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Posted on Tuesday, August 30th, 2005

well, the next morning ran into the next day, the next day ran into the next day..et cetera… the mixes are very cool. There’s not a lot else to say. I’ve missed a heatwave in france and a hurricane in Louisiana. Well, I’ve experienced the opposite before, so all is well. I have mixed a fourth track but am unsure, as yet, of its title……
I hate to come come across as a bitch, and I seem to always complain, in this weblog but… I’m suffering from a technical problem, that I can’t seem to debug, in my music making system. For the life of me I can’t seem to isolate it (and therfore do something about it). The symptom is, quite simlply, random clicks, really high frequency, random clicks. Now any of you fine people, who may be, more than just a little, more clever than me, may be able to point me in the right direction but for the moment, I seem to be mixing for 2 hours and declicking for 4…….. I’m pretty sure, I’ve elimiated processor overload and wordclock, the two main contenders for my problem, but any help from any of you geeks/geekettes will be most humbly recieved.,…

16 Responses to “mixes…”

  1. Hamish

    RTFM you fecking gonk 😉

  2. robin guthrie

    H, do not incur the wrath of a technically challenged man in his moment of need. This is likely to result in ‘certain’ pictures being posted on this site. Now unless you can help me with the clicks just send the money in a plain brown envelope….. etc etc

  3. Hamish

    How dare you threaten me….money on way all the same…£20’s ok? 🙂

  4. Andy from Arizona


    As I have no idea what audio interface you’re using, etc. etc., I can only offer some very general advice:

    1. Clicking and popping is often caused by “buffer underrun” in your audio interface. If you look in the control panel for the soundcard, you’ll probably see a setting for it (e.g. “DMA Buffer Latency size” or somesuch nonsense). Try increasing this number very slightly, reboot, and see if anything is better.

    2. Forgive me if this is stupidly obvious, but make sure you’re using the manufacturer’s latest-greatest version of the driver software, and the latest patches for your sequencer program.

    3. Uninstall all those fargin’ GAMES, cute screensavers, browser add-ins, viruses cleverly disguised as something useful, etc., then defrag (often). The computer one uses for audio production should never be contaminated with any of that extracurricular shit. Including the filthy internet connection.

    4. Get on the phone with someone at the factory who makes your audio interface and/or sequencer software. Once in a great while, these people can pleasantly surprise you with their brilliance and helpfulness. Stop laughing; it could happen!

    Feel free to email me directly if you think I might be of some help. You know the address.

    (Sonar 4 with M-Audio Delta 44 on Windows XP)

  5. Andy from Arizona

    Oh yeah, the other option was:

    Leave the clicks and pops in there and tell everyone you’ve recorded a “glitch” album.

    Sorry. I’ll close the door behind me.

  6. glint


    Get in there and SING!

  7. Joakim

    Have to agree with Andy. Without knowing what system your running it’s almost impossible to isolate such a problem. Buffer underrun is usually the problem, but it could also be a USB/FireWire device that is ticking the port and clogging the CPU and giving you ticks.


  8. denshion

    $10 says it’s still your wordclock. When you zoom in on the waveform at the click portion, does the click look like a spike or is it a multi cycle waveform? If it’s a spike, then it’s definitely a wordclock problem. If not, it’s buffer underrun or lame harddrive. Or maybe bad digital cable somewhere along the digital signal chain?

  9. robin guthrie

    Andy, Thanks for the advice. I’ve pretty much ruled out buffer underrun, it’s an audio only, completely stripped down machine, no games, no themes, no nothing, optimised to the best of my ability when I put it together, following the advice at http://www.musicxp.net/tuning_tips.php

    my defrag and backup routines are diciplined.

    The ‘USB/FireWire device that is ticking the port and clogging the CPU and giving you ticks’ idea that Joakim mentioned may be an avenue to explore..

    Also another thing I noticed is that it never does it at the start of the day, but it tends to start later on, making me think there may be something heating up, my aging interface, for example.
    I have a homemade P4 3GHz machine, 1GB ram, with a MOTU 2408 feeding 3ADAT lightpipes into 2 yamaha 02r … new tech meeting old tech, in otherwords. But as much as I’d like to change a few things, I don’t have the budget..
    Oh, and one more thing…. I can’t see the clicks when you zoom in on the waveform (after I have done a mix).. But I can hear them.. I can det rid of them using the waves declicker plugin, but it is a lengthy and tedious process…
    Of course when I’m just running the multitrack, the clicks are random, never the same place.. so there is nothing to declick at that point….
    So, I’m just off to fiddle with my system….

  10. Joakim

    So what is the master clock in this setup? If you’re running ADAT, especially to two 02R’s you really are best of if they’re synchronized by a good clock, like Apogee BigBen.
    To start things off, I would recommend trying to pin down if it’s only one of the 02R’s that is generating the ticks, could happen if it has been set to internal clock (I assume that you might be using the MOTU 2408 as the master and the 02R’s as slaves).
    If, for any reason one of the 02R’s are set to internal clock, you would get a mismatch in the digital signal resulting in ticks, since it’s not syncing correctly to the signal.

    But the thing that it occurs when things have been running for a while would talk against the above and more point towards something getting to hot, probably something close to your PCI-424 card. You could try shifting slots of the PCI-424, to see if it is more happy in a different slot. Do you know if it’s sharing IRQ with anything else? Best option is if it’s possible to use a PCI-slot that’s NOT sharing. You should be able to tell from the manual for your mobo which slots are OK and which are to be avoided.

    Just thinking out loud…

    Best of luck

  11. denshion

    if you want, I can take a look at the waveform of the pre-declicked file and see if I can spot the clicks or hear them at all.

  12. robin guthrie

    master clock is the MOTU 2048.
    both 02r’s are slaves. they’re connected with the cascade kit (they always have been so I’ve ruled this out as a problem)
    I have have tried moving slots on the PCI bus (it’s a 324 btw). No IRQ sharing – I can set those manually anyway with knowledge from setting up hardware in times gone by 🙂
    the graphics are AGP, nothing is sharing the PCI bus.
    Another clue.. the clicks are only on one channel….
    I’m coming to the conclusion that a combination of heat and an aging audio card may be the problem. But I can’t just run out and buy a new card, especially if the problem continues, which sods law dictates will happen if I spend money….
    Anyway the good news is…. I mixed another track, it had about 12 clicks which I removed.. It sounds just lovely….

  13. Joakim

    Time of the year being what it is, I was assuming heat was a part of the problem. If you’ve got any possibility to throw in a PCI-slot fan, next to the PCI324 it might solve the clicks, these come pretty cheap, but it’s hit and miss afair to get one that’s silent.
    Just a thought. But the ticks are probably caused by the PCI324’s loosing sync.

    Though personally I’d go for a RME Hammerfall HDSP 9652 which has 3 ADAT and is ROCK SOLID, which I think you can pick up fairly cheap second hand.

    Looking forward to the release of the mixes 😉


  14. most honest boy in Japan

    Hi governor,
    do yo have ionizer in your studio?
    Kevin S had same kind of problem in his studio.
    after dinner band smoke lots of cigarettes, then ionizer works automaticly to clean air and create “click” noise.
    send me TOKYO<>RENNE ret ticket.
    I will solve your ” click ” problems.

    tate x

  15. Damien Olsen

    Robyn, i understand the point of keeping the computer for music production just and only for music production but let me tell you: i run Logic 7 + Athmosphere + Bias Peak 5 in a laptop with no a lot of memory, 512mb but a respectable processor: 1,5gb. I dont use midi interface, i use this one blue cable M-one: midi in, midi out-USB; for audio i use a fire wire M-audio, very very simple set-up. I have enough mess with all the pedals/synths/cables/rack-stuff in my studio but the entrance to the computer realm is the most simple.
    And i have a lot aplications going on into the laptop: photoshop, Final Cut,etc, i spend hours and hours at day working on line but when i record, i record beautifully clean and also use this laptop for final mastering when i make recordings in the 16 tracks in my studio with all the racks and hardware stuff, then when fresh cds comes out from the studio i import its tracks into this mac for further and final mastering; everything comes clean (i’m touching wood)no pops, no nothing, just my music, clean as the air in Oregon (i live in Brooklyn NY).
    I think your problem could be statics. I use to have that problem working with PC years ago using kakewalk and Sonar, lot of pops and little electric shocks in my fingers.
    My main headache this days is radio interference in one of my amps: a solid state Fender Princeton, i use it only for the Roland G-33 guitar synth and very offten especially during the morning hours you can listen a lot of anoying radio stations going on out of that amp, it makes me nuts.
    I bought a noise supressor but nothing really happens, the radio is still there and i hate it and i dont understand, i’m totally isolated here. theres no neighborgs around only warehouses with car repir, sewing machines or so, you know, industrial stuff, no tv, no radio, and my own tv set is downstairs in the first floor, my studio is in the third one and that tv is mostly off during the day.
    Where that freaking radio noise come from???
    Back to the other subject, i never have pops or whatever other demons invading my laptop recordings or masterings.
    I really think that your problem is statics.

  16. Damien Olsen

    Sorry i just pop up in this blog with all that opinion about the Robyn’s pops and stuff and i realized that i didn’t say hello.
    Well , i’m middle way from 90 also and i quited my profession of sculptor 5 years ago after a whole life of art creation: sculpting/painting.
    Making music was until 6 or 7 years ago just training or studing; since i moved to NY in 99 (from Brazil)i work only in music: Ambient, electronica and also something between Jazz and etnic, something that goes well with ECM records.
    I’m a guitar player who works with lot of synths, keyboard,piano and field recordings.
    I saw you Robyn last year playing at the Knitting Factory here in NYC, it was F A B U L O U S.
    Was not much people in the audience and the guys who open the show for you were really bad.
    The first one was a kid with a beautifull voice but with zero charm and zero conection with the public. The second guy had a lot of technology at hand but aparentely zero knoledge of what to do with it.
    My wife enjoyed your show as well and she said that i should work with video images as you do, considering that my music is so abstract (!?).
    I love the fact that you show images in your shows but i dont think that it necessary complements the abstract instrumental music. Music is complete in itself and has images of their own. (that’s what i say).
    Are you coming to NY again soon?

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