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Tez

Can Someone Explain these dropouts?

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Posted (edited)

Even on projects with a single synth and only a couple of FX plug ins, Audio engine dropouts keep occurring. These are the basic settings: WASAPI Exclusive, Buffer Size: 40.5 msecs, Multiprocessing Engine checked>Plugin Load Balancing checked, DropoutMsec: 1000, Midi Playback: 1000 msec buffers (the max allowed).

I still get too many Audio Engine dropouts: mostly 1, occasionally 9 and even a 3. Dropout 1 often happens when nothing is going on, no activity, no midi input. I started using WASAPI hopefully to eliminate this plague of dropouts. If someone has any suggestions to fix this I’d be grateful...

My system should be well able to handle CbB performance, basic specs can be found here: 

 

Edited by Tez

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3 hours ago, gustabo said:

Do you have core parking turned off on your machine?

 

Well, when I check the resource monitor all cores are active, if parked it should say so, no? I was under the impression that desktop w10 core parking was disabled...

3 hours ago, JonD said:

Have you run latencymon to determine what process(es) might be causing the dropouts?

I'm not familiar with latencymon,  something I'll have  check out. For DAW tweaks I've got the pdf "Tweaking Windows 10 for Music Production" from Creative Source, some of it might be appropriate, but this is not a DAW dedicated machine, maybe one day I'll be able to afford one, meanwhile I have to exercise caution...

Regardless, thanks guys for the input,  if some process or another is the culprit, hopefully I can track it down, this might be the case as I've noticed dropouts on simply opening a minimalist project... 🙄

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@JonD I just ran a test with a project where my synth is Pianoteq with Ozone 9 in the FX  rack, and REmatrix  in the prochannel  of a bus. The midi input for the synth was set to none, the echo was off and the midi keyboard was switched off. I walked away for a while to see if a dropout might occur with no activity or midi input. Without fail it did,  an Audio Engine dropout 1.  My question is, if you  might know,  how would I use latencymon to track down the cause, as it seems to me for this scenario something  might well be affecting CbB. I'm assuming that the "LatencyMon.exe" is a standalone app not an installer?

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14 hours ago, Tez said:

@JonD ... I'm assuming that the "LatencyMon.exe" is a standalone app not an installer?

It does install on your PC. It is perfectly safe, and will identify the processes by rank of highest latencies and also indicate hard pagefaults. In most cases it will also find the drivers and processes responsible for executing them.  Bottom line, it highlights the processes on your system that could be causing your issues.

You mentioned that DAW optimization guide, but I'm not clear on if you did the tweaks. Some of them are rather crucial (like adjusting power/USB management) regardless of whether or not it's a dedicated DAW.  IOW, you should go ahead do the tweaks.  They won't negatively impact hurt your other tasks.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, JonD said:

but I'm not clear on if you did the tweaks

Not as yet, just being cautious, but if as you say there's no down side, I'll see what relevant. The "power/USB management" did pique my interest as the midi input is via USB, but as I mentioned for the test above the midi was not active, and the dropout occurred regardless with no activity whatsoever.  Other than the mouse as far as I'm aware, there's no other USB input I use for CbB. So I'm curious, in what way is it crucial, and am I missing something?

Anyhow thanks for your help, much appreciated!

Update: Just applied the power option tweaks, much of the others like "Privacy Options" were off or just don't apply to my system and for the moment deferring the optionals. I just realized that I can always revert to the previous "Preferred" plan if "High performance" has issues. So, will see if this improves dropout frequency first...

Update: Just ran my test mentioned above, unfortunately despite the tweaks an Audio Engine dropout 1 occurred  with no activity or midi input whatsoever. So, hopefully LatencyMon will reveal something...

 

Edited by Tez

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@Prod.Lostboy Anything that might help, so thanks. Just about to embark on my own LatMon odyssey... Wish me luck 😵!

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If Realtek ASIO with buffer 1024 is not working stable for you, there are some severe problems (with some luck just in software). Your system should be able to run several VSTs under buffer 256 without any tweaks.

But that is true in case your are not running some "ultra" settings in some "heavy" VSTs (single VST can kill everything), so first try to reproduce the problem just with proven light VSTs only (f.e. provided by Cakewalk).

Latency Monitor is not an odyssey, it is 1 button tool. Odyssey is to interpret its results in case it blames some generic Microsoft driver (it is tricky to find which device course the latency).

Also check the system is successfully updated and disconnect/disable any networking. MS periodically think the system is "idle" (even if that is not true) and starts background activity. You can check system logs / task manager to spot any failing tasks, continuously re-connecting mouse, etc.

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Posted (edited)

I finally ended up replacing my NVidia GPU with an AMD GPU after years of intermittent dropouts and running at 1024 buffers (ASIO) just to be able to get anything done. Real time monitoring? Puh-leaze.  Multiple computers and audio interfaces didn't solve the problem. I had pretty much come to the conclusion that it was Cakewalk, but I wasn't going to quit using my favorite DAW. I finally realized that I'd been bringing that old NVidia graphics adapter along in every build all this time. Runs great now. Doh.

Anyway, LatencyMon is your best bet to get some insight into what causes the drop outs.  Obtaining, installing and running the program is easy. Let it run for some time to get a good idea of what is happening on your machine. Post your results here and you might even have someone who knows what they're talking about see what the problem is. :)

And if possible, I recommend finding yourself an inexpensive USB audio/MIDI interface with a true ASIO driver. It will at lease eliminate the sound device as the source of the problem and I you might find that you have better results than with a built-in sound card.

Edited by Kevin Walsh

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Posted (edited)

So far, conducting multiple tests as described above:

And using the settings described in the OP, the audio dropout 1 occurred after about 15 mins and  LatencyMon showed a big  spike in HDAudBus.sys driver. No event errors occurred during the tests, and the same result occurred  for several test repetitions .  Incidentally,  running LatencyMon  whilst writing this without CbB running, just the browser, the same spike occurred.

The system is always up to date, so as to what this means I'm far from sure, is it the driver's poor performance or the task using it, CbB is using WASAPI, the browser isn't.  Power throttling is disabled, no page faults occurred for CbB, and it seems this spike is the best candidate for the dropout, although other spikes possibly misleading, can show up. So I'm at a loss as to how to fix this. As to Realtek ASIO I share the opinion of  Mr @scook ...

Edited by Tez

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Posted (edited)

HDAudBus.sys is the high definition audio driver for your computer. Something prevented the audio device from completing it's operation in time for real time audio to run glitch free, and the issue occurred while HDAudBus  code was executing so it's possible that the issue is with the software or configuration associated with that device. The trick is now figuring out what the problem really is.  I'd look into (Google) issues others have had with DPC latency on the specific device  you're using, perhaps also the specific system. It's likely that others with similar hardware configurations are experiencing the same problem. The DPC performance on your system is completely independent of Cakewalk, and you should see LatencyMon report any problems with audio performance due to poor DPC latency whether or not Cakewalk is using the device.  

There are other more generic steps you can take. For example,  since you're using the Realtek audio device, you might make sure that other audio devices such as the HD audio device on your graphics card  is disabled. You can do this in Device Manager.

Incidentally, to be clear, I was not recommending using Realtek's ASIO driver, and I couldn't find any reference about it by @scook so I can't say whether or not I agree with his position. I have no experience using a Realtek sound card with Cakewalk, but I have used many decent USB and Firewire devices with Cakewalk and have dealt with many dropout issues before, mostly unsuccessfully until (as I said above) I replaced my old NVidia card. 

 

Edited by Kevin Walsh
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Virus scanner scanning the drive?

If your virus app is permitted to scan wave files, when you record and hit stop, you now have new files to scan. Now you start recording again and you are competing with your scanner for io.

It's easy to exclude wave files from scanning. 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Tez said:

@Prod.Lostboy Anything that might help, so thanks. Just about to embark on my own LatMon odyssey... Wish me luck 😵!

Basically try to update all your drivers (if it doesn't work try to reinstall the ones you already have). 

Them update your windows. 

Be sure that there's no virus in your computer. (as @Gswitz said) I had no virus in mine but it might cause alot of trouble other than audio latency. 

You can also try to close everything but your DAW and disable TEMPORARILY your antivirus and disconnect the internet. 

If your latencyMom is all green and you still have issues with audio. The problem (sadly) It's probably that your CPU can't handle what you're doing. If so, try to open a new project with only an audio track. If there is no audio problems in this case you'll probably need a better processor... 

I wish you luck 🍀

Edited by Prod.Lostboy

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Try disabling your network adapters, both ethernet and wifi, while in your daw.

That totally stopped my audio engine dropouts.

Yes, it's a hassle but worth it.  You can set up shortcuts to batch files that make it pretty easy.

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2 hours ago, Steve Harder said:

That totally stopped my audio engine dropouts.

What were your dropout codes?

Well, one and all thanks again for all your input! I have to remark that with 4.01GHz core and 32GB ram my system should be amply audio capable, and by and large it is. The test performed (described above) does nothing but stream audio silence to the FXs. LatencyMon shows several drivers with spiked DPC execute times, and these cause underruns resulting in an Audio Engine dropout 1.

Namely the Kernel Mode Driver Framework Runtime, I believe triggered by the High Definition Audio Bus Driver and also the Port Class (Class Driver for Port/Miniport Devices) used by audio devices, and in this case both I believe are audio related, and last the NVIDIA Windows Kernel Mode Driver, which is up to date as is W10. This test was also done with no internet, no router and the AV off, same result. These sporadic spikes are the problem, the performance tweaks are in effect, so the question is what is causing them. If anyone has had this particular issue and has fixed it please let me know...

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So this is a realtek (onboard) sound card?  These rarely come with decent ASIO drivers (when they do at all).  Solid audio drivers are CRUCIAL for DAW use, regardless of how powerful your system may be.

If you haven't already, try the free ASIO4ALL drivers.  These are sort of a last resort and can sometimes work well with onboard sound cards when all else fails.

http://www.asio4all.org/

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21 hours ago, Kevin Walsh said:

HDAudBus.sys is the high definition audio driver for your computer

Yup that's the ISR which I believe kicks off Wdf01000.sys - Kernel Mode Driver Framework Runtime, Microsoft and that's the spiking DPC. It turns out the latency issue with Wdf01000.sys is all over the web going way back and no solution that I can find, except to bypass windows drivers altogether and ASIO4ALL has been updated since 2017... So will keep looking for a solution...

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You sound pretty tech-savvy, so I apologize in advance if I'm telling you stuff you already know.

If good DAW performance was determined by your CPU's speed and processing power and by the amount of system memory you have, none of us would have DPC latency problems. Most PC's are not built for audio production, nor are they tuned to optimize audio processing in the system. I'll bet your PC absolutely screams at web browsing, watching videos, reading email and using Microsoft Office, though, because odds are that's what it's built to be best at. If you want to get great performance as a DAW, changes in hardware and software configurations will help you get there.

The built-in sound card in PC's is designed primarily for audio playback.  You can find amazingly decent audio interfaces with quality ASIO drivers (that completely bypass the Windows audio driver stack) for reasonably low prices these days, many with MIDI interfaces and XLR mic and instrument inputs included.  You're in a much better position to achieve the kind of audio performance you need with an audio  device built for the kind of work you're doing.

And I think it bears repeating, some NVidia graphics cards, particularly ones of the GTX lineage (according to net lore and my own personal experience) are often reported to be not terribly DAW friendly when it comes to DPC. I pulled my GTX960  from  my system and installed a Radeon RX 580 graphics card and very nearly burst into tears when I ran Latency Mon. Seriously. I still get the sniffles when I think about it.

I do hope that you find the performance  you're looking for with the set up you have.

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