I've been working more with Frank Simes, Musical Director for The Who's upcoming Quadrophenia Tour, which starts early next year. Frank wanted some custom brass samples for the show for various songs. The samples will have to be edited, transposed to 2 additional keys, and imported into a Kurzweil PC3K8 keyboard, that has storage for up to 128MB of user samples. Once the samples are loaded into the PC3K8, they'll all have to be programmed into keymaps, patches, and setups (which are a 16 part multi). It will be a fair amount of work, and programming the Kurzweil PC3K8 takes some getting used to, but it will all work great for the tour.
Last week, Apple released Mac OS Mountain Lion, 10.8. Today I've received a few calls inquiring if it is appropriate to upgrade at this time. While it's always tempting to install a newly released OS version or update, we recommend that it's best to wait upgrading all Mac computers running DAW applications. For example, Avid's Pro Tools will have to go through a rigorous testing and approval process, and while some applications, like Apple's Logic Pro, may be able to run on Mountain Lion, you may have software plugins that are not yet compatible. Or possibly audio hardware drivers that will not yet work with 10.8.
So, it's best to let the dust settle, and just keep working on your system as it currently is. As the saying goes... "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."
Today I worked with Frank Simes, Music Director for Roger Daltry and The Who. Frank received a hard drive from London with the multitrack Pro Tools recording from a 2010 Quadrophenia concert. We had to get the session loaded up and ready it for the upcoming work Frank has to do in preparation for the recently announced Quadrophenia shows in 2012.
Can you see the real me… doctor… DOCTOR!!!!
Today I worked with Sally Boldt, music editor on films such as Rock of Ages, Tron: Legacy, Hairspary, and countless others. Sally recently migrated to Pro Tools 10HD and a few weeks later she started experiencing a few issues.
The first issue we tackled was the dreaded DAE -9073:
"DAE can't get audio from the drive(s) fast enough. Your drive may be too slow or fragmented or a firewire drive could be having trouble due to the extra firewire bandwidth or CPU load. (-9073)."
In Sally's case, it was a bug known to Avid, which they'll probably take care of in a future release. Sally had the hardware buffer set to 1024, which can cause that error. The resolve for now is to avoid using a hardware buffer of 1024. We set the buffer to 512 and the issue was resolved.
On to the next issue. When editing music for film, scrubbing is a very useful function. Over the past few weeks, scrubbing in Pro Tools had become sluggish, jittery, and somewhat unusable. After trying all the standard Pro Tools fixes, we had to dig a bit deeper. After consulting with Avid support, we discovered that Pro Tools 10.2 had some major changes that also made it more resource hungry than previous versions. We were able to mitigate that and make scrubbing more usable again for Sally.
A few things that helped remedy the situation are as follows:
- Doubled the RAM to 12GB. This allowed us to increase the Disk Cache in Pro Tools 10, which allows more of the session to be cached in RAM. We were able to run the disk cache up to 4 to 5GB.
- Start running sessions from an internal SATA drive. There was a noticeable difference between scrubbing a session on a SATA versus a Firewire drive.
Between those two remedies, the scrubbing responsiveness improved enough to be useful again for Sally. We'll see if this is something that Avid addresses in the future.
Tonight I got a call from Shane Gaalaas, @Gaalbladderass the Drummer for the B'z, @Bz_Official who was mixing a song that had to be sent over to Japan tonight. At a particular spot in the song, he would get a DAE error -6042 and playback would stop. Here is what AVID has to say about it:
DAE error -6042 PCI bus too busy during playback or recording on a Macintosh computer.
If you repeatedly encounter -6042 errors, open the System Usage window and check the PCI gauge. If the gauge is peaked, you will need to reset the PCI bus. To reset the PCI bus, make all tracks inactive and start playback. If you still encounter a -6042 error, quit and relaunch Pro Tools, open the Playback Engine dialog, and change the Number of Voices to a setting that uses fewer voices per DSP.
Shane has a mac pro with a Magama expansion chassis running a 5 card AVID HD 10 system. But even with all that power, running a large session at 96K was causing something to go wrong. I had him open the System Usage window and watch the PCI gauge to see what it said. Most of the song it was around 35%, but at the point where the song stopped playing, it jumped to 100% and he got the DAE error. Since Shane has 5 cards in his system, he had assigned most of his plugins to TDM instead of RTAS. While looking at his System Usage window again, he told me that his CPU usage was under 50% and he was using all of his voices except 16 of them. Well since the PCI bus was overloading, and all his plugins were loaded there, I had him take all of the plugins in his vocal chain and change them to RTAS from TDM. That decreased the amount of data on the PCI bus, as these RTAS plugins run on the CPU instead of the cards in the expansion Chassis. Although moving the plugins increased the CPU usage and the voice count, it decreased the PCI usage enough that he no longer got the DAE -6042 error and could complete his mix in time for his dead line of tonight.
Lesson learned tonight: To avoid errors during mixing, don't max out the system. Make sure that none of you usage gauges are at maximum including the PCI buss, The CPU / RTAS, and the voice count.
I'm working in the Audio Perception blog section for http://audioperception.com. Tech's in the field posting updates on installations and recording studio builds in progress.