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Old 12-13-2007, 09:13 PM   #1
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Default serious problems with TASCAM US-1641 (not necessarily a REAPER issue)

Greetings,

Ended up trying a TASCAM US-1641 sound card tonight, but it ended up having some major issues. The most serious of these problems:

1. An intermittent loss of output signal that varied between instantaneous clicks and several seconds of total silence.

2. Any attempt at lowering the latency (from its default setting) resulted in the TASCAM control application locking up and requiring a cold boot of the PC.

Am running on a Dell Dimension E310, in which all of the (6) USB ports are supposed to be USB 2.0, but I'm wondering if there's a chance that I've hit some issue with maintaining USB 2.0 speed/functionality. Interestingly enough, based on what I saw on the VU meters, the input signal seemed to stay present when the output fell silent. (Even a reboot of the PC caused the Windows power-up sound to play out with a significant amount of clicking/noise.) Or perhaps I just have a defective unit?

REAPER worked flawlessly with my old E-mu 0404, by the way.

Any guidance or insight on this problem would be greatly appreciated. If I can't work things out, though, I suppose I'll just have to send the unit back. (This would be a shame, though, as I could really use something with that many inputs.)

Thanks a lot and take care,


Alan
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Old 12-14-2007, 02:00 PM   #2
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Default follow-up/assistance with USB 2.0 performance

Hi again,

Just a quick update to my problem:

After doing a bit of research to ensure that my Dell Dimension E310 is properly equipped with USB 2.0 ports (which it was), I decided to buy a new cable that was "certified" as being USB 2.0-compliant. Interestingly enough, this improved things a bit, but some similar problems still existed.

At default latency (which is something like 4/17ms per REAPER, although I could be off by a few), I only heard a few clicks that pretty much went away when I pulled out my USB-based wireless (LAN) NIC. However, when I tried lowering the latency by one step (from the middle of five to the next lower setting), REAPER only played for a second or two and then locked up. The strange thing is that, with the new cable, I was actually able to get the US-1641 control panel application to close (unlike before).

Called TASCAM and they didn't really have any conclusive feedback for me. Suggested that I try hooking up the US-1641 to another machine to see if it responded the same way. Hooked it up to my laptop and found that the performance was definitely a lot better, although I still experienced some audible problems at both of the aforementioned speeds--although I was always able to open/close the control panel application, unlike on my desktop. Put in a shorter cable (to the laptop) and the performance also seemed to improve a little at that point as well.

Had the laptop performed exactly like my desktop, the TASCAM tech would have been convinced that I had a defective US-1641. However, since the results were definitely different (although not perfect), I'm beginning to think that the problem may lie with the USB 2.0 performance on my Dell.

So I've been racking my brain with trying to figure out if there's something wrong with the USB 2.0 setup on my Dell, but it's really been hard to find anything conclusive online. If possible, I'm wondering if anyone:

a. Knows if the USB 2.0 ports Dimension E310 are hubbed together in any way. (It seemed as though plugging in a front port on the PC rendered slightly better performance than the rear.)

b. Can help point me to any methods for testing and/or ensuring that something isn't wrong with the way my PC is set up (drivers, BIOS, etc.).

c. Has any additional suggestions.

If I can't get things resolved (fairly quickly), I'll probably have to return the unit for a refund. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks a lot and take care,


Alan
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Old 12-14-2007, 10:21 PM   #3
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Default more news (some of it bad)

Hi again,

Feel a little odd about being the only one to post on my own thread, but thought I'd share the following:

TASCAM directed me to http://www.musicxp.net/ and instructed me to follow all the tuning tips there. Following that, if I still experience any problems, the next recommended step was to uninstall the driver and put it back in from scratch.

Ironically, by the time I got back downstairs to see if they'd sent the email along, REAPER froze after hitting the play button (while still optioned for the US-1641 at default latency). If I don't start seeing much better results, I'm afraid the US-1641 is going to end up being returned. Again, any additional insights/recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers,


Alan
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Old 12-16-2007, 10:36 AM   #4
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Default Tascam US-1641

I have a Dell 1505. A few weeks ago I purchased an M-Audio 410 firewire card. I had the same problems you are experiencing. The short version of my story is I couldn't use the internal Dell firewire port and bought a PCI-express external card, which solved the stability problems. However, I do continue to have a problem with an intermittent noise that I haven't been able to resolve. Research appears that most of the audio hardware manufacturers don’t seem to want to support Dell and their products. I don’t know why, since Dell is the largest computer manufacturer in the world.

I have purchased the US-1641 and expect it next week. I hope I don’t run into the same problems I had before.
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Old 12-16-2007, 01:47 PM   #5
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Default still no luck/probably going to send it back

Hi again,

JG: Thanks a lot for your input. I hope you have better results that I did (with your US-1641). Please keep us posted.

Another update: Went through all the XP "tuning" as requested (by TASCAM support) and the improvement was marginal at best. As this didn't really fix the problem, I decided to try experimenting with all the ASIO-related options in REAPER and found that raising the "ASIO thread priority" was the only way to keep the US-1641 control-panel application from freezing on any latency setting lower than default. Still experienced a lot of crackling at the setting below default (4/7ms per REAPER)--and went back to the default setting (4/17ms) to see if I could at least keep the audio stable (while on the highest "ASIO thread priority" settings). Although it went at least a few minutes without any noticeable glitches, some crackles eventually appeared, eventually followed by another 2-3 second dropout.

BTW, the first TASCAM tech thought my unit might be defective, so I'm considering trying one more just to see if that happens to be the case. (My gut feeling, however, is that it's probably an issue between the US-1641 hardware/connection, its driver, and possibly the USB 2.0 performance of my Dell.) The other oddity with my US-1641 is that the direct input monitoring is way softer than when the same signal is monitored through REAPER (at unity gain)--something I'd say is off my an audible magnitude in the region of 5-10 times, which really makes the direct input monitoring virtually unusable IMO. Plus the S/PDIF input cannot be direct-input monitored at all (verified by TASCAM). By the way, the volume of my E-mu 0404 is consistent whether I monitor directly through Patchmix or via REAPER (with any relevant inputs muted in Patchmix). (This is very handy as I can choose to record without any monitoring latency by going directly through Patchmix or via REAPER with associated ASIO latency.)

Cheers,


Alan
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Old 12-18-2007, 05:52 PM   #6
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Default defective unit?/anyone else using US-1641 with REAPER?

Greetings,

Another quick update:

TASCAM tech suggested that my hardware could be defective and encouraged me to exchange it for a new unit. Started the process today, but it will probably take at least a week or two before the new one arrives (as this was an online purchase). Unfortunately, they have no knowledge of REAPER--and, therefore, are hinting that it might be the source of the problem. (My other tests seem to indicate otherwise, but things have been so flaky and inconsistent that it's hard to know for sure.)

With this in mind, is anyone here using a US-1641 with REAPER successfully? If so, I'm wondering if:

1. you're using TASCAM's driver/firmware--and, if so, which versions.

2. you are able to get it working consistently on the "normal" latency setting--or, even better, with one of the lower-latency settings (assuming you're using TASCAM's driver).

3. you notice a significantly lower output level when monitoring an analog input directly (by turning the "MIX" control all the way to "INPUT"), as opposed to monitoring it through REAPER (or any other DAW) with the "MIX" control set all the way to "COMPUTER"?

4. you have any other insight/experience to offer.

As always, any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks a lot and take care,


Alan
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Old 12-18-2007, 06:53 PM   #7
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Default problems with Tascam US-1641

The one I ordered is suppose to come with Cubase LE. Did yours and if so, have you tried it to see how it performs?
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Old 12-18-2007, 07:40 PM   #8
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Default didn't want to try Cubase LE

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Originally Posted by jgpeacock View Post
The one I ordered is suppose to come with Cubase LE. Did yours and if so, have you tried it to see how it performs?
Thanks a lot for the follow-up question. Actually, I've been trying to keep this particular PC as bare/pure as possible, in order to optimize audio performance. As a result, I try not to load any software that I don't want to use on an ongoing basis. Having really been disappointed with the Cubasis (4, if I recall) program that was bundled with my old E-mu 0404, I decided that it was probably wise to stay away from the Steinberg family of DAWs. In fact, that was one of the factors that led me to look at other DAW software options, which eventually brought me to REAPER.

Take care and thanks again,


Alan
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Old 12-18-2007, 08:46 PM   #9
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Hey Axe-dude,

I've been following your trials with interest. I've used Tascam stuff for years. I have a 788 digital Portastudio that's seen hard use and is still going strong. I'm sure they use different drivers and all but FWIW, I've had a US-122 for several years that has worked flawlessly with just about every PC I've plugged her into. Hang in there... you'll get it sorted out.

D

PS "Santa" is actually bringing me a US-122L this year. My old version 122 is kind of on "permanent loan"...
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Old 12-18-2007, 08:54 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Diogenes View Post
Hey Axe-dude,

I've been following your trials with interest. I've used Tascam stuff for years. I have a 788 digital Portastudio that's seen hard use and is still going strong. I'm sure they use different drivers and all but FWIW, I've had a US-122 for several years that has worked flawlessly with just about every PC I've plugged her into. Hang in there... you'll get it sorted out.

D

PS "Santa" is actually bringing me a US-122L this year. My old version 122 is kind of on "permanent loan"...
Hey D,

Thanks for the show of support. Nice to hear that you've had good luck with the US-122 (and best of luck with the US-122L too). I suppose you could say that I've been a TASCAM user for quite some time as well, with my first purchase being a Porta One back in 1987. As mentioned in another thread or two, I also own a 2488--which, in general, was quite good for the money, but lacks some of the mix-related sophistication of the Roland "VS" line (based on my experience anyway). Really hope that the new US-1641 does the trick, though. (Will definitely keep this thread updated accordingly.)

Cheers,


Alan
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Old 12-21-2007, 08:35 PM   #11
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Default US 1641 arrived today

My US 1641 arrived today. I installed the drivers and hooked it up and all appears to be working fine. I tried recording some noise on a couple of tracks and didn't have any problems. I will try it out for real on Saturday night when I'll record a live band and use 12-14 tracks. I'll update on how thing went.

Jeff
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Old 12-23-2007, 09:03 PM   #12
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Default It Works

Last night I recorded a live concert using my new US-1641 and Reaper. I used my Dell 1505 laptop and threw everything I could at it to see how it performed. I recorded 16 tracks at 24 bit, 48 kHz for a 1 1/2 hour concert. (a total of about 8 gb's of wave files) No crashes, not even a hickup. I even used the M-audio 1410 via Firewire to supply inputs 15 and 16 via digital connection. During the initial sound check I did have to move the drivers to the highest latency setting to eliminate pops and clicks, but the musicians weren't monitoring form the PC, so it wasn't a problem. Tonight, I was able to go back and listen to what was recorded and was very pleased with the quality. I look forward to getting a lot of use from the hardware and of course the incredible Reaper software.
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Old 12-27-2007, 10:21 AM   #13
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jgpeacock,

Mind telling me how you had that unit set up? I'm comparing it to the PreSonus FP10 (Firepod) or the FireStudio as chained off the FOH mixer for live recording.

I've been told that firewire is a better means for recording than USB, but the US-1641 seems to have more bang for the buck.

If you were to bring it off a matrix, direct out, or split off the insert send off the FOH, would you need to use a line level attenuator for the mic inputs on the US-1641?
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Old 12-29-2007, 10:49 AM   #14
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I got my first 14 inputs from an Aviom AN16/o output module. This module provides either mic or line level outputs. I was able to control the signal level with the inputs on the US-1641. Inputs 15 and 16 came from an M-Audio 1410 firewire interface. I used the digital outputs of this unit. I was very surprised that I could use both interfaces at the same time with no problems.

The recording was mostly an experiment of how much I could throw at the system to see if it would crash and it didn't. I didn't use any plug in's during the recording. The concert was about If you want to check out some of the songs I recorded follow this link.

http://www.myspace.com/verge748music
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Old 12-29-2007, 09:57 PM   #15
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I'm keeping my eye on this thread because I'm very interested in the 1641.
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Old 12-30-2007, 07:20 AM   #16
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Default appreciate the feedback/latency setting

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During the initial sound check I did have to move the drivers to the highest latency setting to eliminate pops and clicks, but the musicians weren't monitoring form the PC, so it wasn't a problem.
Appreciate the update and am glad to hear that everything worked out well on the highest latency setting. However, for my purposes, any higher latency than the default (3 out of 5, or what I seem to recall being labeled as "normal latency") is pretty much unacceptable for my particular purposes. This is primarily because:

a. While the "MIX" knob is supposed to allow for you to monitor the analog inputs directly, the volume is nowhere close to what you get monitoring the same signal (at Unity) through the PC--at least on my first unit which has been returned--so it's basically useless.

b. Additionally, you cannot monitor the S/PDIF input directly (by rotating the "MIX" knob to "INPUT") at all.

So, for all intents and purposes, all record-monitoring pretty much has to be done through REAPER (or another DAW of some kind).

While my US-1641 made it back to Musician's Fiend (sic) on 12/24, they have yet to send out a replacement. (Ugh!) In all honesty, I don't have high hopes for the device at the point, but it would be great if I could get the replacement unit working to my satisfaction. If pops/clicks can only be fully eliminated by using the highest latency setting, I'd say the model may turn out to be virtually useless for any application where monitoring is required. (Why would they only supply a driver that's usable at the highest-latency setting anyway?)

Will keep you posted on how it goes. Thanks again for the update.

Cheers,


Alan
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Old 12-31-2007, 06:31 AM   #17
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Default Help!!! I have the same problem with Cubase Le 4

Help!!! I have the same problem with Cubase Le 4

"1. An intermittent loss of output signal that varied between instantaneous clicks and several seconds of total silence."

+ it jammed my PC (jammed my Cubase LE 4) and the only way to unjammed is to close my Tascam US-1641...

Any help would be appreciated: pjolivet@gmail.com

thanks,
PJ
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Old 01-10-2008, 12:24 PM   #18
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Default new unit finally arrived (seems like a noticeable improvement so far)

Greetings,

Well, after waiting quite a while, my replacement US-1641 arrived yesterday. Unpacked the unit today, reinstalled the v1.01 driver, uploaded the v1.01 firmware, and performed a brief initial test.

Connected up a single microphone and created a new project in REAPER for testing (similar to what I had done before, although I also used an electric guitar through a S/PDIF-connected Johnson J-Station in the past as well). At default latency, I'm happy to report that I really didn't hear any clicks/pops/missing audio, except for a few brief occurrences when buttons on REAPER were pressed (start and stop mainly). Moved to the next lower latency setting and heard intermittent clicks within the first few seconds--but it didn't totally lock up like before.

In terms of the mix control, I'm sorry to report that the same level discrepancy exists as before. (The level when the mix control is set all the way to INPUT is, perceptually speaking, around 5-10 times softer than when moved all the way to the COMPUTER side--when monitoring through REAPER with all audio controls set to unity gain.) Will have to experiment a bit, but I fear that it may be virtually impossible to perform any overdubs while listening strictly to the INPUT (due to lack of comparative volume)--and, if this is the case, then I'll have to see if monitoring a performance with ~21 ms of latency is something I can reasonably adjust to. (With my E-mu 0404, I tend to monitor the input, via Patchmix, so there is no noticeable latency whatsoever. If I switch to monitoring through REAPER, though, the level remains identical [through the 0404].)

Am still more than a bit on the fence as to whether the interface will ultimately be acceptable--especially as I primarily record via overdubbing. Once again, would really appreciate additional feedback from anyone else who is using a US-1641 as well (as well as those who may have additional insight here).

Cheers,


Alan
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Old 01-14-2008, 08:54 PM   #19
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Default a brief update

Hi again,

Tested the unit for a little while yesterday and incurred my first serious dropout while still on the default (middle) latency setting. After raising the "ASIO thread priority" to the "highest" setting (and also unplugging my USB wireless), did not experience further dropouts during my relatively short test.

Also began experimenting to see if that ~21 ms monitoring latency would be problematic by trying to record a relatively simple guitar part with REAPER generating a constant metronome. Unfortunately, this turned out to be a huge hassle, as my timing consistently drifted (and my attempts at following the same metronome without monitoring the guitar through REAPER went just fine). On the bright side, I was able to find a reasonable blend of metronome and dry input signal by adjusting the "MIX" control on the US-1641. Note that, for an acoustic recording, the headphone levels were fine, but I'm wondering if achieving a similar blend for recording loud electric guitars may prove to be difficult (given the low direct-monitoring volume of the analog inputs).

So the jury is still out, but I plan to continue testing shortly (and possibly experiment with trying asio4all, just to see if it provides flexibility to improve any performance in regard to latency--although I suspect it may not).

Cheers,


Alan
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Old 01-17-2008, 03:28 AM   #20
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Hi Alan!

I have had the same problems with my US-1641. I have three operating systems on my laptop: Vista Home premium, XP (for audio), Vista Home premium(for audio). The funny thing is that it works fine with the normal Vista, which I use for designing.

The only differences between these OS' are USB control drivers and settings. I haven't done anything to improve the audio performance on the normal Vista. So I guess the problem is related to the settings and drivers.

You could try to install Windows again and get the latest updates and drivers. Just making sure that you haven't attached any USB mass storage device? This could also be the problem..

Btw, what are the key benefits of using REAPER? I tried Cubase LE4, but it did not convince me.

Best regards,

Tuukka

www.myspace.com/tuukkaheikkinen

Last edited by Tuukka; 01-17-2008 at 03:29 AM. Reason: updating a link
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Old 01-17-2008, 07:02 AM   #21
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Hi Alan!

I have had the same problems with my US-1641. I have three operating systems on my laptop: Vista Home premium, XP (for audio), Vista Home premium(for audio). The funny thing is that it works fine with the normal Vista, which I use for designing.

The only differences between these OS' are USB control drivers and settings. I haven't done anything to improve the audio performance on the normal Vista. So I guess the problem is related to the settings and drivers.

You could try to install Windows again and get the latest updates and drivers. Just making sure that you haven't attached any USB mass storage device? This could also be the problem..

Btw, what are the key benefits of using REAPER? I tried Cubase LE4, but it did not convince me.

Best regards,

Tuukka

www.myspace.com/tuukkaheikkinen
Hi Tuukka,

Thanks very much for sharing your experience/insights. Who would have thought that Vista could actually improve performance for an application like this? Given what you've found, I'm also surprised that TASCAM, as well as other USB 2.0 audio vendors, haven't gotten to the bottom of these details and provided appropriate guidance. (As I posted a while back, TASCAM tech support only led me to http://www.musicxp.net/ as a reference for tuning XP. Beyond that, they said my US-1641 might be defective. That's it.)

If the USB drivers turn out to be the only root cause of the problems, I'm wondering if there is any way to identify XP-compatible replacement(s) that can simply be replaced--without the need for doing a complete reinstall of Windows. Also, I want to be able to record to a USB 2.0 drive, although I hook that up to a USB port on the back of the PC, which I'm led to believe is not on the same USB hub as the front ports (where I plug in the US-1641). Otherwise, I'd have to stick with recording to the system drive, which is generally understood to be a bad thing.

The benefits of REAPER? Where should I begin? First of all, I suppose I should state that my only previous Steinberg (DAW) experience was with Cubasis VST 4, as that's what came bundled with my old E-mu 0404 PCI card. Tried using it a few times, but the interface just seemed extremely non-intuitive. Additionally, there were some very simple functions I needed to perform and it just wasn't capable of supporting them in any reasonable manner. As a result, I eventually decided that the Cubase line probably wasn't a good fit for me. (Additionally, Cubase LE does not support some of the basic features I'd envision using on a fairly regular basis.)

OK, on to some of the reasons I chose REAPER:

- The ability to fully test/use the program while still in my 30-day evaluation period.

- Once I understood a few basic techniques (most of which I figured out on the fly with little difficulty), it was really easy to do 95% of what I wanted to do. While I tried reading through the manual once (in advance), it was extremely gratifying to go through my first real recording session without ever having to even crack the manual.

- On the rare occasion when I get stuck, or even just need some advice, the wonderful people here are almost always able to help. Additionally, the most important feature request I had (although also requested by others in the past) was implemented during my trial period. Also, as an aside, the "Web 2.0" support methodology is very much in sync with what I do for a living. (My music career consistently operates at a loss, so it is strictly an artistic endeavor.)

- REAPER is incredibly efficient. I'm still trying to wrap my head around how a 3.1 MB installer can support such a robust, intuitive recording platform. The fact that you can run it off a USB memory stick is also extremely helpful. (Would rather not install the application on my work laptop, but was able to sanity check some recent recordings while on a business trip that way. Very convenient!)

- Support for both VST and DX plugins, plus a host of great effects (including the JS effects) that come bundled with the program.

- The ease of importing and (especially) exporting audio for use with other DAW platforms. (Work with older versions of Pro Tools LE in both of my bands.)

- REAPER also features a lot of flexibility--and, at the same time, it is fairly easy to understand how everything works. Unlimited tracks (based on PC performance limitations) is also very appealing.

OK, I think I've hit all the major points. (By the way, are you stating that REAPER did not convince you--or were you referring to Cubase LE?) I hope this helps.

Cheers,


Alan
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Old 01-17-2008, 09:40 AM   #22
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Hi axeman,

I also noticed occassional audio dropouts (about 2 seconds!). I am running Vista 32. I do not think that the problem is related to anything else than buggy/bad drivers. Also I noticed audible changing latencies during playing.
The test of the card by the German Online magazine Amazona shows the same results:
http://amazona.de/index.php?page=26&...rticle_id=1594

So let's hope there will soon be an update.
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Old 01-17-2008, 10:41 AM   #23
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Hi axeman,

I also noticed occassional audio dropouts (about 2 seconds!). I am running Vista 32. I do not think that the problem is related to anything else than buggy/bad drivers. Also I noticed audible changing latencies during playing.
The test of the card by the German Online magazine Amazona shows the same results:
http://amazona.de/index.php?page=26&...rticle_id=1594

So let's hope there will soon be an update.
Hi Moss,

Thanks for sharing your experience, as well as the link. Like yourself (and the article, from what I can tell based on a Google translation), I've always felt that the TASCAM driver software was probably the root cause of the issue--although I'm also starting to think that there may be some accompanying issues surrounding the use of USB 2.0 for digital audio in general. The hard decision will probably be whether to return the unit (for a refund) or keep it with the expectation that TASCAM will eventually publish a stable driver to resolve these issues.

Cheers,


Alan
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Old 01-18-2008, 12:16 AM   #24
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See what DPC Latency checker says, my dell's give me the same grief if I run USB audio
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Old 01-18-2008, 02:06 AM   #25
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Quote:
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Thanks for sharing your experience, as well as the link. Like yourself (and the article, from what I can tell based on a Google translation), I've always felt that the TASCAM driver software was probably the root cause of the issue--although I'm also starting to think that there may be some accompanying issues surrounding the use of USB 2.0 for digital audio in general.
I forgot to mention that those problems appear with other audio applications as well and not only in Reaper.
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Old 01-18-2008, 02:43 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by axeman View Post
Hi Tuukka,

Thanks very much for sharing your experience/insights. Who would have thought that Vista could actually improve performance for an application like this? Given what you've found, I'm also surprised that TASCAM, as well as other USB 2.0 audio vendors, haven't gotten to the bottom of these details and provided appropriate guidance. (As I posted a while back, TASCAM tech support only led me to http://www.musicxp.net/ as a reference for tuning XP. Beyond that, they said my US-1641 might be defective. That's it.)

If the USB drivers turn out to be the only root cause of the problems, I'm wondering if there is any way to identify XP-compatible replacement(s) that can simply be replaced--without the need for doing a complete reinstall of Windows. Also, I want to be able to record to a USB 2.0 drive, although I hook that up to a USB port on the back of the PC, which I'm led to believe is not on the same USB hub as the front ports (where I plug in the US-1641). Otherwise, I'd have to stick with recording to the system drive, which is generally understood to be a bad thing.

The benefits of REAPER? Where should I begin? First of all, I suppose I should state that my only previous Steinberg (DAW) experience was with Cubasis VST 4, as that's what came bundled with my old E-mu 0404 PCI card. Tried using it a few times, but the interface just seemed extremely non-intuitive. Additionally, there were some very simple functions I needed to perform and it just wasn't capable of supporting them in any reasonable manner. As a result, I eventually decided that the Cubase line probably wasn't a good fit for me. (Additionally, Cubase LE does not support some of the basic features I'd envision using on a fairly regular basis.)

OK, on to some of the reasons I chose REAPER:

- The ability to fully test/use the program while still in my 30-day evaluation period.

- Once I understood a few basic techniques (most of which I figured out on the fly with little difficulty), it was really easy to do 95% of what I wanted to do. While I tried reading through the manual once (in advance), it was extremely gratifying to go through my first real recording session without ever having to even crack the manual.

- On the rare occasion when I get stuck, or even just need some advice, the wonderful people here are almost always able to help. Additionally, the most important feature request I had (although also requested by others in the past) was implemented during my trial period. Also, as an aside, the "Web 2.0" support methodology is very much in sync with what I do for a living. (My music career consistently operates at a loss, so it is strictly an artistic endeavor.)

- REAPER is incredibly efficient. I'm still trying to wrap my head around how a 3.1 MB installer can support such a robust, intuitive recording platform. The fact that you can run it off a USB memory stick is also extremely helpful. (Would rather not install the application on my work laptop, but was able to sanity check some recent recordings while on a business trip that way. Very convenient!)

- Support for both VST and DX plugins, plus a host of great effects (including the JS effects) that come bundled with the program.

- The ease of importing and (especially) exporting audio for use with other DAW platforms. (Work with older versions of Pro Tools LE in both of my bands.)

- REAPER also features a lot of flexibility--and, at the same time, it is fairly easy to understand how everything works. Unlimited tracks (based on PC performance limitations) is also very appealing.

OK, I think I've hit all the major points. (By the way, are you stating that REAPER did not convince you--or were you referring to Cubase LE?) I hope this helps.

Cheers,


Alan
Thanks for your reply.
I was referring to Cubase LE4. I think it was not intuitive enough.

The 1641 manual says that you should not have any kind of mass storage connected. It will eat the same bandwidth..

You can see the bandwidth statuses from Device manager -> USB bus controllers -> "USB 2.0. controller" -> Additional settings. You can try also to disable the USB 1.1 controllers.

Does someone know why system is reserving 20% of the bandwidth all the time?

Why is it a bad thing to record to system drive? Would it be ok to record to a different partition instead?

Tuukka
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Old 01-18-2008, 06:26 AM   #27
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Hi again,

Quote:
Originally Posted by pipelineaudio View Post
See what DPC Latency checker says, my dell's give me the same grief if I run USB audio
Thanks a lot for reminding me about this tool. Will give it a shot and report my findings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuukka View Post
Thanks for your reply.
I was referring to Cubase LE4. I think it was not intuitive enough.

The 1641 manual says that you should not have any kind of mass storage connected. It will eat the same bandwidth..

You can see the bandwidth statuses from Device manager -> USB bus controllers -> "USB 2.0. controller" -> Additional settings. You can try also to disable the USB 1.1 controllers.

Does someone know why system is reserving 20% of the bandwidth all the time?

Why is it a bad thing to record to system drive? Would it be ok to record to a different partition instead?

Tuukka
My pleasure. Actually, I haven't even powered up the external USB hard drive while testing with the US-1641 (yet). Am trying to see how fast/stable I can get things prior to injecting any other variables into the equation.

Appreciate the tips on dealing with the USB controllers. Will probably dig through there, after running the DPC Latency Checker tool (as Pipeline recommended).

I think I can answer your final question: It's bad to record to the system drive because the system routinely has to access it. Therefore, you are sacrificing disk/disk-access performance by interleaving your digital audio with system-related access. I don't think different partitions would help (with the exception of reducing fragmentation on the audio partition), as you're still stuck with the same disk access bandwidth and spindle speed.

By the way, I finally had a chance to try adding a few more parts to my US-1641 test recording last night. Everything seemed to be going OK for about 15 minutes or so, but then the audio output started chopping up quite a bit. Ended up changing the only remaining options I could think of, which I believe included clicking on REAPER's "Pre-zero output buffers, useful on some hardware (higher CPU use)" and "Ignore ASIO reset messages (needed for some buggy drivers)" settings--as well as forcing the US-1641's clock source to internal (instead of auto). (I kept the US-1641's latency setting at "normal" for the entire session.) After enabling these changes, I did not detect any further dropouts/choppiness for the 30 minutes or so before I shut down.

One interesting thing: It seems like all the problems are associated with playback (don't even have to be recording anything or presenting any audio signal to a single input when the dropouts start up), although I'm not sure if the US-1641 actually sends USB data for the audio on all 16 channels, even if nothing is attached (presumably all-zeros)--or if it's smart enough to set a threshold under which not to bother sending data toward the PC (so that unused inputs do not waste USB bandwidth). If I have time, I may hook up as many microphones as I can find and just try recording them all at once, just to see if and how that affects performance.

Take care and thanks again,


Alan
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Old 01-18-2008, 09:08 AM   #28
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Quote:
#

FireWire, uses a "Peer-to-Peer" architecture in which the peripherals are intelligent and can negotiate bus conflicts to determine which device can best control a data transfer

#

Hi-Speed USB 2.0 uses a "Master-Slave" architecture in which the computer handles all arbitration functions and dictates data flow to, from and between the attached peripherals (adding additional system overhead and resulting in slower data flow control
From this page here... http://www.usb-ware.com/firewire-vs-usb.htm

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Old 01-18-2008, 02:20 PM   #29
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Default DPC Latency Checker results (ay caramba!)

Hi again,

Had the opportunity to run DPC Latency Checker on the PC and found some very interesting results:

Started with my USB-based WLAN card in, as I needed it to download the application anyway. When I first launched the tool, it seemed to indicate average USB latency of nearly 40 μs, with an initial peak at 746 μs. Let it run for about 5-10 minutes and then caught a big spike up to 4350 μs. Figured it was time to pull the WLAN card out and start fresh.

As I suspected, things got a lot better right away. The average latency was around 10-15 μs, with the maximum captured at 44 μs. Let it run for about 15 minutes and eventually caught a spike all the way up to 88 μs. Based on this set of results, I thought things might actually be OK.

So I figured it might be a good idea to plug in the US-1641 at this point and see how that affected the readings--and this is where things started to disintegrate:

Initially caught some spikes up to 2438 μs (which led the program to prompt that digital audio/video would probably experience dropouts). Let it sit for a while and the spikes actually increased all the way up to 3199 μs. Started REAPER at this point and the maximum latency jumped up a little to 3255 μs right away. After playing a bit of my test recording, however, that raised all the way up to 4495 μs and eventually peaked at 5168 μs. At this point I shut REAPER down, which caused an even bigger spike--up to 7525 μs--but that, in itself, didn't really surprise me, as I figured there might be some bindings to release.

I restarted REAPER and decided to try adjusting the latency setting within the US-1641 driver. Meant to start by increasing the latency to maximum ("highest"), but accidentally went to the other extreme ("lowest")--and all hell broke loose. DPC Latency Checker showed a lot of spikes, with the highest reaching 17421 μs, right before REAPER hung (at which point the US-1641 driver-setting application would not open). Rebooted and set the US-1641 for maximum latency and still saw reasonably bad performance, with averages in the 30 μs range and a significant peak at 2631 μs.

Based on these results, am I correct in assuming that the US-1641 and/or its driver is really the most likely source for these performance problems? Is there any reason to expect that the USB ports/drivers/BIOS on the Dell is still at least a significant part of the problem?

By the way, I attached four of the screen shots to this message, just in case anyone wants to check out the details. Here's a brief legend (in chronological order):

- final_sample_no_WLAN.JPG (taken with WLAN out, before attaching the US-1641)
- 2nd_sample_after_playing_audio.JPG (taken after the US-1641 was inserted and audio played in REAPER)*
- 1st_sample_after_stopping_REAPER.JPG (taken after REAPER was stopped).
- with_lowest_latency setting.JPG (captured right before REAPER crashed, after accidentally setting the US-1641 for lowest latency)

*Uploaded this one last, so it's out of order in the attachment list (but in the proper order of the items as listed above).

Assessments/additional insights extremely welcome.

Take care and thanks again for all the help,


Alan
Attached Images
File Type: jpg final_sample_no_WLAN.JPG (43.9 KB, 337 views)
File Type: jpg 1st_sample_after_stopping_REAPER.JPG (53.0 KB, 291 views)
File Type: jpg with_lowest_latency setting.JPG (58.1 KB, 305 views)
File Type: jpg 2nd_sample_after_playing_audio.JPG (53.9 KB, 298 views)
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Old 01-19-2008, 04:28 AM   #30
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Have you sent these results to Tascam and asked for an improved driver? I think that would be a good idea.
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Old 01-19-2008, 04:52 AM   #31
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Have you sent these results to Tascam and asked for an improved driver? I think that would be a good idea.
Hey Moss,

Before taking action, I really want to verify that I'm interpreting the test results (and their implications) properly. Additionally, I have been far less than impressed with both the knowledge and responsiveness of TASCAM's "Operational Support" team thus far--however that won't stop me from trying to escalate this issue if I can move forward with at least reasonable assurance that these test results prove their driver to be faulty.

With this in mind:

1. I'd really appreciate any meaningful feedback in regard to assessing the test results (as posted above).

2. Would welcome similar test results from others who are using different USB 2.0 audio interfaces--particularly if theirs work well (especially when deployed with low latency settings). I would think having a reasonable point of comparison could prove to be very helpful.

Once I have enough data, I definitely plan to move forward in one way or another. (Am also running out of time to simply return the unit and start fresh, at the cost of return shipment and needing to start all over from scratch.)

Thanks a lot and take care,


Alan
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Old 01-19-2008, 07:02 PM   #32
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The 1641 manual says that you should not have any kind of mass storage connected. It will eat the same bandwidth..
Hi again Tuukka,

I had to revisit some guitar parts for my second band today--and, as I've just received the multitrack recording from a festival show we did in 2006, I decided to use that recording as my basis for relearning some of the sections that I had forgotten over time. As all those tracks are on my external USB 2.0 drive, I figured it might be a good opportunity to see how connecting/using "mass storage" might affect the DPC latency.

First of all, I noticed a few dropouts with the US-1641 on its default latency setting (something that really hasn't happened when I've tested off the system drive). Opened up the DPC Latency Checker tool and caught some big spikes around the 4 ms (4000 μs) range, with both the US-1641 and external hard drive running. Raising the US-1641's latency setting by one notch seemed to help, but that would definitely create too much latency for overdubbing purposes (7 ms in/29 ms out, per REAPER).

While I was at it, I disconnected the US-1641 and tried running the 24-track recording through my E-mu 0404 (PCI) card instead. Interestingly, the external drive access (with the US-1641 detached) caused intermittent DPC latency peaks that almost reached 1 ms, so I can see why TASCAM makes the recommendation to avoid external mass storage--as the additive load really seems like it could impact low-latency audio performance.

Now this makes my situation even tricker because, if I keep the US-1641, I'll either have to record on the system drive or figure out if/how to add a second internal drive to optimize performance. I seem to recall the PC only having one PCI slot as well, although the specs claim there are two. (Maybe there's a factory-installed modem in the other one. I have to check.) So, if I decide to send back the US-1641, it will be a challenge to figure out whether to buy a FireWire card/interface or maybe just stick with PCI (and possibly rip out my E-mu 0404). Actually, since Musician's Fiend (sic) took so long to send my replacement unit, I may have to make up my mind fairly quickly. Argh!

Cheers,


Alan
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Old 01-20-2008, 02:44 PM   #33
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Default another brief update

Hi again,

Just a quick update to report that I resumed working on my little test piece again today. Decided to try setting the ASIO thread priority to "time critical" before starting the session and left it that way throughout. Kept the driver latency at "normal" as well.

Added sitar guitar through my S/PDIF-connected J-Station, organ via MIDI (which also tested the MIDI I/O on the US-1644), and 5-string bass. Did not hear or experience any noticeable glitches this time around. Additionally, the MIDI timing seemed perfect. Am also using the system drive for this particular test recording, by the way.

If this level of performance/stability lasts, I may just go ahead and keep the interface. At least now, with all the tweaking and experimentation, the performance level is now at least bordering on what I would consider to be acceptable. Additionally, it seems as though I can adjust to the ~21 ms threshold of usable PC-monitoring latency (between adjusting the "MIX" knob and the right amount of bleed-through).

Still want to add a few more instruments to the test piece, if possible--and then make another test recording, using as many microphones as possible all recording at the same time (just to see what happens when most/all the inputs are definitely sending audio data). After that, I'll probably have to make my final decision.

Thanks again to everyone who has helped me get a better grip on all these issues.

Cheers,


Alan
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Old 01-21-2008, 12:24 PM   #34
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Default looks like I'm keeping it

Hi again,

I finished up my test piece last night, adding violin and then recording the MIDI-triggered organ to audio as well. As far as a short multitrack test recording is concerned, I think this pretty much took care of everything I'd need to do (with the exception of eventually recording drums, but I think that will probably be OK too) on the US-1641.

As what will probably be my final pair of performance tests, prior to making a final decision regarding keeping/returning the US-1641, I successfully recorded the following two scenarios this morning:

1. Simultaneously record/monitor 14 inputs (including both S/PDIF channels) at 44.1kHz.

2. Simultaneously record/monitor 12 tracks at 96kHz/24-bit resolution (no S/PDIF).

NOTE: Inadvertently performed the first test at the driver's "high" latency (~7/29 ms in/out) setting, but restored it to "normal" (~4/17 ms in/out) for the second.

Used the following inputs for testing:

- 8 microphones, connected to mic inputs 1-8
- 2 unbalanced mics, connected to instrument inputs (9-10)
- a stereo organ patch, fed through a Mackie mixer, with balanced outputs connected to inputs 11-12
- an electric guitar plugged into a Johnson J-station, connected to the US-1641 via S/PDIF (stereo)

After monitoring in headphones, made the brief test recordings by singing out loud while playing an organ chord with my right hand (and tapping on the guitar with my left hand in the first instance). Am extremely happy to report that the entire pair of tests went perfectly--with no dropouts whatsoever. So, based on all the tweaking I've done, it looks like I'll end up keeping the US-1641 and simply adapting to its shortcomings.

Thanks, once again, to all those who helped along the way.

Cheers,


Alan
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Old 02-05-2008, 01:04 AM   #35
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Hi, folks. I'm entirely new here. Here's my experience with the US-1641, although my problems may be unrelated to what you're experiencing. This is actually a unit that an acquaintance of mine bought. He speaks little english and needed my help.

Here's how it went. We bought the unit online from a registered dealer, ScitScat. When it arrived, we right away noticed that the input levels were unusually low. Even with the trim pot almost all the way up, the decibels showing up in his Samplitude hardly approached -15 to -10dbs, which is considerably short of the desirable -6db for recording. And to get the -6, he had to turn the trim ALL the way up, and the singer had to pretty much touch the mic whilst singing. This was odd, as the little LED showed that the card itself was receiving strong signals, but the daw never received them. We reinstalled the drivers and tried again, but it was the same. Besides, with the trim jacked up, (LED showed reds) the sound was already distorted and unusable. I suggested we try a condenser, as their sensitivity is usually better. The improvement was negligible, as the trim still had to be nearly maxed out to get an average of -6.

So I call Tascam, and after about 10 minutes of wasting my life on listening to their crappy background music, I finally got to talk to a "tech rep", who sounded like he just quit his job at McDonalds and took this one. He took my name, address and the rest, and made a "profile" account in their system. Then he asked about my problem. I thoroughly explained our input level problem, and that we tried different types of mics, cables, and reinstalls. Well, guess what? His one and only advice was to try and reinstall the drivers. Again. And then if that doesn't work to call back. (What a way to rub someone off so you can go take your smoke break, huh?) Fine, said I. I went and reinstalled the drivers. No improvement. In fact I did them one better, and took the card to my own music PC, and istalled the drives fresh. Then tried it through my Sonar, and Samplitude. Still the same. I then tried a different USB cable. No improvement. Long by now I knew that the problem was in the card iteself, but I had to do every possible thing, just so I could prevent them from rubbing me off again next time I call. Which I did. With shipping and our experiments, 30 days have expired and no return could be made to the dealer, only and exchange/repair through manufacturer.

Again I called, sacrificing my lunch break for fifteen minutes of their 8-bit telephone symphony, then when I finally get to talk to someone, they tell me that the guys from the "tech support" are currently on lunch, and that I should call back later in 40 minutes or so. (My steam level rising...) OK, said i.

An hour later, interupting my work, I called again, for yet another 10 minutes of goofy music, and then some teen-age brat sounding kid finally took my call, sounding kinda like he was doing ME, THE CUSTOMER a favor!!! I patiently gave him my name and address again, and he pulled up my account, and by golly what joy - nothing from my previous call was there, as he started asking me the same elementary questions all over again! I explained to him EVERYTHING that I did try and remedy the situation, trying a variety of dynamic and phantom mics, different cables, different PC's, native hosts, etc. He goes on to ask things like "Well, did you have the phantom power button ON?" (They must be reading this crap off a list of "stuff to ask"). I said politely, "of course we had it on, how else would we use condenser mics at all"? To this he snapped at me and raised his voice, yelling "I don't know, I'm just asking you a question!!!"
I realized this was going nowhere, so I asked simply to tell me how to exchange the item. He said they don't do exchanges, but only repairs, either by sending in to them, or taking it to one of their approved repair contractors in town.

We sent it in to them, with a letter of thorough explanation of the problems. After two months, the card hadn't arrived. I call them, and imagine my shock when I find out that they already shipped it back out a month ago, but to the other side of United States - to Florida (we're in Washington). Yes, instead of using our return address, which was both on the package and the required copy of the receipt, they took the address of the store that originally sold to us, as it was on the receipt as well. This was a new low in records of customer support in my book. They truly must be the dejected lot of the fast food industry.

Anyways, I called ScitScat, and sure enough they had received an unanticipated package with refurbed goods - something they never sell anyways. We had to again pay 17$ of shipping at our own expense to get it back to us. Fine.

Now that it's here, we realize, that Tascam had actually replaced the entire unit, as this one was assembled in china, while the former was made in mexico. And the new one was more blueish, istead of black. Well, we go to try it, and guess what? STILL the same low levels!!! Except one difference is that it doesn't distort the sound anymore even with the trim all the way up. So I thought to myself, hmmm two brand new cards in a row can't be screwed up this way. Is it actually designed to be like this? So i opened the manual and looked up input impedance on the 8 xlr input channels - it's 2.2 kOhms. Compare that to Presonus 1.3k ohms. Yes, I know that every circuit design is different, and that there are other ones with even higher values out there, like Mackie's usb series with 2.4k ohms mic inputs. But whether they use more powerful preamps, or whatever, their products rock, and they leave you plenty of overhead on your trimpots. Plus I've never seen a software control hub so poor, small, featureless and useless as the one on us-1641. Ages behind the rock-solid, all-inclusive PatchMix of my e-mu1820m.

Basically we got a crappy product, giving us no input overhead (kinda like having to drive your car floored all the way, just to get your 60 miles per hour). And I get the lousiest service imaginable - here, in the states! I might as well be talking to someone in Mumbai about cancelling a credit card. At least they don't yell at you for paying them your hard earned money.

Personally, I swore to myself never again to buy anything from them, long as I live. They seem to be more concerned with their TEAC consumer junk anyways. At this point we gave up.
He's gonna finish his album (using it "pedal-to-the-metal" on inputs, or using another mixer to preamplify the sound further, before feeding to the tascam). And then we'll sell/trade this piece of crap for a firepod. A motu 8pre would be ideal, but price forbids. But then again, like mama always taught, you get what you pay for...

Sorry for rambling. Had to share... Comments?
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Old 02-05-2008, 06:49 AM   #36
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Comments?
Hey Maestro,

Sounds like you really had a difficult time there. Have only used my US-1641 for a small test recording thus far, but did not seem to have any trouble with getting enough signal out of the trims/mic preamps. In fact, my second acoustic guitar track, recorded with an Oktava MC-012, actually hit 0 dB by accident--and the trim pot was not even close to being all the way up (probably around 1 or maybe 2 o'clock, if I remember correctly).

Also, while there were definitely many issues with the interface, I have to say that the analog inputs record extremely cleanly. In fact, a good friend was having trouble with noisy preamps in his audio interface and asked if I would send a WAV recorded with the US-1641 for comparison. Sent along a (looped) three-pass lead vocal take and it was so quiet that my friend challenged as to whether I had actually taken steps to actively remove any noise.

Looking forward to putting the US-1641 through a lot more use in the future, but figured it was only fair to share its virtues as well--particularly in relation to what you've experienced. Agree about the low quality of TASCAM's support line, though (although my experience wasn't quite as bad as yours). Best of luck!

Take care,


Alan
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Old 02-21-2008, 08:21 AM   #37
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Default more dropout resurfaced/question about what appeared to fix

Greetings,

Well, I thought I had everything settled with the US-1641, but have started to experience intermittent dropouts again--even though the configuration has remained constant (default/medium latency setting on driver, "time critical" thread priority, "Pre-zero output buffers, useful on some hardware," and "Ignore ASIO reset messages" all checked/selected).

During last night's session, the dropouts became so frequent that I decided to see what other options might help and, in a fit of desperation, tried unchecking:

"Allow projects to override device sample rate"

And, to my surprise, not only did that eliminate the dropouts, but it seemed to have improved my (through-REAPER) monitoring latency as well.

This seems more than a bit odd to me, but was hoping that someone who knows more about this option can shed more light on the subject--and why this option, in particular, seems to have improved things so dramatically.

Thanks a lot and take care,


Alan
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Old 03-19-2008, 03:17 PM   #38
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Default I'm interested in this product but I need to be able to overdub.

As I understand it, Axeman, If you are playing audio out the same interface you are playing in, it should be in sync for an overdub. But you monitor it through a separate sound card because of the headphone jack live audio thing.

I see in the manual that there are audio outputs to the 1641 (pic attached). Have you tried monitoring from there during overdub?

Hope you get this soon and thanks for the inside tip in advance
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Old 03-19-2008, 04:52 PM   #39
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Default US-1641 Well see

Hi,

I have read all your posts out there. I am currently using my US-1641 with Sonar 7. I am having issues with latency during overdubs. The machine I am running is plenty powerful, it is an HP.
Anyways it has been suggested to me by a friend that uses the US-1641 to get a seperate USB 2.0 expantion card. I just purchased it today. I will let you all know how that works out. I really want it to work.
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Old 03-19-2008, 05:27 PM   #40
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As I understand it, Axeman, If you are playing audio out the same interface you are playing in, it should be in sync for an overdub. But you monitor it through a separate sound card because of the headphone jack live audio thing.

I see in the manual that there are audio outputs to the 1641 (pic attached). Have you tried monitoring from there during overdub?

Hope you get this soon and thanks for the inside tip in advance
Greetings,

Yes, I have successfully overdubbed with the US-1641, although it still tends to be a bit flaky every now and then, as I sometimes experience intermittent dropouts at the default ("normal") latency setting--and, for my purposes, anything higher is unusable for overdubbing. A few related points:

1. Unless you deploy ASIO4ALL (which I haven't), only one audio interface can be used at a time. Therefore, if I'm recording through the US-1641, that's my only option for monitoring as well.

2. I've monitored through the on-board headphone jack, as well as the monitor outputs, and everything has remained in sync.

3. The "MIX" knob also allows you to monitor the direct analog inputs (summed in mono), what you're getting back through REAPER (or any DAW), or any combination in between. The biggest problem, however, is that the volume of the direct input monitoring is incredibly low--which, in my assessment, constitutes a serious design flaw. You should be able to monitor an input signal, or the same signal routed through a DAW at unity gain, and the volume should be identical (when you've got the "MIX" knob at one end or the other), but that is simply not the case here.

4. You cannot direct-input monitor the S/PDIF input.

I hope this helps.

Cheers,


Alan
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