ONE (iPad and Mac): 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.)

Volume and Gain are changing by themselves – Auto Gain Control

If your Apogee’s Input Gain or Output Volume are changing on their own, this may be caused by a 3rd-party program like Skype, Facebook Live, Google Hangouts, and others.

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 these settings directly from recording applications like Logic or Garageband’s Device Control feature instead of having to open a separate app.

Unfortunately, other applications are also able to take over these controls in an undesirable way. Most often the culprit are Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) applications like Skype or GoToMeeting, or video conferencing apps like Google Hangouts, as well as Video Podcast features like Facebook Live.

These apps want to optimize the sound as much as possible for phone & video calls or recordings. This feature is usually called “Auto-Gain Control” and is actually pretty great when the computer’s built-in microphone and speakers are being used. However it’s very disruptive when you want to manually set the levels of your own interface and have them stay there.

Sadly, many of these applications do not provide you with the ability to turn off this Auto-Gain Control feature.

There are many applications out there, but there are a few that are most popular that we’ll briefly cover:

SKYPE: Can disable auto-gain ????

The more recent versions of this app provide the ability to turn off AutoGain Control. The example below shows the Mac version. The iOS app is restricted to only using the built-in iPad/iPhone mic and can’t use external sound cards.

Google Hangouts: Cannot turn off auto-gain ????

On a Mac, Hangouts typically needs a Chrome or Safari browser extension installed. None of the settings menus provide an option to turn off auto-gain. Even worse: even if you are not in a hangouts session but your web browser is open, the hangouts plugin will still be active and can adjust the gain on you. If you are in a DAW or recording program at the time, this is obviously bad. Turn off or disable the extension to avoid this:

Safari Browser:
 

 

Chrome Browser:
 

 

Facebook Live: Cannot turn off auto-gain ????

The Facebook Live interface only allows you to select your interface, there are no audio options beyond that so if it is adjusting your Apogee’s levels there is no way to turn it off.

Are there any alternatives?

Yes. At least on a Mac or PC there are 3rd-party programs that stream through Facebook Live, or Twitch, or YouTube, and has extensive audio features. Apogee does our Facebook Live streams using an open source broadcaster software called OBS. There are many other such programs out there so look around to find one that serves your needs.

On an iPad or iPhone, you are limited by the capabilities of the iOS operating system and the app you are using, so there are usually even fewer options to get around the auto-gain problem.

The ability to disable Auto-Gain should be added to these apps by the developer. Please contact the maker of the program or iOS app you use and ask them to add this feature in a future update. Getting many requests from customers is the only way developers will know there is a demand for this.

 

*If you know of a better way around this problem, please contact our Support Team and let us know!

On Skype for Windows, I’m getting the message “Your mic isn’t working. Try another one”.

If you’re using Skype for Windows with an Apogee USB interface and see the message “Your mic isn’t working. Try another one”, this most likely indicates a sample rate mismatch in the Windows Sound Control Panel.

Ensure the selected sample rate is the same in these two locations.

  1. Control Panel > Sound > Playback > (Select Apogee Interface) > Properties > Advanced
  2. Control Panel > Sound > Recording > (Select Apogee Interface) > Properties > Advanced

See this Knowledgebase post for more details:

https://knowledgebase.apogeedigital.com/windows/configure-windows-computer-play-youtube-spotify-audio-via-apogee-interface/

How can I get rid of clicks and pops on my Apogee-equipped Windows system?

Follow these steps to eliminate audio clicks and pops on your Apogee-equipped Windows system

  1. Use the LatencyMon utility to check the performance of your Windows computer, as described in this link: http://www.apogeedigital.com/pdf/Windows-LatencyMon-Guide.pdf
  2.  ONCE LatencyMon displays the message “Your system appears to be suitable for handling real-time audio and other tasks without dropouts”. Until issues indicated by LatencyMon are resolved, no other measures will resolve clicks and pops.
  3. In Apogee Maestro’s System tab, set the Preferred Buffer Size to a higher value until the problem is resolved.
  4. If the DAW session is stored on the same hard drive as Windows, connect a second high-speed drive and move the DAW session to it.

My Youtube video won’t play on my Windows computer and Apogee interface, how can I resolve this?

If Youtube or other audio/video playback apps don’t work while your DAW is open, then there is most likely a sample rate mismatch between the DAW session and the WDM sample rate (i.e the System sample rate set in the Control Panel > Sound > Playback > Properties > Advanced). Set the System sample rate to match the rate of your DAW session.

How can I determine whether my Windows machine is suitable for audio recording?

Like most providers of audio hardware and software for Windows, we recommend a free utility created by Resplendence Audio called LatencyMon, which can be found here:

www.resplendence.com/latencymon

There are many resources at Resplendence’s site describing how Windows processes might result in degraded audio performance and how to use LatencyMon to detect and resolve the problem. In short, simply download the app and let it run on your Windows computer. After several minutes, LatencyMon will display an evaluation of the suitability of your computer for digital audio. If specific drivers are causing issues, LatencyMon will indicate them. Now the fun starts! For more details, consult our LatencyMon guide.

How can I determine if my Apogee interface is recognized by my Windows computer?

  1. Open Device Manager by right-clicking the Start icon and choosing Device Manager.
  2. Click on the “Apogee USB Audio Devices” disclosure arrow and verify that Apogee ONE, Duet or Quartet appears in the list.
  3. Click on the “Sound, Video and game controllers” disclosure arrow and verify that Apogee ONE, Duet or Quartet appears in the list.

 

How do I configure my Windows computer to play Youtube or Spotify audio via my Apogee interface?

First install the Apogee USB ASIO driver and Maestro software

  1. Open the Sound Control Panel using one of the following methods:
    1. Right-click the Taskbar Speaker icon and choose “Playback devices”.
    2. Type “Sound” in the System searchbar.
  2. Choose the Playback tab
    1. Click on the Speaker-Apogee Quartet (or ONE, Duet) entry, then click Set Default.

  1. Choose the Recording tab
    1. Click on the Line-Apogee Duet entry, then click Set Default.
  2. It’s highly recommended that the WDM driver sample rate is matched to your DAW sample rate (ASIO driver rate). To choose the WDM rate:
    1. In the Playback tab, click on the Speaker-Apogee Duet entry, click Properties.
    2. In the Properties window, click the Advanced tab, then choose the desired sample rate in the Default Format box.
    3. Repeat in the Recording tab.