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Skylake and Firewire issues Audio Interfaces
Old 26th August 2015
  #1
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Thread Starter
Skylake and Firewire issues

Hello,
I'm working through an issue with running Firewire cards on the Skylake Z170 platform and wanted to reach out to see if anyone out there was running a Firewire audio interface successfully on a Z170 based motherboard. So far three different brands of board, two different firewire cards and Thunderbolt with an Apple-to-firewire adapter all give crackly playback at all buffer sizes on very simple projects. Had similar issues with the X99 motherboards but they were solved by switching to FW800 cards or using Thunderbolt with an adapter - with the Z170 none of these have worked so far. Plug in a USB interface and it's all completely fine.

I'm happy to go into more detail if you want it but I was just hoping to see if someone could confirm my findings - or have a workaround!

Thanks
Robin
Old 20th September 2015
  #2
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I can confirm this. I've just finished building with my new system with an I7 6700K and an Z170 motherboard and my Motu Ultralite MK3 Firewire (non Hybrid) doesn't work no matter what I try. It is recognised by windows but it produces no sound and CueMix FX's user interface hangs.

Have you managed to figure out what causes this issue? I have run out of options as there is no USB connection on this interface. :(
Old 21st September 2015
  #3
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Thread Starter
Yeah, We found that it was a combination of BIOS updates and the firewire card. FW400 cards don't seem to work with the majority of audio interfaces, but FW800 cards, like the Sonnet Allegro, do seem to work now. Also since the latest beta BIOS on the Asus Z170-A I was using the Thunderbolt-to-firewire adapter now works properly. So ultimately it's lazy motherboard makers, but they seem to be getting there.
Old 21st September 2015
  #4
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isn't it time to move on from firewire? Seriously, and on Skylake none the less?
Old 21st September 2015
  #5
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Thread Starter
Yes it is, totally it is, but a lot of people already have perfectly decent and expensive audio interfaces that are Firewire - seems a shame to have to throw them out when the time comes to buy a new computer - don't you think?
Old 29th September 2015
  #6
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Thank you very much for the info, I will try to get one of those FW800 cards!
Old 12th April 2016
  #7
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Z170-A (Skylake) + Motu Firewire interface: use XIO2213B chips!

Hi,

I found a solution:

I have recently built up a new DAW for our studio, using an ASUS Z170-A Mainboard with i7-6700K CPU.

For our Motu UltraLite (the first version that came with firewire only) a DeLock 89121 (equipped with the TI XXIO2200A Chip) didn't work: The Motu Interface got recognized and its drivers got installed without problems, but no audio came out of the interface, just heavy clicks, no matter how big the buffer size was set.

I changed the Firewire Card into a model from KALEA (equipped with the TI XIO2213B chip). No drivers had to be reinstalled, I just exchanged the cards, and suddenly the Motu UltraLite started working flawlessly - without any dropouts or clicks, even on high CPU load and the lowest buffer size (64 samples).

A DeLock 89210 Card could also work (has also the TI XIO2213B chip), but it has no 6-pin Firewire socket, so I bought the one from Kalea that has both 9-pin and 6-pin sockets.

I hope that this helps someone who has the same problems.

You can click on the card names to find more information, but the links go to german language sites.

Last edited by rotfenstermusik; 12th April 2016 at 01:03 PM.. Reason: wrong model number and missing link
Old 15th April 2016
  #8
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Found this site when we searched for an solution for our problem with image tearing on industrial high speed cameras with FireWire interface running on PCs with Skylake chipset 170, 150 and 110.

The solution for our problem was to disable all BIOS settings for power saving.
e.q settings called C-States, Core Parking, C1E Enhanced Halt State, Intel
SpeedStep, Turbo Boost etc. Different names depending on BIOS vendor and we found BIOS with 5-6 different settings where all of them must be disabled.

We have tested this on PCs from several vendors and with 1394 circuits from Texas I and LSI with 100% repeatability.

It sounds like you guys have a similar problem.
Old 18th April 2016
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ison View Post
Found this site when we searched for an solution for our problem with image tearing on industrial high speed cameras with FireWire interface running on PCs with Skylake chipset 170, 150 and 110.

The solution for our problem was to disable all BIOS settings for power saving.
e.q settings called C-States, Core Parking, C1E Enhanced Halt State, Intel
SpeedStep, Turbo Boost etc. Different names depending on BIOS vendor and we found BIOS with 5-6 different settings where all of them must be disabled.

We have tested this on PCs from several vendors and with 1394 circuits from Texas I and LSI with 100% repeatability.

It sounds like you guys have a similar problem.
For audio system builders those are largely default tweaks, and whilst it may have helped you for video, in most cases it isn't quite enough for solving audio clocking problems.

We've established that its a problem on all of the chipsets mentioned above as well as X99 to quite an extent.

As noted the older FW400 controller chip that used to be the go to solution / fix TI XXIO2200A no longer clocks properly on newer platforms. The controller chip itself was marked as legacy by TI a fair few years ago, and they themselves advise users to only pick up the TI XIO2213B in its place and we've fully validated those options now.

Easy way to spot a TI XIO2213B is that it normally has 3 ports hanging off it, and they will normally be 1 X FW400 and 2 X FW800, if your looking at 2 port cards, chances are it won't work for timing sensitive A/V hardware anymore.
Old 5th June 2016
  #10
Gear Maniac
For those still trying to solve this Skylake problem, the only thing that worked for me was to lower the DDR4 speed in the motherboard settings.

My PC specs :
- Asus Z170-AR motherboard
- i5-6600k CPU OC at 4.4 GHz
- Patriot Viper 4 2x16GB DDR4-3000
- audio interface : ECHO Audiofire 8a + Audiofire 12 (both Firewire, chained)
- VIA PCI Firewire interface
- TI PCI-E Firewire interface

It doesn't matter which Firewire interface I use, or which other BIOS settings (power management and such) - unless DDR4 speed is under 2500 MHz, I can't playback anything through ASIO for more than a few seconds before it completely cuts off. A shame since my sticks are DDR4-3000 - I have to underclock them. Never mind recording.

Other BIOS setting changes may be also be needed to stabilize things in terms of power management. But the DDR4 speed downclock is definitely required.

On my X99 box, no problems at all running at DDR4-2800 MHz. The X99 is much more stable with Firewire. I would highly recommend giving Z170 a skip, and choosing X99. I have both in the same home office, and have made the Z170 my secondary machine, and use X99 for most tasks.

X99 box specs :
- MSI X99A Raider motherboard
- i7-5820k OC at 4.3 GHz
- Corsair DDR4-2666 LPX 4x16GB, running OC at DDR4-2800
- TI PCI-E Firewire interface
- audio interface : ECHO Audiofire 8a + Audiofire 12 (both Firewire, chained)

All is peachy on the X99 with the Firewire, never any problem at all.

Last edited by madbrain; 5th June 2016 at 12:36 PM..
Old 5th June 2016
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madbrain View Post
I would highly recommend giving Z170 a skip
Thanks for the information, but before writing off the Z170 entirely (especially if you're overclocking, as Firewire controllers use DMA which may have a bearing), could you tell us what exact chip is on the TI Firewire card you're using with the Z170 please?
Old 5th June 2016
  #12
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSoundman View Post
Thanks for the information, but before writing off the Z170 entirely (especially if you're overclocking, as Firewire controllers use DMA which may have a bearing), could you tell us what exact chip is on the TI Firewire card you're using with the Z170 please?
I'm using the exact same TI PCI-e card on both Z170 and X99 - SY-PEX30016.

SYBAUSA - SY-PEX30016 >> 3-port (2x 1394b; 1x 1394a), Firewire PCIe, x1, Revision 1.0a; Texas Instruments Chipset

TI Chipset: XIO2213BZAY

On the Z170, at stock CPU clock, but using XMP profile, which matches my RAM sticks at DDR4-3000, the card is still problematic. It needs to be run at low DDR4 speed to avoid breaking up the sound completely.

The symptoms with my ECHO Audiofire are exactly the same regardless of whether if I use the VIA PCI Firewire card instead of the TI PCI-E. I have tried generic OHCI drivers as well as the more specific TI / VIA drivers too. The more specific ones worked better for me. But ultimately, without lowering RAM speed, it was all a no-go. At anything over DDR4-2500, it can't even play the Windows startup sound without cutting off.

On the X99, I haven't had any problem at all at with any settings, whether OC or not, whether CPU is OC, RAM is OC, etc. X99 is well worth the extra cost of not having to mess around for stability, IMO.

Last edited by madbrain; 5th June 2016 at 12:34 PM..
Old 5th June 2016
  #13
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by rotfenstermusik View Post
Hi,

I found a solution:

I have recently built up a new DAW for our studio, using an ASUS Z170-A Mainboard with i7-6700K CPU.

...

I changed the Firewire Card into a model from KALEA (equipped with the TI XIO2213B chip). No drivers had to be reinstalled, I just exchanged the cards, and suddenly the Motu UltraLite started working flawlessly - without any dropouts or clicks, even on high CPU load and the lowest buffer size (64 samples).

Just wondering what speed DDR4 memory you have in your system. I have a nearly identical Z170-AR motherboard, and nearly identical TI-based Firewire card with the TI XIO2213B chipset. Only difference is I have an i5-6600k, and my audio interfaces are ECHO Audiofires.

For me, a DDR4 downclock was required I'm wondering if you are running with standard DDR4 stick speed ie. DDR4-2133, or faster sticks
Old 14th June 2016
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madbrain View Post
Just wondering what speed DDR4 memory you have in your system. I have a nearly identical Z170-AR motherboard, and nearly identical TI-based Firewire card with the TI XIO2213B chipset. Only difference is I have an i5-6600k, and my audio interfaces are ECHO Audiofires.

For me, a DDR4 downclock was required I'm wondering if you are running with standard DDR4 stick speed ie. DDR4-2133, or faster sticks
It's DDR4-2400 (KINGSTON HYPERX FURY 16GB 2X8 KIT-2400) running at its original 2400MHz speed.
I even don't have powersaving features disabled: Both the BIOS and Windows have features like Speedstep and undervoltaging enabled... never had any problems since I built in that 2213B chip.
Old 24th June 2016
  #15
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MrSoundman's Avatar
 

If this helps, I now have a 3-port FW800 PCIe card with the LSI FW643 chip and it's working perfectly with my Z170 mainboard and a MOTU 828MkII.
Old 25th June 2016
  #16
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I've ordered a X99-e Board which i'm planning on using as a hackintosh, but that's going to be another set of problems, this card i've bought supposedly works in OSX, i jhaven't tested but you might want to check it out also:

SYBA SD-PEX30009

Old 25th June 2016
  #17
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Yes, that seems to have the TI Chipset XIO2213A, I have seen reports though that ideally you need the XIO2213B. Worth a try though, it might only be a revision number. It is interesting however to see that a non-TI chip (the LSI FW643) also seems to work without problems with the Z170 (and presumably then also the X99).
Old 26th June 2016
  #18
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Angry same issue with TI XIO2200A

Having big troubles here with this configuration on W10 x64:

Asus Z170-A
i7 6700K
Kingston HyperX Fury Kit 16 GB, 2x8 GB, 2133 MHz, DDR4
RME Fireface 800 (connected thru fw400 port)
Exsys EX-16450 (Pci-e to firewire card) with TI XIO2200A chipset

Just discovered my pci-e to fw card has TI XIO2200A, no matter which pci slot I choose, tried different settings in BIOS too: my fireface 800 won't work as it should.

I mean, if I choose to use only the 8 analog I/O or 8 analog I/O + SPDIF it seems to work. If I add first ADAT expansion I've got many errors and bad noise. Worst if I add second ADAT expansion: PC crashes, WDF violation messages.

Do you guys think I can have my Fireface working completely if I buy this card with XI02213BZAY chipset?
https://www.amazon.it/gp/product/B01...d=A49T1JFWO6XK

or should I buy a new Fireface 802 with USB port?!?!
it costs 1.500 euros!!!
Old 26th June 2016
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benzodeaze View Post
Do you guys think I can have my Fireface working completely if I buy this card with XI02213BZAY chipset?
https://www.amazon.it/gp/product/B01...d=A49T1JFWO6XK

or should I buy a new Fireface 802 with USB port?!?!
it costs 1.500 euros!!!
If your issues are really caused by Firewire card, then I believe, XI02213B will work well at your configuration..

I've used Digitus card (easy to get in Czech Republic) and hasn't any issues with it at Skylake boards, recent Windows, Hackintoshes.. etc. it has native PCIe chip without bridge and B version of it, which has apparently fixes several important issues.

http://www.digitus.info/en/products/...ie-ds-30203-1/

Looks the same as card, you've linked from Amazon.

Michal

P.S.: don't need to be hysteric about possible 1500EUR for a nice FF802, we feel your pain
Old 26th June 2016
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benzodeaze View Post
Do you guys think I can have my Fireface working completely if I buy this card with XI02213BZAY chipset?
https://www.amazon.it/gp/product/B01...d=A49T1JFWO6XK
Yes. That one also has the advantage of not needing an adapter or FW800->FW400 cable, so should be a direct replacement. I think this will solve all the other problems you are seeing.
Old 27th June 2016
  #21
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fw400

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSoundman View Post
Yes. That one also has the advantage of not needing an adapter or FW800->FW400 cable, so should be a direct replacement. I think this will solve all the other problems you are seeing.
thanks for your opinion, I've always just used to connect thru FW400 with a fw400 cable, Fireface 800'g got both ports, never had any issue in the past using this connection and activating everything (8 analogs+spdif+2adat expansions) on my old system.
Old 27th June 2016
  #22
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Quote:
don't need to be hysteric about possible 1500EUR for a nice FF802, we feel your pain
thanks, just ordered that card and will let you know if it does the trick

migrating has never been easy but the last thing I need in this process is to buy a new soundcard, my old one still rocks
Old 4th July 2016
  #23
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Thumbs up problem solved

Card arrived, installed and tested for days.
Everything is running fine and at full bandwidth using my FF800 with TI XI02213BZAY chipset!

problem solved
Old 4th July 2016
  #24
While it would be great to go USB it would be good to use the MOTU 2408III with their propriety FW PCIe card.

It should be fine, can anyone confirm?
Old 4th July 2016
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benzodeaze View Post
Card arrived, installed and tested for days.
Everything is running fine and at full bandwidth using my FF800 with TI XI02213BZAY chipset!

problem solved
Glad to hear that and good luck with music!

Michal
Old 4th July 2016
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart Nettle View Post
While it would be great to go USB it would be good to use the MOTU 2408III with their propriety FW PCIe card.

It should be fine, can anyone confirm?
MOTU's 424 PCI/PCIe card isn't Firewire
It just uses the same 6pin physical connection.. I've never tested that at recent configuration, but can recall some related thread.
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/musi...dows-10-a.html

Maybe you can try to update it with your question, possibly also ask somewhere over MOTUNation forums.
Finally, there aren't many options IMO.. either it would be working (I'd expect, it will be fine).. or not, which means bye to your old interface, because there aren't any alternative like in case of various Firewire chipsets and interfaces.

Michal
Old 4th July 2016
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by msmucr View Post
MOTU's 424 PCI/PCIe card isn't Firewire
It just uses the same 6pin physical connection.. I've never tested that at recent configuration, but can recall some related thread.
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/musi...dows-10-a.html

Maybe you can try to update it with your question, possibly also ask somewhere over MOTUNation forums.
Finally, there aren't many options IMO.. either it would be working (I'd expect, it will be fine).. or not, which means bye to your old interface, because there aren't any alternative like in case of various Firewire chipsets and interfaces.

Michal
Thanks for that
Old 6th July 2016
  #28
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828 mk3 FW

Hi, I was also thinking of doing a skylake build with a gigabyte GA-Z170X-UD5-TH motherboard. Hackintosh, will any of the card's mentioned in this thread play nice with my 828mk3 FW or is there some kind of thunderbolt to fire wire adapter that would do the job.

Cheers Louis
Old 2nd September 2016
  #29
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I have experienced this same issue with a new Skylake Core i7 build with ASUS Z170-E motherboard. This thread helped me get the issue fixed, thank you all very much. Actually wasted about 30 hours troubleshooting, adjusting the bios, trying different drivers, had bought my 2nd Avid recommended FW400 PCI-E card with the same issues, ASIO device cannot be loaded. Spent a lot of wasted time on the Avid forums, ASUS forums, support ticket with ASUS, etc. I purchased an IOCREST SY-PEX30016 FW 800/400 card, works flawlessly with no needed BIOS power management adjustments. The one thing with this card though, the BIOS and computer would not see the card installed until I plugged a Molex power connector into the back. The SIIG N342534X and Pyro API-316 cards did not need to have power plugged into the back of the card unless you were using the card to power devices. For some reason this IOCREST card does not show up unless powered? Regardless, it is running my Digi002 like a champ. I hope this thread saves someone else some time as well, I am a Sr. System Admin for a large fortune 500 company as well as A+ NET+ certified technician so 18 years working full time as an IT geek and have built plenty of systems for myself, my two sons, and friends. This issue frustrated the **** out of me...and where did I find the answer? GearSlutz, that is where, thank you to everyone on this thread!

Current working studio DAW specs:

Windows 10/7 pro x64 dual boot
ASUS Z170-E, latest 1902 BIOS flashed
QuadCore Intel Core i7-6700K, 4000 MHz
G Skill F4-2400C15-8GVS 8GB x 4 for 32GB RAM total
ASUS nVIDIA GeForce GTX 960
Samsung SSD 850 EVO 500GB dual boot HD
Renesas USB 3.0 4-port PCI-E add-on
IOCREST SY-PEX30016 PCI-E FireWire 800/400 card (PCI Device Texas Instruments XIO2213A 1394b OHCI with 3-Port PHY)
Lots of additional storage, clone drive, and an audio recording drive
Digidesign Digi001 (with old powermac)
Digidesign Digi002 mixer
Avid Eleven Rack
Old 2nd September 2016
  #30
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Here is a link for the one that worked for me, cost $32.22 with tax and shipping. When I look up the FireWire card in Everest, it shows 'Texas Instruments XIO2213A 1394b OHCI with 3-Port PHY' as the PCI Device Description, but the Syba Amazon link lists it as the XIO2213B chipset. Got me, all I know is it works!

https://www.amazon.com/Syba-Firewire...ts+SY-PEX30016
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