(first a quick reply to Pinkline, then an update to my initial post...)
Pinkline...wow! Those are strong statements and when said so well, I can only agree but I'm going to hold on to mine a bit longer.
I've become used to resignation when it comes to flaws in products but sometimes the flaws are beyond acceptable and to keep it in the same field of comparison, I bought the Softstep to replace a Roland RC-50 looper which had flaws I just couldn't live with:
- It doesn't keep time when MIDI synced
- the audio stretch feature is a laughable disaster, totally useless.
I use the looping with a band so I need to sync with the drummer and soon with the bass player who just bought a Softstep as well.
So no sync = no RC50. No way around it.
So I decided to try something different, which brought me to the Sofstep. And if the device cannot perform without emitting a loud hum/buzz, that's an even worse flaw than the RC50's!!
I need to correct a few things to my initial post though. What I said about switching around USB ports still stands but I need to complete that info a bit:
I haven't found a permanent USB port connection setup that keeps the buzzing away. When I rebooted my laptop without having changed anything around the horrible loud buzz was back!?
I then switched it around a bit more (and with 4 ports and 2 devices, there are a lot of possible combinations!) and have a setup which seems to be lasting for now.
The other very important thing is that although the buzzing is completely gone when the laptop is idle, as soon as the hard drive becomes active, then I can hear the hard drive through my soundcard! And this only happens when the Softstep is connected!
So it's still far from perfect, but I prefer this annoyance than the loud constant buzz.
I then connected my Softstep to my desktop PC which has an RME soundcard connected via PCI...silent! No buzz, no HD noise, nothing!
So the culprits to this problem are first and foremost the Softstep, then - in my case - an decent quality soundcard (M-Audio FastTrack Ultra) and not an excellent one like the RME, connected via PCI and not USB.
I should point out as well that I did all this testing with no guitars connected to the soundcard. There has been alot of talk about shielding guitar pickups in this thread, I just wonder if that's really the solution. Would be good to hear from other users if humming disappears completely when no guitar is connected.
what kind of computer do you have?
It's a Sony Vaio Laptop VPCEA3S1E. One of the USB ports is a USB/E-SATA combo port and that's where the more permanent solution is working from now (we'll see how long it lasts. If I don't post back on that, it means it's still working). My soundcard is connected to that combo port. It's seems to work best there, to remove the buzzing sound from the Softstep.