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PC Basics

Audio Interface Troubleshooting Guide for PC (.pdf, 105 KB)
In the event that Mackie Support requests an image of your IRQ assignments:
For troubleshooting firewire and USB. (PC only) (.pdf, 74 KB)

Conditioning Your Hard Drive
 I bought a new hard drive from a computer vendor and want to use it with (D8B, HDR, SDR or MDR). What is the best way to go about formatting the drive before I use it with Mackie (or PC for that matter)?
See Conditioning Your Hard Drive   (.pdf, 103KB)
IRQ Conflicts
 When using Tracktion with Spike or Onyx FireWire (or other hardware) - audio seems to dropout or hang-up entirely. What could be the problem?
A few things could be causing this. The most common of which is an IRQ conflict (IRQ stacking). Be sure your USB, FireWire or PCI audio hardware is set to it's own, dedicated IRQ. To check this go to, Control Panel> System> Device Manager> View Resources By Connection>.

One of the simplest things to try when attempting to resolve conflicts, is using the Disable function within the device manager. Many computers have multiple USB controllers (for example). Having a used or unused USB controller sharing your FireWire or USB (Spike) can cause conflicts. Identify the USB controller that Spike (for example) is working with. Locate the Spike device in Device Manager - click on Properties and then select Recourses and take note of its IRQ. Then disable all other USB controllers that are not in use. You do not need to remove them (just right click and disable). 

If your primary audio device is a card that is placed on your PC's motherboard and if it is sharing IRQ's with other devices, try moving the card to a different PCI slot until it is alone on its own IRQ. If you're using USB or FireWire built into the motherboard and have an IRQ conflict, you may want to purchase a PCI USB or FireWire card (don't get an "all-in-one" USB and FireWire card – instead get one dedicated to your connectivity). Also, remove other cards that are not immediately essential (like an Ethernet card) and add them back later – each time, checking the IRQ assignments.

If you are running on a lap top and sharing IRQ's with audio hardware - you might be out of luck as most lap top computers do not allow IRQ management from their BIOS. Newer P4 (or higher) usually do not have this problem.

Note: Be sure that you are running XP Service Pack 2, as it has many USB/FireWire fixes that are very important to Tracktion, Onyx, Spike and Digital X Buss (using FireWire option). Once you install SP2, download SP2 Update as well. These updates are critical to USB/FireWire operation and performance.

See Microsoft Downloads for XP Service Pack 2 (KB835935) and Service Pack 2 Update (KB885222) http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/.

See also: Audio Interface Troubleshooting Guide for PC (.pdf, 105 KB).

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 System Information
A great tool to be used for diagnosing problems. To open System Information, click Start, and then click Help and Support. Click the Support button on the toolbar, and then, under Tools and Links on the left side of the window, click Advanced System Information. In the details pane, click View detailed system information.

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 Forced Hardware
Forced Hardware is located in the Hardware Resources category in System Information. "Forced hardware" is any device that you have to configure manually or that has user-specified resources, as opposed to system-specified resources. The category "Forced hardware" also applies to devices that are not Plug and Play compatible, such as legacy Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) devices.

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  Universal Serial Bus (USB)
USB is located in the Components category in System Information. It displays information about universal serial bus (USB) devices and controllers on your computer. The Device column in the details pane lists each USB device, and the PNP Device ID column lists the ID for the device.

If there is a problem with a USB device, first try unplugging and plugging in the device. If that does not fix the problem, you can use Device Manager to locate and troubleshoot the problem.

An external bus that supports Plug and Play installation. Using USB, you can connect and disconnect devices without shutting down or restarting your computer. You can use a single USB port to connect up to 127 peripheral devices, including speakers, telephones, CD-ROM drives, joysticks, tape drives, keyboards, scanners, and cameras. A USB port is usually located on the back of your computer near the serial port or parallel port.

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 Basic Input/Output System (BIOS)

On x86-based computers, the set of essential software routines that test hardware at startup, start the operating system, and support the transfer of data among hardware devices. The BIOS is stored in read-only memory (ROM) so that it can be executed when you turn on the computer. Although critical to performance, the BIOS is usually invisible to computer users.

See also: Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI)

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 Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI)

In computers with the Intel Itanium processor, the interface between a computer's firmware, hardware, and the operating system. The Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) defines a new partition style called GUID partition table (GPT). EFI serves the same purpose for Itanium-based computers as the BIOS found in x86-based computers. However, it has expanded capabilities that provide a consistent way to start any compatible operating system and an easy way to add EFI drivers for new bootable devices without the need to update the computer's firmware.

See also: basic input/output system (BIOS), GUID partition table (GPT)

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 DMA - Direct Memory Access

DMA is located in the Hardware Resources category in System Information. It displays information about your system's direct memory access (DMA). DMA transfers data between system memory and hardware devices without passing it through the CPU. The Resource column in the details pane displays the DMA channel that is being used by the device, which is listed in the Device column. The Status column displays the status of the device.

If the Status column indicates an error, such as Error, Degraded, Unknown, Pred Fail, Starting, Stopping, or Service, you can try the following troubleshooting solutions:

Use Device Manager to locate and troubleshoot the problem.

Contact the device manufacturer to obtain an updated device driver. 
Reconfigure the settings in the system BIOS or EFI.

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 Conflicts/Sharing
Conflicts/Sharing is located in the Hardware Resources category in System Information. It displays devices that share the same resources, such as direct memory access (DMA), IRQs, and memory.

In general, shared resources are not problematic for most plug and play peripherals (like digital cameras, mice, keyboards, etc), but can pose problems when streaming audio via USB or FireWire. Investigating potential conflicts can help resolve issues in many cases. If you are having a problem with a device, check Conflicts/Sharing to verify that there are no sharing conflicts. Locate the device in the Device column in the details pane, and then verify which resource the device uses in the Resource column. Devices that share the same resource have duplicate entries in the Resource column. For example, you may have two adapters that share the same IRQ channel, such as IRQ 5. If the problem device shares a resource with another device, there may be a conflict. You can use Device Manager to troubleshoot the problem. See also IRQ conflicts and Audio Interface Troubleshooting Guide.

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 System I/O
I/O is located in the Hardware Resources category in System Information. I/O is the communication channel among hardware devices in your computer. The Resource column in the details pane displays the resource that is used by an I/O device, which appears in the Device column. The Status column displays the status of the device.

If there is a sharing conflict with a device that uses an I/O channel, locate the device in Conflicts/Sharing or in I/O, and then use Device Manager to locate and troubleshoot the problem.

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 IRQ - Interrupt Request

IRQ’s are located in the Hardware Resources category in System Information. The operating system allows you to use only certain IRQs. Other IRQs are reserved for a standard set of devices.

If there is a sharing conflict with an IRQ, such as a mouse not responding or glitches in audio playback via a USB or FireWire audio interface, use Device Manager to locate and troubleshoot the problem. See also IRQ conflicts and Audio Interface Troubleshooting Guide.

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 GUID partition table (GPT)
A disk-partitioning scheme that is used by the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) in Itanium-based computers. GPT offers more advantages than master boot record (MBR) partitioning because it allows up to 128 partitions per disk, provides support for volumes up to 18 exabytes in size, allows primary and backup partition tables for redundancy, and supports unique disk and partition IDs (GUIDs).

See also: Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI)

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 Memory
Memory is located in the Hardware Resources category in System Information. The Resource column in the details pane displays the memory address of the device that is listed in the Device column.

Memory address ranges are used for communication between devices and the operating system. Each device requires its own range of memory. If you are experiencing problems and two devices are configured to use the same memory address range, you can try the following troubleshooting solutions:
  • Use Device Manager to locate and troubleshoot the problem. For more information about Device Manager, see Device Manager.
  • Contact the device manufacturer to obtain an updated device driver. 
  • Adjust the memory address ranges for COM ports in the system BIOS or EFI. Contact your hardware manufacturer for more information.

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