Stuttering during recording and playback

Recording Problem

I’m getting a stuttering in my tracks(6) when recording. My system is a Thinkpad 1.6 Pent 4 1GB ram with ext. MAxtor firewire drive and Motu 828mkII.


Two things…

1). Defrag your HD every day before your DAW session. I use the free version of “Diskeeper Lite” which defrags my 120GB HD in about 15 minutes so I do it daily while the coffee is brewing.

2). Make certain that all background apps are shut down. A handy program for that is “End It All” it can be configured to close everything except the absolute necessary stuff needed by your recording software.



Drivers, drivers, drivers. Also use dskbench to get an idea of your disc throughput. What resolution/sample rate do you use for your 6 tracks ?

Make sure windows service pack 1 (sp1a) is installed. I formated my hard drive and installed XP, then noticed tons of stutter/crash problems. So I installed the service pack and it fixed all my stuttering problems (thank God for the ntrack forum on that one).


It’s set to 44.1 and I’ve closed all apps including the system tray goodies… I’m using an external firewire MAxtor dirve connected to an Adaptec 3-port PCMCIA card the Motu 828 plugs in to one of those slots also. What about buffer settings? Any suggestions?

Which drivers are you using for the MOTU?
IF you are using ASIO you will need to adjust the buffers in the MOTU control panel (which can be accessed in n-Track via the record or playback VU’s hammer … ASIO settings>ASIO control panel).
Set the samples per buffer to 1024 as a starting point. If all is well at 1024, try lowering the value till the stuttering begins again then raise it by one of the values.
One other thing that comes to mind is your PCMCIA FireWire controller. MOTU’s can be particular on the chipset used in the controller. Texas Instruments chipsets tend to be the most compatible.
If the Adaptec’s documentation doesn’t specify what chipset is used, you can look in the Windows Device Manager. Expand the list for IEEE 1394 host controller and see if it lists a Texas Instruments controller.
Also, while you are in the Device Manager, click View then Resources by connection. Expand the list for IRQ and see if the PCMCIA is sharing an IRQ with any other devices. If it is sharing with things such as internal sound, NIC, Modem or video card … right click and disable any and all (except video) that you don’t need for DAW work.
If the video is sharing an IRQ with the PCMCIA you can look into decreasing it’s (the video card) PCI latency with the help of this site.
If the laptop is your main computer for everything, you can set up separate hardware profiles. One for general purpose and one for DAW work. This way you won’t have to go through the hassle of disabling and enabling devices each time you change your method of computing. Just boot up with the hardware profile that suites the intended use. That is exactly what I do with my laptop, yet I use XP Home. I don’t know that you mentioned the OS that you are using.
If you also use XP, you can learn more about hardware profiles and unneeded background services at Black Viper. Be sure to check the other links on that page also for directions on profiles.
Another valuable XP resource is



be sure to have installed the Mainboard Chipset Driver (Intel 6.x)

Thanks for all the help, this is a great forum and a lot of knowledgable folks!

Incorrect buffer settings can also cause this. Check what they are set to in nTrack.