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Author Topic: Sound card problems...  (Read 2245 times)

PaulGasztold

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Sound card problems...
« on: August 29, 2011, 10:46:50 pm »

( Please advise if there is a more appropriate forum for this question. )

I have started having problems with my sound card getting dropouts.

It started when I bought a new Piano Library for Gigastudio.  The file is 12 gig
and when I play the piano the sound card chokes after when I play 'too many' notes.

I am using Cubase and a Focusrite Sapphire sound card with the Asio4All driver. 

I need a latency of about 5 or 6ms so the piano has good touch response so I set the asio4all buffer to around 300 samples.  I can increase the buffer size but the piano becomes unplayable.

I have never had this problem before as I was using much small sample libraries. 


My question:  What is the critical link in the chain and how do I solve it? 

How do I keep a low latency without the card maxing out?




thank you
Paul Gasztold
www.PaulsPianoMusic.com


PC:  Intel Duo card 2.5gig
USB soundcard - Focusrite Saffire

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RWNorman

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Re: Sound card problems...
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2011, 07:24:49 pm »

You're best bet is to monitor the input in analog and trust what you are recording is getting recorded correctly.  At the least you can try this and see if it helps.

If you monitor through the card you have latency, but twice as much as you think because the card digitizes the input, records it and then runs the signal through the converters one more time.

It's a common mistake and has no bearing on your digital setup.  Most likely your audio converter has software that allows you to set up "zero latency" which means that the incoming signal goes right to the analog outs without going through conversion.  It's there for a reason.

I could probably look it up, but then again, so can you.  Nothing says you have to listen to the sample piano to play the part right!

Of course, you didn't mention the keyboard you were driving it with.

Roger W. Norman
SirMusic Studio
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PaulGasztold

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Re: Sound card problems...
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2011, 11:22:05 pm »

Thank you Roger for your comments and reply.


I've done a few things that have helped...

1) I found that I was using a power saving utility which didn't allow
the CPU to run at full speed, disabled this and some stuttering removed

2) Changed the sound card driver in Cubase from asio4all to the Focusrite ASIO driver
that came with the sound card interface.

3) restricted the polyphony in GVI ( Giga VST sampler ) so it wouldn't max out


My piano is all software on the computer inside GVI

I'd still like to know how I can increase the polyphony without maxing out the CPU.  Ok, maybe I answered my question.  But I believe a DUO 2.5 gig machine has more than enough horsepower for this.

I don't think it is a hard drive access issue because the disk meters aren't moving ( at all which makes me think they're not showing what is really happening )



cheers
Paul



www.paulspianomusic.com



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Randyman...

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Re: Sound card problems...
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2011, 09:06:12 pm »

What are the rest of the system's specs?  Is the RAM maxed out?

Killing the power management is absolutely step #1 (it causes nothing but issues on a realtime DAW PC - that's not the place to try and conserve power  ;) ).  Your ASIO driver may run better if "Processor Scheduling" is set to "Background Services" (more of a throwback to XP, but can help under W7, too).

How is your system's DPC latency?  You can check it with this utility:

http://www.thesycon.de/deu/latency_check.shtml

If you get any yellow or red spikes, you'll need to find out what driver in your system is causing issues and address it.  Generaly WiFi/LAN and Video drivers can be very common culprits.  A well-behaved system will average around 30-80us, and NEVER spike much higher than 100us.

And of course playing with the Firewire controller's driver (assuming this is a firewire version - didn't specify the model of Sapphire) can also do wonders with regard to the audio interface's performance (I only use PCI/PCIe myself, so I can't speak from first hand experience, but tons of people have reported improvements from using an older Firewire Controller Driver under W7).

If this is a USB interface - try to disable all USB Power Savings for all USB Hubs in the Device Manager - and maybe try with and w/o a USB Hub for grins.

I'd agree that the ASIO-4-All should generally not be used if the native ASIO driver is worth a darn unless you need to aggregate drivers under ASIO in Windows (still not generaly recommended for absolue best performance).

And sorry to say this, but Focusrite isn't exactly known for their extremely efficient drivers: http://www.dawbench.com/audio-int-lowlatency.htm

I'm sure you can get it to be useable "as-is", but there will be an improvement by going to a more efficient card with top-notch drivers.  Getting the laptop up to snuff (weeding out all potential issues) will likely be sufficient with your current interface IMO...

Good luck!  8)
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Randy Visentine
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PaulGasztold

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Re: Sound card problems...
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2011, 07:04:30 pm »

Randy

This is eye-opening information. Very beneficial.

thanks

Paul
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