1 (edited by quoricsant 2009-12-09 19:37:18)

Topic: Crackles on Windows Vista x64 and Windows 7 x64

Hello

I recently installed Windows 7 x64 as an upgrade from XP x86 (32 bit).
Everything worked fine except for the FF800 (I was getting crackling and interrupted playback with ASIO under both Sonar 8 PE -64bit version and 32bit version- and Audition 3).
Convinced about some problem with the win7 drivers (and after a lot of testing) I decided to downgrade to Vista 64bit.
I now have Vista 64bit SP2 on my machine, but the audio crackle problem remains exactly the same.

For both installs I have used the latest drivers and firmware (driver for FF400-800 version 2.998, firmware revision 2.77). I have installed these right away, without using the ones in the RME CD first.
Before this I had a Win XP SP2 install with FF working perfectly fine with driver version 2.95 and with firmware revision 2.70.

I have checked the printed manual and then increased buffer size, HD cache, and checked PCI latency timer on the BIOS. The FW400 cable is the same I was using with the XP install, works fine and has had no movement or other use. I also have been using the DPC Latency Checker V1.1.0 tool, for the purpose of trying to determine the cause for this FF poor behavior. With Windows started in normal mode (and apps running in background only), the checker displays no problems:

http://i728.photobucket.com/albums/ww282/quoricsant/latency_checker01.jpg

When I start opening apps (even if not audio-related) I start getting some peaks:

http://i728.photobucket.com/albums/ww282/quoricsant/latency_checker02.jpg

Once I open Sonar and play a sequence, latency raises considerably (and the audio plays interruptedly):

http://i728.photobucket.com/albums/ww282/quoricsant/latency_checker04.jpg

I close the audio app (Sonar or Audition) and the conflict seems to end:

http://i728.photobucket.com/albums/ww282/quoricsant/latency_checker05.jpg

As the DPC window suggests, I've closed services, processes and applications to check if any conflict of the FF driver with something else would be to blame. I have also disabled both the onboard audio and the secondary audio card (pci E-MU 0404) but that makes no difference (that card presents no conflicts for Windows audio).

I ask the staff from RME if they can tell me what additional tests I can perform or what other settings should I be looking into.

My current system is as follows:

Intel DG33TL board
Windows Vista x64 Ultimate SP2, 8GB RAM
FF800 with latest driver/firmware
Sonar 8 PE
Audition 3

Current FF settings:
http://i728.photobucket.com/albums/ww282/quoricsant/FFsettings01.jpg

2

Re: Crackles on Windows Vista x64 and Windows 7 x64

Try the process explorer from Sysinternals/Microsoft. If your lucky it gives you more hints on where to look for the problematic device/driver.

Are you using the on-board graphics card? That may be problem number 1. Are you using IDE/PATA hard drives? Number two.

Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME

3 (edited by quoricsant 2010-04-11 23:21:29)

Re: Crackles on Windows Vista x64 and Windows 7 x64

Thank you MC for your prompt response

I have killed the explorer.exe process from the task manager (taskbar gone) along with every non administrative/essential Windows process while playing a sequence, with no luck.

I am not using a graphics card, just the onboard. A while ago I had some drop-down menu moving very slow on Sonar and consulted this on the Cakewalk forum, to what a senior member there suggested getting a separate video card to fix the issue. I explained to him I did not want to turn my computer into a multimedia environment -as I don't work with video-, or a gamer station since I wanted it to remain a serious audio workstation. My approach from the beginning was to strip down the CPU from things non essential to audio production. However at this point in time I am more than willing to buy a graphics card almost immediately (of any price) if it will solve this issue. If such is the case, please tell me if a simple one should suffice or which one would be recommended.

And to answer your other question no, I don?t use IDE hard disks anymore, I use SATA3gb/s 7200rpm exclusively now (4 of them for distributing sampling loads), as the IDE/PATA driver was somewhat difficult to install properly on my Intel board model under the XP OS.

Re: Crackles on Windows Vista x64 and Windows 7 x64

I had posted before the exact same problem.
You should change the Power Options to "High Performance"

Re: Crackles on Windows Vista x64 and Windows 7 x64

Firewire chipset?

Do you get DPC spikes when scrolling around in a web browser or playing video files?

Did you test any other audio software (download a trial of Reaper or Live) to see if these also lead to DPC spikes when being used?

Re: Crackles on Windows Vista x64 and Windows 7 x64

thank you, tnadav -- I always have the power option on High Performance.

7 (edited by quoricsant 2009-12-09 23:53:04)

Re: Crackles on Windows Vista x64 and Windows 7 x64

Timur I get only ocassional spikes when not performing audio tasks with the FF800 on, as you can see on the second picture.
When opening a task or playing something on Media Player -with the secondary pci audio card- I do not get audible latency problems, but the Latency Checker will still show the advice about some device drivers behaving bad, even with the FF turned off (as in the second picture).
I do have Reaper, Cubase5.1 and some smaller audio apps (none of those yet installed), but I'm already testing with my 2 main apps (Sonar and Audition).

Not sure how to check the chipset, though.

Re: Crackles on Windows Vista x64 and Windows 7 x64

Go to Windows' device manager, find the graphic-card and chose to update its driver. From the list chose the "Standard VGA driver". If it's not in the list untick the "compatible hardware..." checkbox and browse to the Microsoft drivers in the following list.

You can also check your Firewire chipset via device-manager. You could also see if Windows 7 offers more than one Firewire driver for your chipset. Beta/RC/RTM needed you to change the driver to the "(legacy)" one, but was said to be fixed with release. You should still try if it helps.

Re: Crackles on Windows Vista x64 and Windows 7 x64

Timur there is no list of graphic card drivers, only one option called ''Intel(R) G33/G31 Express Chipset Family'',  which is the updated driver from the Intel website for this specific board. With the compatible hardware box unchecked I don't get MS drivers, only other Intel models, ATI and NVIDIA ). I'm pretty sure those would not work.
Under Windows7 I had three options for firewire drivers: the normal one, the legacy version and one from Texas Instruments. None of them made the FF work properly. I am now using Vista x64.

10 (edited by quoricsant 2009-12-10 05:01:57)

Re: Crackles on Windows Vista x64 and Windows 7 x64

I don't know exactly how relevant this could be, but the FW driver currently installed on Vista is the following:

http://i728.photobucket.com/albums/ww282/quoricsant/1394driver_installed.jpg
message reads: ''best controller software for this device is already installed and up-to-date''

As this controller is from AGERE and it could have something to do with the discussion on the first stickie of the forum.

Under Windows 7 however I had 3 other different options for the 1394 controller, as mentioned before.

Re: Crackles on Windows Vista x64 and Windows 7 x64

I checked again and the Microsoft driver is not called Microsoft but "(Standard...)" at the top of the list. wink

Once you chose that driver Aero will turn off, as will 3D accelleration. But this is only meant for checking whether the graphic-card driver is the source of the issue anyway.

Re: Crackles on Windows Vista x64 and Windows 7 x64

I would suggest to install a TI based PCI(e) FW card.


Regards
Daniel Fuchs
RME

13 (edited by Timur 2009-12-10 13:23:24)

Re: Crackles on Windows Vista x64 and Windows 7 x64

It should work with the Agere/LSI as well unless there is some problem with the Firewire bus itself. It *did* work for him on XP as he reports and I am using Agere/LSI myself (both rev 6 with repeater before and now rev 7) downto the smallest buffer sizes.

That doesn't mean the onboard FW solution of the mainboard couldn't be the source of the culprit so trying another FW card is a good option. wink

Re: Crackles on Windows Vista x64 and Windows 7 x64

I am extremely happy to report that after a BIOS flash update, the cracking problem seems now fixed, along with a remarkable overall much better performance of Windows in general.

I will be making a test on Windows 7 in the coming weeks, as I suspect this was the issue also in that OS and the cause why the audio was crackling in there as well.

But for now, I will just finally be making music again.

Many thanks to all

Re: Crackles on Windows Vista x64 and Windows 7 x64

Sometimes the easy solutions are the best ones. HeadScratch :-)

Re: Crackles on Windows Vista x64 and Windows 7 x64

quoricsant wrote:

I am extremely happy to report that after a BIOS flash update

I am in a very similar position with my Macbook Pro. How do you flash the BIOS? Does a Mac even have BIOS. All I can tell is that my firmware is up to date in OSX.

--
Nathan
www.nathanlively.com

Re: Crackles on Windows Vista x64 and Windows 7 x64

nobasil wrote:
quoricsant wrote:

I am extremely happy to report that after a BIOS flash update

I am in a very similar position with my Macbook Pro. How do you flash the BIOS? Does a Mac even have BIOS. All I can tell is that my firmware is up to date in OSX.

--
Nathan
www.nathanlively.com

Already responded to you via e-mail.
If you have further problems, post your detailed specs.

Regards

Re: Crackles on Windows Vista x64 and Windows 7 x64

nobasil wrote:

I am in a very similar position with my Macbook Pro. How do you flash the BIOS? Does a Mac even have BIOS. All I can tell is that my firmware is up to date in OSX.

http://www.rme-audio.de/forum/viewtopic.php?id=4320

Re: Crackles on Windows Vista x64 and Windows 7 x64

Hello,

Well just try this:

Go to device manager inside 7-64 and select 1394 hardware tab.
Then in driver tab select "update driver":

- Windows update: "not this time",
-"Install from a specified location",
-"Do not search I 'll choose the driver to be installed"

in the proposed list there is surely your AGERE driver but also Windows 7 1394 OHCI Legacy driver. This is the one to select and then install. WIndows shall tell you that it install this legacy 1394 driver instead of Agere one.

Reboot and try your fireface.

Enjoy.