Audio stutter & Disk access

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by geshel, Jun 18, 2005.

  1. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    (windows PC)

    A few weeks ago, any audio streaming to/from my dedicated audio drive (160G maxtor) began stuttering. It would basically dropout any time the disk was accessed - so, in playing back a file, the disk light would flash say once a second as Windows read the data. Each time it flashed, the audio would hiccup.

    I tried increasing the read buffer size in Sonar, but all that did was make it so that there was a longer time interval between hiccups, but when they happened it was much worse. So, it is not that the disk access isn't fast enough -- it is that it is interfering with the audio stream.

    As a test, I moved the audio files for one project to my primary HD (80G maxtor). The stuttering stopped!

    Both drives are SATA-150, hooked up to the SATA jack on the motherboard. The audio drive is nearly empty, and has been defragmented.

    The one thing I know changed around the time this started happening was that I upgraded my video card (from a 9600 to an x800). But I'm not sure why that would affect only one drive.

    Anyone have any ideas?
  2. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    One thing I know is that a longer read buffer can actually increase latency--your hard drive doesn't work any faster, and now it has to access more information in a whack. Decreasing buffer numbers usually--note, usually--makes audio read/write more smoothly. As the Sonar folks will tell you, though, a lot of this sort of behavior depends on the deepest, most etheric inner workings of your motherboard's busses, cpu architecture, hard drive motors and buffers, and the speed of said buffers as well as memory.

    Have you tried the Sonar user's forum at There may be specific problems with your model hard drive, your build of XP, the SATA controllers on your board, anything. I've recieved lots of good information there.
  3. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    Thanks, I'll check it out.