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Audio Interface driver fail produces a deafening white noise
Old 13th September 2020
  #1
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Audio Interface driver fail produces a deafening white noise

Dear community. I hope someone can help me troubleshooting the audio failure issue I have.

On my hybrid windows 10 laptop, which I bought specifically for a mobile recording/live performance situation. When using with my MUTU microbook ii I'm facing an issue of a sporadic audio failure, for no apparent reason. What happens is that all of a sudden I get a white noise at the ears health threaghtenning level, effectively kicking the audio engine off, while working in my DAW.

It only happens on this machine but has been persistent when using two different DAWs I work with (Ableton and Cakewalk).

I use ASIO MOTU microbook driver, but this also happened when I was using WASAPI, with the audio interface. (Yes I know that it isn't a proper use of this driver ).

The pattern is - it usually happens when the system is idle, or no active action is being taken by me, for example during a long jamming. It looks like some kind of a driver conflict, or maybe windows switches some processes automatically for energy saving reasons, but I just don't know where to look.

Has anyone had anything like that? Thanks a lot. Greets. Anton
Old 14th September 2020
  #2
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I assume this is buss powered over USB?

I would try powering the interface with an outlet and see if it goes away. It is possible that windows itself is dropping power to your USB ports maybe?

You can also check your power settings in windows and set everything to never sleep and all the power settings to best performance rather than saving energy or anything like that.

If that is not the issue, then there might be a problem with your interface but I'm not sure what.
Old 14th September 2020
  #3
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Rick Dalton's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by antonjazzsax View Post
Dear community. I hope someone can help me troubleshooting the audio failure issue I have.

On my hybrid windows 10 laptop, which I bought specifically for a mobile recording/live performance situation. When using with my MUTU microbook ii I'm facing an issue of a sporadic audio failure, for no apparent reason. What happens is that all of a sudden I get a white noise at the ears health threaghtenning level, effectively kicking the audio engine off, while working in my DAW.

It only happens on this machine but has been persistent when using two different DAWs I work with (Ableton and Cakewalk).

I use ASIO MOTU microbook driver, but this also happened when I was using WASAPI, with the audio interface. (Yes I know that it isn't a proper use of this driver ).

The pattern is - it usually happens when the system is idle, or no active action is being taken by me, for example during a long jamming. It looks like some kind of a driver conflict, or maybe windows switches some processes automatically for energy saving reasons, but I just don't know where to look.

Has anyone had anything like that? Thanks a lot. Greets. Anton
Have you looked in your crash log for errors?
Old 15th September 2020
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Korcraft View Post
I assume this is buss powered over USB?

I would try powering the interface with an outlet and see if it goes away. It is possible that windows itself is dropping power to your USB ports maybe?

You can also check your power settings in windows and set everything to never sleep and all the power settings to best performance rather than saving energy or anything like that.

If that is not the issue, then there might be a problem with your interface but I'm not sure what.
The audio interface is usb bus powered only, it cannot be connected to the outlet, or at least would need a splitter. It seemed like it could be both - the energy saving behaviour and something else. I will try to test it and recreate the issue and post again
Old 15th September 2020
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Dalton View Post
Have you looked in your crash log for errors?
No , there is no crash-related errors
Old 17th September 2020
  #6
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So I've looked for system errors in event log, didn't find anything, I tried isolating the issue, by closing all the programs, turning off auto updates and so on. It still comes back. It does seem like increasing the buffer size makes it it less frequent, but it actually happenes most often, when nothing is done.

One thing that seems strange to me through is:
The buffer size cannot be changed within the DAW, but has to be changed in the "cue mix" mixer utility, which comes with all MOTU interfaces. After digging into that app I noticed, that it doesn't give the possibility to set specific buffer size either. What it does is offers to set the "Host Buffer Multiplier" to either 2,4,8 , or 16 ms, which in turn affects the buffer size in Ableton. However, it doesn't behave consistently when such changes are made. After opening the project once it shows 256samples and around 19 ms roundtrip delay at 44.1 khz for the 4 ms value in that "Host Buffer Multiplier" box.
However , if i close and reopen , it becomes 10 ms and 128 samples for that same value. Than sometimes it changes to 88.2khz sample rate in the DAW. If I set it back to 44.1 then it does that, but the showed delay stays the same as it was at 88.2 khz in Ableton. This is something that doesn't look right to me, but I don't see, how I could correct that driver behaviour. It is the ASIO MOTU driver anyway, so I don't know what the options would be... If anyone knows anything about that, please reply. Thank you

PS: one more question, should the computer audio be switched to built in soundcard (mic and built in speakers) while I work in DAWs?
Old 17th September 2020
  #7
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Rick Dalton's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by antonjazzsax View Post
So I've looked for system errors in event log, didn't find anything, I tried isolating the issue, by closing all the programs, turning off auto updates and so on. It still comes back. It does seem like increasing the buffer size makes it it less frequent, but it actually happenes most often, when nothing is done.

One thing that seems strange to me through is:
The buffer size cannot be changed within the DAW, but has to be changed in the "cue mix" mixer utility, which comes with all MOTU interfaces. After digging into that app I noticed, that it doesn't give the possibility to set specific buffer size either. What it does is offers to set the "Host Buffer Multiplier" to either 2,4,8 , or 16 ms, which in turn affects the buffer size in Ableton. However, it doesn't behave consistently when such changes are made. After opening the project once it shows 256samples and around 19 ms roundtrip delay at 44.1 khz for the 4 ms value in that "Host Buffer Multiplier" box.
However , if i close and reopen , it becomes 10 ms and 128 samples for that same value. Than sometimes it changes to 88.2khz sample rate in the DAW. If I set it back to 44.1 then it does that, but the showed delay stays the same as it was at 88.2 khz in Ableton. This is something that doesn't look right to me, but I don't see, how I could correct that driver behaviour. It is the ASIO MOTU driver anyway, so I don't know what the options would be... If anyone knows anything about that, please reply. Thank you

PS: one more question, should the computer audio be switched to built in soundcard (mic and built in speakers) while I work in DAWs?
"one more question, should the computer audio be switched to built in soundcard (mic and built in speakers) while I work in DAWs?" That be a no, you need to disable it and set your interface as default playback device,
Old 17th September 2020
  #8
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Have you tried using your DAW and interface without cuemix open? You do not need to use cuemix...(or even have it installed) Try using your DAW without cuemix and see if you have the same issue
Old 17th September 2020
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Korcraft View Post
Have you tried using your DAW and interface without cuemix open? You do not need to use cuemix...(or even have it installed) Try using your DAW without cuemix and see if you have the same issue
Oh, wow, that actually seems to solve the problem. Thank you. But how come cue mix conflicts with the DAW Operation? Anyway I do need to use it for direct monitoring, but certainly not at all times. One it's set, the app can go off. Thanks very much! I was struggling with this far too long.
Old 18th September 2020
  #10
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Well, that does 2 things for us.

1 - It allows you to at least mix in peace.
2 - More importantly it tells us what link in the chain is actually the problem.

I have a few suggestions.

1 - Simply uninstall cuemix and reinstall it.
2 - Before doing that, you should know that there is another piece of software for Motu hardware. I forget it's exact name, but the icon on a Mac is like an old school radio microphone. Just do a search on your computer for Motu. Anyways, in this software you can do things like set sample rate, change which outputs are used for headphones, and I believe custom name the inputs and outputs of your device. At least this software existed with my 896 mk3. So.......If you also have that software, make sure its bit depth and sample rate match your DAW. Typically your DAW SHOULD take contol of this, but it is possible that something is bugged and your hardware has a conflict between your DAW and the Motu software. In fact, we know this is true because cuemix is causing issues.

So, if fiddling with any of these settings on the Motu software doesn't work. Uninstall EVERYTHING that is Motu on your computer and reinstall it.

Personally I never really used Cuemix, it is needed for direct monitoring, I just always found it a bit convoluted.
Old 18th September 2020
  #11
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Korcraft View Post
Well, that does 2 things for us.

1 - It allows you to at least mix in peace.
2 - More importantly it tells us what link in the chain is actually the problem.

I have a few suggestions.

1 - Simply uninstall cuemix and reinstall it.
2 - Before doing that, you should know that there is another piece of software for Motu hardware. I forget it's exact name, but the icon on a Mac is like an old school radio microphone. Just do a search on your computer for Motu. Anyways, in this software you can do things like set sample rate, change which outputs are used for headphones, and I believe custom name the inputs and outputs of your device. At least this software existed with my 896 mk3. So.......If you also have that software, make sure its bit depth and sample rate match your DAW. Typically your DAW SHOULD take contol of this, but it is possible that something is bugged and your hardware has a conflict between your DAW and the Motu software. In fact, we know this is true because cuemix is causing issues.

So, if fiddling with any of these settings on the Motu software doesn't work. Uninstall EVERYTHING that is Motu on your computer and reinstall it.

Personally I never really used Cuemix, it is needed for direct monitoring, I just always found it a bit convoluted.
Thank you. Yes I uninstalled and reinstalled it. The "MOTU CueMix Console" app (the one with the radio mic icon) unfortunately isn't installed withe hardware installer. Looks like it isn't meant for this audio interface. I know this app because I was using it with my MOTU traveller on Mac for years and never had issues with it. This CueMix FX under Windows 10 is quite finicky indeed, maybe it's worth letting MOTU know about these specific issues. Anyway hopefully that was a solution for now (to just dump that sucker as soon as the setup is done )). Thanks a lot for all the responses
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