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.


  1. I have This Issue... I've checked my IDE Primary and it was UDMA 4 and Secondary was UDMA 5 .. My hard disks are Seagate 250Gb each one...
    What do I have to do to fix the problem? I must point my PC is a new one 2.66Ghz Dual-core due , 2Gb Ram

  2. The primary drive should also show UDMA5.
    You have not mentioned whether your hard drive is IDE or SATA.
    Anyway First of all check if the cable is 80 wire or not (if IDE).

    Try to replce your SATA cable with a new one.

    If still doen't work

    Go to SYSTEM - HARDWARE - Device Manager.

    Right Click on "ultra ATA controller" under "IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers" and uninstall it.

    It will warn you but go ahead.

    Reboot your computer and check if UDMA 5 has come of not.

    Please let me know.

  3. I understand this thread is more than a year old..

    I have a toshiba note book A200. (Core 2 - 2.2ghz / 2GB RAM / 300GB 5400 RPM HDD)

    I am having a lot of trouble with audio drop outs in Pro-Tools, and Cubase. I have reinstalled drivers for M-Audio interface, checked the UDMA speeds (Ultra DMA 6), changed OS back to Windows XP, tried setup on different (Slower) Laptop. The problem still persists.

    This leaves only two things left I can think of.

    1 - I have reinstalled this laptop from scratch, and maybe have not configured it to its capability. (All drivers were downloaded from Toshibas Australian website and should have been the latest. Also all updates for vista have been installed).

    2 - is the hard disks are both 5400RPM, and I have read that this speed maybe too slow?

    Could anybody help me?

  4. Hi Kastaway,
    Please be informed that Hard disk is not always responsible for audio drop outs. You need to increase the buffer of your sound card driver.


  5. Hi, i know that this topic is really old too, but i'm desperate. I have a Toshiba P100 (laptop) and i have may drops out and cracks using a Edirol fa 66. I have done all of the possible instructions that i could get in the net. Turn off wireless card, the original audio card, modem, every thing i could turn off. But i'sm still having a lot of pops and audio drops.

    I don't know what else to do. I use de DPC Latency checker and i have a big spike every 20sec to 30 sec.
    it's in the same time the the pop and the audio drop ocours.

    Hope you guys can help. I read in a web site the some laptops(toshiba) just can't deal with this latency issue.


    Here are my specs:

    Model Name Satellite P100
    Part Number PSPA3C-MA502C
    OS Version Microsoft Windows XP Professional 5.1.2600 Service Pack 3
    BIOS Version V4.70
    CPU Intel(R) Core(TM)2 CPU T7200 @ 2.00GHz
    Physical Memory 2048MB RAM
    Hard Disk Capacity 200,047,034,880 [Byte] 186.308 [GB]
    Hard Disk Free Space Capacity 183,392,374,784 [Byte] 170.797 [GB]
    Video NVIDIA GeForce Go 7600 version=
    Screen Resolution 1440 x 900 Pixels
    Color Quality True Color (32 Bit)
    Sound Conexant High Definition Audio version=
    Network Intel(R) PRO/1000 PL Network Connection version= Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection version= MAC Address=
    Modem HDAUDIO Soft Data Fax Modem with SmartCP version=
    IDE Device 1 FUJITSU MHV2200BT PL
    IDE Device 2 None
    IDE Device 3 _NEC DVD_RW ND-7550A FW version=1.32
    IDE Device 4 None
    IDE Device 5 None
    IDE Device 6 None
    Internet Explorer 6.0.2900.5512

  6. Hi e X p E r I m E n T a L,

    It seems your Hard Disk is a slow IDE Device. But anyway you can try :

    1)Disabling "Intel(R) PRO/Wireless 3945ABG" from Control Panel> Network Connections - since it keeps on pinging & searching for network every 30 seconds.

    2)Download latest driver for your FA66 from

    3)Disable "1394 Net Adapter" Connection from Control Panel>Network Connections - since it uses the same Firewire port and interferes with FA66.

    4)If you are using Nuendo - use asio drivers for FA66.

    5)Check if any tool is running in the background for monitoring system Temp, etc. Toshiba has lot of un-neccessory utilities running in the background.

    6)You can try re-installing windows and only install basic drivers which are neccessory.

    7)Go to Toshiba site and check for Bios update if available.

    8)Install XPSP3 hotfixes and updates also.

    Do let me know.


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