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Audio Dropouts
Old 3 weeks ago
  #1
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Audio Dropouts

I'm at a loss as to why I keep getting audio dropouts during playback and recording. I'm using a pretty decent PC with Win 10 and the newest stable version of reaper. It comes without warning and happens without any plugins on any tracks. It recently dropped audio while recording with only one other track in the project. I do not get any spikes in CPU usage when this occurs. It just pauses for a moment and then resumes. I'm using Saffire Pro 40 firewire with the well established TI chipset. The computer is not connected to the internet, it is a standalone dedicated recording machine. I am at a complete loss. Also, just to make this a little longer, I'm not a genius when it comes to this PC recording stuff I've got more analog experience than PC DAW knowledge. Please help ya'll, it's annoying and embarrassing when I have to ask someone to stop and start over.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #2
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Have you ensured there's nothing running in the background like malware or antivirus scanning, wifi and Bluetooth turned off ?

I wonder if there's something amiss with the Reaper settings as it's installed (Options>Preferences) in your system or in the Project Settings ?

It sounds like some sort of processor conflict or background service running which is interrupting signal encoding, or perhaps a video card issue (integrated vs added)

I wonder if Reaper is making best use of the available cores in your CPU ....there are Reaper settings which can tweak that. Also, when I've opened the 32 bit version of Reaper and run that, I have found it can fix such dropouts in my 64 bit Win 7 system...I have no idea why !

It's generally advised not to record to the same drive that runs your operating system, but to have an additional drive that is a repository for audio only...so that audio data writing is not happening at the same time as systems ops on a single drive. Are you running HDD's (spinning discs) or SSD's .....if the former, it should at least be 7200 rpm and not 5400....and overall SSDs are much better and cheap nowadays (for modest storage size)

What you describe should be an extremely trivial workload, even for a 15 year old laptop running a core duo CPU, so your problems seem puzzling, and obviously troubling too.

I strongly advise to set up a standardised test recording procedure...one that currently results in the dropouts. Then make any changes (to the numerous possible variables) one at a time, and observe the outcome. If you make several changes at once, you may solve the issue....but you won't know which factor is responsible !

So devote a few days to making several adjustment/recording cycles, as it will generate valuable information...both for yourself now and for future folk who may come here with similar issues.

What buffer setting and sampling frequency are you using with your interface....are you going for 44.1 or much higher (96 or 192) ? 256 or 512 will give an easier load than 32 or 64 samples when it comes to recording, with a latency cost. Once you get it recording in a stable fashion you can start pushing these settings and keep them within safe zones.

There are a few TI chipsets, are you able to list yours here...and it's worth checking with Saffire's specs to confirm yours matches their recommendations.

The Reaper forum at Cockos has a larger critical mass of users, and you'll likely receive some support there...but it would be good to see if the brains trust here can assist too.

If you do find it resolved outside of this forum, be sure to post the solution here so that future Reaper users can benefit from your experience

Last edited by studer58; 3 weeks ago at 12:22 PM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
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To the best of my knowledge nothing is running in the background, but I'll have to try and confirm that. As far as the Firewire chipset I'll repost later with the exact model and chipset, but I did do a bunch of research before buying it specifically for my Saffire so I'm inclined to say that it is not the issue.

I have tried various sample rates and buffer sizes and still run into the same issue. I may try the 32bit version of reaper, i'm not sure what the drawbacks would be of running that.

The hard drive situation is an interesting point though, when I first started running this setup I didnt have any dropout issues. If I remeber correctly it wasn't until after I changed the way projects were saved and stored that I started running into this. I have a 1TB 7200 and a 128 SSD. The way I tried to set it up is so that my OS and Programs run off of the SSD and the media/project files are saved on my 7200, but perhaps I screwed that up somehow. I'll have to revisit my computer tonight and provide more details.

I really appreciate your time and assistance!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
Lives for gear
It sounds like you've addressed most of those issues already, and your SSD/HDD setup is the right way to go.

One last thing to check is that you are using the Legacy FireWire driver, and not a later version....I'm pretty sure you can roll back to the legacy via device manager, and if it's not available you can download from a few different sources, such as interface manufacturers.

You might want to search for (in the Music Computers forum here on GS) W10/FireWire problems, as a few issues have been highlighted in recent years that have been raised and solved there
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
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if you search the Actions list for the word (flash) you should be able to make the transport area flash a color when you get an audio device underrun. if the underrun shows at the same time you get an audio drop out, it's likely correlated to something causing an audio device underrun. if that's true, the question is if any of the Reaper preferences either, is the cause, or can stop the cause.

if any of Reapers setting can't stop the cause, some other settings in the system may stop the cause. unless the cause is something like poorly seated hardware components and cables, or driver issues, or the one no one wants. hardware / component failures, or corruption. but I'd think the diagnosis should go in generally that order.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
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Thanks everyone, I will be back in the studio tonight and will definitely try all of the above and report back!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
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Well.... I went though everything and spent about 5 hours recording and mixing yesterday and... NO DROPOUTS. This has happened before though. It may be a few days before it shows up again. The only thing I changed was reinserting the PCI Firewire card and making sure it was secured. I have not rolled back the driver yet, that will be the next thing I try if it returns. If I get another dropout I will now be able to see if it was an underrun so thank you for all your input, i'll let yall know how it goes.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #9
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That's good news (at least for the short-term.....although much better news would have been to have discovered the source, and then decisively eliminated it )... but do ensure that you give it a real-world test while recording, such as frequent mouse moves, a few keyboard entries ( eg create and name a few markers), just to rouse up the USB demands on the system while recording is taking place.

Hopefully, such brief momentary loads won't impact upon your recording stream, but if they do, it's better to discover such phenomena on the test track rather than during a critical recording ! Try a few different buffer settings too (eg 32 and 64) and determine if that pushes anything over the edge, and maybe add some realistic tracking plugins too...such as a vocal slap delay and a chorus, as you might when recording vocals ?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #10
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I had a similar problem a decade ago maybe your probably has something in the same ball park.
In my case, the problem was cause buy a bad cable running from a Yamaha power amp to my left monitor.
I discovered because one day I was so pissed off when another dropout occurred, I slapped my recording table and the sound came back!
A bad cable should cause bad sound or no sound but it caused dropouts so I can only guess my power amp/audio interface had a protection to this type of problem, I don't know.
I hope my problem can give you new ideas
Old 2 weeks ago
  #11
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Treva View Post
I had a similar problem a decade ago maybe your probably has something in the same ball park.
In my case, the problem was cause buy a bad cable running from a Yamaha power amp to my left monitor.
I discovered because one day I was so pissed off when another dropout occurred, I slapped my recording table and the sound came back!
A bad cable should cause bad sound or no sound but it caused dropouts so I can only guess my power amp/audio interface had a protection to this type of problem, I don't know.
I hope my problem can give you new ideas
It's certainly possible....connecting a pair of headphones directly to the interface during the testing phase, and bypassing any monitor speakers, should be able to rule that out as a factor ?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #12
Gear Guru
 
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I've been getting some dropouts at 64. but it's when I have a Youtube video playing in Safari, which feeds the Audio into Reaper using Dante Via as the audio driver. then that Safari stream live monitored through Reaper, while having a sampler in the master out so I can sample the Audio stream. at 64 I'm getting under-runs and dropouts. but switching to 128 makes it go away. or if I have a few plugin instruments with live monitoring ready to pickup a few external midi sources I might start getting dropouts at 64. so it's not as if they are hard to come across. even with Reapers general efficiency.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
That's good news (at least for the short-term.....although much better news would have been to have discovered the source, and then decisively eliminated it )... but do ensure that you give it a real-world test while recording, such as frequent mouse moves, a few keyboard entries ( eg create and name a few markers), just to rouse up the USB demands on the system while recording is taking place.

Hopefully, such brief momentary loads won't impact upon your recording stream, but if they do, it's better to discover such phenomena on the test track rather than during a critical recording ! Try a few different buffer settings too (eg 32 and 64) and determine if that pushes anything over the edge, and maybe add some realistic tracking plugins too...such as a vocal slap delay and a chorus, as you might when recording vocals ?
Yeah I'll juice up the system maybe run a MIDI keyboard or something to really push it. Good news is I spent another hour or two mixing last night using 20+ plugins in a big project and still no dropouts. I'm wondering if the firewire card wasn't seated well and that may have been my main problem?

thanks for everyone's ideas, I appreciate the troubleshooting knowledge if it didn't help me now with this problem i'm sure it'll help in the future.
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