Topic: I/O issues with dual hdspe firewire cards, two hammerfall and a ff800.

hey

im having some issues with a multi interface setup

my wanted setup is as follows:

2 hdpse pcie firewire cards with each their multiface(v1 and v2) running the same driver, it should be possible and i had it working for 5 minuts. i have the two multifaces synced with spdif. but i would want access to the preamps on my old FF800 too and its usually connected to the hammerfall v2 via adat, i had that working too, but..

i usually have audio commin out of 1/2 on the hammerfall v2 running as primary interface, sending clock(i think) to the other v1. i then tried to connect my FF800 via adat to the hammerfall v2, because i needed the preamps, but now the sync was not locking and there was a lot of noise on some channels while the FF800
was on, so i turned it off.

now the audio channels seems messed up and out of regular order, ableton is showing output on 1/2, but not in totalmix and nothing is playing from the hw outputs or software output in totalmix besides windows, not the asio i assume, how do i get this setup to function?

i had it working briefly, but adat sync was not locking to the primary hammerfalls clock, do i need another spdif/rca cable between one of the hammerfalls to the ff800 before it will work?

or is this simply impossible to work around?

i hope someone can help me out

2 (edited by ramses 2022-09-07 10:40:40)

Re: I/O issues with dual hdspe firewire cards, two hammerfall and a ff800.

There are many threads in the forum that deal with clocking, you could also have a look there.
Furthermore, the manual contains useful information about clock synchronization and clock status, please read ch 6.1,11.2, 20.2:
https://archiv.rme-audio.de/download/mface2_d.pdf,
https://archiv.rme-audio.de/download/mface2_e.pdf.

Only one clock master in a setup
In a setup, there is only one master clock, the clock signal can be passed to the next device via all available digital outputs (ADAT, SPDIF, AES, MADI) or via word clock.

The configuration of the clock is done in the driver settings:

  • For the clock master, you configure clock source = "internal”.

  • For the clock slaves, the port where the clock signal arrives.

So, in your case, via coax. SPDIF from Multiface II v2 to Multiface II v1.

ASIO buffer size
In the driver settings, you have to consider that both interfaces have to be set to the same ASIO buffer size. Otherwise, there will be a slight track offset when recording in the DAW.

Check clock synchronization between Multifaces
At this point, I would stop and post a screenshot of the clock status of both interfaces in the forum. Then check if the clock slave (Multiface II v1 in your setup) reaches not only the status “lock” but the status “synch” via coax SPDIF, only then the two interfaces are clock synchronized.

Word clock as an option
[Note: as an alternative, you could also use Word Clock between the two devices, if it should not work with SPDIF for some reason. Use a BNC cable with 75 Ohm].

Continue with FF800
If this works, you can carry on and pass the clock signal to the FF800 either via ADAT or Word Clock. You need a working Firewire connection to the FF800:
— RME Firewire ASIO driver installed and
— Firewire legacy driver for Windows, see https://www.studio1productions.com/Arti … wire-1.htm

Then you can fully manage the FF800:
— to configure it as a clock slave to receive the clock signal either via ADAT or Word Clock (with a 2nd BNC cable) and
— to be able to configure routing.

Proposal: use the ADAT ports of both Multiface
Since the FF800 has more than 8 channels, you could even consider using more channels by routing
— 8 channels through ADAT1 of FF800 (towards Multiface II v2), connect both directions (2 TOSLINK cables)
— 8 channels through ADAT2 of FF800 (towards Multiface II v1), connect both directions (2 TOSLINK cables)

Check clock synchronization on FF800
Again, you should post a screenshot of the clock setup and the clock status in the driver settings of the FF800. No matter if the clock arrives at the FF800 via one of the two Multiface (via port ADAT1 or ADAT2) or via Word Clock, the status must be “synch” again.

The Setup:

Multiface II v2 (clock master) --- ADAT OUT ---clock->----- ADAT1 IN ----- FF800 (clock slave, getting clock from ADAT1 IN)
    |                                         --- ADAT IN------------<------ADAT1 OUT---- FF800
    | (SPDIF or WC)                                                                 
    |
Multiface II v1 (clock slave) ----- ADAT OUT --------->------ADAT2 IN ----- FF800
                                           ----- ADAT IN -----------<------ADAT1 OUT---- FF800

A few words on using Word Clock (WC)
An option is to use Word Clock for the whole setup, but it doesn't bring more quality, so is no must. It creates only more efforts in terms of having to use two more BNC cables, to connect them properly from device to device and to terminate it properly at both ends.

Windows – Audio for DAW and applications supporting ASIO
This is fully independent of Windows sound settings. ASIO fully bypasses the Windows audio infrastructure and gives you fastest and most reliable access to your recording interface.

In your DAW and all other applications that support ASIO, you can load the Multiface ASIO driver and access all channels of both cards. You can reach the channels of the FF800 via the ADAT interface of both cards if you have set the routing on the FF800 according to your wishes. The FF800 would also work in standalone mode, but I would prefer to be able to optimally manage the FF800 at any time via the Fireface connection.

Audio for Windows and applications NOT supporting ASIO
For Windows and all other applications that do not support ASIO, you must set up WDM-compatible drivers in the driver settings. Don't set up too many of them. Actually, you only need them for the two analog ports AN1/2OUT on the main interface (clock master), where the two active monitors are connected.

This creates a WDM device for this port AN1/2OUT in the Windows Sound settings. You set it up on Windows as the default audio device so that Windows, YouTube, and everything else that doesn't support ASIO can output audio to the Multiface.

BR Ramses
UFX+, 12Mic, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT, X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro22H2, Cub12Pro

Re: I/O issues with dual hdspe firewire cards, two hammerfall and a ff800.

Hey ramses

I hoped you would swing by and save the day, i just woke up after trying to work this problem out all night.

I will try some of the things you mention a bit later and post some screenshots of the driver windows from the different interfaces, im sure tho, that the two hammerfalls are synced in clock with spdif, all 3 interfaces are set to 256bit buffer, 48000hz samplerate.

I like your proposal if how to get the ff800 in the mix too, ive tried to have it connected like that, but i never get a good setting going. For some reason when i try having ff800 connected with fw, at the same time as even just 1 hammerfall, there never seems to be a stable setup. But i think i have extra optical cables so i might try out you suggestion today at some point, regarding getting everything hooked up together, but should i have both of the adat i/o fully populated AND spdif to send clock too, between all interfaces?

4 (edited by underslindberg 2022-09-07 14:16:28)

Re: I/O issues with dual hdspe firewire cards, two hammerfall and a ff800.

here is the two hammerfalls driver windows. hammerfall synced

https://photos.app.goo.gl/3rFTQUh98dL9DYRq9

but when im inside ableton there is still no sound outputting to totalmix, im not sure how to make sure, that the primary multiface is getting ssignal from ableton, i simply dont know how i would set any of this up right, anyway, no matter what i tried i only got it working for 5 minuts in ableton last night, after i reinstalled the pcie drivers for the hammerfalls... then after trying to turn on the ff800, everything went down the drain and i cant seem to reproduce the settings again...

5 (edited by underslindberg 2022-09-07 15:10:08)

Re: I/O issues with dual hdspe firewire cards, two hammerfall and a ff800.

so yeah,

https://photos.app.goo.gl/RQCGGwa6cWsC2fj86

https://photos.app.goo.gl/RQCGGwa6cWsC2fj86

i think everything is synced and connected, still need to try with an extra pair of toslink from the secondary hammerfall to the ff800, but there is no noise happening now it seems like. still havent tried ableton to see if it outputs correctly, but i havent got to that just yet, soon i will look for extra optical cables and plug them between hf v1 and ff800, so all channels can be active. i even have ff800 connected via fw400, so it would be possible to still use midi channels and all nad make settings while still beeing connected to all ADAT channels?

i thank you again ramses for pointing things out really good, everything makes a lot more sense now... last time i had issues, you  tried too help out too, but i had so little knowledge on what i was trying to do, that i didn't know what the settings meant at all, that makes things very hard to succeed, but now everything makes a bit more sense, i hope i can make the final steps to this setup, so everything is playing together nicely

but, if abletons output is not showing up in totalmix again, what would be the course of action? i will let the forum know a bit later and post all the details i can both if i get it to work completely and if the output is still not hitting totalmix

Re: I/O issues with dual hdspe firewire cards, two hammerfall and a ff800.

underslindberg wrote:

Hey Ramses
I hoped you would swing by and save the day, I just woke up after trying to work this problem out all night.

Thanks for the flowers and as a side note, I also know such problems which keep you busy until after midnight wink

I will try some of the things you mention a bit later and post some screenshots of the driver windows from the different interfaces. I'm sure though, that the two hammerfalls are synced in clock with SPDIF, all 3 interfaces are set to 256bit buffer, 48000hz sample rate.

It looks like that from the screenshot that you posted.

I like your proposal of how to get the ff800 in the mix too. I've tried to have it connected like that, but I never get a good setting going.

Let's put Firewire aside for a moment and clear on this: are at least the two Multiface cards running stable without Firewire?
Clock synchronization working? DAW working?

If Ableton has issues, I would suggest cross-checking with another DAW program like Reaper or a Cubase Demo Version.
Not that your Ableton installation has issues, and you start chasing shadows, although your RME setup with the two Multiface cards is fine.

Do not change too many things at once, get a smaller setup into stable state (2 Multiface) and if this works, then concentrate how to get the FF800 added on top. Either with Firewire connected or if this is not possible, then try to preconfigure the FF800 alone in a 1st step: store the desired routing from/to ADAT1 and ADAT2 and then use the FF800 in stand-alone mode without Firewire connection, to avoid any Firewire issues which you do not get fixed.


For some reason, when I try having ff800 connected with FW, at the same time as even just 1 hammerfall, there never seems to be a stable setup.

What happens exactly? What is not stable?

But I think I have extra optical cables, so I might try out your suggestion today at some point, regarding getting everything hooked up together.
But should I have both of the ADAT i/o fully populated AND SPDIF to send clock too, between all interfaces?

Why not? The SPDIF connection serves the only purpose of clock transfer.
You are free to route, e.g.,
— 8 analog channels                          through ADAT1 to Multiface II #1
— 4 Mic channels and other channels through ADAT2 to Multiface II #2

But this is no must, and you do not need to do this all in one step.
I would 1st concentrate to get
a) the two Multiface stable and next
b) to get at least one ADAT connection back and forth working to, e.g., Multiface II
I would connect ADAT with two TOSLINK cables back and forth so that you can receive audio but also send audio to analog outputs of the card.

BR Ramses
UFX+, 12Mic, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT, X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro22H2, Cub12Pro

Re: I/O issues with dual hdspe firewire cards, two hammerfall and a ff800.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/RQCGGwa6cWsC2fj86

https://photos.app.goo.gl/RQCGGwa6cWsC2fj86

underslindberg wrote:

I think everything is synced and connected, still need to try with an extra pair of TOSLINK from the secondary hammerfall to the ff800, but there is no noise happening now it seems like.

If the clock synchronization is proper and if there is no other issue, then you should have no problems with noise.

underslindberg wrote:

I still haven't tried Ableton to see if it outputs correctly, but I haven't got to that just yet.

You should test audio as soon as you complete a milestone like this, if you think all is well and synced. Otherwise, if you run into errors later, you never know whether the issue was already from the beginning, although synchronization appeared to be ok.

underslindberg wrote:

Soon I will look for extra optical cables and plug them between hf v1 and ff800, so all channels can be active.

Well, not too many steps at once. Please, one thing after the other.
Let's focus now on whether the two synced Multiface run properly or not.

Two use cases to test here
1. DAW using the ASIO driver
2. Audio output from YouTube through WDM driver.

underslindberg wrote:

I even have ff800 connected via fw400, so it would be possible to still use midi channels and all
and make settings while still being connected to all ADAT channels?

The MIDI channels of the FF800 can only be used if you load the Firewire ASIO driver in the DAW. But the DAW and any other application can only load exactly one ASIO driver. As the Multiface is your main interface, you can't load a Firewire driver additionally in the DAW to be able to access its MIDI ports.

underslindberg wrote:

I thank you again Ramses for pointing things out really good, everything makes a lot more sense now

You're welcome wink

underslindberg wrote:

Last time I had issues, you tried to help out too, but I had so little knowledge on what I was trying to do, that I didn't know what the settings meant at all.
That makes things very hard to succeed, but now everything makes a bit more sense, I hope I can make the final steps to this setup, so everything is playing together nicely

Maybe try to follow the forum more regular. I, personally, learned a lot by supporting other people. The more knowledge you gather, the easier it is to learn additional things so that the puzzle becomes more and more complete.

underslindberg wrote:

But, if Ableton output is not showing up in TotalMix again, what would be the course of action?

I can only repeat myself. Start simple. Not too many things at once.
Start with one Multiface card and try to get Ableton working.
You always need to test two main use cases
a) applications using the ASIO driver and
b) application using the WDM driver

If Ableton fails here very early, then troubleshooting is much easier in such a simpler setup because then you can exclude any other potential problems: two card setup, clock synchronization, Firewire issues.

If Ableton fails, try other applications with ASIO support. It does not need to be a DAW.
You can also use a Music Player like MusicBee with ASIO support.

As soon as you play Music through any of the output channels, you should see audio in TotalMix FX middle row.
These are the SW Playback channels. This is audio coming from your PC.
As you might know already, TotalMix FX works like a patch bay here.
In submix mode you click to the real HW output in the bottom row and raise fader of HW inputs and SW playbacks.
Starting with the HW output where your monitors and phones are connected to.

Once all is working, add increasingly to the setup and test audio after every change.

BR Ramses
UFX+, 12Mic, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT, X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro22H2, Cub12Pro

8 (edited by underslindberg 2022-09-07 17:05:47)

Re: I/O issues with dual hdspe firewire cards, two hammerfall and a ff800.

1st "daw and wdm"

Windows has plenty of sound, but i just checked that ableton is still not outputting when i tried just now, i have tried to enable asio mmcss in both hammerfall and ff800 drivers, to see if this makes a change(i just turned off the pc for a while, to see if the totalmix outputs resets and the mmcss setting is doing anything to help).

Also enabled/dissabled other settings in global tab on HF driver, that i thought made sense maybe. Multi client op. And stuff like that.

From what i read in here on the forum(seems like it has something to do with layout of channels via asio), i think that could work around this ableton issue, but im not sure, i have to check.

2 "clocks"

All clocks and adat are synced now, no noise at all, i found extra toslink cables and everything is apparently speaking together nivcely besides the ableton output last i tried, but let me check again after i boot the pc again with the mmcss asio setting on.

3 "ff800 connectivity"

Your right, i should focussed on getting the ableton issue out of the way first, but i hope turning off the system and making some global settings, that ableton vil now behave. There was full connection to ff800 via both adat 1 and 2, via firewire also, clocks synced perfectly between all interfaces.

I stored this setting in flash on the ff800 in case i have to unplug the fw400 from ff800.

4 "stable ff800"

I dont think i had enough cablebrain to input all the right clock settings in the correct places back then, but it seems like evrything is running smooth regarding that now.

5 "ableton audio and totalmix"

I have edited all interface wdm's to a total of 1, on the primary HF v2. But that didnt seem to do anything with the ableton problem, i read some thread in here last night about a similar setup with 2 pcie cards, where it was mentioned that shared pcie lanes could have been an issue, so last night i tried shifting dsp cards and my firewire TI pcie card around, that together with reinstalling the hdspe drivers, made the multiface setup work in ableton for 5 to 10 minuts before i tried turning on the ff800 to test if adat and the preamp channels worked, but then because of clock issues, noise was booming on almost all channels not in use.

I just remebered this, but i was so tired at that point last night/this morning, that i didnt really knew what i was messing with anymore and i forgot it untill now.

Should i try to replicate that process? Maybe try to reinstall hdspe drivers and see if that makes the order of channels in totalmix do the right thing again with ableton?

In a minut i will boot the pc and test if everything up untill now is still synced and connected properly, with asio mmcss hopefully doing something good in ableton, can you confirm that that setting might be of use to this combo?

edit:

everything seems to be working great now, apparently MMCSS asio stuff did some good, or else the computer just had to be turned of for a while, everything is still synced together between interfaces and ff800 is still connected to the firewire TI card, so hopefulle everything continues like this...

is there any way to save all of these settings as a sort of preset file? i hope i can remember for next time an issue occurs, but would be nice to have it saved somewhere safe

Re: I/O issues with dual hdspe firewire cards, two hammerfall and a ff800.

Nice that it works now.

Regarding backup. Most is covered by step #4, but I would recommend to document everything which is important.
You can add information to a word document.
Or you can write a nice blog article about your setup, documenting the relevant steps and settings.
The way I do to be motivated to do a documentation, give something back to internet and to the nice RME community.
This way you help yourself (documenting your setup) and other people to get this or similar setups up and working.

0. Diagram of physical setup, clock synch. You can copy/paste my ASCII drawing.

1. Document the PCIe card placement of your mainboard. Greenshot is a good Windows tool, to add notes to a screenshot.

2. Document BIOS settings which are related to PCIe slots. Make photos with digital camera.

3. Take a screenshot of all driver settings tabs (Multifaces, FF800) using Greenshot.

4. Take screenshots of all tabs of TotalMix FX Preferences (F2) and Settings (F3)

5. Save TotalMix FX settings
    a) Open three instances of TotalMix FX
        Window1 - main card - clock master
        Window2 - 2nd multiface - clock slave
        Window3 - FF800
    b) Place the windows nicely on your screen.
    c) TM FX “File -> Save Workspace As”
    This stores all windows sizes/positions, routings, snapshot settings to one so-called “workspace file”
    This is the most important file which you can copy between computers to restore settings.
    Driver Settings and TM FX Settings and Preferences you need to restore/configure manually/separately (see #3 and #4).

BR Ramses
UFX+, 12Mic, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT, X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro22H2, Cub12Pro

Re: I/O issues with dual hdspe firewire cards, two hammerfall and a ff800.

Regarding MMCSS.

I think whether you choose MMCSS should make only a difference whether you get audio drops or not. But not that the setup doesn't work at all with or without.

I would read some of Timur Born's nice postings about this topic, here is a forum search:
https://forum.rme-audio.de/search.php?s … 1575375847

In particular, these two threads, which will give you some background:
https://forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.ph … 98#p136398
https://forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.php?id=25822

And again, if Ableton doesn't work, simply use MusicBee player or DAWs which are known to work good.
There, you can configure to which outputs you want to send audio. Or get Reaper or Cubase.

BR Ramses
UFX+, 12Mic, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT, X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro22H2, Cub12Pro

Re: I/O issues with dual hdspe firewire cards, two hammerfall and a ff800.

Regarding the routing of channels over the 2×2 ADAT connections.
I think you know that you cannot route audio between the two Multiface recording interfaces.

Therefore, I would try whether it is possible to select the 8 channels for each of the two ADAT connections,
so that you can create low latency submixes as needed on each of the Multiface II interfaces.

Otherwise, you would need to route channels through the DAW, which might be cumbersome and has the disadvantage that you have always the full round trip latency (RTL) in the signal path.

BR Ramses
UFX+, 12Mic, XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT, X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro22H2, Cub12Pro