Re: sometimes power comes on and sometimes it does not.
Are you running Vista? Lexicon is working on some firmware and software updates to fix the problem. The only workaround is to unplug and replug your USB cable when it stops working. As long as you are actually using the Lambda, it should work.
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All it needs is a USB connection. You'll need to go into Cubase device setup and make sure your lambda drivers are selected. Then create the audio channels in cubase with the inputs set as the inputs you're using for guitar and mic. There is a monitor button right next to the record enable button that needs to be enabled if you want to hear playback from your computer.
That could be the problem but on similar interfaces the sockets are more of an issue so it could be that the last time you pulled the lead it dislodged something in the socket which is causing an earth loop by touching something else. Usually more related to jack lead sockets rather than XLR sockets though.
Try putting an XLR lead in and out of the socket a couple of times with your monitors off (so you don't pop them) which might clear up any socket issues.
Is the scratchy sound a hissing scratchy sound or a metallic kinda sounding scratch? - Hiss would indicate faulty socket/lead in my mind, metallicy would be more to do with the components/transfer to the PC and as you suggested the phantom might have overloaded it, is it in warranty? If so try trade it for one that works and don't forget to only use Phantom when you need it...
the usb could be the problem. when you plug it in does your comp make a noise if not it is the usb if it does than the drivers are not in sometimes its a program problem try going to start-mycomputer-(cd/dvd drive right click on it and click explore. find the file labled drivers and install them first than install the program hope this helps.
I have a Sterling st-51 condenser mic and purchased a Behringer xenyx 1002b mixer. Similar problem, dynamic mics work in low impedence with or without phantom pwr on. My Washburn acoustic bass with preamp in line input section. So I tried it on my Omega Lexicon interface. The condenser mic and everything else works on the Omega. This unit has a wall wart ( your Lambda is USB powered). I checked the voltages with a meter and found 23 volts from the mixer and 48 volts from the Omega. Further, I have two Shure SM-82 line mics which work on the mixer with the inputs turned all the way down but do not work on the Omega nor on my Spirit SX mixer which has 48 volts phantom power. The SM-82s are old line mics that have a 9.6 volt battery in the sleeve. They overload badly in all but the 1002B mixer. Their voltage should run btwn the 9.6 battery or a 22 volt phantom power.
Check your Lambda voltage, It could be way less than needed by the st-51. I will check with a friend who has the Lambda and check its voltage. Bet it is too low.
Again, My St-51 and 1002B mixer combo barely works at 23volts, the Mic gain is all the way up as is the channel slider and the main output slider. I cant get any reading on my led meters, occasional bump on the first light, no possible way to clip the input or the output and have to turn the high eq off and the mid way back due to hiss noise. Hope this helps,couldn't find minimum voltages on the ST-51 as yet.
one of several install steps (the steps seem to vary depending on which manual you can find) mention checking your sound device setup in control panel. ON one machine I installed the sound devices were not affeted. On a 2nd PC they were changed from drivers installed with PC to the Lambda driver
Win XP settings->control panel->Sounds and Audio Devices then select Audio tab. Make sure the three areas are set up to use your PC's default drivers and not lambda's.
You may need to verify this again when reconnecting the Lambda USB cable. Sort of new but ran into this "issue" as well.
Found info in Lambda Studio Software Installation Guide I downloaded, step B following driver install.