Rytm high noise floor defect ( compressor? )

When i first searched the forums, I instantly found an thread where a user had this ( or a similar ) problem and Elektron replaced their machine. When I came back to post about mine on it, I could not for the life of me find the thread. Maybe my search terms were different the 2nd time, i dunno, very odd. Anyhow…

Lots of noise from both main outs and headphone outs. Extra noticeable when turning the compressor gain past 12 o clock. Here is what I have done:

  • Test mode no errors
    -Factory reset
    -loaded blank kits and then loaded factory preset demo project to make sure the problem still occurs when I have touched/changed nothing.
    -turned all osc levels and track levels on all 8 tracks to 0 and problem still occurs.
  • didnt do a calibration as the manual states this involves the filters and oscillators. Since problem occurs at ocs & tack level 0 i dont see how the filters or osc could be at fault.

Ive seen the thread where someone reported noise issue to find out that the machine at the store had same noise and thus determined it was normal. I have not yet compared mine to another machine but the noise is so loud that Im pretty sure it wouldnt pass as normal. I know nothing about compression but Im also assuming that I should be able to turn the gain past 12 o clock without blaring white noise.
Ive logged a trouble ticket with Elektron and was only posting here to see if anyone else has had this problem or any suggestions on something it might be besides a defective unit.
i want to reiterate that all my tests were done after loading the machine to its default factory state which means anything i had created was erased so problem is not related to anything I have tweaked.
Fantastic amazing drum machine and I am very eager to fix. thanks

this beahaviour is normal, i talked to other ar user and their ar is also very noisy when the compressor is used.

You know nothing about compression? You should if you like to use it.
The ar is an analog drum machine and as far as i know also the compressor is analog.
First thing is, that analog gear has quite always a higher signal to noise ratio then digital gear. ( please correct me if i am wrong)

So if you rise the makeup gain up, the noise of the ar will be louder.

Everything has a noise floor. I think the RYTM’s is quite good. Using a compressor or distortion ALWAYS brings up the noise floor in any piece of gear.

Now, if you’re having A TON of noise without the compressor, then yeah, there’s a problem. But, some (even a good bit of) noise is to be expected with any hardware (especially analog).

It’s hard to know where your understanding and experience is, so if I’m totally off and you KNOW it’s too much noise, disregard this reply.

Definitely compare it to another machine to be sure.

Thank you for the replies. I do have some other analog gear that don’t have the volume of hiss that’s coming from the AR. I suppose a comparison with another unit is the only way to certainty.

I do think the compressor adds a lot of noise. It is of course quite normal for the noise floor to be raised as the level is compressed.

Make sure you are sending nice and loud levels into the compressor to start with, I think I set most volume levels around 110-120 ( I like it hot!) and also try not to use so much gain on the compressor and add a bit of distortion to the mix as well.

Experiment! :slight_smile:

This is all normal. It would have been neat if they had added a noise gate to the compressor, but I guess you can’t have it all.

The Makeup gain parameter is really powerful. It does add a lot of noise when set to high values. But a decent gain structure up until the compressor will eliminate most of this. On the other hand it can be used to make some pretty extreme stuff.

It doesn’t help that elektron have decided to use 0-127 as the parameter values (possibly so it works neatly with midi). It would be far more useful to have used the dB scale. Being as it is though, it would be handy to know just how many dB of MUP is equal to 127. Then you could divide to get approx values for 1 dB etc…

Then again, my ears work fine for this kind of thing

You probably mean the opposite? :slight_smile:

It’s what the ears say that counts. :wink:

To check the levels for different Makeup Gain settings, just take a look at the level meters in your DAW or similar, and turn the knob and compare. :slight_smile:

Voxengo Span is a nice free plugin for measuring this kind of thing:


Just plugged in my rytm yesterday for the first time. Sounds awesome BUT also having this noise issue.

I understand its an analog machine and has a compressor but this is really loud. So much that if I were to use in my productions (which is what I bought it for) it would need some izotope rx or other noise suppressor.

It sitting in my studio next to other analog gear like Roland Juno 106, Roland SH-09, Roland Jupiter 8 and Korg Ms-20 kit. I have it going straight into my Apollo quad with no effects. Compressor threshold is almost off.

Any advice here? I’m wondering if they didn’t do there complete homework (and they are new to the analog drums game) and there really is some component tolerance issue here. Since its analog maybe some drum machines are just louder than others.

But this is unacceptable to me that my brand new 2015 rytm is 10x louder than my 1979 Roland synth and I have to get it figured out or return it. Please help!

Seems normal and I like it…super clean recordings are boring and I doubt you would notice the noise level in a mix anyways.

Ok, first off, are you saying that you have the MUP control at the 12 o clock position, or the compressor output? If MUP, thats an awful lot of makeup gain! You sure you really need that much MUP for your signal?

If you don’t hear the noise when the compressor is off (mix level at 100% dry), you are most likely not in the sweet spot gainstaging-wise if the noise level is unbearably high (and also remember that esp. headphones over-exaggarate bg noise). Turn up the levels on the individual tracks and offset with the compressor threshold setting to compensate. Personally I am running tracks so hot that adding more than a bit of MUP will already audibly distort the program material, and at these levels I don’t find the noise to be unacceptably loud.

If you’re recording into an Apollo (I also have one), I’d try recording with the compressor off and adding compression with an UAD plugin ITB. The ARs compressor isn’t exactly an 1176 after all, most likely you can reach similar sounding compression with plugins. It’s a very nice thing to have for live gigs though, for giving that slight additional oomph.

One more trick I’ve read from someone… sometimes you can skew the signal with the distortion modules’ DC offset control in a way that lowers perceived noise levels.

heh, more so that the MS20 mini? that thing is noise city!
Anyways, turn down the make-up on the compressor and you’re good to go.

heh, more so that the MS20 mini? that thing is noise city!
Anyways, turn down the make-up on the compressor and you’re good to go. [/quote]
Yeh I’d say about equal to the ms20 mini. (Which is why I traded that back in for my Ms20 kit. Ms20 kit has Mkii filter which is much more usable in my opinion. Ms20 mini was almost not usable for bass or filtered mellow sounds for me.)
I’ll try the makeup gain thing when I get back later tonight.

Definitely a gain staging issue! If you’re not used to analogue it can be confusing. Have peace of mind knowing this is NOT a fault with the RYTM!!
As with all Elektron gear it will take quite a while to learn it properly :slight_smile:

It’s a noisy COMP! But only extremely so when not using it intelligently - no offense.

Just switch the COMP and DIST off, and if using it watch the make up gain - that’s where you’ll enjoy getting most of your noise floor from.


Ok thanks for the suggestions guys.

I turned off the built in Compressor and this certainly helps a bit. It sucks because i can hear the potential of the Comp and it sounds really freaking awesome! Just very noisy and hard to use AS-IS in a modern production without tweaking and finding a few tricks.

Anyways I also found that if i lower the output section level of any voices that I am not using in the particular track this helps. If i’m only playing with kick, snare, hats for example, removing the toms and all others brings the noise floor down.

Finally (most importantly) if i use the individual outputs this thing is Money! I will probably end up doing this for the final tracking most of the time, if i keep it.

Now for some discussion

Just for the record Yes i understand gain structure and analog. Not that it matters much, but I am an Electrical Engineer and have designed a handful of Analog Circuits for both Military and Commercial applications. I haven’t designed any synths or anything (although i do repair/fix them up alot :slight_smile: ) but I’ve been to this guy’s 3 day seminar (link below) and he is prob one of the top experts in USA for understanding how to design low noise systems. So i understand the complications and challenges an analog design has.

When i look back at some of the best analog synths in my studio from Roland’s glory years these things are pieces of art! Many years of experience and top engineers coming together.

Anyways Elektron did an amazing job with this Drum Machine. But so far it does seem to have a pretty high noise floor in the output section. Maybe that is what they intended. The analog domain isn’t always striaghtforward and there is always room for improvement (if that is a concern for them and our application/studio). Look at examples like Yamaha SPX90 and Yamaha SPX90II or Ensoniq DP4 and Ensoniq DP4+. (Or even the Korg MS20 filter mkI and MkII versions, ms20mini and Korg MS20 kit accordingly) Designs have been changed but having said that sometimes people even like the original noisier versions!

One thing is I don’t exactly get why these boxes don’t have some connection to Ground or are using the Wall Warts? I understand the cost/size savings, but this is an area the designer could use more effective techniques. I have the old Roland Rack effects like Stereo Flanger SBF-325, Phaser SPH-323 and they all have ground connectors on the back you can use to connect gear together that makes a big reduction in noise. Honestly I think probably the biggest challenge for Elektron was stuffing all these circuits inside of their compact box. Having analog right up next to digital is a tough situation to deal with as a designer. But it could just be the circuit itself and choice of components.

I wonder if Overbridge will help this situation?? Are there A/D converters on each channel? Or probably more likely a single A/D converter that does a round robin. Hopefully they did their HW on this and it was setup correctly in the circuit. (I have been burnt in the past on a few designs setting up an A/D converter incorrectly and had some issues.) But if so, this might be the best sounding conversion since it is inside the box at the source and could sound really amazing.

Final comments…very impressed by this machine! So happy to see a digitally controlled analog drum machine with some real nice sound bread and butter analog voices! Nice work.

Is there a way to control the gain of the input signal?? I feel like this could be contributing slightly to my overall hiss. If i’m not using, can we turn this down?

Whoa maybe i should also read full manual first.

Main outputs can be balanced with TRS… Tried a TRS cable and noise even better.

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Aside from everything i said earlier. I think am in love with this machine :slight_smile:

It does have a little bit of noise (inherent to analog) but this is OK. Like everyone said there are ways to get the sound you are looking for with different gain structures / preamps / indiv out etc

Best sound I have gotten so far is straight into my Solo 610. Even experimenting with a decent amount of makeup gain and this thing rules. I guess the more active the part the less you notice the noise. I just hope i don’t get burned by some Mkii update with better compressor specs etc, but not sure really if i’d be willing to wait anyways :slight_smile: