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#76488 - 06/17/10 09:45 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Audio Breaks Up When Using Real Tracks
jimco Offline
Newbie

Registered: 04/24/10
Posts: 13
Two days ago I downloaded Biab Pro (build 299) to evaluate before possibly upgrading from Biab 2004 to the Ultrapluspak. Installed into the default location with no problem, but I can't get Real Tracks to play correctly. After I hit 'play', usually sometime within the next couple of minutes the audio will break up and slow down. This will continue for several minutes. All during this period from the time I hit 'play' Windows Task Manager shows bbw.exe as using almost 100 % of cpu. Meanwhile the controls and buttons stop responding and the dialog boxes will not open or only partially draw. If the song is set to loop then this can go on indefinitely. Sometimes the problem will resolve itself after a few minutes and the cpu usage will drop below 50% and the controls become active again. Here is what I have tried so far:


Shut off anti-virus
Shut off web browser
Turned off dsl modem
Changed audio drivers from a Sound Blaster usb card to the computer's integrated audio
Turned off DXi instruments
Turned off midi drivers
Changed default setting to not allow faster generation of Fast Tracks
Made song tempo match Real Styles tempo to eliminate stretching
Turned off reverb both in Real Tracks preferences and on the toolbar dialog.
Used the 'verify' button in Real Tracks Settings -- found no problem
Checked the help file, manual and FAQ for troubleshooting of audio breakup but could only find two suggestions -- to turn off video hardware acceleration which I did, and to ask on this forum.
I previously had used msconfig to use Selective Startup. I only have 5 items checked to start.
Have not defragged the hard drive recently -- will do so tonight.


Rarely I can hit 'play' and not have any problem at all. This happened a few minutes ago when I loaded my Biab file of How High the Moon at 140 bpm. I selected Real Style _JAZFRED which is also 140 bpm. From the moment it started cpu was under 50% and all controls were active. But while it was playing I hit 'freeze all tracks' so that it would not regenerate later, but after I stopped it and restarted it regenerated anyway (I did not force regeneration) and then immediately went into breakup. I was able to use 'freeze tracks' successfully once last night but I could not get it to work today with repeated attempts. It will say 'all tracks are frozen' but will regenerate them anyway.


The problem seems less severe if a style has fewer Real Tracks. For example earlier I played a demo file of a =CNORAHG style that only had a guitar Real Track. It was set to loop and it played through perfectly okay for 4 or 5 times before it started breaking up.


My system:
Dell Inspiron 1100 laptop
XP
Celeron 2.3 GHz (not a Pentium but speed wise it is supposed to equal a 1.4 GHz Pentium-M)
1 Gb ram (can't add more, already maxed out but at least XP doesn't hog it as much as Vista or 7)
Page file size 1533 Mb
Hard drive 5200 rpm 80 Gb, plus an 80 Gb usb backup drive.
Sigmatel AC97 internal audio; Soundblaster Mp3+ external usb sound card.
No external midi devices connected to the computer.
System and power settings setup for max performance.


I suspect that Real Tracks is just not going to work on my system. My question -- is this a known problem on certain systems and/or configurations?


Jim

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#76489 - 06/17/10 10:03 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Audio Breaks Up When Using Real Tracks [Re: jimco]
manning1 Offline
Expert

Registered: 05/08/05
Posts: 1992
Loc: Canada
jimco..
firstly run this..
lets see if you get red spikes.
please post back results.
http://www.thesycon.de/deu/latency_check.shtml
i suspect you will.

i frankly wouldnt use that lappie.
due to the weak celeron processor ,
and i suspect the internal drive is another issue.
sometimes you can get away with useing a low end lappie..
but most times not.
let me also say imho current lappie technology needs redesigning.
which is why ive stayed desktop myself.
for more tips , see my tips thread in the tips n triks section of the forum.
if you want to see a lappie properly designed for audio work that studios use
(but outside most peoples budgets.)
http://www.adkproaudio.com/laptop2.cfm
check out the quad core lappies. these have proper processors n drives n chipsets etc.
all the best.
_________________________
retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly songs...motagator.com/bmanning
see my tips in the tips section.

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#76490 - 06/17/10 10:27 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Audio Breaks Up When Using Real Tracks [Re: manning1]
Matt Finley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 17411
Loc: Hudson Valley & Lake George NY
Some random reactions:

The latency checker is a terrific tool to rule out an offending program. Your situation, though, sounds like just plain equipment overload. Let us know if defragging the hard drive helps. Before you defrag, remember to erase your browser cache and delete temporary Internet files, then empty the recycle bin.

Try: In Options, Preferences, Real Tracks, uncheck Speed Up Generation of Real Tracks.

I don't think it's ever been explained how Freeze Tracks work, but I suspect it uses more RAM, which you do not have a lot of.
_________________________
BIAB 2018 Win Audiophile; [& 2018 Mac UltraPak]. Software: Mixcraft, Adobe Audition, Ozone, Encore; Win 10 64 Pro. Hardware: custom i7, 16 Gb; Roland Integra-7, Focusrite 18i20(2), TCE Finalizer, Behringer X-Touch, Adam sub & monitors.

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#76491 - 06/17/10 10:32 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Audio Breaks Up When Using Real Tracks [Re: manning1]
jimco Offline
Newbie

Registered: 04/24/10
Posts: 13
manning1,
Thanks for sharing your opinion. Frankly I would not use this laptop either if I had something better. But I don't so if it's a choice between Biab and this Inspiron then I'll be sticking with Biab 2004. If I am ever able to afford another computer I am going back to a desktop. However that will be some time away and that purchase will use up my budget for extras like upgrading Biab.

As for DPC Latency Checker I have that utility on my computer and only get green bars. Thanks for that suggestion.

Jim

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#76492 - 06/17/10 10:43 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Audio Breaks Up When Using Real Tracks [Re: Matt Finley]
jimco Offline
Newbie

Registered: 04/24/10
Posts: 13
Matt,

Thanks for sharing your thought to uncheck Speed Up Generation of Real Tracks. As I said in my original post I "Changed default setting to not allow faster generation of Fast Tracks".

My question -- is this a known problem on certain systems and/or configurations? So for example as per your idea that the problem is insufficient memory, is it known that Real Tracks will not work with 1 Gb ram on an XP system? Likewise, in regards manning's comment about Celeron, is it known that Real Tracks will not work with a fast Celeron processor?

Thanks for the tips re defrag. I will try them later tonight.

Jim

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#76493 - 06/17/10 11:46 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Audio Breaks Up When Using Real Tracks [Re: jimco]
Matt Finley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 17411
Loc: Hudson Valley & Lake George NY
Missed that in the maze, thanks.

I have a fairly new netbook running XP with 1 GB of RAM. i can use one Real Track, maybe two, but anything more just chokes the PC. It has an Intel Atom processor, probably comparable to the Celeron. I don't think the processor is the limiter, but that could be wrong.
_________________________
BIAB 2018 Win Audiophile; [& 2018 Mac UltraPak]. Software: Mixcraft, Adobe Audition, Ozone, Encore; Win 10 64 Pro. Hardware: custom i7, 16 Gb; Roland Integra-7, Focusrite 18i20(2), TCE Finalizer, Behringer X-Touch, Adam sub & monitors.

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#76494 - 06/18/10 12:25 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Audio Breaks Up When Using Real Tracks [Re: jimco]
Rachael Offline
Expert

Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1616
My old desktop is a 2.5 Celeron with 1.5 GB memory. I can load several RealTracks without the problem you described. With 2 RT and RD, I only use at most 50% CPU and have no audio dropouts. But I do have 7200 drives.

- Have you ruled out viruses and spyware?

- You pagefile may be fragmented. It sound like you have a fixed size pagefile and do not let Windows manage it. That's a good thing. This program from Microsoft will tell you if your pagefile is fragmented and make it contiguous: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897426.aspx

- When you monitor the CPU, check on the memory usage of BIAB and the overall pagefile usage. I suspect paging is probably what is happening. Depending on memory usage, you MAY be able to get away with disabling paging thus freeing up the CPU time of that task.

R

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#76495 - 06/18/10 12:33 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Audio Breaks Up When Using Real Tracks [Re: Rachael]
BarryKJ Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 12/19/05
Posts: 493
Be sure you have turned off Windows Auto Update along with the rest of the stuff you have shut off. Also, what amount of free space do you have on your hard drives? Two 80gb can fill up pretty fast especially if you have a lot of RTs installed and/or converted to .wav files.

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#76496 - 06/18/10 01:09 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Audio Breaks Up When Using Real Tracks [Re: BarryKJ]
Matt Finley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 17411
Loc: Hudson Valley & Lake George NY
Barry, I think something like an auto update stepping in would show up as a serious problem on the DPC latency Checker.

I hate it when things try to phone home.
_________________________
BIAB 2018 Win Audiophile; [& 2018 Mac UltraPak]. Software: Mixcraft, Adobe Audition, Ozone, Encore; Win 10 64 Pro. Hardware: custom i7, 16 Gb; Roland Integra-7, Focusrite 18i20(2), TCE Finalizer, Behringer X-Touch, Adam sub & monitors.

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#76497 - 06/18/10 08:32 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Audio Breaks Up When Using Real Tracks [Re: Matt Finley]
jimco Offline
Newbie

Registered: 04/24/10
Posts: 13
I just have time for a quick response this morning. When I went to defrag last night it told me I did not have enough room left on the c drive, so I moved the Real Tracks & drums to the backup drive. I defragged overnight even though the dialog daid it did not need it. This am the situation is better, using much lower cpu than yesterday, but still breaking up at random. It can play a whole song through maybe but then breakup on the second or third go around. I am going to free up more space and see if it keeps improving.

The situation with freeze is that if the song is set to loop, if I hit freeze all tracks then it will loop without regenerating usually flawlessly. But during the same song if I 'stop' then hit 'play' it will still regenerate while still being frozen, and will almost always breakup when it plays again.

Matt wrote "... in the maze..."
There is a regular on this forum who seems to alway tells noobs that they have not provided enough information so I was trying to head him off at the pass.


Rachel, thanks. I will follow your advice tonight or this weekend when I get a chance.

BarryKJ, I don't use Windows auto updates. Too many folks lose their audio completely after one of those 'updates'. I download and install security updates regularly. Anti-virus runs a weekly scan.

I've got to get to work. Final thought is that PG should post realistic minimum system requirements.

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#76498 - 06/18/10 08:53 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Audio Breaks Up When Using Real Tracks [Re: jimco]
kelso Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 11/19/05
Posts: 474
Hi jimco - Just as a reference point, I'm running XP SP3 with 1 GB, always install Windows updates, and have all my security running all the time, and allow speedup of RealTracks generation. With that, and running a five-RealTracks tune, all is pretty well with occasional millisecond drop out. I used to get mote "stuttering" in earlier versions, but all seems pretty good for me now. One exception - if I do some other computer activity, like loading an app, or brousing you post, I may get stuttering again. So, I'd say we are marginal, but 1 GB in XP can work well.

Good luck.
_________________________
kelso

Dell Desktop XPS 8100 W7 HomePrem/64 / Core i5 760 (quad, 2.8GHz) / 8GB DDR3 / 1 TB SATA / ViewSonic VG2428wm / EMU1616 PCI / Event ASP6 Active Monitors / BIAB 2016(428) / Sonar Producer X3

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#76499 - 06/18/10 09:08 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Audio Breaks Up When Using Real Tracks [Re: jimco]
Mac Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/29/00
Posts: 38502
Loc: Chesapeake, Virginia USA
Check to see if your hard drive has reverted and DMA has been turned off.

If so, do a google search about how to change that back to DMA.



--Mac
_________________________
PGmusic FAQs, Tutorials and Updates! click here

You must be Audiominds.
www.audiominds.com

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#76500 - 06/18/10 12:31 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Audio Breaks Up When Using Real Tracks [Re: Mac]
PeterGannon Offline
PG Music Staff

Registered: 05/29/00
Posts: 13456
BB runs well on XP with 1GB. In fact I still program it on Windows XP 1GB (a 3.5 year old HP AMD Turion64).
_________________________
Have Fun!
Peter Gannon
PG Music Inc.

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#76501 - 06/18/10 05:47 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Audio Breaks Up When Using Real Tracks [Re: PeterGannon]
Tony Wright Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 02/10/01
Posts: 600
Loc: Waterloo Ontario Canada
I tried to solve the same problem a few weeks ago using a desktop with a P4 2.6 with 1.28 RAM. See my post #274936 with many of the same suggestions. Although the thread sounds like I solved the problem I didn't really and eventually gave up and bought a new computer. Some of the things I tried might help you.

My guess is that all the defragging and Windows adjustments won't solve your problem in the long term. Your computer just isn't up the task of Real Tracks. I agree that PG should make a clear statement of the realistic spec you need for RT.

Tony Wright

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#76502 - 06/18/10 06:16 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Audio Breaks Up When Using Real Tracks [Re: Tony Wright]
manning1 Offline
Expert

Registered: 05/08/05
Posts: 1992
Loc: Canada
jimco..
i know its a hassle..but..
if moneys short heres an idea.
sometimes you can find refurb with warranty dual core processor desktop systems for
200 buks or less. eg dual core amd 64.
add a nice 7200 rpm 32mb cache drive for recording and playback that costs 70 buks
and youll be set up.

with your current lappie have you tried recording/playback from an external drive ??
ie not useing the win OS drive ?? if you havent done such it might be worth doing
a test and seeing how you get on.
_________________________
retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly songs...motagator.com/bmanning
see my tips in the tips section.

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#76503 - 06/18/10 08:28 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Audio Breaks Up When Using Real Tracks [Re: PeterGannon]
Mac Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/29/00
Posts: 38502
Loc: Chesapeake, Virginia USA
Quote:

BB runs well on XP with 1GB. In fact I still program it on Windows XP 1GB (a 3.5 year old HP AMD Turion64).




Me too.

Well, I just RUN it...

No problems.

The only time I ever had a problem as described, XP had reverted the hard drive to run in PIO mode instead of DMA.

XP is known for doing that, shall we say, "prematurely". Then the CPU has to waste precious cycles on disk read/writes and things bog way down. Audio interruptions are one symptom of this.

Again, a websearch will bring up how to fix that particular problem, provided the disk is still healthy. There is even a Script program out there that saves all the Registry tweaking, doubleclick the .exe and done. But first check to see if your disk is in PIO and not DMA...


--Mac
_________________________
PGmusic FAQs, Tutorials and Updates! click here

You must be Audiominds.
www.audiominds.com

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#76504 - 06/30/10 10:44 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Audio Breaks Up When Using Real Tracks [Re: Mac]
jimco Offline
Newbie

Registered: 04/24/10
Posts: 13
Sorry for the delay in responding. I do maintenance work for a small reality company and it is usually part time, but we have a house that had terrific cigarette smoke damage and had to practically remodel it to get it ready for the next tenant. I was both too busy and too tired to write up a good reply. However I was able to implement all of the advice I had been given.

******************************************************************************************************

The Situation At The Moment

is that the program is running fairly well now. I can get the RealDrums and the accompany RealTracks and the solo RealTrack all going. I am still having occasional problems. Sometimes the program will go all right for many minutes and then suddenly cpu usage will spike up to 100% and the audio will breakup and the controls freeze. Sometimes I can force this behavior by using various controls in the program. One of the worst is muting. Each instrument that I mute increases cpu usage and if I have enough instruments playing at once I can force breakup by muting 4 or 5 of them. Soloing also increases cpu usage. Sometimes just changing an instrument's volume or tone will cause the problem but that is rarer. But basically I will say that it now appears that the program will work with this computer. I am also using a demo of Forte DXi which uses a lot of processing. RealTracks works best for me when DXi is disabled, but I can use Forte DXi in combination with RealDrums which to me is the best of the real instruments that I have. There might still be some problems that I have not had time to explore. I am not yet sure that freezing tracks is working right, and rendering seems to take forever.

*******************************************************************************************************

What I Did

In addition to what I had listed in the first post in this thread, I made these changes.

> First I continued to free up hard drive space. I moved RealTracks & Drums to my backup drive. This seemed to make a positive difference.

> Rachel linked to a program to defrag the page files. It told me I only had 6 fragments but I used it anyway.

> Rachel suggested disabling paging. I tried that but saw no difference, so I tried the opposite and increased the page file size to 1800 MB, both for initial setting and maximum. That was the way I used to do it with a Cakewalk DAW when I had Windows 98 so I just thought I would try it. With RealTracks running, Task Manager is now showing that the computer is using substantially more PF than with the old settings. I don't know if that is good or bad.

> Mac suggested that I check that the hard drive is in DMA transfer mode. I had forgotten to mention in my initial post that I had done that. But I did check it again and it is still in DMA. To be thorough I ran the vbs script from winhlp.com anyway.

>Tony Wright suggested that I read his earlier thread on this same topic, which I did. On that other thread Jazzman suggested to " transfer all the BIAB on to" [another hard drive] "(leave the registry files behind)" [?] "and when it is working ok delete the BIAB on your onboard hard drive". So I did that. I had already transferred the RealTracks and Drums to the backup drive but now I have copied over all of the rest of the Biab folder and deleted it from the c drive.

And that's it. I am sorry that my time was too fragmented to be methodical in all of this, so I can't say which changes were the most beneficial.

***************************************************************************************************

Thanks to all for the help

> Matt, you wrote, "I don't think the processor is the limiter, but that could be wrong." It's funny that the program can go a long time just fine at 50% or less cpu usage, then with no input from me the cpu usage jumps to 100% and it all stops working right. I can't figure out what is hijacking the processor, but I think if it were a better one there might be enough headroom to manage those events.

> Rachel, thanks for the link, the advice, and the comparison point.

> BarryKJ, just the thought of Windows auto updates makes me shudder.

> kelso, thanks for giving me another comparison point.

> Mac, Thank you for the advice. I had known about the DMA/PIO for a while. Here is an article I put together about noise in Dell laptops. The DMA transfer mode bit is in Section Two.
http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/laptop/f/3517/p/19142484/19265470.aspx#19265470

> Peter Gannon, thank you for the input. I appreciate that it was to the point in partially answering the specific question I asked in my initial post. It is most impressive that you take a personal interest in these discussions.

> Tony Wright, I wonder if you would have had better luck if you had turned off DXi while running RealTracks? It was interesting that Peter Gannon said that your Pentium 4 might be too slow "(and/or your hard drive speed)" . From what I read the P4's were better processors than many of those that Intel developed later. Interestingly, my Celeron is a Northbridge, basically a P4 with a smaller L2 cache.

> manning1, yes I had thought about a used desktop, but if I spent $270 on one then I would only have $30 left for the upgrade to Ultrapluspak. (I currently have the Pro version but just to evaluate the RealTracks ... I am not going to keep it ... either get it all or nothing). And I just just finished evaluating Forte DXi and have decided to buy it, so there goes 40 bucks. My plan at the moment is to get somebody to give me a used desktop, or maybe find one. I come across a lot of stuff at work.

You wrote: "...have you tried recording/playback from an external drive ?? ie not useing the win OS drive ??" Thanks for that suggestion. That seems to be basically what I am doing now (except for the recording part).

By the way, one of these days I need to update my article (link above) with a section on DPC latency. The thing is that it only affects audio on certain newer Dell laptops and for awhile Dell was working on a BIOS fix. I was waiting for them to finish that but now it appears that the intern who was doing the work has left for a paying job at Mac(Donald's).

Jim


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#76505 - 07/01/10 06:43 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Audio Breaks Up When Using Real Tracks [Re: Mac]
redguitars Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 12/29/07
Posts: 618
Loc: US
I'm was using 2009.5 on a Pentium 4, with 768mb RAM.
I still had no problems with the realtracks that I have.
Is 2010 so very different?

I don't remember if there were a lot of problems when 2009 came out.

Wayne,
_________________________
"My Music Page"

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#76506 - 07/01/10 06:48 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Audio Breaks Up When Using Real Tracks [Re: redguitars]
redguitars Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 12/29/07
Posts: 618
Loc: US
I have retired that P4 machine and I am running it on a Core 2 duo now, with 2GB RAM.
The only problem I had was asio. Switched mme? It seems to work fine.

Again, is 2010 so much more demanding?

oops, sorry, XP SP2, on all.

Wayne,
_________________________
"My Music Page"

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#76507 - 07/01/10 02:34 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Audio Breaks Up When Using Real Tracks [Re: redguitars]
Rachael Offline
Expert

Registered: 05/18/07
Posts: 1616
I'm glad you somewhat solved the issue. If you are so inclined, XP has a good monitoring utility. Check out this link that describes it:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/305610

R

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