Old 11-10-2017, 03:20 PM   #1
audiomath
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Default Reaper & Presonus Quantum 26x32 - any tips?

Blowing the dust off and upgrading my "project" studio.

After much hand-wringing, I ordered a Quantum 26x32, computer parts to support Thunderbolt 3, (on Windows 10) and various other pieces either worn or outdated.

Does anyone have any "must do" tips for using the Quantum with Reaper? I'm specifically interested in monitor latency with effects, since I'll be building up tracks one or two at time as I can get people in the door, and dry monitoring isn't all that exciting to most.

The PC is getting a new main board with Thunderbolt. The CPU is a 2-year-old i7-6700K, the boot/scratch drive is SSD, and the storage drive is a good quality 1TB HDD.
I don't know yet which sample rate I'll land on, primarily because I don't know whether I'll need to use the (external) ADAT mic pre's or not. If so, it will be 44.1/24 . If not, probably 96/24 .

I'm rusty with Reaper; I tend to go like crazy on projects then wander off for 5 years or so...

Thanks!
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Old 11-12-2017, 11:30 AM   #2
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The adventure so far:

(1) Thunderbolt is a HUGE PITA to get working on a PC, at least this particular one. After spending all of Saturday on it I have the Quantum working (apparently) fine, but the stupid machine won't shut down - If you tell it to shut down it appears to just log off. This is after a drive wipe and clean legal install of Windows 10 Home.

(2) No interface-based monitor is going to take some getting used to. I "get" the concept, it's just different. 32 samples latency @ 44.1 with one track works fine... I haven't had time yet to try more than that because of the ThunderBolt War.

(3) The default recording metronome in Reaper is sounding nasty... Not a clean click like I remember, more like a short noise impulse. Don't know what's going on there.

(4) I've avoided comment about subjective audio quality from the Quantum yet, since I'm still in the throes of getting the interface working on a Windows PC. I will say this, though - if you want ThunderBolt working on a PC without spilling quarts of blood, buy one that already has it loaded and tested. Hopefully it will get better in time, because while Macs are fine and dandy, I don't want to have to support both Mac and PC.

(5) I may be talking to the wind, but it's at least possible someone may get some benefit out of this down the road.

More later.
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Old 11-12-2017, 08:12 PM   #3
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Turns out disabling "Fast Boot" in the Power Management options fixes the shutdown issue. I also enabled OS-native Hot Swap in the BIOS, so I can power the Quantum up without rebooting the PC.

It cost me over a day of hair-pulling to get the PC issues smoothed out, but at this point the machine boots, runs and shuts down fine and the Quantum links and records/plays quite nicely. As long as it continues to work I'm calling it fixed.

I listened to a few tracks of female vocalists with Sony MDR-V6 cans plugged into Headphone 1, and so far have no complaints.

I won't have it installed in the production desk for a week or three, but assuming something doesn't go pear-shaped between now and then I'll scribble down a micro-review here.
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Old 11-12-2017, 10:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
(3) The default recording metronome in Reaper is sounding nasty... Not a clean click like I remember, more like a short noise impulse. Don't know what's going on there.
That sounds suspiciously like things crapping out because the buffer size is too small for the system to handle.

Do you have the windows power plan set to high performance?

Have you run the resplendence dpc latency monitoring utility to check your dpc latency?
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Old 11-12-2017, 10:08 PM   #5
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Hey drumphill,

Quote:
Originally Posted by drumphil View Post
That sounds suspiciously like things crapping out because the buffer size is too small for the system to handle.

Do you have the windows power plan set to high performance?

Have you run the resplendence dpc latency monitoring utility to check your dpc latency?
Yes on the power plan, and not yet on the DPC latency. I haven't tried a larger buffer primarily because I can record and monitor two tracks at 44.1/32 samples without any pops. I'll try 128 samples as a test and see if that affects it.

I did find a *much* newer ThunderBolt driver from Intel, but after installing it I can't really see where it's made much difference on the OS oddities. Still tinkering.

Thanks!
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Old 11-12-2017, 10:47 PM   #6
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Here's the "in depth" DPC latency test results. I only ran it for a minute, but it looked ok from here.

__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _____
REPORT
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _____
In Depth Latency Tests has been analyzing your system for 0:01:03 (h:mm:ss) on all processors in the system.

Test performed: Tight Loop Latency Test at HIGH_LEVEL IRQL
Tight Loop Latency Test at HIGH_LEVEL IRQL: measure SMIs and CPU stalls. Run test with all maskable interrupts disabled.
NOTE: SMIs that are initiated by software have not been measuded.


Highest latency measured: 22.23470 Ás
This value reflects the highest measured interruption interval of a tight loop spinning at HIGH_LEVEL interrupt request level.


__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _____
PER CPU MEASURINGS
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _____
Highest latency on CPU 0: 21.93423 Ás
Highest latency on CPU 1: 22.23470 Ás
Highest latency on CPU 2: 21.93423 Ás
Highest latency on CPU 3: 21.93423 Ás
Highest latency on CPU 4: 21.93423 Ás
Highest latency on CPU 5: 18.92954 Ás
Highest latency on CPU 6: 21.93423 Ás
Highest latency on CPU 7: 21.93423 Ás


__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _____
SYSTEM INFORMATION
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _____
Computer name: DESKTOP-6MCBCM4
OS version: Windows 10 , 10.0, build: 16299Highest latency on CPU 7: 21.93423 Ás
Hardware: ASUSTeK COMPUTER INC., Z170-PRO
CPU: GenuineIntel Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-6700 CPU @ 3.40GHz
Logical processors: 8
Processor groups: 1
RAM: 16247 MB total
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Old 11-13-2017, 12:25 AM   #7
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... and here's the main window. (attached as resized GIF snip due to size constraints)

I added a ReaVerb (with zero latency switch turned on) to the monitor just for fun, and I did notice one "tick" at 32 samples. I'll play with it some more, of course.

Thanks!
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Old 11-13-2017, 06:17 AM   #8
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I'd recommend to also check the [Drivers] Tab in LatencyMon to see if there are any drivers with high execution time which might be causing trouble.
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Old 11-13-2017, 06:29 AM   #9
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other things to consider. Is your mothervoard bios up to date, and does your motherboard use an intel network interface thingy. They can cause problems.

May be nothing to do with it, but they are common culprits.
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Old 11-13-2017, 01:11 PM   #10
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Thanks for the replies!

Yes, the BIOS is the latest, and yes the MB does have an Intel NIC.
I'll look at the driver tonight and see... The network the box will attach to is a very active 1Gb, so there is definitely potential for it. I do remember seeing NDIS as one of the drivers listed near the top of the DPC latency list.

Also, I did an online chat with ASUS tech support today and he asked me why I didn't put the Tbolt card in PCIe slot 1 as stated in the manual. When I told him the manual just said "an available PCIe slot", he revised it to "put it in Slot 1". So, assuming the GPIO cable reaches that far, I'll try that and see if it changes anything. (The Thunderbolt GPIO header is on the far edge of the board from Slot 1)

If I don't have any more confidence in this PC by the end of the week I may just move it into my office and build a new "Coffee Lake" Z370 system for the studio.

...or buy a Mac, although as previously stated, I'd rather not.
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Old 11-13-2017, 03:41 PM   #11
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worth noting: the latency monitor utility will actually cause dpc latency issues for other programs, so it isn't designed to be run while you run your daw at the same time. You will get audio glitches if you run both.

You may not have any issues at all. Does the oddness you noticed with the click go away if you up the buffer size, and come back if you reduce it again?

If not, then any issue is most likely not to do with the system not keeping up at low latencies.
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:43 PM   #12
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I believe drumphill is correct.

Nothing that shows up in the total report looks out of line, and I think I know what's going on with the metronome - nothing.

Bearing in mind I haven't used Reaper for some time, I remembered the metronome being something like larger and smaller wood block strikes. Now that my aged and unreliable brain has had time to reflect, however I believe it's possible I may have either sampled or downloaded samples. The metronome and click source sound pretty much like they do in the YouTube videos, so I think I fooled myself. Not to mention I set the buffer size to 128 samples and it made difference at all. So far I haven't auditioned more than two concurrent tracks, but that sounded great at 32 samples.

So... I think the sum of the exercise is that I need to bite the bullet and put it into service. Thanks for the responses!
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