This document can help you resolve problems that occur while you record, playback, or monitor in Adobe Audition 2 and 3.

Recording problems can manifest themselves in many different ways, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Quality of recorded audio is poor.
  • Audio is monitored through the system but the recorded audio file is empty.
  • Delay in playback while recording.
  • Delay in playback while monitoring incoming audio.

Different factors can cause recording or playback problems, including conflicts among device drivers, software, and hardware, and corrupt elements in specific files. Although some problems occur only when you work with Adobe Audition, Adobe Audition isn't necessarily the cause. It could be the only application that is memory-intensive or processor-intensive enough to expose the problem.

To benefit most from this document, perform the tasks in order. Record the tasks you perform and the results of each, including errors or other problems. Adobe Technical Support can use this information to better assist you, if you call.

Audio latency

Audio Latency is the time that an audio signal takes to pass from the sound card input to the sound cards output. The audio signal is digitized, routed through Adobe Audition, and processed by any effects applied. Then it's converted back to analog form at the sound card outputs. Each of these steps contributes to the audio latency, which is measured in milliseconds (ms). Existing audio (audio files already on a track in the Multitrack) doesn't exhibit the same amount of latency since the tracks are already digitized. In Adobe Audition, this discrepancy in playback delay, between existing tracks and monitoring inputs, is where latency is most noticeable.

Latency over 10 milliseconds can produce an audible delay between playback of existing tracks and monitoring. Although buffer settings (see step 8 below) can help reduce latency, the design of the hardware device driver and the amount of effects processing can potentially make monitoring difficult (or unusable). If the device driver for your sound card does not allow a low enough latency, then it's possible that you can't monitor while recording. It's also possible that you require a new sound card with low latency device drivers (for example, an ASIO sound card).

General guidelines that apply to latency times

  • Less than 10 ms - allows real-time monitoring of incoming tracks including effects.
  • At 10 ms - latency can be detected but can still sound natural and is usable for monitoring.
  • 11-20 ms - monitoring starts to become unusable, smearing of the actual sound source, and the monitored output is apparent.
  • 20-30 ms - delayed sound starts to sound like an actual delay rather than a component of the original signal.

Note: The human ear is accustomed to latency because it occurs naturally in the world around us. The frequency of a sound, distance from the sound's source, and the physical properties of the human ear all play a part in hearing. However, the amount of latency introduced in the recording and monitoring process is due to the physical properties and limitations of the sound card, device drivers, and processing power of the computer CPU.

Troubleshooting

1. Make sure that the system meets the minimum requirements for Adobe Audition.

Adobe Audition can't run correctly on a system that doesn't meet the following requirements:

Adobe Audition 3

  • Intel Pentium 4 (1.4 GHz for DV, 3.4 GHz for HDV); Intel Centrino; Intel Xeon (dual Xeon 2.8-GHz processors for HD); or Intel Core Duo or compatible processor (SSE2-enabled processor required for AMD systems)
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional or Home Edition with Service Pack 2 or Windows Vista Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise (certified support for 32-bit editions only)
  • 512 MB of RAM (1 GB for DV playback; 2 GB for HDV and HD playback)
  • 10 GB of available hard-disk space (when used with Loopology DVD)
  • DVD drive required for installation
  • 1,280 x 900 monitor resolution with 32-bit video card and 16 MB of VRAM
  • Microsoft DirectX or ASIO compatible sound card
  • QuickTime 7.0 required to use QuickTime features
  • Internet or phone connection required for product activation

Adobe Audition 2

  • Intel Pentium III, IV, Intel Centrino (or other SSE-enabled processor)
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional Edition, or Windows XP Home Edition, with Service Pack 2
  • 512 MB of RAM (1 GB or more recommended)
  • 700 MB of available hard disk space (5.5 GB of available hard-disk space recommended for installing optional audio clips)
  • 1024 x 768 display (1280 x 1024 recommended)
  • Sound card with DirectSound or ASIO drivers (multitrack ASIO sound card recommended)
  • CD-ROM drive (DVD-ROM drive recommended for installing optional audio clips)
  • CD-RW drive for audio CD creation
  • Speakers or headphones recommended
  • Internet or phone connection required for product activation and Internet-related services

2. Verify that the correct driver is selected for Adobe Audition.

Adobe Audition 2 and 3 is designed around a new ASIO playback engine which performs optimally when using an ASIO driver. If no ASIO driver is installed for use with Adobe Audition, choose the Adobe Audition Windows Sound driver instead.

To verify that the correct driver is selected for Adobe Audition, do the following:

  1. Choose Edit > Audio Hardware Setup, and click either the Edit View, Multitrack, or Surround Encoder tab.

    Note: Set up each of the Views (Edit, Multitrack, and Surround Encoder) separately.
  2. Make sure that the installed sound card driver is selected in the Audio Driver menu.
    • If an ASIO device driver is available, then be sure to select it.
    • If an ASIO device driver is NOT available, then select the Adobe Audition Windows Sound driver and see Set up Adobe Audition 3 audio hardware drivers (kb408729) for details on setting up the AWS driver.

Note: Adobe recommends that you choose the ASIO driver that is installed with your sound device instead of the default Adobe Audition Windows Sound driver. Only use the Adobe Audition Windows Sound driver in a situation where the system audio device does not have its own ASIO driver.

3. Verify that the sound card is set correctly.

If you have problems recording in Adobe Audition, it's possible that the sound card isn't set properly. The sound card controls all playback and recording, and if it isn't set correctly, applications can't record audio.

ASIO device drivers

  1. Choose Edit > Audio Hardware Setup, and click either Edit View, Multitrack, or Surround Encoder tab.
  2. In the Driver Properties section, select Control Panel.
  3. Set up the device in the driver control panel. See the hardware manufacturers user guide for details on hardware setup.

Adobe Audition Windows Sound device driver:

  1. Choose Edit > Audio Hardware Setup, and click either Edit View, Multitrack, or Surround Encoder tab.
  2. In the Driver Properties section, select Control Panel.
  3. Set up the device in the Adobe Audition Windows Sound control panel. See Set up Adobe Audition 3 audio hardware drivers (kb408729) for details on setting up the AWS driver.

4. Update the sound card driver.

Many sound card manufacturers frequently update their software drivers. If you haven't recently updated the sound card driver, contact the sound card manufacturer for an updated driver. Or download one from the manufacturer's website.

5. Set Adobe Audition temporary folders to high-performance drives that have adequate free disk space.

When you record in Edit View, Adobe Audition stores temporary files in its Primary Temp Directory. Make sure that the Primary Temp Directory is set to the fastest drive (7200 rpm and above) and that has the most free space. Create a folder just for Adobe Audition temporary files. By creating a folder for the temporary files, you can find the files easily if it's necessary to delete them.

To create and set the location of the Primary Temp Directory, do the following:

  1. Create a folder at the root of the hard drive where you want the Primary Temp Directory (for example, Adobe AuditionTemp)
  2. In Adobe Audition, choose Edit > Preferences and click the System tab.
  3. In the Temporary Folders section, enter the path (or browse) to the folder you created in step 1.

When you record in Multitrack View, Adobe Audition stores files directly into a subfolder within the folder of the current session. (For example, with a session called Thomas.ses, a folder called Thomas_Recorded contains all the files recorded for that session.) Make sure that the session files (and this associated folder) are stored on the fastest drive (7200 rpm and above) and that it has the most free space.

Putting the Adobe Audition temporary directories or session folders on separate hard drives can improve performance. If you have multiple hard drives, put the Primary Temp Folder and the session folders on the hard drive that doesn't contain the Adobe Audition program files.

For more information about managing temporary files and folders, see "Managing Temporary Files" on page 40 of the Adobe Audition 2.0 User Guide.

6. Change the Wave Cache settings in Adobe Audition.

Changes to the Wave Cache setting increases performance in Adobe Audition. To change the Wave Cache setting, choose Edit > Preferences > System, and then enter a value from the following table in the Cache Size field, depending on how much RAM is installed on your computer.

Installed RAM Wave Cache setting
512MB 32MB
1GB 64MB
Higher than 1GB 128MB

7. Run Adobe Audition while no other applications are running.

Some applications can cause system errors or freezes when running concurrently with Adobe Audition. Before starting Adobe Audition, disable other applications, including startup items (items that start automatically with Windows).

To disable startup items, do the following:

  1. Quit all applications.
  2. Choose Start > Run, and type msconfig in the Open box. Click OK.
  3. Click the Startup tab, and click Disable All.
  4. Select any startup items that are essential for testing the problem (for example, a driver control panel for the installed sound device). If you are unsure whether an item is essential, leave it selected (enabled).
  5. Click OK, and restart Windows.
  6. Right-click icons in the Notification Area (called the System Tray in earlier versions of Windows) to close or disable any startup items that are still active.

Then, try to recreate the problem:

  • If the problem doesn't occur, then one of the disabled startup items conflicts with Adobe Audition. Re enable startup items one at a time, testing each time until you determine which item conflicts with Adobe Audition. Then contact that item's developer for an update, if available.
  • If the problem does occur, then startup items aren't the cause and you can re enable them:
    1. Choose Start > Run, and type msconfig in the Open box. Click OK.
    2. Click the Startup tab, and click Enable All.
    3. Click OK, and restart Windows.

8. Change the buffer size settings.

Buffer settings can lower latency, and help eliminate clicks, pops, dropouts, and other distortions that can occur in recording or playback. Before you adjust the buffer settings, make a note of what the current buffer settings are so that you can restore them if necessary. If you use the Adobe Windows Sound driver, then you can adjust buffer settings within Adobe Audition.

To change the Adobe Windows Sound buffer settings:

  1. Choose Edit > Audio Hardware Setup and then click the Multitrack tab.

    Note: Configure Edit View and Surround Encoder separately.
  2. Select the Adobe Audition Windows Sound driver, and then click Control Panel.
  3. In the Direct Sound Input Ports section, find and check the box next to the device name you intend to use for audio input.
  4. Double-click the number in the Buffer Size column and change to the desired size (see the Buffer Size guidelines in this section of the document).

Note: If you use an ASIO sound card, then see the manufacturer's documentation for details on setting the buffer size.

Note the following Buffer Size guidelines:

  • To improve recording performance, lower the buffer size (from 32 through 256 Samples); this setting lowers the latency.
  • To improve playback and mixing performance (with effects), increase the buffer size (from 512 through 2048 samples); this increases latency

9. Optimize IDE disks.

Windows XP enables Direct Memory Access (DMA) by default on most IDE devices. If DMA is disabled, re enable it to improve the transfer rate of IDE disks and to prevent playback and recording problems. 

For instructions on how to optimize IDE disks, refer to your Windows documentation.

10. Update the video card driver.

Adobe Audition 2 and 3is more graphically intense than earlier versions and can take advantage of more video RAM as well as most recent driver updates. If you haven't recently updated the video card driver, contact the video card manufacturer for an updated driver, or download one from the manufacturer's website.

11. Determine monitoring needs (Adobe Audition Mix versus External monitoring).

Adobe Audition features three possible types of monitoring for the incoming audio signal. Selecting the proper monitoring type can help to avoid possible problems with driver performance. For more information about monitoring, see the "To hear inputs with effects applied to tracks" section of the Adobe Audition User Guide. Sound cards with low-latency drivers should perform equally well using any of the three monitoring methods. Sound cards with high latency drivers cause a significant delay between what is being played and what is being monitored. If the delay is too long, it's possible you're limited to monitoring External inputs only.

To set the monitoring type choose Options > Monitoring and select one of the following:

  • Adobe Audition Mix > Smart Input: Monitors the input only when you record a track. Use this setting only if your sound card latency is low enough not to cause a signal delay.
  • Adobe Audition Mix > Always Input: Monitors the input at all times during playback and recording. Use this setting only if your sound card latency is low enough not to cause a signal delay.
  • External: Monitors the input directly from the sound card, without routing them through effects and sends in Adobe Audition. This option bypasses Adobe Audition and lets the sound card pass audio directly through to the outputs. For more details about monitoring directly through the sound card, consult your sound card user guide.

 

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