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Geomagnetic Storms Cause Sync Issues
Old 12th August 2013
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Geomagnetic Storms Cause Sync Issues

Anyone else have sync problems with their audio interfaces aug. 10-11 because of the geomagnetic solar storm?

I have a Presonus Firestudio 2626 (which may be more susceptible to this problem) and I noticed a couple of years ago that it would lose sync with my PC when thunder storms were in the area; but I have only now confirmed that geomagnetic solar storms have the same effect.

I just thought I would let people know that this may be an issue for them; I'm not seeking advice for fixes because as far as I know, nothing can be done. The main thing I wanted to know was whether RME, Steinberg, Focusrite, etc. interfaces share this weakness.
Old 12th August 2013
  #2
Tui
Gear Guru
 
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With respect to RME interfaces, a large meteorite might stop them from working, but other than that - nope.
Old 13th August 2013
  #3
Gear Nut
 

lol, understood; I'm actually planning on upgrading to an RME UCX at some point, so that's nice to hear.
Old 24th August 2013
  #4
Gear Nut
 

Here we go again; another geomagnetic storm has caused my firestudio 2626 to become unstable and lose sync (with no thunder storms in the area).

"NOAA forecasters estimate a 60% to 70% chance of polar geomagnetic storms this weekend. A CME ejected from the sun on Aug. 21 is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field on Aug. 24, with reverberations from the impact continuing through Aug. 25."
-spaceweather.com
Old 24th August 2013
  #5
Tui
Gear Guru
 
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Where do you live - Mercury?
Old 24th August 2013
  #6
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tui View Post
With respect to RME interfaces, a large meteorite might stop them from working, but other than that - nope.
Meteorites are pretty good for some earth shaking warmth though. Proper big n booming.
Old 25th August 2013
  #7
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tui View Post
Where do you live - Mercury?
Lol; I admit, it's pretty odd. I live at the highest elevation in my area (still only 800ft), which might cause extra sensitivity to thunder storms; but I doubt geomagnetic effects are enhanced.

The sun is in the most active period of its 11-ish year cycle; so this problem has unfortunately become more frequent. I use my firestudio daily, so I noticed every time problems arose; and for awhile I thought there was no way that geomagnetic storms could be the cause. However, I first noticed in the spring that I would lose sync on days that no thunder storms were around, but geomagnetic storms were. When I lost sync for a 5th time on a geomagnetic storm day with no thunder storms, I thought I would report it (FWIW, I have all of my gear on power conditioners/surge protectors). The presonus firestudio 2626 was sort of known for being unstable, thought to drop sync "randomly"; but I think I might have stumbled across the real reason why so many people had sync problems. Although I still would like to know if others experienced the same issue; just so I can be sure that I don't reside in the Bermuda Triangle of Missouri, lol.
Old 25th August 2013
  #8
Tui
Gear Guru
 
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TBH, I've never heard of this issue before.


"Fascinating."

Seriously, though, it reminds me of the myriad of possible causes of interference gear manufacturers have to take into account when designing their products.
Old 25th August 2013
  #9
Gear Addict
 
danly's Avatar
 

i think you're the one losing sync, not your interface

edit: well, to be honest. I do a lot of work with reel to reels, and sometimes, I can "feel" that it's a good day to turn on the tape machine and know it probably won't break. Maybe low air pressure or something.
Old 25th August 2013
  #10
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tui View Post
Seriously, though, it reminds me of the myriad of possible causes of interference gear manufacturers have to take into account when designing their products.
Indeed

This is obviously speculation, but it may have played a part in the decision to discontinue the firestudio 2626 (along with the capacitors failing on some units causing a permanent red light of death). This review comes to mind, Presonus Firestudio 2626 Review | Home Recording Blog
Old 25th August 2013
  #11
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by danly View Post
i think you're the one losing sync, not your interface
lol, a few months ago, I thought I was to.
Old 9th October 2013
  #12
Gear Nut
 

I am now convinced that geomagnetic storms cause the firestudio 2626 to lose sync. Since my last post, problems arose on 6 different occasions, and everytime it was 8-12 hours after the start of a strong geomagnetic storm; more specifically, after high level readings on NOAA's "Estimated Planetary K Index" graph,

3-day Estimated Planetary Kp-index Monitor

I have been checking this site daily; levels are usually at 0-1 with occasional 2 spikes. Without fail, every single strong storm has caused problems. Today was the 6th time since Aug 24th; after a Kp index level 5 storm. Interestingly, and as you would expect, the strongest (K>4) storms cause sync issues for longer periods of time: roughly 2-3 days for the 5's, 1-2 for the 4's and on one occasion, there was a sustained Kp index level 3 storm which stretched for about 2 days, which caused problems, but it didn't last long after the levels dropped back to 0-1.

When effected, at first my firestudio won't sync to my computer at all; yet as time passes (1-2 days) or during weaker storms, it successfully syncs up but then after about 30-60 minutes it drops sync.

p.s.-Although this problem has been interesting to look in to, I would have liked to smash my firestudio with large hammer on multiple occasions due to extreme anger.
Old 9th October 2013
  #13
Wrap your firestudio in foil
Old 9th October 2013
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Joe Porto's Avatar
 

Try a different firewire cable. I had a Duet that lost sync at very random times (never cross referenced with NOAA records). Turned out to be a bad firewire cable.
Old 10th October 2013
  #15
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Porto View Post
Try a different firewire cable. I had a Duet that lost sync at very random times (never cross referenced with NOAA records). Turned out to be a bad firewire cable.
I replaced my mediocre firewire cable about 2 years ago with a nice planet waves cable; but my problems continued. That led me to upgrade my power conditioner/surge protector also with no relief. Then I thought it was thunder storms because it would occasionally drop sync when they were in the area. However, I still don't know if this was a coincidence (thunder storms and geomagnetic storms could have shown up on the same days because I wasn't tracking geomagnetic storm activity back then). But after it malfunctioned multiple times when absolutely no thunder storms were around and I had basically given up. But then a 3-day stretch of sync problems occurred and on the news they reported that a very large CME wave (coronal mass ejection) had hit the planet causing a geomagnetic storm and very bright aurora that were seen farther south than usual. I had known that CME's could cause problems to satellite communications, GPS, etc. so I decided to follow CME activity not really believing that it was the problem, but I was prepared to look at anything. So over the last few months I found that my problems coincided exactly with geomagnetic storm activity; which led to this thread. I will continue to monitor this problem, unfortunately, because I have to (I still don't have the funds for a RME UCX).
Old 10th October 2013
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Joe Porto's Avatar
 

I honestly do not think Geomagnetically Induced Currents could effect you at the system level. In other words, GICs effect long running conductor systems, such as power grids and pipelines. These act as giant antennas.

It could be that you have some grounding issues in your studio, that in combination with GICs on the electric grid are causing power anomalies that are effecting your system.

But I highly doubt that GICs are actually effecting your equipment directly.
Old 10th October 2013
  #17
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Porto View Post
It could be that you have some grounding issues in your studio, that in combination with GICs on the electric grid are causing power anomalies that are effecting your system.

But I highly doubt that GICs are actually effecting your equipment directly.
It's certainly possible that the larger grid is effected; which is in turn effecting my firestudio 2626. But if that's the case, it is still geomagnetic storms causing my problems, as GIC's are obviously caused by CME's.

What makes me think it may be a presonus firestudio 2626 specific problem is that I have known for some time that it was a widely shared complaint among firestudio 2626 users that the unit would drop sync often and seemingly at random (as mentioned in the review link above). Yet I won't know until I get a new audio interface and test them here side by side in geomagnetic storms.
Old 6th November 2013
  #18
Gear Nut
 

I recently found the following hardware compatibility list for the firestudio/studio live series interfaces issued by Presonus about a year ago,
http://www.presonus.com/uploads/prod...ty_7-25-12.pdf

About halfway down it says,

"You should only use 1394 cables that are 6.6 feet (2 meters) or shorter. Longer 1394 cables have proven to be problematic, especially in areas where there are high-EMF sources"

My Planet Waves firewire cable was 10 ft long; so I purchased a 6 ft Tripp Lite cable which arrived a few days ago. I will report back in a few weeks on whether or not the problem has been solved.
Old 6th December 2013
  #19
Gear Nut
 

Over the past month I didn't loose sync a single time; absolutely no problems whatsoever. It's been comparable to a vacation and I can now safely say that the problem has been unexpectedly solved.

Evidently, the longer (10ft) PW firewire cable (double-shielded) was picking up enough interference to disrupt the firewire's streaming connection. However there is one important caveat to the shorter (6ft) TL firewire cable's success; the TL cable is actually quadruple sheilded,

"with tinned copper braid and aluminum mylar foil on each twisted pair as well as on the cable as a whole..."
-tripplite.com

This obviously assisted in the solid stability; so I don't know which of the variables (length or shielding) made a greater impact. For the record, both firewire cables have gold plated connectors.

Lol, it's a shame I didn't see that hardware compatibility list sooner.
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