M-Audio with Windows 7 64bit and Camtasia

I’m working on a new screen-cast series for an online technical publisher and I ran across some problems this morning with the audio support. I currently use a GT-55 with the M-Audio MobilePre as the pre-amp. The sound quality is superb (when it works). This setup is great for someone like myself who needs portability, professional sound, and support for laptops. Unfortunately the setup I used previously didn’t work out as as I hoped this time around. Previously I was using Windows 7 RC 32 bit version. My RC license is about to expire in about a month so I decided it was time to upgrade to a full blown version.

After upgrading to Windows 7 64bit I installed the M-Audio MobilePre Windows 7 64bit driver and, well … my audio was … umm … nill, nothing, nada. I couldn’t record, could not get any output sound, etc. I did some searching through Google and came across this post. I tried “looking4help”‘s approach as mentioned in the aforementioned link this evening and I’m glad to report that everything works as it should. I can now record in Camtasia with the MobilePre and my GT55 mic. Awesome.

I’m looking forward to getting my first run done at these new videos tomorrow morning with my new setup. I’ll announce more when the publisher releases the details of the screen-cast series.

Bing Ringtone – The Remix

I heard the Bing.com “Bingtones” (ringtones) earlier this week and, well… wasn’t really that impressed. Personally I feel that if you’re going to try to take over the search engine market you better come with with the best in all categories.

If you are going to try to represent that massive takeover mission with some music it better be something more than a couple of ring tones that represent a puppy dog and ice cream dream feel (at least that’s what it sounds like to me, IMO).

So, in true “I can do it better fashion” here is my remix. I got bored last night, downloaded the tones again, sampled them and threw some sounds behind it. To me, if you’re take over the massive world of search engines, you better sound like you’re coming through town with an axe and a flamethrower ready to chop and roast anything in your path.

So here it is… the bing.com ringtone remix.

Bing Tone Remix (Take over remix)

Enjoy.

Running the M-Audio Mobile-Pre under Windows 7 RC

I recently decided to strictly use my professional audio equipment when recording my DimeCasts instead of the cheap LogicTech headset set that I have.

I currently run a GrooveTube GT55 Condenser microphone. However to run this I need a preamp. I have a MAudio Mobile-Pre and in order for this thing to work you have to install the drivers (of course).

I currently run 32 bit Windows 7 and the current driver (the 32 bit Vista driver)  _does_not_work_. Here’s what I had to do to get it to work.

 

The Fix

Right click on the MSI and go to the properties and then to the Compatibility tab. Select “Run this program in compatibility mode for: “ and select the “Windows Vista” option. Click Ok and then install. (Screen shot of the properties window below).

image

That should get you going. Once I did that my mobile-pre installed perfectly and I was off to recording.

Beginning Programming Audio: ASIO4ALL Is Picky

I’m delving into some audio based development with Mark Heath and the NAudio library for a side project. This is a ton of fun and I hope to make a good presentation out of it for some code camps and eventually larger venues.

Everything was going good until I started playing with the MIDI controller. The set up was fine, however whenever I plugged in a MIDI controller into the laptop I’m using I would get that hiss/pop/crackle sound when I hit the keys on the controller (I use an AKAI MPD 24 for a MIDI controller). This is caused by buffer under-runs to and from the software from the controller. Basically, the sound buffer has to be full and ready to play when I hit a key. The lower the latency setting, the more buffer under-runs I got – the more snap-crackle-pop. Not good.

Here is a screen shot from FL Studio with the number of under runs:

image

Well… bump up the buffer length then, right? Well, not really. When you bump up the buffer length this bumps up the time that the software will return from a key hit. In music, if you hit a key, you expect a sound immediately. So if you have 100 millisecond latency to fill the buffer that’s 1/10 of a second off. THAT IS A LIFETIME between key hits. Imagine playing a piano and hitting a key and the sound doesn’t emit until 1/10 of a second later. When it comes down to it, this makes playing/recording music impossible and really crappy.

 

Welcome ASIO4ALL

ASIO4ALL Helps solve this problem. ASIO stands for “Audio Stream Input/Output” …

ASIO bypasses the normal audio path from the user application through layers of intermediary Windows operating system software, so that the application connects directly to the soundcard hardware. Each layer that is bypassed means a reduction in latency, the delay between an application sending sound to the sound being reproduced by the soundcard. In this way ASIO offers a relatively simple way of accessing multiple audio inputs and outputs independently. Its main strength lies in its method of bypassing the inherently high latency of Windows audio mixing kernels (KMixer), allowing direct, high speed communication with audio hardware. Unlike KMixer, an unmixed ASIO output is “bit identical”, that is, the bits sent to the sound card are identical to those of the original WAV file, thus having higher audio fidelity. [Source]

ASIO4ALL is a free driver that you can download to get this improved speed:

ASIO4ALL is a hardware independent low latency ASIO driver for WDM audio devices. It uses WDM Kernel-Streaming and sometimes even more sophisticated methods to achieve its objectives. [Source- Project Brief]

 

It Works, Sometimes

I installed the driver, set it up in my audio software (FL Studio) and got to town with some sound development. Sounds simple? Right? Well, you sort of need a little luck to get it running sometimes. I had some problems with the driver working intermittently. It took a few hours to figure out what was going on.

The problem had to do with streaming media such as You Tube. I would watch something on You Tube and then my ASIO4ALL driver would stop working.

 

The Fix

imageAs soon as I closed FireFox or IE (which YouTube was running in) the driver would start working again. It looks like something in FireFox or IE grabs a hold of the sound driver it needs (not the ASIO one), forces itself to be the primary and kills all other drivers (I think, maybe – I’m sure someone on ‘teh internets’ knows more about this than me – so please chime in).

So the fix? Close all other windows/apps that play sound while working with something that utilizes ASIO4ALL.

Now, when I have my buffer length set to 7 milliseconds, the under-runs are absolutely ZERO and my latency is gone – well, its 7ms, but that’s virtually nothing.

The a screen shot with ASIO4ALL shows it all.

I can now hit the keys on the MIDI controller, have an effective response and actually play music as it is meant to be played.