Mac, Audiofire 12, Ableton Input crackles.....

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
analogcabin
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Mac, Audiofire 12, Ableton Input crackles.....

Post by analogcabin » Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:55 am

Hi.

I've been using Live since version 2 without a single buffer interface issue - ever.
Lately I've been getting random digital hash, crackles etc on input only. Add to that when I try & change buffer settings using the test tone 80% goodie it's really buggy. Sound drops out completely. Odd.

My current settings are (and always have been):
*24/44.1
*128 Buffer
*Echo Audiofire 12
*Mac Pro
*Live (8.3.4)

Playback is fine. Recording In is the issue. More buffer makes it worse it seems. Very confused.
Anyone have any suggestions for a plan of how to troubleshoot?

Many Thanks.

southsounder
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Re: Mac, Audiofire 12, Ableton Input crackles.....

Post by southsounder » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:16 am

I have a similar setup although I run 2 AF12's as an aggregate device. I've experienced funky issues on occasion, although usually it's simply no sound at all - no level meters either on the DAW or the converter box, very strange.

Not sure whether it's due to aggregate device functionality problems, general FW issues, or something specific with the AF12's themselves or their drivers, but when it happens it affects Logic as well as Ableton.

I've found that opening up the Echo console and toggling the sample rates on both units seems to clear things up, and I've taken to doing this upon bootup as a matter of course. That seems to keep issues to a minimum. Maybe try doing that before you open Ableton and see if that helps?

I've also heard folks recommend an aftermarket FW card, that might be the next step if all of your drivers are in order. Best of luck!

southsounder
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Re: Mac, Audiofire 12, Ableton Input crackles.....

Post by southsounder » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:28 am

Oh yeah, prior to getting my AF12's I struggled with the (at the time) new Presonus "universal control" & drivers for a Firestudio. I had LOTS of issues with their drivers, which was one of the reasons I switched to the Echo boxes. On of the more useful things I learned from Presonus tech support during that experience was their optimization techniques for OSX.

http://support.presonus.com/entries/119 ... io-mac-osx

Can't hurt to try it if the sample rate switching trick doesn't help, especially since your symptoms sound more like what I was experiencing with my Presonus.

analogcabin
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Re: Mac, Audiofire 12, Ableton Input crackles.....

Post by analogcabin » Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:37 pm

Thanks for the advice so far. I'll try some of this & see what happens.
If I had hair I'd pull it out!

analogcabin
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Re: Mac, Audiofire 12, Ableton Input crackles.....

Post by analogcabin » Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:20 pm

Still can't figure this out.
Going to the Echo Console and changing to another sample rate fixes it - for a while. The issue returns later.

In Ableton Live my CPU % is 4-10%. Anything over 4-5% seems to make it worse.

Any have any more suggestions for a plan of how to troubleshoot?

I have re-installed Ableton Live. Repaired permissions. Reset PRAM. Whew.......
Is it possible my AF12 is faulty?

Many, many.... many thanks for any help,

southsounder
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Re: Mac, Audiofire 12, Ableton Input crackles.....

Post by southsounder » Sat Oct 13, 2012 5:13 am

Troubleshooting should be pretty straightforward. Consider the basic components in your system:
Ableton
AF12
AF12 driver
FW cable
FW card

The trick is to eliminate each component individually until the problem goes away. You've already trying system tuning and driver upgrades, so I'd suggest the following approach:

1) Start by making sure the AF12 is the only thing connected to any FW port on your system, including devices daisychained off the AF12 itself. I'd also consider removing any USB devices as well. Also check to make sure airport is turned off and you're not running anything but Ableton. In theory none of this should matter but the goal is isolation so try to remove as many variables as possible before starting.

2) Try a different FW port. Not likely to matter since I believe all the Mac Pro's FW ports are fed from a single source, but it's the easiest thing to test and it never hurts to try...

3) Try a different FW cable. Even though the ones that come with the AF12's are pretty decent no cable is immune to an occasional issue. I've had bad FW cables before.

4) Try another audio program with your current hardware setup - demos are usually free downloads. This will eliminate Ableton itself or it's interaction with the AF12's drivers as a potential cause.

5) Try running your AF12 on another computer. If the problem occurs on all ports & with all programs on your computer but works fine on another machine then I'd try an aftermarket FW card.

If it happens under any circumstance then the problem has been isolated to the AF12 itself and it's time for an RA from Echo for repair.

petur
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Re: Mac, Audiofire 12, Ableton Input crackles.....

Post by petur » Sat Oct 13, 2012 11:07 am

This sounds like the exact same problems i get when i try to run aggregate devices in OSX (probably is related to synchronisation errors)... might be unrelated to your problems tho...

But anyway, since i am interested in geting an Audiofire 12 myself i did a bit of goggling on Audiofire related issues and found this, which seems a bit similar to the issues you are having https://discussions.apple.com/thread/37 ... 0&tstart=0

This guy solves the it by switching clock from Mac to Device in Audio MIDI Setup.

dafragsta
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Re: Mac, Audiofire 12, Ableton Input crackles.....

Post by dafragsta » Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:40 pm

I'm also having this problem. Can we get someone to take a look at it? This sounds like it's not an isolated incident, and no, changing the clock doesn't do anything but roll the dice on how noisy the signal is. I've found absolutely no correlation between clock settings and noise. Just when you think you have it figured out, it starts crackling again, and sometimes changing clock or buffer settings back to a known working combination only makes the problem worse. This is _VERY_ frustrating. I invested in a Retina MBP because I thought I'd have less issues than my PC DAW. My AF12s worked fine as a daisy chain on Windows. It behaves completely unpredictably on the Mac.

nonnus
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Re: Mac, Audiofire 12, Ableton Input crackles.....

Post by nonnus » Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:45 pm

dafragsta wrote:Retina MBP
are you using the af12 on the retina mbp?
if so, how are you connecting it to your non firewire port mac?

using the tb->fw apple adaptor or apple tb display?
something else form third party?

keep in mind this might be the real cause of the problems you are having, i am not sure how tested those adapters have been in such demanding conditions as real time multistream audio

or not... but it just seemed kind of obvious to point out if you are not using a native fw connection (as in fw port to fw device)

good luck with your problem!

dafragsta
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Re: Mac, Audiofire 12, Ableton Input crackles.....

Post by dafragsta » Tue Oct 30, 2012 2:01 am

I had a separate issue just yesterday with the RMBP, but it was a cosmetic thing, so it'll be a while at the very least before I have another one in hand. I was using the Apple thunderbolt to FW800 adapter to hook two AudioFire 12s up in a daisy chain. I was running in 44.1Hz, and sometimes it would run fine for hours on end, and sometimes it would just crackle a little, but it's the weird inexplicable things that happened when I adjusted the audio buffer, bounced the audio interfaces, or restarted CoreAudio that made me throw up my hands. Changing to a bigger buffer would often result in _worse_ artifacts than a smaller buffer, but I wouldn't even chalk that up to a correlation, because it seemed like anything I did resulted in some level of noise. I tried setting the clock to the mac, setting each AF12 as master (I have them tied to each other via BNC and the second one is set to external clock. This worked flawlessly on my Windows 7 DAW) and still no luck.

southsounder
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Re: Mac, Audiofire 12, Ableton Input crackles.....

Post by southsounder » Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:13 am

I've never been convinced that OSX aggregate devices are completely stable. At least, I've never had a setup where they were - regardless of the brand of interfaces involved.

I debated between two AF12 and a MOTU 24i/o for a long time, and decided to go with the AF12's based upon positive experience with my earlier Echo PCI boxes and my negative experience with friends' MOTU interfaces. To my ear the Echo converters just plain sound better.

I unfortunately hadn't realized I would need to use the aggregate device function to run two AF12's together (duh...) but had I known I would have got the MOTU box and saved myself the headache.

Dafragsta, do you experience the same problems running a single AF12? Not a long term solution I know but certainly a good way to try and isolate the cause of the problem.

Also really curious if the OP got his single AF12 running smoothly?

analogcabin
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Re: Mac, Audiofire 12, Ableton Input crackles.....

Post by analogcabin » Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:34 pm

southsounder wrote:Also really curious if the OP got his single AF12 running smoothly?
Not quite there yet. Marcel at Echo support has been a great help. He pointed me to a newer (yet unreleased) V 5.8 driver. I thought this was helping. But, much like dafragsta, changing the buffer up or down seems like a crap shoot at best.

Part of me thinks it's an Ableton or Apple issue. I used to get a similar problem with crackles (being recorded) if I left say Bias Peak running along side Live or if I'd left the Echo console open. Shutting one down would cure it. Now It's gets ugly at random times.... for no reason that I can predict. Keep in mind it's seldom that this happens but it never used to happen ever.


Whew...... I may send in my AF12, but even Marcel said it will be very hard to figure out unless it's constant.

southsounder
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Re: Mac, Audiofire 12, Ableton Input crackles.....

Post by southsounder » Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:24 am

Sorry to hear that man, what a royal PITA. At least Echo is trying to help - read the Mackie forums sometime about their drivers support for the 1200F... 8O

If my sporadic problems get any worse I'm going to try a dedicated TI chipped FW card. Not an option for laptop users I know, but for those of us with desktops it certainly can't hurt.

orphee
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Re: Mac, Audiofire 12, Ableton Input crackles.....

Post by orphee » Sun Nov 04, 2012 2:55 am

analogcabin wrote:
southsounder wrote:Also really curious if the OP got his single AF12 running smoothly?
Not quite there yet. Marcel at Echo support has been a great help. He pointed me to a newer (yet unreleased) V 5.8 driver. I thought this was helping. But, much like dafragsta, changing the buffer up or down seems like a crap shoot at best.
I have the same problem with 2x AudioFire12s daisy chained on OS X 10.6.8 with the beta 5.8 drivers (as an aggregate audio interface in OS X). The 5.8 drivers seem really good and stable and crackle-free, but live seems to work sometimes and sometimes not. Sometimes I have really stable audio at 200 samples of latency, sometimes it only works at 500 samples. Sometimes when I have 500 samples, it's actually about 1/4 of a second between hitting a note on a keyboard and the note coming out .. sometimes it's fine.

I haven't worked it out yet. Unfortunately I don't work in any other DAWs these days to I haven't tested any other DAWs but I need to in order to see if the problem is with Live or not.

analogcabin do you use any other DAWs and get this problem still?

orph

southsounder
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Re: Mac, Audiofire 12, Ableton Input crackles.....

Post by southsounder » Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:11 am

Utter hearsay, but I was told by someone at some point that in general the buffer size likes base 2 numbers e.g. 64, 128, 256, 512, etc. I have no scientific evidence or knowledge that there is anything to this theory, but I always use them - just in case...

FWIW I run 128 on my two AF12's at 24/48 with very little issues - I never change the buffer setting. I do change to 16/44.1 on occasion when collaborating with other folks who use that setting, and I've never had a problem.

One final thought - I'm still running 10.5.8, I wonder if 10.5 has a more stable implementation of the aggregate device system than 10.6+?

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