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RICHARD HUTCHINS

Is my laptop up to it? Cakewalk is crashing

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I also use a Scarlett Interface. Its all very confusing for an old Luddite like me. I'll try and absorb / understand the comments and move on once I have a grasp on things. (2023?)😏

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I get that buzzing noise fairly infrequently. And it's on a Scarlett interface also.

 I'll get it maybe once or twice in an 8 hour session, but then it won't happen for a week or so. So it's not often enough to be a big issue, just a mild annoyance.

I've not managed to find a pattern to it, as it happens on the smallest of projects and may or may not happen on bigger ones. ASIO buffer size doesn't seem to make a difference either. I've got a modest spec machine: Win 10 on a 3rd gen 3.4Ghz i5 with 16GB RAM. 

When it does happen, switching the audio engine on/off fixes it for me.

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41 minutes ago, msmcleod said:

I get that buzzing noise fairly infrequently. And it's on a Scarlett interface also.

 I'll get it maybe once or twice in an 8 hour session, but then it won't happen for a week or so. So it's not often enough to be a big issue, just a mild annoyance.

I've not managed to find a pattern to it, as it happens on the smallest of projects and may or may not happen on bigger ones. ASIO buffer size doesn't seem to make a difference either. I've got a modest spec machine: Win 10 on a 3rd gen 3.4Ghz i5 with 16GB RAM. 

When it does happen, switching the audio engine on/off fixes it for me.

That sounds like a potential driver glitch to me.

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My experience with an older laptop and running CbB with multiple copies of a 16 track orchestral sample player led me to believe that I needed more oomph!

I've already decided not to run Win10 yet but to stick with 7 pro x64 for the forseeable future, so I looked for a used Thinkpad and managed to pick up an A grade, core i7 vPro T430 with 8GB of memory and a 1TB HDD (N.B. not the T430s.) for just 245 UK pounds.

The T430 can have an mSATA SSD added which is just a PCB that plugs into a socket on the underside under a little hatch.  Found a cheap 256GB Samsung one on eBay.

Free AOMEI software moved Windows across.

The HDD turned out to be a 5400rpm one, but I found a used HGST 1TB 7200rpm one on eBay for a low price.

Found a matched pair of faster 8GB RAM so upgraded to 16GB. I'll sell the original 8GB.

The screen was low res but found a high res screen for just 20 UK pounds.

It has an Ultrabay where the CD/DVD normally sits. A special adapter for around 9 pounds allows another HDD to be installed. Moved the old HDD to that for backups.

A brand new genuine battery completed the picture.

None of it too difficult to do if you're careful.

Why not another SSD? If you read the technical blurb, you should try to minimise the number of writes to an SSD as that is what will kill it in the end. Have the page file on the HDD.

Operating system, programs and sample files on the SSD, page and other frequently written files plus data on the HDD.

Why Lenovo? There's so much info about upgrading in forums and YouTube it makes it straightforward, plus technical documents are available direct.

Now I have a really fast laptop with loads of space. Samples never loaded as quickly as now.

I already have a Steinberg UR22MkII interface and that works just fine.

Any help?

JohnG.

 

Edited by JohnG
Extra info.

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Thanks all. This forum is very helpful, although I am a technophobe. All I really want to do is record my songs, it drives me nuts when I have to sit trying to figure stuff out, but it comes with the territory, and is better than studio time in Abbey Road I suppose!(I wish)

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46 minutes ago, RICHARD HUTCHINS said:

All I really want to do is record my songs

Well, if it's "just " audio you want to record you could use a four track hard disk recorder or something. I've got two, though I never use them because I much prefer to "see" stuff, and editing on a traditional recording device is a bit of a backward step in my opinion.

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If you're like many general-purpose users (Surfing the Internet, Facebook, Email, Office apps), you may get along just fine with 4GB RAM (even though it's running lean).

FWIW, I think you'd find the VM Swapfile (even on SSD) is **FAR** slower than DDR4 RAM.  😉

  • DDR4/2400 has a transfer rate of 19.2 GB/Sec
  • M.2 Ultra (NVMe) SSD sustains 3.4 GB/Sec.
  • SATA SSD sustains 0.54 GB/Sec
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1 hour ago, abacab said:

That sounds like a potential driver glitch to me.

It may be, but it only ever happens in Cakewalk.

I've never experienced it in any other DAW.

Like I said though, it's a minor irritation. It takes less then 20 seconds to switch the audio engine off/on and it's back to working again.

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We are slowly getting there, 4gb memory, 3rd gen i3, Scarlett interface, but still need to know the hard drive.

Will assume you are using the ASIO driver which will be selectable in Cakewalk if you have installed the Scarlett drivers.

All that is needed now is the model of Scarlett interface (printed on the front of the unit (2i4, 2i2? etc) and the hard drive type/laptop model.

You don't need a lot of technical know how to set up a computer for music production, your already more than halfway there if you have an external audio device with a selectable ASIO driver.

Your i3 is ok for recording audio through the Scarlett
4g ram will work for recording/playing back audio
Windows 10 and Cakewalk will work with this configuration for recording/playing back audio

Your hard drive is the last thing left to think about. A 5400rpm typical older laptop drive will struggle with recording and playing back multiple streams of audio on a system with this configuration, a 7200 rpm drive will do a bit better and an SSD will be fine for recording/playing back multiple streams of audio on this system.

If you then want to start adding heavy samples, loops, VST instruments and CPU intensive plugins then that is a different matter. This is why the 8gig ram minimum specification is suggested and having a separate recording drive and another drive for samples. But then you will also benefit to move up to a more recent i5 or i7.

It all depends what you want to do with the DAW and whether you want smooth trouble free operation or continual stutters, clicks, pops and poor latency etc.

I only use a fourth generation i5 with 8 gig ram but I have 3 fast hardrives and it works well for my purposes, recording vocals and guitars and using a midi keyboard to control VST Instruments (sample based), minimal plugins and synths.

 

 

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I don't think a 5400rpm hard drive should cause any issues for audio, if that's all it's used for.

In the past I could easily record / playback 24 tracks of 24 bit/44.1Khz audio off an old IDE hard disk on an old P166 with 2 x Yamaha DS2416 PCI cards. Simultaneous recording of up to 16 tracks was no issue.

What might start to cause issues is if:

  • You're also dynamically loading samples from that drive during the performance
  • Your audio drive is the same drive Windows is installed on
  • Due to only having 4GB of RAM, it's using the page file on the same drive during audio recording/playback.

IMHO the page file is likely to be the main issue here, so upgrading to at least 8GB RAM would be my recommendation.

Edited by msmcleod

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On 2/22/2019 at 10:14 AM, Chuck E Baby said:

When you say "Period" does this mean Cakewalk is giving us the wrong System requirements ?

 

Bandlab by Cakewalk-

OS: Windows 7, 8/8.1 or 10  (64-bit)

Processor: 2.6GHz Intel or AMD multi-core processor (at least Intel i5 or AMD A10 APU recommended)

Memory: 4GB

Hard Drive: 5GB for minimal install (20GB recommended)

Monitor Resolution: 1280x800 (1920 x 1080 recommended)

Audio Interface: ASIO compatible hardware is recommended

I would say so on Win10, as others have noted that basically means you would need to have a super clean machine and only run Bandlab to have about 1.5 gigs of ram allocated to it.  How much actual recording can you do with 1.5 gigs of RAM?  Not much if you plan on using any effects, etc.

Yes, Cakewalk with actually open if it is the only program running on a Win10 machine with 4 gigs of ram.  You won't get far though.

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The problem description is vague ("going bonkers" is not actually a technical term, even if techies do use it often) but an I/O bottleneck would indeed be a prime candidate. That can be caused by insufficient RAM, among other things. There are many other things that cause problems while recording, though. Make sure wi-fi is disabled! LatencyMon will provide helpful clues. In any case, even if it doesn't solve your problem a memory upgrade is cheap and may make the computer more useful for other things as well.

Minimum machine specs are just that: minimums. You could buy a car based on minimum specs, e.g. something that'll get you to work, only to realize that your drums don't fit inside.

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2 hours ago, bitflipper said:

Minimum machine specs are just that: minimums. You could buy a car based on minimum specs, e.g. something that'll get you to work, only to realize that your drums don't fit inside.

Isn't that what Uber is for :) 

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I have only had a starved computer once and I told myself never again.  Absolute minimum 8gb ram  and that's playing Russian roulette. Cakewalk should probably change that minimum requirement, granted if you're only mixing two tracks it's probably ok. I typically do all of my builds with 16gb minimum. I think Jim probably sees clients asking for 32 and 64gb. For most home studio needs 16 is fine.

Laptops are finicky and aren't the best things to upgrade, granted you could probably land some more memory on the cheap if it's older, especially if you find someone selling used memory from a parts machine. If you aren't used to disassembly of a lappy I strongly discourage trying to do it yourself. If you have the confidence and think you can find the hidden screws go for it. If it's a "nothing to loose" situation then it doesn't matter if things go south during the assembly/disassembly or the loss of those teeny weeny screws :) I have done it, but it isn't fun. If you do it wrong screens can be broken cables can be pinched

You might conjure cuss words you thought you had forgotten years ago.

Edited by Starise

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13 minutes ago, Starise said:

I have only had a starved computer once and I told myself never again.  Absolute minimum 8gb ram  and that's playing Russian roulette. Cakewalk should probably change that minimum requirement, granted if you're only mixing two tracks it's probably ok. I typically do all of my builds with 16gb minimum. I think Jim probably sees clients asking for 32 and 64gb. For most home studio needs 16 is fine.

Laptops are finicky and aren't the best things to upgrade, granted you could probably land some more memory on the cheap if it's older, especially if you find someone selling used memory from a parts machine. If you aren't used to disassembly of a lappy I strongly discourage trying to do it yourself. If you have the confidence and think you can find the hidden screws go for it. If it's a "nothing to loose" situation then it doesn't matter if things go south during the assembly/disassembly or the loss of those teeny weeny screws :) I have done it, but it isn't fun. If you do it wrong screens can be broken cables can be pinched

You might conjure cuss words you thought you had forgotten years ago.

Lesson learned: I bought a cheap Acer laptop (not for music, but as a traveling office) and added some DAW software and plugins for the heck of it.

It came with only 4GB of RAM, and I quickly found the limit with that while trying to run virtual instruments on it!

I looked into the disassembly process for adding RAM, because there was apparently an empty slot available.

Guess what? Acer went cheap and there is no access panel on the bottom of the laptop for the RAM slot. I had upgraded RAM in my older Dell laptop, no problemo! Just popped a couple of screws and the slot was easily accessible.

But to access the RAM in this Acer, one would need to remove the keyboard, remove the hard drive, disconnect  ribbon cables for the screen, etc., then remove the motherboard, and locate the RAM slots on the underside of the motherboard. No thanks! And I build desktops for fun, but I'm not going to tear down a working laptop. No way, LOL!

So lesson learned, if you think you might want more RAM, buy a laptop configured the way you might need it during its lifetime, and don't just assume upgrades are an easy option. At least until you have read the manual.  Dell used to make their  upmarket units quite serviceable, and provide a decent service manual.  But since I haven't bought a Dell recently, don't know if that still applies.

 

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The last one I did I had a set of jewelers screw drivers and they were too big 😲

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