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  • MOTU Ultralite Crackle 'n' Pop (with video of what happens)

    Hey guys,

    I just got my MOTU UltraLite, and I'm having the same problem a lot of people seem to be having. At random points, the Ultralite decides to mess up and transform any output into noise. When no audio is playing, you can hear loud clicks & pops, while the meters of all the outputs are going nuts.

    I've recorded a short video of the problem. Please note that I'm not sending any audio through the Ultralite at this time, and yet the outputs are going crazy:



    The clicks you hear is what's coming through the speakers. The only app running at the time was iTunes, but the same thing happens with Sonar 7 (Producer Edition).

    For this video, the Ultralite is plugged into my laptop using the built-in firewire port. However, I also have a Belkin Firewire Expresscard. This uses a Texas Instrument chip (like MOTU recommends), and the problem still occurs (though a little less frequently).

    Finally, the boring specs:

    Dell Precision M90 Laptop
    Windows XP SP2
    Intel Core Duo 2Ghz
    2GB Ram
    Belkin FireWire ExpressCard

    I'm powering the Ultralite using an external 9v adapter.

    In any case, I'm extremely disappointed. I haven't been able to find a solution for this. What to do?

  • #2
    Since you already checked with a TI-based FireWire interface (which the Dell does not have), I don't know what to tell you. I had the same thing happen with my Dell Inspiron E1705. I just gave up and got a different computer.

    Unfortunately, I can't get any audio with the new computer. This is pretty sad... Two computers ago, the UL was working just great.
    <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1">&quot;One likes to believe in the freedom of music, but glittering prizes and endless compromises shatter the illusion of integrity&quot; - Rush, <i>Permanent Waves</i>, &quot;The Spirit of Radio&quot;</font></div>

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Frambooz, i have one good news and one bad news.

      The bad one is that I can't help you.

      The good one, well you probably guessed, is that you are not crazy (kidding) and ever better, you are not alone.
      I have exactly the same problem as you, I've tried exactly the same solutions, and felt exactly the same bitterness and disappointment when realised I still hadn't fix the problem!
      I also bought a TI chipset express card and, and after a short happiness for opening the package and plugging it in, I saw my hopes dye again, when I tried to play a first track, and there it was again! The spirit that is possessing our ultralites is a die hard my man!

      So I’m really sorry that I can’t help but I think we are so rare we got to stay in touch and if (WHEN!) help each other trough this difficult path.

      the more we are the better it is, that’s why right after this message I’ll write a similar one to another guy who shows to have the exactly same problem on Youtube, here is the link if you don’t know it already:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OG7QwcveAH8&eurl=http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1856471&feature=player_embedded

      Ok, well give me a sign when you can, man I hope we get out of this crap soon, it’s gonna kill me!

      Good luck

      ciao

      Comment


      • #4
        I am been experiencing similiar problems with my MOTU Ultralite. This is the first forum I have found that has a forum post where someone is having similiar problems that i am having.
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        • #5
          Mine does the same...

          Comment


          • #6
            Well yeah, I have to also add I have the same problem from time to time. This might not sound like very good advice but the only thing I've been able to do is just try to stick to one program at a time. It seems I only have problems when I try to open up something new, especially video. But I'm guessing this is cause the video program (such as a media player) is trying to take control of the audio device for playback.

            Comment


            • #7
              "Ubiquitous" means "existing or being everywhere at the same time " or "constantly encountered" and I use the word because MOTU has a problem (and, unfortunately, therefore I do too).
              I've got a Rain Recording Livebook which I believe has the TI firewire chipset and I get the standard MOTU Crackle Crash regularly - several times a day if I'm multitasking. It sucks because I thought I'd gotten everything done and set up with reputable yet compact gear for a bombproof little studio, but now I'm going to have to buy a new interface. The thing that really sucks is who's going to buy this "perfectly good" Ultralite off me now that everyone knows they can't be trusted onstage?
              Sorry to be so dramatic, I'm just so relieved to see evidence of other sufferers. I ended up on this forum because I've been googling "MOTU Ultralite crackle" and "MOTU Ultralite crash". How is it possible that there's such silence regarding such a deal-breaking, performance-destroying, major flaw in this apparently very popular piece of hardware? What really confuses me is how MOTU manages to maintain such a great reputation when their stuff doesn't work predictably?
              Just wanted to sign on and add my voice to the movement. Hopefully someone will read my post and at least feel the same relief I have.
              Also, if a company with a great reputation like MOTU can turn out to be completely the wrong choice like they have, who actually is reliable? Maybe it's another thread, but I'd be very interested in hearing what people who get hit with this thing buy after they've given up on their MOTU interface. Presonus Firebox/Firestudio? Focusrite Sapphire Pro? Or is there a campaign of silence about the fallibility of these products as well, and firewire itself is the problem? Sure, it's got better overall throughput than USB2, but if it has to crap it's pants at regular intervals and some USB thing from E-MU doesn't, it'd be worth it to "downgrade" to a "chintzier" piece of hardware to avoid having your entire performance rig suddenly evaporate periodically right in front of everyone at the club.

              Comment


              • #8
                A) I've read lots of posts where people have had problems with Dell laptops.

                B) What's your buffer settings (do you have them cranked down low??)


                (I'm running an 828mkII on a Gateway laptop - with built-in TI firewire chips - with ZERO problems....)
                <div class="signaturecontainer">Tim O'Brien</div>

                Comment


                • #9
                  I had this problem on a self-built desktop (Opteron 165 on an Asus mobo), so it's not just Dell. The only thing that made it better was reverting all the way back to Windows XP 32-bit, but even then it wasn't perfect.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My UltraLite makes this god awefull static glitch every 2 or 3 minutes. It has stopped all of my recording progress on this machine because of it's physical and mental frustration on me. I upgraded my board to an XFX 750a sli with a AMD Phenom x4, 64 bit Vista Ultimate, and plenty of RAM and HD... I've tried 2 different firewire cards: a Manhattan and a Western Digital, and each makes it's own unique sound. I am convinced that it is a firewire card issue and am willing to find another, I just need help figuring out which one. i feel like sending an email with a link to this forum and asking then to send me a brand new upgrade to this frustrating machine.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      From what I saw on the net, mand may not have been noticed by the posters were, The computer that had problems were all using AMD chipsets. I didnt see any with intels having the problem.

                      The one who were also successful had TI firewire chipsets and also disabled all their network cards. Network cards or ports can update themselves while on the internet and it may be why some of these motu units all of a sudden start having this problem.

                      From experience the items I would do are, check the existing latency with this tool.http://www.thesycon.de/deu/latency_check.shtml

                      If you get large spikes, then you got hardware and IRQ issues to deal with.
                      Next I'd disable the network cards and any other cards not needed like modems etc under the hardware manager.

                      Next I'd check my IRQs to be sure nothings sharing with the firewire card.
                      If there is you got to swap PCI slots and use Bios settings to trick the machine into getting the card on its IRQ. it also has to be on a low IRQ below 12 I believe like 5 or 7 etc. If its above a certain number and is on IRQ 17 its being shared. Newer machines have virtual IRQs and they are shared with other components. Those other components especially video cards and network cards will interrupt data flow.

                      Next I'd turn down video hardware exceleration.

                      Next there are tools to adjust the card latency like this.
                      http://www.rainrecording.com/pro/software/adjusting-pci-latency/

                      I found a free one that seems to work pretty good.

                      Lastly It may be the wrong interface for your computer. I'd dump the interface and get something thats known to be more compatible. Some have even bought new computers to no avail, some have success. This is where wise decisions and trying to dig up as much dirt possible on and interfaces is needed before commiting to buy.


                      This was one succesful fix.

                      ""First, make sure you have a firewire pci card with a texas instruments chipset ONLY. This should bypass the motherboard completely. No combo cards either, strictly firewire, up to 3 ports.
                      I got mine here: http://www.keyspan.com/products/fpci3n/homepage.spml

                      Second, turn on your audio device, then start your computer so it detects it. Make sure before hand you remove all drivers and software pertaining to that audio interface first, then restart with interface on.
                      Third, install drivers (which should auto detect from previous step) and then software for interface.
                      Fourth, go to your sounds and audio devices (control panel) and change your sound playback to the audio interface drivers.
                      Lastly, check each software your recording with to make sure that ASIO drivers for that interface are used.
                      If none of this works, then the motherboard is to old or damaged, you don't have enough memory installed, you need to re-install the OS completely, or just by a mac brand new. Ebay sells them un-opened for $1000.00 less than the apple store, FYI.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        From what I saw on the net, mand may not have been noticed by the posters were, The computer that had problems were all using AMD chipsets. I didnt see any with intels having the problem.

                        The one who were also successful had TI firewire chipsets and also disabled all their network cards. Network cards or ports can update themselves while on the internet and it may be why some of these motu units all of a sudden start having this problem.

                        From experience the items I would do are, check the existing latency with this tool.http://www.thesycon.de/deu/latency_check.shtml

                        If you get large spikes, then you got hardware and IRQ issues to deal with.
                        Next I'd disable the network cards and any other cards not needed like modems etc under the hardware manager.

                        Next I'd check my IRQs to be sure nothings sharing with the firewire card.
                        If there is you got to swap PCI slots and use Bios settings to trick the machine into getting the card on its IRQ. it also has to be on a low IRQ below 12 I believe like 5 or 7 etc. If its above a certain number and is on IRQ 17 its being shared. Newer machines have virtual IRQs and they are shared with other components. Those other components especially video cards and network cards will interrupt data flow.

                        Next I'd turn down video hardware exceleration.

                        Next there are tools to adjust the card latency like this.
                        http://www.rainrecording.com/pro/software/adjusting-pci-latency/

                        I found a free one that seems to work pretty good.

                        Lastly It may be the wrong interface for your computer. I'd dump the interface and get something thats known to be more compatible. Some have even bought new computers to no avail, some have success. This is where wise decisions and trying to dig up as much dirt possible on and interfaces is needed before commiting to buy.


                        This was one succesful fix.

                        ""First, make sure you have a firewire pci card with a texas instruments chipset ONLY. This should bypass the motherboard completely. No combo cards either, strictly firewire, up to 3 ports.
                        I got mine here: http://www.keyspan.com/products/fpci3n/homepage.spml

                        Second, turn on your audio device, then start your computer so it detects it. Make sure before hand you remove all drivers and software pertaining to that audio interface first, then restart with interface on.
                        Third, install drivers (which should auto detect from previous step) and then software for interface.
                        Fourth, go to your sounds and audio devices (control panel) and change your sound playback to the audio interface drivers.
                        Lastly, check each software your recording with to make sure that ASIO drivers for that interface are used.
                        If none of this works, then the motherboard is to old or damaged, you don't have enough memory installed, you need to re-install the OS completely, or just by a mac brand new. Ebay sells them un-opened for $1000.00 less than the apple store, FYI.


                        Once AGAIN -- I have to AGREE with WRGKMC!! SPOT ON!

                        AMD's have been problematic since their inception, and the VIA chips that are usually paired with them are crap too (IMHO)!! I went so far as to remove the entire AMD line from my product list - I refuse to build them - flat out! The TI chips (FW) are stellar. FW is still the way to go on external audio connections (faster than USB! - Due to the architecture & design).

                        IRQ sharing has been a problem since Win98. Back in the day, the users HAD to align all their peripherals to the coordinating IRQ/DMA lines. Now, that the OP_Sys handles it -- things get "grouped" (shared interrupt) without any specific consideration for performance...

                        Good Luck!
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                        Comment


                        • kbyerlysm
                          kbyerlysm commented
                          Editing a comment

                          I have had this same problem three times in the last week with the outputs suddenly spiking and bursts of crackling and popping going through the system (all during performances).  I am running on an iMac and both the operating system and all software (including the MOTU drivers) were updated in January when we upgraded to Qlab 2. We have been using this interface for 5 years and had not had this problem until last month.  The airport is off so it isn't updating software.

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