If your Cakewalk application suddenly stops producing audio while in the midst of recording or playback, you've very likely experienced a “dropout.” Sometimes instead of a dropout, you may experience a “stutter” during playback (a small section of audio repeats itself once or twice before normal playback resumes). Or, you may occasionally experience a “glitch” or “pop” during audio playback (a brief interruption or clicking noise is heard, but audio playback then continues normally from that point). It is also possible to experience a dropout while working exclusively with MIDI (i.e., no audio data in the project).During recording, the sound card sends incoming audio data to the sound card driver, which in turn sends audio data to Cakewalk to store on hard disk. When playing back, Cakewalk reads audio data from the hard disk and feeds it to the sound card driver, which in turn passes it to the sound card for audible output. If these activities can't be completed fast enough, or if the communication between Cakewalk and the sound card driver is broken in some way, recording and/or playback will be disturbed. To protect you from unwanted noise or glitches, the audio engine as a protective measure will stop playback.While CPU load is one of the most common causes for dropouts, there are a variety of other reasons under which the audio engine may be stopped. When a dropout occurs, playback stops and a toast notification will show the detected dropout reason code. This code can be useful in tracking down the reason for dropouts.A. Dropout reason codeThe following table describes the most common dropout reason codes along with potential preventative action that may be taken.
Table 95. Audio engine dropout reason codes While dropout messages may be useful to diagnose the cause of problems, they can be intrusive to workflow when small audio interruptions are inconsequential, such as when editing projects, loading and saving sessions, etc.Cakewalk can intelligently mask certain categories of dropout notifications when they are less important. The following dropout codes are considered maskable since they are caused by CPU load issues, while other dropouts are caused by system events that cannot be resumed from easily:
Dropout code 3: Driver did not request audio buffers for over DropoutMsec milliseconds (see AUD.INI). Possible driver overload.
Under normal conditions, Cakewalk always stops playback or recording if too many late buffers are encountered while playing. However there may be circumstances where a dropout that stops playback is disruptive, such as when doing an unattended recording or playing back in a live scenario.To handle these cases, a new MaskDropoutDetection option in Edit > Preferences > Audio - Configuration File can be used to suppress dropouts.Setting this value to True will activate dropout masking during playback and recording.When activated, Cakewalk will continue playback and recording after it encounters a maskable dropout. This can prevent unwanted interruption of playback or a lost take while recording.
4 The exact cause of your audio problem will vary depending on the configuration of your computer and/or the content of the project file you're working with. The majority of audio problems are caused by one of the factors listed here. Read each of the following topics, in the order shown, and follow the recommendations provided:
Turn off the Microsoft Office FastFind option if present on your system.
Turn off the Auto-Notification option for your CD-ROM drive. If it is turned on, the insertion of a CD-ROM can interrupt audio processing.To disable it, open the System applet in the Control panel, click on the Device Manager tab, expand the CD-ROM list entry, double-click on the listed CD-ROM device, click on the Settings tab, and clear the Auto Insert Notification check box.
Remove all programs from the Windows Start Up folder (\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Start Up).Re-run the Cakewalk Wave Profiler, which will attempt to analyze your sound card and establish proper settings for it:
Go to Edit > Preferences > Audio - Driver Settings and click the Wave Profiler button.
If Wave Profiler offers you the chance to use “default settings” for your sound card, accept the defaults, close the Preferences dialog box, and check audio playback/recording.
If your sound card is listed at , read and follow any special card-specific operating instructions listed there.Cakewalk may be reading and writing audio data to/from your hard disk in chunks that are either too large or too small for your particular hard disk's characteristics.Go to Edit > Preferences > Audio - Sync and Caching and try different values for Playback I/O Buffer Size and Record I/O Buffer Size until you find values that works well for your particular hard disk:
The default value is 64. Try reducing this value, to 32, then 16. After each change, close the dialog box (click OK) and re-test your project's recording/playback behavior.
If problem(s) persist, try increasing this value, to 128, then 256, then 512. Again, close the dialog box and re-try your project after each change.Cakewalk tries to send and receive audio data to/from your sound card with very a minimal delay (so that any real-time adjustments you make to a track's volume, pan, or other settings will take effect rapidly). If the latency setting is set too low, the sound card driver may not be able to keep up with the Cakewalk, and audio will be disrupted.
Go to Edit > Preferences > Audio - Driver Settings. Move the Mixing Latency Buffer Size slider control to the right in small increments until you see the value to the right of the slider increase; close the dialog box (click OK) and re-test your project after each increment.
If problem(s) continue, move the slider control back to its original position, and try increasing the number in the Buffers in Playback Queue text box. (This value starts out at 4; try increasing it to 5, 6, 7, or 8). Close the dialog box (click OK) and re-test your project after each such change.
Audio data can be processed most efficiently if it is arranged in consecutive physical locations on your hard drive. Over time, the chunks become distributed at various discontiguous locations on your disk, which makes it more time consuming for Cakewalk to access the chunks. This extra access time can interfere with smooth audio recording and/or playback.
Defragment your hard disk. If you have more than one hard disk in your computer, identify the disk which contains the Cakewalk Data directory (this is where your projects’ audio clips are stored.) To defragment the hard disk, exit Cakewalk first. Then, select Start > Programs > System Tools > Accessories > Disk Defragmenter. We recommend that you backup your hard disk before defragmenting it.Audio data can be processed most efficiently if it is arranged in consecutive physical locations on your hard drive. During normal Cakewalk usage, a project's audio data can become fragmented into chunks stored at discontiguous locations on your disk. Accessing these discontiguous chunks can consume extra processing time, which can lead to dropouts.
2. Save it as a Cakewalk Bundle (.cwb) file by selecting Save As from the File menu and selecting Cakewalk Bundle from the Save As Type drop-down list and clicking the Save button.Saving then re-opening the bundle file automatically defragments the audio data used by the project, reducing the chances of a dropout or other audio problem.When you are ready to save the file again, you may want to save it as a normal (.cwp) file. Saving and opening .cwp files takes less time than saving and opening bundle files.
Consult your sound card manufacturer's website (or contact their Customer Service department) to check for the availability of a later driver version. If one exists, obtain it and install it on your computer according to their instructions. With the new driver installed, restart the computer, then delete the file cw9auddx.ini from your Cakewalk folder. Launch Cakewalk and let it re-profile your audio hardware. When it's done, re-test your audio recording/playback.Some video drivers contain bugs which can interfere with Cakewalk's operation. Or, the driver may be “stealing” excessive CPU time away from Cakewalk (some video card vendors, in an attempt to make their cards operate faster, supply drivers that tie up the computer's bus for relatively long intervals (so-called “PCI bus contention”). This can interrupt the smooth flow of audio data between Cakewalk and the sound card's driver.)
To disable the hardware acceleration on your graphics card: Launch Control panel (Start > Settings > Control panel). Double-click the Display icon. Select the Settings tab. Click on the Advanced Properties button. Select the Performance tab. Move the slider for Hardware Acceleration one notch at a time toward ‘none’ and re-test your recording/playback after each such adjustment. If problem(s) persist, leave the slider at ‘none’ and proceed with the next step.
You can adjust color depth by right-clicking on your Windows desktop, clicking Properties, clicking on the Settings tab, and selecting a suitable entry in the Colors list. Also, try reducing the display resolution. Re-test your audio playback/recording with these changes.
Open the System.ini file in Notepad (or any text editor). In the section called [Hercules], check to ensure that this line is present:Open the System.ini file in Notepad (or any text editor). In the section called [mga.drv], add the following line:(Start > Settings > Control panel > Display > MGA Settings > Advanced > Performance)If you have a later Matrox video card, enable Use Bus Mastering and Disable use Automatic PCI Busd Retries:(Start > Settings > Control panel > Display > Settings > PowerDesk button)
Open the System.ini file in Notepad (or any text editor). In the section called [display], make sure the following line is present:
Ensure that your sound card is not sharing IRQs with any other device. Although some sound cards claim that they work properly on a shared IRQ, this is usually not the case and it is advisable to avoid such sharing. To do this, right click on My Computer and select Properties from the pop-up menu. In the System Properties dialog box, click on the Device Manager tab, then double-click on the Computer icon at the top of the list. This allows you to look at all the devices on your system and which IRQs they are using. Scroll through the list until you see your sound card. Check the IRQ setting to the left of the icon. If there are other devices (such as a video card) that are assigned to the same IRQ, you should try moving your sound card to a different slot in your computer. Note that entries which say something like “IRQ Holder for PCI Steering” do not indicate conflicting devices, and can be ignored.
Go to Edit > Preferences > Audio - Devices and make sure that only your sound card's input and output drivers are highlighted in both menus. (If you have more than one sound card installed in your system, try using only a single sound card and deselecting the other(s). If you can get audio to record/playback properly on a single sound card, but you encounter problems using two sound cards simultaneously, there may be a conflict between the two sound cards. Contact Cakewalk Technical Support for assistance in this event.)To disable these other device(s), in Windows go to the Control Panel, and double-click the Multimedia icon. Click the Advanced tab, and click the plus sign next to Audio Devices. Double-click any audio devices listed there that AREN'T the sound card, and choose Do Not Use Audio Features on This Device. Click OK, and repeat this step for any non-sound card device, including voice modems, 'virtual audio devices' or 'game-compatible devices'. Once the sound card is the only device left, click OK, and restart the computer. After restarting, delete the file cw9auddx.ini from your Cakewalk folder. Once you've deleted those files, launch Cakewalk, and let it profile your audio hardware. When it's done, try playing your audio again.
If problem(s) continue, try deselecting any MIDI devices which you might be using. In Cakewalk, go to Edit > Preferences > MIDI - Devices and deselect every MIDI device in both Inputs and Outputs, then when Cakewalk asks, select Continue with no MIDI input and Continue with no MIDI output, and try re-test your audio recording/playback.Your computer may not have enough processing power to deal with all of the tracks, clips, and real-time effects used in your project. You can upgrade your computer hardware (see Upgrade your computer hardware: more RAM, a faster CPU, and a faster disk drive) or you can simplify your project’s content so it demands less processing power.
Reduce the number of distinct tracks being played back simultaneously. Consider “sub-mixing” several of your audio tracks into one track (using the Track view Tracks > Bounce to Track command), and then archiving the individual tracks which were combined in the sub-mix. (Archived tracks don’t use up any CPU resources during playback, leaving more CPU resources available to properly play the non-archived tracks.)
If your project makes extensive use of real-time effects (plug-ins), you should consider upgrading to a faster CPU. If your primary concern is playing or recording a large number of tracks, a faster CPU will help, but you may find that adding more RAM, a faster hard disk, and/or an improved hard disk controller may help even more.Audio problems are often caused by a hard disk which is transferring data too slowly. The disk could simply be physically incapable of reading and writing data fast enough, or the disk controller could be causing too much CPU time to be consumed when transferring audio data to/from the disk.
Ensure that your hard drive controller is NOT configured to operate in “compatibility mode” which can greatly slow data transfer to/from your hard disk and make it almost impossible to record/play audio in Cakewalk reliably. To do this, go to the Control Panel and double-click on the System icon. Click the Performance tab. At the top of the Performance screen read the entries across from File Systems and Virtual Memory. They both need to say 32-bit. If they mention MS-DOS Compatibility Mode, then your computer has a serious problem, beyond the scope of what a Cakewalk technician can fix. Your computer is processing the audio data very slowly and Cakewalk will not work properly until the MS-DOS Compatibility Mode problem is eliminated. Help is available on the Microsoft Technical Support Web page at . Click on the Support Online link and search for the phrase Troubleshooting MS-DOS Compatibility Mode on Hard Disks. This problem can arise when installing a new hard disk in your computer; if Windows cannot find a suitable driver for the disk, it installs a generic driver and operates in Compatibility Mode.
Install a faster hard disk. If you're using an IDE- or E-IDE-type hard drive, try to find one which has a lower disk access time (e.g., less than 9msec). Use the Win Tune test application available at , this diagnostic tool measures your hard drive's uncached transfer rate.
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