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Cracks in Audio During recording/Monitoring/mixing

Postby manuel-TRND » Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:33 pm

Hi there ,
Ive been experiencing some really weird and annoying issues with my recordings in cubase lately.
Im recording drums with 9 microphones, afterwards I'm dubbing bass an then guitars and vox.
Mostly when I'm done with drums and bass and start with layering guitars I start to hear little "cracks" during listening to the mix, sometimes it stops playing. That cracking mostly cant be heard in the recording during monitoring , but sometimes it just records these cracks.

Changed all cables , mics , amps, and it's not clipping i think cause the signal is leveled really low.

Maybe its the computer itself? Iam using an Acer Aspire 3 a315 53 35 fq with 4GB RAM. Maybe 4GB is just Not enough for big 30-Track recordings?

I had some issues in the past where recordings just stopped and it said "too many audio tracks ". So I think the PC is sometimes struggling a little.
Maybe that's what's creating the cracks on the audio tracks?
Anyone here had similar experiences in the past? If you need some audio examples I can bounce something out!!

It really kills creativity in recording situations and is super frustrating, especially when u record for another band.

Hope someone here can give me some tips. Greets from Hamburg!
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Re: Cracks in Audio During recording/Monitoring/mixing

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:20 pm

Have you tried a bigger buffer size? It will increase the latency when overdub recording, but it will reveal whether the problem is with the computer itself, or something else.

H
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Re: Cracks in Audio During recording/Monitoring/mixing

Postby CS70 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 6:21 pm

Yeah it sounds like a classic latency issue.

Did it work fine with many tracks before? It so (and you haven't changed the ASIO buffer size) it may be short of disk space, or the disk can be fragmented and thus slower than it should.

Do you have effects on the drum&bass tracks? Or effects in general?

Do you record guitars from a miked amp, or do you run a simulation on the pc itself? If the latter, is the case, the best is to bounce drums and bass in a single stereo track, record the overdubs, and then bring them back to the original project. Doesn't matter if they ain't refined, they're just a guide for guitar recording anyways.

The machine is probably fine for recording but it's really a little basic for mixing. Normally the main issue is disk speed - which you could help by recording on a SSD, but with many tracks you might be run out of memory as well.
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Re: Cracks in Audio During recording/Monitoring/mixing

Postby manuel-TRND » Sat Oct 12, 2019 12:55 pm

Thx for your reply!
As it seems there is enough disk space available.

Didnt change the buffer size ever, but I'll give it a try! Maybe the high buffer size just takes too much RAM.

I record guitar with a miced amp, going into an golf mike preamp then going into my usb interface.

Your idea of bouncing out drums and bass to record the overdubs sounds good! Definitely gonna give it a try. But Long term I have to figure out what the main problem is..
Probably disk speed. Do you know If I can expand it anyhow ?
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Re: Cracks in Audio During recording/Monitoring/mixing

Postby manuel-TRND » Sat Oct 12, 2019 12:57 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Have you tried a bigger buffer size? It will increase the latency when overdub recording, but it will reveal whether the problem is with the computer itself, or something else.

H

Will definetly give it a try!
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Re: Cracks in Audio During recording/Monitoring/mixing

Postby Wonks » Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:19 pm

As the buffer size is measured in bytes, not kilobytes or megabytes, RAM size is of no consequence in making it a few bytes larger.

A larger buffer gives more time for the processor to handle all its other tasks. Doubling its size gives the processor twice as long to deal with other tasks before reading and clearing the buffer. If it can't finish processing other tasks and reads the full buffer before the next sample comes through, you get a click.

But increasing the buffer size does increase the latency, so it's a question of using the smallest buffer size you can get away with. It takes seconds to adjust, so don't be afraid to try different values.
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Re: Cracks in Audio During recording/Monitoring/mixing

Postby manuel-TRND » Sat Oct 12, 2019 2:18 pm

Thx so much for ur explanation ! Will definitely try out different values and see if that helps. What do you think about the idea of upgrading my RAM On the laptop? Been thinking about that as well. So i dont have to make the compromise of more latency for no click and crackle sounds..
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Re: Cracks in Audio During recording/Monitoring/mixing

Postby Wonks » Sat Oct 12, 2019 2:30 pm

It doesn't really work like that.

Physically. your best improvement will be to get an SSD fitted if you haven't got one already. Then a RAM upgrade.

Software wise, you need to make sure that there's the minimum of other programs running, and certainly turn off wi-fi whilst recording.

Search the through the Windows Music forum here for ways of seeing if any particular programs hold on to the processor for longer than they should do. So search for the program 'Latency Monitor'.
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Re: Cracks in Audio During recording/Monitoring/mixing

Postby CS70 » Sat Oct 12, 2019 2:59 pm

manuel-TRND wrote:As it seems there is enough disk space available.

Cool, just check that the disk space is contiguous (simply right click on the disk and in the tools check the disk and its fragmentation level.

Didnt change the buffer size ever, but I'll give it a try! Maybe the high buffer size just takes too much RAM.

Watch out that it's just the opposite. The buffer is used as a staging space from and to the cpu and the interface, so the smaller it is, the faster the CPU has to work to empty it before new data arrives... when the CPU doesn't manage, data is discarded and you have pops and cracks.

The biggest the buffer, however, the longest goes from the moment a signal is accepted by the interface to the moment it's processed by the cpu... aka latency.

You should set the buffer to the smaller possible which does not produce pops and cracks.

When it comes to RAM, even a large buffer is only a few kilobytes, so nothing to worry about.

.. Long term I have to figure out what the main problem is..
Probably disk speed. Do you know If I can expand it anyhow ?

As above, check that the disk is not faulty/fragmented (bad sectors can force the I/O controller to repeat write operations and that slows things down big time). If all seems ok with the disk, you can add a fast external SSD instead - a Samsung T1.

Note that *replacing* the disk where Windows is installed often will require a new Windows license.. you can call Microsoft and explain that you want to do that and see if they allow you to re-activate the same license after you've changed the disk.

However, before going down that road, depending on the computer and the state of the OS, it may simply tuning that is needed.

Recording 30 tracks without any effect shouldn't really stress a system even if not that powerful.

But has it ever worked before?

If yes, I suspect you may have installed some application that gobbles either memory and/or CPU. Ideally, when you record, you shouldn't have anything else going on besides the operating system components. You can download Process Explorer by TechNet (it's free) to have a better look than by using the built-in Task Manager.

If not - it might be some of your laptop hardware doesn't play ball. You can try stuff like disabling the network interface when you record and also any internal audio card (from Device Manager).

Also, the basics: make sure you have the PC battery options in High performance mode, and that you have disabled (unchecked) all the "the system can manage power on this device" in all you USB devices (again, from Device Manager, right click on, say, a USB hub and got to the "Power Management" tab).

At BIOS level you can disable C states.

If you haven't done all that already, this will make the laptop battery last much less but the machine will be much faster.

There's more tuning but one step at a time.
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Re: Cracks in Audio During recording/Monitoring/mixing

Postby manuel-TRND » Sun Oct 13, 2019 5:48 am

Thanks for all the help CS70! Will definetly go give ur tips a try and check if my disk space is contiguous, checking the USB settings etc..

All the other settings on the PC should be optimized to performance mode, iam even running the graphics at a lower level to make the performance faster. Wifi is always off during recording and mixing.

Will also consider running cubase on a ssd. Do you have any experiences with re-installing cubase on the ssd? I guess just copy/pasting it onto the SSD wont work..?
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Re: Cracks in Audio During recording/Monitoring/mixing

Postby Wonks » Sun Oct 13, 2019 5:07 pm

If you do a disk image transfer of your main disk, it should be straightforward and the new disk work straight away (though Windows might take you through a quick re-authorise procedure). There is normally a program to do the disk copy that comes with a new SSD.

You just need to make sure that the SSD is the same size or bigger than the existing one, or else make sure that the data to be transferred takes up less space than the SSD disk capacity. SSDs like to put aside about 5%-10% of the drive space to stop the SSD from ever becoming completely full and so run at full speed all the time, so take that into account when choosing a size.
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Re: Cracks in Audio During recording/Monitoring/mixing

Postby manuel-TRND » Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:47 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Have you tried a bigger buffer size? It will increase the latency when overdub recording, but it will reveal whether the problem is with the computer itself, or something else.

H
Hi hugh,
It turned out that using the tascam DSP Mixer for monitoring and cubase just for recording pretty much fixed the problem. I can now increase buffer size to 2048 which makes everything go more easy and I experience less pops and crackles.


Still, sometimes there actually are cracks in the recordings. I'd like to increase the buffer size even more (to Like 4000) because I'm not depending on latency and think it would help, but the tascam 16x08 mixer only allows about 2000 buffers. (Screenshot below) 


By the way, I checked my CPU processes during recording, and cubase takes about 200MBs and 10% CPU. There are some other programs listed, I just also added a photo of that if u maybe can find something odd that might cause the crackles. 
I also asked myself what the best VST Settings would be in cubase. (Multicore processing On or OFF? ; activate steinbergs mode for optimized audio performance On Off?)

Any idea how I could still increase buffer sizes? Maybe another desktop mixer ?

Greets, Manuel 
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Re: Cracks in Audio During recording/Monitoring/mixing

Postby manuel-TRND » Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:52 pm

Wonks wrote:As the buffer size is measured in bytes, not kilobytes or megabytes, RAM size is of no consequence in making it a few bytes larger.

A larger buffer gives more time for the processor to handle all its other tasks. Doubling its size gives the processor twice as long to deal with other tasks before reading and clearing the buffer. If it can't finish processing other tasks and reads the full buffer before the next sample comes through, you get a click.

But increasing the buffer size does increase the latency, so it's a question of using the smallest buffer size you can get away with. It takes seconds to adjust, so don't be afraid to try different values.

Hi wonks,
It turned out that using the tascam DSP Mixer for monitoring and cubase just for recording pretty much fixed the problem. I can now increase buffer size to 2048 which makes everything go more easy and I experience less pops and crackles.
[/img]
Still, sometimes there actually are cracks in the recordings. I'd like to increase the buffer size even more (to Like 4000) because I'm not depending on latency and think it would help, but the tascam 16x08 mixer only allows about 2000 buffers.

By the way, I checked my CPU processes during recording, and cubase takes about 200MBs and 10% CPU. There are some other programs listed, I just also added a photo of that if u maybe can find something odd that might cause the crackles. 
I also asked myself what the best VST Settings would be in cubase. (Multicore processing On or OFF? ; activate steinbergs mode for optimized audio performance On Off?)

Any idea how I could still increase buffer sizes? Maybe another desktop mixer ?

Greets, Manuel 
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Re: Cracks in Audio During recording/Monitoring/mixing

Postby manuel-TRND » Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:57 pm

At BIOS level you can disable C states.

If you haven't done all that already, this will make the laptop battery last much less but the machine will be much faster.

There's more tuning but one step at a time.[/quote]

HI CS70,

Do you mean switching off hyperthreading?
And can you explain how exactly to to it ?

And what exactly do you mean by switching off C state in BIOS? iam really not into PC stuff so maybe you can explain it a little more detailed, maybe that's the solution I was looking for!! :)

Thanks!
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