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Digital crackles when playback in any DAW - Not a buffer size problem!

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Digital crackles when playback in any DAW - Not a buffer size problem!

Postby fictionman » Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:42 pm

Hi everyone, I'm new here!

I try to resolve an issue :

I just got a Tascam US-20x20. This is a second-hand unit.

I've tried it on Pro Tools 12 and Reaper and I get the same problem :

A lot of digital crackles!
They appear only when I playback my recordings.
The audio recorded is not altered by crackles, this is just a monitoring issue.

The problem appears randomly. Sometimes it's ok, sometimes it's not.

Here is a list of everything I tried to resolve this :

- I disabled all Windows built-in audio devices in my system.
- I changed buffer size to all available values - no luck!
- I uninstalled/reinstalled Tascam drivers
- My Tascam firmware is up to date.
- I tried to change the USB 3.0 port where I plug my audio unit (there are 2 USB 3.0 and 1 USB 2.0 ports on my laptop).
- I tried to plug the unit with a USB 2.0 cable on my USB 2.0 port.
- I disabled wifi
- I uninstalled/reinstalled USB 3.0 drivers in Windows
- ASIO is selected in both Pro Tools and Reaper
- I tried to power on the unit while the OS is up and running
- I tried to power on the unit before powering on the computer
- When I monitor CPU and RAM in Windows task manager, this is OK (CPU less than 20% and RAM less than 40%)
- When I read audio and video files in Windows with the DAW closed, no problem, no crackles!

Still crackles during the playback in the DAWs!!! :madas: :madas: :madas:

My config :

Lenovo Y50-70
i5 2.90 Ghz
8 GB RAM
Windows 10 up to date

Thanx so much for your help!
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Re: Digital crackles when playback in any DAW - Not a buffer size problem!

Postby Mike Stranks » Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:54 pm

Welcome! :thumbup:

What happens if you play files not recorded thru the Tascam back out thru the Tascam? Do you get crackles then?

Are you hearing the crackles thru headphones connected directly to the Tascam or only through connected speakers or both?

If you're getting speaker crackles have you tried using different leads between the Tascam and the speakers?

Is it both channels or only one?
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Re: Digital crackles when playback in any DAW - Not a buffer size problem!

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:08 pm

As well as Mike's questions, what else is connected to the system (apart from the interface and the laptop)?
Cheers
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Re: Digital crackles when playback in any DAW - Not a buffer size problem!

Postby CS70 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:00 am

Without more info, it sounds like your system's DPC queued is processed too slowly. Dropouts are due to a new interrupt being raised by the interface before the previous one had been processed.
Why that happens it's hard to say. Normally it's a driver which takes too much time to process its DPC and thefore slows down the others. You have already disabled the most obvious culprits so probably using xperf could help locating what gets slow. The fact that it happens only at times suggests something that wakes up at times and do something generating DPCs whose handling is dubious. Anything in the task scheduler?
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Re: Digital crackles when playback in any DAW - Not a buffer size problem!

Postby Freelance Subversive » Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:07 am

This could be a remarkebly dim question, however, do the sample rates of your interface and session accord with each other?
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Re: Digital crackles when playback in any DAW - Not a buffer size problem!

Postby hobbyist » Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:14 am

What version of operating system?

Have you deleted all the bloatware that comes with new PCs?

Have you turned off the antivirus and other useless programs that will interfere with using a DAW? (Do disconnect from the net first!)

Have you checked PC forums for a list of all the things to tweak to use the device for music recording?
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Re: Digital crackles when playback in any DAW - Not a buffer size problem!

Postby CS70 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:30 am

fictionman wrote:- I tried to change the USB 3.0 port where I plug my audio unit (there are 2 USB 3.0 and 1 USB 2.0 ports on my laptop).

Just realized you mention laptop.

You don't mention you have disabled power management on each device - especially the USB hubs. Device Manager, properties of every device, unclick all the "this device can be managed" whatever (I dont recall, but it's pretty evident when they're there).
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Re: Digital crackles when playback in any DAW - Not a buffer size problem!

Postby fictionman » Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:39 am

Mike Stranks wrote:Welcome! :thumbup:

Are you hearing the crackles thru headphones connected directly to the Tascam or only through connected speakers or both?

This is a basic config. For the moment, Im working only with headphones. And yes, strangely when the crackles appears, I hear them only on the right channel. The left one is clean.

Any idea?
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Re: Digital crackles when playback in any DAW - Not a buffer size problem!

Postby fictionman » Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:50 am

blinddrew wrote:As well as Mike's questions, what else is connected to the system (apart from the interface and the laptop)?
Cheers

This is a basic configuration.

- Laptop
- Tascam interface via USB 3.0
- Headphones but no speakers
- Avalon U5 connected to the interface with my guitar plugged into it (there are a few pedals between my guitar and the DI).
- A microphone connected to the interface
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Re: Digital crackles when playback in any DAW - Not a buffer size problem!

Postby fictionman » Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:53 am

Freelance Subversive wrote:This could be a remarkebly dim question, however, do the sample rates of your interface and session accord with each other?

Yes, the Tascam firware switches automatically to the good value when I open my Reaper or PT session.
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Re: Digital crackles when playback in any DAW - Not a buffer size problem!

Postby fictionman » Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:55 am

hobbyist wrote:What version of operating system?

Have you deleted all the bloatware that comes with new PCs?

Have you turned off the antivirus and other useless programs that will interfere with using a DAW? (Do disconnect from the net first!)

Have you checked PC forums for a list of all the things to tweak to use the device for music recording?

This is Windows 10 up to date. And no, I haven't tried to delete bloatwares and to turn off my Avast antivirus. But wifi is off.
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Re: Digital crackles when playback in any DAW - Not a buffer size problem!

Postby fictionman » Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:56 am

CS70 wrote:
fictionman wrote:- I tried to change the USB 3.0 port where I plug my audio unit (there are 2 USB 3.0 and 1 USB 2.0 ports on my laptop).

Just realized you mention laptop.

You don't mention you have disabled power management on each device - especially the USB hubs. Device Manager, properties of every device, unclick all the "this device can be managed" whatever (I dont recall, but it's pretty evident when they're there).

I will try this, thank you!
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Re: Digital crackles when playback in any DAW - Not a buffer size problem!

Postby blinddrew » Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:14 pm

fictionman wrote:
blinddrew wrote:As well as Mike's questions, what else is connected to the system (apart from the interface and the laptop)?
Cheers

This is a basic configuration.

- Laptop
- Tascam interface via USB 3.0
- Headphones but no speakers
- Avalon U5 connected to the interface with my guitar plugged into it (there are a few pedals between my guitar and the DI).
- A microphone connected to the interface
Ok, so you've got a ground through the Avalon. I had a nice set of cracks and pops with my US16x08 at one stage and it took a prompt from here for me to realise that with just the laptop, headphones and interface connected the whole thing was ungrounded.

The fact that the crackles are only coming through on one channel is interesting though. Makes me think mechanical rather than electrical (dodgy lead or pot perhaps?), I assume you've done the basic swapping out of all leads and trying a different set of headphones etc.?
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Re: Digital crackles when playback in any DAW - Not a buffer size problem!

Postby Mike Stranks » Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:06 pm

So is the crackle still there when you listen to material that wasn't recorded via the Tascam - eg downloaded tracks?
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Re: Digital crackles when playback in any DAW - Not a buffer size problem!

Postby fictionman » Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:13 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:So is the crackle still there when you listen to material that wasn't recorded via the Tascam - eg downloaded tracks?

Nope.
I've worked in Reaper about 30 minutes this morning and no crackles at all.
I'm still sceptical and I want to test it for a couple of hours before saying it's resolved.

Things I've changed since the last time :
- Power management disabled for all USB hubs in Windows
- Avalon U5 unplugged, I plugged my guitar through the pedals and then directly in the Tascam interface.
- Bluetooth disabled
- Wifi/Antivirus disabled

Fingers crossed!
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Re: Digital crackles when playback in any DAW - Not a buffer size problem!

Postby CS70 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:35 pm

Just to make sure, disable power management on everything that has it in Device Manager (it’s a bit boring to have to open the properties for every device but well worth the effort.

Power management is made for people writing powerpoints on planes, and a recording laptop definitely does not want it.
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Re: Digital crackles when playback in any DAW - Not a buffer size problem!

Postby hobbyist » Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:37 pm

fictionman wrote:
hobbyist wrote:What version of operating system?

Have you deleted all the bloatware that comes with new PCs?

Have you turned off the antivirus and other useless programs that will interfere with using a DAW? (Do disconnect from the net first!)

Have you checked PC forums for a list of all the things to tweak to use the device for music recording?

This is Windows 10 up to date. And no, I haven't tried to delete bloatwares and to turn off my Avast antivirus. But wifi is off.

The problem is not win10 being up to date.

It is all the other crap running and sucking up cycles that can be interrupting your work causing crackles.

For audio you must kill the crapware and turn off the antivirus too.
Always get off the internet before stopping the antivirus stuff.

and like @CS70 said always turn off all power management.
There are other things that should be tweaked to use win for audio.

Check some PC and audio sites for a list of all the changes you need to do for win10 to avoid problems.
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Re: Digital crackles when playback in any DAW - Not a buffer size problem!

Postby Terrible.dee » Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:42 pm

Hmm......something like this happens when the clocking is improperly set, but that's only an issue when you are using digital I/O such as ADAT/SpDiF......Nothing conted via digital inputs?

I don't know if that Avalon has a SPDiF/ADAT out, and the Tascam a SPDiF/ADAT in, but I could easily see it being the case, and if so, would be the logical way to connect the two.

If this is the case, go and set the clock source to the Avalon (Counter-intuitive, so a lot of people get that wrong) and make sure both units are running at the same bit-depth/sample rate.

Hey! I just thought of something....That Avalon has a tube in it, no?

Back when I had a 737 the tube went wonky and I had crackling.
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Re: Digital crackles when playback in any DAW - Not a buffer size problem!

Postby fictionman » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:35 am

Hi everyone,

First of all : thanx so much for your help!

I'm progressing on the issue. I started over this weekend.

I realized that there was an important OS update stuck in Windows Update...

So I've uninstalled the Tascam Driver and I've disconnected the unit from my laptop and I made the update, and checked the OS was running well.

Then, I followed each step of this and rebooted the computer : https://bandzoogle.com/blog/20-ways-to- ... production

Then, I've installed the last Tascam driver without pluging the unit.
Reboot again.

And only after the OS was up and running, I plugged the unit and powered it on.

Now, I have worked a couple of hours on my DAW and no crackles/pops/clicks at all!

I hope this will carry on like this, but I'm really optimistic :thumbup:

I will let you know if the problem is not resolved but I think it's ok.
I don't know precisely which step was successful but maybe this is all these steps together which made the job!

Thanx again, and I hope this will be helpful for someone else.

Cheers 8-)
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Re: Digital crackles when playback in any DAW - Not a buffer size problem!

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:03 am

Excellent news!

:clap:
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