Topic: How I got rid of all glitches, and lost my computer, too

Former System:
RME UFX+ and Lenovo E580 laptop, stock USB3 cable into USB3 port

Symptoms:
occasional and unpredictable audio glitches (more frequently when recording at 88.2 kHz, less frequently when recording at 44.1 or 48 kHz). Tried the mouse trail trick, and that took away most glitches but not all.
It occurs only after a while, so it's no use try and record for a couple minutes: it won't glitch.
But when you record classical music concerts, it will glitch, sooner or later.

On the plus side: excellent mic preamps quality, so I did not want to settle for less.

First attempt: tried DURec and noticed it will never glitch. So I guess there may be a problem in the computer ports, because they are not designed for professional audio recording and so they might tend to go in "sleep mode" if they feel there's not enough data passing through. And two or four channels of standard resolution audio is not much data, actually, compared to HD media streams.

Second attempt: I got an Octamic XTC and noticed it glitches a lot less when recording from the USB2 out. Only occasional glitches, but still far from "no glitches whatsoever".

Third and final attempt: "Well, basically if I managed to put DURec in the Octamic XTC it would be all right!"

Enter Cymatic Audio uTrack24 with ADAT interface. ADAT interface works perfectly. I synced it to the Octamic XTC via standard clock cable. Cymatic uTrack24 is a well respected multitrack recorder that does only one thing: it record anything you feed into it on an external USB drive (it's also cheap, compared to RME products). The manual says it's better not using standard USB sticks, and use actual hard drives instead. So I went for an ultra-modern Samsung T7 1TB drive, guessing "the faster, the better".

Results: recorded 9 live concerts, two opera recitals and two historical plays in an empty theater so far, and not a single glitch. And I used only 1/4 of the hard drive. Sound quality subjectively feels better than USB2 or USB3. I suffered only a short data loss because one of the ADAT cables got loose, but I noticed, put it back in and everything went well.

Plus side: no operating system means no operating system acting up. System now is in a 3-space Gator rack (I left two half spaces for ventilation), it feels incredibly solid and performed flawlessy so far.

Minus side: I am selling my UFX+, lightly used in a non-smoker environment ;-)

So, my advice would be: computers and USB ports are potential trouble sources, try and record without a computer and everything will be fine.

Re: How I got rid of all glitches, and lost my computer, too

Hi

I have the UFX II, same without MADI as UFX+.
I have no glitches nor recording nor playing. Also not simultaniously recording and playing with different software.

Looks as your computer has some problems, operating system, USB-Port etc.. Look at virus-software. Here in the forum are several threads about computer issues.

I use it on a tower machine Win7pro (old ASUS-board, I7P860), a Sony laptop Win8.1, Macbookpro15,2013. All of them work flawless.

Peter

3 (edited by ramses 2021-08-01 22:15:22)

Re: How I got rid of all glitches, and lost my computer, too

Or you can get a computer system suitable for audio directly. If you don't have the time and know-how, it's best to get the computer from companies that offer turnkey systems.

With laptops, you generally have the problem that the devices are not as powerful and you cannot deactivate all energy-saving functions for thermal reasons (energy saving causes higher DPC latencies).

That an XTC might run better on a device is not surprising. The XTC does not have the same number of channels as a UFX+ by far. And that can make a lot of difference if the laptop or computer is not particularly good for audio.

The suitability for audio stands and falls with a good USB implementation in the chipset and the quality of the drivers. Mac OS X and Windows are not real-time operating systems, so it is important that companies stick to certain programming conventions when programming device drivers so that the CPU cores are not hogged for too long.

The normal process scheduler must not terminate the execution of drivers (low level routines). Drivers can only do this themselves. This is necessary for a certain data consistency. So it can happen that certain badly written drivers occupy a CPU core too long and audio processes, which should also run on it, are blocked too long. Then there are audio dropouts and especially when working with smaller ASIO buffersizes or higher sample rates.

So you can be lucky or unlucky when buying a computer. No matter how good the benchmark results are. Audio processing has near-realtime requirements that are not taken into account by the usual benchmarks. A Cinebench doesn't care when the data is calculated, only the fastest and most parallel calculation counts. But when the result is available is completely irrelevant.

Look at my systems performance, I had big luck with this server mainboard, that it has low DPC latencies.
Unter Windows 7 it has kernel latency timer values down to 1.75 microseconds, thats awesome.
https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … cks-de-en/

So my advice would be: get a turnkey system for audio to save you such hassles.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H1, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

4 (edited by sgiacovelli 2021-08-01 22:33:11)

Re: How I got rid of all glitches, and lost my computer, too

pschelbert wrote:

Hi

Here in the forum are several threads about computer issues.

I have read them all to solve my problem, and got only a partial fix.

As you say, it could just be my laptop's fault, and quite probably it is, but I discovered that computer recording is not the only option, and that hardware recording can be cheaper and more performing than a laptop for mobile recording where you can't bring your own audio workstation.

And BTW, UFX II has USB2 connection while UFX+ has micro USB3, so it's not the same interface.

Re: How I got rid of all glitches, and lost my computer, too

UFX+ has more channel, but if you connect UFX+ to an USB2 port then it behaves like a UFX II (30ch interface, without MADI).

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H1, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

6 (edited by dubcaravan 2021-08-02 00:30:34)

Re: How I got rid of all glitches, and lost my computer, too

I used to have a Lenovo Thinkpad over 10 years ago which I used to run with a Fireface 400 via firewire (as firewire was considered superior to USB at the time). Thinkpads were regarded as a decent computer as far as consumer PCs were rated. It cost around 1k and ran good enough and I got decent mileage out of it.  The built in firewire port caused glitches and I had to use an external Texas instruments firewire card on the side of the laptop for it to work correctly (those days are long gone). However, Lenovo does not make products that are best designed for audio applications and audio life became more straightforward and hassle free when I upgraded to a laptop specialized for audio applications as well as a tower computer that I have both used with RME interfaces via USB. As a PC user, I only use RME especially on the driver side of things. I have never had any issues since upgrading to better computers.

The UFX+ is a professional audio device and is a fairly expensive device but very good value for the quality.  I would expect that people who are willing to spend that much on an interface would also spend a similar amount on a computer built for audio applications.  I am not saying that your computer shouldn't be able to run it without glitches but I tend to stay away from big name consumer brand computers especially in the PC world as there are more issues and hurdles to get around. A good computer designed with audio in mind will alleviate you from most of these headaches but it will cost you more money of course smile. However, if you are happy using a cymatic utrack 24 then that is all that matters. Goodluck.

Re: How I got rid of all glitches, and lost my computer, too

Quote: “As you say, it could just be my laptop's fault, and quite probably it is”


That clearly appears to be the case, as everything worked fine with DUREC.


Quote: “I discovered that computer recording is not the only option, and that hardware recording can be cheaper and more performing than a laptop for mobile recording where you can't bring your own audio workstation.”


There have always been alternatives to computer recording on location. Years ago, we used small Nagra mastering quality tape machines. On one project I was involved with, we used 20 of them for convenience recording lots of artists.

Analogue and digitally, the very best have traditionally been a much more expensive investment than the solution you have deployed, being designed as they were for a highly specialised limited market, increasing costs, utilised in professional circumstances.

Today, there are a huge range of equipment available. But to imagine that going down the roads they would take you is entirely without issues and problems would be delusionary, (I mean that respectfully), and completely mistaken. All recording solutions have their own unique issues.


It may take time to discover them, but as someone said: “experience doesn’t seem worth the price I have to pay to get it. But I just can’t get it any cheaper!”

A very experienced location recordist (a professor) pal of mine, had a sand filled counter weight slip off the end of a boom stand, recording on location a few weeks ago.

He stood and watched as his irreplaceably rare Neumann mic, suddenly sailed through the air and eventually crashed down onto a marble floor, destroying it, soon after the sand bag landed!


Quote: “my advice would be: computers and USB ports are potential trouble sources, try and record without a computer and everything will be fine.”


With respect, there appears to be a completely misdiagnosed, misapprehension underlying this statement.

Many people, even in the very best recording studios in the world, use computers all the time, completely successfully.

Why would they risk their professional reputation if computers per say, were as much trouble as your posts imply?
They wouldn’t. No one in their position could afford to, so the source of the difficulties you experienced lies elsewhere.


Plenty of computers are used all the time, to make great, on location, recordings.

If you want to solve a problem, you first have to decide whether it’s a simple problem or a complex problem, as confusing the two can lead to further problems. Then you need to correctly diagnose the problem. Only then can you solve it.

You have misdiagnosed the problem. My friend’s mic wasn’t the problem, nor was the mic stand. He simply hadn’t properly secured the sand bag counterweight so that it would not under any circumstances, be able to slip off the stand. So, he didn’t get rid of his mic stand.

To do so would be like throwing the baby out with the bathwater!


I write this with complete respect to you.

Employing a very basic laptop for the purposes you are seeking to utilise them for, is by analogy rather like fitting a set of ordinary road tyres onto a Formula 1 car, then complaining that the vehicle is failing to provide the performance you expect it to be capable of, and blaming the tyres.

Many people build their own computers especially for audio (I did) or purchase one designed and manufactured for that task. Mine has the advantage of being virtually silent in a recording environment. You need to have the right machine, for the job you are asking it to do.

I wish you well in your further recording ventures.

8 (edited by sgiacovelli 2021-08-02 16:24:04)

Re: How I got rid of all glitches, and lost my computer, too

CrispyChips wrote:

Quote: “As you say, it could just be my laptop's fault, and quite probably it is”


That clearly appears to be the case, as everything worked fine with DUREC.


Quote: “my advice would be: computers and USB ports are potential trouble sources, try and record without a computer and everything will be fine.”


With respect, there appears to be a completely misdiagnosed, misapprehension underlying this statement.

Many people, even in the very best recording studios in the world, use computers all the time, completely successfully.

Why would they risk their professional reputation if computers per say, were as much trouble as your posts imply?
They wouldn’t. No one in their position could afford to, so the source of the difficulties you experienced lies elsewhere.


Plenty of computers are used all the time, to make great, on location, recordings.

If you want to solve a problem, you first have to decide whether it’s a simple problem or a complex problem, as confusing the two can lead to further problems. Then you need to correctly diagnose the problem. Only then can you solve it.

You have misdiagnosed the problem. My friend’s mic wasn’t the problem, nor was the mic stand. He simply hadn’t properly secured the sand bag counterweight so that it would not under any circumstances, be able to slip off the stand. So, he didn’t get rid of his mic stand.

To do so would be like throwing the baby out with the bathwater!


I write this with complete respect to you.

Employing a very basic laptop for the purposes you are seeking to utilise them for, is by analogy rather like fitting a set of ordinary road tyres onto a Formula 1 car, then complaining that the vehicle is failing to provide the performance you expect it to be capable of, and blaming the tyres.

CrispyChips, you are completely right: I chose not to work on the computer side of the problem, mainly because 8 channel mic preamps are more useful to me than 4 plus an external preamp, and then because the Cymatic solution was cheap and worked well. Changing my not so basic laptop would have been an option, definitely. It is also completely true that there are several high-end computer systems that can work perfectly (and glitchless). So I should have written: "basic computers and USB ports are potential trouble sources, try and record without a computer and everything will be fine, or you could also try and get a better computer.” and I'm OK with that.

BTW, what laptop would you advice buying for on location recording?

Re: How I got rid of all glitches, and lost my computer, too

Quote: “BTW, what laptop would you advice buying for on location recording?”


As mentioned above, I build my own machines, both for music recording and domestic use, so don’t use laptops, thus can’t be any help to you.

Apple laptops seem the favourite amongst recording buddies that do use them, but I ditched Apple computers a long time ago, (I needed them for Finale music notation/engraving software at the time).

When I am about to build a new machine, I study lots of details, do my homework. Find out what’s working well for people I respect in the music recording community, and then do lots of research into specific components.

Computer manufacturers know that most consumers will look at and compare the processor type and speed, the size of memory and size of hard drive. So, they provide what people are looking for, and cut corners to reduce costs by incorporating cheap components elsewhere throughout the computer, to increase profitability.

I do very serious homework. For example, examining the Mean Time Before Failure of components, especially the hard drives. Pay special attention to cooling, for example, the heat sink and fan on the machine I am writing to you is guaranteed for six years by the manufacturer. Looking closely at every single part however large or small and as far as I possibly can, choosing components that will reliably last, run silent and run cool.

Generally, the machines I build can be worked on without difficulty, designed with potential to upgrade easily, and efficiently cooled throughout. They have lots of large hard drives, partitioned in half to double the number of drives (eight in this machine). The music machine is designed to be silent. With the acoustically padded sides off, I honestly actually cannot hear the machine working at all. With them on, I suppose it’s even quieter, but doesn’t seem any different to me. The point is, I can record with highly sensitive Neumann mics, using plenty of gain and with the mics a couple of feet from the machine, but not pick up any sound from the computer listening on pro headphone's turned up. So, the computer can be handily available and its presence not be a problem, regardless of where it is.


On location, normally I conduct, so the problem for me when recordings are involved or even simply with live music, is having someone I know and trust at the controls.

Usually, I work for well-established institutions, major corporations or charitable organisations whose work I admire and want to be supportive towards, so budgets vary a great deal, from seemingly limitless to shoe string.

Ideally, I like to work with a mix engineer I like and respect. Someone who has worked with me on a couple of studio albums previously, so already knows what I am like, what I am about, and I get on with. Attending with instilled perspicacious insight, as to what will be required for them.

Ideally, a recording engineer from a studio I have worked in previously who I genuinely liked as a person and worked well with as I prefer working with people I have a good existing relationship with. Although the best people I have been associated with in the recording of a live concert I was involved with, came straight from California, mixing the Beach Boys. So that's not always the case.

In the U.K although there have been many different outfits over the years, RJ Jones have been the classiest I have been involved with. Happily, when the folk involved are very experienced indeed, life becomes much easier and I can be much more focussed on my main concern, the performers, as I already have altogether too much on my plate usually I find. Then they say, if you want something done, ask a busy person!

https://rgjones.co.uk/celebrating-the-q … d-jubilee/