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DESPERATE!! Increasing Audio Dropouts

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DESPERATE!! Increasing Audio Dropouts

Postby BasUitermark » Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:44 pm

DESPERATE!!

I don't know if I'm on the right sub forum, but I’m posting this on all mediums I can think of. I’m as desperate as one can be.

I’ve been having increasing performance issues with Cubase. It started with some minor audio dropouts, but now I just have full days of not being able to work because the average load just maxes out at a buffer size of 2048 and it just skips over all the audio. Then there are some days where out of nowhere the same session works perfectly at a buffer size of 128. And I just can’t figure out what the problem is.

I tried absolutely anything I could find. Turning of power saving options, updating all my drivers, using the Sweetwater performance guide, upgrading my pc, switching out my graphics card for another, turning off my antivirus, turning off my internet, turning off core 0 in task manager, turning off plugins to see if there is a bad plugin. The list goes on and nothing works.

I have posted this before on multiple forums but people just don’t answer.
Please I need some help. I’m willing to try anything at this point.

PC Specs:

CPU: Intel i7-7820X 3.60 GHz
COOLER: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3
MOBO: MSI X299 Raider
RAM: Corsair DDR4 Vengeance LPX 2x8GB 2666 C16
NEW GPU: MSI Geforce 1060
OLD GPU: XFX R9 280X Black Edition
PSU: Seasonic M12II 620W
OS: Windows 10
Audio Interface: Focusrite Saffire Pro 40

SSD 1: Samsung 850 Evo 250 GB
SSD 2: WD Blue WDS100T2B0A 1TB
HDD 1: WD Black WD3003 FZEX 3TB
HDD 2: WD Black WD4005FZBX 4TB
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Re: DESPERATE!! Increasing Audio Dropouts

Postby Pete Kaine » Wed Sep 05, 2018 4:30 pm

Two things.

What Firewire card are you using?

And then can you grab me some metrics, please.

Download latency monitor from http://www.resplendence.com/latencymon

Direct link for the testing client is: http://www.resplendence.com/download/LatencyMon.exe

Install, run it for 10 - 15 mins (no longer, no shorter) and screenshot me the following.

Main result page
Drivers page - sorted by highest execution

Then head to the drop-down menu at the top and under either the edit or tools menu (can't recall) it says "copy results to clipboard" or something similar. Do that and then make the clipboard text (the will be a lot of it) and the 2 screenshots available to me on here via Dropbox or some other method of your choice.
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Re: DESPERATE!! Increasing Audio Dropouts

Postby Pete Kaine » Wed Sep 05, 2018 4:31 pm

*double post*
(bloody proxy, mutter, mutter)
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Re: DESPERATE!! Increasing Audio Dropouts

Postby BasUitermark » Wed Sep 05, 2018 4:39 pm

Pete Kaine wrote:Two things.

What Firewire card are you using?

And then can you grab me some metrics, please.

Download latency monitor from http://www.resplendence.com/latencymon

Direct link for the testing client is: http://www.resplendence.com/download/LatencyMon.exe

Install, run it for 10 - 15 mins (no longer, no shorter) and screenshot me the following.

Main result page
Drivers page - sorted by highest execution

Then head to the drop-down menu at the top and under either the edit or tools menu (can't recall) it says "copy results to clipboard" or something similar. Do that and then make the clipboard text (the will be a lot of it) and the 2 screenshots available to me on here via Dropbox or some other method of your choice.

I don't know for the life of me what firewire card I have. But the problem persists no matter if I have a firewire interface or usb interface connected.

And do I need to run Cubase while I'm running latencymon or not?
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Re: DESPERATE!! Increasing Audio Dropouts

Postby OneWorld » Wed Sep 05, 2018 5:16 pm

You need to know what FW card you are using, right click on This PC/Properties/Device Manager and under IEEE 1394 host controllers it will tell you, or at least tell you the chipset the card is using, and the most popular one is the Texas Instruments (TI) chipset.

Some people reckon they get a more stable setup using the 'legacy firewire driver' though I used the up to date Win 10 one and have no problems with it. Knowing your FW card will help there.

Where I have had similar problems to yourself, is when I have been faffing with Cubase and changed an interface, or sometimes when Cubase just seems to throw a wobbly, Cubase seems to 'lose' the connection to your preferred ASIO device and it then defaults to a generic one.

Before that though, and before you start Cubase check your Saffire Pro with Saffire Mix Control. There is a screen shot of what it looks like here.....

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/fo ... ire-pro-40

Another unlikely but possible cause might be the FW cable itself. I had this problem once, I swapped the cable out and dadaaaa - problem fixed! At that time both my FW card and interface had both FW400 and FW800 connectors, for some reason it seemed to run better using FW400 - strange but true!

In Cubase go to Devices/Device Setup and make sure the Saffire Pro is listed as the VST Audio System device and it will show as ASIO Saffire (I have the Liquid Mix 56 - am sure it'll be the same)

Another time I had performance issues was when I was running Drumplers - NI Studio Drummer/Groove Agent 4, when they were running grooves/patterns, these along with a few arpeggios and my i7 CPU was croaking when I got as low as 256 samples or less

I found on the web that NI drummer starts with all the FX and Dynamics enabled, I turned them off and problem gone.

I also read that turning off/disabling the NIC also help, I did and sure enough it did, although it seems you might have tried this anyway.

I also had a problem that was intermittent where the scroll line and mouse would 'stall' ever second or so - that turned out to my particular dual monitor setup (AMD graphics - I never got the problem when I used an NVIDIA card) - how? why? I do not know, all I know is that re-configging the dual monitor setup.

Now I can happily work down to 32 samples, though admittedly if I get Kontakt, Halion, Groove Agent and some soft synths running I need to notch things back to 56 or 128

I am assuming you have gone through all the other tweaks - in Cubase 'Activate Multi-Processing' 'Activate ASIO Guard' (helps on playback) Audio Priority on 'Boost'

There is also the 'Activate Steinberg Audio Power Scheme' issue? Though with the problem being intermittent and appearing on the same project tends to suggest something in a state of flux, like my issue with the dual monitor set up


And the Best performance settings, again, maybe worth a try but doubtful, should be best performance anyway though
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Re: DESPERATE!! Increasing Audio Dropouts

Postby BasUitermark » Wed Sep 05, 2018 5:56 pm

OneWorld wrote:You need to know what FW card you are using, right click on This PC/Properties/Device Manager and under IEEE 1394 host controllers it will tell you, or at least tell you the chipset the card is using, and the most popular one is the Texas Instruments (TI) chipset.

Some people reckon they get a more stable setup using the 'legacy firewire driver' though I used the up to date Win 10 one and have no problems with it. Knowing your FW card will help there.

Where I have had similar problems to yourself, is when I have been faffing with Cubase and changed an interface, or sometimes when Cubase just seems to throw a wobbly, Cubase seems to 'lose' the connection to your preferred ASIO device and it then defaults to a generic one.

Before that though, and before you start Cubase check your Saffire Pro with Saffire Mix Control. There is a screen shot of what it looks like here.....

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/fo ... ire-pro-40

Another unlikely but possible cause might be the FW cable itself. I had this problem once, I swapped the cable out and dadaaaa - problem fixed! At that time both my FW card and interface had both FW400 and FW800 connectors, for some reason it seemed to run better using FW400 - strange but true!

In Cubase go to Devices/Device Setup and make sure the Saffire Pro is listed as the VST Audio System device and it will show as ASIO Saffire (I have the Liquid Mix 56 - am sure it'll be the same)

Another time I had performance issues was when I was running Drumplers - NI Studio Drummer/Groove Agent 4, when they were running grooves/patterns, these along with a few arpeggios and my i7 CPU was croaking when I got as low as 256 samples or less

I found on the web that NI drummer starts with all the FX and Dynamics enabled, I turned them off and problem gone.

I also read that turning off/disabling the NIC also help, I did and sure enough it did, although it seems you might have tried this anyway.

I also had a problem that was intermittent where the scroll line and mouse would 'stall' ever second or so - that turned out to my particular dual monitor setup (AMD graphics - I never got the problem when I used an NVIDIA card) - how? why? I do not know, all I know is that re-configging the dual monitor setup.

Now I can happily work down to 32 samples, though admittedly if I get Kontakt, Halion, Groove Agent and some soft synths running I need to notch things back to 56 or 128

I am assuming you have gone through all the other tweaks - in Cubase 'Activate Multi-Processing' 'Activate ASIO Guard' (helps on playback) Audio Priority on 'Boost'

There is also the 'Activate Steinberg Audio Power Scheme' issue? Though with the problem being intermittent and appearing on the same project tends to suggest something in a state of flux, like my issue with the dual monitor set up


And the Best performance settings, again, maybe worth a try but doubtful, should be best performance anyway though

Under IEEE 1394 it says: Texas Instruments 1394 OHCI Compliant Host Controller.

These problems arise when I start up Cubase right after I booted up my pc with nothing else running. I also don't think I have had any problems with Cubase losing the connection to my Pro 40.

MixControl looks normal to me:
Image

I don't think it is the firewire cable, because when I use a Scarlett 2i4 through USB I have the same problem.

It is indeed listed as ASIO Saffire.

The problem remains even when I delete all VSTi's in my session.

I haven't been able to even run Cubase on bad days. On a buffersize of 2048 it's just one big audio drop out from beginning to end for hours on end. On good days I can run that same session on a buffer size of 256 maaaaaybe 128.
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Re: DESPERATE!! Increasing Audio Dropouts

Postby BasUitermark » Wed Sep 05, 2018 6:38 pm

Pete Kaine wrote:Two things.

What Firewire card are you using?

And then can you grab me some metrics, please.

Download latency monitor from http://www.resplendence.com/latencymon

Direct link for the testing client is: http://www.resplendence.com/download/LatencyMon.exe

Install, run it for 10 - 15 mins (no longer, no shorter) and screenshot me the following.

Main result page
Drivers page - sorted by highest execution

Then head to the drop-down menu at the top and under either the edit or tools menu (can't recall) it says "copy results to clipboard" or something similar. Do that and then make the clipboard text (the will be a lot of it) and the 2 screenshots available to me on here via Dropbox or some other method of your choice.

Hey just did what you asked. Did one with and without Cubase running.
Here's a link to Dropbox:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ltcinosqyiwv ... mF8ma?dl=0
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Re: DESPERATE!! Increasing Audio Dropouts

Postby CS70 » Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:16 pm

As the problem is intermittent, it likely depends from some events which may happen in differnt orders when they happen in one or more specific order

First thing I'd do, check the Windows Event Viewer. Windows Logs/System and Windows Logs/Application are good starting points.

Application and Service Logs gives more details but you need to know where to look, which you get from the more generic logs.

See if there is any error logged.
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Re: DESPERATE!! Increasing Audio Dropouts

Postby resistorman » Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:58 am

Pull all your cards and reseat them. Pull your memory and reseat it. Pull your cpu and reseat it. Use Deoxit on all your connections, inside and out. In other words, make sure it’s not a physical connection. This won’t help if you have a cracked circuit trace somewhere, but it will eliminate the obvious.
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Re: DESPERATE!! Increasing Audio Dropouts

Postby Pete Kaine » Thu Sep 06, 2018 9:59 am

BasUitermark wrote:I don't know for the life of me what firewire card I have. But the problem persists no matter if I have a firewire interface or USB interface connected.

To cover the FW question first I can't recall any PC mainboard in the last five years that has native Firewire onboard, so you must be using a controller card. When you plug in your Firewire interface, I'm assuming it's going into a backplate set of ports and there will be either two or three ports.

Some of the older cards, mostly the 2 port ones are running using controller chips that are no longer supported under some newer builds of Windows and so have begun tanking in use. So, if you can check if you have a 2 port or 3 port to start with.

Ideally, in this sort of situation, we could do with knowing what the card is and what the controller is on it just to rule out everything. At this point, it's looking like that isn't the root cause, but it's a tick all boxes exercise when things aren't apparent.

But... if it's happening with USB interfaces too, then let's tackle that first.

BasUitermark wrote:And do I need to run Cubase while I'm running latencymon or not?

Normally, I'd say without, but in this instance, it's interesting that you ran both.

BasUitermark wrote:These problems arise when I start up Cubase right after I booted up my pc with nothing else running. I also don't think I have had any problems with Cubase losing the connection to my Pro 40.

That would suggest to me that it's still running some programs at startup that are holding on to the CPU for too long, which causes dropouts. Makes me question what you OS drive is?

BasUitermark wrote:Hey just did what you asked. Did one with and without Cubase running.
Here's a link to Dropbox:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ltcinosqyiwv ... mF8ma?dl=0

Thanks,

Ok, so the results of with/without are a little odd, interesting, but odd.

Firstly, as mentioned, we tend to run this test without a sequencer running as then we have a baseline system we know is working and then we'd look to troubleshoot within Cubase.

However, your results show us issues outside of the sequencer and it running fine within the sequencer.

You also state that it's more common after startup, so am I right in assuming that your failed test result outside of Cubase was taken right after you logged in and the Cubase one was taken later on after the first one / after it's been on a while?

No smoking gun to start with, but there is a whole host of services running higher than the point of failure, so this would appear to be at least outlining the problem, if not showing us the root of it.

Can you tell me what drives you have in there as well as the OS drive I've already asked about? Are they Hard drives or SSD's, how many and are any of them older than a couple of years that you've migrated over?

Can you download the latest Nvidia GPU driver, please? When you install it, click the "do not install Geforce experience" tab that comes up at the start, then"clean install" and then "custom install". On the custom install only install the core driver and only the stuff you really need. I'd suggest nothing, but Physix or HDMI driver tend to be fine.

Also, if you haven't already jumped into the device manager and disable networking (wifi/wired) and test it in your sequencer for a while. I don't think it's going to be that in this scenario as the network connections are looking passable, if not great, but I'm interested to see if disabling them will reduce the cumulative time and stop it glitching.

FYI, anything with a "highest execution" above 1.0 is worth examining, although as they are cumulative, it might be the case that only one of those half dozen entries is the true culprit. The problem is that they are not all services that we can play with, but I've picked the easy ones to poke at.
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Re: DESPERATE!! Increasing Audio Dropouts

Postby James Perrett » Thu Sep 06, 2018 11:05 am

Pete Kaine wrote:Can you tell me what drives you have in there as well as the OS drive I've already asked about? Are they Hard drives or SSD's, how many and are any of them older than a couple of years that you've migrated over?

Take a look at the first post Pete - though it isn't clear what each drive contains...

One other thought - could the OP try downloading Reaper and running it to see if the problems are still present.
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Re: DESPERATE!! Increasing Audio Dropouts

Postby BasUitermark » Thu Sep 06, 2018 11:26 am

Pete Kaine wrote:To cover the FW question first I can't recall any PC mainboard in the last five years that has native Firewire onboard, so you must be using a controller card. When you plug in your Firewire interface, I'm assuming it's going into a backplate set of ports and there will be either two or three ports.

Some of the older cards, mostly the 2 port ones are running using controller chips that are no longer supported under some newer builds of Windows and so have begun tanking in use. So, if you can check if you have a 2 port or 3 port to start with.

Ideally, in this sort of situation, we could do with knowing what the card is and what the controller is on it just to rule out everything. At this point, it's looking like that isn't the root cause, but it's a tick all boxes exercise when things aren't apparent.

But... if it's happening with USB interfaces too, then let's tackle that first.

It's a 3 port firewire card. I checked the card itself and it is a "Sonnos Allegro FW800".

Pete Kaine wrote:That would suggest to me that it's still running some programs at startup that are holding on to the CPU for too long, which causes dropouts. Makes me question what you OS drive is?

To elaborate a bit on that. It's been a 50/50 chance of having Cubase working on start up. If it doesn't work on start up it won't work all day. Doesn't matter how many times I restart my PC or how many times I restart Cubase it will give me the same peaked out average load on all buffer sizes and minute long audio drop outs all day.

I run my OS and Cubase from a 250 Gb SSD. This Windows instance is about 5 years old now. Started on Windows 8 and updated to Windows 10 when it came out.

Pete Kaine wrote:Thanks,

Ok, so the results of with/without are a little odd, interesting, but odd.

Firstly, as mentioned, we tend to run this test without a sequencer running as then we have a baseline system we know is working and then we'd look to troubleshoot within Cubase.

However, your results show us issues outside of the sequencer and it running fine within the sequencer.

You also state that it's more common after startup, so am I right in assuming that your failed test result outside of Cubase was taken right after you logged in and the Cubase one was taken later on after the first one / after it's been on a while?

It doesn't really matter when I start up Cubase if it fails the first time I booted up my PC that day, chances are that I'll have the same problems all day long.

Pete Kaine wrote:No smoking gun to start with, but there is a whole host of services running higher than the point of failure, so this would appear to be at least outlining the problem, if not showing us the root of it.

Can you tell me what drives you have in there as well as the OS drive I've already asked about? Are they Hard drives or SSD's, how many and are any of them older than a couple of years that you've migrated over?

Like I said earlier my OS and Cubase are on a 250 Gb SSD (2 year old, but I migrated windows from a 100 Gb SSD which was 2 years old). I have a seperate 1 Tb SSD (maybe 1 year old) for all my Cubase sessions. Then I have a 3 TB HDD (5 years old) for all my bulk audio storage (VSTi's, old projects, IR's, stems, Nail the Mix Sessions, midi files, etc.). Lastly I have a 4 Tb personal drive (a month old, last one passed away).

Pete Kaine wrote:Can you download the latest Nvidia GPU driver, please? When you install it, click the "do not install Geforce experience" tab that comes up at the start, then"clean install" and then "custom install". On the custom install only install the core driver and only the stuff you really need. I'd suggest nothing, but Physix or HDMI driver tend to be fine.

Done, but I don't think it will help much as this graphics card just went in yesterday.

Pete Kaine wrote:Also, if you haven't already jumped into the device manager and disable networking (wifi/wired) and test it in your sequencer for a while. I don't think it's going to be that in this scenario as the network connections are looking passable, if not great, but I'm interested to see if disabling them will reduce the cumulative time and stop it glitching.

Already tried it a couple of times. Doesn't really seem to make a difference. Also tried turning off my anti-virus scanner, same result.

Is it maybe a good idea to format my C drive and do a fresh install of everything, seeing how old this instance is?
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Re: DESPERATE!! Increasing Audio Dropouts

Postby James Perrett » Thu Sep 06, 2018 12:26 pm

BasUitermark wrote:Is it maybe a good idea to format my C drive and do a fresh install of everything, seeing how old this instance is?

While Pete has more experience than I do, a common factor in people having problems with Windows 10 seems to be that they've done an upgrade from a previous version of Windows rather than a fresh install. If you have the time, a complete re-installation might well be worth it (after backing up your current installation).
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Re: DESPERATE!! Increasing Audio Dropouts

Postby BasUitermark » Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:03 pm

Well I'm thinking I'm just going to do the clean install. I have all the stuff that I need backed up already and a fresh install was long overdue to begin with.

I'll let you guys know how it went.
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Re: DESPERATE!! Increasing Audio Dropouts

Postby Wonks » Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:04 pm

Does your BIOS (or included software) offer you any diagnostics on CPU temps? If your CPU is overheating due to a failing fan, or poor cooler contact, it may be throttling right back.
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Re: DESPERATE!! Increasing Audio Dropouts

Postby Pete Kaine » Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:20 pm

James Perrett wrote:Take a look at the first post Pete - though it isn't clear what each drive contains...
Yep, my bad.

James Perrett wrote:One other thought - could the OP try downloading Reaper and running it to see if the problems are still present.

Given OP's experience with Latency Mon going mental outside of Cubase, I think we're safe to assume at this point that it's not a sequencer lead issue.

BasUitermark wrote:It's a 3 port firewire card. I checked the card itself and it is a "Sonnos Allegro FW800".

Thanks, that's one of the newer working cards, so that should confirm we can forget about that for the time being.

BasUitermark wrote:To elaborate a bit on that. It's been a 50/50 chance of having Cubase working on start up. If it doesn't work on start up it won't work all day. Doesn't matter how many times I restart my PC or how many times I restart Cubase it will give me the same peaked out average load on all buffer sizes and minute long audio drop outs all day.

Well, that's a curve ball. I've not heard of it downing it for a day before.

So, if it's gone one day and back the next, is there a pattern? Normally, at that point I'd bee looking for OS or software updates that are running and failing in the background, but I'd expect them to cause problems for an hour here or there at a time. Not, for longer durations.

BasUitermark wrote:I run my OS and Cubase from a 250 Gb SSD. This Windows instance is about 5 years old now. Started on Windows 8 and updated to Windows 10 when it came out.

Yeah, right choice on the SSD. As I someone else has noted, inline upgrades can sometimes be flakey at best, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a clean install fix it, although I'm not certain enough to suggest you wipe anything to find out.

Do you have a blank drive that you could do a test install on?

BasUitermark wrote:Then I have a 3 TB HDD (5 years old) for all my bulk audio storage (VSTi's, old projects, IR's, stems, Nail the Mix Sessions, midi files, etc.). Lastly I have a 4 Tb personal drive (a month old, last one passed away).

Those are old enough that I'd be a bit wary about another one maybe being on the way out.

https://support.wdc.com/knowledgebase/a ... spx?ID=940

The link above will lead you to WD's official drive tool for checking your older HDD's. Worth running it to check how healthy they are.

BasUitermark wrote:Done, but I don't think it will help much as this graphics card just went in yesterday.

I didn't realise. However, the choice of drivers and avoiding NV experience are all conducive to a happier system, so worth doing regardless even if it doesn't otherwise solve anything.

BasUitermark wrote:Done, but I don't think it will help much as this graphics card just went in yesterday.

I didn't realise. However, the choice of drivers and avoiding NV experience are all conducive to a happier system, so worth doing regardless even if it doesn't otherwise solve anything.

BasUitermark wrote:Is it maybe a good idea to format my C drive and do a fresh install of everything, seeing how old this instance is?

I think it might be, judging by your later response it looks like your prepared for this course of action too.
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Re: DESPERATE!! Increasing Audio Dropouts

Postby James Perrett » Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:57 pm

Pete Kaine wrote:
BasUitermark wrote:To elaborate a bit on that. It's been a 50/50 chance of having Cubase working on start up. If it doesn't work on start up it won't work all day. Doesn't matter how many times I restart my PC or how many times I restart Cubase it will give me the same peaked out average load on all buffer sizes and minute long audio drop outs all day.

Well, that's a curve ball. I've not heard of it downing it for a day before.

A while ago I had something slightly similar - except in this case the computer would sometimes not boot on some days. I really couldn't work out what was causing it as it seemed random. However, one day I accidentally removed a USB hub and it worked. I tried adding the devices to the hub one by one and it turned out to be a DVD writer causing the problem. So could there be some kind of device connected to your computer that you've forgotten about or that you have connected some days and not others? Do you always switch everything on in the same order?
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Re: DESPERATE!! Increasing Audio Dropouts

Postby BasUitermark » Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:54 pm

Just finished reïnstalling everything. It took me a couple of hours but I'm finally done.

And it worked!!!

Before I wasn't able to run my session below a buffer size of 2048. Now I can go as low as 64 (with a plugin count of around 180 plugins), maybe 32 if it's a simple project.

It wasn't just my windows instance but also a plugin as well. Helix Native to be exact. Hogs up all my cpu. But it's no problem if I freeze it after I made my bass tones with it.

Well I'm glad I'm finally done with this.

Really want to thank Pete Kaine for your help. You're truly a hero. Thanks to you I put 2 and 2 together. And thanks to everyone else with the suggestions!
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Re: DESPERATE!! Increasing Audio Dropouts

Postby zenguitar » Thu Sep 06, 2018 11:22 pm

And thank you for being a team player and making the effort to let us know the outcome.
:clap:

And now you've found us, feel free to explore the broader forums and join the conversations. As you've seen, we are a friendly and helpful bunch :)

Andy :beamup:
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Re: DESPERATE!! Increasing Audio Dropouts

Postby Pete Kaine » Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:06 pm

Good stuff and glad to hear you've got to the bottom of it all too.

It's always a rather drastic last ditch resort to nuke it all and start again, so always very happy to hear when it turns out well for someone who's been having such nutty problems.
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