G5/OSX and Troubleshooting Tips UA Welcomes New Tech, Randy Knaub
This month we will be talking about general UAD/OSX troubleshooting tips, and other application tips and tricks. For those of you who dont know me, I am the Macintosh product specialist for Universal Audio. My job functions include tech support for the UAD-1, and all alpha and beta testing of the UAD-1. Every month Support Report talks about the most common tech support issues, as well as tips and tricks not only for the UAD-1, but also your DAW applications.
We recommend setting the Energy Saver settings to never sleep, and processor to "highest in the G5.
When using an ATTO SCSI card in the G5 with the UAD-1, a user has reported greater success by using an older ATTO driver (xulplus205). The SCSI card is sitting in slot 3 and UAD-1 in 4 (i.e. the cards are on separate PCI buses).
UAD-1 Troubleshooting and General Maintenance in OSX
I am often asked questions regarding maintenance, and troubleshooting in OSX with the UAD-1 card. Here are a few tips that can make finding problems easier, as well as keeping your computer running at its optimal state.
- Have two or more partitions for testing: This gives you flexibility of having an audio only partition, with nothing but your OS and music software. This obviously eliminates headaches with possible software and driver conflicts. Also, disk maintenance utilities (like defragmenting and optimizing) typically will not run completely on the boot partition (the one with your system on it), so it is helpful to have more than one bootable partition- to check the other partitions out.
- Rebuild permissions: A little known secret regarding OSX: Permissions are required because of the UNIX core of OSX. These permissions allow installers and users access to specific files and programs. Sometimes installing or removing software can corrupt permissions, which can lead to kernel panics and other erratic behavior. Therefore, It is a good idea to regularly rebuild the permissions after every software install or uninstall. In addition, you should repair permissions monthly for good preventive maintenance. This can be done using the Disk Utility application in the Applications/Utilities folder of your root drive.
- Test BIA (Built-In Audio) first: Whenever troubleshooting the UAD or any PCI card combination, the first thing to try is running your audio session using the built in Core Audio driver in OSX. Typically, this can be changed in your DAW application under audio driver/settings. This will essentially bypass your external audio hardware and pass the audio through the internal audio hardware. If your specific problems go away when you disable the audio interface, then theres a good chance that the problem is being caused by your audio hardware and/or its driver.
- Rearrange PCI Cards: Most Macs (excluding the new G5s) have only 1-shared PCI bus. This bus has to provide enough bandwidth for all PCI cards connected to it. All PCI cards are not created equal. Some cards may require more bandwidth than others (i.e. SCSI, and video). One way to eliminate potential problems is to re-order the PCI cards inside your Mac. Generally, third party video and some SCSI cards have been known to cause problems with the UAD-1. Sometimes re-ordering these, (or removing them) can eliminate the problem. Also a note to SCSI card owners, even with a higher speed card such as ULTRA WIDE or UW160 you might need to set the card speed down to 10meg. This can often cure any SCSI card conflicts. Check your specific card instructions for more details on how to change these settings. Also, contact the vendors for all PCI cards you have and make sure that you are using the latest drivers, or the ones that are recommended for your particular machine.
With the G5, note that all but the low end 1.6 GHz model, actually have two separate PCI buses available. Slot 4 (furthest from the AGP slot) is on one PCI bus, while slots 2 and 3 are on another PCI bus. In those machines, we recommend putting the UAD-1 on a separate PCI bus from other PCI devices if possible.
- Read the release notes: The release notes get overlooked more than I can imagine. I have to admit I have overlooked them in the past too, but these are the latest known issues and fixes regarding the UAD-1 and host software. Most of the questions I get could be answered in those notes.
- Have the latest releases of drivers: Its always a good idea to keep up to date with the latest release of drivers, to eliminate any conflicts. However, its also a good idea to keep the previous version on hand just in case you run into problems; youll have something to revert back to.
- Know how to use your DAW software: It may sound harsh, but learn your software; At least well enough to find your way around. Most tech support calls we receive are about basic DAW application questions that could have been answered by reading the manual and spending some time with the product. We could not be happier to help you with any UAD-1 related problem, but please dont rely on us to provide support for products we dont make. A few key functions of your DAW software you should be familiar with: know how to change your buffer sizes, change your audio hardware, know where the application preferences live, know how to install your plug-ins and what the difference between groups and busses and are. If youre armed with these basics, it will really help us to help you. Also, if you have a problem with your software and call us for help, it helps if you are actually at the computer with the software up and running. This will help us in trying to recreate the problem.
- Defragment your hard drives: Pretty common sense stuff here, but with all of the hard disk audio tracks we run today, these drives are our livelihood, and should be treated with care. Defragment often, and at least every nine to twelve months, backup then low level format the drive. This will not only increase the life of your drive, but will also map out any bad sectors on the disk.
Steinberg Application Tips
While using Nuendo/Cubase with various audio interfaces, we have found that the following settings provide optimal performance and efficiency when using the UAD-1 card and makes Nuendo/Cubase much more robust at higher CPU loads:
Under VST Multitrack/Expert Settings
- Audio Priority: LOW
- Low Latency: OFF
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