SOLVED. Don't use MB chipset RAID for Pro Tools 11

wm_b

Veteran
Joined
Jan 24, 2013
Messages
129
Karma
22
Gear owned
DM3200, DM4800 and DM24
This problem is solved. Disabling the motherboard chipset RAID configuration made PT work excellently.

I have a DM3200 with the IF-FW/DM connected to the Apple Thunderbolt Adapter to a Windows 7/64 PC with a TB interface on the motherboard. For the most part it works great with my main DAW Sonar X2/X3.

My System:
GA-Z77X-UP5 TH mobo | i7 3770k | 16 gigs RAM | Win7/64 | Audio Drive 2TB RAID0 | Data & Backup 2TB RAID1 | OS drive 256 gig SSD | Apogee AD16x -> Tascam DM3200 -> IF-FWDM-mk2 via Apple FW to Thunderbolt adapter -

Somewhat stupidly I purchased Pro Tools 11 Native (not HD) without knowing that it's impossible to turn off input monitoring. For almost 15 years I've been doing digital recording with console of some type and never regarded system latency as a particularly big deal. I would just set it up so that big mixes played back nicely and get on with my life.

As I'm digging into PT 11 I'm finding that setting the input buffer very low is causing the audio to drop out and playback to have glitches in it even when I'm just listening. My computer is pretty powerful and I feel like I should be able to get better performance than I'm getting so far. I've tried a variety of settings from 128 and up in increments of 128 and once I get to the point where things work more smoothly it has too much latency.

I'm recording at 88 and 96 for most projects. Could I possibly be better off with some kind of Firewire card rather than the Thunderbolt Adapter? I would like to get it working well enough that I can record 16 tracks at once with low latency without glitches. Ideally I'd be able to do this with some eq and compression on the channels but I'll stick with just straight 16 tracks with no plugs as my baseline.

Any suggestions? Am I wasting my time? Is anyone here using PT 11?

Thanks.
 
Re: Optimizing the IF-FW/DMMKII latency for Pro Tools 11

It could also be that I'm thinking of this the wrong way. When I had a DM24 I used to mix with sonar mostly like a tape machine and did the majority of the mix on the DM24 sending 24 tracks of audio to the DM24 faders via a MOTU 2408 mk3. Some time ago I switched to mixing everything in the box and just return the main outputs from the DAW to two channels on the DM3200. That's also how I'm trying to run protools. Maybe for tracking it might work better to send 16 channels into the PT and then return those same 16 back to the console for cue mixing? I sort of hate to go through all the steps to try that since I don;t have a ton of faith that it will make a single bit of difference but maybe someone has some advice,
 
Re: Optimizing the IF-FW/DMMKII latency for Pro Tools 11

Not knowing much about the Thunderbolt adapter, (and not using PT) I would suggest picking up a FW card. They're cheap and there are no adaptors needed. Is the IF-FW/DM card your old one from the DM24? or a newer MKII? There are good drivers for the MKII available. 32 channels at 88.2 or 86 are no problem.

I can't imagine not being able to turn off input monitoring...can you just mute the track in PTs and monitor through your DM??

Latency issues can be reduced by turning off extra things on your computer that you are not using, like the wireless adaptor (if you are wired) or any unused network interface cards. My computer has two Ethernet jacks on the back. I turned one off and my Max Latency (via Tascam spike checker) went way down. I can even use the low latency setting now. Using the windows "legacy" FW drivers for the computer's FW card helped a lot too.

Your machine is way past mine (ASUS P5BDeluxe, Q6600, Win7 32, 3 gigs ram, 3 500GB SATA III WD drives) and I have no problem with several tracks recording at the same time and mixes with over thirty tracks with effects playing at the same time. (most of that is hard drive throughput anyway) I'm at 88.2. 16 tracks would be a mouse fart on your computer.
 
Re: Optimizing the IF-FW/DMMKII latency for Pro Tools 11

Thanks for the reply. After some research, changing all my settings to match the Avid suggested performance configuration I still have the glitches in PT. I've discovered that it's at a regular interval of 2 seconds. It's in the wave file and it also happens during playback so you hear it twice. Once from the file I recorded and then again from the "live" glitch. It only is audible if there is a sound happening. Silence is silent.

Just for the record, in Sonar X3 I can totally stack the disk with tracks and have no playback issues at all until the UAD2 starts to crap out with too many plugins. However, I never use input monitoring with Sonar so I never worry about latency. I have just this evening done the "1394 legacy driver" change and now my DM3200 locks with my TI firewire card that it wouldn't lock with before. I did this for both the Apple TB to 1394 adapter and the TI firewire card and they work the same with fairly low DPC spike readings ( Currently I'm testing on the TI card.

This PT experience has has been a tough lesson. I'm used to an entirely different approach with my software. PT has a flagship that they ultimately want you to buy and their lesser versions are definitely flying coach. I know from other DAWs that my system is up to par because I can set the latency to 128 and turn on input monitoring and it works flawlessly. I have no desire to work that way but I could if I didn't have a mixer.
 
Re: Optimizing the IF-FW/DMMKII latency for Pro Tools 11

When there is a regular interval like that, it may sometimes be a VST or other effect that is in demo only mode. Do you still hear it if you disable all effects?
 
Re: Optimizing the IF-FW/DMMKII latency for Pro Tools 11

The only plugins are the Avid EQ and comp. The glitch happens with our without plugins. I really think the solution is something simple or an incompatibility issue. I'm using the RAID controller built into my motherboard for my work disks so it's possible PT has an issue with that. I don't really have an easy way to eliminate that situation but I'm thinking of trying to use a FW drive for a test. I don't have anything handy at the moment.
 
Re: Optimizing the IF-FW/DMMKII latency for Pro Tools 11

Interesting information but from other posts I've found via search it looks as if it does support RAID now but I cannot tell for sure if that's HD only.
 
Re: Optimizing the IF-FW/DMMKII latency for Pro Tools 11

I had major problems with mixing ITB with every firewire interface and Win7.
Tried several mainboards, a Win7 configuration with only the DAW software (tried PT, Audition, Reaper, Cubase) and plugins installed. Tried several FW PCI interface cards, it was a mess every time with dropouts, high latency and so on.

Switched to a Mac Pro and suddenly everything works without any problem.
BTW, I'm not an Apple enthousiast what so ever, but I never managed to get everything stable with Win7.

In the past, had no problems with WinXP though.
 
Re: Optimizing the IF-FW/DMMKII latency for Pro Tools 11

I've been doing Win7/firewire audio for two years and haven't had any problems til now and only with PT. I didn't do low latency recording because I've used consoles since day one but last night I decided to do a vocal session in Sonar X3 using only Input monitoring and I was so blown away by how well it worked it kind of shook up my thinking. I was able to run some plugins and get a vibey sound for a vocal unlike what I usually get for tracking when I'm just using the DM3200 console eq. comp and effects. It worked wonderfully so I'm thinking it's not necessarily the Win7/firewire combo.
 
Re: Optimizing the IF-FW/DMMKII latency for Pro Tools 11

There could be several issues here, but as somebody who's vowed to stick with PT10 for the foreseeable future, I can't say what's going on with PT11.

I run PT10 with an 'obsolete' Win7 machine: 3ghz dual core Intel, 540 gig HD. With firewire (ASIO settings reduced to 16 DM outputs), the Legacy Win driver, and the DM's latest drivers, I can track/mix at up to 96kz without dropouts. My PC is absolutely stripped down to the bare essentials: no Outlook, Outhouse, Whorehouse or Henhouse (sorry Tommy Lee :) ); all adaptors are disabled. There isn't a printer, fax, or scanner within a mile of my studio. i don't surf the net; nor is there any antii-virusware running. And.....I DO NOT ALLOW MICROSOFT TO DICTATE WHEN/IF THERE ARE GOING TO BE BACKGROUND UPDATES!!!

I started with PT9 two years ago, and it became quite obvious that Avid's relationship with ASIO is tenuous at best. Building a stable rig takes some time and tweaking. And, as you suggest, they'd prefer you'd invest in 'ToolKits' and other expensive add ons likely to be extinct in a 1/2 decade. Still, I really like PT10; it works very well with the DM, and compared to other DAWs I've used, routing is relatively easy and straightforward.

Probably none of this is helpful, but I had a few moments to rant. :p

CaptDan
 
Re: Optimizing the IF-FW/DMMKII latency for Pro Tools 11

Please make sure if you are using Win7 and firewire with DM3200 that you are using the Windows 7 Firewire LEGACY driver. You have to manually change it! I had drop outs and poor performance nightmares when I first upgraded from XP to the Windows 7 platform. Changing to legacy firewire driver fixed my problem and also a few others on here.

Go to the firewire card in the device manager, "update driver", "browse computer", "let me choose from list" and choose the one that says (legacy).
 
Re: Optimizing the IF-FW/DMMKII latency for Pro Tools 11

rbrezins said:
I had major problems with mixing ITB with every firewire interface and Win7.
Tried several mainboards, a Win7 configuration with only the DAW software (tried PT, Audition, Reaper, Cubase) and plugins installed. Tried several FW PCI interface cards, it was a mess every time with dropouts, high latency and so on.

Switched to a Mac Pro and suddenly everything works without any problem.
BTW, I'm not an Apple enthousiast what so ever, but I never managed to get everything stable with Win7.

In the past, had no problems with WinXP though.

Did you try all those firewire cards with the Windows legacy drivers? :) I hate to keep stating it but this is the first thing I'd try before anything else. Also using the latest Beta version of the IF FW MKII driver is the other missing piece of the puzzle

I'm using my DM3200 with Cubase 7.5 in Windows 7 with my buffers set at 256kb without a single dropout reported by the Tascam FW utility nor am I hearing any pops or clicks. My ethernet port is also disabled until I need it. It's never enabled while using my DAW as it would always cause audio gltches when activated. You can check yourself using the spike checker. Watch how any system is affected when you enable the ethernet port. But first make sure you're using the FW legacy drivers, install the IF/FW MKII Beta drivers and disable the ethernet port...in that order... then test with spike checker for performance results and then try your DAW.
 
Re: Optimizing the IF-FW/DMMKII latency for Pro Tools 11

Just to sort of update what I've got and what I've done...

I have updated the firewire drivers to the legacy driver for both the Apple Thunderbolt Adapter and my TI firewire card. Previously the TI would not work with the DM3200 and now with the Legacy driver it works very well. The Apple Thunderbolt adapter still works as well as it did before I set it to use the Legacy adapter. I can't say it's performing better but it's not performing worse. The computer has no peripherals that aren't related to audio. No printers, scanners or any of that. I've disabled everything in device manager that isn't necessary for audio. I've disconnected and disabled the network devices.

I'm wondering if the onboard RAID on my motherboard could possibly be part of the problem. Other DAWs have no issue but I can see where Avid might determine RAIDs to be a high level production tool and disable or impair it for anything except their high-end products. Unfortunately I don't have a regular HDD in my system that I can use for audio so I can't test that theory easily.
 
Re: Optimizing the IF-FW/DMMKII latency for Pro Tools 11

Did you try the IF/FW MKII Beta drivers? What version are you using?
Send me email in PM and I will forward you the Beta drivers if you don't have.
 
Re: Optimizing the IF-FW/DMMKII latency for Pro Tools 11

Testing at a buffer of 1024 samples there are no glitches. Anything lower and there are glitches that do not increase in severity as I reduce the buffer size. In other words, a buffer of 128 samples will glitch the at the same rate and intensity as 512 samples. Too weird. This is looking like it will probably never work other than for high latency work. With no ability to turn off input monitoring I really have have a clumsy workflow in order to proceed. I read a suggestion that included a sidechained compressor to basically mute the channel when there was input. Wow. I feel so lucky that Sonar has worked so well on every system I've built.

I'm sorry, but does PT 10 function without having some Avid hardware? I've never really understood this.
 
Re: Optimizing the IF-FW/DMMKII latency for Pro Tools 11

It could be your raid drive and/or its configuration.. not sure. No way to install a standard HD for testing purposes? Did you use the spike checker to see what it reports?

Tried sending you the Beta drives... your email is set up to not receive ZIP files... it keeps bouncing back from gmail saying it is a security threat.

Not a fan of PT as I am really enjoying Cubase 7.5. CaptDan is using PT fine with Win 7 and his DM3200. I believe Jamsire too is using it successfully as well with his DM4800.
 
Re: Optimizing the IF-FW/DMMKII latency for Pro Tools 11

The computer is racked and just a bit of work to pull out to add a drive. I'm not ruling it out but I won't have enough downtime until Friday.

I did try creating a project on my system drive which is a SSD drive and not on a raid. It's not recommended to work that way but for a test of a non Raid drive I think it's valid. Either way, the results were the same; 1024 samples = no glitches, <1024 samples = glitches. This is a one track, zero plugins project. I hope it's not a deal where having a RAID present on the system is screwing the pooch for the whole thing no matter what kind of drive I use. That would be pain to disable and disconnect. I still need to try a firewire drive on the other controller.

My DPC spikes are low, generally 2 digit numbers. During the testing it peaked art 128. The range fluctuates but it's generally between 30 and 80.
 
Re: Optimizing the IF-FW/DMMKII latency for Pro Tools 11

DPC spike test results sound great. That means it's proibably something with PT configuration..? At a loss..sounds like firewire and current drivers are working fine.
 
Re: Optimizing the IF-FW/DMMKII latency for Pro Tools 11

cmaffia said:
Please make sure if you are using Win7 and firewire with DM3200 that you are using the Windows 7 Firewire LEGACY driver. (legacy).

Yep. That's what I was saying in my previous message. And - I have YOU to thank for that heads up. I was having periodic dropouts 'till I found that "Legacy' driver and installed it. Rock solid ever since.

CaptDan
 

New threads

Members online