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Strange "lag" at top of recording/playback on Tascam FW-1884


Hi folks,
I just re-designed my whole studio to have a Tascam FW-1884 at it's heart, and so far, I love love love it. I got rid of my Aardvark ProQ10 (a fine unit, but no longer necessary) and my Crest Audio XR20 mixer (also amazing, but made moot by the 1884) and now run straight from my Avalon mic pre into the 1884.
Here's the wierd thing - when I start a recording or playback, there's a little "lag" point, i.e., the now-time marker starts to move, then stops for a second, then continues on through out the rec/play cycle.
The most annoying thing about this is that in playback, I find I must slide my audio about 1 measure forward, or I lose the first bit of the recording due to the mysterious "lag". I've tried adjusting the latency setting seven ways to Sunday, tried running in WDM and ASIO modes, with no change. Anyone else have any ideas? I'm fresh out.
Thanks for sharing your wisdom with a poor sod like me.
December 29, 2003 @07:03pm

What are your buffer settings in samples? Also, what are the specs (memory, processor, number of hard drives and their speed, etc) of your computer? Which FireWire card are you using?
December 29, 2003 @07:26pm

Here's my setup:
Dell 4550 3.06GHZ Hyper-threaded CPU
with 533 Mhz frontside bus
30 Gb Caviar 7200 harddrive
40 Gb Caviar 7200 harddrive
Sonar 3 Producer
Windows XP Professional
Various mics (Soundelux, AKG, Shure)
Avalon M5 mic pre
I will have to check the model of FireWire card at home, but I have 4 buffers set in Sonar and the cache is set to 512.
The latency slider doesn't seem to have any effect on this wierd lag time. I've tried it in every position and still get the lag. (There's a quote for the quote board!)
Any ideas?
December 29, 2003 @09:39pm

WoW!! You have almost the EXACT setup I'm looking to purchase!! Glad to hear you like the 1884......I really like Sonar 3 as compared to older versions. Anyway, those specs sound pretty decked out..... A lot of guys here will probably say that you shouldn't have bought a Dell (hey, even I build my own computers)....but a computer that fast shouldn't be lagging, no matter what brand. The first thing that comes to my mind is to ask if everything is upgraded.....Do you have the latest drivers? Uprgraded Windows lately? You have probably already done this but check Tascam and Cakewalk's websites for updates/patches. Also, is your firewire card like built into the motherboard? Or is it on a PCI card? This seams to be a big deal, as I know that Digidesign has strict recommendations for cards to use with their Digi 002 and 002R.
Hope I Helped!
January 2, 2004 @02:09am

Thanks for the reply!
Yeah, I don't know what all the flack is about Dell!?! I've had three of them and never really had any problems with them at all. And yes, you'd think that all that power I should be able to be lag-free, but there's something strange going on and I'm sure that it's just some stupid setting somewhere that I'm not aware of. It's always something like that. I'm hoping that the release of the Sonar 3.1 upgrade on the 6th will improve things. It's supposed to address the issue of Sonar using hyper-threaded CPU's, so I'm hoping I get a little extra power out of that. In the meantime, I guess I have to look at my firewire card, because it's a PCI card and it's probably a year and half old (which in computer terms is like the Early Jurrassic or something) so it might be that. I'll check to see if my drivers are updated - I know my XP is up to date, but I'll check on the firewire drivers. That might be it. Thanks for the ideas!!!
By the way - I freakin' LOVE the 1884, even with the wierd lag thing. It's condensed all my gear into one very easy to use frontend and it just works great. Except for the wierd lag thing. Which I'm sure is nothing. I hope.
January 2, 2004 @08:37pm

Well, I checked my firewire card. It's a Western Digital model #WDAD004-RNW. I checked the Western Digital website and there are no drivers listed for their firewire cards - I guess they leave that up to the good (?) people at Microsoft. I moved the card to a new slot and XP automatically re-installed the driver when I restarted, but it didn't change anything.
Ah well, the search continues.
In the meantime, I have to say once again that I love the 1884. It sounds really great. I do mostly voicever work, so it's nice to have machinery that is so quiet! The mic pre's on this thing are solid and clear and powerful.
No, I don't work for Tascam.
January 3, 2004 @09:21pm

Since WD doesn't have any drivers listed.....I would check with Tascam, and see if they recommend any cards. That's the only thing that comes to mind right now.....
.....Glad to hear you really like the 1884....I haven't been able to find many reviews, I guess that's cause it's so new. Does it interface well with Sonar 3? I really like it as well. Especially the plugins that come with it.
Hope I helped!
January 3, 2004 @11:13pm

Yes! The 1884 integrates perfectly with Sonar 3! They did a really great job on this. And I think the converters on it are very high quality, too.
The sound I'm getting now is much better, clearer and quieter than I got with the Aardvark ProQ10, which I just got rid of. Not a bad unit, but I'm much happier with the 1884.
Thanks for the suggestions. Any little bit helps!
January 4, 2004 @04:52am

Oh yeah....just another thing that popped into my head. What video card do you have? You might want to get the latest drivers for it as well. I *think* I heard about a vid card problem with sonar 2.2 a while back....that's why I thought of it.
Still though, this just seams really strange. A computer that fast shouldn't be having any problems at all. Do any of the other buttons lag? Like the track arm, solo, and mute ones? Or is it just the transport controls?
I think Dell gets a lotta flack because they load a lot of extra software onto their PCs. But, every one I've used has been good, atleast for home use. When you build one (or have one built), you get exactly what you bought....and determine what software you want yourself. For me, this has translated in to more speed and reliability. Our home HP has probably locked up atleast 1000 times in it's 2 year life span, while I could count the number of lock-ups on one hand for my home-built one.
Good Luck!
January 4, 2004 @09:06pm

Thanks, Nick. Yet another good idea. I'm going to make sure I've got the latest video drivers. It's been about 6 months since I last checked, so there's probably a new one out.
No, none of the other functions seem to lag. Oh, another thing is, I can't seem to use the "confidence recording" feature. This feature of Sonar 3 shows you the wave form as it's recording, instead of building the image after the take. When I try to use this feature, I get instant dropout.
I checked into firewire cards last night, too. I found out that the latest thing in firewire is firewire 800. You can get a card that supports both 400 and 800 from firewiredirect.com. I may try upgrading my firewire card to one of these and see if my performance improves. When I bought my current firewire card, I was only looking for something to upload digital video from my camera. And that was about a year and a half to two years ago. So, this legacy firewire card could in fact be the culprit. The 800 cards are not that expensive - about 65 bucks - so it may be worth a try, and it would be nice to have access to the higher speed if Tascam upgrades their system to handle it. Currently, the 1884 only supports the 400Mbps transfer rate.
I just looked on the tascam website, and they have a new driver listed (version 1.1) as of today for both the 1884 and for Sonar. So, I'll load those up and see if there's any improvment.
January 4, 2004 @11:46pm

Okay, so I've fixed the "strange lag". I am not sure exactly WHICH thing fixed the problem, but here's what I did:
1. Downloaded the flash installer from the Tascam website to bring the 1884 HARDWARE up to the latest version.
2. Downloaded the SOFTWARE version 1.1 update from the Tascam website to bring the software up to version 1.1.
3. Changed my record settings to 48Khz/24 bit.
Suddenly, everything works fine. I can't wait to download the Sonar 3.1 update tomorrow! What a wonderful world! What surprises lay in store in Sonar version 3.1?!?!
Ooh, I'm all pins and needles.
But seriously, cheers,
ps: It really really is an awesome system.
January 6, 2004 @03:39am

Sweet man!!! I'm glad you got it fixed.....gave me the willies since that's pretty much exactly what I'm planning to buy. But anyway, did you try switching it back to 96khz after the 'lag' stopped? Might-as-well go ahead and take advantage of those converters, eh? Unless of coure that's what was causing the problem.... Atleast It would be easy to switch back if you did it anyway.
Well, glad your back in buisness man!
January 7, 2004 @01:44am

Nope. I haven't tried any other settings yet, mostly because I just haven't had time. The new version of Sonar was supposed to be out today, and it was for a couple of hours, but they (cakewalk) pulled the download before I could get home, so I have to wait a couple of days ( they said it would be back up by Thursday at the latest) to see what improvements or new snags I encounter with it. I'm hoping for at least a little of more power because the 3.1 Sonar release is supposed to support hyper-threaded CPU's, which is what I have. But we'll see. The stuff I've been reading on the Cakewalk Sonar forums has been mixed. Some people have seen great improvement, while others have seen none.
I'm optimistic, though. And right now, I can get work done at least. I did my first voiceover audition with the new system on Monday, and I think it turned out really well. The 1884 is really quiet, and the mic pre's are real solid, plus I've got the Waves Platinum bundle of plugins and they're fantastic. I don't use any outboard efx anymore. I record everything clean, then tweak it with plugins and master it down from there.
I love it!
I'll try some 24/96 stuff later this week if I have time. In the meantime, I hope you have a nice New Years, and a fantastic 2004!!!
January 7, 2004 @05:57am