• SONAR
  • Setting buffer size on sound card and SONAR
2009/05/03 22:12:56
nollies1
Symptoms:
Using ASIO driver. Recording single track sounds ok, minimal popping sounds. Recording six at once = horrible drops and such with an occasional crash

Current settings:
A) Sound Card (Project Mix I/O): Sample rate 44100 Hz; ASIO/WDM buffer size 128 samples
B) SONAR Audio Options:
-General tab: 2.9 msec; 128 samples. ASIO In and out 5.4 msec and 236 samples, roundtrip 10.7 msec, 472 samples
-Advanced tab: Playback I/O 128 KB and record I/O 128 KB; Use ASIO reprted latency (236) is checked

As I am trying to learn what the relationship is between each of these settings, I did a few things here and there, only to make the drops worse. I next tried to determine what parameters change when you input a value in one of these.

Given:
1= ASIO/WDM buffer size on sound card
2= Buffer size in Audio options -> General tab
3= ASIO Input and Output (and total roundtrip) reported latencies, also general tab
4= Advanced tab; Playback I/O and Record I/O
5= Checkbox for "use ASIO reported latency"

Expt. A
Increase 1 from 128 to 384
Result: 2 doubles; 3 doubles; 4 stays the same; 5 doubles

Expt. B
set 1 back to 128; Increase 4 from 128 to 384
Result: All stay the same

So, To me it seems logical to simply match the setting in "4" with everything else. But, doing so at four different latencies attempted (128, 256, 384, 512) does not remove the drops.

I'm pretty sure I even matched "4" with the values in "total roundtrip" rather than only In or Out. Your thoughts on troubleshooting would be very much appreciated. I will answer any questions as best I can.
2009/05/03 22:49:44
DW_Mike
Try setting your Playback and Record Buffers (#4 as per your post) to 256.
Of course you will still have to adjust the latency settings in your soundcard or under the general tab in Sonar. Start with the soundcard set to 128 then increase the latency until you get the result you want. If that doesn't work, raise the Record and Playback Buffers to 512 and lather, rinse, repeat. It will take a little trial and error but eventually you will find what works. 512 seems to be the most stable for me on my set up.

Then as you add more tracks and or effects you will have to adjust the latency again.

Mike
2009/05/03 23:31:00
SongCraft
Not sure what version of SONAR you have. If you change the buffers you need to 'Re-Profile' run the Wave Profile and reboot. By not doing this could be the reason why you're getting drop outs and risk get 'argument error' (crash). Also make double sure you have the latest driver for your audio interface.

When I'm using Softsynths I can set the buffers down really low to 64 and get really good results (low latency) for tracking/recording, but when mixing with tons of effects, mastering suites piled on I up the buffers to 128 and raise the latency because at that point of the project latency isn't so much a concern. That said... all systems are different and requires different settings, you may need to set your buffers higher (128 to 256) should do it. You can usually tell if you have a good setting, the disk meter shouldn't exceed 50% and the CPU should stay below 50, on my setup it's 15% cpu and 35% disk, if I up the buffers more I can reduce those levels but latency will increase.
2009/05/04 03:26:43
Kalle Rantaaho

ORIGINAL: SongCraft
Not sure what version of SONAR you have. If you change the buffers you need to 'Re-Profile' run the Wave Profile and reboot.


IIRC you can't use Wave Profiler with ASIO.
2009/05/04 11:18:01
bitflipper
There is, I think, no direct relationship between the record and playback I/O buffers and the ASIO/WDM buffers. At least, it isn't necessary to correlate them. If there were a direct correlation, CW would not have exposed the I/O buffers as a separate parameter.

As you observed, increasing the ASIO buffer size increases latency. That's the fundamental tradeoff: the bigger buffer gives the CPU more time to process data between buffer cycles and eliminates pops/clicks, but at the cost of increased latency. These buffers are between the computer and the audio interface.

I/O buffers, by contrast, sit between the application and the Windows file system. ("I/O" does not refer to audio I/O, but rather disk I/O.) They have an entirely different purpose than the ASIO or WDM buffers. They also do not affect latency - only the efficiency with which data is written to and read from the disk drive.

Although they do not affect latency, I/O buffer size can have an impact on pops and clicks. If they're too small, the process of saving and reading data on disk becomes inefficient, increasing CPU usage and possibly exacerbating dropouts.

If you are not recording with soft synths or software DSP effects, leave the ASIO buffer at a high setting, since minimal latency is only important when you need to hear sound processed by the computer while tracking. 256, 384 or 512 work fine for most people, although the ideal setting may require some experimentation.
2009/05/04 12:54:16
nollies1

ORIGINAL: chefmike8888

512 seems to be the most stable for me on my set up.



thanks mike... was 512 set on your sound card or are you referring to the rec/playback buffer settings in SONAR? Also, has anyone noticed a 'general rule' even if they can't really be correlated? For instance, do you always want 2x more I/O buffer than what you have set on your card? stuff like that? Or lol am I thinking about this stuff too simple-mindedly?
2009/05/04 12:58:18
nollies1

ORIGINAL: SongCraft

You can usually tell if you have a good setting, the disk meter shouldn't exceed 50% and the CPU should stay below 50, on my setup it's 15% cpu and 35% disk, if I up the buffers more I can reduce those levels but latency will increase.


Thx SC... are you referring to the task manager? or a tab somewhere in sonar? just tryin to learn thanks
2009/05/04 13:02:49
SongCraft
Displayed in Sonar.

btw, I noticed you updated your sig! You're using S8.PE, have you installed the latest update for it? ;)
2009/05/04 13:06:12
nollies1

ORIGINAL: bitflipper

If you are not recording with soft synths or software DSP effects, leave the ASIO buffer at a high setting, since minimal latency is only important when you need to hear sound processed by the computer while tracking. 256, 384 or 512 work fine for most people, although the ideal setting may require some experimentation.


excellent, thanks for the explanation.

well... i technically (for what we're doing right now) can get by without soft synths or DSP effects, but in principle i'd like to delve there at some point... e.g. thought it would be fun to try messing with guitar rig 3 and such in a 'live' session. but that will be down the road i assume. for now, just trying to get past this hiccup.

if you check out the specs in my sig, although it's not lightning speed, I've talked to a few buddies in the area, and they were quite surprized that it hangs up the way it does however. would you agree? thanks
2009/05/04 13:08:28
nollies1
yes, thanks for asking tho... in fact... that's a separate issue altogether; my guitar rig claims I do not have a licence to it anymore... but crashes everytime I try to 'register'... still working on that one.
ORIGINAL: SongCraft

Displayed in Sonar.

btw, I noticed you updated your sig! You're using S8.PE, have you installed the latest update for it? ;)

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