Laptop/backing cutting out live

Chunky

Silver Member
Firstly sorry if this is in the wrong area, I couldn't find a category that seemed right for this.

Anyway, I'm usually good with equipment and techy stuff but, this problem has me banging my head against the wall.

I play along to backing tracks in the studio and also need it live for backing and clicks etc. When I'm just practising away on my own the backing is absolutely fine with nearly all styles of music. It's only when I start to play metal and I'm playing a lot louder that windows media player does a slight pause in the song and starts up again.

Obviously you can imagine how damaging this problem is!

My first thoughts were that it had to be the vibration disrupting the laptop. I had it sat on a spongy chair though and the floor doesn't really vibrate much when I'm playing and the chair wasn't touching the walls either. This is the second room it's done this in (two totally different rooms acoustically).

I then thought maybe it's the built in mic cutting out due to extreme clipping (even though that isn't logical) I turned the mic off and it still does it.

I do have a load of sound proofing foam tiles I could lay the laptop on and try but, I'm not sure how effective that will be. Has anyone encountered this problem before or know of a solution?

Thanks people!
 

MileHighDrummer

Senior Member
It's obviously the computer delaying, or buffering, the music. I put my tracks on my iPad and connect to my PA system which feeds my headphones. No problems ever. Try it with your phone or tablet.
 

Bobrush

Senior Member
It's obviously the computer delaying, or buffering, the music. I put my tracks on my iPad and connect to my PA system which feeds my headphones. No problems ever. Try it with your phone or tablet.
^^Some good ideas in any case.

Is it the same song that always has this problem? Maybe the audio file is corrupted. Can you get a new copy of it?
 

Chunky

Silver Member
No, it's not th ebuffer rate, I'm not running this on Cubase with multiple tracks, I'm not even talking about live through a PA (I just HAVE to do that soon) I mean literally just playing mp3's with my headphones on and when I play my drums over a certain volume the track pauses. Only when I'm really playing loud though.

I listen to music for hours when I'm doing artwork and it never pauses, it doesn't even pause on my DAW when I have multiple tracks with plug-ins running so a daft MP3 with headphones shouldn't cause any CPU issues.

It must be somehow related to vibration but, I don't know how vibration would make a laptop do that and I don't kno wwhat I can do to lessen it other than foam pads? But this seems odd because I've never heard of anyone having this problem (although I do know people use proper foam pads live for backing to prevent tech-issues).

But is it really this? I'm playing acoustically, alone! This has my head twisted.... :s
 

edvia

Senior Member
Just out of curiosity, have you tried using a different media player such as QuickTime or iTunes? I'm a little biased against Microsoft, so somewhere deep inside me I feel it has something to do with Windows Media Player.
 

PQleyR

Platinum Member
It must be somehow related to vibration but, I don't know how vibration would make a laptop do that and I don't kno wwhat I can do to lessen it other than foam pads? But this seems odd because I've never heard of anyone having this problem (although I do know people use proper foam pads live for backing to prevent tech-issues).
Could it be to do with the hard drive? Some laptops do have features to protect the hard drive in the event of sudden movements, maybe that's what this is and it's just a bit oversensitive.
 

porter

Platinum Member
Could it be to do with the hard drive? Some laptops do have features to protect the hard drive in the event of sudden movements, maybe that's what this is and it's just a bit oversensitive.
This seems like the most likely option. I don't know what you could do to fix it, but like someone suggested, you could simply put the .mp3s on your phone.
 

Naigewron

Platinum Member
Could it be to do with the hard drive? Some laptops do have features to protect the hard drive in the event of sudden movements, maybe that's what this is and it's just a bit oversensitive.
That would be my guess. If you have a mechanical hard drive (non-SSD), it is very sensitive to vibrations and I could see it easily run into trouble if you use it next to a drum kit.

I guess you could try to run your stuff from a USB stick (no moving parts), but I'm not sure it would help since it would still need to access the system drive for other things.
 

Chunky

Silver Member
Ah this is depressing news! Right, I'm going to come up with a solution to reduce vibration. I'll also test something other than WMP just out of curiosity.

And if that doesn't work I'm going to have a rectangular frisby...
 

ncc

Silver Member
You are definitely overtaxing a buffer somewhere, not necessarily the disk. Are you suing an external interface for connect to the board, perhaps via USB?

I had issues with Sonar and ASIO, and first figured it was audio buffer rate or the HDD. I eliminated ASIO and I went with a Tascam 1800 and it works great. Plus I can do 14 tracks in over USB. So it was not the system buffers for the HDD.

If you think it is the drive, try putting the tunes on an fast SD card or go to an go to an internal SSD.

For playback at rehearsals, midi triggers at gigs, etc, I too use an IPAD and 'Set List Maker' because it is a lot more convenient. I also bought an AKAI MPX8 which lets me have my own samples and eliminated the need to store anything 'top heavy' on the laptop or IPAD.

Hope this helps.
 

Chunky

Silver Member
No, that's what I'm saying. I work in a studio, I'm very familiar with buffer rates and if a DAW maxed out doesn't do this then Windows media player shouldn't either. I can play ANY music for as long as I like and it plays fine, it's when I go to play my drums at the same time and even then can play almost any style, it's just when I play metal and I'm playing really loud that it seems to disrupt the laptop.
This is why I think it ha to be vibration related but, I don't know enough about laptops to know how or why they work and how it would be affected by this.

The SSD info is news to me though. Depressing news...
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
It'll be HDD related. I can't think of anything else bar a loose connection on your motherboard.

An HDD relies on a lot of very small parts working perfectly in unison. One part slightly out of alignment can bring on the 'stutter' you describe.

Two basic solutions: Isolate the laptop from the vibration or fit an SSD that has no moving parts.
 

ncc

Silver Member
Is it possible to fit an SSD into my laptop or would it be cheaper to buy a new one?
It is easy to get an SSD for a laptop. I just put one in a Vaio last week actually. However, depending on the age if the laptop, speed and memory capacity, you may want to look at other options. What do you have?

As a side note, if you have a problem when the laptop is shaking a lot, it could be a connection problem as someone suggested. I suggest you try this: (1) Stop all running programs that are running in the background and unnecessary; (2) Run a check for malware using SpyBot and Malewarebytes; (3) Load the music on an SD card; (4) Start media player so it is paged into the systems memory and the only app running; (5) Do a playback of the music off the SD card to see if the problem is still there.

Hope this helps.
 

Chunky

Silver Member
Thanks, that sounds like good advice. I bought the laptop new last year, it's got a decent processor 8GB ram. When I was just playing to MP3's I only had Windows Media Player running.

My brother is an IT technician and he's set up all the virus stuff and checked it over. Just got him to wipe my laptop not that long ago, got rid of Windows 8 and put Windows 7 on (trouble with DAW's compatibility).

So, If I search SSD's I should be able to get my brother to install it etc? That's good.
I'm going to check running off an SD card and USB first like you said.

Are they expensive? And I assume they'll access data faster so it would be beneficial to my DAW's as well?
 

porter

Platinum Member
Thanks, that sounds like good advice. I bought the laptop new last year, it's got a decent processor 8GB ram. When I was just playing to MP3's I only had Windows Media Player running.

My brother is an IT technician and he's set up all the virus stuff and checked it over. Just got him to wipe my laptop not that long ago, got rid of Windows 8 and put Windows 7 on (trouble with DAW's compatibility).

So, If I search SSD's I should be able to get my brother to install it etc? That's good.
I'm going to check running off an SD card and USB first like you said.

Are they expensive? And I assume they'll access data faster so it would be beneficial to my DAW's as well?
Yeah, they're a bit expensive, but the performance speeds are crazy fast (compared to HDDs) and the benefits apply to a lot of stuff on the computer. The only downside is that they are comparatively expensive for storage capacity.
 

Naigewron

Platinum Member
Thanks, that sounds like good advice. I bought the laptop new last year, it's got a decent processor 8GB ram. When I was just playing to MP3's I only had Windows Media Player running.

My brother is an IT technician and he's set up all the virus stuff and checked it over. Just got him to wipe my laptop not that long ago, got rid of Windows 8 and put Windows 7 on (trouble with DAW's compatibility).

So, If I search SSD's I should be able to get my brother to install it etc? That's good.
I'm going to check running off an SD card and USB first like you said.

Are they expensive? And I assume they'll access data faster so it would be beneficial to my DAW's as well?
Most laptops will allow you to replace the hard drive, but not all. Be sure to research that before buying a disk.

Also, beware that SSD disks are much more expensive per GB, and won't be anywhere near as large as mechanical drives. A typical mechanical drive these days is 1-2 TB, while SSDs have just reached 256 GB (and those are very expensive).
 

ncc

Silver Member
Hi.

Check to make sure the drive is swapable (most are). You can get an 128GB SSD for around $100 US. In normal cases it will take less than 5 minutes to install the hardware, but remember you will need to reload any software as it is a clean disk.

Now your probable thinking 'is that enough space?' Without going into the calculations, a 3 minute song looks to be about 35MB per track. I got this metric from tracks I recorded with Audition. So if you have 10 tracks per song that would be 350MB per song. So 100 songs will take about 35 GB. Now if you use MP3s, you are looking at 4MB per song. So 5000 songs will be about 20GB.

If you plan on adding a lot of software or store more than music on it, the numbers may go down but you should get the idea.

Have you tired the SD card yet? I was thinking that since you would only be reading from the SD card, you could also add that if you need extra space. The beauty there is you can take your songs from one machine to another really easy.
 
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