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Ran into an issue this weekend

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by kanonfodr, Jul 23, 2012.


  1. Well, working with my old band - having some fun and playing music - I wanted to record us as multi-tracked as possible live. So totally wasn't going to happen, but what did happen didn't bode well for the future.

    First of all here's our setup:

    Macbook Pro 15
    Presonus Firebox

    Drums mic'd - Kick, snare, one overhead - into a Mackie 808 mixer and ran to Aux1 out --->Channel 3 on my Presonus Firebox

    Vox, Keys, Rythm Guitar into the mixer, ran to Aux2 Out ---->Channel 4

    Guitar clean via DI into Channel 1, and my bass into Channel 2 (DI off the head).

    Not the most ideal setup I know, but it's what I had. I was tracking everything into Garageband with each input having it's own seperate track.

    Here's the problem: Each song was always cut because of buffer errors about a minute or so into recording. I've never had this particular problem before, but I've also never recorded 4 tracks at once either. I did my best to optimize GB as best I could, but still no dice :( .

    Is this a Garageband problem, and I need to start working with a new DAW, or am I missing something else here? If you guys need more info, please ask and I will answer as best I can. Ultimately I would like to move to recording about 10 tracks at once, but if I can't do 4 right now there's no way 10 will happen :( .

    Peace,
    Greg
     
  2. DuraMorte

    DuraMorte

    Mar 3, 2011
    Sounds like a hardware issue, specifically the hard drive.
    Increase the ASIO buffer to the maximum.
    If that doesn't help, you may be up crap creek.
     
  3. Betrayer_Bass

    Betrayer_Bass Profanity Fish.

    Sep 24, 2011
    Oslo, Norway
    Endorsing: Spector basses, Winspear Picks, Spector Formula 603 strings
    GB isn't the best software either. Try to get Reaper, it's a free program you can use for ever as "evaluation" but if you want to pay for it, it's cheap as hell. (I did)

    It's a lot better than GB IMO. It's lighterweight and can record as many tracks as you like.

    Other than that, like has been mentioned increase the ASIO buffer size, make sure you have tons of free space on your HDD. If possible make the Mac a dedicated machine, meaning there are no other applications/files on it than GB/Reaper and no games or movies or other huge files.

    Failing that, get an EXt harddrive and save all your stuff to that. You can get a Firewire drive and use it as your "scratch disk" meaning all the recording will be saved to that and the processes that aren't used in RAM will be used on the larger drive.
    USB is too slow for this.

    Oh and make sure you have at lease 8GB RAM, 4GB just won't cut it unfotunately :)

    Hope some of that helps :)
     
  4. Like everyone suggested, increase the ASIO buffer. Since your doing a one-take recording, latency shouldn't be an issue. Latency is only an issue when your recording with pre-recorded tracks.
    So, by increasing (or max out) the ASIO buffer your giving your cpu more "catch up" time.
     
  5. bassie12

    bassie12

    Aug 23, 2008
    Record on an external drive.
     
  6. I appreciate the input! I've downloaded a copy of Reaper and I'm slowly working my way into it. We're also going to try and use it across several systems at once so we can all work together and still have multiple tracks.

    If this doesn't work, it means spending some serious money :(

    Peace,
    Greg
     
  7. DuraMorte

    DuraMorte

    Mar 3, 2011
    I don't know if Macs are different, but I can record 16 tracks for hours at a time on my 2.5GHz dualcore, 2 gig RAM Win XP machine.
    Of course, it is a desktop, which means better hard drive access speeds. Which is what I believe OP's issue is.
     
  8. uhdinator

    uhdinator

    Apr 20, 2010
    Maine
    I track 16 at once with 2.4 duo 4gb ram.
    2008 MBP. I use a fw800 7200 rpm ext drive for the audio. I've used 128 or 256 buffer works fine and never had it choke yet.
     
  9. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    I'm running a 2009 MacBook Pro with a 2.8ghz Core2Duo, and 4gb of RAM. It works really well for tracking up to 8 inputs at a time. Beyond that it gets sketchy. At mixdown it does fine until the plugin count crawls up at which point it takes a dive. Soon I'll be upgrading my computer so it won't be an issue.

    Some specs on the computer you used would be helpful.
     
  10. Betrayer_Bass

    Betrayer_Bass Profanity Fish.

    Sep 24, 2011
    Oslo, Norway
    Endorsing: Spector basses, Winspear Picks, Spector Formula 603 strings
    Also, WinXP was muuuch less resource intensive on its own compared to modern OS's. I still have an old XP laptop sat around for when I just want to record some ideas real quick without all the hassle. :)
     
  11. 2010 MBP, 4 gigs of RAM, recording to the internal disk. I've got a 2.4ghz i5 processor in it, and the hard drive is a 7200 rpm disk.

    For the guys recording to a firewire disk on a MBP, how does that work with only one firewire port on the machine? I'm guessing you're using a hub?

    Peace,
    Greg
     
  12. That's an idea as well, I have an Alienware with XP on it, I can put the Reaper demo on that and plug it into the Tascam USB interface we have (Won't work with the Mac for some reason) for extra machines and channels, that way no single machine is doing all the work.

    And the Alienware runs dual internal hard drives :D :D

    Peace,
    Greg
     
  13. Betrayer_Bass

    Betrayer_Bass Profanity Fish.

    Sep 24, 2011
    Oslo, Norway
    Endorsing: Spector basses, Winspear Picks, Spector Formula 603 strings
  14. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    i5 with hyperthreading or not?
     
  15. Hactar

    Hactar

    Sep 25, 2011
    Boulder, CO
    OP, given the specs you posted, it seems peculiar that you are running into buffer problems. It seems that it is not simply an issue of running out of RAM/CPU power.

    As was mentioned above, I would definitely recommend Reaper, as it is often much more efficient. You can also get a lot more done in Reaper.
     
  16. *UPDATE*

    Well, got together with my rhythm guitarist last night to give the setup a good stress test at his place. I ran him through a PODxt Live to two inputs on the Firepod, ran a wet and dry from my SansAmp so all 4 inputs were in use, plus we had drum tracks going in GB. Didn't break a sweat, even with a 720p video running in the background and all the quality settings maxed :(

    Almost all of the conditions were the same, minus location. John did postulate (my $10 word for the week) that location might have something to do with it, since we were running the computer sitting right on top of a Yamaha subwoofer and directly in the blast area of a 15" main cabinet that was also blasting. Since we were recording to a standard hard drive and not a solid state, we both find it plausible that all the vibration is giving the hard drive fits.

    Could anybody chime in on this?

    Peace,
    Greg
     
  17. Betrayer_Bass

    Betrayer_Bass Profanity Fish.

    Sep 24, 2011
    Oslo, Norway
    Endorsing: Spector basses, Winspear Picks, Spector Formula 603 strings
    That's very possible. Even a small jog can make the read heads in the HDD go nuts.

    Have you gone into the settings in GB to increase the ASIO buffer?

    Did you try to record using Reaper?

    Also just try recording one track from one instrument, any luck?

    Sounds strange!
     
  18. Honestly for Thursday night's session we had every quality setting maxed in GB, so while I didn't play with any numbers I'm sure it was running just as hard if not harder than before, recording wise. We also did it strictly with GB. And I've done many recordings with one or two instruments before, no problems.

    Incidentally, I've just been texting with my the Rhythm Guitarist, they had practice today and are recording with his computer (which has had the same issue as well) but placing the computer on a chair kind of away from the subwoofer. Granted, they were only running one track (mic in the middle of the room) but it's gone for 2.5 hours without a hiccup.

    Peace,
    Greg
     
  19. Hactar

    Hactar

    Sep 25, 2011
    Boulder, CO
    Well, it seems you found the issue.

    TIL: HDD's don't like bumpin'
     

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