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Thread: Problems with audio - Cubase or LVD's?

  1. #1

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    Hi all,

    Got a weird one for you. I'm setting up a more complex audio recording system than I've used in the past and am running into some problems.
    New system -
    PowerMac 9500 w/Sonnet Crescendo 400mhz/1MB, OS 9.1
    1G internal, 9G internal
    Adaptec 2940 U2B w/ 2 external LVD 9G Atlas 10KII drives (not striped or anything yet)
    2 Monitor cards (standard 9500 card plus ATI card, not sure which one)

    The problem is this - I've installed an honest-to-goodness upgrade of Cubase (upgraded from 3.5.2 to 5.0 I bought from a friend). When I open songs or audio files that are on the LVD drive, there is no sound. There is no action in the level meters. Quicktime audio plays fine from any drive. Importing those same AIFF's into a song file plays okay from the 1G or 9G. If I move those files to the LVD and try the same thing, no sound.

    I don't recall if I had these problems with Cubase 3.5.2.

    I'm not sure where to start on this one. I'm just using the standard apple sound card, but I will be installing a Delta 1010LT. I just wanted to make sure everything was up and running before I did install it - good thing too, or I would have definitely thought the problems were due to the Delta card.

    Tests on the drives look good - high Macbench readings etc, no errors. I'm guessing the problem lies in how Cubase 5.0 treats the ASIO but why would it be dependant on the speed of the drives? Hmmmm....

    Thanks in advance,
    GENE

  2. #2
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    Gene,

    What are the drives formatted with, and what version? type of terminator? How's the RAM? Enough? 60 ns? What kind of read/write I/O does ATTO ExpressTools Pro report? You could see if slowing them down helps using the Adaptec Power Domain utility.

    SoftRAID is a nice driver and let you stripe them if that helps. And what slot is the U2B living in? bus master?

    - G.

  3. #3

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    Hi Greg,

    "What are the drives formatted with, and what version?"

    Not sure, I'll have to get back to you on that. Probably just the DriveSetup that comes with 9.1

    "type of terminator?"

    The inline terminator that came with the cabling on the 2940. Sufficient or no? I've got both drives running off the external port from the 2940 - SCSI ID's are cool, but is that a bonehead newbie move? No problems before this Cubase extravaganza started.

    "How's the RAM? Enough? 60 ns?"

    Over 300meg, definitely 60 ns (I had to ditch the -70 when I got the Sonnet - mucho crashos, but solid ever since), no other applications running except OS and Cubase. More memory coming in over next couple days, I'll throw that in and maybe see what happens.

    "What kind of read/write I/O does ATTO ExpressTools Pro report? You could see if slowing them down helps using the Adaptec Power Domain utility."

    Again, I'll have to check and report back. I downloaded the PowerDomain off the ATTO site - I'll check into slowing them down. Never would have thought you could get TOO fast. Any suggestions as to speeds?

    "SoftRAID is a nice driver and let you stripe them if that helps. And what slot is the U2B living in? bus master?"

    Trying to dig up a copy of SoftRAID from Ebay - seen a couple, but I wanted to make sure everything was copecetic before jumping into the RAID waters. U2B is in slot 1 (I think I remember seeing that recommendation somewhere in all these posts). Video cards are in 4 and 5.

    Maybe I should fully test out Cubase 3.5.2 first - sifting through the Steinberg site dug up some complaints that 5.0 is maybe not completely bug free. Never had problems with 3.5.2 in the previous 7300/350.

    Thanks for the reply, Greg. I'll go dig up some answers and get back to you.

    GENE

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    you could update the driver to Drive Setup 2.07. Some drivers allow "down-grading" or adjusting things. the Atlas 10K II has great 8MB of cache and it shows in sustained reads. SoftRAID would be nice. A poor terminator or cable problem could drop you into SE mode and/or Asynch instead of synchronous transfers. Some users though have to to get things smoothed out. Any controller will allow setting it to run at lower rate, instead of 40 MHz default, to run at 20 MHz. Or from 80 to 40 MHz.

    The Atlas line are usually good for audio/video. The 10K-4 is even more so, and made with editing digital video in mind, even in the way spare blocks are kept and used. ie, great 36GB drives to keep in mind, and $172 right now. Even in Ultra2 environment, it should perform well.

    Power Domain is Adaptec (or Version Tracker) and we all use ExpressTools from ATTO to take a benchmark of a drive at first to see if it looks "right" and expected numbers. Something in the 40MB/s for sustained writes and even higher for sustained reads (in part because of the 8MB cache, the test doesn't do justice to testing the drive very well though).

    - G.

  5. #5

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    Holy redesign, Batman!

    So I got a hold of ATTO's ProTools and I'll try to run some numbers tonight. Let's see where that leads us.

    GENE

  6. #6

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    Okay - I think we're getting somewhere. I did some benchmarks using ATTO and got...

    LVD Drive A: PR - 55.46, SR - 54.93, PW - 23.09, SW - 22.40

    LVD Drive B: PR - 55.08, SR - 54.24, PW - 23.36, SW - 22.40

    As you predicted, the SR is higher than 40MB/s, but the writes are way lower than 40.
    Possible terminator trouble? Am I taking the Foxconn cabling for Granite (nyuk nyuk)? Am I able to play QT files and other things because the sizes are much smaller, then when it comes to handling some heavy audio work, it gets confused?

    Maybe I'll try reloading Cubase in case something got screwed up.

    GENE

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    It's FoxConn external cable and Granite terminator? If you have a Granite cable, you might want to look at the cable sold by HyperMicro.com - you could buy four and still come out ahead. Terminators go from $40-99.

    I've also been looking around, on the advice of an engineer, and it seems that there are decent cables and terminators for less than the $100-200 Granite charges. Better than three years ago when the market transitioned from UW/SE to LVD.

    When you get a chance, fire up the Power Domain utility and check all the settings. It should list your drives and show if they are running in wide mode/default 40MHz or something else.

    Yes, we are getting somewhere! I would have expected even higher reads from Atlas 10K-2.

    - G.

  8. #8

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    Snooping through some of the SCSI posts abd I stumbled upon Kaye writing...
    {It does not say there, but it is true that some G3s handle the audio/video better than others. For instance, magician says "Sonnet upgrades are not compatible with most audio and video editing solutions." k}
    Guess what's in my 9500 - a Sonnet g3/400/1M upgrade. What do you suppose M meant? Wonder if it's related to Cubase issues...

  9. #9

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    Low numbers, eh? Probably crappy cabling. I'm using the Foxconn internal connector that came with the 2940U2B - I think it just has a poopy little terminator on it, probably doesn't do much . I've emailed HyperMicro to see what they recommend; maybe that'll clear things up with the thruput. I think I remember seeing a 40Mb setting on each address when Powerdomain did its thing this afternoon, so my guess is the drives are probably setup okay, but the cabling is crap. But then again, why do QT f iles play fine? More work to be done...
    Thanks, Greg, I'll keep checking things out on this end.
    GENEE

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    Interesting note on www.xlr8yourmac.com from Daystar regarding cpu upgrades on pre-G3's, and working around problems in cpu and L2 cache enabling software.

    quote:
    Gary Dailey of Daystar wrote:

    " The primary advantage of this over the free stuff, is that we have a number of compatibility fixes that others don't, and we also do active cache testing and automatic reset of the cache in the event of overclocking.
    (he later wrote)
    Anyhow, I saw your post on the XLR8 software. A little premature, as we don't have an automated system for fulfillment up yet - but I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.
    The main benefits of the OS9 OSX are the still the speculative processing fix (for pre-G3 Macs) and automated cache testing, plus some beige fixes that take care of the nasty kernel bug in 9.2 beige G3s running G4.
    Also, I found that on newer cpus like the 7410, PowerLogix is putting fixes in standard PRAM... my guess being that they couldn't figure out how to adjust Virtual Firmware, just copy it. I don't think they'll copy it again, as the copyright stuff is pretty blatant in the binaries.
    The OWC software doesn't really handle either.
    Best regards,
    Gary Dailey
    Daystar "


    Even tweaking the firmware of a controller can play an important role. One of the reasons folks use drivers that give them more control over drives, and modify (SCSI only) the mode pages. Seagate, Maxtor, Hitachi may tweak their SCSI drives for server or random access rather than video or a server. One reason that Storage Review of drives is so in depth helpful. How many segments of the drive cache, how bad block spares are used and kept. A lot goes into performance.

    If you get to look at even ATTO ETP, it has three options for pre-configured mode page settings for different uses. Might even modify mode pages even if there's another driver controlling the drive.

    - G.

  11. #11

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    Jeez, and I thought I had it all licked when I figured out how to set the SCSI ID's on the drives! Nothing quite as humbling as delving into the workings of a non-working system...
    GENE

  12. #12

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    Okay - I've got things running, but I don't have a clue how. Threw 256M more memory in it, and cleaned things up, DiskWarriored and such, and I now have audio to/from every drive. Why, I don't know. I would assume there was something out of alignment with the stars. NOW...checking things on the 2940U2B end of things, I've come across a couple oddities which raise a configuration question.
    a.) I run PowerDomain and it shows the 2 drives as 40Mhz Wide devices. I guess that's what I want (?).
    b.) I run Express Pro-Tools and it shows the bus info for the Adaptec card as: Fast SCSI 2, Wide, Synch Transfer, and Single-ended.
    I can't find any way of getting the 2940 into LVD mode. The Atlas 10Kii's are bare, except for the Term Power (.pdf manual recommended it) and SCSI ID jumpers. Now here's the question - would the cabling, assuming it is cheap and unreliable which it undoubtedly is, affect the card's speed to the extent that it turns itself onto SE rather than LVD mode? I'm just not sure if there's something else I have to set that I'm not looking at correctly, or if the card is smart enough to measure its own transfer rates and go to the lowest common denominator if it doesn't feel comfortable running at the higher speed. Any ideas?...
    Thanks again.
    GENE

  13. #13
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    That's why I included the comments from Maxtor and SoftRAID.

    Clean up (or use a mallet!) on any bugs that surface and move on to the next!

    Have you search for the Apple KB on "2940U2B"? I'm sure there is a note on lack of support under Jaguar. Some controllers have trouble with Apple RAID mirror volumes, or repairing them.

    Those notes I included also indicate poor power can cause bugs.

    You aren't out of the woods, but you seem to be able to see the clearing...

    - G.

  14. #14

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    Okay - progress!

    So I went to work on the song I'm trying to finish this evening and lo and behold the old problem of no audio from the LVD's is back. (This is without the LVD cabling I've ordered coming in yet, so we're still talking slow data at this point).

    I figured, "Well, it can't get any worse than it already is", so for the heck of it I installed the M-Audio Delta 1010LT PCI card that has been waiting patiently for a home. Ran the set-up and did a quick config for the mixing board, dragged the drivers into the ASIO folder in Cubase, selected the card as the audio i/o source in Cubase (and for the entire Mac), and bingo - instant audio.

    SOOOO...I guess this problem probably relates to how Cubase deals with its audio drivers. Maybe if I have Cubase on 2 drives at the same time it gets confused over ownership rights to the ASIO.

    I'll try to mess with it some more this weekend and see what's going on at that point.

    GENE

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    Thanks for keeping this updated. You never know when something like this will come in handy.

  16. #16

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    It's been a few days and I haven't lost any audio - although I did come across a setting in the Export Audio function which seemed to temporarily turn off audio, but I hadn't gotten that far at the time - so I'm going to presume that the Delta1010 drivers took care of my problem. Still wouldn't have been solved if I hadn't bought a 3rd party sound card, though. Hmmm.

    Now onto the more SCSI related issue - I got the new cable in from HyperMicro, did some ATTO benches, and presto!, no difference from before (in fact the readings were slightly lower than the old Foxconn cable).
    So I messed and messed, and only after I low-level formatted both drives did the bench numbers jump into the high 20's / low 30's. Must have been some previous formatting that was hindering the drives.

    Now one problem I'm having is this - and I'm sure it's gotta be a thruput rate adjustment-type thing - when I process a song file from an LVD drive, I get a faint clicking noise in the audio, and if I move it to the 9G interna l drive and process it from there, the file is fine. What do you think?

    Thanks,
    GENEE

  17. #17
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    quote:
    Originally posted by Genius:
    ... one problem I'm having is this - and I'm sure it's gotta be a thru-put rate adjustment-type thing - when I process a song file from an LVD drive, I get a faint clicking noise in the audio, and if I move it to the 9G internal l drive and process it from there, the file is fine. What do you think?


    Genius,

    Noise, cross-talk, what happens when you use good but not the best cables, perhaps? Audio equipment can be very demanding. HyperMicro might be okay for "normal" folks but not for audio. Give them a call, then give GraniteDigital a call and ask.

  18. #18

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    Okay, I guess I'll have to look into this a little deeper in the future - I've GOT to get this album into production, I'm starting to get a little behind. In the meantime, thanks to the Gurus for all their troubleshooting advice. I'll post back if I stumble on anything useful.

    GENE

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