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  #1  
Old 01-21-2012, 02:32 PM
David Ziegler David Ziegler is offline
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Default Massive "Buffer Underflow" Errors with Mbox Pro 3rd Gen on MacPro

Hello everybody,

Some days ago I switched from my old Mbox 2 (USB) to Mbox Pro 3rd gen (Firewire). Ever since this move I have massive problems with the "Buffer Underflow" error.


Here is my current Setup:

My Mbox Pro has its own Firewire Port on my Mac Pro (so it doesn´t "share" this bus with any other device). The Audio is on an external Firewire-Harddisk that is connected to a (different) FW-Port. There are no other FW-Devices connected to the Computer.
Now I open a Session, that contains Audio Files which are stored on that FW-Dirve. As soon as I try to play back ANY Audio from that Drive through the Mbox Pro I´ll get the following error almost imediateley:

Quote:
The audio device buffer underflowed. If this occurs
frequently try decreasing the H/W Buffer Size in the playback engine panel or
remove other devices from the audio firewire bus. (-6085)
- When I play the same audio through my old USB-Mbox, I get no errors.
- When I copy the whole session to an internal SATA-Drive, I also get NO errors, never.
- But as soon as I try to play audio from my Firewire-Disk through my Firewire-Inteface, I get the error imediately.
- The error even occurs, when I stream sound-files from my sound-archive (which is located on a FW-Drive) through Soundminer via ReWire into ProTools. So in that case the audio isn´t even IN THE SESSION... It just comes from a FW-Drive, streams via ReWire, and I still get the error, as soon as I hit play in ProTools.


Here is, what I tried to do so far:
- I tried a different FireWire Interface (MAudio ProFire 610) -- the exact same error is still there. So it´s no error in the Mbox Pro, it seems to happen with different Firewire Interfaces.
- I tried out different Firewire Dirves (three different drives from three different Manufacturers: Western Digital, Lacie, Avastore). The error is always the same.
- I tried different Buffer Sizes in the Playback engine
- I reset the PRAM on the MacPro
- I use the latest Mbox - Drivers and updated to MacOs 10.6.8 and ProTools 9.0.5. (I was on 10.6.6 and 9.0.2 before, the same error occurs in both versions).
- I resetted all ProTools - Prefs with the "Pro Tools Prefs and Database Helper".
- I tried to Plug the FW-Drive and the Interface into many different combinations of FW-Ports (the MacPro has 4 different Ports to choose from, so there are many possible combinations...).
- I tried to Daisy-chain the Mbox and the FW-Drive

I have no idea, what to do now... Currently I work from internal SATA-Drives only, but I don´t want to do this for the rest of my live...
Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance, David
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  #2  
Old 01-21-2012, 05:17 PM
tomhartman tomhartman is offline
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Default Re: Massive "Buffer Underflow" Errors with Mbox Pro 3rd Gen on MacPro

I have this from time to time with mine. I have to quit and re launch PT or Logic.

Now I've also found that Mbox 3 Pro does not like me using Safari at all, all analog inputs gets static and noise until I restart the Mac if I have Logic or PT open and DARE go on the net (this is on Lion).

Looks like I'm going to be ditching the Mbox soon.
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  #3  
Old 01-22-2012, 03:41 AM
David Ziegler David Ziegler is offline
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Default Re: Massive "Buffer Underflow" Errors with Mbox Pro 3rd Gen on MacPro

Well, the problem ist, I have this error constantly. I can´t playback audio from a FW-Drive for more than 10 seconds without this error popping up...
I´ll try to unplugg my Computer from the Network tomorrow... Probably this will change something...

Does anyone have this error with PT10 also?
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  #4  
Old 01-22-2012, 05:14 AM
Talisker Talisker is offline
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Default Re: Massive "Buffer Underflow" Errors with Mbox Pro 3rd Gen on MacPro

are both devices on Firewire 800?
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  #5  
Old 01-22-2012, 07:55 AM
TimothyJohn TimothyJohn is offline
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Default Re: Massive "Buffer Underflow" Errors with Mbox Pro 3rd Gen on MacPro

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Ziegler View Post
Well, the problem ist, I have this error constantly. I can´t playback audio from a FW-Drive for more than 10 seconds without this error popping up...
I´ll try to unplugg my Computer from the Network tomorrow... Probably this will change something...

Does anyone have this error with PT10 also?
I don't use a Mac Pro, but here's a few things to try. First off, try new firewire cables. I've spent a number of years in professional sound, audio/video, and also helped trouble-shoot cardiac monitoring systems in a CCU for a stretch. There were times when a fault was narrowed down to a brand spankin new, high end fresh out of the box cable. Murphy's Law!! Of course, the last thing you would expect, but it happens.

Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but even though they are separate ports, don't all the Firewire ports share the same bus on a Mac Pro? Try new cables, and put the interface first, then daisy-chain the drive to the interface. I think you'll need a firewire 400-800 cable to connect the interface to the computer, then a 400-400 cable to connect the drive to the interface.

Or, try to find which port comes first on the bus, connect the interface to that, then connect the drive to another.

If it was me, just for troubleshooting, I would open a session to an internal drive, then find a firewire port that works with the mBox, giving no no errors. Plug in audio to all inputs, simultaneously record on as many tracks as possible, ---5 minutes or so. When you find a port/firewire cable combination that works, then go from there. Either daisy-chain the external drive to the interface or connect it to another port as above.

And if none of this works, have someone at the Apple store check the ports themselves. They will troubleshoot for you, even if it's not under warranty.

Good luck!!
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  #6  
Old 01-22-2012, 02:30 PM
David Ziegler David Ziegler is offline
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Default Re: Massive "Buffer Underflow" Errors with Mbox Pro 3rd Gen on MacPro

Hi Timothy!
Thanks for your time an all the suggestions!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TimothyJohn View Post
I don't use a Mac Pro, but here's a few things to try. First off, try new firewire cables.
Unfortunately I already tried different Cables, since every FW-Drive I tested, hab a different cable. As I´ve written above, I tried three different FW-Drives so far.
Also, the Mbox Pro and the ProFire 610 each where tried with different cables. Thats 5 cables total. I think (or hope at least) that should be enough to fight "Murphys law"

Quote:
Originally Posted by TimothyJohn View Post
put the interface first, then daisy-chain the drive to the interface. I think you'll need a firewire 400-800 cable to connect the interface to the computer, then a 400-400 cable to connect the drive to the interface.
As I´ve written above, I´ve already tried Daisy-Chaining the Interface and the Drive. I needed an 800-->400 Cable from the MacPro to the Mbox (MacPro only has FW800 ports), then I needed another 400-->800 Cable, because all my Drives also have FW800 Ports only.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TimothyJohn View Post
If it was me, just for troubleshooting, I would open a session to an internal drive, then find a firewire port that works with the mBox, giving no no errors. Plug in audio to all inputs, simultaneously record on as many tracks as possible, ---5 minutes or so. When you find a port/firewire cable combination that works, then go from there. Either daisy-chain the external drive to the interface or connect it to another port as above.
As I´ve written: I can record and playback to my three internal SATA - drives for as long as I want. But I can´t playback from my FW-Drives through the MBOX Pro for more than 10 Seconds. I found no Port, that works for more than 10 seconds...

Quote:
Originally Posted by TimothyJohn View Post
And if none of this works, have someone at the Apple store check the ports themselves. They will troubleshoot for you, even if it's not under warranty.
Yes, I´m also thinking it could be a harware problem on my Mac Pro. But, do you think, I can bring the Mac Pro to an Apple store, even though the error only comes up with ONE specific software? I guess they´ll send me rigtht back to Avid...
And on the other hand: I worked from the very same FW-Drives / FW-Ports all the time, I never had ANY problems EVER, until I switched from my USB-Mbox to the FW-Interfaces... SO, some combination of my Mac Pro Hardware and the Pro Tools Software seems to be the problem.

Well, I had hoped, there was some sort of "magic setting" or anything that I missed... I really have no Idea what to do. Probably now I´m buing an Avid support code :-(

Anyway, thanks for all your suggestions,
sincerely, David
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  #7  
Old 01-27-2012, 05:36 PM
linculbertson linculbertson is offline
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Unhappy Re: Massive "Buffer Underflow" Errors with Mbox Pro 3rd Gen on MacPro

I am having the identical problem with a new MBox and ProTools 9. I can't play for more than five seconds without getting a buffer underflow error message. I can't even play the demo song. If I turn off my MBox and use the system sound everything works. I even bought a new external audio drive to see if that was the problem but it's not. This is very frustrating. I haven't been able to do anything yet. The MBox seems to work fine with Live and Digital Performer, I just can't use ProTools. Ridiculous.
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  #8  
Old 01-31-2012, 02:18 PM
David Ziegler David Ziegler is offline
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Default Re: Massive "Buffer Underflow" Errors with Mbox Pro 3rd Gen on MacPro

I had no luck solving this issue. I tried every Port, different cables, I updated PTs and OS, trashed Prefs, reset Parameter Ram... I can´t get PTs to play ANY Audio from ANY FW-Drive...

One of my students now recommended the Focusrite Saffire Pro 24. So I´ll try this one now. There is a "30Days - Money-Back-Guarantee" on my Mbox as well as on my ProFire. So, when the Focusrite Interface works, I´ll send back BOTH AVID-Devices. Its worth a try, I´ll guess.

So long,
David
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  #9  
Old 01-31-2012, 04:55 PM
The Dougfather The Dougfather is offline
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Default Re: Massive "Buffer Underflow" Errors with Mbox Pro 3rd Gen on MacPro

David if you remove the firewire drive from the mac pro do the errors stop?

Is this a fw800 drive?

Can i ask on a mac pro why you are recording to a firewire drive, with extra drive bays and about four times the bandwidth of fw800 i'd ditch firewire altogether.

Like most macs you probably only have one fw bus irrespective of the number of ports and issues with underflow and combining fw800 and fw400 devices is a well documented pia. If you insist on working this way you should consider an siig fw pci-e card and give the devices their own busses. This issue goes back to the Mbox 2 pro days.
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  #10  
Old 02-04-2012, 07:08 AM
linculbertson linculbertson is offline
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Default Re: Massive "Buffer Underflow" Errors with Mbox Pro 3rd Gen on MacPro

I was on the phone for 2 hours with tech support yesterday and finally got things working for my system (Imac, Pro Tools 9). I have plugged the Mbox 3 into the computer and the external Glyph Drive into the FW400 port on the Mbox. So far so good, I haven't tested it extensively yet but I was able to play the demo song all the way through. It appears that using FW800 and FW400 at the same time screws things up. I hope this helps someone.
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