random drops while recording

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by thecatalyst, Sep 8, 2009.

  1. thecatalyst

    thecatalyst Guest


    I'm new here so go easy on me if this isn't the correct forum for this kind of post. I've been trying to get my microphone to properly work on my computer, but I've always had a lot of trouble with it. Before, it used to record fine, but the playback would be distorted no matter what program I used. I would have to export the recorded audio as a .wav or .mp3 file in order to properly listen to it. This meant that it was recording fine, but something was wrong with the playback. Now, I get random drops everytime I try to record.

    I use a Tascam US-122 midi interface, and if I listen to the recording through the mic port in the interface, the playback is fine. I have a Creative Audigy in my computer, and if I switch the playback to that, the sound is extremely distorted. I have to convert it to a .mp3 or .wav in order to hear it clearly. The audio still has skips though.

    So I have two questions:

    1) How do I fix the random skips/drops in my recording? I messed around with the buffer settings in Ableton, but I couldn't get rid of the skips. I assume the problem is with the interface interacting with the computer, but I don't know what to do. :\

    2) Is there any way to have my audio record through the interface, but playback through my internal sound card? I have my sound card connected to my speakers, and I'd much rather use those than constantly listen to my headphones through my interface.

    I use Reason to produce, and I have the playback through my speakers, and it works just fine. It's just this MIDI interface that is causing me problems. I've exhausted myself trying to fix it, and I really have no clue what I'm doing. I even had my friend come over, and he said the interface worked perfectly fine on his Mac. I've tried installing and reinstalling the drivers, but nothing seems to work.


    My computer specs:
    Intel Q6600
    4GB Ram
    Windows XP 32Bit
    Tascam US-122 Midi interface connected through USB
  2. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    Ideally you want the playback to be handled by the Tascam....into a pair of real studio monitors (we'll pressure you into those later on) but for now, the speakers will do.
    You're going to suffer latency by monitoring through the computer, although the volume issue is perplexing. Someone who knows Reason inside out might have some insights.

    With dropouts, you want to reduce the number of running programs while recording. Disconnect from the internet, then disable antivirus, firewall, etc.

    Oh, and I'll bet a post-it note that you're recording to the same hard disk as the OS is on?
  3. thecatalyst

    thecatalyst Guest

    I'm sorry if I confused you. I'm using Reason to produce instrumentals and I have it wired through Ableton. Ableton is what I'm using to record the vocals, and it's here that I'm experiencing the skips.

    I have my temporary folder for Ableton on a separate drive from my OS, and I really can't understand why I would have to disable a bunch of programs with the computer that I have. I do remember recording with this setup a while back, with no skips at all, but now it's skipping/dropping like crazy.
  4. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    Aug 28, 2008
    Cincinnati, OH
    Home Page:
    Any running program is going to demand attention from your computer - and you want your computer to have its undivided attention on recording.
    Network/internet apps are particularly bad.
    Shut down any running programs you can, and disable the network card while recording.

    That MAY not be the solution to your problem, but it's something you should be doing anyways.
  5. apstrong

    apstrong Active Member

    Feb 13, 2009
    When was the last time you reinstalled windows? If this is the same PC you use for surfing the web, downloading stuff, installing other (non-audio related) software, etc., it's just a sad fact of life that Windows gets cluttered and clunky over time, in my experience. If it is the same machine, you could just be experiencing the wear and tear of daily computer use. Personally, I reinstall WinXP about once a year from scratch (wiped hard drive), because I abuse my computer on a regular basis and it becomes basically unusable if I let it go any longer than that.

    As a less radical solution, you can try a system restore to a restore point set back in the day when your machine was recording without dropouts. If that fixes it, then you have to puzzle over what changed and make sure it doesn't change again (automatic updates from MS? installed/uninstalled a bunch of new software?).
  6. thecatalyst

    thecatalyst Guest

    I reformatted half a year ago, so it should still be fine. I was thinking it could be the USB port, but I've tried it in several different ones. I had a quad core with 4GB of ram, whereas my friend has a mediocre Mac so I'm thinking it's more of a driver issue or something. I bought the midi interface off of that same friend, and I've been dying to use it, but I can't because of the random drops. :\
  7. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    It's not so much a question of hardware but Windows ability to manage that hardware and the massive amount of software demanding it. You ever tried juggling, while unicycling? That's what happens to the kernel when you stream audio data amid network/internet traffic (which is accentuated by anti-virus/firewalls).

    Run this and see if anything comes out yellow or red.
    Wonky drivers and any hogs or bottlenecks will cause a red spike here and there.

    This said, I have a quad core, 4GB of ram and am running Windows 7. I can record through the onboard soundcard with no dropouts, even onto the OS drive. It IS possible, but not scalable enough to work with any more than 2 tracks.
    Disabling the network adapter and AV/FW are also good ways of removing distractions.
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