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Cubase SX3/Alesis Firewire Issues

Ben Defiance

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Hi all!


First time poster...and long time sufferer!


Just wondering if anyone can help me cure my technology affliction.


I've in possession of a decent laptop (Dual core, 2GB RAM, etc..)and I'm running Cubase SX3 as my DAW and I purchased the Alesis Multimix12 Firewire mixer so I could record my band.

(Oh, and I've recently installed XP over the originally installed VISTA on the advice of fellow music makers.)



I've only recently actually tried to record my band using only 7 inputs out of the 12...but I keep having major issues!


When I was using VISTA I would be 'CPU OVERLOAD/Audio Drop out detected'...thus I dumped VISTA in fvavour of XP.


I've tried everything I know and scoured the respective manuals for the software and hardware...


Having re-installed everything twice, updated drivers, changed settings and I'm at a loss.


I keep having TWO major issues.


Issue ONE:


I've connected my Firewire mixer and run through everything I know to be fine.

Cubase recognised the mixer as a ASIO device and says everything is fine...but only for a bit.

Depending on it's mood (so it seems), it pops up with the following warning and just gives in.


Then I have to restart Cubase and my mixer...Meh...


Any ideas what I'm doing wrong?


Issue TWO:


Obviously the problem above is annoying, but when it does remain stable (which is rare), I get more issues!


I'm trying to record only 7 inputs out of the 12, I set everything up fine and we are off...

For about anywhere between 10 and 30 seconds...then the program stops recording and just continues to scroll in playback mode!!!




Please please please can someone help me and if you can offer any advice or ideas...please do so.

I feel I've wasted over £1000 on all this kit and I'm not getting any joy out of it.


If anyone can save me, I'll buy them a big cake!


Thanks for your time!



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I heard that the chipset of the firewire input card can cause problems. I am told that a texas instrument chipset is the best to have for audio. I have an alesis firewire io/14 and sometimes have some problems like you have talked about but not anywhere near as bad as that. I did have a cheapo firewire card installed in my computers and changing to a texas intrument chipset card seemed to help out a bit.



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I think there is a setting in cubase that determines if it uses the both processors. I used to use cubase and had similar problems until I told it to use only one processor. I dont remember the exact check box name sorry.


You can see manufacture of your firewire chipset by bringing up the device manger, and looking at the 1394 adapters. Texas instruments and VIA and firewire chipsets work far better than others. If you are having problems and you do not have one of these two chipsets that may be the cause. they sell express card and pcmcia adapters that have TI Firewire on them. this may help. just make sure you can return the card if it doesn't solve the problem.


here is a list of possible solutions that was given to me when I was having problems using a FirePod from there tech support. some of them sound specific to a firepod but may be helpful.


1.) Right click on your My Computer icon > select Properties. Click the Advanced tab; click the Settings button under Performance; click Advanced tab,

then set to Background Services under Processor Scheduling.


2.) If you have Service Pack 2 installed:


--) To determine which Service Pack you have: Click Start menu > Control Panel > System. In the General Tab will be your version & SP info.


2a. Click Start menu > Control Panel > Windows Firewall. Click the Advanced tab and deselect the 1394 Connection. Click OK.


2b. Visit this link, then download & install the recommended patch: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/885222


3.) Click Start menu > Control Panel. Double click into Power Options and set the Power Scheme to Always On. Set the other stuff to NEVER & click APPLY. Then click the Hibernate tab and deselect hibernate; then click APPLY and OK.


4) Click Start menu > Control Panel and double click into Network Connections. If you have a Wireless Network Connection, right click and disable this while you are running the FirePod/Box or Inspire 1394.


5.) Within Cubase LE, click Devices menu > Device Setup, and select VST MULTITRACK. Set the "number of disk buffers" to 10 and "disk buffer size" to 128 or 256. Click "Apply". Also, ensure you are set to the PreSonus ASIO FirePod/Box drivers. Then click the "Expert'" button and set "Audio Priority" to VERY HIGH. You may also want to increase any related settings within other recording softwares.


--) (Though this step is specific to Cubase LE, every DAW software has a process buffer. It is usually located within an audio/options menu.


--) If you are not using Cubase LE, it is often a valuable troubleshooting step to experiment with different DAW software platforms to check the possibility of this being a software-specific issue.)


6.) Finally, right click on My Computer > select Properties. Click the Hardware tab, then click the "Device Manager" button. In here: extend the IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers; double click on the Primary and Secondary IDE Channels; and click Advanced Settings. Here you will see Device 0 and Device 1, you will see "Transfer Mode" (which is usually set to DMA if available) and you will see "Current Transfer Mode". Current Transfer needs to be set to UDMA (Ultra DMA) mode. If either Device on the Primary or Secondary Channels is set to PIO mode, this could be your problem. (PIO mode is a slower, legacy transfer mode for older drives.) If either is set to PIO mode, enter the BIOS and set the IDE Controllers to 'Auto'. This should enable you to change the "Transfer Mode" to "DMA if available". You can alternately return to the Device Manager, right click on the Primary/Secondary IDE Channel listed then "Uninstall" it. Once uninstalled, rebooting your computer will refresh it.


7.) Error-check and Defragment your hard drives. Right click on your hard drive in My Computer and select 'Properties'. Switch to the Tools (tab) .. here are the Error-checking and Defragmenting utilities.




If the above software settings don't resolve your problem, you may want to look into a different FireWire connection:


I recommend having a non-combo, FireWire 400-only expansion card with a Texas Instruments or VIA chipset. TI & VIA will usually not be the actual manufacturer of the card -- just the controller chip on the board.


VIA and Texas Instruments print their logos on every chip they make. If you can view the circuit board of the FireWire card in question but cannot find their logo anywhere on the card, it probably has a generic chipset.


Below is a list of recommended FW cards. These cards have not been fully tested but have proven successful on many systems and in many applications. They are recommended more as a guide than an absolute.


Manufacturer - Model # - Chipset




Belkin - F5U503 - TI

SIIG - NN2608 - TI

SIIG - NN2603 - TI.




CoolDrives - COOL-G-1394-2P - TI

Adaptec - AFW-1430V - TI


ExpresssCard: (Not Fully Tested)


SIIG - NN-EC2012-S1 - TI





This seems contrary to logic, but I've seen the most problems with newer computers than I do with older ones. Whether this is hardware, software or driver-related, I'm still not certain. Experience tells me to stay at least a year behind technologically.



Computers aren't really made to do what we ask them to do. Just look at all the big companies: they create special systems tailored to their precise needs (data processors, 3D rendering farms, data, e-mail & game servers, encryption / decryption supercompters, etc)


Since we're limited to hardware and software meant for more general and oftentimes generic purposes, we tweak and optimize our systems to better adapt to our needs.


I have listed a few optimizations below I have done to my own and others' system. However, if you aren't comfortable with any of the steps listed below, either read up on them until you are or skip the step altogether.


Some of these steps can pose risk to your computer's stability. It is for this reason the exact process necessary to accomplish most of these optimizations has been conveniently left out or made vague.


If you don't know what I'm talking about, you probably shouldn't be tampering with it. ONLY obey any of the following steps if you are comfortable with its instructions and are willing to accept the possible inherent risks.


I cannot stress enough that ignorance and a lack of respect when dealing with computers is usually a combination lethal to your computer's stability (sometimes even to the extent of rendering your hardware completely inoperable!).




1.) Ensure you are using the most recent version of all of your computer system's hardware and software.


--) Hardware and software to update includes, but is not limited to: motherboard BIOS, computer OS, graphics card(s), other sound card(s), recording software, etc...


2.) Defragment all of your system and recording drives.


3.) In your computer's Advanced Performance Settings, set the Paging file size for all drives to a custom size whose Initial and Maximum sizes are identical and powers of 2 (512 MB, 1024 MB, 2048 MB, etc).


4.) Uninstall or disable any hardware, software or computer services not inherently necessary for audio recording.


--) Before making any hardware changes through the Device Manager, I recommend creating a second Hardware Profile for use when recording.


--) Possible inactive or unnecessary hardware to consider disabling includes, but is not limited to: display adapters (i.e. DVI & s-video ports), CD, DVD and floppy disc drives (usually leave only one active), secondary IDE channels, SATA or RAID controllers, USB and FireWire Host controllers, Network adapters and COM & LPT Ports.


--) Possible inactive or unnecessary software to consider disabling or uninstalling (at least during recording) includes, but is not limited to: anti-virus and anti-spyware, file-sharing (i.e. Limewire, BitTorrent, etc), instant-messaging (i.e. Skype, AIM, etc), Quicktime, iTunes, Internet browsers, etc.


--) When customizing startup Services and Applications through the Computer Management utility, I highly discourage turning ANY service's Startup Type to 'Disabled'. In most cases, nearly everything can be set to 'Manual,' but completely disabling services can and will usually lead to instability. Please also note that any changes made to the system's startup will affect all hardware profiles and software users on the computer system.


5.) If you notice any IRQ conflicts or sharing in your System Information file, you may want to consider physically removing or relocating the hardware in question. The most extreme step is to disable ACPI (http://www.audioforums.com/resources/windows-xp-optimization.html), which is the step most likely to create problems.


6.) Upgrade your hardware.


--) One of the primary additions to any FireWire 400 recording system is a dedicated, FW400-only expansion card. The best cards have name-brand chipsets like VIA or Texas Instruments.


--) The next plausible upgrade is to the RAM. Ensure that all of your RAM matches (I.e, identical bus speeds, CAS latency, channels, etc.). It is also preferable to have an amount of RAM which is a power of 2 (512 MB, 1.024 GB, 2.048 GB, etc.).


--) Using a dedicated recording drive also comes highly recommended. While an internal IDE drive running at least 7200 RPMs is usually preferable, external FireWire 400, FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 drives are also very apt.


7.) Clean your Registry. Many applications leave traces of themselves in your computer's Registry, which is loaded every time with the rest of the operating system. Reinstalling your OS is the easiest way to wipe your Registry clean of any unwanted edits, but there are also many Registry-cleaning programs you can purchase or download.



This list comprises only a sample of the many optimizations you can make to a Windows XP-based computer system.


Some of these steps can have drastic effects (both positive and negative), while others are often hardly noticed. However, they are all very viable options when squeezing the most power out of your system is your primary concern.


Just remember, if you ever step out of the bounds of your knowledge and ability, please do so with caution and only after you've backed up your valuable data and consulted all the manuals you can find.

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I can't comment on issue 1 but for issue 2 when recording check that both your left and right locators are set to

When Cubase reaches the right locator it will stop recording and continue playback (under default settings).

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Thanks for your time everyone.


I'll try the suggestions you have all made and then let you all know how I got on.


I'm so frustrated by it all and I guess it's my lack of technical knowledge which is causing the problem.




I'll report back!




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I managed to get it working.


I successfully multi-tracked 7 inputs for 5 minutes without audio drop out or failure.

So far so good...


Only problem being, after I recorded I then got that 'Firewire Could Not Be Initialized!' warning again...even though it recorded and I was using it!??!?



I don't get it...


But hey, If it's working and I can do what I want...then sod it!




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