Knowledgebase: Audio Interfaces
Helix Board & Firefly signal dropping out
Posted by Rick Shao on 16 November 2015 07:58 AM
  • Resource conflicts: go to the device manager... then view/resources by type. This will display all of the IRQs by number. You should then be able to see if any devices are sharing the same IRQ #. If so then the easiest way to handle it is to disable the devices not being used during recording and create a hardware profile. You can search Microsoft help in windows if you are unsure of how to do this. Basically you are streamlining you OS to use only what it needs for recording, and disabling unnecessary component functions which can interrupt the recording (USB and Firewire dont always play nice).
  • Question: is your firewire port a PCI card or built direct onto the motherboard? Is the card a multiple device card (i.e. USB, Memory card, Firewire all on same card)? If you have multiple types of ports on the same card, there can be issues. We would recommend a PCI FireWire only card.
  • New Computer? If you have a new PC, it can come preloaded with all kinds of useles software, go to add/remove software and check what you have.? If you dont use it - lose it! then do a disk cleanup and defrag (always be sure to save a restore point in System Restore before changing any software/hardware).
  • Windows Media Center: is a great OS from Microsoft, giving users new functions for audio/visual purposes, gaming, etc. Some people use it with no problems. However there are problems among many audio and video manufacturers with this OS. We recommend Windows XP with service pack 2 or Windows Vista.
  • To continue on from the last point - Windows XP with Service Pack 2 should work great.? Service Pack 3 is another story entirely. Although many users work with SP3 with no issues what-so-ever, the number of users who are experiencing problems with the Helix Board or Firefly due to this Service Park are plentiful. We'd recommend users do not upgrade to SP3 if it can be avoided.
  • If the signal isnt cutting out completely, but the audio is choppy, open up the Phonic Control Panel and try adjusting the buffer length. Depending on the resources available on your computer, the latency of the audio signal may need to be adjusted. If this solves your problem, you can either continue with the high latency or try to free up more system resources.? Make sure you reset the driver after applying new buffer lengths.
  • While many IEEE 1394B cards will function without an issue with the Helix Board or Firefly, we would recommend using a FireWire card that is of the IEEE 1394A spec. This is mainly due to the devices being developed under this spec, therefore is simply more ideal. While many IEEE 1394B cards are perfectly backwards compatible, there just isnt any guarantee that they will work flawlessly with our FireWire devices.
  • System resources can be taken up by background programs. Please close any and all background programs possible, this includes any system tasks that are being run (for example, programs like RealPlayer or iTunes like to run their own update programs in the background. If you have the know-how to close these background processes, please do!).
  • Reducing the amount of graphics acceleration is greatly adviseable. Particularly in Windows Vista, which is a very graphics-heavy operating system, this will take up more system resources than you can afford to lose. In the Control Panel > Appearance menu, you should be able to reduce the amount of graphics acceleration in the Advanced settings. It may differ between operating systems, but it should be there somewhere.
  • As Windows is not a real-time operating system, any lags or freezing of processing may be attributed by the Helix Board or Firefly as being the computer disconnecting. This is the main cause of these kinds of issues, and the above are the most commonly used solutions for such problems.

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