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New DAW system really messed up

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Confused, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. Confused

    Confused Active Member

    Dec 26, 2010
    I recently upgraded my music studio system to an HP Core i7/862, 8GB RAM, 1 TB HDD (7200 RPM), and an M-Audio Fast Track Ultra interface. This system came with Windows 7 64-bit. I have Cubase 5.0, Finale 2010, WaveLab 4.0, and recently purchased and installed Komplete 7.0. (I have had NI's B4II for a long time and recently downloaded an update to it).

    The problems are these: I cannot get this system to work properly. First of all, Cubase always shows an "ASIO Time Overload" symbol. This must be a buffer problem, but with a system like this, with 4 cores, why is it overloading? Do I need an even "hotter" computer than this? Also, MIDI hangs - some notes stick and keep sounding. Finally, I can't get any of my VST instruments in Cubase, Komplete, or wherever to even output audio. I can't hear them. All I get is the thump thump of my keyboard controller, but nothing out of the speakers.

    I'm getting VERY FRUSTRATED and feel like I just want to throw all this junk in the garbage can and just go back to the old Tascam 4-track cassette machine I started using 15 years ago. At least it let me make songs and not flash error messages, refuse to work, or force me to go take a software engineering degree to figure it out. I have had luck with previous DAW systems, but this one has me at my wit's end.

    If there were somebody local I could hire to just come and get it all going and then bill me for the job, I'd do that, but I feel like I am a total idiot, right out of my league. You can get someone like that to come set up your home network or your entertainment system, but there are no experts on these music systems. Why did a simpleton like me spend all this money on this technology that I can't even begin to understand how to do anything with?

    I am a trained and knowledgeable musician and have been fighting with PCs for close to 30 years, but I am rapidly losing my patience. I almost want to never have anything to do with music ever again. IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE WHO KNOWS HOW TO HELP? (Sorry for the caps, but I'm really POed and just don't know where to turn). If none of this stuff really works and causes so much annoyance, why are there so many people wasting their time and money on this mysterious, unusable garbage and not just using good old analog tape like in the old days? At least it worked...

    Sometimes I wonder if the human race has reached the point where all our formerly friendly everyday devices have become so complicated that only a few wizards here and there can actually figure them out.
  2. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Munich / Germany
    Home Page:
    Asio time overload is something I have never seen as long as I work with Cubase or Nuendo.
    Not on my Quadore race horse PC from now nor on the first singlecore with 2,4 GHz.
    I think, you should visit the new Cubase forum and do a search for this...
    I once learned to build, service and teach computer stuff and still I have to struggle with some of the problems those tin boxes create.

    One thing on which I almost got stranded was the 64-bit Win7. Nuendo works like a charme with this 64 bit OS, but some other softwares (VSTI) and plugs didn't. So, I run the old XPpro 32 bit , again, with great success and stability. Now, I am about to change the studo PC back to W7 64 bit, after some of the needed softwares have received 64 bit capability.

    Do some research as to 64 bit compatibility of your devices, drivers and softwares.
    Do you use Cubase 32 bit on the 64 bit machine? It works well and still gives you more RAM then on a win 32 bit OS.
  3. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    Mar 6, 2010
    Standing right behind you!
    It doesn't make sense to me. I use Win7-64bit with Cubase 5 and rarely see an ASIO overload. I have 8 gig of RAM with an Athlon II quad-core. Your computer is a bit more powerful than mine. Should work even better.

    My bet is on "crapware". I built my system from scratch so there is no additional software except what I want. But a pre-built computer comes with built-in junk that manufactureres use to subsidize the cost of the computer. Makes it cost less for you to buy. So, we call it "crapware". The software makers pay to have this stuff pre-installed. That's where the subsidy comes in.

    There are probably "demo" versions of things that need to be uninstalled. There's probably McAfee or Norton on there. There may be eBay stuff, Netflix, and stuff like that. Get rid of it. Get rid of all those extra "toolbars" for your browser.

    Open up the control panel and go to Programs and Features. Start uninstalling things. Leave the stuff you don't know for sure what it is, but uninstall the stuff you recognize that you don't want. McAfee and Norton anti-virus crapware is notorious for bogging down systems. THey have a resident shield that is constantly scanning you RAM for viri. THis takes a LOT of CPU time. Ditch it!

    Yes, ditch the anti-virus software and go download the free AVG if you want anti-virus. TURN OFF RESIDENT SHIELD. TURN OFF EMAIL SCANNER. TURN OFF ID PROTECTION. You are an adult, right? You don't just click and install everything the internet tells you too, right?

    Yesterday we got my GF's son a netbook for his birthday. It was only $198. The low cost came at a price: 3 hours of uninstalling crapware. Trials of this, demos of that, shareware, bloatware, etc. Microsoft Works AND Microsoft Office trials. Student editions of things, etc.

    Sorry to ramble. It's great that we can get our computers cheaper, but we must spend the time cleaning them up. Try it and see what it does.

    One more thing: You need two hard drives. One is for the system (C:) and the other for your audio. I'd put that 1TB you have as the audio drive and get another smaller drive for the C: drive. This gives the computer 2 separate pathways to access data with. Windows will refer to the C: drive constantly as needed. This takes away from time transferring your audio.
  4. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Munich / Germany
    Home Page:
    It is ASIO overload...
    If this fast new PC is so polluted that it chokes the audio I/O it is more likely a virus, which I don't believe.
    Somehow, the PC audio system can't process the audio fast enough. When the right ASIO driver is selected and Mainboard, as well as Cubase, are set correctly to using the M-Audio hardware audio device it should work like it does in a millon other PCs. I fear, we have a case of human error. This makes it not any easier nor more fun to fix for you, I know. Anyhow, it should be running fine on a PC a quarter of your immense power.
  5. hueseph

    hueseph Distinguished Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    You mention a single 1 Terabyte hard drive. You don't mention a secondary drive. You should have a dedicated audio hard drive. If you are running all of your VSTi off of the same drive you are recording to, you are going to have major issues. I would bet that it's a disc buffer read problem caused by too many VSTi trying to access info while you are trying to write to the drive.

    You can't use the eraser and the lead of a pencil at the same time.

    For that matter, you should have a dedicated hard drive for your VSTi. Not necessary for effects but essential for virtual instruments. Fortunately hard drives are cheap. A little more than one hundred dollars should get you two fair sized hard drives. At least two 500GB drives.
  6. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Moderator Resource Member

    Mar 20, 2008
    currently Billings
    I can be bought to fix and tweak computers but travel expenses and good 25 yo Scotch might be a bit pricey. Plus you have no location in your profile.

    Better to look at multiple internal hard drives as has been suggested first. Each needs to be on it's own SATA/serial cable; and no daisy chained serial cables.
  7. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Munich / Germany
    Home Page:
    A second drive is almost a necessity and a safe, wise thing to have, too.
    But is a HDD bottleneck related to an ASIO problem?
    I mean, I ran SATA drives and they give me plenty throughput for more than 100 tracks.
    In my opinion this problem is not HDD related, rather an interfaceing problem.

    SATA do they have daisy chains, at all? With PATA. ..Pre-SATA we all worked with parallel cables and it still worked ok, albeit a bit more limited.
    His PC will probably not be connected with PATA, anymore.
  8. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Moderator Resource Member

    Mar 20, 2008
    currently Billings
    Yes. The hangup is because Cubase is trying to record audio to the hard drive and access the VSTi instruments library at the same time. Also, I'll bet his buffer needs to be cranked up. The OP should start with a buffer about 1024 and work down to the lowest setting without glitches. Starting out too low to begin with is highly counterproductive. VSTi's (instruments not fx) almost require a secondary hard drive, much more so than simply laying in tracks.
  9. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Nov 23, 2008
    Rainy Roads WA USA
    For starters...Merry Xmas...I totally understand how overwhelming this can be...
    So I'm going to suggest you first take a deep breath, calm down, don't feel angry, don't feel stupid or throw it all in the garage and stop playing music, it's just a machine!

    First of all....this will take some time, all day in fact so you need to set aside quiet time away from distractions to focus and pay attention to the computer...even if you don't understand everything that's going on...it's a step by step process that can't be rushed....it will be worth the effort!

    Once it's done and working perfectly you shouldn't ever have to f...k with it again and just do updates, make recordings and enjoy it!
    There will be times when you can take breaks so don't worry about that...coffee (and for me a cig break) is your friend! (and I'm not suggesting you take up smoking)!!

    Power up your computer and uninstall and remove everything you've installed!
    You have obviously gotten some program or driver installed improperly and you will never figure out which one that is so this is the first very important thing to do!

    HP computers have a thousand built in programs and junk on them that are not needed and robs speed and power. Remove as much as it will let you!

    In fact if you've been using this for your regular computer or it's a brand new Xmas present, remove everything you don't use or need. Bare minimum. It might even be worth re-installing the HP Windows OS and do a clean install without any of the extra HP programs and extra crap at all....
    Next thing is too streamline and "tweak" your computer and operating system.
    There is a thread or sticky here on how to do that!
    Make sure you have a minimum of USB connections.
    Cubase USB key, Mbox cable and a secondary external drive (if you have one) would be a good start.

    If you don't do the OS tweaks at least run the defrag program on your 1Tb hardrive after removing all that junk.
    That will take a little bit of time but well worth it at this stage....have some more coffee take a break.
    After it's done shut the computer off completely and turn it back on to re-boot. NO RESTARTS! Cold boots only...completely shut off and completely turned back on...most people think a restart is correct....it is never correct when changing parameters software or settings on a computer!...NEVER...trust me...even I've been caught on restarts and finding out something still doesn't work! Always get in the habit of cold boots when doing anything new or added to a computer...it saves a lot of time and frustrations.
    You'll probably find out now that your computer is pretty fast.....this machine is CLEAN!!

    Now start with installing only the drivers for your Mbox hardware. Make sure it installs without any glitches or error messages, if it does...stop!....uninstall and try it again.
    After you get a correct, no error message install....shut your computer down completely OFF! wait a few seconds and start it back up! Go into the Control Panel, System, Hardware and make sure there are no yellow flags or errors in any of your system components if there are you need to fix these first by downloading updated drivers or re-installing them. Once you have a hardware profile with no errors you can move on...

    Next install Cubase. Be very careful and read and understand everything it asks you to do when installing this software!
    Make sure you know where it's putting all of the files....as in which directories.
    Always use the default suggestions of Cubase to your C drive....write down the location of the VST folder so you know where that path is.
    Reboot the computer again and check and make sure those two things play nice.
    Cubase requires a lot of setting and preferences to be created by you before it will work properly with you Mbox.
    Cubase doesn't automatically know you're using an Mbox so it's up to you to read the manuals and make sure all the steps in setup in the Windows control panel "sound devices" and within Cubase are correct.
    Once you can record sound from the Mbox interface onto a track and play it back without any pops or clicks with those two programs your half way there!
    You should eat something now and relax before moving on!
    If those two components don't work perfectly together, don't go any further you need to troubleshoot that portion of the recording setup and interface first before moving on!

    OK...install your Wavelab. Check and make sure it works properly with Cubase and the Mbox. Don't install anything else until this is also perfect. If it has problems uninstall it and troubleshoot.
    Install your Finale. Check and make sure it works with everything. Don't install anything else until this is also perfect. If it has problems uninstall it and troubleshoot.
    If there are any glitches or problems with any of these programs figure out which one is the culprit...
    Again after every install power you computer down completely and do cold reboots NO RESTARTS.
    You could skip these steps and go directly to the NI stuff if you like...!
    Personally I would install those and make sure they work nicely and then go to the NI stuff.

    So....last and "not least" and of course your biggest problem and nightmare of an install is Komplete!
    Trust me when I tell you this because I have plenty of experience with software in general especially WinOS and don't get me wrong I love my NI and think Native Instruments is cool sounding stuff but it's an absolute installation nightmare...this software is extremely large, extremely complex beyond any large Microsoft application and NI has no idea how to code or utilize proper verified installation packages...they're still trying to improve their install packet but it's still a nightmare....it's not very user friendly...it's getting better...most of the time it lacks proper file movement verification before moving on to the next module... even there online updates are cumbersome and flawed. (but I digress).
    What I can tell you is NI stuff HAS to be run in standalone mode first before trying to use them as VST instruments in Cubase.
    So if you get NI fully installed the first thing is to launch each module one at a time without Cubase. (use just a MIDI keyboard or guitar in GuitarRig). Make sure you go to options in the preference's pull down in each module and set the MIDI and Audio options for your Mbox.
    The NI VST .dll files you will be using in Cubase as plugins HAVE to all be in the same place. "CubaseVST folder".
    Once you do this the first time Cubase and NI will default to that folder forever so make sure it is the only place you use.

    Finally close everything and start up Cubase, you will see that it will scan and "register" all of your sound files and audio programs. This takes some time to complete.
    Cubase is notorious for not telling you if it's done scanning!
    "Media Bay" in Cubase should be opened and allow it to also scan your computer drive for all of the sound files and libraries (do a full scan). This will also take a lot of time!

    Start a new default Cubase project and set the preferences in Cubase to the Mbox ASIO drivers should appear in the default system setting pulldown box, if not select the MBOX notappear and the inputs and outputs of all the Mbox channels are assigned in "VST System" and "VST Connections".
    Create a template on your own after you successfully get tracks running and playing back.

    I'm not going to try and fool you on this but.....
    This all takes an enormous amount of time and patience!
    It's not something you can just setup in an hour or two....seriously!
    It can easily take an entire focused day to get all of this software you have there setup correctly and working flawlessly! Anything less there will be errors and problems!

    But once you do...it will work properly and flawlessly every time you start it up.
    If you have to do updates, make sure those work properly before moving on to the next step....if they create errors or issues uninstall them and re-install until they install without a hitch or glitch...
    Never just skip something thinking it's no big deal....they will always be a big deal! Somewhere down the road.
    All of this software has been designed to install and execute with everything correctly in place....the only options you have are users options that can be skipped or changed....make sure you understand the options before skipping them or changing them.
    Above all....don't get discouraged or frustrated....just take your time and walk away if you have to for a spell if it gets too overwhelming....come back fresh and try again.....take breaks after successful steps and read up on topics or messages you didn't understand in the manuals or online.
    If you do this it will take a day or two out of your life.
    But it will seem worth it when it all works as designed.
  10. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    Mar 6, 2010
    Standing right behind you!
    "It can easily take an entire focused day..."

    Yes! I usually just mentally block off an entire day and don't plan on making any real music other than "Check 1, 2"!

    Don't stress yourself on that day. Get up early, eat breakfast, and go to work. Do clean installs and uninstall all the crapware. Cold boots only. Patience.
  11. Confused

    Confused Active Member

    Dec 26, 2010
    So far, so good...bad ASIO driver?

    First, thank you to everybody who responded with their suggestions. I didn't want to sound like a grouch, but I was definitely getting annoyed with that system when it was hanging up like that. I didn't junk it or kick it around the room - I just turned it off and went to bed, determined to take a break and start at it fresh (after doing some needed plumbing repairs around the house first!). I definitely feel better now and just want to get it set up right and optimized to make music. There are a lot of people out there using systems like this successfully, so I know I can do it, too.

    I have spent some time today getting my system straightened out, and so far, what I found is that it seemed to be a bad ASIO driver for the M-Audio interface. I got the current one downloaded and installed it, then selected it as the proper driver for Cubase. I also set up the buffers from 256 to 1028, and don't notice any slowdown in response yet. I don't plan to go higher, but I sense that things are more stable. The VSTIs all seem to be playing, but there appears to be a bit of clipping, and I think that's just more to keeping my output level too high. If I pull it back, that seems to help.

    There are some hanging MIDI notes, and I'm not sure how to cure that yet. I know the Cubase manual says to hook up MIDI like this: OUT from keyboard to IN on Mbox, OUT of Mbox to IN on keyboard, THRU to JV-2080. When I hook it up like this, it doesn't work right. I had to change it to: OUT from keyboard to IN on Mbox, OUT on Mbox to IN on JV-2080. With it like this, it works, but I get hangs. I suspect that the keyboard isn't receiving note-off messages back, so I'm thinking of taking the OUT from the JV-2080 to the IN on the keyboard. Maybe that'll send back note-offs, but maybe it'll end up echoing back, too. I'll have to try that first and see what happens.

    Finally, I have received suggestions of using two hard drives. I have a second SATA hard drive I can pop into my system, but it's from my previous computer, and it's got WinXP on it. I have to find out a way to wipe that out first so I don't get dueling OSes. After that, which goes to which drive? I know I'll leave Win7 on the main (C:) drive, but I am not sure what to load to where. I think I need to put the apps on the main drive (and I can probably keep the audio and project files there, too), but which VSTIs go to the second drive? All the Komplete apps, or just the sound libraries (the ones that come on 9 discs)? The Cubase VST plugins? I have to get this right next.
  12. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Moderator Resource Member

    Mar 20, 2008
    currently Billings
    Just throw the spare SATA drive in the computer on it's own cable. This will be the destination drive for your recording projects.

    To clear the data on it (if that is your desire), simply select Win7 the first time you boot it up. Then go to Control Panel. Click System & Security. Click Administrative Tools. Double click Computer Management. On the left, click Disk Management. The secondary disk will show up likely as Disk 1. Disk 0 will be the active Win7 hard drive. Right click on the drive your are 100% sure is the spare drive and select Delete Volume. Do this for every partition on this spare disk. Do nothing to the Win7 original drive (again should be disk 0). Now on the spare disk right click and create new volume. Use the maximum amount allowed. Format this partition and make it active. Done. Close out of everything and when you go into Cubase begin by saving your new project to the new audio drive.

    All programs run on the OS drive. If you had a third drive you could move your VSTi libraries there but if not then leave it on the main drive. The spare will again be for destination audio only. If ultimately you go for a third drive, you may have to purchase a SATA PCI/PCIe card. Not all motherboards have more than two SATA headers. Some of the new ones have four or six so you just have to look first.

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