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Issue: Can't record input signal from Edirol FA-66

I introduced myself in the Installation Forum July 2005, but for those of you who missed it... I'm new to Laptop-based Personal Digital Recording but I know computers pretty well. I'm running Cubase SL 3 on a Dell Laptop with an Edirol FA-66 audio capture unit through a CompUSA Firewire PCcard adapter. Now that I have loaded the correct ASIO driver (see figure 2.), I've continued with the Getting Started manual. Here is a blow-by-blow account of my activity, as I step through the Getting Started text book that came with the software, up to my new problem.

Where possible, I noted the page and step number I was working from in the following format:

Example: 9-106/8:4-6. = "Chapter 9 - Pages 106 to 108: Steps 4 through 6."

2-16/18: Requirements
* A PC running Windows XP (Yes. Pro version, both systems)
* Compatible audio hardware (Edirol FA-66, 6 in / 6 out, plus Midi in/out. Firewire interface)

PC Hardware

Minimum Laptop Desktop
800 MHz Pentium 1.86 GHz Centrino 1.74 GHz Athlon XP2100
384 MB RAM 504 MB 1.5 GB
1024X768 resolution monitor yes yes
USB port (for dongle) yes yes
Enough storage for project(s) yes yes

Audio Hardware

Feature Minimum Edirol FA-66
Port Configuration Mono/Stereo Stereo and Mono channels available
Bit Rate 16/24/32 24
Sample Rage At least 44.1 kHz 44.1/48/96/192 kHz, adjustable
Driver ASIO 2.0 Yes, provided by manufacturer

2-20/26: Hardware Installation
Edirol FA-66 connected through a Firewire PC Card interface. Can see/adjust the device through Control Panel.

3-32: Software Installation
Defrag HD
Install Software
Install Security Dongle
Reboot (no problems so far)

4-36: Setting Up Audio
Setup diagram. I used a variation on "the simplest connection":

Figure 1a. Source and Monitor Configuration

Figure 1b. Edirol FA-66 Front & Rear Panels

4-41:1-3. Device Setup.
Selected Edirol FA-66 driver:

Figure 2. VST Audiobay Driver Options

4-42:4. Adjusted FA-66 settings (Reduced buffer size).

Figure 3a. Edirol FA-66 Driver Settings

Figure 3b. FA-66 Latency Stats

4-42:5-6. Set "Release ASIO to background" and "Direct Monitoring" (see figure 2.)

4-44/45:1-5. Set-up VST Input & Output Ports

Figure 4a. VST Input Settings

Figure 4b. VST Outputs Settings
As I will not be using the Spdif (fiber optic) ports, I disabled them.

VST Bus Declarations.
Note that both settings have been saved to Presets for this project. I added the two Mic channels in the input connections per request of the US Steinberg support tech, but they are not required for tutorial #1.

Figure 5a. VST Connections - Inputs

Figure 5b. VIS Connections - Outputs

Figure 6. VST System Link Settings


5-56: Windows optimization
Set performance for best background services.

... Browsed through teminology and GUI pages,
Noted section on Mixer and AST Connections...

9-104: Tutorial 1
Start Check

* Installed/setup hardware (Yes)

* Audio Source: Yes - Thru CD Player headphones, on Input ports 3 & 4. Can hear audio at FA-66 headphone jacks. The Volume is low, with both headphone and input volume controls at max, but loud enough to be registering a signal. (See figure 1.)

I've elected to use Input channels 3 & 4 to take advantage of Edirol features. These two channels are a matched stereo pair connected to a single input gain, with RCA connectors. (Channels 5 & 6 are fiber inputs. Channels 1 & 2 are pre-Amped Mic channels, with the second channel also switchable to Hi-Z.) The CD Player is providing a signal through the headphone interface. The outputs are all quarter-inch jacks. I'm using my entertainment stereo AUX input for the test.

* Output Source: Yes - Thru home AV Stereo amp/receiver Aux 3 on Output ports 1 & 2. (See figure 1.)

* Cubase is running.

9-105:1-3. Created new, empty project
(Project 1 in //my_documents/projects/cubase/project1)

9-106:4-6. Created one Stereo track.
My Mixer window looks exactly like the picture in the book:

Figure 7. FA-66 Mixer Channels

9-107/8:1-4. VST Connections setup. (Removed all busses and recreated from scratch. Audio device:Edirol FA-66 - ASIO Master, In:Ports 3&4, Out:Ports 1&2)

Note: The little gray triangles in the routing strips in the channel pane are not quite the same. Is there an implied difference? I can access menus for both strips, but there's not much to choose from...

9-108/10:8/9. Opened Mixer and adjusted the routing strips. (In:FA-66 Stereo In, Out:FA-66 Stereo Out.)

Figure 8a. Input Strip Options

Figure 8b. Output Strip Options

Note: The input strip menu only shows the assigned name of the port, but the output strip menu also shows Left/Right channels under the assigned port name. Is there a reason?

Note that I named the stereo channel "RCA CD Player" to identify the source signal.

Figure 9. Project Window

Figure 10. Project Setup Window

9-113:1/2. PROBLEM: There is no "VU Meter Settings" option on the Mixer context menu. Here are my options when I access the Mixer short-cut menu:

Figure 11. So, where are my VU Meters?

Issue: Can't record input signal from Edirol FA-66.
At this point, I can hear the source playing through the Edirol output to my receiver, but there is a loud hum coming from the output ports. When I press the Record button, nothing appears in the project window. No input levels. Nothing.

7/23/05 - Noted something odd... In an attempt to diagnose the problem, I remove the firewire cable from the Edirol unit. To my surprise, I was still hearing output from the output amplifier. Does anyone know if this is normal operation of a sound card?

Page Update History

7/15/05 - Started a new topic on SX/SL/SE for Windows 2000/XP forum. After having trouble referencing images using the forum system, I built this personal webpage to have a place to post my screen shots and related setup information.

7/19/05 - Added screen shots of the VST Connections, by request of forum participant. Replaced conversational format with a more formal presentation of facts.

7/21/05 - Added additional screen shots of VST Bus Assignments by request of US Steinberg support technician. Changed screen shots of setup items that were modified. Added screen shots of the Project window and Project window settings. Finally, the Hardware Requirements section was updated, adding additional information gleened in converstation with technical support.

7/24/05 - Moved hardware and software to my custom built, three year old workstation. I added a CompUSA IEEE-1394 PCI adapter to the system to interface the FA-66. The original setup diagram was updated to reflect the fact that the source was coming from the headphone jacks of the CD player, and playing through the PC card Firewire adapter in the laptop. Headphone jacks on other devices were added. Implemented a page update history section.

Finally, a new configuration diagram for the studio setup was added here...

Figure 12. Studio Setup

Basically, the Tascam CD Player was plugged directly into MX stereo channels 11/12. The source was re-routed to go through the FA-66, with the output of the audio device plugged back into the same channels. (The original diagram was reduced a little to fit the page. In so doing, some detail was lost.)

7/25/05 - Added image and description of Edirol FA-66 front and rear panels scanned from owner's manual (figure 1b), screen shot of FA-66 Control Panel window (figure 3a), and updated Cubase Mixer short-cut menu screen shot to show Global Meter Settings submenu (figure 11), in response to forum commentary.