Silent pc (Re: [ardour-users] Session export ?

Mark Knecht markknecht at
Thu Feb 24 13:40:47 PST 2005

On Thu, 24 Feb 2005 13:15:36 -0800, Matthew Sewell
<matthewsewell at> wrote:
> On Thu, 2005-02-24 at 12:17, Mark Knecht wrote:
> > > That sounds fine. Stay away from reiserfs for your audio disk though. ext3
> > > of XFS is better for big files like audio files.
> Dammit!  How come I can never get consistent advice on this subject?  I
> put reiserfs on that drive because I read that it performs better for
> audio work.  What do you suggest then?  Vfat or ext3?

Well, to be clear I didn't write the advice above. That was Gerard.
He'll have to answer to that. I did do some work looking at this 2-3
years ago. At the time I would have said from a performance point of
view that reiserfs was better BECAUSE it somehow places the journal
along with the files which seemed to cause fewer disk seek operations.
With the ext3 journal it was a completely separate file which was not
located near the audio data and seemed to cause disk seeks (and hence
longer latency) in time with the journaling operation. (THIS WAS A
GUESS! I watched the operation closely with Benno's latency test
program and noticed that the misses on latency were the same frequency
that the journaling was set up for on the drive I did the work on. It
is NOT a conclusive statement. Only an observation which is now 3
years old.)

I do NOT recommend VFAT even though I am happy and successful using
it. Personally I have mixed feeling about using journaling at all on a
strictly audio drive. All forms of journaling by definition are slower
and take more system resources. If you are worried about losing audio
data then back it up on a DVD and don't try to make it fault tolerant
on your system. That's my thought. IT IS NOT A RECOMMENDATION.

> > > Unless you have a massive multichannel soundcard, you can easily move all
> > > the tracks you want from a single modern ide disk.
> > > I just tested and I got 48 tracks playback without problem. It is only
> > > when there are also a soundcards moving 24 channels or more at the same
> > > time that you may run into trouble.
> No.  My projects usually top out around 16 tracks total.  I don't think
> I've EVER gone over 24 and I only have 8 inputs.
> > Yeah, I pretty much agree. I use an external 1394a (400Mb/S) drive for
> > both Ardour and LinuxSampler. I have two partitions. The audio
> > partition is set up as VFAT and allows me to move data pretty easily
> > between Ardour and Pro Tools. The LinuxSampler gig files are on a
> > second partition done with ext3 since GigaStudio under either Win ME
> > or Win XP won't work worth a darn using 1394 so that machine has a
> > second drive in it for just samples.
> >
> I have a problem where, after about 14 tracks or so, the disk can't keep
> up while recording and I get an error message to that effect from
> Ardour...then the track is ruined and the vocalist curses my mother.  I
> really have to solve this.  My drives test (after hdparm tweaks) around
> 40 mB/S (320 Mb/s).

My guess would be that something on the machine is getting in the way
once in awhile and causing these misses. My 1394 drive only does about
24MB/S and I get better results. (Or think I do!)

> > Using the same 1394 drive I have no problems using 4 sample libraries
> > (4 gig files) in LS and recording 8 channels of audio in Ardour. I've
> > never had an error message so far and it all streams off and on the
> > same drive.
> Is that an IDE drive enclosed in a firewire enclosure?

Yes. I have a bunch of them, but then again I'm a 1394 advocate. 1394
under Linux is hit and miss. It is pretty important to get the right
stuff - the right enclosure - the right 1394 adapter, etc. It's very
possible to get 1394 devices that work fine under Windows and they
don't function at all under Linux. Once you find the right stuff it's
great, but for me it was hit and miss.

> > I have a  'massive multichannel soundcard' (HDSP 9652) but I seldom
> > move more than about 8 channels in and 12 channels out at the same
> > time. Probably Jack is still moving 26 in and 26 out - I don't know.
> > Anyway, it works fine in an Athlon XP 1600+ machine using 'the dreaded
> > Via chipset'! ;-) ;-)
> Crap.  I keep reading that the VIA chipsets are to be AVOIDED.  What is
> the truth?  All I know is that the disk can't keep up...although I
> haven't had this problem since I changed to reiserfs, but I haven't
> stress it very hard yet.

The truth is it is not that easy to answer. There are good and bad
chipset for ALL manufacturers. I am currently using VIa in my desktop
and ATI in my laptop. Both work fine AFAICT. My GigaStudio machine is

That said you cannot(probably) buy the exact motherboards I am using
as they are too old now. You have to buy new VIa chipsets and take
your chances...

On the other hand, ANYTHING you have read that is more than 9 months
old about ANY chipset manufacturer probably relates to a chipset you
can no longer buy also and there for is not appropriate for a

(I understand there is language on the Ardour website about this. I
respect the opinion but I also respectfully disagree. I feel my
experience is just as valid.

> Learning about hardware issues and JACK is like trying to navigate a
> maze full of mirrors and fog with a patch over one eye.  These things
> have to be cleared up before its use becomes common.


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