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Does anyone else use a Saffire Pro 24 audio device, or similar Focusrite/Saffire device for an audio I/O?

Gradually over the last week it has sounded like my Mac's audio system has descended deeper and deeper into some global bit crushing filter... in other words, like it was losing bit depth! Very strange. I'm not sure why this was happening... I was desperately flipping switches in the SaffireMix program that comes with the box, switched on Settings>SPDIF AC3 Device, then heard silence... then switched it off again and boom, clear audio once again. Whaaaaa?

Asking here because I think the problem might involve the computer itself, not just the saffire box. Also, I'm wondering if someone can't enlighten me as to the digital audio encoding/decoding processes, and what better a forum for that than stack overflow!

Thanks. J

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migrated from Jul 27 '10 at 18:06

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

Check in the Audio MIDI Setup app what sample size you're using. I have seen my audio hardware default to 8-bit audio output for no reason.

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Hey, i'm the person who asked at stackoverflow.

Checked that just now, settings are normal (32 bit). Tried 16, 24 as well. No dice.

It's interesting - the problem only occurs with input into the Focusrite/Saffire device, and with output from system sounds, like iChat. In fact, when the iChat app makes noise, it crackles - but not always in the same way, and not 100% of the time. It might make a noise one time, and then the next, no distortion.

I've also experienced a symptom where I'm working on a file in Ableton/Logic/etc, and over time, the distortion gets worse, until it's practically cutting audio out completely. I tried another audio interface, a RigKontrol setup for Guitar Rig, and that also creates the same issue. I tried messing with the sample rate coming in, examined latency factors in Ableton, etc, and no luck.

This seems to me like some buffer is getting overloaded, since it gets progressively worse when performing heavy audio operations, but I have no idea what OTHER buffer exists that I could check.

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