This is a continuation of my previous question about ear fatigue. I continue it here with a better audio example and more clarity on the culprit.

Basically...my recordings give me ear fatigue, like there is a lot of pressure in the audio when listening. I suspect due to artifacts throughout the EQ spectrum, mostly quieter than the recording so they're not obvious, but they fatigue the ears quickly as they are there.

See link for audio sample of a prominent ghost artifact: https://ufile.io/nfva07zq (Dec 29) It sounds like a whistle in a cave. It's more audible in the attached snippet but occurs throughout the recording if you listen very carefully. Frequency sweeps identify many seemingly arbitrary areas throughout the spectrum to be subject to this.

Where is this coming from? Am I right that maybe the Surface Pro's sound card is picking up interference from the power supply or battery or some other component? What would be a solution or better set up? I record a Yamaha amp directly into USB on MS Surface Pro laptop. The USB port is near the power input. Unplugging the power doesn't improve. When monitoring the amp during play, I don't get any audio interference. Playback on laptop or phone is the same.


I'm adding an answer really because there's too much for a comment, but I'm not really hearing what you'd call a 'whistle in a cave'.

The sound is very peaky/ringy & appears to have some rather spring-like reverb on it, which could hint at 'cave'.

I threw it at a spectrum analyzer (something I don't normally use) to see if there was anything that leapt out…

enter image description here

I'm seeing some very heavy comb-filtering, which I cannot really explain at all.
Maybe you have some signal feeding back on itself with a very short delay - normally that would cause phasing too, which I'm not hearing. Maybe it just has some really awful EQ plugin on it, causing it to be so peaky. tbh, the sample is so short you barely get chance to register what might be happening before it's finished.

It might even be an artefact of the mp3 encoding method, I really can't tell. Encoding shows as LAME3.99 which is nearly a decade old. I don't know enough about encoding methods to even guess whether that could be responsible.

I have to agree, though, it's not a guitar sound I'd be keen to reproduce, even if I was trying for that 50s/60 echoey surf vibe.

  • Thanks for the reply. Yes, 'ringy' describes it also. Here is a longer sample, only one channel, all DAW effects disabled (just the input recording from the amp): ufile.io/xrh8gvm1. The amp does not sound 'ringy' during recording while I monitor with headphones (from amp), only when played back. This is why I suspect it might be my laptop or sound card as the issue. – Dan Dec 30 '20 at 18:46
  • I can't tell. Guitar sounds the same to me. It's still swamped in echo & reverb & generally sounds a bit 'honky'… but as I don't know what you can hear from the amp there's nothing more I can diagnose. Might be the Surface's sound card or the app you're using, idk. I've never used a laptop for audio; they tend to be low quality consumer-level. – Tetsujin Dec 30 '20 at 18:56
  • The 'ringiness' that I am trying to remove is not a part of the guitar effects. I do not hear this ringiness when listening to the amp but only on DAW playback. I've used both Reaper and Cubase, as well as my Focusrite Scarlett Solo and mic, and get the same result. I also suspect it to be a sound card issue. Why would the soundcard be the issue if both the amp (Yamaha THR5) and premp (Scarlett Solo) send digital information to the USB bus? What could you suggest to go around this issue, an external sound card? Would this help eliminate digital interference? – Dan Jan 2 at 10:14
  • I don't know, because I cannot hear what you mean. Have you considered it may be an artefact affecting only your output stage & it's not present in the audio file itself? – Tetsujin Jan 2 at 10:57

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