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Thread: To those doing their tuning on the PC

  1. #1
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    To those doing their tuning on the PC

    What solutions have you found?

    Hardware wise?

    Software wise?

    I'm currently testing the MOTU with Console as well as AudioMulch, and no matter what settings I try, when I use either Console or AudioMulch, I get pops and clicks.

    When I use just the sound card to WinAmp or Foobar2000, it's fine, no issues at all.

    I'm curios to know if anyone else has run into these problems with their setups.

    ANY popping and cracking is completely unacceptable for me so I need to either find a solution or find out if it's happening for others as well.

    Anyone?
    Jan Bennett
    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

  2. #2
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    First off I just want to say that I'm new to the whole car PC thing, just in the planning process for my system, but I've spent a lot of time doing computer audio in my home studio and I work as a live sound engineer.

    I just spent the last couple of days playing around with the techniques descrided in the PC tuning wiki and got it all working on my laptop system just to see if I could make it work before spending money on hardware for the truck.

    I used a 1.6 pentium-m laptop with a firewire Focusrite Saffire pro 26i/o audio interface(probably not what I'd put in my car but its what I have to play with). I also tried to use a Digidesign Mbox but couldn't get it working(I've always found its ASIO drivers a bit weird with anything but protools software).

    What worked for me was downloading this chinese ASIO driver for Winamp(had lots of crackling with the ASIO driver on wimamps website).

    http://otachan.com/out_asio(dll).html

    I routed its output to the SPDIF outs on the Focusrite then back into the SPDIF input so console would see it. I set my buffers pretty high too. I'd start with 1024 samples. The Focusrite uses milliseconds for their settings. I was using 2.0 firewire buffer, 40ms ASIO buffer. No pops or clicks, sounded great on my home studio monitors.

    How are you routing audio from winamp into console? I had to loop through the SPDIF ins and outs to make it work.

    Couple other things to check, sorry if I'm being to basic here, I don't mean to be condescending. Make sure the Motu, Winamp, and Console are all set for 44.1k sampling rate and that everything is getting its clock off your Motu.

    Another issue that can be problem with firewire studio interfaces is the firewire chipset on your computer's firewire port. Many interfaces only work well with TI chipsets. Also you could try installing the firewire hotfix if you are running XP. There's alot of info out about this if you google it but here's a link to get you started.

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/885222

    Hope this helps you out.

    Eric

  3. #3
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    Hi there!
    I have tried the free VSTHost and had pops and clicks under several occassions(when editing vst's - when opening pinball game! etc). Currently using reaper and the only time i had problems (granted that soundcard's buffering is correctly set) was when using Winamp and Asio output plugin(Foobar ASIO was perfect! Winamp and Kernel streaming was perfect!). I then tried to increase reaper's priority and problems dissappeared. I can even set it to "Realtime" without any unwanted side-effect. Autoit makes it easy to automate this. I guess that all was down to badly written ASIO drivers of my soundcard.

    Of course, in your case things might be different. I'd suggest testing dpc latency (there is a free tool around), have a look also on PCI latency of your soundcard compared to other components (search for PCI Latency tool) and propably try to increase soundcard's latency or decrease video card's latency, checking for irq sharing of your sound card, try switching the process scheduler priority (usually i set it to "programs" but you may try "background services").

    Hope you'll find a solution. Excuse me for my bad English.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soundguy View Post
    What worked for me was downloading this chinese ASIO driver for Winamp(had lots of crackling with the ASIO driver on wimamps website).
    I've been using these drivers in WinAmp but I'm not so sure it's the player that's the issue since I'm also having the same issue with Foobar2000 and the ASIO drivers from the Foobar web site.

    I do have a few questions about it though, more for clarification than anything.

    Thread Priority, what do you have it set at? I'm guessing the higher it is, the more processor intensive it will be? Also, do you use Direct input monitor? Not sure I understand this one. And I'm guessing the 'convert 1 channel to 2 channels is for mono singnals?

    I routed its output to the SPDIF outs on the Focusrite then back into the SPDIF input so console would see it. I set my buffers pretty high too. I'd start with 1024 samples. The Focusrite uses milliseconds for their settings. I was using 2.0 firewire buffer, 40ms ASIO buffer. No pops or clicks, sounded great on my home studio monitors.
    I'll have to try this. Routing the sound from SPDIF to SPDIF isn't something I've tried yet on my MOTU piece. I've tried setting the buffers as high as I can go without any luck. I've even set the samples as high as I can go, but found that it made it worse. Around 256 to 512 gives me the best results on the samples.

    How are you routing audio from winamp into console? I had to loop through the SPDIF ins and outs to make it work.
    Nothing special really. This is an area I wasn't too sure about. I'm going to give your suggestion a shot though.

    Couple other things to check, sorry if I'm being to basic here, I don't mean to be condescending. Make sure the Motu, Winamp, and Console are all set for 44.1k sampling rate and that everything is getting its clock off your Motu.
    Not to worry, at this point, I'm willing to check anything. I REALLY want this to work! Everything is set for a 44.1 sample rate.

    Another issue that can be problem with firewire studio interfaces is the firewire chipset on your computer's firewire port. Many interfaces only work well with TI chipsets. Also you could try installing the firewire hotfix if you are running XP. There's alot of info out about this if you google it but here's a link to get you started.
    Apparently this update is included in SP3. This information will no doubt be useful for others though! Thanks for including it!

    What I've found about the MOTU is that they DON'T like TI or Agere/Lucent. My laptop uses 02 Micro for the Chipset, which I believe should be better, but I'm not 100% positive. I do need to find out if there's a better chipset for the MOTU since I will be purchasing a set-up specifically for the car.

    Hope this helps you out.
    Many thanks!!
    Jan Bennett
    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

  5. #5
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    Of course, in your case things might be different. I'd suggest testing dpc latency (there is a free tool around), have a look also on PCI latency of your soundcard compared to other components (search for PCI Latency tool) and propably try to increase soundcard's latency or decrease video card's latency, checking for irq sharing of your sound card, try switching the process scheduler priority (usually i set it to "programs" but you may try "background services").
    I've found this (after a post on MOTU nation btw... ) and I set my video cards latency to 64, didn't notice a difference. Would you suggest setting the FireWire latency to something different?

    Thanks for the post!
    Jan Bennett
    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedGTiVR6 View Post
    I've found this (after a post on MOTU nation btw... ) and I set my video cards latency to 64, didn't notice a difference. Would you suggest setting the FireWire latency to something different?

    Thanks for the post!
    You can try further reducing your video card's latency. I think in hydrogenaudio forum some people had success with as low as 24(for video card). 64-72 i think is ok for your soundcard. Also (thinking loud now), have a look on your hard drive. There has been mentioned several times that people had pops clicks with SATA and those were solved by insalling Intel's matrix storage drivers, to get advantage from ahci protocol. This is not only for RAID, so single SATA drive systems might get advantage. You'll need to enable ahci in your bios and then install Intel inf and then Intel Matrix storage drivers.

    Sorry if the above don't help but in my opinion you'll have to check everything dropped on the table. I really had a hard time seeking for a solution for similar problems i had. I'm finally now in a position that everything is perfect. Running bit-perfect, no drops at all etc.

    I'd suggest you give Reaper a try. Here is a post i made some time ago that might help you http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/high...-meridian.html .
    I really enjoy it, Fully customizable, can be used as a VSTHost, can accept key shortcuts (Can control it now simply with my Spacenavigator), has also several "switches" that potentially can solve your problems. The thread above is a little old. When i posted, i hadn't yet discovered the full capabilities. You can skip VSTHost totally as it's not needed. It works great using REAROUTE (Virtual Asio drivers). I use REAROUTE combined with the chinese winamp asio output plugin. Set it to 24 bit (better since i'm using my soundcard's volume control), convert mono to stereo (I have some mono songs that had problem playing). For videos etc, i bought a cheap 16 bit soundcard (AUREON- search for homebrew bit-perfect drivers). I set AUREON as my windows playback device and then SPDIF connect to the inputs of my ASIO soundcard (X-Meridian in my case). This way, i can concurrently play video and music (bypass ASIO limitation) + no chance sounds can bypass Reaper and maybe destory my tweeters!!!

    Sorry for the randomly written post-If you need any clarification pls ask.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soundguy View Post
    I routed its output to the SPDIF outs on the Focusrite then back into the SPDIF input so console would see it. I set my buffers pretty high too. I'd start with 1024 samples. The Focusrite uses milliseconds for their settings. I was using 2.0 firewire buffer, 40ms ASIO buffer. No pops or clicks, sounded great on my home studio monitors.

    How are you routing audio from winamp into console? I had to loop through the SPDIF ins and outs to make it work.
    I need a bit of clarification on this one if you don't mind.

    I'm including some screen shots just to make sure I'm doing everything correctly.

    In the MOTU Audio Console, I have the following set:

    (I now have the phones set to S/PDIF as well)

    Main Out Assign: S/PDIF (Chose Main Outs from the Main Outs Assign
    menu to treat the Main Outs as their own independent output pair. Choose any other output pait to cause the MAIN OUT jacks to mirror (duplicate) the output pair your choose.)

    Return Assign: S/PDIF
    (The Return Assign menu lets you choose any pair of UltraLite-mk3 audio outputs. The audio signal from this output pair is then sent back to the computer via the Stereo Return 1-2 bus. This stereo return bus from the UltraLite-mk3 appears in your host software alingside all other UltraLite-mk3 inputs, wherever your host software lists them.)



    I'm not quite sure how to set this up in Console or AudioMulch though to ensure that I'm patching SPDIF to SPDIF though.

    Before, I knew that the headphones were typically chanels 9 & 10. Not so sure about the SPDIF chanels though. I guess I'm going to have to research this some.

    For now, I'm off to grab some lunch then head to work. If work is slow, I'll be able to pull out the laptop and the MOTU and mess with it some.
    Jan Bennett
    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

  8. #8
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    So I just got everything setup again to make sure its still worked and to get Console working again(I only have the trial right now so I can't save my configuration).

    Here's a screen shot of the Winamp ASIO output plug config:

    Name:  ASIO config.bmp
Views: 1772
Size:  437.7 KB

    The SPDIF outputs are channels 9/10 on the saffire so that is why the shift outputs is set to 8. This routes the audio out from Winamp directly to the SPDIF outputs on the saffire. Then with a PHYSICAL digital co-ax cable I connect back to the SPDIF IN on the Saffire. It's not done with software routing or at least I couldn't figure out a way to do it. With my setup, Console wouldn't even see the audio until I did this.

    Then in Console I route the audio from inputs 9/10 to the VST plugins(I just used a simple EQ here but had it working with Frequency Allocator and multiple eqs and delays before) then to the main outputs(channels 1/2) on the Saffire to my monitors.

    Name:  Console.bmp
Views: 1571
Size:  749.6 KB

    Here's the audio setting I had in Console:

    Name:  Console ASIO.bmp
Views: 1602
Size:  605.4 KB

    And the Saffire's ASIO control panel settings:

    Name:  Saffire ASIO.bmp
Views: 1510
Size:  163.8 KB

    So to sum it up route the Winamp ASIO out to the SPDIF outs on the MOTU, then with a digital coax cable connect back to the SPDIF ins. In Console use the SPDIF in to your VSTs then back out the analog outputs on the Motu.

    One thing to note was I lost control of volume in Winamp doing this but could control volume with the Saffire's mixer software and physical controls. No big deal and probably a better sounding way to do it anyway. I need to figure out how I'm going to control it when I implement it into a Car PC though. On the Saffire you can link the output controls so thats a start anyway.

    Interesting that the Motu doesn't like the TI chipset, seems like everything else almost requires it. I have an NEC chipset on my Dell Inspiron 6000 and it works with the Saffire so you never know.

  9. #9
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    Another thing I just thought of is to set your performance to prioritize background services so ASIO gets higher priority. Right click my computer -> properties -> Advanced. Click performance settings -> Advanced. Then set Processor scheduling to background services. ASIO runs in the background so this will allow it to have smoother operation.

  10. #10
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    I think I got it!

    I'm not sure what I did, but as of right now, I don't have any clicks or hisses!



    Going to go through and document everything I have set right now and post it up, not only for myself, but for others as well.

    First I want to test it in WinAmp as well as with Console too (using AudioMulch right now).

    EDIT: I think I figured out what was wrong: the samples per buffer between the programs weren't the same. It's hard to keep up with it all, but I think I finally got them all set to be the same...and maybe that might have been the problem?? It could have been something else that cause it all to fall into place too...who knows. All of the samples per buffer could have been the same at one point before, it's just that now I have everything set-up to be correct. Who knows! Still getting all of the settings documented right now.
    Jan Bennett
    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

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