Topic: Mulitface I w/ PCI Card w/ Startech Adapter - Windows 10 - Driver?

I know I am ancient and cheap for trying to keep using a nearly twenty year-old sound card, but it has been rock solid and sounds great!  I just dropped a bunch of money on a new PC desktop, and am switching over from Windows 7 to Windows 10.   Based on research here and elsewhere, I knew it was a dice roll to try to use a PCIe to PCI adapter (Startech) to attempt to keep using my Multiface I and HDSP PCI card.

That said, it is sort of working!  Sort of for the following three reasons:

1.  The newer drivers I tested were really bad in terms of horrible artifacts / "scratchy" sounds.  Specifically 4.36 and 4.29 versions of the RME drivers.  Changing latency settings in the Hammerfall windows had little-to-no noticeable effect on these artifacts.

2.  So I tried an older driver, close to what I have on my Windows 7 machine--driver version 3.08.5.  At first, it was equally horrible-sounding, and switching the latency higher made it worse.  So then I tried reducing latency, and at 32 samples, it sounds flawless so far.  I have only just been listening to a single track within Ableton Live 9 (my main DAW).

3.  When I listen in iTunes, the lower 32-sample latency helps, but I get the occasional scratchy/ artifact sound (maybe every 20 seconds or so). 

Just getting the system going, so I haven't done much testing, but wanted to see if any other folks in a similar boat might have any input on this?  I realize this system and installation isn't supported by RME, and don't expect/ deserve any input from them, but any advice on how to get this system setup, which drivers folks have found worked best with a HDSP PCI card in an adapter, system tweaks to try, etc., would be greatly appreciated. 

Definitely curious why iTunes would be having more issues that Ableton--maybe WDM vs ASIO drivers?!?

Thanks,

Ryan

PS--I am also going to try to post this as a reply to some of the other related threads, to see if I get a response there as well.

2 (edited by vinark 2021-01-19 11:45:15)

Re: Mulitface I w/ PCI Card w/ Startech Adapter - Windows 10 - Driver?

Try different pcie slots also the 4x 8x or 16x types. If the startech is not faulty one of the other slots might just work. Also check for bios updates. Except when another slots works 100%, then never change bios again. New bios can fix things but also break. Also disable al c states and energy saving in bios and windows to see if that fixes it. It just might....
Also have a look if there are any pcie related settings in bios.

Vincent, Amsterdam
https://soundcloud.com/thesecretworld
Babyface pro fs, HDSP9652+ADI-8AE, HDSP9632

Re: Mulitface I w/ PCI Card w/ Startech Adapter - Windows 10 - Driver?

This certainly isn't a known issue of the driver as such, more likely one of the adapter used here. What kind of device is this exactly? Have you tried connecting to various PCIe slots? In your DAW, try reducing activa ASIO channels, this will actually reduce bandwidth.

Regards
Daniel Fuchs
RME

Regards
Daniel Fuchs
RME

4 (edited by rdh3t 2021-01-21 01:18:16)

Re: Mulitface I w/ PCI Card w/ Startech Adapter - Windows 10 - Driver?

Thanks to you both for the helpful replies.  My new Dell desktop Windows 10 PC only has one pcie slot that fits the StarTech card.  It does seem to be working, more on this below.  This is the adapter card that I purchased, based on dozens of forum posts across the internet (here, Gearslutz, etc.) with success stories of folks using this in my exact circumstance (Multiface w/ PCI HDSP card on Windows 10 desktop):  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0024 … &psc=1

I have tweaked the system and power settings per typical suggested Windows 10 OS tweaks for audio production (I did all the suggested tweaks per the Sweetwater site).  I will test out vinark's suggestions above.

After extensive testing, it is my opinion that the issue is the WDM side of the equation, which seems unavoidable for system audio in Windows 10, sadly, as everything I’ve read about it seems bad.  Put another way--if I use iTunes or web-based audio (YouTube, etc.) in Chrome, it seems the audio is inherently going through the WDM drivers (ie "Audio Inputs and Outputs" in the Device Manager).  I am getting scratchy glitches unpredictably--about 20-30 seconds of good audio, then a glitch for a second, and so on.  Doesn't seem tied to any activity--even if nothing else is open and I'm not touching the computer, this happens.  I have tried all manner of sample-rate and buffer size combinations, various settings in iTunes, using just 1 or all WDM Devices in the Hammerfall DSP Settings window, and I have tried HDSP drivers 3.08.5,4.29, and 4.36. After much more extensive and iterative testing of all three of these drivers, I don’t think any is better or worse than the others in terms of my WDM issues in iTunes.

Both 4.29 and 4.36 do have both WDM and ASIO drivers, so it would be great to get more insight into why these aren’t working well with iTunes.  Fwiw, the HDSP PCI card I have plugged into the PCIe Startech adapter is hardware Rev 1.8, flash-updated to the most current that card can be (Revision 55).  My “Global” tab in the Hammerfall DSP Settings says “Multiface (1), Bus=4, Device=4, Revision=55”.

The good news is that the ASIO drivers in Ableton Live 9 seem rock-solid, even at a 32 buffer-size.  I haven’t yet swapped in my internal hard drive from the old machine to fire up some heavy-duty Live files for more intense testing, but I have listened for 8 hours of music in Ableton—zero glitches.  Can’t make it through a single song in iTunes without at least a few glitches.  So to me, it seems like the silly Windows 10 WDM issue is the problem, for iTunes, Chrome, etc., where I don’t know how to/ can’t use ASIO, and am stuck using the WDM drivers.

To drill-down on the WDM drivers, when I go to Device Manager>Audio inputs and Outputs, I see two things:

1.    RCA-esque icon with “Analog (1+2) (RME Hammerfall DSP).  When I right-click>”Properties”, and go to the Driver tab, it says the driver is 10.0.1904.1, provided by Microsoft, and the “Details”>Device description tab has a value of “Audio Endpoint”
2.    Speaker icon with “Speakers (RME Hammerfall DSP).  When I right-click>”Properties”, and go to the Driver tab, it says the driver is 10.0.1904.1, provided by Microsoft, and the “Details”>Device description tab has a value of “Audio Endpoint”

In the “Events” tab, these both point to “Aduioenpoint.inf” as the driver name.  I am way out of my element, as I’m just embarking into audio on Windows 10, but it did seem odd that neither of these drivers seemed to be coming from RME, or mentioning HDSP.  Maybe this is the issue?  Any insight here would be greatly appreciated.   Sure seems like ideally these would still be RME drivers here....

In summary—seems like WDM with iTunes is a problem, and ASIO with Live is so far, so good.  More testing needed on the later (trying to do that tonight).

This multiface has been so good for nearly two decades, I am loathe to just let it go and drop a bunch of money on something new.  Maybe sourcing a $350 HDSPe / PCIe card and avoiding the StarTech adapter will solve the issue, but I do wonder if this is more related to the WDM side of things?  My whole studio gear setup is based around the Multiface not having any preamps, and it doesn’t seem like RME has an equivalent today, so the idea of buying an expensive new card with features I don’t need when I’m so close to making what I have keep on living is tough to stomach.  Maybe worst-case I just get a used Apple TV, and stream music from my iPhone to it, and wire the optical out of the Apple TV to the multiface and just bypass WDM and iTunes for listening to music on my new PC.  Definitely a hack work-around, but better than shelling out another $1,600 on a soundcard just to make iTunes work…

Thanks!

Ryan

Re: Mulitface I w/ PCI Card w/ Startech Adapter - Windows 10 - Driver?

Quick update--the problem seems to be resolved!!!

There are only two possible reasons:  updating iTunes from the latest version I installed a week ago, to the newest version (12.11.0.26).  Within the same hour of this update, I had also opened up the desktop and installed few new internal drives, and made sure all wiring connections (including power to the Startech PCI>PCIe adapter card) and PCIe cards were secure.

It had to be one of these two things.  I suspect it must have been iTunes, since when I was having the issues with iTunes, I was having rock-solid performance in Ableton Live.  Knock on wood, it seems like this is all working.  Hooray for RME products lasting literally two decades, and still going strong, even in a somewhat hacked installation!  Thanks to all for your input.