Clipping audio problem

I recently purchased an assembled Zynthian V4 and I am experiencing audio distortion issues. Whenever I play multiple notes, hitting keys a little harder, or using a couple of engines simultaneously, the audio clips hard into “red” and gets distorted. The problem is not specific to a particular synth engine. It is present throughout all synths including all audio effects when I use them by plugging an electric guitar in. In noticed, however, that the clipping is more prominent to one of the two channels in stereo.

I tried tweaking the audio settings to no avail. I assume this is either a bug or something that can be fixed by changing the parameters. As I am new to Zynthian, I would appreciate if anyone can provide easy to follow instructions as to how this issue can be solved. Thanks!

The overall gain can be turned down using the audio levels menu item, if you have enabled the facility in the webconf settings for the audio card.

Then don’t forget to enable audio_levels on snapshots in the GUI options to ensure the settings get saved with each individual snapshot.

Thanks. For whatever reason, the menu I get when I select “Audio levels” is completely different (i.e. no Behringer soundcard, etc), so I don’t see how I can get to the settings that you are showing.

The settings here, are context sensitive.
This particular zynthian is connected to a Behringer 1820 audio interface and the webconf audio section has been configured for this device, and part of the start up process involves the Alsa connection examining the device and reporting back what the driver tells it that it can do …

So using a different audio device be it a hifiberry ADC DAC card or an audio Injector card or anything else will report what controls it will respond to, so in the webconf section you will get whatever is appropriate for your input and output device., depending on what it is…

Could you screen shot your audio settings as I have done above so we can see what is set up…?

Please make sure you open the advance settings so you see all the details.

It’s the quickest way of being sure how the zynthian audio kit is configured.

Have you run the webconf by pointing a browser, on a separate computer, at the address zynthian.local/?

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Many thanks for the quick reply. I just updated the system and went into the webconf.

I am attaching a shot of the audio levels.

Edit: As well as a picture of the Audio page (advanced view) in webconf.

You are looking for some kind of overall volume control for your output stage so go into the mixer control section and see what options are offered there and get a screenshot of it…

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Thanks for being patient with me. This is what I have in the mixer control.

EDIT: By the looks of it I guess that the PGA gain settings are off?

Difficult to say without digging into the audio card but it should be in there somewhere. Really what you want ot ensure that levels are correct so I would start with the test generators in the special chain and make sure that a generated sine wave doesn’t distort and more importantly plays at the output at the same level. This is all digital stepping over the maximim value will produce lots of distortion. It doesn’t have the forgiving nature of analogue (I’m an old tape recorder creature). You need to get a nominal audio level through the system and then work from there. Many notes generated from an engine obeys it’s own rules, the zynthian simply combines these signals, so there is always the possibility of overpowering the zynthian mixer if signals are too large or too many notes are played at the same time. The system can’t work this out, this is part of your artistic contribution!
Start simple and get the test signals sorted out, so you are not making unrealistic expectations of the system. And if it seems confused, just ask. The audio monitoring on the zynth is a @riban contribution and for someone brought up within the BBC radio world he has a surprising understanding of audio levels…

Many thanks for your help! I pulled the gain levels down to 6db and the clipping disappeared for most of the engines. I haven’t tried the guitar yet, and I still get some clipping when several notes are sustained with a pedal in the electric piano engine, but I think some further tweaking will take care of it.

Guitars can have a viscous dynamic range so something like a compressor is often used in the audio chain to tame them a bit.