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Sudden audio dropout

Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 8:44 pm
by miyarakira
Hi All, I would be grateful if anyone can help me.

I am experiencing a problem where the audio suddenly drops out,
even though the meter on the master output shows activity. There's
no pop or glitch, just goes silent. The only way I've found to get the
sound back is to restart CoreAudio, by going to Preference and switching
driver type to No Audio, then back to CoreAudio.

Not sure what triggers it, seems to be a random occurance. I am not
pushing the limit of CPU or memory at all, using 4 to 6 tracks.

I am using a Macbook Pro (early 2011) with 8GB RAM, OSX 10.7.2,
Echo Audiofire 4, on Ableton Live 8 with Kontakt 5.

I've updated the firmware on the audio interface, but that didn't solve it.

The AirPort is turned off, as advised elsewhere, but I see on Activity Monitor
that the AirPort Base Station Agent is still running in the background. Not
sure if that could be the cause.

Strangely, the same issue occurs on Logic Pro, so it's not the problem
with Ableton Live, per se, but I thought I would pose the question here in the
hope that someone else has had the same problem and solved it somehow.

It could be an issue with Kontakt, as I use it in both DAWs. I'll have to see
if I can reproduce the issue without using it.

Thank you for any advice.

Re: Sudden audio dropout

Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:18 pm
by Mage2k
Sounds like a driver issue. Does that interface have a mixer program with VU meters that you can use to see if it's getting any input or output signal when this happens?

Re: Sudden audio dropout

Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:55 pm
by miyarakira
Hi Mage2k,

Thanks for the quick reply. Yes, there is a software for the audio interface called
Echo Firewire Console. Last I saw, there was no activity on the output channels
when the problem was happening.

I see, so it might be a driver problem. I will post the same question to Echo's support.
I'll post back what they say, for the sake of any others who might be experiencing the
same issue.

Re: Sudden audio dropout

Posted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 11:10 pm
by Mage2k
miyarakira wrote:Hi Mage2k,
I see, so it might be a driver problem. I will post the same question to Echo's support.
I'll post back what they say, for the sake of any others who might be experiencing the
same issue.
The reason I say that is because it's happening in two different DAWs. The piece they share is the audio driver that communicates with the interface.

Re: Sudden audio dropout

Posted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 4:22 pm
by miyarakira
Right, that makes sense. The strange thing is that it only happens with DAWs,
not music player, for example. I'll have to try to reproduce the problem without
Kontakt, to eliminate that possibility...

Also, currently I have an external Firewire drive and the audio interface is connected to it.
So, another thing to try is to directly connect the interface to the laptop.

This weekend, when I have more time, I will systematically narrow down the cause of the
problem. No answer from Echo support yet.

Re: Sudden audio dropout

Posted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:22 pm
by miyarakira
The Echo support team replied. They said the following:

1) Open your Echo console and make sure your Echo console
and Firmware matches (Settings > About).

2) Under Audio Midi Set-Up (Application > Utility), make sure
the clock source is set to Device.

I did both, the clock source was already set to device, but the console
and the firmware versions didn't match:

Console 5.7.1
ARM firmware 5.7
FPGA 3.0.2

Strangely, I've updated the firmware (and restarted the interface) but it still
shows the older version, 5.7. I downloaded the newest console & firmware again,
updated the firmware, restarted both the interface and the laptop, and still the
versions show the same as above.

This could be a possible cause of the problem.

Re: Sudden audio dropout

Posted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:33 am
by prizzle9
Hi there!

I'm having the same problem with a Lynx Aurora via firewire, any ideas?


Re: Sudden audio dropout

Posted: Sat Nov 26, 2011 2:26 pm
by miyarakira
Hi prizzle9,

So, according to the support from my audio interface, they recommended the following:

1) Make sure the firmware is up-to-date, and matches the console (if any).
2) Make sure the clock source is set to "device", under Audio Midi Set-up.
3) Try changing the buffer size on the DAW.

I tried all of the above, with no change in behavior. I'm now in the process of
trying to reproduce the problem with minimal setup, without using Kontakt as
a plug-in.

Just curious, prizzle9, do you also use Kontakt? If the same problem is occurring on
a different audio interface, perhaps it's a software issue.

Re: Sudden audio dropout

Posted: Sat Nov 26, 2011 3:05 pm
by Palmer Eldritch
Some times ago I had the exact same issue with my macbook and my (firewire) audio-interface (specs: see below).
The communication to my interface get lost very often until I restart core audio (I did this most of the time by changing the sample-rate).
After searching the net the only thing I could find, was that this problem might due to a heat problem.

After cleaning the fan of my mac-book this problem does not occur anymore.

Cheers, palmer

Re: Sudden audio dropout

Posted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:54 pm
by prizzle9
Thanks for the help people.

Unfortunately I've tried all the above & none have worked. Lynx suspect the firewire card in my Aurora is faulty & are going to exchange it for a USB version which is apparently more stable free of charge even though it is well out of warranty. Curiously with this install of Lion / new iMac you get no system audio if a Core Audio application such as Ableton is open, it returns when you quit Live. I'm wondering if the reverse is happening with Live? Maybe system audio is 'Steeling' the audio like Live seems to be doing? (There is no system audio playing though)

Best, P.

Re: Sudden audio dropout

Posted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:00 pm
by miyarakira
Too early to tell if it's completely solved (*) but I think I found where the problem is.

I had the Echo Audiofire 4 powered by bus, through the firewire cable, but according
to a little note I found in the box -- which I must have overlooked when I set up the
interface -- the 4-pin connection to the Macbook doesn't supply enough power,
so the included 12V DC adapter must be used.

As soon as I started using the power supply, the problem seems to have gone away.
Whew, a couple months of frustration for a silly mistake...

Also, just to make sure the signal is as immediate as possible, I changed the order of
the firewire daisy-chain: Macbook -> audio interface -> HDD.


* Nope, audio dropped out again. I will send back the unit and get a different brand.

Re: Sudden audio dropout

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:49 pm
by miyarakira
** Update after a couple of months **

Well, it seems that the issue is solved by using Live and Kontakt standalone.
It appears that Kontakt plugin was the issue -- not sure if the buffer/memory server/
CPU multicore or any other setup parameter within Kontakt plugin was the
real culprit, but since I started to separate the two apps, I haven't had a problem.

I just use an IAC bus from Live to send messages to the standalone Kontakt. Bit of
a workaround but it works. Thanks for the help, everyone!