multiple instances, multiple ASIO devices?

Discussion in 'Cubase' started by Ben Hanson, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. Ben Hanson

    Ben Hanson Guest

    I realize this is a Cubase newsgroup but I know lots of people that use
    Cubase in the studio cross-over to Ableton for live use, etc, so I thought
    I'd ask.

    In Ableton Live (I'm using v.6) you can tell it to allow multiple instances
    to run. I can successfully spawn one instance using one ASIO sound card and
    another instance using the second ASIO sound card I have in the machine. It
    all seems to work perfectly, but in the second instance, I get a bunch of
    glitches and pops. The first one runs fine. I checked to make sure both
    devices are using the same bit depth and sample rate, etc.

    It's not just a problem with the second ASIO device either...if I reverse
    them, the one that was working perfectly, opened in the first instance,
    begins to click and pop, opened in the second instance. It seems to be that
    regardless of which device I choose, the ASIO sound card running in the
    second instance is just dysfunctional in some way.

    Is it just one of those things you can't do? If that's the case then what
    would be the point in having the ability to run multiple instances of

    Ben Hanson, Sep 12, 2007
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  2. Ben Hanson

    NickM Guest

    Hi Ben

    I'm pretty sure your problem is that your sound cards aren't using the same
    clock source which is vital with what you're attempting. Non synchronised
    cards will give you the type of problem you're experiencing.

    I don't use Ableton, but I'm certain that to use two separate ASIO capable
    cards in low latency ASIO mode via their ASIO driver rather that Multimedia
    ASIO mode in Ableton, as in Cubase, that the cards would need to be of the
    same make and model as well as the driver being able to support multiple
    cards. I have, in the past used up to four different sound cards at once in
    one PC, but was only able to input audio through them all at the same time,
    the ASIO Multimedia driver as controlled from Windows had to be used (more
    on that at the end of this post if it's of any help).

    To successfully use multiple cards in tandem (I still have a machine with
    three 8 channel Terratec EWS88MT PCI cards giving 24 analogue ins and outs),
    in terms of (word) clock source, one of the cards has to be seen as the
    Master (and provides the master clock source - e.g: 44.1KHz or 48KHz or
    better) and any others are seen as slaves. The way this is achieved on with
    the Terratec cards is by setting a jumper on the master card to Master and
    then connecting to the next card in line which is jumpered as slave, using a
    short cable (supplied) to supply the necessary digital clocking signal to
    the slave and subsequent slaves.

    If the digital clocks between your cards are running independently, that
    will explain why you're getting clicks, pops, drop-outs and anything else on
    your second card. you need to make your second card synchronise as a slave
    to the first. If your cards don't have sophisticated Word-Clock
    connections, but do have S/PDIF in and out, you should be able to connect
    the S/PDIF out of card 1 to the S/PDIF in of card 2 with card 1 providing
    the master clock source. That's not all though. Card 2 must be capable of
    slaving to an external clock source, and if so, you can usually find the
    appropriate setting in its control panel under Settings

    Whilst not being directly relevant to the issue you have this may give you a
    better understanding of a practical scenario. I was needing simultaneous
    input without error, but the same would have been true if I had been trying
    to output separately from multiple cards. In 1996/7 it was quite an
    achievement for me to be able to dump some 16 track - all 16 tracks -
    recordings from a Fostex B16 tape machine in one pass onto my PC, but that
    was before there were too many affordable multi-input cards around - with
    possibly the Echo Layla being one of the few. I've moved on since those
    days, but it was a challenge at the time - for interest, the four cards were
    Echo Gina -> Echo Gina -> Guillemot ISIS - Sound Blaster Live. The first
    Gina had a DAT recorder connected to its input with the output clock set at
    44.1KHz and left in record pause (no tape) I could use its stereo Line In
    which was accepted by the S/PDIF input channel on the Gina as being separate
    from the anlogue inputs. The first Gina also had its own pair of analog
    line inputs and was set to receive its clock source externally from the DAT
    machine. The first Gina's S/PDIF out was connected to Gina # 2's S/PDIF in,
    and the clock was set to external - i.e daisy chained from Gina # 1. Again
    2 analog inputs from this card - we're up to 6 now. S/PDIF out from Gina #
    2 to the ISIS (horrible interface really - but it was cheap and had eight
    inputs) S/PDIF in with the ISIS clock source set to External. Up to 14
    inputs now. Then at the end of the chain was the Soundblaster Live which
    although not documented anywhere seems to accept an external clock source
    via its S/PDIF input surprisingly, even though the driver software never
    showed any reference to this being possible. This set-up worked reliably
    throughout over 20+ hours of tape based 16 track material being transferred
    to hard disk via Cubase VST (version 3.5 I think it was - it was the first
    stable version anyway) in a single pass. None of it was pro material or of
    any particular commercial importance - mainly little band demo's - but I
    still have the material backed up as Wave data on CD's should I ever need to
    revisit any of it. I don't have the B16 any more sadly, but I do have the
    tapes - albeit that they are so degraded that eight hours at gas mark 6
    might be needed to dry them out.

    Apologies for the long post, but hopefully you'll find it of some use.

    NickM, Sep 13, 2007
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