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Noisy DDJ-SB

I bought my Pioneer DDJ-SB a couple of years ago & while I like what it does, I've never been very impressed with how it sounds - somewhat brash & top-heavy. After buying it, I found that I was very much wishing that it had some sort of metering, and much more importantly, gain trim pots. So I'm sure you can imagine my dismay when the DDJ-SB2 was released just weeks after my investment, and at a lower price than what I paid too.

About 6 months ago, I became aware of a high-pitched whining noise on the master channel. You can't really make it out when music is pumping through it, but it is always there. If there are any quiet sections or gaps in the music, or if I use the mic channel solo, it's very obvious indeed.

The noise is constant, and does not vary when you turn the master output knob up or down. It isn't a ground loop problem; it occurs when I'm running my laptop off the battery, and even when just connected to a USB hub or power bank. Essentially, whenever the controller is powered up, it sends the noise out of the master outputs constantly. I suspect this constant noise is what I've been perceiving as poor sound quality for all this time. 

Now there is every chance that the controller was like this out of the box & I simply didn't realise. I can't use it at home through speakers at any volume, so home practice has to happen in headphones, and the noise is nowhere to be heard on the headphone channel (cue nor master). That aside I've mostly used this controller for a couple of bar gigs where the speakers are small & quiet. Until recently that is, where I played a wedding & the venue's mixer was in a bad way, so I reached for my controller as a back-up, and on a big system it just sounded terrible. "Uptown Funk" has a very quiet intro & the noise was cutting through horribly. I can't use this controller as a back-up any more.

I've no idea how long the warranty is on these things, but I suspect it's no longer covered now that it's a couple of years old. When the SB2 came out, it was always my intention to sell the SB & replace it with an SB2, but now I'm aware of this issue, I don't see that it really has any resell value at all - a real shame when I took such good care of it. I spent a fair old whack on a quality Magma backpack for it too.

I like the portability & functionality of the SB and SB2. But I don't want to invest again & encounter similar problems. Having done some Google investigations, it seems that I'm not along in experiencing this problem. So can someone put my mind at rest & tell me that this noise isn't typical of the DDJ-SB/SB2?

Also, what is the UK warranty on these, and is it a manufacturer or retailer deal?

If this is a known problem (or regularly occurring fault) is the repair economical or worthwhile?

Gaz

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@Gaz > Unfortunately the problem you're having is not the SB itself, but the noise from your computer. The circuitry isolation and shielding along the USB chain, from the control chips, to power supply, to output, are to blame. This is not an issue with higher-end computers which have better USB power isolation, and unfortunately, as the SB is bus-powered, it's more apparent when a computer has these issues.

Pulse
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Thanks for your reply. But as my original post states, I have powered up the controller via a USB hub, and a USB power-bank, nowhere near any computer, and encountered the exact same problem.  Additionally I have tried not only my brand new Acer netbook, but also a decent old Packard Bell, and a top of the line Dell Media Centre machine. All exhibit identical noisy behaviour.

Are you able to tell me how long the UK retail warranty on the SB is?  Or if this is an economical repair?

Gaz 0 votes
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Exactly my point -- those are also probably not very well isolated USB power sources.

Warranty on all Pioneer DJ products is one year from date of purchase. I don't believe there is any repair required as I don't feel the issue is with the SB itself.

Pulse 0 votes
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So if the problem exists with a £1500 laptop (as well as a £450 and a £650 machine), how much are you suggesting that I need to spend to get my £200 controller working as it should? And where is this in any product information?

Would you say that a Pioneer CDJ's USB port is a "well isolated USB power source"?

All I was hoping for really was some assurance that investing in the SB2 would be a worthwhile investment, but if what you are saying is true, it will obviously be another waste of money.

Gaz 0 votes
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No, actually, I wouldn't say that the CDJ's USB port is well isolated. It's not designed to host an audio device, it's for powering a USB hard drive, flash drive, or mobile device, and obtaining data.

You're welcome to contact Pioneer DJ support in your region, however I maintain that if you send it for servicing, they'll likely send it back "no repair."

Pulse 0 votes
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Despite my obvious doubts about what you are saying, I appreciate your input. 

Can you please tell me where I can find one of these enigmatic well isolated USB power sources? If I can find such a device I would like to test it for myself.  There must be thousands of your controllers out there that are connected to cheaper, crappier laptops than the three I have tried; why aren't they all complaining of the same?

Gaz 0 votes
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Well, most of those complaints seem to come from PC owners and not Mac owners - you may consider finding a friend with a Mac and trying that out to truly eliminate the computer as the source of the problem.

Pulse 0 votes
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Thanks, I absolutely can try that out to find out one way or another. 

When you say "a good USB cable", do you mean better than the one supplied by Pioneer? That's all I've ever used.

Gaz 0 votes
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I wouldn't necessarily consider those to be the best quality, certainly among the cheaper variety, but they are included in the box so... ;)

Pulse 0 votes
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hi, i´m having the same problem with my controller... i have a constant noise sound from master, i try with different usb cables, also try with no computer... plugin the controller directly to a powered USB HUB, also... i try to turn on with a power bank... and also tried to connect directly to my tablet, and the noise is always the same. anybody know whats is the problem and how to solve it?

norkstyle 0 votes
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I worked out what was up with mine.

While I did my best to take care of my SB, investing heavily in a quality Magma backpack for it, I often made the mistake of putting it in "upside down" - in as much as the side with the mic volume knob was at the bottom. The result: the entire weight of the controller was being put on that knob.

The physical stress has caused a problem with the mic channel / circuitry; the mic channel no longer works, the pot is very stiff & hard to turn. The noise on the master output is related to this damage to the pot (or the circuit board it's soldered to). By turning, or even tapping the mic gain knob, I can make the noise come and go. So I always carry around a blob of blu-tack in case I need to secure the knob in place. The mic channel no longer works but I barely used it. So long as I can sound-check for noise off the master channel first & tweak the mic pot as necessary, things are generally OK.

Sounds like you have the same symptoms I have. No idea if the cause is likely to be the same too, but do have a play with the mic gain knob & see if it helps any.

Gaz 0 votes
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hi, thanks for the answer... correct, i saw that the problem is in the knob of the microphone... i didn´t see that the volume was to max :(... hahahaha!!! sorry... the hiss noise is from microphone, if i put the knob microphone totally closed, there is no problem, so problem solved for me. Thanks help me!

 

norkstyle 0 votes
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Well there ya go -- thanks both for your replies on this, I'll have to lodge that in the back of my brain for future replies!

Pulse 0 votes
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Happy to be able to assist on this occasion. Also happy to have faith in the Pioneer brand restored.

Gaz 0 votes
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well pioneer these people are right I just buy a sb3 and I notice the noise problem too when i plug the RCA In my Older Pioneer S1 no problem at all Super Quiet, as soon as I plug it back in the SB3 the noise Starts again the sb3 is very noisy. the pioneer ddj 400 has better sound quality than all the sb Serato dj versions. Pioneer why the new sb3 did not get a better sound card upgrade ? and oh yes I am using the new Space gray MacBook Pro.

richard barr 0 votes
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well Pioneer you Guys need to up grade the sb3 sound quality and make us Happy I am ready to buy another one again I would say to you guys put the card that's in the ddj 400 in the new 2020 sb4. sb3 sound quality is not decent its very bad.

richard barr 0 votes
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You may have the mic volume turned up with no mic connected... check that first.

Pulse 0 votes
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