Page 1 of 6

ASIO Guard discussion

Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:27 pm
by Sequentialist
Hi Guys,

I'm trying to make sense of how ASIO Guard manages its buffer settings - in my case under OSX.

ASIO guard uses two buffers, one for record enabled tracks (this is the buffer that is set by the user - eg 128 samples), and another for all other tracks that are not record enabled. It appears that this playback buffer can not be manually set by the user, but instead is either fixed or possibly dynamically changed according to the resources required by the project.

In the settings menu under VST Audio System, the latency of the user-set (recording) buffer is shown as an input and output latency in ms. The total of these two figures is the round-trip latency. In the attached screen shot, the round-trip latency is 8.322ms (total of input and output).

Below that is the ASIO-guard latency (this would be output only, given that ASIO-guard's buffer is for playback tracks).
For a user buffer of 128 samples, this ASIO-guard latency is 11.610ms. With a bit of trial and error, I've worked out that this is equivalent to a buffer of about 400ish samples.

When the user buffer is increased, so does the ASIO-guard buffer. Interestingly, when any buffer below 128 samples is selected, the ASIO-guard latency remains at 11.610ms.

My question is... is it possible to increase the ASIO-guard buffer manually even when the user buffer is low? For example, would it be possible to have an ASIO-guard latency of 49.38ms (the equivalent of 2048 samples) while still running at a very low user buffer?
Or conversely, does Cubase increase this ASIO-guard buffer as required, when running at a low user buffer, as the project demands it?

I would love some further information on this aspect of ASIO-guard from one of the Steinberg moderators. It's a great feature and will definitely have a huge impact on performance, but I'd like to understand the mechanism behind it so I can get a feel for how much of a performance improvement might be delivered.

Cheers and thanks in advance,
Mike

Asio Guard - will it work?

Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:25 pm
by steveschizoid
I've been having problems with CPU spikes for quite some time. Projects with less than 25% showing on the asio meter would even fail to render on occasion.

I was hoping the new 64 bit UAD plugins would save the day, but, alas, not. (Although, this does seem to have helped, since I am no longer using the bridge as much.)

The most annoying factor in this scenario is that sometimes during a real time render (which I have to use because I use hardware), a glitch will happen, and the render doesn't stop, If I've already heard the mix too many times, I will often just fix one issue, then send it along to a client, who then gets to notice the glitch and report it to me, making me look somewhat incompetent.

This really burns me up. So I spent the $150 on the upgrade. My questions, to anyone who has experienced issues like this, are - will the asio guard system help? How will I know?

Re: ASIO-guard latency - is it dynamically adjusted?

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:52 am
by Sequentialist
I would love to hear from one of the moderators on this one! Chris? Helge?

Cheers and thanks,
Mike

Re: Asio Guard - will it work?

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:07 pm
by Steve Reaver
I think you are better off getting to the bottom of your issue rather than trying to place one band aid over another.

My experience with ASIO glitches like that is that it usually comes down to a problem outside of the ASIO system, not Cubase or the ASIO drivers itself. It may be that something else in your system is hogging resources for an instant and causing buffering in ASIO, thus the dropout. The worst culprit for this kind of activity is I/O Wait caused from delayed access to the harddirve, your virus scanner, a faulty harddirve or a bottle neck at the chipset level can cause IO Wait and make the whole system come to a screaming halt.

What sort of motherboard and cpu do you have ? and how are your harddrives configured ?

Re: Asio Guard - will it work?

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:54 pm
by BriHar
I suggest you download the free utility DPCLatency checker (or LatencyMon.exe if you have 64bit). Run this and it will show if you have any issues with interrupt hogs which usually are the culprit in these kinds of problems.
http://www.thesycon.com/eng/latency_check.shtml
http://www.geardownload.com/multimedia/latencymon.html

Re: ASIO-guard latency - is it dynamically adjusted?

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:58 pm
by Conman
The moderators are probably not the ones to ask. They seem to be managerial rather than programming types.
My guess is no it's not dynamically assigned. They leave it to the genius of the user to utilise.

Re: Asio Guard - will it work?

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:03 pm
by steveschizoid
system info.jpg
(229.19 KiB) Not downloaded yet
Steve Reaver wrote:I think you are better off getting to the bottom of your issue rather than trying to place one band aid over another.

My experience with ASIO glitches like that is that it usually comes down to a problem outside of the ASIO system, not Cubase or the ASIO drivers itself. It may be that something else in your system is hogging resources for an instant and causing buffering in ASIO, thus the dropout. The worst culprit for this kind of activity is I/O Wait caused from delayed access to the harddirve, your virus scanner, a faulty harddirve or a bottle neck at the chipset level can cause IO Wait and make the whole system come to a screaming halt.

What sort of motherboard and cpu do you have ? and how are your harddrives configured ?
system info.jpg
(229.19 KiB) Not downloaded yet
I have a lynx AES16e, L22, UAD quad and solo. I suppose I should try turning the antivirus software off. Variaudio seems to cause issues; I've noticed I get more successful renders when I bounce any tracks with it.

Re: Asio Guard - will it work?

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:11 pm
by jimmys69
Steve Reaver wrote:I think you are better off getting to the bottom of your issue rather than trying to place one band aid over another.

My experience with ASIO glitches like that is that it usually comes down to a problem outside of the ASIO system, not Cubase or the ASIO drivers itself. It may be that something else in your system is hogging resources for an instant and causing buffering in ASIO, thus the dropout. The worst culprit for this kind of activity is I/O Wait caused from delayed access to the harddirve, your virus scanner, a faulty harddirve or a bottle neck at the chipset level can cause IO Wait and make the whole system come to a screaming halt.

What sort of motherboard and cpu do you have ? and how are your harddrives configured ?
Just as an add to this^. I just recently had sudden, severe ASIO spikes on a normally competent i7.

It was caused by a malfunctioning KVM switch. Nothing to do with audio, nor anything internal. Just a stupid monitor switch. Removed it, now no spikes. :)

Re: Asio Guard - will it work?

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:32 pm
by steveschizoid
Recently something happened to my system that has caused the performance options window to come up every time I restart my computer. It informs me there is an issue with the specified paging file size, which apparently is now set to zero. I can see how to change that, but I have no idea what I should specify, or why this has happened. Wondering if this could be related somehow to the cpu spikes - any ideas?

Re: Asio Guard - will it work?

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:04 pm
by killawattz
steveschizoid wrote: I suppose I should try turning the antivirus software off.
Steve, you absolutely and positiviely should NOT have antivirus switched on!

I think it's about time we had a permanent thread on how best to set up your DAW for music.

There have been so many threads on this before and yet on almost a weekly basis I see people trying to run Cubase etc alongside an antivirus prog.

There are many other tweaks for Windows which may also help your situation. Too many for me to write it all down here again. You should Google 'set up Win 7 PC for DAW' or something and follow all the advice.

Re: Asio Guard - will it work?

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:29 pm
by steveschizoid
Trust me, I did all that (along with disabling the uneccessary services); the antivirus is the only thing - I know better, but when Cubase is having difficulty with a particular render I will shut it off, and it never helps, so I tend to leave it on.

Re: Asio Guard - will it work?

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 4:16 pm
by killawattz
steveschizoid wrote:Trust me, I did all that (along with disabling the uneccessary services); the antivirus is the only thing - I know better, but when Cubase is having difficulty with a particular render I will shut it off, and it never helps, so I tend to leave it on.
Are you sure part of the antivirus is still not running in the background?

Could you post a list of running processes perhaps (after you've shut down AVG)??

Have you checked your IRQs for potential conflicts?

cheers

Re: Asio Guard - will it work?

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 6:31 pm
by Conman
AVs should not cause any untoward clicks under normal circumstances while using Cubase. If you are getting system messages about pagefile sizes and errors then I'd google away from here and look at more general computer problems.
A lot of these issues are caused by system failures rather than a program like Cubase and can usually be resolved by finding programs or settings responsible but sometimes can only be fixed by an OS reinstallation which is no bad thing after a couple of years.
Rarely it could be a BIOS setting or two which requires a deep breath and diving boots.
My guess is that if you tried another DAW you would still get similar issues.
Always check the connection chain first including your audio and midi cables as well as the internal connections.
ASIO Guard seems to work here but my system buffers are generally well behaved so I guess I'll have to try stretching the envelope a bit more.

Re: Asio Guard - will it work?

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 6:53 pm
by Hippo
System info looks odd for a four core 8 thread processor

Hippo

Re: Asio Guard - will it work?

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:05 pm
by steveschizoid
killawattz wrote:
steveschizoid wrote:Trust me, I did all that (along with disabling the uneccessary services); the antivirus is the only thing - I know better, but when Cubase is having difficulty with a particular render I will shut it off, and it never helps, so I tend to leave it on.
Are you sure part of the antivirus is still not running in the background?

Could you post a list of running processes perhaps (after you've shut down AVG)??

Have you checked your IRQs for potential conflicts?

cheers
services 1.jpg
(330.24 KiB) Not downloaded yet
services 2.jpg
(329.32 KiB) Not downloaded yet
services 3.jpg
(323.74 KiB) Not downloaded yet
Haven't checked IRQ's...

Re: Asio Guard - will it work?

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:06 pm
by steveschizoid
Here is the last services jpeg, just a few more.
services 4.jpg
(327.91 KiB) Not downloaded yet

Re: Asio Guard - will it work?

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:08 pm
by steveschizoid
Conman wrote:AVs should not cause any untoward clicks under normal circumstances while using Cubase. If you are getting system messages about pagefile sizes and errors then I'd google away from here and look at more general computer problems.
A lot of these issues are caused by system failures rather than a program like Cubase and can usually be resolved by finding programs or settings responsible but sometimes can only be fixed by an OS reinstallation which is no bad thing after a couple of years.
Rarely it could be a BIOS setting or two which requires a deep breath and diving boots.
My guess is that if you tried another DAW you would still get similar issues.
Always check the connection chain first including your audio and midi cables as well as the internal connections.
ASIO Guard seems to work here but my system buffers are generally well behaved so I guess I'll have to try stretching the envelope a bit more.
Asio Guard is not helping here, but I use mostly UAD and External plugins - to which it probably does not apply.

Re: Asio Guard - will it work?

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:11 pm
by steveschizoid
Hippo wrote:System info looks odd for a four core 8 thread processor

Hippo
It's 2 cores, 4 threads

Re: Asio Guard - will it work?

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:13 pm
by steveschizoid
And here are the IRQs. I really appreciate the help guys.
IRQs.jpg
(309.49 KiB) Not downloaded yet

Re: Asio Guard - will it work?

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:19 pm
by Hippo
Are you sure its not supposed to be 4 core a thread?

Hippo

Re: ASIO-guard latency - is it dynamically adjusted?

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:24 pm
by psvennevig
Have you read this?

https://www.steinberg.net/en/support/kn ... /2020.html

ASIO guard playback latency is fixed. It ups the ante by 4.
So if your ASIO card latency is set for 64 samples. You get proper 64 samples monitoring latency for all tracks in record or monitor mode.
The playback channels have the asio guard buffer added, giving a latency of 256 samples.

Pål

Re: Asio Guard - will it work?

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:04 pm
by steveschizoid
Hippo wrote:Are you sure its not supposed to be 4 core a thread?

Hippo
You know, for some reason I was thinking it was dual core - it's been a couple of years since I put this one together - but I could be wrong. Did a quick search and it appears so. Perhaps I need to look in the BIOS?

Re: Asio Guard - will it work?

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:56 pm
by HugoJacquet
BriHar wrote:I suggest you download the free utility DPCLatency checker (or LatencyMon.exe if you have 64bit). Run this and it will show if you have any issues with interrupt hogs which usually are the culprit in these kinds of problems.
http://www.thesycon.com/eng/latency_check.shtml
http://www.geardownload.com/multimedia/latencymon.html
Did you run this?????

Hugo

Re: ASIO-guard latency - is it dynamically adjusted?

Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:16 am
by Sequentialist
psvennevig wrote:Have you read this?

https://www.steinberg.net/en/support/kn ... /2020.html

ASIO guard playback latency is fixed. It ups the ante by 4.
So if your ASIO card latency is set for 64 samples. You get proper 64 samples monitoring latency for all tracks in record or monitor mode.
The playback channels have the asio guard buffer added, giving a latency of 256 samples.

Pål
Interesting!

Although the article doesn't specifically state that ASIO guard is four times the selected user buffer.

I wonder if future versions will increase this or make it user controllable? Would be great to be able to have an ASIO-guard buffer of say 1024 samples, while running realtime tracks at a low buffer of (for example) 64 samples.

Anyway - it's a great start... this is probably the most exciting new feature for me in Cubase 7 (and has killed off the one remaining appeal that Logic had too - handling heavy projects so well using exactly this method of dual-buffering).

Great work, Steinberg!

Re: ASIO-guard latency - is it dynamically adjusted?

Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:38 am
by OnkelGrusom
How does this work in a real recording situation?
I have 128 or 64 samples latency on my echo mia midi depending on how complex the song I am working with is...
Then asio guard adds x4 samples to that? And to that we must add whatever latency different plugins might have?

If this is so it will make Cubase 7 unworkable in real time to me.

For me the biggest playable latency in real time is 192 samples coming from the sound card. And even that is too much.

I am not buying faster computers to get more latency so to speak. So if this asio guard means if effectively adds 4 times more latency to the buffer I set up my audio card to use it is a no go for me.

Tell me I have got this wrong please?

Kim