uTrack24 + WD MyPassport = hundreds of dropouts

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  • #26041
    David ChesavageDavid Chesavage
    Participant

    So I just took delivery of my uTrack24 last week. I updated the firmware to version 2469 which is the latest version on the website. I have a 1TB WD My Passport drive, which is a USB-bus powered USB3 drive. On the bench I recorded for two hours straight with no dropouts reported. I brought it to a gig last night, and reformatted the drive using the uTrack24 menu. Every few songs I hit ‘record’ to start a new “Take” (i.e. to break up the live set into smaller chunks). Most of the takes have lots and lots of dropouts, and for the night I probably had 150 or more dropouts reported. I just started playing with the first track in Logic Pro, and indeed there are weird gaps in the audio data. This was at 24 bit / 44.1 kHz.

    From what I’ve read, this drive seems like it would have been an ideal candidate for the uTrack24. Is there a known-good drive brand and model that you can recommend that I buy?

    #26042
    Laszlo .Laszlo
    Keymaster

    That’s issue is a really strange one, because we also tested the uTrack with this type of HDD.
    Actually I have couple of idea which possible to cause similar issue.
    1. If you using too long USB cable there’s a power loss on the cable, in this case the HDD switch to some “power saving” mode, in this case the read and write speed reduced, that’s possible cause similar issue. If you using the stock cable (which was included with the HDD) that shouldnt be a problem.
    2. Some HDD have internal protection to avoid from the damage when the HDD moving or falling down. If the music too loud (especially the low frequencies) some HDD push the head to parking position for a while, in this case the data transfer stopped for couple of seconds, that’s possible cause similar issue. Actually I tried to reproduce your issue, I used 3 different HDD for the test (WD My Passport, Toshiba Stor.E partner, Seegate Expansion) the result: the WD was the much more sensitive drive, so I’m pretty sure that caused your issue. For avoid this problem you can put some soft material below the HDD.

    #26047
    David ChesavageDavid Chesavage
    Participant

    Ah! That’s actually quite possible. The drive was sitting on a metal shelf, and the rack unit was near the bass rig, and it did seem like the dropouts were occurring during the louder numbers. I will try setting the drive on some sort of cushion next time to better isolate it mechanically.

    Thanks for the fast response.

    #26082
    LarryLarry
    Participant

    Sorry if this seems like I’m repeating with some of the forum questions. But I have both the LP-16 and the U24 which I’m only using it as playing backing tracks. Has any one found out the best HDD to use that would be compatible with no drop outs, or stopping in the middle of a performance? I was looking into the SSD Drives that were at least 500gb capacity. Whatever the HDD is that will be reliable I have to buy two as back up.

    And is there anything out there that I could practically run 2 HDD(parallel) together like a mirror effect so if one drops out the other one takes over without any interruptions on the backing track being played. I heard of something like the “NewerTech Guardian MAXimus RAID-1 [MIRROR] Quad Interface Solution” But I was told I need a software or program to use it. Any help would be great…. Thanks 🙂

    Larry

    #26083
    FOHFOH
    Participant

    Hi lilpyro,

    I am just wondering why you are using HDD for playback? I have a uTrack here too that I use for playback (24ch/48kHz songs) and I solely use USB flashdrives.
    In the 10-somehting shows I did, that has worked flawlessly for. I am using an expensive 128gB Kensington, though some cheapo 64gB TDK seems to do the job just a well.
    No moving parts, no issues so far.
    I also tried to record on these babies once, but then the uTrack indeed starts to complain not being able to record 48khz/24bit, and that all makes sense to me. Though as read speeds are mostly faster than write speeds on flash memory, the playback works very well for me so far.
    So therefore I was wondering why you bother going the HDD route?

    #26085
    LarryLarry
    Participant

    Thanks FOH for responding. I’m in the air with the HDD which I actually use the external 500GB USB HD. The only reason I do so because I have seen and read about from the Cymatic company that best to use the “moving” disk type of drives …as they said that the Sand Disk and Flash drives won’t be compatible with their LP-16 and U24 units. I’m glad to hear that the USB Flash drives have been working well so far! Can a 64gb or 128gb hold 50 (24ch/48kHz songs)? I need it for the whole night if possible. So, if a flash drive would work then do you think that a 500gb SSD external drive do the same?

    Did you mean Kingston flash drive? Want to make sure I’m getting the right item 🙂

    #26086
    David ChesavageDavid Chesavage
    Participant

    lilpyro, RAID doesn’t really work that way. The issue with writing to SSDs and Flash memory in general is that sometimes the disk has to do a bunch of housekeeping before it can reclaim an empty sector, and this housekeeping is time-consuming. When that happens, the write does not fail, it just takes a very long time to complete, and RAID won’t help with that. It’s a shame that the uTrack24 doesn’t have more internal RAM. A large RAM buffer would enable it to ride out these occasional write latencies.

    This is only an issue for writing (recording). For playback I would expect that Flash memory would be fine, as FOH suggests.

    #26087
    LarryLarry
    Participant

    Thanks OBDave! This really helps keep me in the right track of things.

    #26088
    Laszlo .Laszlo
    Keymaster

    The uTrack and LR able to record SSD drive as well.
    IMPORTANT to formatting the drive with uTrack or LR (with the latest firmware release on the device) because we using different allocation unit size during formatting, which provide better performance during recording or playback.
    Of course we cannot guarantee all SSD or Thumb drive working without dropouts, because plenty different controller exist on the market, so if you formatted the drive recommended to make 1-2 hours test recording (ie: uTrack 48/24/24, LR 48/24/16)

    #26089
    FOHFOH
    Participant

    uhh… may be it’s me but aren’t obdave and laszlo missing the point that we are trying to make here?
    My answer to lilpyro was about using standard flashdrives for playback, not recording.

    There is indeed a lot of stuff on the internet to read about the differences of WRITE and READ performance on flashdrives, so it the statements of obdave and laszlo make sense to me in regards to using standard usb flashdrives for recording.

    The point that I merely was trying to make to lilpyro, was that READ performance of flashdrives is mostly much better than their WRITE performance, and for that reason it seems that uTrack (and most likely LP as well), has no problem playing back multitrack files from standard USB flash drives.
    At least, it is working flawlessly for me for 10+ shows already playing back 48Khz/24bit content varying from 8 to 24 channels from several 128Gb and 64Gb sticks.
    And as my setup has litterally no moving parts, there is no skipping of HDD heads or any of the problems that lilpyro is experiencing with his HDD application.
    So I do not know if I am now working completely out of the specification of Cymatic, or if Cymatic has done any testing in this area, but it seems to be working absolutely fine for me with several different USB sticks.

    And lilpyro to answer your question on capacity:
    using the audio filesize calculator https://www.theaudioarchive.com/TAA_Resources_File_Size.htm#File_Size_Tutorial you will find out that 1 minute of 24channel audio at 48Khz/24bit uses up around 203Mb per minute.
    So leaving providing me well over 310minutes or well over 5 hours of 24ch content on a standard 64Gb flashdrive. In my case, more than enough to cover a full show, especially as several of the songs contain less than 24channels of audio.

    And as I have paid less than EUR60 for a 128Gb Sandisk data traveler the other day, I simply always keep 2 extra with me as backup, should one of these babies suddenly decide to give read errors. Live is good 🙂

    #26090
    FOHFOH
    Participant

    …but may be someone from Cymatic can make a firm statement on the topic of playback here?

    #26091
    Laszlo .Laszlo
    Keymaster

    [quote=”FOH” post=535]…but may be someone from Cymatic can make a firm statement on the topic of playback here?[/quote]

    The things what I described in my previous post also valid for the playback as well. So the allocation unit size have impact on the drive performance.
    But the fact the read speed usually faster than the write speed, for this reason less problematic.
    Because of the lot of different controller inside of the SSD or USB sticks, for this reason all the time strongly recommended to test before the live gig.

    #26092
    David ChesavageDavid Chesavage
    Participant

    [quote=”FOH” post=534]uhh… may be it’s me but aren’t obdave and laszlo missing the point that we are trying to make here?
    My answer to lilpyro was about using standard flashdrives for playback, not recording.[/quote]

    Understood. My post was specifically attempting to explain the differences between playback and recording, because understanding those differences is the key to understanding why Flash drives are problematic for recording, which is the occasional extreme write latency issue. Flash drives do not have this latency issue when reading, which is why I agreed with your statement that they should be fine for playback. And I also agree with Laszlo that it’s always best to test before the live gig. Sorry if I misspoke.

    #26093
    FOHFOH
    Participant

    Hi OBDave,
    nothing misspoken!
    I guess we where both trying to explain the same thing from different perspectives 🙂

    #26099
    LarryLarry
    Participant

    Thanks for the info! The LP /LR-16 and the U24 is still new to the market and it’s hard to find good You Tube videos or reviews since most of them are in German. It was really hard for me to make that decision on purchasing any of these without some good solid feed back. So, the information that you all mentioned will help as I will then stick with the USB flash drives. I will still need to have these placed in a “L” shaped 6 inch adapter so they don’t accidently get hit by a flying drum stick or being bumped into since those flash drives stick out a little from the front of the U24 in the rack mount(trust me I have seen this happen before with a MP3 rack mount player in a middle of a performance). I just hope that the 6 inch USB adapter doesn’t make the flash drive too weak to produce the tracks or cause any dropouts. Otherwise, I could just put a strip of clear plexi glass just over the front to protect the flash drive.

    The only thing that makes me a little discouraged about the U24 is the MIDI capability. I love that it can be remotely used by the iPad and the uTool software is great but I had to purchase the LP-16 only because it had the MIDI function which I needed to control the Behringer X32 mixer, Voice Processor, drum patches and lights. Since last year(in January) when I placed a comment about when we will have the MIDI functions to work on the U24 Cymatic said by 1st quarter…..OK….1st quarter is long gone and I have noticed many others asking the same question and there hasn’t been ANY response from the Cymatic company about it since then. Does any one know when we might have that function ready for the U24?

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