FireWire audio recording makes weird digital noise...

Discussion in 'iMac' started by pufferton, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. pufferton macrumors newbie

    Aug 29, 2010
    I am running Ableton Live 8 Suite on a 2011 Entry level iMac. i am using an Maudio Firewire 410 with a FireWire 400 to 800 cable. recently when i record audio (say from a guitar) the audio will cut out and be replaced by a wierd low freq digital noise. i uploaded a clip of it. its not just static. it will come in and out as i play.

    Things i have tried:
    -different guitars
    -Maudio FireWire Solo (different interface)
    -uninstalled and reinstalled the driver
    -Different firewire cable
    -turned off Bluetooth on computer and Bluetooth devices
    -turned off airport

    when i restart the interface or computer it works for about 5-10mins then cuts out again...

    but i still get normal audio through it (iTunes, internet, even Ableton)

    it seems to be isolted to just audio input. i had multiple tracks playing in Live. my input was working fine but when it punched in to record it morphed to the weird digital noise.

    i could record a single channel fine with nothing else playing but recording with multiple channels playing seems to "lock up" the audio though i am only using 25% CPU...

    is this something with my iMac or Lion? i changed out interfaces, cables, and drivers....thats the only thing i can think of…

    any thoughts from you smart people out there?
  2. aliensporebomb macrumors 68000


    Jun 19, 2005
    Minneapolis, MN, USA, Urth

    That's extremely odd!

    Are you running Lion or Snow Leopard with this? It sounds like you're running Lion and I seem to recall there was a problem with the digital audio i/o to begin with that may be corrected in 10.71.
  3. treestar macrumors 6502

    Feb 28, 2010
    That sounds like the sample rate is changing. Sometimes existing applications try to control the sample rate, so iTunes, Ableton, M-Audio drivers, and Safari could be interfering with each other. I'm betting it's a sample rate thing, see if you can confirm.
  4. pufferton thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 29, 2010
    listen to this.

    when i arm the track input is fine. around :15 seconds the recording gets punched in with other tracks playing and then it turns into something horrible sounding. input is then unusable until i start over. something is overloading.

    @aliensporebomb i am running 10.7.1

    @treestar how do i confirm if sample rate is changing? i do have itunes and safari open at same time. ill try and close the programs and try without them running


    @treestar it still did it even with itunes and safari closed. sample rate on Maudio and Ableton both read 44100.
  5. treestar macrumors 6502

    Feb 28, 2010
    If you are playing back other files and they are at a different sample rate I think you would get a problem. I don't know the types of utilities your interface has that display the sample rate. I forget where Ableton shows it. OS X's Audio MIDI Setup is the best place I can think of for you to check.


    You'll have to check the sample rate before, during, and after the recording. The only other thought I have is the CPU is overloading with the extra tracks, so maybe take a look at the CPU in Activity Monitor.
  6. dreamersofeden macrumors member


    May 26, 2011
    Disable the Multi-processor Support in Preferences -> CPU, it seems problematic with Lion.
  7. pufferton thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 29, 2010
    wow so in ableton it shows my cpu at 21%

    but Activity Monitor was hitting 99% during recording…75% idle…awesome…

    sample rate stayed the same.

    Preferences for Activity Monitor? cause i don't see a preferences for that...


    @dreamersofeden sorry just googled it. you meant in Live. ill try it.


    @dreamersofeden yea…that didn't work. it completely maxed my cpu and caused everything to distort….
  8. treestar macrumors 6502

    Feb 28, 2010
    You're probably having driver issues. Any chance you just started running Lion or is any of your recording hardware/software new?
  9. pufferton thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 29, 2010
    @treestar well I started using Lion when I bought my new iMac. So yes within the month. I had no issues with 10.6 and my old MBP. So it must be some compatibility issue.

    But I just tried using the most recent version of Live (8.2.5) which is apparently officially compatible with Lion. Also my maudio driver is up to date too.

    Would a driver issue be spiking my CPU?
  10. treestar macrumors 6502

    Feb 28, 2010
    Yes, it would. You should try the M-Audio support forums and also a less thorough search of the Ableton forums. Generally with a computer you need to do work with, such as A/V, you don't take your chances updating without a way to revert, or a backup. I'm not sure your hardware/software configuration is supported right now. Lot's of Apogee users had issues until a week ago when they got new drivers or firmware, and Logic Pro didn't work in Lion until 9.1.4 was released. It's frustrating all around.
  11. pufferton thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 29, 2010
    Jeesh...yea. Ok I'll take another look. When I first looked I had the most recent "Lion compatible" drivers and software. This blows.
  12. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Just some thoughts here...

    Could the M-Audio _hardware_ be ok, and might the problem be with the _software_?

    Having said that, you mentioned that you used Ableton. Have you tried any _other_ audio apps to see if you get similar results? If you have the same problems with other software, that could point to hardware. But if other software "runs clean", it could point towards Ableton as the source of the problem.

    Try using GarageBand instead of Ableton. What happens?

    You might also try downloading the Mac version of Reaper, install that, and see how it goes for you (at least for testing purposes).

    A previous poster mentioned sample rates. One other thought -- is there a way to set the "clock source" in Ableton? See whether it's currently set to the computer or to the M-Audio. You might try switching that and see if it changes anything.

    You might consider deleting ALL the drivers for BOTH the M-Audio and Ableton, and then re-install "fresh" drivers. (Aside: is not the M-Audio "CORE Audio compliant"? If so, why does it need any drivers at all? If you were connecting via USB, you _would_ need drivers. But CORE Audio compliant interfaces shouldn't need them)

    Final thought:
    I generally open the "AudioMIDI Setup" app _before_ I launch my DAW app. The idea is to check to see that the Mac is "recognizing the presence" of my audio interface before I introduce the DAW app into the equation. Might be worth a try.
  13. pufferton thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 29, 2010
    @Fishrrman it seems to just be Ableton (bummer) i tried "overloading" REAPER, Garage Band, and Guitar Rig. Reaper would hit 99% CPU on Activity Monitor (30+ tracks playing plus recording at the same time) but i wasn't getting the audio lockup/distortion that i got with Live.

    i'll try calling Ableton since i am running 8.2.5 (their official compatible Lion version)

    i'll keep you guys updated. thanks for the help.


    @Fishrrman btw i tried everything else you suggested to no avail. forgot to post that.
  14. apw100 macrumors regular

    Jan 24, 2010
    Jacksonville, FL
    Sounds like it might be an issue with the MAudio's A/D converters. Have you tried using it with another computer?
  15. pufferton thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 29, 2010
    @apw1000 well i just bought this imac with Lion installed but the interface worked fine when i was using my MBP with Snow Leopard. i am quite confident that it is an issue with Live and Lion. i have been in contact with Ableton support…done everything they suggested…to no avail :(
  16. themensch, Sep 19, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2011

    themensch macrumors newbie

    Sep 19, 2011
    Hey, I'm having a weird audio issue with my firewire interface in Lion as well - my sounds are dissimilar to yours for the most part, but through a painful process of elimination, it comes down to few things.

    My firewire interface (the original Focusrite Saffire) has been working great for nearly a decade now. Recently, when I record audio through it, at any sample rate, I get weird audio artifacts (clicks) that sound like clipping, but they aren't.

    There are a couple weird conditions:

    1. if I record audio with no other audio playback, I don't get the clicks.
    2. I don't hear the clicks when I monitor directly through my soundcard, nor through my DAW. They only show up in the audio tracks during playback, and they are in the same locations so I know it's not a playback artifact, but something in the track, committed to disk. The turn up when I render stems, in the same spots.

    Here is a sample

    I'm not exactly a noob when it comes to computer audio and working with macbook pros (this is a 7,1 Mid 2010 model) and I've done my due diligence to narrow this down.

    I don't have any problems with audio playback either, it's only recording audio, and only while other audio is playing back through the same firewire soundcard. Sure sounds like the firewire subsystem, eh?

    [EDIT] Hey, found that going into Audio Midi Setup and changing the clock source on my Saffire from the Mac to the Device fixed this issue for me, at least enough to lay down 3 tracks with no artifacts. I hope this helps someone else!
  17. alainc macrumors newbie

    Jul 18, 2011
    i had the same problem with my old Duet. I usually plug it in my FW800 + USB splitter. and later I found out the the issue is with the other peripherals drawing too much power.

    Plugged it back into the FW800 on the machine and it is working fine.
  18. gnestor macrumors newbie

    May 9, 2009

    pufferton, I'm having the same problem with my FireWire 410 on a Late-2011 MacBook Pro running Mac OS X 10.8.2. I've been dealing with it for about 6 months, so it definitely was introduced with OS X 10.7. I'm assuming that the FireWire 401 drivers are incompatible with something that was introduced in OS X 10.7. Did you find a solution?
  19. RMast43 macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2013
    I'm having the same issue with my new iMac. I'm running a firewire 400-800 cable from a Mackie Onyx board. Constant stream of low static-like noise. When I scroll down or open up a program, the noise gets louder. Not sure what to do to fix this.
  20. pfdavidz macrumors newbie

    Mar 28, 2013

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