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 PC Optimization - Clicks and Pops, Not so random
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gimmexlz
Member

USA
88 Posts

Posted - 10/28/2008 :  1:02:03 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  [Reply to Topic]  | [Reply w/ Quote]
We have been getting a significant amount of clicks and pops on tracks in the recent months. Cakewalk gave me the impression that these were normal when using a low buffer, and the the pop wasn't there, WRONG! I've had to make some miracles happen in the last couple of sessions, one affected every single track in a session. We have been using this system in a PROFESSIONAL environment for almost a year now and this has started happening very frequently.

We keep our drives at less than 75% capacity, unless they are an archive, and we're using a Core 2 Duo 3.0 GHz, 1.333Ghz FSB, and 8 mB L2, with 4 GB ram, 10K SATA record drives and all current software updates.

I personally think the source could be our Clock Generator, it's a Lucid GENx6, it will only do up to 48kHz, but that's usually fine. Could it be that now our DAW exceeds the abilities of our Clock?

We are getting a lot of dropouts, and clicks and pops, which makes me think something is not working as fast as it should. We have the ability to upgrade to Quad Core, and we are planning to start experimenting with Vista, on a seperate system drive, but I am guessing that there is something wrong elsewhere.

We ARE NOT working in the box, so my assumption is that we should have POWER in reserve, since most of our processing is done with our out board FX, and the dynamic processors on our console, Yamaha 02R96.
I'm also wondering if We should upgrade our MOTU PCI424 to PCIe, but upgrades aren't really in the cards right now, no pun intended. I don't know, need some help.


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garrigus
Moderator

USA
14512 Posts

Posted - 10/28/2008 :  1:11:06 PM  Show Profile  Visit garrigus's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Ian,

Did something change recently on the system?

Are your drives defragged?

Have you tried switching soundcard drivers? WDM to ASIO or the other way around.

Have you tried raising latency slightly to see if that makes a difference? As long as it's under 10ms, you shouldn't hear any delays.

Scott

--
Scott R. Garrigus - http://www.garrigus.com
* Cakewalk SONAR Video Tutorials: https://www.youtube.com/user/ScottGarrigus?sub_confirmation=1
* Author of the Cakewalk Sonar and Sony Sound Forge Power book series: http://garrigus.com/?PowerBooks
* Publisher of the DigiFreq music recording newsletter: http://www.digifreq.com/
* Publisher of the NewTechReview consumer tech newsletter: http://www.newtechreview.com/
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gimmexlz
Member

USA
88 Posts

Posted - 10/28/2008 :  2:29:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I defragged the drives a month ago, we are using the latency adjustment on the PCI424, Sonar will not allow us to use it's latency adjustment since we have an external clock. There have been no new hardware items or software in the last 3 months. Starting to think that Going Quad and PCIe might help, Usually I have a minimum of 16 tracks on Input, more like 18-20 with the latency set to 128 samples in the MOTU Device window.
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dirtysteve
Gold Member

USA
1708 Posts

Posted - 10/28/2008 :  4:12:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit dirtysteve's Homepage  Reply with Quote
My guess is the problem lies in the external clocking. Have you tried changing the settings in Sonar back to Internal Clock to see if that eliminates the clicks and pops? If it does, then you can take the next step of troubleshooting.

Always fly high
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gimmexlz
Member

USA
88 Posts

Posted - 10/29/2008 :  09:55:53 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'd like to try that, but the studio is swamped right now, and the cables are a little difficult to get to. we are running our console, DAW, and a preamp(Digimax96k) off the clock, that's it. And we should be able to run the other 3 out w/ no problem, it's a clock, that's all it does. I just think our clock is older than our DAW and it is starting to show. I don't know, just wanna fix it.
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garrigus
Moderator

USA
14512 Posts

Posted - 10/29/2008 :  10:00:24 AM  Show Profile  Visit garrigus's Homepage  Reply with Quote
What about trying to increase the latency setting in the MOTU device window?

Scott

--
Scott R. Garrigus - http://www.garrigus.com
* Cakewalk SONAR Video Tutorials: https://www.youtube.com/user/ScottGarrigus?sub_confirmation=1
* Author of the Cakewalk Sonar and Sony Sound Forge Power book series: http://garrigus.com/?PowerBooks
* Publisher of the DigiFreq music recording newsletter: http://www.digifreq.com/
* Publisher of the NewTechReview consumer tech newsletter: http://www.newtechreview.com/
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dirtysteve
Gold Member

USA
1708 Posts

Posted - 10/29/2008 :  12:39:01 PM  Show Profile  Visit dirtysteve's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by gimmexlz

I'd like to try that, but the studio is swamped right now, and the cables are a little difficult to get to. we are running our console, DAW, and a preamp(Digimax96k) off the clock, that's it. And we should be able to run the other 3 out w/ no problem, it's a clock, that's all it does. I just think our clock is older than our DAW and it is starting to show. I don't know, just wanna fix it.



Can you "demo" a new clock from one of your local pro audio dealers?

Hooking everything up to a new clock would tell you if maybe the crystal's gone bad in the piece of kit you're using now.

Always fly high
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Jim Sturm
Moderator

USA
716 Posts

Posted - 10/29/2008 :  1:14:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Do the clicks and pops show up in the recorded waveform, or do you only hear them on playback? If they do show up in the waveform, are they the only ones you hear on playback, or do you also hear some that don't show up in the waveform?

Do you have more than one interface on the PCI424? If so, do you have the same probem on every interface? How are you routing your clock into the PCI424?

If it used to work, and now it doesn't, something changed. We need to use the process of elimination to determine what that was. It could be anything from a USB device that changes your interrupt configuration to a bad wordclock cable or inadequacy of the disk subsystem.

You could also inadvertantly be pushing the system harder than you used to. This is probably gonna take a while. I really don't suspect your house clock as the primary culprit myself, but it's possible.

-Jim


Old Dog... New Tricks!
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gimmexlz
Member

USA
88 Posts

Posted - 10/29/2008 :  6:11:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Above 128 samples there is a noticeable echo, enough to fight with at least. We have no local pro audio, just a few guitar shops. There are pops with low buffer settings, but they usually disappear when i increase the buffer, that's when i started noticing the real ones. The Clock is the Master. The DAW, Console, and all other digital devices are connected to the clock. We did however install the Line 6 Gearbox software about 4-5 months ago, and it crashed the system because it conflicted with the MOTU's(2x 2408MK3 & 1x 2408MK1). Now, it stays unplugged until we use the software, then we plug it in like a dongle after Sonar is up and running. We do not use it for tracking and do not plan to. It hasn't given us any trouble since then, I guess...
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dirtysteve
Gold Member

USA
1708 Posts

Posted - 10/30/2008 :  1:35:54 PM  Show Profile  Visit dirtysteve's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by gimmexlz

Above 128 samples there is a noticeable echo, enough to fight with at least.



Are you saying your sample rate is set at 128kHz instead of something like 44.1kHz or 96kHz?

If so, then set your clock to sample at 96kHz and that should resolve the issue. Neither the MKI or III support anything above 96kHz.

Always fly high
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gimmexlz
Member

USA
88 Posts

Posted - 10/30/2008 :  10:08:21 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
No, we are running 24bit/48kHz, the SAMPLE BUFFER is set to 128 SAMPLES, roughly 3-4 ms. Our clock is set to 48khz and never changes. I don't even think there is a setting for 128khz. i am changing our patchbay this weekend, which I believe is causing trouble with phantom power, which could be causing the pops. For what it is worth, I would advise anyone who is using a PC board style patchbay, don't run phantom power through it, wires are better than traces.
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