Setting up Sonar 2.0 for use with the Hammerfall series
Step by step instructions on how to set up hardware and software

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Sonar 2.0 and Hammerfall series under Windows ME/2000/XP

At times of writing this Tech Info no WDM Kernel Streaming drivers existed for the Hammerfall series. That's no problem performance-wise, but you should follow the below steps of configuration very carefully, to achieve the best performance results.

The following information has been documented under Windows XP, but is also true when using Windows ME, and is valid for both the Hammerfall and Hammerfall DSP series.

The lowest possible latency is defined in the section 'Buffer Size (Latency)' of the Hammerfall Settings dialog. Set it to '64 (1.5 ms)'.

Later on the 'Wave Profiler' will be started to test the card. Unfortunately this tool does not work correctly under certain conditions. For the best results the following conditions should be true:

  • The first input channels of the tested card should be accessible
  • The card should be at 44.1 kHz sample rate
  • If possible all available inputs and outputs should be accessible
  • The lowest available DMA Buffer Size should be active

Therefore for the Hammerfall and Hammerfall DSP series the following setup should be verified before continuing:

  • Use the card's Settings dialog to set the Buffer Size to 64 (1.5 ms)
  • Set the card's inputs to Optical, Clock Mode AutoSync, and feed valid ADAT signals with a sample rate of 44.1 kHz to the inputs
  • In case no ADAT signal is available: Set the card to Clock Mode Master, Input Optical, and connect the optical outputs directly to the optical inputs (loop-back)

The Multiface does not require digital loop-backs, as the first 8 channels are analog inputs/outputs. Those are always accessible, even without any input signal.

Install and/or start Sonar. The whole configuration is done in the dialog 'Audio', found under 'Options' as shown below.

For Sonar to 'see' the Hammerfall series drivers at all, the option 'Always use MME Interface, even when WDM drivers are available' has to be activated (tab 'Advanced'.)

Sonar must be restarted then.

After a restart the tab 'Drivers' now shows the stereo devices of the corresponding Hammerfall card. The picture below shows the 13 record and playback pairs of the HDSP Digiface.

All devices should be active, that is marked.

Sonar must be restarted then.

Under the tab 'General' the first device of the corresponding Hammerfall series card has to be selected as 'Record Timing Master' and 'Playback Timing Master'.

The 'Audio Driver Bit Depth' should be set to '24'.

Now the Wave Profiler is started. Follow the instructions on the screen.

When the Wave Profiler is finished, you will find that the mode '32 Bit PCM, right justified' has been chosen to transmit 24 bit audio data (tab 'Driver Profiles'.) This setting is as wrong (low volume operation) as it makes no sense at all. The correct setting is '32 Bit PCM, left justified' (see next picture.)

Additionally the lowest Buffer Sizes for several modes have been selected and written into a table.

Using the Hammerfall and HDSP series the Wave Profiler's results are in most times correct. The table should look like in the picture below.

Also the higher number of samples at 96 kHz operation is correct. 64 samples mean 1.5 ms at 44.1 kHz, and equal 0.7 ms at 96 kHz. Latencies below 1 ms are not possible in Windows, so the buffer has to be increased to give a latency of at least 1 ms again.

Sonar should be restarted then.


Finally you can adjust the latency using the slider under the tab 'General'. The lowest value is 1.5 ms. This setting will in most cases not provide reliable operation. Therefore we recommend to adjust the slider to 3 or 6 ms operation.

When using a computer with in-sufficient PCI bus performance, you might notice less clicks and dropouts when changing the Buffer Size in the Hammerfall's Settings dialog to 3 ms - after the above test is done. Then the PCI bus is bothered only half as much by the transmission of audio data.

Copyright Matthias Carstens, 2002.

All entries in this Tech Infopaper have been thoroughly checked, however no guarantee for correctness can be given. RME cannot be held responsible for any misleading or incorrect information provided throughout this manual. Lending or copying any part or the complete document or its contents is only possible with the written permission from RME.

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