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Curious system freeze during live concert recording

Posted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 20:07
by draudio2u
Running: RME UFX+ 9624--> USB3 into Dell 4600 workstation laptop running W7pro with PMX11 (dual screen ASUS on a USB2 port) recording to external SSD T5 Samsung drive (eFat format) on the same USB3 card in laptop as the RME.

Perfect for over a week then 30 seconds into concert (World Premiere no less), All screens freeze and I see on TotalMix window "Disconnected" on top of bar (this window is also froze). I can scroll to RME Hammerfall driver and see the clock/input is missing and default to 44.1 No USB info from UFX+. Luckily, I set the RME as back up to record the direct ouputs of all lines to the units USB interface (THANK YOU RME for saving the show as you continued to record without glitch!).

After doing a complete shut down of the computer and restart - the project would open in PMX but would not allow for a new file to be recorded. I create a new project on the internal drive and no problem - continue to record the rest of the concert on the laptop. I am blaming the Samsung SSD T5 drive as it gave me an error when I tried to copy the continuation of the rest of the concert from internal drive to it as back up. But when scanned today, it shows no errors and is working properly. The question is if anyone has had similar failures and what did your diagnostics show? I am still suspect of this SSD drive even though it is brand new- should I reformat to NTSC?

Again - thank you RME for saving the show - the internal "Record direct to USB3" is a game changer and a design key Merging should think about adding to the Hapi/Horus.

Re: Curious system freeze during live concert recording

Posted: Sun Aug 05, 2018 15:16
by fl
Sorry to hear of your difficulties - as if you ever need more excitement at the start of a concert recording...

Everything you describe seems to point to Pyramix losing the connection to the UFX somehow. Pyramix hates that, and generally locks up when it happens. If there's no audio interface connection, then there can be no recording, although Pyramix may continue to generate the file(s) to the disk. Were there any files on the disk from the first attempt? It might be informative to run them through the Pyramix Recovery Tool to see if any useful recording continued after the apparent system lock-up. I've had this happen, and as long as I can keep from panicking, and let it continue to the end of the take or concert, I've been able to salvage the recording afterward. The temptation to do a hard re-boot on the system can be difficult to resist, requiring nerves of steel. With a conventional spinning disk you can at least hear the drive chugging away, but with an SSD, it would be a leap of faith, and understandably difficult to justify in a concert recording situation.

On the other hand, if the connection to the UFX was indeed disrupted somehow, then there was no audio flowing, even if Pyramix kept recording. This is where resurrecting any files that had been captured could be informative: is there any audio in the files after the time of the crash, or are they just blank from that point? I don't imagine that the disk's formatting could have crashed Pyramix, but for safety's sake, I'd make it NTFS before doing any further work with it. I think Pyramix just likes that better.

Yes, the Durec recording feature on the UFX is an appealing feature for sure. RME were really thinking when they came up with that, and indeed it is fortunate that it was working when you needed it most.

I've been using the Pyramix Back-up recording feature for years now, and it's been very handy at times (especially for those times between takes when the "inspired performance" happens, and I might not have otherwise been in record). Unfortunately, when the computer goes down for any reason, it takes the Backup Recorder with it, even if later what files as were captured can be recovered. I agree that it would make a nice addition the the Horus/Hapi line to incorporate some kind of onboard recording feature, perhaps controlled from within Pyramix, just as the Backup Recorder feature works now, but in a way that makes it immune to computer failure.

If you can't find the Pyramix Recovery Tool on your system, that's because you have to request it separately from Merging's Support. Once that's in hand, and you fight your way through it's, um, difficult interface, try to recover any files which were recorded before and during the crash, just to see whether or not it was the connection to the UFX which was the cause of your problems.

Re: Curious system freeze during live concert recording

Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 18:09
by mpdonahue
First question, had the computer been sitting idle for a period of time before you began recording?
I would suspect one of the following may have happened...
1) power saving is internally enabled for virtually every external USB drive on the market. The behavior you describe sounds like a sleeping drive failing to wake.
2) The drive has not had the indexing turned off. When windows starts indexing a drive (As it will do with new drives on the system) it will give the behavior you describe.

All the best,

Re: Curious system freeze during live concert recording

Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 23:19
by draudio2u
Thanks for the suggestions. I did more testing and a few more location recordings making sure I was covered and found that it is the internal USB3 connector starting to degrade INSIDE the laptop. I have two USB3 connections on one side and two USB2 connections on the other - separate boards. Turns out one of the two USB3's I was using (one for SSD drive, one for RME interface) paused for a moment. I am able to continue with one of them for interface, but for now record internally on this machine.
Replacement will be ordered. Cheers.

Re: Curious system freeze during live concert recording

Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 15:06
by fl
Just as a follow-up to my earlier comment, I've since been in contact with Merging Support and learned that if you use BWAV files as your recording format instead of PMFs for your Main recordings as well as the Background Recorder, should the computer crash, you won't have to use the Recovery tool to recover them - they'll just simply end when the computer is stopped. This being the case, it may be time to consider not using the PMF any more when recording. I'm told that the reading/writing efficiency for WAV files is almost the same as it is for PMFs, so what was once a concern may no longer be so, especially if you're using solid-state drives for recording.

Re: Curious system freeze during live concert recording

Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 18:24
by ljudatervinning
I have very bad experience with exFAT. I have had to repair the file structure several times when corrupted using OSX.