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  • Sat, Mar 26 2016 3:42 PM

    • smurf211
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    PT 12.4 with Focusrite 18i20 USB, Eleven Rack config notes

    I’ve managed to solve these problems.  Here’s the write up:

    Pro Tools 12.4, 18i20 USB with ADAT to ADA8200, Eleven Rack, Ilok, USB headphones.  i5, 32Gb memory, GT740 NVidia graphics adapter, two SSDs, for OS, sessions, and one 1Tb WD Black for storage.

     Although this is in ref to a Focusrite USB product I would imagine it would be applicable to any USB audio interface.

     Here’s a list of steps that I took to get PT 12.4 working with the 18i20.  It took a while and some steps may be redundant but as of this writing my system is working well with no latency or Mix Control drop outs. Keep in mind this effort took about a total of 3 weeks.

     My original config was as stated but running 10.3.8 32bit. I updated/upgraded? to PT 12.4 which resulted in the following endeavor.

     If moving from a 32-bit PT install to a 64-bit version, I recommend cleansing your system of all remnants of the previous PT instance.  I was experiencing blue screens sourced from dll conflicts. You may want to do a fresh install on a new SSD and retain your old config / drive. This way you can boot to that drive if desired or necessary to retain or transfer sessions. Funding dependent.

     An uninstaller will help but you still need to go in manually and do a search for anything related and delete.

     I chose the former option unintentionally. If you decide to stay with your current drive, uninstall everything 32-bit Avid, Digidesign etc. Also move all of your download folders and files related to PT to your session or storage drive. 

     I used a cleaner (CC) and a defrag(SD) to clear the residual files and registry entries.  Not affiliated, no sales pitch. There are others.

     I left the Pace (Ilok) folder, there was an update for the Pace App after I got further into the install. Be expecting this.

     I installed the following programs:

     PT12.4, Air Effect, Air Instruments, App Mgr., License support for Ilok, 11R editor, 11R Mk II, Xpand II. After restarting a few times, I installed the 11R 12.1 Win which resulted in 1.0.11 driver to be installed. It worked, but somewhere I ended up with the 1.0.10 driver. Not sure where in the sequence of events this happened.

     I was having trouble with the Scarlett Mix Control in reference to drop outs so I went to the Beta site and tried a few of their drivers. My firmware version was not updating and my Mix Control was dropping out after a few seconds.

     I requested some assistance from FR on their Facebook page and received an email with instructions to open a case. Don’t send an email to the driver support team, you will get no response.

     I opened a case with FR and was given a few tips and some fresh drivers to try. They advised that all previous drivers have to be removed to reduce or eliminate conflict.

     An edited version of FR’s response is referenced for driver removal and a few other steps:

    *******************************************************************************

                      First, as I see you have gone through all the available drivers I want to remove them all, as having multiple versions of our 2.x and 3.x drivers in the Windows Driver store can lead to conflicts and issues.

     1) With the Scarlett connected please open the Control Panel > System > Device Manager. Locate the Scarlett under Sound, Video and Game Controllers section.

     2) Right click the Scarlett and choose Uninstall. Make sure to check the box to remove software for the device.

     3) You will see the unit disappear from the list. Unplug the unit and plug it back in. It should reappear in the list.

     4) Repeat steps 2 and 3 until the Scarlett appears with a yellow exclamation mark, and/or the properties says Code 10. The Properties > Driver tab will likely say a Microsoft driver is in use. This means all the drivers are removed.

     5) Next go to Control Panel > Uninstall a Program. Uninstall any Focusrite USB Audio Driver, Scarlett Family Audio Drivers or Scarlett MixControl you find here.

     6) All Focusrite drivers are now removed. Please reinstall the latest MixControl software and/or driver for the unit.

     http://beta.focusrite.com/releases/scarlett_mixcontrol/

    http://beta.focusrite.com/releases/focusrite_usb2_drivers/

     Go to your computer or motherboard manufacturer website and perform any and all updates such as BIOS, Chipsets, USB Controllers, Network Adapters, Video Cards, etc. These simple updates often solve odd issues such as this.

     If you have a motherboard with any Intel parts on it, you may also want to run the Automatic Driver Update from Intel. Sometimes I see situations where the computer manufacturer may not have all the latest drivers for each individual part listed. Often Intel has even newer drivers for many parts in your computer that can solve audio problems.

    https://downloadcenter.intel.com/

     If the drop out issues continue after the above steps I want to run some diagnostics.

     Based on what you describe I wonder if this is a problem with high DPC Latency in the computer. DPC is the system Windows uses to assign priority to each driver in the system. Sometimes if one piece of hardware is taking too long to do its job it can prevent another driver, such as the one for your Audio Interface, from getting a chance. This can lead to glitchy audio, or in some extreme cases full disconnects.

     I would like to gather some diagnostic reports to see if this is the issue and what we can do to solve it.

     Can you download this program, Latency Mon, and run it while playing back audio at the same time, making sure to actually replicate the drop out or disconnect problem?

     http://www.resplendence.com/latencymon 

     After replication click Edit > Copy report to clipboard. Paste this into a Notepad and save it. Send that in your reply.

     Please also go to the Drivers Tab, sort by Highest Execution, with the highest on top, and send a Screenshot of that page. http://www.wikihow.com/Take-a-Screenshot-in-Microsoft-Windows

     Also go to the Processes Tab, sort by Hard Page faults, with the highest on top, and send a Screenshot of that page.

     Could you send a copy of your system information as an nfo file with your reply to this e-mail please? To obtain this file, navigate to:

     Start Menu > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Information > File > Save...

     ******************************************************************

    I went through this check list and forwarded the requested files to FR.  They responded with a few things to try but the more I worked with the Latency Monitor program and services edit function from DarkViper the more comfortable I became as symptoms started to improve.

     I ended up removing drivers 322.2.2 -292,285, and 261.

     I also went to regedit, run as admin, and searched on Focusrite and Scarlett and purged all entries related.  Even found an instance of my previous 8i6 that I used before this. Use caution here. Regedit can hurt you.  Export and save before editing and as a recovery mechanism. If you don’t feel comfortable, leave it alone.

    The most recent driver was installed, Scarlett MixControl-1.9b12.exe. This resulted in 3.2.2.292.tdl being installed with 1.9b12 which also updated my firmware.

    I had a problem with the firmware update initially so I tried different ports on my motherboard as recommended by FR. Different USB ports are attached to different architecture channels on your motherboard.  There may be two or three groups depending on your OEM.  Take a look at your MB and study the layout and you should be able to make a determination which ports are grouped together. The firmware update succeeded and went from 634 to 1056 and stabilized.

    Other notes:

    I have set my F/R 18i20 to master clock with the 11R as slave via SPDIF, left the buffers at 256 on 11R and balanced on FR18.

    I de-selected the FR18 as default sound device in Windows sound settings opting for a USB headset.

    PT App manager updated to 2.5.2, more stable, all plugins updated.

    Installed Thrasher 12 to clear preferences. Be careful with this.  You might want to save your prefs first before clearing them. I ended up putting a shortcut -> C:\Users\userid\AppData\Roaming\avid\PTools or similar, you’ll see it, on my desktop so I could go to it and delete the Protools entries.  Make sure you empty the recycle bin and then reboot.  Eventually once things stabilize you will not have to do this.

    Do a search on trash preferences in Pro tools and you will find a couple of links that go into more detail.

     Bios settings:

    I performed the following on my MSI M/B bios:

     Disabled the following options: HPET, on-board HD audio, Onboard LAN controller (as I have Wi-Fi usb), and EUP 2013. Some of these are power mgmt. related.

    Ensure all mother board drivers are updated from the OEM web site as well as any intel drivers from the Intel web site. I was using a driver updater but decided to go to the web sites directly to check for latest updates.

    Also there is a USB 3 Mon driver that is more current than the M/S usb driver set that comes with Win 7.  Go to the Intel site and search on usb and pick your OS and evaluate. This may or may not be applicable.  Give it a try if you are still having problems.

    I then started the DPC evaluation. Refer to the links below.  The second link is referenced in the first at the bottom of that page. I just separated it so I wouldn’t have to go hunting for it.

    https://support.focusrite.com/hc/en-gb/articles/207359245-Optimising-your-PC-for-audio-on-Windows-7

     http://www.blackviper.com/service-configurations/black-vipers-windows-7-service-pack-1-service-configurations/

     I went through and set all of the Black Viper settings.  It became apparent that we were disabling features that were not necessary that were utilizing CPU time / cycles, which is the key concept.  USB can get busy as well as other services and programs that can also tax the system resulting in instability. If we reduce the amount of multiple sources of pressure placed on the CPU then things start to improve dramatically.

     I left the WAN setting, 4th from the bottom (?), (sorry, I am not in my studio at the moment) and also the network and DHCP services so I could get on the internet.

     I should state that I have a i5 with 32Gb of memory (second 16 was on sale).  I am a senior network engineer and have been working on routers and switches for over 20 years. Regardless of what anyone says I have never seen too much memory in any device. I had two empty slots so I filled them for ~ $70. .2 cents.      Another note: Check your memory capability here.  I ran a CPU Id utility and compared the settings with the dram ratings.  I’m not an over clocker but I did set the xpm settings to optimal SPD specs.  I saw another improvement. On one of my machines I moved from 1333 to 1600 the other from 1333 to 1866.

     After running Latency Monitor I started evaluating the Hard Page faults, DPCs and IRCs.  The two main processes that were showing latency were DirectX and NVidia card. I zeroed in on the graphics adapter.  I went through the configuration on the NVidia control panel and ensured that everything was set to the GPU (Graphics processor unit) that could be, no auto, no system, or cpu. This helped a lot. I didn’t see much I could do with DirectX.

     I also removed my HD audio bus driver as it was reporting ISRs and also enabled the dual monitor setting in BIOS to see if that would help with my dual 24” monitor setup.  Note: Discovered the dual monitor setting in my Bios related to integrated graphics. I have a dedicated card so I returned to disabled state.

     I then disabled my network adapter to stop internet activity.  I then shut down my firewall.  If you are on the internet there are activities, services, packet flow taking place in the back ground.  Packets transiting the firewall are inspected inbound and outbound.  Turning these services off reduces cpu stress even further.

     I now have a clean latency monitor report with low to almost no latency.  See insert below.  I let this run for an hour and everything worked properly. My Mix Control is stable and pro tools launches with no problems with my sessions.

     

     

    I must admit that the screen transition has improved, pro tools opens up rapidly, performance is obvious and readily apparent.

     Note: When you start an intensive process you will see a latency spike related to the program or service that started.  This is normal.  Evaluate Latency in a static state to establish a baseline. I plan on keeping this running in the background for a while so I can see what accumulates during my sessions.  There are some other interesting tools on the Resplendence web site you might want to check out as well.  http://www.resplendence.com

     I turn on my firewall and Wi-Fi only when I need to check for updates or download drivers. Then I disable both, Wi-Fi first.  Always have you firewall on when the network adapter is enabled, reminder.

     Study the DPC and IRT columns and go into services and disable anything you noticed that you know you are not using.  E.g. Smart Raid? I’m not running RAID so I disabled it, reboot, test, evaluate, document.

     Again, the less unnecessary services and programs installed and running, the more processor time devoted to Pro Tools. Multiple processes and programs running simultaneously will stress your system and make audio support suffer.

     I opened up a session, created from a Rock template, added in my two mics on my 5150 into a 2x12 under a coffin iso-box I built, SPDIF from the 11r which is one of my wet / effects through the PA on the outside, I alos have the main (XLR) outs set to rig output for another wet source, 11R amp out L/R which is Amp out dry – inside. ADAT ¾ in for my Xm, ADAT 5/6 for CD player, 7/8 for my Trio which I am evaluating. I have an ADA8200 for 8 more channels running over the light pipe from the FR18 set to slave. I’m running 24 bit 41k for now.

     I use one set of PA cabs and amp for my 11r wet L/R main xlr, with the also the option of 5150 as a dry inside also but also have the TC Nova system on the pedal board for that system, which is pretty nice.  The mics are an SM57 and an SN- E609 in front of two Celestion 70th Annie Vintage 30’s.  I imagine if I went out to a gig I could take the 11R with the 8008 or the 5150 with pedal board.  Both if it was a big time gig that was going to be recorded. Might consider a roadie at that point.

     I also have recently implemented an experiment with a blue tooth transmitter TaoTronics BT Xmitter to AYL BT  wireless ear buds from the 1st phone jack on the FR and am impressed with the quality of sound. If you don’t want to rock the house, these are great for jamming and practicing. You get everything from the mixer with no cables dangling from your headphones.  About $45 total, poor man’s Sennheiser Ear Bud setup.  There’s better buds out there and other BT Transmitters so do your research. I fiured if it didn’t work out I’d use it for the gym or work when studying.

     In reference to the Latency Monitor, start the program and watch the Drivers tab, specifically ISR and DPC count.

     From Wiki:

    In computer systems programming, an interrupt handler, also known as an interrupt service routine or ISR, is a callback function in microcontroller firmware, an operating system or a device driver, whose execution is triggered by the reception of an interrupt. In general, interrupts and their handlers are used to handle high-priority conditions that require the interruption of the current code the processor is executing.[1][2]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interrupt_handler

     A Deferred Procedure Call (DPC) is a Microsoft Windows operating system mechanism which allows high-priority tasks (e.g. an interrupt handler) to defer required but lower-priority tasks for later execution. This permits device drivers and other low-level event consumers to perform the high-priority part of their processing quickly, and schedule non-critical additional processing for execution at a lower priority.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deferred_Procedure_Call

     I found that DPCs associated with a high count of ISRs are the problem areas.  Also when you look at the drive list see what services are accumulating ISRs, if you know you are not using that service go into the services section of your admin tools and disable them.  Keep a notepad of what you are disabling, reboot, test, evaluate, document. 

     Also watch you Hard Page faults on the processes tab.  If a process is HPF excessive, you may want to consider disabling that service/program. Document, reboot, test and evaluate. I mainly focused on the ISR and DPC counts though.

     Eventually you will a have cleaner system that is under much less stress.

      I want to thank FR for the driver info and other steps. I bounced around on this and have proof read a few times. Take what you can. Add some ideas to be positive. One thing I’m looking at is bumping up to a i7.  Evaluating cost. 

    Note: I did a comparison of my current i5 with an LGA 1155 socket i7 upgrade and couldn’t really justify the cost compared to the reported performance increase.  Actually the i5 listed was reported to handle memory more effectively.  Maybe because of no GPU on the chip.

     Here’s one of the links: Socket 1155 i5 to i7 upgrade comparison

     I’ll try to assist if requested but please read through this and familiarize yourself first.  

     

     

     

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  • Sat, Mar 26 2016 4:19 PM In reply to

    • RalphC
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    Re: PT 12.4 with Focusrite 18i20 USB, Eleven Rack config notes

    Hello smurf211,

      This is the Video Pro Community. You should post this to the Audio Forums link here.

     

     

     

    Regards,

    Ralph

    MacBook Pro 15 2018 Intel Core i7 2.6GHz Mac 10.13.6 Intel UHD 630. [view my complete system specs]
  • Sat, Mar 26 2016 7:37 PM In reply to

    • smurf211
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    • Joined on Sun, Feb 14 2016
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    • Points 20

    Re: PT 12.4 with Focusrite 18i20 USB, Eleven Rack config notes

    I re-posted over in the Pro audio section under Firewire USB audio interface Win section.

     

    I'll try to delete this post here but not sure if I can.

     

    rgrds,

     

    Steve

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