Saturday, May 12, 2007

TIPS: Audio drop outs due to Hard Disk

Do you know that the cause of the drop out can be your Hard disk ? Yes I came across two such cases last week where the cause of drop out was Hard disk. The first and foremost thing anyone can suspect is the buffer setting when someone faces drop outs - But the case here was totally different. One of my friend was using Motu 2408 MK3 whereas the other was using M-Audio Audiophile 192. The problem was that they were able to play wave, mp3 or other media files normally using media player without any drop outs. But the problem use to reflect when they were using some audio Daw or sequencer with audio on multi tracks.
Due to some hard disk error the UDMA mode of hard disk got changed to either PIO or UDMA-0 mode causing this problem. Since all the Hard disk are set to UDMA-5 (UDMA100), the data transfer rate is 100MB/sec. Hence the problem showed up only when multi track were played since more audio files are read simultaneously from the Hard disk and since the data transfer mode was set to lower rate - all the data was not being read in time causing drop outs.
So next time you face drop outs in your multi track program check if your data transfer mode is changed or not. Open system in control panel - go to hardware device manager - Check in primary and secondary IDE channel under IDE ATA/ATAPI Controller. Under advance tab of primary and secondary IDE channel see if the transfer mode is set to UDMA Mode 5 or higher.
Hope this will help those who are facing drop outs despite of correct buffer settings.

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