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Crackling noises in Cubase

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Crackling noises in Cubase

Postby ArtVandelay » Fri Oct 30, 2020 10:34 am

Sorry if this goes on a bit, I’ll be as brief as I can. Pretty desperate here with a problem in Cubase.

I just upgraded to a new pc and am getting really bad crackling/spitting noises from my monitors.

My system:

Windows 10
Cubase 10.5
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 12-Core Processor 3.90 GHz
WD SN550 1TB SSD
32G ram
MOTU 896mk3 Hybrid USB interface with MOTU8pre via ADAT

I’ve just come off working on an old Intel laptop which, although getting tired, worked fine with this setup. With the new AMD desktop system, I’m getting horrible noises from the speakers (which show on the MOTU meters but not within the Cubase session) when a session is idle and also some nasty glitching and degradation of audio during playback. When this occurs, cymbals for example sound like they have a flanging effect.

It first occurred when I changed the audio buffer size. Making this adjustment seems to make the problem flare up, regardless of whether I’m lowering or increasing the buffer setting.

Incidentally, the audio load meter in Cubase is never over half way and that’s only in sessions with many tracks and many instances of big plugins, such as Slate VTM. So, even in a tiny session of say, four tracks of drums, the problem still occurs. A brand new pc of this spec shouldn’t remotely break sweat with the work I’m attempting to do? There are no synths involved, it’s purely recorded audio and plugins.

I’m absolutely at a loss as to why this would occur. I am wondering if it’s perhaps related to the USB connection? On my old laptop system, I could only connect the MOTU USB2 cable via one specific USB port. On every other port, this same glitching would occur.

Now, I have tried connecting the MOTU to the PC via a a USB C converter box, to no avail. As I type this, the session I have open is idle but there is horrible crackling coming from my monitors.

I appreciate this may be a needle in a haystack but could anyone suggest where to start? I enquired on the Steinberg forum, where someone suggested using LatencyMon to assess the system? I have no idea how to use it though. Can anyone help?
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Re: Crackling noises in Cubase

Postby ArtVandelay » Fri Oct 30, 2020 10:36 am

I should add, my graphics card is a GeForce RTX 2060. During my attempts at finding a solution, I’ve seen suggestions that perhaps it may be an issue with the graphics card drivers?
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Re: Crackling noises in Cubase

Postby RichardT » Fri Oct 30, 2020 10:47 am

I’m absolutely at a loss as to why this would occur. I am wondering if it’s perhaps related to the USB connection? On my old laptop system, I could only connect the MOTU USB2 cable via one specific USB port. On every other port, this same glitching would occur.

This sounds like the key point. The same glitching occurring on both systems shows that the problem is likely with the audio interface.

Or conceivably there could be a problem with a USB cable.

Swap out the cables, and test what happens if you listen via a different audio interface, or by the built in audio if you can (I’m not sure whether windows PCs have a headphone socket).
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Re: Crackling noises in Cubase

Postby ArtVandelay » Fri Oct 30, 2020 11:29 am

Changed the usb cable. Same problem.

Booted laptop and opened same session. It ran as normal. No nasty noises, either when idle or during playback.

However,

I tried one of the other USB ports on the laptop and got the same crackling and dropping out happening. Only during playback though. Interesting. It is looking like the interface is the problem.

Next step is to try two other configurations. I have a MOTU Microbook to try and the PC’s onboard soundcard. I’ll be back to report my findings. Thanks for the advice.
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Re: Crackling noises in Cubase

Postby The Elf » Fri Oct 30, 2020 12:58 pm

I've found that not all USB interfaces are the same - it may not be the audio interface itself, but the USB interface it is plugged into. Is there a USB interface compatibility list for your audio interface?
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Re: Crackling noises in Cubase

Postby RichardT » Fri Oct 30, 2020 1:16 pm

If your tests with another audio interface work, you can also check that you have the latest drivers for the MOTU interface installed on your new machine.
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Re: Crackling noises in Cubase

Postby ArtVandelay » Sat Oct 31, 2020 12:05 am

Yes, the Microbook uses the same drivers. And it worked fine. So that confirms there is some issue with the 896.

I’m going to investigate whether there could be any potential conflict with the on-board USB.

Fortunately, the 896 has a FireWire socket as well, which I may start using in the meantime. Need to start checking the list for a suitable FireWire card! :think:
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Re: Crackling noises in Cubase

Postby RichardT » Sat Oct 31, 2020 9:13 am

Is it possible your 896 doesn’t work under USB3? Do you happen to have a USB2 hub you connect connect between interface and PC?
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Re: Crackling noises in Cubase

Postby CS70 » Sat Oct 31, 2020 10:10 am

A few things to check: did u go thru the BIOS, the device manager and the power settings to disable any hint of power management? Did u de-install and disabled any "check for update" programs that might be running in the background?

The most common reason for issues when moving to a new computer is that the OS is not optimized for audio and there are additional programs and task which generate a constant or periodic load.. For example you mention an Nvidia card - they are great cards, but the driver installs a lot of cruft that often creates problems to DAWs and you have to disable or specifically refuse to install (every time a new release of the driver is issued, which is a lot :D)

If it's a laptop... laptops are still a bit of hit and miss (more hit than miss these days, but nevertheless) and crucially they are usually set up at the factory to have maximum battery length as opposite to maximum performance.

It can of course also be the hardware - or often the driver for that piece of hardware as provided by the manufacturer. For some reason many companies making OEM hardware seem to hire their programmers by selecting random kids off primary school, and the result is that their otherwise pretty good hardware is ruined by horrible drivers. That is usually the problem with a laptop because you can't simply change the part.
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Re: Crackling noises in Cubase

Postby ArtVandelay » Sat Oct 31, 2020 3:22 pm

RichardT wrote:Is it possible your 896 doesn’t work under USB3? Do you happen to have a USB2 hub you connect connect between interface and PC?

I have USB 2+3 on new PC. Same problem with both.

CS70 wrote:A few things to check: did u go thru the BIOS, the device manager and the power settings to disable any hint of power management? Did u de-install and disabled any "check for update" programs that might be running in the background?

The most common reason for issues when moving to a new computer is that the OS is not optimized for audio and there are additional programs and task which generate a constant or periodic load.. For example you mention an Nvidia card - they are great cards, but the driver installs a lot of cruft that often creates problems to DAWs and you have to disable or specifically refuse to install (every time a new release of the driver is issued, which is a lot :D)

This is a bit more technical than I'm used to but I will investigate power management, automatic updates and the whole nvidia thing as you suggest. Thanks for the help!
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Re: Crackling noises in Cubase

Postby srburgess » Sat Oct 31, 2020 7:38 pm

Might want to check that your interface and ADAT sync are correct. I got some crackling when my Scarletts were basically free-running. Word clock seems the easiest, but there are other options as well.
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Re: Crackling noises in Cubase

Postby ArtVandelay » Mon Nov 02, 2020 11:04 am

I think they are properly synced. I double checked the MOTU manual and they seem to be. To make sure, I disconnected the 8pre and disabled the optical ins and outs on the mk3. Same problem.

Alas this seems to be a problem with no solution. I’m waiting to hear from MOTU and Steinberg about it but I’m not optimistic. I fear a new pc and interface will be the only answer.
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