Composers' Forum

Music Composers Unite!

In fact, killing my computer would be too kind.  I want it to suffer the way it makes ME SUFFER!!!

I built (first mistake) my own DAW using the following components:
ASUS P5Q Motherboard (incudes SoundMax Audio integrated Digital soundcard)
8 Megs of RAM
Intel Core 2 Duo processor
ATI Radeon HD 3600 Video Card
C Drive: 150 GB Fast Drive (10,000 RPM) WDC WD1500 ADFD-00NLR5
D Drive: 1TB  For Programs & Files  WDC WD10EADS-00L5B1
   Sonar 8.5, etc

E Drive: 1TB VST's  ST31000340AS [EWSO Platinum, Play, Silk, Goliath, Fab Four, Choirs, Gypsy, etc)
Plus (4) external hard drives!!!
Windows XP 64bit

Focusrite Saffire Pro 26 I/O (This also constantly drops out or disappears and forces me to use the Soundmax)

It crashes constantly, reboots, Hard drives disappear and I cant even get a simple piano track (using Play, Goliath) without constant audio pops and dropouts.

Mixdowns on Sonar 8.5 are constant causes for entire system shutdown and reboot.

Can I get some help, ideas, an amen or a witness?  Or what works best...Sledgehammer or Caliber 50 Machine gun?

Thanks to all

Views: 488

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

AHHH!!! Ray, my old friend...

I will see if the play engine / Latency works. I had the latency previously at 256? So I will try and let you know.

Otherwise, I may have to sell some of my wife's jewelry and get the Q6600 cpu. You didnt think I'd sell any of MY stuff, did you?

Thanks as always

Ray Kemp said:
so many things to tweak with that system.

I use an ASUS P5K Pro mobo

I had many of these probs until getting a Quad core Q6600

Do you have the play engine set to 5 that is
SETTINGS\Streaming engine level 5

Have you tried latency set at 512 or even 1024 during mixing.

I have very few problems now since moving to Windows x64 , Q6600 cpu 8GB ram
Hello Thomas, thanks for the reply.

I dont run games (or anything else for that matter) on the computer, but everything (media player, internet, etc) else runs just fine.
I'll try the compatibility issue, but you're right, it does sound tiresome. Down right painful if you ask me.

Thanks again
Thomas Green said:
Is it the music or are you getting problems with the system in general? Maybe run a game on it or something to try to push it a bit. If it all seems to work then you know you it's probably the musical gear...

If so, well you might have already done this, and I'm sorry to suggest it if you haven't because it's going to be tiresome, but maybe go through and check the compatibility of everything, especially dedicated musical equipment vs. standard computer equipment. Compatible equipment will be listed on the manufacture's web site.

Compatible usually only means the equipment they've actively tested, so this won't help you to know for sure what's wrong, but the exercise could give you little hints if you know what should work vs. what possibly won't work... something similar happened to me and I used trial and error to sort it out. I had issues with the onboard firewire on my MB.
SHAME ON YOU RAY KEMP!!!!

I could never part with any of my girls!!! Sounds sick, doesn't it. I dont know but I'm not the selling type, I know I'll regret it.

You are right though, I am going to upgrade to the Q6600, or what are your thoughts on the newer CPU's like the i7?

Thanks again

Ray Kemp said:
Albert,

You just don't need all these lefty guitars. One could go surely, the Q6600 can't be more than $100.00 now :-)
I use MAC and Pro Tools, so I don't know how relevant this will be, but maybe something will be of use to someone. I had all sorts of problems running a dual core laptop, particularly when I had the latency low in order to record. another issue was bus speed, and how quickly you can get the audio from your drive . I got into the habit of only using a low latency setting when recording, and then shifting up when mixing, this helped. Another really critical factor is how much RTAS you have running in the background whilst you're writing. By using your CPU monitor ( If you have one) You can monitor this. I found anything over 40% total CPU usage caused me to crash regularly. By bouncing tracks down to audio as a temporary measure, including a guide effect, then Parking the midi track and disabling the plug in, I gained loads of CPU back.
You can then reinstate the midi stuff with a higher latency setting later on to mix. I used to shut everything down that I wasn't using too ( Wireless, internet etc) Every bit of CPU power you can gain will help. If you're dual screening check that the video card you're using is as independant as possible ( memory etc)

Ultimately I had to go ton a Mac Pro Quad core and all is now as it should be, I can use as much of whatever I want, whenever I wish. Some RTAS programs eat CPU power without mercy. Particularly dedicated instruments, Grand Piano, Hammond plug ins etc.
This doesn't sound like a complete cure for you, there's more going on there... but CPU economy is pivotal (in my view)

Ray Kemp said:
Albert,

You just don't need all these lefty guitars. One could go surely, the Q6600 can't be more than $100.00 now :-)
You should disable the soundmax in your device manager. The presence of it and the focusrite could cause our problems. USB could be causing your crashes / reboots. Disconnect your external drives for a while and see how it works. Stop using any USB hub.

You should be able to keep your buffers at 128 or lower. Perhaps you have some unnecessary plugins installed. Buggy ones.

Just my thoughts...
Thank Chris, especially for going into such detail. I promise never to mail you any AMAZING PICTURES! That is funny, though. Everything you say makes absolute perfect sense.

I do have another PC that I wish to slave to this one, if possible (I saw the discussion where Ray recommended the Vienna Symphonic software to connect them). Is it safe to connect both PC's together and use the slower, slave PC for internet?

I also checked the RAM and it is all the same brand and type (from NEWEGG) and it all appears to be there (when I cntrl-alt-del and check performance, the 8 Megs are there).
Do you think it was a mistake to have a small (150 G) HDD for the operating system, even though (in my mind it would be better) it is faster at 10,000 rpm?

I truly thank you for your help and your comments. I will try all of your suggestions (as well other those mentioned above) tomorrow and with any luck, I may not need to kill my computer after all.

Thanks again

Chris Alpiar said:
I would recommend also making your computer CLEAN of any non-essential programs. If need be, wipe your boot drive, reinstall windows and ONLY install the music programs you use. Dont install games or office or junk on it if you can at all avoid it. Clogging up the registry with non-essential stuff isnt worth it and the less you have to keep up to date with latest drivers and such the better. I have the luxury of having many computers tho and I do email on my Windows Server 2003 or sometimes on a Mac, but never on a music PC. Of course I never open any attachments from anyone, even if I know them, unless its specific for a job or I know exactly what the file is. I HATE people that mail me powerpoint shows of 'amazing photos' or whatever lol, insta delete

Some folks suggest not being online at all, but I think thats foolish as long as you dont use your machine to open files off the internet, read email, etc and you arent running a dedicated IP without a firewall. If you dont know if you have a dedicated IP then dont worry about it, you dont. But keeping your computers online is great to be able to get newest drivers and software patches up to date. I also suggest running windows update and making sure you always have the latest of the 'essential' updates. The chances of someone hacking into your system while you are on via cable or DSL or dial up (where you are protected by a random IP and firewalls at the ISP) and where you do not open random software that could be maliciously some kind of trojan to open up that connection, is really nil. As long as you keep a backup of your work someplace safe, there is nothing to worry about anyway. The worst case is you reformat your disc and reinstall windows (something you should do like 1x every 2 years or so anyway)

The stuff Chris Merritt mentioned sounds like very good advice too, I would start there. Then...

In your case, you want to make sure that you have (and correctly installed) all the 64 bit drivers on your x64 machine and that every piece of hardware you have there _is_compatible_. I rebuilt a few machines to XP x64 when GS4 came out and I went through a lot of prep time but pretty easy upgrade to get all my hardware/drivers/software prepped for 64 bits. It can be something like drivers for a LAN card, or any of the drivers that might be part of your motherboard, etc, etc.

I always use ASUS motherboards when building PCs and always Pentium chips, I have never had a bad CPU chip in the 100+ computers I have built over the last 20 years. And these days Asus has detailed downloads for each motherboard based on the OS available online. Some cases you might need to flash the BIOS of your MB to bring it to compatibility with 64 bits, but save that as the very last thing, since it can be a mean experience if you have never done a bios flash.

Generally speaking I made a list of EVERY piece of hardware (right click 'my computer' and choose 'properties' then 'hardware' then 'device manager' from when it was a 32 bit machine and then went to each manufacturer (starting with the MB) and made sure I had all x64 drivers ready

Another thing you can check is if you RAM is good. First of all, all RAM should be in exact pairs (meaning follow the manual, but you never use 2 diff kinds of RAM, especially in the paired slots). Then there is a great freeware app called MemTest that you can download and burn to CD and boot to that disc and it will check your RAM and tell you if everything is good. Especially with newer ram chips, many have very low voltage and can easily be damaged with a power spike or even static from your body while installing. And one bad sector in the middle of a RAM chip wouldnt make your computer fail normally, only when you are running something that is severely using the RAM, like loading a butt ton of samples

I could go on and on with stuff I have encountered but start with this and let me know if you need a hand. You can call me at my studio any time (afternoons eastern time) if you need a hand 937-294-0900

Now that I am thinking about it, I seem to remember having issues with P5Q mb, which I returned to NewEgg and got something else... let me see....

... YEA I had ordered a ASUS P5QL PRO LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
and it would not work, i forget what was the problem but it had serious issues, so I returned it for a ASUS P5E Deluxe LGA 775 Intel X48 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail and it works like a charm. Was a few bucks more but so smooth running now
Thanks for your help Chris, I will try this later and see if it works. Do you have PLAY on your DAW and have you had any issues with it?

Thanks again

Chris Merritt said:
You should disable the soundmax in your device manager. The presence of it and the focusrite could cause our problems. USB could be causing your crashes / reboots. Disconnect your external drives for a while and see how it works. Stop using any USB hub.

You should be able to keep your buffers at 128 or lower. Perhaps you have some unnecessary plugins installed. Buggy ones.

Just my thoughts...
Thanks Ray, I checked the settings on the play engine and it was set to 2, I moved it to 5 and I raised the latency to 512 and subsequently 1024 and it still had some cut out or drops in audio.

I'll try the other stuff mentioned by the Chris's as well as what Russell and Thomas said. Last resort will be wiping everything down and adding the Quad 4. Thanks again for your help

Ray Kemp said:
I think the Q range is as far as we go on these motherboards.......so i7 etc. is a whole new ball game.
money money money :-)

I'm going to hang off a while before changing cpu socket. The one thing I know for sure is.......I'll be sticking with PC

I like getting my hands dirty inside these boxes. not to mention the choices in other software.

Right......I'm off to bed. catch you again soon Albert
Thanks Russell, I will try this. I have actually "bounced" several Audio tracks into one (once the musical idea is fairly developed) to minimize dropouts and CPU usage

Russell Jalland said:
I use MAC and Pro Tools, so I don't know how relevant this will be, but maybe something will be of use to someone. I had all sorts of problems running a dual core laptop, particularly when I had the latency low in order to record. another issue was bus speed, and how quickly you can get the audio from your drive . I got into the habit of only using a low latency setting when recording, and then shifting up when mixing, this helped. Another really critical factor is how much RTAS you have running in the background whilst you're writing. By using your CPU monitor ( If you have one) You can monitor this. I found anything over 40% total CPU usage caused me to crash regularly. By bouncing tracks down to audio as a temporary measure, including a guide effect, then Parking the midi track and disabling the plug in, I gained loads of CPU back.
You can then reinstate the midi stuff with a higher latency setting later on to mix. I used to shut everything down that I wasn't using too ( Wireless, internet etc) Every bit of CPU power you can gain will help. If you're dual screening check that the video card you're using is as independant as possible ( memory etc)

Ultimately I had to go ton a Mac Pro Quad core and all is now as it should be, I can use as much of whatever I want, whenever I wish. Some RTAS programs eat CPU power without mercy. Particularly dedicated instruments, Grand Piano, Hammond plug ins etc.
This doesn't sound like a complete cure for you, there's more going on there... but CPU economy is pivotal (in my view)

Ray Kemp said:
Albert,

You just don't need all these lefty guitars. One could go surely, the Q6600 can't be more than $100.00 now :-)
Wow Chris, you should turn that response into an article!

I use the 10k raptor drives for my main drive. At first it was the 150GB then I upgraded to the 300gb. I have a raid system for my samples.

I am also proof that it is possible to have internet and any other apps you want on your music computer. I have oultook up while composing, have many other apps installed , video editing, games, etc. I run vista 64, but I'm pretty good about keeping the computer in top shape. Defragging the registry and drives, complete uninstalls when removing software, managing the drivers, etc.

I have Play and can use multiple instances without hiccups. That reminds me - you need to be sure that your systray is as empty as possible. That only needed things are running. Set anything not needed to not load. But that being said, a lot of things can run just fine - printer apps, antivirus, antispyware, etc.

Try this app:

http://www.iobit.com/ascdownload.html

It will help you do just about everything from defragging drives and ram to clearing out your startup apps. It's worth the $20 to get the pro version!
Also, do a search here for Play engine and so on, to see what others say about the settings:

Thanks Chris, you da man! I hope to get this squared away, my track for WLP is almost ready. I feel guilty every time I log onto the Forum and dont have it ready!

Chris Merritt said:
Wow Chris, you should turn that response into an article!

I use the 10k raptor drives for my main drive. At first it was the 150GB then I upgraded to the 300gb. I have a raid system for my samples.

I am also proof that it is possible to have internet and any other apps you want on your music computer. I have oultook up while composing, have many other apps installed , video editing, games, etc. I run vista 64, but I'm pretty good about keeping the computer in top shape. Defragging the registry and drives, complete uninstalls when removing software, managing the drivers, etc.

I have Play and can use multiple instances without hiccups. That reminds me - you need to be sure that your systray is as empty as possible. That only needed things are running. Set anything not needed to not load. But that being said, a lot of things can run just fine - printer apps, antivirus, antispyware, etc.

Try this app:

http://www.iobit.com/ascdownload.html

It will help you do just about everything from defragging drives and ram to clearing out your startup apps. It's worth the $20 to get the pro version!

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Sign up info

Read before you sign up to find out what the requirements are!

Store

© 2021   Created by Gav Brown.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service