Digital Hell Part 3

Previous posts on this problem: Digital Hell and Digital Hell part 2. Update: Digital Hell, conclusion

And the plot thickens…

I’m now getting the error 6085 every five seconds of playback. [Again, this is ProTools 10 on a brand new MBox Pro 3rd generation running on an iMac.]

Digging deep into the forums it appears that the reason is that the MBox wants to be first in line for daisy-chaining with drives via FireWire, and that anything else will make it throw a fitand decide its buffer is being underflowed so it stops playback.

Now, I always use an external FireWire drive and have for years.

On my old rig it wasn’t a problem because the old MBox connected via USB so it didn’t matter that the hard drive was first in the FireWire chain.

And conventional wisdom has been if you do connect your interface and external drives in a daisy chain you must do so with the interface last, so Mac > drive > MBox.

Now, things will initialize this way, but I get this buffer error shutting me down constantly.

Doing it the other way, Mac > MBox > drive means the drive doesn’t get recognized.

Although, I suspect my unit might just have a bum port. I tried running the MBox straight into the iMac with no drive and it works fine on one FireWire port and won’t initialize on the other. Now, on my old iMac it wouldn’t have mattered since I had two FireWire ports on the computer [800 and 400] so I could have run the MBox off the 400 port and the drive off the 800, but of course Apple had to go fuck that up by cutting back to just the one FireWire 800 port on the new computers.

So, I shall bring in the box tomorrow and pack up this MBox and exchange it on Monday and hope the new MBox has both FireWire ports working so I can try daisy-chaining in reverse with the first port connected to the iMac and the second to the drive and see if that helps.

PS: I had to chuckle on one of the forums, one guy noted that the way he got rid of the 6085 underflow error on his MBox 3 was to purposefully create a ProTools Aggregate I/O with the MBox as the only interface within it and that solved his problem.

Well, I can attest that I never had error 6085 when my system decided to run itself that way, but I did have clocking errors and massive grinding distortion on every take I recorded, so it doesn’t seem like a solution to me. Interesting that the set-up that solves one problem seems to cause the other and vice versa, at least on my rig.

I supposed maybe it might be worth setting one up from scratch and seeing if I can make it work, but when I tried it on purpose things would play but by the end of a 4 minute song I already had noticeable crackling and popping and hiccuping just on playback, never mind actually trying to record, so it’s not a solution for me.

Now that testing seems to make it plain that I have a dead FireWire port on the back that I might just need at some point, it’s probably just as well to exchange it for a new one while I still can. And hopefully that will mean a solution to both issues.

Anyway… more bitching and moaning to follow, I think.