Audio glitches in Ableton? Is my HDD the problem?
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  1. #1
    Tech Mentor biru's Avatar
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    Default Audio glitches in Ableton? Is my HDD the problem?

    Hi - my first post and I hope it's it the right part (didn't seem to mesh with the gear section's postings).

    MBP, Ableton Live, Novation nio2|4, Launchpad, MicroKontrol and BCR2000 are my tools.

    When I just do straight DJing (as opposed to original stuff performed from Ableton), I use Live as the decks, looping, etc and send two stereo pairs out to a DJ mixer. I drag files from the library into Ableton as I need them, then delete them once they're played out. When I am performing this way, I only have the MBP, the nio and an external HDD.

    I'm going to be playing some gigs in Japan in a few weeks and I just wanted to take my little USB drive. I am currently running an external bus powered drive that came from my old G3 iBook (RIP) which has all my tracks on it for DJing.

    When I drag tracks in sometimes, and they're loading Ableton will skip audio. The beat will continue but the track presently playing will drop out and then pick up as though someone had just randomly hit the mute button.

    I am trying to determine which of the following it is :
    - Drive is too under powered (probably only 3200rpm drive given the old iBook it came from)
    - USB 2.0 is not fast enough for audio (I think is crap - works fine when running a whole bunch of clips)
    - Drive is somehow spinning down and then starting up again glitches the audio (how do I avoid this then?)
    - Ableton can't handle dragging in a full 7 minute 320kbps mp3 whilst 1 single other file is playing (think this is not possible)

    I am trying to avoid :
    - Buying another 2.5" drive for bus power usb2.0 case (7200RPM/16mb cache)
    - Taking an external FW800 or USB2.0 drive and the weight and additional power bricks and plug adaptors they require (although I will if I have to)

    Thoughts?

    I've looked everywhere on the web without luck, so I thought it was time to register for the DJTT forums after my months of enjoying the blog...

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Tech Mentor alien2k's Avatar
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    Hi,
    Have you check ableton status light (top right) while you are loading the new tracks. There is a light for the disk reading, and it turns red when it is not able to read everything. If the red light is on (happens to me when producing and freezing many tracks) then there is an issue with data flow to Ableton, if not check the cpu meter (dont think this could be an issue). And finally, does this issue happen when loading tacks form the built in drive?

  3. #3
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    Maybe you could try raising your latency, to rule out the possibility of your audio card being the culprit.

  4. #4
    Tech Mentor biru's Avatar
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    Disk light doesn't flash red, occasionally CPU spikes for no apparent reason.

    Loading tracks from the internal drive has little change - still have the same issue.

  5. #5
    DJTT Ninja Mod tekki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by n2hf1st View Post
    Maybe you could try raising your latency, to rule out the possibility of your audio card being the culprit.
    +1
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  6. #6
    Tech Mentor biru's Avatar
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    Increasing latency doesn't do much to stop the problem.

    What if I loaded ALL of my tunes into slots in Ableton that were routed to no output and dragged track from that slot into one of my slots that goes the mixer - would that mean the drive wouldn't have to do it's search start up thing because Ableton would have already loaded the tracks?
    "Tell me what I need to be a DJ so I can f*ck the prom queen"
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  7. #7
    Tech Mentor biru's Avatar
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    Aha!

    In this video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qHTt7Qxp2Q

    The guy explains his Ableton DJing setup and he says he basically loads ALL his tracks into Ableton first - and it apparently does solve the issue. I'll try it tonight...
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  8. #8
    Tech Guru mostapha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by biru View Post
    Aha!

    In this video : <snip>

    The guy explains his Ableton DJing setup and he says he basically loads ALL his tracks into Ableton first - and it apparently does solve the issue. I'll try it tonight...
    I actually find the exact opposite. When I have everything loaded (which I hate) it takes for freaking ever to open the live set. I've NEVER had a problem dragging songs in to a playing live set…no audio glitches, nothing.

    But, I also use my internal SSD for all of my music. So, that might have something to do with it.

    Are your files mp3 or wav? People on aldjforums recommend converting everything to wav so that Live doesn't have to do it (it only works on wav files, it just converts for you before it does anything) which takes disk reads and writes, ram, and cpu to do.

    Again, I don't do that. And I don't have a problem. But, I'm beginning to think that my macbook and Live just like me, because I just don't have a lot of the issues that i've heard people complaining about.

  9. #9
    Tech Guru jasonj's Avatar
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    I had this problem and what I found to be the solution to it is go into your powersave control panel and uncheck the "put hard disks to sleep when possible" check box.

    Now I have no issues
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  10. #10
    Tech Mentor biru's Avatar
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    Last night I played for 2 hours and did a lot of heavy disk usage (had to map a whole bunch of new tracks) and it didn't skip once. The only thing I changed was nio2|4 latency in ableton from 512 to 1024.

    I'll also try the "don't spin my disks down" energy saver setting to see if that helps too.
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