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Old April 9th, 2004, 10:24 AM   #1
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Info -- External Preview & Onboard Firewire

This is only an informational post, but I wanted to share so that if anyone else ever has this problem, they can fix it easily. I couldn't find a problem similar to mine that was covered anywhere. So, here it is...

History:

I have run custom/self-built computer systems for the last couple of years. I run Vegas with all of my other software and hardware on these systems. My old system had a Soyo KT400 Ultra Platinum Dragon Motherboard. I had an add-on Koutech PCI Firewire Card for firewire capabilities. Everything worked great. Then, the motherboard went south and I added an ABIT board with onboard firewire.

Problem:

With the new system, whenever I would run my external preview via onboard firewire in Vegas, I would get intermittent black flashes (breaks) in the display. This was not the typical stuttery/jerky playback that many people question. This was an actual loss of the signal. I thought that maybe some external hardware or the firewire port was bad. I streamed a DV-AVI via DVIO out of the computer and everything was flawless. Hmmmmm... I thought maybe it was a Vegas install problem. I uninstalled Vegas and reinstalled it. Problem seemed to be solved after my initial testing (although the playback stilled seemed excessively stuttery). Booted up the second day and black flashing was back.

Solution:

I thought back to a system that I had built about a year or two ago that had problems with the PCI bus and an IDE controller card. It was having rythmic blackouts during DV capture. A conflict with the card was causing the PCI bus to basically pause and then resume. I thought that maybe something similar was happening. Or, maybe there was just an oversaturation of onboard resources(either may, my past experience got me thinking). So, I reinstalled my Koutech card and guess what! Everything worked perfectly.

Moral of the Story:

If your onboard firewire is giving you fits during external preview in Vegas, try an add-on PCI card.
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Old April 9th, 2004, 11:22 PM   #2
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another thing to keep an eye on with Vegas is teh IRQ's. Speaking of conflicts and windows, you are assigned up to 15 Adresses for IRQ's, and if you have a conflict between any of them (ie 2 seperate elements sharing the same adress) and these 2 are trying to create an output you WILL get bandwidth bottlenecking.

Im using an ABit IT7 max 2 2nd release mobo with 3 1394 ports.. im also using a PCI card with 1 internal and 3 external ports.

I connect 2 cams to the PCI slot and 1 on the mobo, i also have the mobo 1394 configured for Yamaha mLan (Yams proprietary midi/audio network)

With this config, i can have 3 cams connected at once, all the while having Logic (or cubase) controlling all my synths inputs and recieving the synths outputs all at once.

this is great for commercial work as ou can literally write chunks of music as you watch the capture. (i prefer goin live as the first thing i see usually inspires the most emotion)

another thing to take note of is the soundcard and ASIO configuraiton.

ASIO are probably the most efficient drivers to use within Vegas, and working in tandem with Vegas and other applications. Problem is , some applications (like cubase) do not like the idea of having to share ASIO drivers with another application at the same time. My set up works fine but some dont. Im using SBLive Audigy 1.

So the solution is to generate midi timecode and DONT run the Asio drivers within Vegas. Vegas will then trigger your Synced
cubase track.

A good way to set this up is to install virtual audio cables (u can get them SoFo website) or even better for thoose writing their own music, you can use Virtual midi cable. Those who have used cubase would know abotu re-wire.. this is similar.
IF your using yamahas mLan (firewire network Midi&Audio for HW) you may have bandwidth issues when using vegas and previewing on external. I think thats a CPU issue in all honesty.

Okies moving on..
now that cubase or logic (or whatever SW sequencer you use) is triggered, you can then route the audio of that finished piece directly into vegas with these Virtual audio cables.

another solution is to mixdown he audio and import it, but hen you dont get the flexibilty to change things around on the fly.

im rambling... but there are some wider uses for vegas than jsut video alone.. and as ive noticed alot of Pro Toolers "looking" at vegas, i thought id mention the flexibilty of it.
saying that, at teh SoFo forums, there are many threads up there talking about Vegas vs ProTools...

when it comes to price, and flexibility theres no question which is better...
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Old April 12th, 2004, 07:25 AM   #3
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Peter,

Very informative post. Thank you for sharing!
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Old April 12th, 2004, 07:26 PM   #4
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Well, I am trying to dig into my problems further now. I noticed tonight, that the add-on card is giving me some minor "snow" in the output. I am trying to reassign irq's but doesn't seem to be working. Looks like a fun night for me. :)

EDIT:
The snow problem was fixed. I swapped out the pricey Koutech Firewire card for a trusty old $10 pricewatch.com special card that has been beaten and dragged through the mud and still works. I still would like to figure the onboard firewire conflict out though. We'll see. ;)
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Old April 13th, 2004, 03:29 PM   #5
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It's very likely it's an IRQ sharing problem. What I usually do is
disable any unneeded stuff in the BIOS that uses IRQ's. For
example I'm not using my COM (serial) ports, my LPT (parallel)
port and my onboard audio so I have this all enabled freeing up
precious IRQ's.

I do believe newer motherboards with newer versions of Windows
can use more IRQ's because I just saw some device installed
at IRQ 22 on one of my systems. Interesting.
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Old April 13th, 2004, 05:12 PM   #6
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I think that I have solved the problem. I noted that the onboard firewire was originally at IRQ 22. I figured a hardware uninstall and restart/reinstall couldn't hurt anything. So, I tried that. I noted that the IRQ has now been reassigned to IRQ 20. Everything works now (from what little I have tested it)! YEAH! I am not certain whether it was the simple driver reinstall or the IRQ change. We will see over the next day or two.
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Old April 13th, 2004, 06:25 PM   #7
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OK, the fix wasn't so simple. Needless to say, the solution only seemed to work for all of about 5 tries and then the problem started again. If I print to tape with Vegas, no problem. If I use anything other than Vegas External Preview to stream via my onboard firewire, I get zero problems. I am only having this problem when using external preview in vegas via onboard firewire (my add-on pci card does not have this problem). This is independent as to whether the source is a compliant DV-AVI requiring no recompression or a very intricate project requiring frame recompression. I am really at a loss. Anyone have any more suggestions? Thanks!
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Old April 13th, 2004, 08:22 PM   #8
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It could still be an IRQ problem. Is the firewire port now sharing an IRQ with the sound card. The sound card won't be used during a PTT but it WILL be used during preview.
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Old April 14th, 2004, 01:02 PM   #9
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Well, after a long night of testing, I have found that the add-on firewire is beginning to corrupt output too after extensive use. I have tried full uninstall/reinstalls of everything from hardware drivers to Vegas to Win XP. I have a feeling that my board is bad. I am going to RMA the board and try a new Via Chipset board(which I have had no problems with before) in place of this new ABIT nForce board. Other than great quality sound, I found no advantages to it over the Via Chipset boards that I have run in the past in regards to what I do and the hardware that I utilize. My first impression of these "hyped" nForce boards was not a good one.

I wish that my old Soyo board hadn't died. It was solid and trustworthy while running, but I can't justify buying a new one for the prices that Soyo wants when mine died in about 13 months.

To answer your question Edward, no, they weren't sharing.
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Old April 15th, 2004, 03:11 AM   #10
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That's always a possabililty that something is messing up. Could
even be your PSU (power unit).
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Old April 15th, 2004, 07:04 AM   #11
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Rob,

Well, I have been tracking the rails on the PSU and there isn't anything that the monitoring software is picking up that could be wrong with the PSU. Let's just say that I hope it isn't the PSU, it is a brand new Thermaltake 420W Silent Power. I have another board, a Gigabyte KT600 board, on the way. So, we will see then.

This is the wonderful thing about custom computers. Anyone that builds computers or has ever built computers knows the frustrations. It is a time like this that makes me want to say "Dude, I shoulda bought a Dell." But, I have dealt with their customer service and, well...
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Old April 15th, 2004, 07:52 AM   #12
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This not only happens to homebuilt computers. If the board was
bad it could've just been as easily been a DELL or any other
brand. It sounds like some little thing is just off somewhere that
doesn't get picked up by QC. Let us know how the new board
goes!
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Old April 15th, 2004, 08:34 AM   #13
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Rob,

I agree with you wholeheartedly. If it were a bad board, it was a bad board, Dell or custom does not matter. The only nice thing about a turn-key system is that they have that final QC/operating check of the final, assembled system prior to shipment. With self/custom-built rigs, you are the final QC. :) I have also run into hardware conflicts with building rigs where turn-key systems usually have alot of hardware conflicts worked out (not always though). As mentioned earlier, I had a ECS board one time (a cheap beater rig) that had a SiS chipset that had major conflicts with an IDE controller card that I had installed. It took me forever to figure my problem out on that one.

Anyway, thanks for the suggestions and help and I will certainly report back when the new board is up and running.
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Old April 15th, 2004, 08:55 AM   #14
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I found I can't use my onboard firewire ports on my Asus P4C800E Delux. Everytime I captured video I'd get tons of dropped frames, but only to the drive connected via my Intel raid controler. I thought it was the raid controler or the drive connected to it till I tried to capture to the same drive using the built in firewire on my Audigy card....not a single dropped frame. Apparently my onboard Intel raid controler is conflicting with my onboard firewire. UGH!
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Old April 15th, 2004, 09:31 AM   #15
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Glen,

As you can tell, I definitely share your frustration. Through my investigation regarding this problem over the past couple of days, I have found that onboard firewire can be problematic. This is not the norm, but I have found that my case, and obviously yours, are not isolated incidents regarding problematic onboard firewire.
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