Topic: Serious rme + Cubase 6 ASIO issue

I experience a very disturbing issue with Cubase 6 together with 2 rme Multiface II interfaces (using 2 HSDPe interface cards).

If everything works fine, the system would start up, Cubase starts our default project, and the external hardware latency meter shows a 5.4 ms roundtrip latency, this is at 64 samples buffer size.

But since a few months, after startup the system exhibits a random huge latency value, in the rage of 300 to 800 ms or so. Sometimes, if I open the rme settings dialog and switch between buffer sizes, the system comes back to 5.4ms latency. Often it takes many attempts of switching back and forth until the system settles at the normal latency. Sometimes, however, it does not help at all. Restarting the system anew sometimes helps, other times not.

This is a live performance setup and this bug is very disturbing for our work. Often I sit there, the artists wait and the system lets me down...

We use 2 independent PCs here with comparable setup and both systems exhibit the same symptoms. Both PCs (Dell Precision workstations) run Windows 7 64 bit with 2 rme HSDPe cards attached to 2 Multiface II (latest drivers 3.29). One of the PCs runs Cubase 6.5.3, the other 6.5.1. The Cubase ASIO performance meter runs around 50% on both systems, but the systoms also show up with test projects using barely any ASIO performance.

We did set up our Cubase projects anew from scratch, this did not help. We deinstalled all rme drivers, switched cards around in the slots - no difference.

We have been messing around with this issue since a long time and invested lots of energy in finding a solution. Basically we need systems which start and run stable each time we start them up...

Any help appreciated.

regards, Mikael

2 DAWs, each C 7/64, W7/64, Dell Prec. T5500 (2 x X5690), 2 x rme HDSPe / Multiface II / Octamic II

Re: Serious rme + Cubase 6 ASIO issue

Copy of my earlier email:

I'm afraid I have no explanation, but would assume it is a Cubase issue, not an RME one. Changing latency resets the driver, so this should help. Have you contacted Steinberg?

Moreover, are the devices correctly synced? Are you using the ASIO Hammerfall DSP driver?

Regards
Daniel Fuchs
RME

Re: Serious rme + Cubase 6 ASIO issue

Hello Daniel,

thank you for your replies. Yes I have contacted Steinberg as well.

The units are synced without problem, as far as I can see. I am using Wordclock with one of the MFII's being the master. Synccheck shows no issues. Also, once the latency settles at 5.4ms, there is also never any sync issue, so to me it looks like I can rule this out.

Yes I am using the ASIO Hammerfall DSP driver in the Cubase project.

I know this is not a straightforward issue. All the more, I need to straigten this out...

Regards, Mikael

2 DAWs, each C 7/64, W7/64, Dell Prec. T5500 (2 x X5690), 2 x rme HDSPe / Multiface II / Octamic II

Re: Serious rme + Cubase 6 ASIO issue

dhyanmikael wrote:

We use 2 independent PCs here with comparable setup and both systems exhibit the same symptoms.

Have you done any changes to the system (Bios Update, Hardware etc.)?
Can you disable the Powersaving of the PCIe-Bus in the Bios?

Regard Zapp

Regards
Zapp

5

Re: Serious rme + Cubase 6 ASIO issue

Most probably there have been changes to the system. The observed effect occurs when the system is blocked during initialization of the driver (causes wrong pointers in the ringbuffer). This can be a PCI bandwidth problem, but also a CPU load problem. If you have an ongoing CPU load of around 100% and then change latency you might see the same effect. Obviously when you do this in Cubase it should not happen, as during driver initialization there should not be much CPU load from Cubase.

You might try to disable all plug-ins of your current project and enable them one by one after the project had been loaded correctly. Or maybe it is something simple like the hard drive running in a wrong mode with underground performance...

Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME

Re: Serious rme + Cubase 6 ASIO issue

Hello Matthias,

thank you for your reply. This is interesting.

I observe a phenomenon on both affected systems which might point to something: I am starting DigiCheck (5.50) through the autostart folder automatically at system startup. I do this using a batch file where I induce an artificial delay of 7 seconds before Digicheck is called. If I do not induce this artificial delay, that is, when Digicheck comes up immediately at system start, then all Digicheck windows are grayed out because the units are unavailable when Digicheck starts. Nw that I am thinking about it, this migh tnot be normal...?

So this looks to me as if the drivers are really slow in initializing the HSDPe cards in my system, for some reason (I am using only PCIe cards in the systems - only a graphics card besides the HSDPe's, nothing else).

Does this ring a bell for you? Any hint? The thing is, these are dedicated audio systems, with no other applications installed or running. I am willing for anything, I just need to get these units stable.

regards, Mikael

2 DAWs, each C 7/64, W7/64, Dell Prec. T5500 (2 x X5690), 2 x rme HDSPe / Multiface II / Octamic II

7 (edited by V.Ivanov 2012-09-28 00:02:36)

Re: Serious rme + Cubase 6 ASIO issue

Hello everybody!

I am really surprised. I'm having almost the same problem on my new system that I've installed recently.

I am running Win7 x64 on one of the latest Core i7 CPUs and with 16GB DDR3 RAM.

I have two MFII connected to two HSDPe cards onboard.

I use steinberg nuendo v4.3.0 with waves plugins(mostly dynamic processing along with GTR 3.5 amp emulators for guitars) and native instruments kontakt in a life setup.

System, Host, Samples for Kontakt are all situated on separate physical HDDs so it is really impossible to have any problems with HDD performance.

Multifaces are in sync as far as I know. HDSP is set up to 256samples buffer size.

The problem is that ASIO performance meter is always at 30% when idle and begins to spike a lot and the noise is produces heavily when analog instruments are played along with MIDI triggered kontakt samplers simultaneously.

It is enough to play single bass guitar through GTR emulator along with one instance of Kontakt  grand piano using MIDI to make asio performance go bad enough to produce noise.

I'm really new to RME hardware(got mine 3days ago) and steinberg technologies so I think that it is just me missing something obvious in nuendo setup.

Anyway I feel a must to add my POV to this thread.

Edit:
CPU load shown in task manager never rises over 2% at the time ASIO performance is at its spikiest.

I've read a few threads on other forums regarding hyper-threading feature of i7 CPUs having issues with real-time sound processing.

At home I have a older Core 2 duo 2GB DDR2 tower with a cheap m-audio fast-track usb card. These drivers handle the load just fine and ASIO performance never ex?eeds  25% under similar sircumstances...

Re: Serious rme + Cubase 6 ASIO issue

Before you go on testing anything else, make sure to use the "High Performance" Windows power-profile instead of the default "Balanced" one.

If you suspect hyper-threading to be a problem then turn off Multithreading/Multiprocessor options in Cubase. You might even try to change the Processor Affinity via Task-Manager to use only a single CPU core.

Re: Serious rme + Cubase 6 ASIO issue

Timur Born wrote:

make sure to use the "High Performance" Windows power-profile instead of the default "Balanced" one.

Thank you! This solved my issues so far!

Re: Serious rme + Cubase 6 ASIO issue

MC wrote:

Most probably there have been changes to the system. The observed effect occurs when the system is blocked during initialization of the driver (causes wrong pointers in the ringbuffer). This can be a PCI bandwidth problem, but also a CPU load problem....

Hello Matthias,

allow me to revisit this issue, since it is still unsolved for us and a real bother.

I had reported that after system boot and Cubase start, I usually have a measured roundtrip latency that is much higher than the 5,4ms that it should be. After changing the rme ASIO buffer size away from 64 and then back to 64 samples, latency settles at the expected 5.4ms.

Also, when I start Digicheck automatically at system start, often Digicheck Windows will remain greyed out because they can't find the hardware.

You replied that the observed effects occur because of blocked system during driver initialization.

When I start the System, manually change ASIO buffer size, reset buffer size to 64 and then start Cubase, all is fine.

Is there a way to

- either, delay driver initialization
- or, change ASIO buffer size through a batch file

so I can have my system start up to a reliable state without having to do manual interaction every time?

I would appreciate further input on this issue. Thank you!

Regards, Mikael

2 DAWs, each C 7/64, W7/64, Dell Prec. T5500 (2 x X5690), 2 x rme HDSPe / Multiface II / Octamic II

Re: Serious rme + Cubase 6 ASIO issue

Try disabling the "Windows Audio Endpoint Builder" and "Windows Audio" services.

12

Re: Serious rme + Cubase 6 ASIO issue

..if you only need ASIO...

Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME

13 (edited by dhyanmikael 2012-12-28 17:49:21)

Re: Serious rme + Cubase 6 ASIO issue

Timur Born wrote:

Try disabling the "Windows Audio Endpoint Builder" and "Windows Audio" services.

Timur, thank you for your Suggestion.

However, stopping these services made no difference to the issue.

As a sidenote: I noticed that stopping those services makes many midi devices in Cubase disappear (IPMidi and Internal Midi Loop Drivers, for instance). Took me a while do find out why they were suddenly gone :-)

Regards, Mikael

2 DAWs, each C 7/64, W7/64, Dell Prec. T5500 (2 x X5690), 2 x rme HDSPe / Multiface II / Octamic II

14 (edited by Timur Born 2012-12-29 13:38:40)

Re: Serious rme + Cubase 6 ASIO issue

The suggestion was only meant for troubleshooting anyway. wink

Next thing to try: Create a new Windows user account and start Cubase from there. Also try using only one of the HDSPe for comparison.

If there is any onboard sound available then make sure to setup Windows sound to use that onboard sound for everything input and output (including "Default Communication Device"). Make sure no iTunes, WinAmp, DVD player software or whatever keeps running a process/trayicon in the background and maybe interfering with your audio.

Re: Serious rme + Cubase 6 ASIO issue

With new Firmware 3.35, this problem finally has been solved! Thank you, rme! :-)

This is a great relief for us. Finally we have our DAWs boot into a reliable state every time.

Regards, Mikael

2 DAWs, each C 7/64, W7/64, Dell Prec. T5500 (2 x X5690), 2 x rme HDSPe / Multiface II / Octamic II