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All RME Fireface 800 are defective Audio Interfaces
Old 23rd November 2009
  #91
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G. E.'s Avatar
 

Lightbulb ADAT crackling related to power supply?

A different "crackling" experience with RME: over the last years I experienced digital "crackles" on two of my three RME ADI-8 DS converters (connected and synced via ADAT to a RME Digiface) three times. The problem was always a deffective (internal) power supply (the units ran nearly 24/7 over years). After the second fault I always had spare power supply "on stock" for quick exchange. The original RME manufacturer (this is neither RME nor Synthax) who did the repairs told me once "this power supplies are NOT designed for non-stop operation". It never happened to my Fireface 800 though...

Anyway, you may check your mains and the power supplies for any irregularities!
Old 23rd November 2009
  #92
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djmukilteo's Avatar
Stdenisg
I've purchased multiple audio interfaces in the past....I've done research and I read every review I can get my hands or mouse on...and I've still had a couple units I won't mention that plain didn't work and sounded crappy and tinny...
I took them back and never looked back....
I bought my FF800 brand new a couple years ago and currently have it connected to my brand new Allen & Heath ZED16R mixer (a month old) and I'm using both Adat1 and Adat2 (16 channels) into the FF800 plus running the 10 analogs inputs from the FF800...I can't let go of Instr 1 input for guitars....it's a beautiful thing!!!
I have my FF800 set as Master and it autosyncs to both Adat ports coming from the ZED..I have both ZED and FF800 set to 44.1Khz....works extremely well...actually perfectly so far even though I'm not doing anything as intense as your trying...
I'm running Cubase 4.5.2 with an AMD FX60 with 4G of RAM and the performance of the FW400 thru my computer is solid.

I recently recorded 12 tracks simultaneously from 12 separate audio source instruments, mics, keyboards, guitars, drums, bass and ran a continuous 16 minute full out jam session....
I've never had problems with my FF800 by itself and so far my tests using the Adat channel expansion from the ZED works perfect.
I've listened to several A/D's for sound comparison and nothing compares to RME....it has been rock solid...no dropouts or clicks and it sounds better than some units twice its price.
I have a friend who uses my old Lexicon Omega with a laptop using ASIO4all drivers and he always has clicks and dropouts...but that's because his laptop is weak, it uses USB for transmission and the Lexicon drivers never worked...he needs to shut off everything on the laptop before he attempts to record 4 tracks!!! and even then when he plays me back a tune he's worked on...he ends up with clicks and breaks in the sample stream! and gets upset because the track is ruined.....it sucks!
I've done 192Khz 2 track master recordings on my FF800 and the audio files were into the gigabytes...but the sound, imaging, noise floor, dynamic range and transparency of those tracks came out brilliant and phenomenal sounding!
If you haven't done so, you should try recording a few tracks with just the FF800 @192Khz using your DAW software and check CPU performance....that will tax your system and maybe bring out some flaws either in your computer or the FF800....I'll bet the FF800 wins! Be prepared for some horrendous audio file sizes though!!
And from all the audio forums that I troll the FF800 rarely gets a bad report....some people like higher end more expensive A/D/A's but for me I don't think I will ever get rid of it even if I upgrade to more expensive stuff in the future....I will always use it as a benchmark
BTW there is a new driver on RME's site...worth a shot!
FYI...I'm currently running 2.91 driver with the 2.70 firmware!

Windows XP / 64, Vista 32/64 and Windows 7 PnP driver for Fireface 400 / 800, version 2.998.

Doon (Monk) on MySpace Music - Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures & Music Videos
Old 23rd November 2009
  #93
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djmukilteo's Avatar
BTW stdenisg:
If you feel so inclined
I think a really good test would be the FF800 just by itself with no Adat.
10 tracks @192Khz for 10-15 minutes!!
heck throw in the SPDIF channel too..
Old 23rd November 2009
  #94
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valis's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by stdenisg View Post
@valis
I'm trying to understand what you're saying, but it's not coming through. It looks like I'm having what kind of problem exactly? .
Post up some of the zipfiles that I see you've made in your videos so I can take a closer look at the audio. It's pretty easy for me to replicate a clocking issue here, I just need to set clock to something incorrect and record a short section to show you what a clock mismatch/error looks like (single cycle transients.) With your zipfiles I can post up a proper comparison to make it clear... (really only need a few examples with enough 'good' audio around them, say 10-20 seconds or so in length.)
Old 24th November 2009
  #95
Gear Nut
 

@valis

Here are two excerpts from my YouTube tests #10 and #11 respectively:


test010_1021-excerpt01.zip
Click occurring in fixed sine signal.
[email protected], ADAT2.In[channels 1&2]
YouTube - test010


test011_1021-excerpt02.zip
Clicks occurring in sweeped sine signal.
[email protected], ADAT2.In[channels 1&2]
YouTube - test011


Thanks man, I appreciate any insight you might have on this.
Old 24th November 2009
  #96
Gear Nut
 

@G. E.

Hi G. E., thanks for suggestions...

Quote:
Anyway, you may check your mains and the power supplies for any irregularities!
Interesting. But I moved my whole setup to test at a studio which is in a different province (so different power company, even!), and I experienced the clicking issue over there as well.

But you never know, it may be power related somehow...
Old 24th November 2009
  #97
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You might want to apply some sort of scientific method to your troubleshooting. Take your unit to someone else's system who has clean adat and clock connections and see if it works.
Old 24th November 2009
  #98
Gear Nut
 

@quincyg
Hi! Thanks for the suggestion... I'm doing my best! :-)


As a matter of fact, I've just completed more tests.

I flashed the FF800 to latest firmware rev 2.77.

I installed the latest RME FF800 driver 2.998 (05.11.09) and Digicheck 5.23 on a TOTALLY DIFFERENT PC
(Win XPPro / Intel Q9300 / ASUS P5Q PRO / Adaptec AFW-4300)

Still getting clicks...
Old 24th November 2009
  #99
Gear Maniac
 

so that goes one step towards ruling out the PC as a factor, assuming that firewire card is a kosher chipset.

I would next change the ADAT side of things. I would want to buy a new cable first, since that's easy and probably a good idea anyway, if your ADAT cable is a lower quality HOSA - I would think the "premium" HOSA cables are fine at around a dollar a foot, but maybe there's a better one.

Then I would want to find a different brand of converter. There's tons of boxes with ADAT - if you can't borrow one then perhaps buy a Behringer ADA8000 or Presonus Digimax and then turn around and sell it without taking too much of a hit.

I would also suggest you might consider that user error might be the problem. Perhaps you can find someone else who uses a Fireface with an Octamic AD (is that it?), who doesn't have any problems, and compare settings with them. Rather than asking them to duplicate your test protocol, ask them what they are doing right.
Old 24th November 2009
  #100
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valis's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by stdenisg View Post
@valis

Here are two excerpts from my YouTube tests #10 and #11 respectively:


Attachment 145340
Click occurring in fixed sine signal.
[email protected], ADAT2.In[channels 1&2]
YouTube - test010


Attachment 145341
Clicks occurring in sweeped sine signal.
[email protected], ADAT2.In[channels 1&2]
YouTube - test011


Thanks man, I appreciate any insight you might have on this.
Thanks for the examples, this was much faster than waiting on Youtube videos to preload enough to see what is going on. I wasn't looking at the proper thing in the Youtube vids, probably because the monitor that I was using is several feet away (extra PC) and was running the lower res video. Opening these files only took a few seconds and it's easy to isolate the digital click...

So this certainly is digital clicking though I'm curious if it's always zero'd out data (versus occasionally getting a spurious transient?) Something is wrong somewhere for sure, so you're at least on the path to tracking it down. Just for example on my part, I can transmit ramp saws via my Scope cards & main DAW ADAT ports on either RME unit without any errors (Multiface I & II). I am sure of that as it would throw the Scope Modular into fits if one of the ramps driving the sequencers (keeping them in sample accurate sync for sequencing) was somehow getting errors.

Generate source files (on the cpu so they're error free) and perhaps pass them out to other users if you think this issue is something not specific to your setup, or perhaps to help people check to see if theirs is suspect. Beyond that, I think the advance given thus far from everyone is on the right track.
Old 24th November 2009
  #101
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
So this certainly is digital clicking though I'm curious if it's always zero'd out data (versus occasionally getting a spurious transient?)
Yes. Always zeroed out samples, typically for one or maybe a few consecutive ones...

So in your opinion, is this in any way related to a clocking issue?


Quote:
Generate source files (on the cpu so they're error free) and perhaps pass them out to other users if you think this issue is something not specific to your setup
The files I have been using for all the tests are available for download here:
http://zuyotani.com/rme-glitch/sweep01.wav
http://zuyotani.com/rme-glitch/tone-...-16-stereo.wav

They're nothing special... just something I generated with Wavelab so I could test. One file is stereo, but I've always just used the left channel for a mono signal.

Thanks valis.


P.S. I just realized that you are the first to even bother looking at my WAV files and giving me some feedback. RME/Synthax once asked me for a sample (after they had "repaired" my unit and I pointed out to them that it was still defective), but no one ever bothered getting back to me about it...

Last edited by stdenisg; 24th November 2009 at 05:25 AM.. Reason: More info
Old 24th November 2009
  #102
Gear Nut
 

@Brian Brock
Quote:
so that goes one step towards ruling out the PC as a factor, assuming that firewire card is a kosher chipset.
TI chipset as far as I know...

Quote:
I would next change the ADAT side of things. I would want to buy a new cable first, since that's easy and probably a good idea anyway, if your ADAT cable is a lower quality HOSA - I would think the "premium" HOSA cables are fine at around a dollar a foot, but maybe there's a better one.
Yeah, better TOSLINK cables and another ADAT source. Although my OctamicD has been tested on another system and was working fine there.

I also had a loaner OctamicD from Synthax and that didn't resolve the issue either.

But hey, if I can locate another ADAT source, I will give it a shot.

Quote:
I would also suggest you might consider that user error might be the problem. Perhaps you can find someone else who uses a Fireface with an Octamic AD (is that it?), who doesn't have any problems, and compare settings with them. Rather than asking them to duplicate your test protocol, ask them what they are doing right.
I'm the first to admit I'm not perfect. But christ, what kind of user error could I consistently be doing over the past months that would create such a subtle, specific error? It's not like I'm operating the Large Hadron Collider, here.

But again, if anyone has any specific setup to share, please speak up.

Thanks Brian
Old 24th November 2009
  #103
Gear Nut
 

Re: TOSLINK cables

Everyone is telling me to get better TOSLINK cables without recommending anything specific.

The danger with this is that no matter what I buy, someone is going to say I should buy something better.

Where does it stop?

Aren't there specs that TOSLINK cables have to meet? If they meet them, then that's that. End of story.

So I'm looking at these, for example.
</title> <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="http://www.mycablemart.com/store/css/ds.css"> <meta name="title" content=""/> <meta name="description" content="ALT PRODUCT:MO-TOS-03-2763"/> <meta name="keywords" content=""/> </head> <html><head

Will these satisfy everyone? No?

How about these, then.
1m SonicWave Glass Toslink Cable - Cables To Go

What? I have to get better ones?
IXOS - Connecting science to performance

Man, I can't wait to hear the bass and improved clarity I'll get with THOSE!


It's late, sorry for rambling... I'll see what the TOSLINK fairy leaves under my pillow...
Old 24th November 2009
  #104
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fossaree's Avatar
man this thing gotta be solved !
Old 24th November 2009
  #105
Gear Maniac
 

Here's a guy on this message board who has both a Fireface 800 and an Octamic D. Maybe send him an email if you haven't already:

need help to set up my RME Octamic D with my RME FF800

He says he had it working. Perhaps he would be willing to run a test for you...
Old 24th November 2009
  #106
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norbury brook's Avatar
 

JUst came to this thread accidentaly. I borowed a FF800 to do a live recording a couple of years ago and bought 2x ADA8000 to hook in via ADAT to give me 24 channels.

I was recording to a mac book pro using a USB 2 drive for the audio files.


I HAD EXACTLY THE SAME PROBLEM YOU"RE DESCRIBING.


No matter how I clocked,which cables, I could not get a clean pop free signal from the ADAT's

I tried using OSX and cubase,bootcamping into windows Xp/cubase and it was the same.


Unfortunately there's no happy ending to this. Fortunately the unit wasn't mine.

I bought myself a couple fo MR 816's and hooked up the ADA 8000 to them to give 32 ins I connected them to the same laptop, with the same USB drive and recorded many shows click free.


sorry i can't be of more help but as I stated above I experienced the "EXACT SAME BEHAVIOUR''




Marcus
Old 24th November 2009
  #107
Gear Nut
 

@norbury brook

Thanks for that.

What can I say... other than I'd like all the time and money I've spent trying to solve this back.

I think I'll go and sob uncontrollably for a little bit now...
Old 24th November 2009
  #108
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fossaree's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by stdenisg View Post
@norbury brook

Thanks for that.

What can I say... other than I'd like all the time and money I've spent trying to solve this back.

I think I'll go and sob uncontrollably for a little bit now...
Man , time for calling RME directly and tell' em you WHANT a new one . No excuses , they must give you a new one .
Old 24th November 2009
  #109
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Everett Paul's Avatar
 

I've had this problem with clocking anything but RME from the Fireface800. Works fine when HDSP9652 is clocked back / forth with FF800. With other manufacturer's devices random pops and clicks occur across all i/o.

Personally I concluded that there is something wrong with the optical sockets/amplifiers used on the Fireface itself, as though the inputs were getting confused with weak signals or the optical outs were not getting enough juice into the cable. It would be easy to blame the cables but I did thorough testing of various cable types from 'free with your cheap hi fi' to short 1cm thick professional optical cables only a metre long that cost an arm and a leg. The cable did NOT make a difference. Interestingly, hooking up whatever external box to the Fireface via Wordclock and either setting the external device to wordclock master or FF800 to wordclock master, makes no difference to this problem, the audio coming via ADAT still has the clicks and pops (which are quite visible in totalmix with dancing meters)

The Fireface itself is quite stable, when it's on a decent fw chipset and you use the Fireface only for i/o it's very reliable. In my experience it either works or it doesn't, there is no in between. No gradual crackles if on a bad chipset, it either works properly or the Fireface control panel displays errors and you know immediately that it's not working on the specific computer or interface.
Old 24th November 2009
  #110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norbury brook View Post
JUst came to this thread accidentaly. I borowed a FF800 to do a live recording a couple of years ago and bought 2x ADA8000 to hook in via ADAT to give me 24 channels.

I was recording to a mac book pro using a USB 2 drive for the audio files.


I HAD EXACTLY THE SAME PROBLEM YOU"RE DESCRIBING.
this is very normal, USB, FW, are all in the same bus.
Pro Tools tell you shouldn't use usb drive in general, because you get this kind of problems, plus you have 24 channel, so it's normal this happen. in a mac book you have to use the FW800 (if it's a pro) and connect the fireface to this port, than use a FW hd connected to the fireface (not the mac book) and maybe works, but i think 24 tracks are too much for a mac book, i mean because you should use a separated internal HD, but you can't have two HD in a mac book.. so with a mac pro there are no problems if you connect them in this way, if not yes.. for example the front FW and FW800 and USB ports sucks.. while the ones in the back are ok.
Old 24th November 2009
  #111
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fossaree View Post
Man , time for calling RME directly and tell' em you WHANT a new one . No excuses , they must give you a new one .
Well that's the troubling part: when Synthax replaced the mainboard and the digital riser card in my FF800 this summer, they essentially gave me a new one.
And the clicking issue is still there.

Then they sent me a loaner.
And the clicking issue is still there.

Then I rented one.
And the clicking issue is still there.

Hence the existence of this thread.
I have not been able to find a FF800 that does not suffer from this defect.

I am trying to eliminate all other possible reasons that may be causing this incredibly unlucky streak of mine...
But the list is getting really short and the FF800 is definitely on it.
Old 24th November 2009
  #112
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MonoBrow's Avatar
 

Try to ask here also.RME User Forum
Old 24th November 2009
  #113
Here for the gear
 

Hi stdenisg,

I had the same problem with FF800 and misc clicks through the adat bus. My setup:
FF800, Tascam DM24, PC computer.

I tried all possible wiring (Master FF800, slave DM24 and opposite) bought same length
and different brands of adat cables, but nothing changed.
I also wired the same gear through Word clock (again without any luck).

The solution came when i bought a Rosendahl nanoclocks machine.
This is a master word clock gear that distributes word clock (this is one of what it does).
From that time that put Rosendahl as a master word clock generator and all other devices as word clock slaves, i never had any clicks again.

George
Old 25th November 2009
  #114
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fluxpod View Post
Try to ask here also.RME User Forum
Thanks Fluxpod.

I've already been there, done that... a long time ago when I first noticed something was wrong:
RME User Forum / Clicks on ADAT inputs of Fireface 800 with OctamicD

And then more recently when I was getting nowhere with Synthax:
RME User Forum / Fireface 800 ADAT input clicks: are you affected?

I'm still looking for solutions/answers...
Old 25th November 2009
  #115
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gfspro View Post
The solution came when i bought a Rosendahl nanoclocks machine.
This is a master word clock gear that distributes word clock (this is one of what it does).
From that time that put Rosendahl as a master word clock generator and all other devices as word clock slaves, i never had any clicks again.
Hey thanks for the tip George! I'll look into it.

No one has confirmed that my issue is clocking-related however, so I'm still wondering if this solution would work in this case.

And obviously, if the FF800 won't operate correctly without an external clock, then it is by definition defective as I never once saw any official requirement that an external clocking solution be provided.

Cheers
Old 25th November 2009
  #116
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fossaree's Avatar
Let me ask you something:

If you do use just one adat port you get no clicks , right ?

how about if you do use both port in S/MUX protocol (i.e 96khz > 1-4=adat I , 5-8=adat II) , do you usually get clicks?
Old 25th November 2009
  #117
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fossaree View Post
If you do use just one adat port you get no clicks , right ?

how about if you do use both port in S/MUX protocol (i.e 96khz > 1-4=adat I , 5-8=adat II) , do you usually get clicks?
Clicks have appeared even when I was using only 1 ADAT input (either one).

I haven't tested sampling rates higher than 48000, but I might give that a try to see what happens...
Old 25th November 2009
  #118
Gear Nut
 

Just a quick note to anyone following this thread...

I will be busy with other things (yes, I have a life) and will probably not be doing any more testing for a while.

If anything noteworthy comes up, I will post back.

Until then, a very sincere thanks to all who have contributed.

Best of luck to everyone!
Old 25th November 2009
  #119
Gear Addict
 
s34nsm411's Avatar
 

Lately Ive been trying to track stuff at very low latency on the fireface and usually this translates to a few pops here and there when playing back in cubase. However I have noticed that when I am recording something, a little flub gets recorded onto the track. Not quite a pop but it just glitches a little bit. Maybe this is what the OP is getting? I never really noticed it before at 1024 samples which is the highest setting. But at 96 it seems to happen. Anybody know a solution?
Old 25th November 2009
  #120
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djmukilteo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by s34nsm411 View Post
Lately Ive been trying to track stuff at very low latency on the fireface and usually this translates to a few pops here and there when playing back in cubase. However I have noticed that when I am recording something, a little flub gets recorded onto the track. Not quite a pop but it just glitches a little bit. Maybe this is what the OP is getting? I never really noticed it before at 1024 samples which is the highest setting. But at 96 it seems to happen. Anybody know a solution?
Your problem isn't what the OP is testing or seeing.
He is not using a software DAW like Cubase to record his tests.
He's using RME's Digicheck tool "Global Record" to make his tests.
RME states that using this tool allows one to record as many tracks as you like simultaneously for long hours at a time with no dropouts or glitches.
The reason this works is that it interleaves multiple audio channels to a single file rather than continuously stream them separately onto a disk drive. The file can be saved and then separated later into separate tracks into a multitrack playback system like Cubase.
Glitches, pops, dropouts and little flubs that occur within a DAW like Cubase like your seeing could be due to many factors...

#1 Computer running any other services, processes or applications in the background and/or task bar which can and will interupt Cubase. This includes Antivirus programs, internet connections or any applications setup with auto update features. First thing to check!
#2 Buffer size of the ASIO driver (256, 512) are good buffer sizes. 1024 is a large buffer size and some drivers don't like them. Experiment by starting as small of a buffer as you can get away with without dropouts. Every ASIO driver has a sweet spot. I have my FF800 set with 256 buffers and get 7ms latency in Cubase which is a very low latency and I get zero dropouts, glitches etc....rock solid performance. I have mine running on a AMD dual core FX60 2.8Ghz with 4G of RAM on WinXP.
#3 FireWire/USB power supply loading and loss of sync.
#4 Hard drive access read/write speeds, motherboard DMA channel speed and CPU cache sizes. This is all related to how good your processor, motherboard and hard drives are setup.
#5 RAM size and memory management schemes. All of your peripheral hardware attached to your computer requires the OS to memory map space in your RAM and reserve those blocks causing smaller and limited allocated RAM space for streaming and caching your large amounts of audio data to a hard drive. WinXP can allocate almost 1G of your RAM for services and hardware depending on how much stuff you have in your computer. The more RAM you have the better, smoother and faster your computer will run. Always is the case and will always be the case....no matter what operating system you use....everything in a computer goes into and out of RAM for one nanosecond or another...no getting around it, that's how they work!...
I'm sure there are more reasons out there but those seem to be the most common!
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