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  #1  
Old 01-17-2014, 12:11 AM
Farboid Farboid is offline
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Default Pro Tools Audio Playback Static/Pops Problem

Hello, I'm new to Pro Tools and Avid products and am experiencing difficulties. Please forgive any noobish questions. I bought an Avid Fast Track Solo interface with Pro Tools Express. (Side question: is Pro Tools Express the same as Pro Tools version 10?)

I bought an Avid Fast Track Solo for a home-recording sort of set up. Unfortunately, what I hear in the playback in Pro Tools Express isn't what I have recorded, but rather this popping/cracking/static sort of sound (absolutely none of the sound coming from the instrument). I have not been at all successful in recording, so far it has only made these sounds.

I know that it is not the fault of my instruments or microphone - for example, I can plug my bass guitar and some earphones into the Fast Track Solo and I can hear it playback clearly, but from Pro Tools the playback is only popping and cracking. This leads me to assume that rather than being fault in the equipment, there is a fault in either the computer software or the setup of Pro Tools.

In setting up Pro Tools I downloaded and installed the necessary files from:
http://avid.force.com/pkb/articles/d...k-solo-drivers
http://avid.force.com/pkb/articles/e...nload/en379411
Pro Tools otherwise runs fine.

One thing that did catch my eye in the General Troubleshooting thread was:
"IMPORTANT! You MUST use a secondary hard drive (not your main OS drive) for recording and playback of audio in Pro Tools. Recording or playback from the OS drive is known to be problematic and the cause of many different error types. If you are using your system drive and encountering errors, the first thing you should do is get a compatible drive. USB drives are not supported and are known to be problematic, so please do not use them with Pro Tools. If you're recording or playing back from a USB drive and are getting errors in Pro Tools, please switch to using a compatible external firewire drive or internal SATA/ATA/IDE drive and disconnect the USB drive. "
Not sure what this is about, could this be affecting me? (I'm not the best with computer terminology).

Computer Specs:

Computer
Model : Dell Inspiron N5110
Serial Number : 43F****
Chassis : Dell Portable
Mainboard : Dell 0FXK2Y
Serial Number : .43FZGR1.CN7************
BIOS : Dell A09 09/30/2011
Intel vPro : 7.00.04.1197
Total Memory : 3.91GB DDR3 SO-DIMM

Processors
Processor : Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-2410M CPU @ 2.30GHz (2C 4T 2.9GHz, 2.9GHz IMC, 2x 256kB L2, 3MB L3)
Socket/Slot : FC PGA988

Chipset
Memory Controller : Dell Core (Sandy Bridge) Mobile DRAM Controller 100MHz, 4GB DDR3 SO-DIMM 1.33GHz 64-bit, Integrated Graphics

Memory Module(s)
Memory Module : Samsung M471B5273CH0-CH9 4GB DDR3 SO-DIMM PC3-10700S DDR3-1334 (9-9-9-25 4-34-10-5)

Video System
Monitor/Panel : CMO Generic PnP Monitor (1600x1200, XM5XGN156B6
, 15.3")
Video Adapter : Intel(R) HD Graphics Family (12CU 60SP SM5.0 650MHz/1.2GHz, 1GB DDR3 1.33GHz 64-bit, Integrated Graphics)

Graphics Processor
OpenCL GP Processor : NVIDIA GeForce GT 525M (96SP 2C 1.19GHz, 1GB 1.79GHz)
Compute Shader Processor : Intel(R) HD Graphics Family (60SP 12C 650MHz/1.2GHz, 64MB DDR3 1.33GHz 64-bit, Integrated Graphics)

Storage Devices
TOSHIBA MK5076GSX (500.1GB, SATA300, 2.5", 5400rpm, 8MB Cache) : 466GB (C:)
TSSTcorp DVD+/-RW SN-208BB (SATA150, DVD+-RW, CD-RW, 1MB Cache) : N/A (D:)

Logical Storage Devices
Recovery : 15GB (NTFS)
OS (C:) : 451GB (NTFS) @ TOSHIBA MK5076GSX (500.1GB, SATA300, 2.5", 5400rpm, 8MB Cache)
Hard Disk (Q:) : N/A
Optical Drive (D:) : N/A @ TSSTcorp DVD+/-RW SN-208BB (SATA150, DVD+-RW, CD-RW, 1MB Cache)

Peripherals
LPC Hub Controller 1 : Dell HM67 LPC Controller
LPC Legacy Controller 1 : Winbond WPCE775LA
Audio Device : Dell Cougar Point High Definition Audio Controller
Audio Codec : Integrated Device Tech 76D1
Disk Controller : Dell Cougar Point Mobile 6 port SATA AHCI Controller
USB Controller 1 : Dell Cougar Point USB Enhanced Host Controller #2
USB Controller 2 : Dell Cougar Point USB Enhanced Host Controller #1
USB Controller 3 : Dell TUSB73x0 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 xHCI Host Controller
SMBus/i2c Controller 1 : Intel ICH SMBus

Printers and Faxes
Printer : Microsoft XPS Document Writer (600x600, Colour)
Fax : Microsoft Shared Fax Driver (200x200)
Printer : Dell V310-V510 Series (4800x4800, USB, Colour, Duplex)
Printer : Brother MFC-215C USB (600x600, USB, Colour)
Printer : Brother MFC-215C USB (600x600, USB, Colour)

Network Services
Network Adapter : Realtek PCIe FE Family Controller (Ethernet)
Wireless Adapter : Dell Wireless 1702 802.11b/g/n (802.11n (HT), AES-CCMP, 65Mbps)

Power Management
Battery No 1 : DELL 8NH551C 48.84Wh/3.92Ah

Operating System
Windows System : Microsoft Windows 7 Home 6.01.7601 (Service Pack 1)
Platform Compliance : x64

Windows Experience Index
Current System : 4.5

Audio Interface:

Pro Tools Express
Behringer B-1 Condensor Microphone

Intending to record bass guitar, drums, and electric guitar (seperately).

I should add, I also tried clearing the preferences according to this website:
http://www.sweetwater.com/sweetcare/...s-preferences/

Last edited by Farboid; 01-17-2014 at 12:16 AM. Reason: Extra info
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  #2  
Old 01-17-2014, 08:41 AM
junkgear's Avatar
junkgear junkgear is offline
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Default Re: Pro Tools Audio Playback Static/Pops Problem

Using your main drive for both PT and your session is most likely the reason you are getting poor performance from PT.

The best set up would be to get another internal hard drive and add it to your system. The hard drive should be 7200 RPM and you should stay away from the low end or energy saver drives such as the Western Digital Green drives.

If you do not want to add an internal drive, you can add an external USB drive. Again make sure it is a 7200 RPM drive. Your system supports USB 3.0, so it would be wise to get a USB 3.0 drive in this case.

If you are unsure about what to get, post back and we can post some links to acceptable drives.
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Old 01-17-2014, 03:38 PM
Farboid Farboid is offline
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Default Re: Pro Tools Audio Playback Static/Pops Problem

Thanks for the reply.

Yes, I would be more interested in getting an external USB drive, and I am unsure of what sort of external hard drive I should look at getting (so those suggestions would help); and I am also unsure of how I would go about setting it up with my laptop, as it only has three USB ports, two of which would already be used by the iLok and the Avid Fast Track Solo. The other tends to be used by my mouse; so would I be giving up my mouse any time I do recording? (My laptop does have a touchpad...)

Sort of annoying, I don't remember this being on any list of requirements, but maybe I didn't look hard enough...

Also, how would you go about setting up Pro Tools so it uses the external hard drive for the session?
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Old 01-18-2014, 06:40 AM
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junkgear junkgear is offline
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Default Re: Pro Tools Audio Playback Static/Pops Problem

You really can't go wrong with either a drive from OWC or Glyph.

Here is a 1TB OWC: OWC 1TB

And here is one from Glyph: Glyph 1TB

Others on this forum recommend the LaCie drives as well. Here is a 500 GB version that would work well: LaCie 500GB

You can always get the 500 GB versions if you don't need the extra space or want to save a few dollars.

As for the USB ports, you can put both the mouse and ilok on a USB hub. Connect the audio interface and drive directly to your computer.
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Old 01-18-2014, 08:57 PM
Farboid Farboid is offline
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Default Re: Pro Tools Audio Playback Static/Pops Problem

Okay, so I'd be interested in buying one of these but I'd like to be sure that it would fix my problem in the first place.
Within my household there is a Seagate 1.5tb external drive and a Western Digital MyPassport External drive which I could borrow and try out, are these the correct sort of drives or are these different devices?
If there's a chance either would work, what exactly would I need to do to use the external drive for the session or for Pro Tools besides plugging it into my computer?
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Old 01-18-2014, 09:09 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is offline
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Default Re: Pro Tools Audio Playback Static/Pops Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farboid View Post
Okay, so I'd be interested in buying one of these but I'd like to be sure that it would fix my problem in the first place.
Within my household there is a Seagate 1.5tb external drive and a Western Digital MyPassport External drive which I could borrow and try out, are these the correct sort of drives or are these different devices?
If there's a chance either would work, what exactly would I need to do to use the external drive for the session or for Pro Tools besides plugging it into my computer?
It is not just that you are recording to the system drive but that your drive is also-below spec at only 4,800 rpm.

You need to tell us the exact model of the external drives. Many consumer USB drives just consist of the cheapest and nastiest, slowest drive the manufactures can package in a USB caddy. Western Digital My Passport drives in particular usually contain a WDC Caviar Green drive that is toxic to Pro Tools. All the reasons you were pointed to more pro-drives than the usual consumer junk put out by WDC and Seagate.

So unless you know the Seagate is a 7200 rpm drive you are likely wasting your time.
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Old 01-18-2014, 09:22 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is offline
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Default Re: Pro Tools Audio Playback Static/Pops Problem

Beyond getting your system disk set up properly have you also optimized the laptop for Pro Tools. See the optimization instructions in the install documentation and also copied under the "Help us Help You - READ THIS Before Posting!" link above on this page. Set app to run as admin, disable power management, disable USB power management, disable WiFi, etc. etc. do every last thing there and get the system totally stable. You can back off some of these later if everything works perfectly well.

And what interface driver version are you using?

And most importantly what are all the playback engine settings? Post a screenshot of the playback engine dialog panel.

What plugins/VIs are you using or going to use? Sample based VIs will especially put a large load on your system. It is possible that a 2 core i5 and the rest of this laptop may bot be enough.
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Old 01-19-2014, 12:08 AM
Farboid Farboid is offline
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Default Re: Pro Tools Audio Playback Static/Pops Problem

Thanks for that info, Darryl.

I think that I'm using the latest interface driver version... assuming you mean the download from this page?:
http://avid.force.com/pkb/articles/d...k-solo-drivers
Screenshots of Playback Engine settings and quick start settings will be attatched.

I made sure I was in high performance mode and nothing was on power saving, turned off wifi, ran the app as administrator and made sure all unnecesary programs were not running. I had a look at the documentation which came with the product, it doesn't seem to have much on optimization but sends you to this link:
http://akmedia.digidesign.com/suppor...uide_79029.pdf
which only talks about basics of getting it working.
http://duc.avid.com/showthread.php?t=300050
'Help us Help You' only really seems to talk about deleting preferences which I've already tried as previously mentioned (unless I missed something about optimization, and please tell me if I did).
I tried with all of this, and still the same result, the only thing I got through playback was these clicks/pops, which do resemble the sound that is being inputed to the system; for example if I play louder notes then the clicking goes louder, etc.

One other thing I should mention is: Blue screens. I've never had a blue screen on this computer until Pro Tools, it seems to happen mostly if I try to close the program without saving or if I change something in the playback settings, but not always.

Also, about the external hard drives I mentioned; you're right, they are bad quality.
Attached Images
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