listened to both raw, and normalized.

Nothing I have done can kill this last hiss, and it’s present in both recordings.

So I’m betting I’m fighting a ground loop.

I can’t mess with any of my gain stuff anymore because if I do, I’ll lose the majority of my volume.

Since I need to rearrange my set up to work with this monster 2600 clone, I will just tear everything down and start over again.

This thing is a lot of fun, but it’s not exactly table friendly….

Thinking about it more, my big poly synths are plugged into a different outlet than the rest of my gear, and I’m wondering if it really a ground loop I’m hearing.

I won’t be able to test anything for a couple of days, but I’m gonna move stuff around and test it this week.

1 Like

Hey EW - thanks for sharing, again. (Btw, that is a mighty impressive looking workstation setup you have going there. I’m not super knowledgeable about synths so I couldn’t tell what kind you have, but it sure does look like a nice piece of kit! :smiley:)

Anyways, interesting to hear about your latest findings, and that these are leading you to a possible conclusion of ground loop problems. I have to say, that despite my lack of technical skills or sleuthing ability, I’m kind of wondering the same thing for my setup. It was only when I started to deliberately use the Dwarf in standalone mode that I realized its overall sound quality was actually way better than I initially thought while sending its signal through Ableton. Somehow, the combination of my interface and Ableton has been coloring my Dwarf signal in ways that are not desirable. In the Dwarf (standalone), I can work with a dead simple rig including nothing more than simple compressor, frequency crossover and simple reverb and it frankly sounds a lot closer to my ideal bass tone than anything I’ve been able to cobble together in Ableton to date. So there’s not only the ground loop issue, which persists for me, but also the fact that the signal Ableton takes from Dwarf ends up sounding diminished and unhappily colored somehow. Maybe, just maybe, Ableton is a DAW that is more appropriate for electronic music producers than it is for guys like me who want to plug in an electric guitar instrument to record it cleanly and faithully to the line level sigal, whether wetter or dryer (?).

I’ve decided to sign up for a free 30-day demo trial of Presonus Studio and see if I getter different results. I also hope - fingers crossed - that when my bluetooth dongle comes next week I might hear a reduction in the possible ground loop hum by bypassing the physical USB connection of Dwarf to PC, which is what the interface is also plugged into. We’ll see.

Did I ever ask you what type of interface you’re using? If we get similar issues using different interfaces, then I suppose the possibility that all of this is the interface’s fault might be less likely.

Anyways, thanks for keeping the discussion going; I hope we can finally nail this issue down fully.


Hey Frank,

So I’m still plugging away at this issue today.

I’ve made sure to connect all of my gear into one outlet and the noise persists.

I’ve addressed my mixer and messed with its compressor settings, no luck (other than sound quality improvement) with eliminating the hiss.

I’ve attempted to apply high cut shelf’s to the master track, filters, anything, and to no avail.

The audio is definitely sounding a lot more crisp though: Dropbox - Noise test.wav - Simplify your life

You can hear that hiss still when it should be quiet.

I will let you know that this hiss persists whether the dwarf is powered or not.

My mixer shows dead silence, and so does my iPad.

I’ve tinkered with everything my limited working know how can accomplish at the moment.

Since I’m stumped but pretty happy with the progress made on the noise issue (you can hear the audio difference listening to my Mod dwarf track versus anything I’ve uploaded since that track) I’ve started working on building my second set up for video demonstrations.

I’m digging the camera view so far:

In terms of my audio interface, I’m using a behringer Uphoria UMC 404HD.

However, I swapped that out with my steinberg UR22mkII and saw no improvements to the noise.

I’m really stumped because I have a bunch of gear in my set up, but nothing USB powered at all at this time. Everything has its own wall wart hooked into my power conditioners.

At this point I’m considering finding an app that removes noise from recordings and go from there.

Either way, I’ve had massive amounts of improvements to the fidelity of my recordings and I’m pretty close to just forgiving the hiss and moving forward.

I have a hard time letting go of a problem if I know there is a solution out there somewhere, so although I want to say I’m happy with my situation, the truth is that I’ll always be trying to figure out how to solve this problem lol


So I’ve been thinking about my house wiring. I have both city grid and solar panels powering my house. I’m going to install a 1000W medical grade isolation transformer with 4 outlets into my set up and run four 6 outlet power conditioners from there to power my entire set up off of one electrical outlet and see if it’s my house wiring causing the issue. Either way, that should eliminate any chance of a ground loop.

It’s not the dwarf making this noise in my case, there is something else causing it. I pulled the dwarf out completely and the noise is still there.


Hey :slight_smile: if you want a spoiler of this you can just unplug the usb from your dwarf now.

Even though you need a connection to the computer to edit patches, once they are set up you don’t need to maintain that connection — so you are free to test even before your dongle arrives :slight_smile:


Hi Guys, sorry to hear that the power supply change didn’t help you.
I’ve just read through the whole thread in more detail (only had the chance to skim it before - an interesting read!) and listened to the audio sample you posted Elk_wrath.

I realised I should’ve been clearer about the noise I was getting, which the change of PSU helped fix, since it seems like there might be multiple things going on.

  • The sound I had was a kind of high frequency warble - not one stable sound, and this was fixed by the change of power supply (or removing the earth connection to the original supply).

  • Hiss was mentioned (and I could hear a small amount in the audio sample). That can be exacerbated by bad gain-staging (where you cut the signal too much in one part of your setup so you then have to boost it later on to compensate, and in the process you boost the unwanted interference too). Cheaper mixer pre-amps add to the problem.

  • Hum (low frequency - 50Hz in the UK or 60Hz US) was also mentioned, and I could hear that in the audio sample as the most noticeable interference (for my old ears anyway!). That can be caused by an earth loop (fixable by a ground-lift), or bad/wrong cables, or bad gain staging. It can also happen if you have a power supply sat too near your devices or their cables, so definitely worth making sure you keep them as far apart as you can. Again cheaper/faulty gear may not have such a well regulated power supply, so hum creeps in.

If you’re only running good quality cables over short distances you really shouldn’t need to worry about having to send balanced signals - unbalanced should be fine.

Gain staging is very often the problem though, so when you’re experimenting with your setup it’s worth making sure that the signal is about the same level the whole way through your chain, not reduced at one point, then boosted up again. If your audio interface has a line/mic switch it should be switched to line-level (maybe this is what you were using the pad for?).

Hope some of that might be of help.



Hey @ianr!

Thanks for checking back in, it sounds like we indeed have different noise issues.

Now I did spend pretty much my entire day working on gain settings with each device, and my audio is much clearer than it ever has been before, very exciting in fact. Even before, I did try to work on my mixing, but I was never able to get suitable volume until changed cable types connecting my mixer to interface.

On my old Yamaha mixer, I didn’t have as many of these issues to begin with. I’ve brought that mixer back into my secondary set up and I’ll be working on integrating them both into one recording set up later today.

I made a few changes, but the one that helped the most for some reason was changing from TRS to TRS cable to a TRS to Stereo XLR breakout from my mixer to audio interface, the audio quality improved immediately. The volume difference was so great after the cable replacement, that I was actually able to start addressing my gain settings in my mixer and get proper clean levels.

Another thing on my mixer is that it’s compressor was also contributing a bit, so I adjusted that.

Now the audio is almost crystal clear except for the hum.

I made an edit to my last post regarding the way my house is powered.

I am on city grid with the majority of my power coming from my solar panels. I am not sure exactly how that affects my situation, but due to the year my house was built, I am not confident in my electrical situation.

That being said, I ordered a 1000W medical isolation transformer for my entire audio rig. This is my last ditch attempt to rectify the issue.

Even if I turn the gain to -96db on all inputs, and volume to -96db on all inputs, the hum remains.

So I’m really hoping that it is indeed my particular house power set up being the issue and this transformer will kill the hum.

Worst case, I send it back lol


Hey EW

Re: audio file - nice! You got a cool Blade Runner vibe going there. :smiley: I did notice what you mentioned, though, the hum in the first few seconds before your synth kicks in. Mine in the setup using the interface to PC sounds very similar, although probably relatively louder still, since, with an extended range bass, I can only decrement gain stages so far before the thing sounds gutted and too quiet. Interesting that there might be an app to remove the hiss; maybe Izotope’s Ozone product or something like that? For me, I need a solution that resolves all of this before I get to a recorded track; I just hate hearing that noise even while I’m headphone monitoring without recording.



Hey Dan - thanks for the spoiler! :smiley: However, I don’t quite follow you, because anytime I pull the USB cable to my PC while using the Dwarf I get that standard error message about “can’t reach that page” and only by plugging back in is the pedalboard local site restored. Or do you mean simply to use the pedal completely in standalone mode, as if I was taking it to a gig or something? I mean, yeah, I should give that a try too, but even if there is a difference, since I spend so much time in patch editing mode and/or wanting to record to Ableton, I would still need to hope the dongle works, or there’s some other solution. Will report back here if anything new this end.


1 Like

Hey FP

Yeah this is what I was thinking, completely stand alone :slight_smile: it will let you know what affect (if any) the usb connection is having. And clues as to if the dongle will make a difference!

1 Like

Sounds good - will do. Thanks Dan!

1 Like

Hi again Dan. I think I was having a brain-dead moment there, as I have indeed been using the Dwarf in standalone mode for about a week now, and as I mentioned elsewhere in this thread, a lot of my noise/distortion/levels issue is resolved by using the box that way. I’m still having difficulties in terms of clipping when my attack on the lower register of my bass (E and B strings in particular) gets a bit aggressive, but that seems to be shared among all of the key parts of my chain (happens in Ableton too, without the Dwarf). I have to figure out a way to get an active circuit electric bass line signal tamed down for all this processing gear. I don’t know if I would be on the right path, but I’m going to look at whether a DI might help in that context. Anyways, like you suggested, in standalone mode with the Dwarf, I’m getting far more pleasing audio quality as compared to going into the interface into the PC via physical cables. So hopefully the dongle option will replicate that.



I have the Presonus AudioBox 1818VSL. I connect it to the computer via USB and I’m connecting the Dwarf using two of Mic/Line inputs (so from 3 to 8). When I say that I’m not connecting on the instrument inputs I mean on the input 1 and 2, those inputs basically have a DI built-in.

1 Like

Thanks for sharing that info Jon, good to know!

1 Like

Happy to help :wink:

Well, next to final update on this issue.

It’s not the dwarf causing the hiss, but @ianr I did actually swap the power supply out with one that you recommended, after I worked extremely hard on my gain staging within my mixer. Messing with the mixer did allow me to isolate that warbling sound you had mentioned, and the new power supply did solve that added noise issue.

I adopted the “perceived loudness” approach to mixing rather than running hot lines.

On my mixer I’m running -15 to -20 dB input gain on my synths with +2 to +6 dB volume, and Master output is at -12 dB gain.

The dwarf I’m still dialing in, but I’m super close. I’m using internal gain plug-ins at the end of my chains, both are negative dB but settings vary. Hardware settings I am still dialing in, input gain is high I think 80-90% gain, and output is sub 50% gain.

So far this configuration has solved a lot of my problems.

I had a big write up about this issue where I was about to call it good and move on. However, as I was getting all buttmad and about to shut everything down; I pulled a passive DI box out from the dwarf input, left the stagebug on the output of the dwarf with ground lift on the L/R channels, and experimented one more time to great success.

I’m so close to victory I can taste it. Guess I’ll tinker some more tomorrow and Sunday, and see if I can get perfect silence.

I’m now down to a few more settings tweaks and gain staging tuning and I may have everything recording the way I want.

Once I feel satisfied, I’m going to re-record a project I shared not too long ago so I can provide a comparison between the two.

So far the dynamic range on my recordings has skyrocketed, no longer need to normalize my tracks, everything is mixed down before it ever hits my audio interface.

I am also no longer struggling with volume issues using this approach, and now I can make slight bumps to my track volume to control my mix.

The hiss is only barely noticeable if I crank my gain settings and volume to max on my headphone amp.

If I am successful this weekend, I’ll do a full write up of the things I addressed with regards to the dwarf and mixer.

I did a bunch of other stuff in my studio that did help a lot with noise, but that needed to be done anyway and is not relevant to the noise issue for the dwarf itself.


I think you have the solution here, I just got my Dwarf yesterday and I’m having exactly the same problem with this background hum, but it is not plugged into a mixer just going straight into my amp, and I’ve not had ground noise issues with any of my other gear, I even have a Blue Box mixer and even that is powered off a USB plug and that has never had a ground noise issue.

I’ve ordered the same 12V power supply and will see if that makes a difference - strange that these units have this issue - my Duo has always been very quiet and never had a hum issue - let’s see what happens - the Dwarf is very nice overall though!



I used my Duo 12V power supply cable that has a three pin UK plug with a plastic Earth pin on it and the noise is pretty much 100% gone….

I suspected that was the fix and it works simple as that - no need for isolated power supplies or DI boxes - just get a plug with a plastic Earth pin and I reckon you’ll be fine :+1:t2::blush:


Super glad that worked for you in your situation! It did end up helping me in the long run.

My set up is pretty large, and I’ve destroyed about 95% of my noise with a few changes. I’m working on pure silence in a studio environment and I’m still tweaking. Unfortunately in my scenario, I do indeed both isolators and a DI to get acceptable volume out of my dwarf, but my set up is all powered synths rather than a guitar. I imagine my needs are vastly different than the majority of users.

I’m gonna link your comment on another thread I’m working in, as your success is now starting the snowball down the hill for solving the noise issue!

1 Like

Hi MikeFlynnBass, glad this worked for you.

Having spent the last hour or so ploughing through what seems like hundreds of posts I’d like to make a few points to (hopefully!) clarify things for people. I’m not a certified electrician but I have a degree in electrical and electronic engineering and I was a BBC engineer for a few years. Some of that knowledge is a bit rusty and I’d wouldn’t dare to say I know everything about this topic but I hope I can clear up a few misconceptions.

  1. PLEASE People - before you go throwing loads of money and gear at other solutions, if you’re having problems with a high-pitched warble (not hiss or 50/60Hz mains hum) I’d really suggest using a double-insulated (i.e. perfectly safe!) power supply instead of the standard MOD one. Chances are it’ll fix your problem. Do make sure it’s 12v DC and at least 2A with the positive polarity on the inside of the plug. I suppose I should make the disclaimer that I take no liability etc etc but it should be fine.

  2. Quick primer on double insulated power supplies:
    Earth pins are a very important safety feature, but they were designed primarily to protect gear housed in metal boxes, such as rack-mount equipment, so that if you touched the metal box and it had a wiring fault you wouldn’t get a shock. Many modern devices (power supplies in particular) have plastic cases and they’re specifically designed to put two layers of insulation between you and the dangerous bits of metal. That’s where we get the term “double insulated” - signified by the box-within-a-box symbol.

I’m in the UK and UK plugs still need an earth pin to force open the little gates on the socket to let the other pins in, but because the earth pin has no electrical use on a double insulated device, they often make the pin plastic (presumaby to save money). If you look at various power supplies around your house you’ll see that many of them have plastic earth pins. This doesn’t make them any less safe because they’ve been intentionally designed this way.

On a few plastic-cased power supplies though (such as the Dwarf and many laptop supplies) the designers choose to still have a connection to earth. I’m not sure why - maybe it’s to protect against damage from static electricity or interference. These are the ones that can cause trouble for musicians because, although the currents flowing to earth are miniscule, they can still be picked up by sensitive audio devices with unbalanced inputs, such as valve amps. Swapping to a power supply with no earth connection guarantees that the power supply can’t create this current and so reduces a source of unwanted noise.

Of course you could also achieve the same effect by swapping the power lead to your Dwarf power supply with one that has no earth wire. That also cures the problem but I can’t recommend it because it’s tampering with the safety design of that device.

  1. This is not an Earth Loop/Ground Loop issue!
    Ground loops are a completely different problem that occurs when you plug multiple devices into different sockets in the building. Please see the Sound-On-Sound article for more info: https://www.soundonsound.com/sound-advice/q-what-ground-earth-loop. Just because the issue may be cured by switching the “Ground-lift” switch on your DI box it doesn’t mean the problem was caused by a ground loop; it may be a design flaw in the power supply that’s causing a current to flow to ground in a way that’s unsuitable for powering an audio device, but it’s not a ground loop - sorry to sound like such a pedant but it’s a different thing :slight_smile:

  2. None of the above will help if you’re having problems with hiss. That’s likely to be a “gain staging” issue. You could start by making sure that the inputs and outputs of the Dwarf are peaking green with occasional amber (not red) and set the output setting to full - you may need to then wind down the input level of the next device in the chain - even if you end up setting it to “zero” that’s fine.

Hard to believe but every time current flows through an electrical component hiss (well, electrical noise) is added. The formula for this is the only one I can remember from my degree! So it can never be totally eliminated but we can take steps to reduce it as much as possible compared to the signal.

Hope that’s of help and didn’t sound to “ranty”!