Duet (FireWire): Troubleshooting

Mac Audio Optimization Guide

When streaming audio through an interface connected to your Mac, there are many factors that can cause performance problem:

  • audio artifacts such as pops or clicks, stutters, or dropouts as you play or record
  • erroneous firmware messages, performance issues, or other strange behavior.

Use this guide to optimize your Mac computer to reduce the chances of this from happening, or as a starter if you have any issues.

Please keep in mind these steps are not required to use our product, but have solved problems for customers in the past. It is best to test these known fixes first and see if they relate to your issue.

Turn off Automatic Sleep Mode

In Apple Menu > System Preferences > Energy Saver set Computer Sleep to Never.
Make sure “Put hard disks to sleep when possible” is NOT checked.
(These settings may vary on different Mac Models)

This will mean that Sleep Mode does not come on automatically, but you can still put your computer to Sleep when you like, by going to Apple Menu > Sleep.

This is one of the most important steps to prevent problem behavior with an audio device because Sleep Mode works by suspending drivers in a hibernate state, rather than unloading them fully. When waking up the computer does not “enumerate” the drivers fresh as with a newly connected device, but just attempts to proceed as if nothing changed.

However your Audio Device will think it has been disconnected during Sleep, as the driver was no longer available. During Sleep the unit may shut off or go into a standalone mode depending on it’s model/design/features. When the computer wakes from Sleep the Audio Device doesn’t receive a good connection because the driver is not reloaded fresh as with a true unplug/replug, called “driver enumeration.”

Automatic Sleep can lead to situations where you get up for a quick break during your session and come back to glitchy audio, artifacts, no audio, a full disconnect, and other performance issues. Very short Sleep Mode settings, such as every 1 minute, can even create situations where you turn to do something in the studio like adjust your outboard mixer and before you are done the whole unit has been disconnected, or an erroneous firmware message has popped up.

If you must use Sleep Mode, then for best performance first turn off/unplug your interface and then choose Sleep from the Apple Menu. When you come back to work you can Wake the computer and then plug in/power the interface and get a freshly loaded driver.

Remove or Disable Unused Network Adapters

In Apple Menu > System Preferences > Network and make sure to remove any Network Adapters you are not currently using for a LAN or Internet Connection.

For example remove “Bluetooth PAN” “Thunderbolt Bridge” “Firewire” et al.

Having a port that shares a USB, Firewire or Thunderbolt Bus with your Audio Hardware here can limit its bandwidth.

When a certain Port Type, for example “BlueTooth PAN” is listed here, but not in use the computer will constantly “ping” that Port, looking for a connection to appear. This can create a lot of Network Traffic where it isn’t needed, such as on your USB Bus, since BlueTooth is an internally connected USB Device. This can lead to those constant pings knocking your audio device off the USB Bus, disconnecting it.

Turn off your Firewall

In Apple Menu > System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Firewall make sure Firewall is Off.

Networkingis one of the most common sources of audio problems on all computers, Mac and PC. This could be Network Activity on the computer, but also Firewalls for specific programs or computer blocking connections. In general it is best to disable the Firewall on any Audio Production computer.

If you do have important Firewall tasks that need to be done, like opening a Port Forward for your Video Games, it is best to do this on your Router instead, as that device is better equipped. It won’t cause so many audio interactions when done on a different device.

Remove Startup Items

In Apple Menu > System Preferences > Users & Groups > Admin Account > Login Items: remove any Startup items.

Startup Items can be control panels for other audio gear, like Digidesign loader, or programs like Spotify that go online and can interrupt other audio programs. Also things like Adobe Creative Cloud, or even Anti Virus Software will run in the background and slow down your computer.

In this screenshot you can see the computers has iTunes, Flux a color temperature program, and Dropbox all starting up when the computer loads. As iTunes and Dropbox can go online in the background, and Flux may affect graphics performance, these could all potentially affect audio or CPU performance negatively. It is best to remove them if having audio troubles.

There are no Startup Items by default on the Mac so you can remove all of them with no issue.  If you are worried about removing some items, then take a screenshot of them so you can restore them at a later time: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201361

Repair Disk Permissions

In Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility: select Macintosh HD and click First Aid (Repair Disk Permissions on older Macs). Repeat this for any other Hard Drives you have connected.

Choose your best USB or Thunderbolt Port and cable

If you are using a USB Audio Interface (such as Duet), try all the USB ports on your computer. One may work better than another due to how the internal ports are hubbed.

Be sure you have tried another USB, Thunderbolt or Firewire Cable.

Turn off Analytics and Location Services

In System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy Tab > Analytics (could say Diagnostics and Usage), un-check the boxes for Share Mac Analytics, Share with App Developers, and Share iCloud Analytics.

You may also want to disable Locations services found in this same Privacy Tab to further reduce background network traffic.

Turn off Sound Notifications for Apps

Turn off sound notifications for all your apps: In System Preferences > Notifications, select an app then un-check the box for “play sound for notifications. Repeat this for all apps in the left side-bar.

After these steps please RESTART the Computer

While you are Recording

  • Check that any Virus Scanners or Backup software (i.e. Hightail or Carbonite) that run in the background are disabled.  High background activity especially over the Network can cause glitches.
  • Close any unnecessary applications while recording (i.e. Skype or Browsers you are not actively using.)

Signal not showing up where it’s supposed to and routing incorrect in Pro Tools

If your signal isn’t showing up correctly in Pro Tools, coming out of Pro Tools to the desired outputs, or if the routing isn’t showing up as expected, there are a few things to check. Look below for the section that applies to the Apogee product you’re using:

 

JAM, JAM 96k, MiC, MiC 96k, Groove

  • Confirm that the device you’re using is selected as the ‘Playback Engine’ in Pro Tools by going to the the ‘Setup’ dropdown menu in Pro Tools and selecting ‘Playback Engine’. Make sure your Apogee device is selected in the ‘Playback Engine’ dropdown menu at the top of the window. If you are using JAM or MiC, you will first need to create a ‘Pro Tools Aggregate I/O’ and then you will select ‘Pro Tools Aggregate I/O’ as your ‘Playback Engine’. Click here for setting up JAM for Pro Tools.  Click here for setting up MiC for Pro Tools.
  • You may need to reset the I/O paths in Pro Tools. This is a very common thing. Click on the ‘Setup’ menu in Pro Tools and select ‘I/O’. Once the I/O Setup opens, select all of the channels in the left-hand column and hit ‘Delete’ on your keyboard.  After you’ve deleted them, click the ‘Default’ button in the lower part of the screen. Follow the same steps for each tab in I/O Setup. Once you have gone through these steps in each tab, click the ‘OK’ button to confirm changes and exit.

 

ONE (every model), GiO, Duet (every model), Quartet, Ensemble (every model)

  • Confirm that you are using the correct inputs/outputs on your device. Click here for instructions on how to setup ONE.  Click here for instructions on how to setup Duet.  Click here for instructions on how to setup Quartet.
  • Confirm that the device you’re using is selected as the ‘Playback Engine’ in Pro Tools by going to the the ‘Setup’ dropdown menu in Pro Tools and selecting ‘Playback Engine’. Make sure your Apogee device is selected in the ‘Playback Engine’ dropdown menu at the top of the window.
  • Launch ‘Apogee Maestro’ and click the ‘Reset Routing’ button in both the ‘Input Routing’ and ‘Output Routing’ tabs. If you’re using an Avid Duet or Avid Quartet, you will use ‘Pro Tools I/O Control’ app instead of Maestro. Click here if you need to download the Pro Tools I/O Control app for Avid Duet or Quartet.
  • You may need to reset the I/O paths in Pro Tools. This is a very common thing. Click on the ‘Setup’ menu in Pro Tools and select ‘I/O’. Once the I/O Setup opens, select all of the channels in the left-hand column and hit ‘Delete’ on your keyboard.  After you’ve deleted them, click the ‘Default’ button in the lower part of the screen. Follow the same steps for each tab in I/O Setup. Once you have gone through these steps in each tab, click the ‘OK’ button to confirm changes and exit.

Symphony I/O, Symphony I/O MkII, AD16x, DA16x, Rosetta 200, Rosetta 800

 

 

Why are the input and output level/volume popup indicators not showing up?

Several Apogee products have pop-up level indicator graphics that will appear on the desktop of your Mac when the input and output levels are adjusted from the device or from the Mac’s keyboard volume buttons.

 

If the pop-ups aren’t appearing, there are a few things to check:

Launch ‘Apogee Maestro 2’ from your Applications folder, click on the ‘Apogee Maestro 2’ drop-down desktop menu and select ‘Preferences’. Confirm that the ‘Display pop-ups’ checkbox is checked. If you don’t see this option, then pop-ups aren’t available for the product you’re using.

 

If you’ve confirmed that the ‘Display pop-ups’ checkbox is checked and you’re still not getting the pop-ups, try the following:

 

– Unplug/replug your Apogee device

– Restart your Mac

– Launch ‘Activity Monitor’ (Applications> Utilities> ‘Activity Monitor’), click the ‘View’ drop-down desktop menu and select ‘All Processes’. Type ‘apogeepopup’ in the searchbar in the upper right-side corner of Activity Monitor. Once you see ‘ApogeePopup’ displayed in the list, highlight it and force-quit the process by clicking the ‘X’ button in the upper left-side corner of Activity Monitor. Wait a few seconds and you should see the popups again after adjusting input/output level.

 

*Note for Duet Firewire and Ensemble Firewire customers*

There was a known issue with pop-ups not working for Duet Firewire and Ensemble Firewire when using any version of Mac OS 10.8. It is recommended that you use either a version of Mac OS earlier than 10.8 or later than 10.9.

 

 

Gain Staging – How to set proper levels with your Apogee product and recording software

Use the following steps to set input and output levels on your Apogee interface. 

Before launching your recording software:

1. Turn down the speaker/headphone output level of your Apogee interface.

2. Connect your audio source to your Apogee interface. Make sure to use the proper inputs.

• If you’re using a microphone, plug the microphone into the XLR input.

• If you’re using a guitar, bass, or other high impedance instruments, plug them into the 1/4″ instrument input.

• If you’re using an external mic-pre or another piece of line-level gear, use the XLR inputs.

Quick Tip: Some keyboards and synths can be plugged into either the Instrument or XLR inputs. You might have to experiment with what sounds better.
 

3. Launch Apogee Maestro and go to the input tab. Make the appropriate selection in the Analog Level drop-down menu for the input channel you are using.

• Microphone (Mic) – depending on the Apogee interface you are using, you would choose Ext Mic/Ext Mic 48v (ONE) or Mic (Duet, Quartet, Ensemble, SymphonyI/O with MicPre module). You will need to engage the 48v button for if you’re using a mic that requires phantom power.

• Instrument (Inst) – Guitar/Bass/some keyboards

• Line Level (+4dBu/-10dBV for balanced/unbalanced connections) – This setting is used when connecting external microphone preamps and other line-level gear.

NOTE: If you have the ONE, a line-input is accommodated by choosing Ext Mic and turning the input gain all the way down.
 

4. Set the input gain of your Apogee interface.

There are two ways you can adjust your input gain:

• By adjusting the input software encoder in Maestro

• By turning the physical knob (encoder) on your Apogee interface (make sure you’ve set the knob to control the input channel and not the output level. See your User’s Guide for more information on setting this).

Quick Tip: Ideally, the level in the input meter should be as high as you can get it without hitting an “over”. If you see red in the meter, you know you need to turn the input gain down. In some cases you may need to adjust the output of the audio source you are using. You may need to move your microphone closer to the sound source or further away. You may need to turn the level of your guitar or keyboard up or down.
 

Launch your recording software, create an audio track, and put the track into input or record mode. It is a good idea to leave the fader of the track you are recording and any Master Fader for the mix set at their default setting.

5. Adjust the output level of your Apogee interface.

• Gradually increase the output level of your Apogee interface so you can hear what your input source sounds like in the speakers or headphones.

• After you get the output set to a comfortable listening level, listen for any distortion in the input audio.

• If the audio sounds bad, you may have something set wrong. Go through steps 2, 3, and 4 to trouble-shoot the problem.

Note: Two common issues are that the sound is too quiet or that it’s distorted. It may be a simple case of needing to turn the input gain up and the output level down or the input gain down and the output level up.

Grounding Noise

The direct-coupled design of USB and Firewire audio interfaces can be susceptible to grounding anomalies that are difficult to discern. This can manifest in a variety of audible ways including hum, artifacts, and noises which can modulate with activity from the mouse, hard drive, wireless network, printer activity, or other functions of the computer.

One way to begin troubleshooting is to monitor the outputs of the audio interface with headphones. If the noise isn’t audible then it’s likely that a grounding issue exists.

If you look at the components of a computer based recording system, grounding noise can emanate from a multitude of sources. A few examples of these sources include:

  • Input (Instrument, line-level device, etc.)
  • Audio cables
  • Audio interface power supply (if applicable)
  • USB/Firewire cable
  • Computer’s AC
  • Attached peripherals/devices
  • Powered monitors or amp

A grounding problem could also be caused by the power, AC circuits, and power plugs of the room, or even the building you are in.

To troubleshoot the issue you’ll want to systematically remove, add or replace components in the system until the device (or devices) introducing the grounding issue has been discovered.

  • Because variables can exist within the same space from one circuit or AC outlet to another. Experiment moving devices around to different AC outlets. The preferred setup in a audio/computer system is for the power to be provided from the same AC circuit/outlet.
  • If a MacBook is being utilized, typically the AC power adapter (Magsafe) includes a  3-prong power cable and 2-prong adapter. Try utilizing the 2-prong adapter (North America). Does running the MacBook on batteries (=floating) solve the problem?
  • Utilize balanced cables (1/4″ TRS or XLR) when possible particularly when the audio interface is equipped with balanced inputs or outputs. Balanced circuitry is less prone to ground loops as the ground does not carry signal.
  • When unbalanced cables (RCA, 1/8″ or 1/4″ TS) are utilized keep the length of the cable to a minimum, under 10 feet (3 m). Longer lengths can amplify and exacerbate grounding noise.
  • Separate AC power wiring from audio cables.
  • Ground lifting the AC of a device may resolve the problem. This should be done with extreme CAUTION, as grounding exists for safety. You’ll want to consult with the manufacturer of the device about the implications of configuring the power in this manner. In North America this can be accomplished cheaply with a 3-prong to 2-prong ground lift adapter attached to the AC plug. In other countries a power strip without a ground may suffice.
  • Depending upon the severity of the issue another product may have to be implemented to resolve it. This could be a DI with a ground lift option (for input sources like a keyboard, guitar, etc.), a transformer based solution like those offered by Jensen and EBTECH, power conditioning or regulating device.

If you have questions, are unable to resolve this or any issue contact Apogee Support for assistance.

http://www.apogeedigital.com/contact-support.php

How do I know what version of Maestro is installed on my Mac?

To find out what version of Maestro you have installed:
  • Open Maestro 2 (found in your Mac’s application folder) and click on the “Apogee Maestro 2″ menu in the upper left-hand corner of the desktop menu bar
  • select “About Maestro 2″. This will bring up a window showing you which version you have installed (see example below)

When using Apogee interface with Cubase, Sonarworks, output volume level goes to max.

Symptom: When opening a session or selecting Apogee as the audio device, the output goes to full volume every time.

Solution: 

  • In Cubase, go to Devices > Device Setup > Control Panel > Core Audio Device Settings. Under Options, verify that set device attenuation to 0 dB is unchecked.

NOTE: In Cubase 10 and up, this setting is in Studio Setup > Control Panel

  • In Sonarworks, go to Systemwide settings and deselect the “Adjust output device gain checkbox.

How is this possible? All modern Apogee interfaces have input gain and output volume that are digitally controlled rather than an analog potentiometer that must be physically turned. The advantages of digital control are many:

  • Improved Sound Quality (turning the gain doesn’t cause a “scratchy” sound, and enables the advantages of our Step-Gain preamp technology)
  • Settings can be saved to presets that can be recalled later.
  • You can also control the output volume directly from the Mac’s Keyboard, Touchbar, or Volume icon in the Task Bar.

Cubase:  In Cubase this is called “Device Attenuation.”  The intent of this setting is to attenuate, or lower your volume, so you don’t get blasted.  When selecting any audio device with this setting turned on Cubase sets the device’s output volume to 0, since most simple sound cards have 0 as the lowest value.  Since your Apogee is rating the Outputs in digital decibels, where 0dBFS is the highest value, this setting will have the unfortunate opposite result, maxing out the volume.  Be sure to disable this setting to prevent getting blasted.

Sonarworks Reference 4:  This is a sound calibration software that many customers may have and forget is even running.  It has a setting to Auto adjust output device gain, or volume.

Please remember, many other softwares not listed here have these types of settings so be sure to check all the softwares on your computer!

I hear a delay between what I play and what I hear in my monitors. Can I do anything about this?

This delay is called latency, and is caused by your computer and/or recording software.

Using the low latency mixer found in the Apogee Maestro 2 application may help. Click on the mixer tab to configure it to your desired settings. Be sure to set your desired output to “mixer” on the output page.

For more on using the Maestro Mixer: Read More

Error on launch of Avid Pro Tools (9 and up)

Symptom: Error on launch of Pro Tools: ”Pro Tools could not initialize the current playback device. Please make sure that the device has been configured correctly.” [381131]

Resolution: This could be an issue with the Current Engine setting in the Pro Tools Playback Engine.

This has been resolved in some scenarios by picking a different Playback Engine:

  • Launch Pro Tools
  • When the splash screen appears on the screen, hold down the “n” key on your keyboard, which will eventually open the Playback Engine dialog for Pro Tools.
  • At the top of this window, you will see the ‘Current Engine’ drop-down menu.
  • Choose a different Engine (such as Pro Tools Aggregate I/O)
  • Click OK.
  • This should allow Pro Tools to launch.

If the solution above fails, you can try deleting the “com.apple.audio.AggregateDevices.plist” preference on Mac OS X. You can find this preference file in the following location:
Macintosh HD > Library > Preferences

http://avid.force.com/pkb/articles/en_US/troubleshooting/en381131

Duet FireWire not recognized on Mac OS X with 10.7 and above

Symptom: When using Mac OS X 10.7 or greater, the Duet FireWire’s OUT LED flashes and the device is not recognized by the mac.

Solution: Please run the Duet uninstaller before installing the latest software package.

 

Step 1: Run the Uninstaller found in the latest Duet FireWire installer package.

Step 2: Run the software installer found in the latest Duet FireWire installer package.