Dropouts when playing back

Dropouts when playing back
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A few weeks ago I was trying to write some music using Spitfire Labs orchestra plug in. I found that with even just a few tracks (about 4 or 5) that some would not play back, or would play back patchily, i.e. with lots of drop-outs.

I figured this might be because they’re so resource hungry, even though there was plenty or free RAM on my 16GB PC. This was discouraging.

Over the weekend I thought I should just record SOMETHING less intensive, so decided on Let It Be. This is more about me learning how to record and how to use Cubase, rather than about creating a great cover of the song.

I recorded the right hand piano part (I’m no keyboard player, hence the requirement to record the two hands separately!), some organ, the bass line, and a few bits of (midi) drums. All very rough, but these are really just guide tracks.

Today, during my lunch break (working from home) I took advantage of the fact that both my daughters were out and recorded the lead vocal and some b-vox Oohs.

I couldn’t hear the Oohs, as I was recording them, because I had monitoring off, but then I realised I also couldn’t hear the Oohs I’d already recorded when I was laying down the next ‘Oooh’. I didn’t really need to hear them though, so just carried on (it was only the 4 bars long first chorus so didn’t take long).

When I went to play it back properly to see if my b-vox sound any good, I found I was getting the same drop outs.

Looking the the System Tray icon for my audio interface I saw that the Buffer Size was quite low (256 IIRC), so I upped it to 1024.

No change.

I uninstalled the software and drivers for my old audio interface, and rebooted.

No change.

I can’t work like this!

Attached is an excerpt from the recording. Please excuse the quality of the singing (I’m also no singer!) but while you’ll hear my hesitant keyboard playing, the midi drums, and the bass, you’ll also hear the lead vocal line with drop outs, but NO b-vox at all!

PC is a Dell Optiplex 980 with 16GB RAM.
Interface is a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen)
Disk is SSD (70GB free space)

WTF is going on? My DAW is basically unusable!

I don’t use Cubase or Focusrite Jeff but here’s a couple of thoughts. So are you just starting with Cubase? Have you tried a different DAW to see if the FocusRite works with that (Reaper is free)

Here’s some steps you might check if you haven’t already. There are links to several articles on setting up Focusrite with Cubase.

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You might try some of these tweaks for getting Windows 10 to play nice with Audio:

Also, maybe check for updates to your interface drivers and firmware.

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Thank you, although if these were off (they weren’t) then I wouldn’t have been able to do anything! :slight_smile:

I’ll see what Reaper (or another DAW) does.

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There were a couple of driver updates available, but nothing apparently related. I’ve not rebooted yet so who knows!

However, the thing is this issue is relatively new. It never used to happen, so something appears to have degraded.

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Well, I just imported a few of the audio tracks in to Reaper and it seems to be coping just fine…

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Well worst case Reaper is a good DAW. They’ll bug you for $60 after a month but I think you can keep working.

You could post this question here:

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I’m a fully paid-up member of the Cubase Pro squad, so yeah, I’ll be asking Steinberg questions…!

Make sure Cubase is using the ASIO drivers, not windows drivers like MME, DirectSound or WASAPI.
Change your buffer size via Cubase’s ASIO interface to your Scarlett. Maybe when changing it through your system tray icon it is being reset by Cubase when you load the project.

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Yes, definitely using the Scarlett ASIO driver. I could try the ASIO4All driver instead I suppose…

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In other news I recreated the project in Reaper and it plays back perfectly from there. So it seems it’s just Cubase that exhibits the problem.

Pretty sure I’ve got a version of Ableton I could try it on too.

I have a Scarlett 2i4 and I’m using ASIO4All. I seem to recall reading that it is the ideal driver to use for the Scarlett around the time I was setting up my interface, so that’s why I chose it.

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Just tried ASIO4All. No change in behaviour. :frowning:

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MYSTERY SOLVED, albeit revealing a new one.

Every audio track I added had this Insert included:

This seemed to be acting as some kind of limiter, As soon as I pick a different preset (and even then returning to the original as shown above) the vocal lines behave just fine.

Phew!

However, that still leaves the mystery of why the insert is included in the tracks’ settings in the first place.

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Thanks for the follow up.

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