Optimizing FireWire Performance

About FireWire Bandwidth

FireWire bandwidth is shared between audio interface I/O streams, UAD plug-ins used within the DAW, and external FireWire hard drives. Available bandwidth also depends on the session sample rate; the higher the sample rate, the more bandwidth is consumed. FireWire bandwidth is displayed in the “FBW” meter in the UAD Meter & Control Panel application:

UAD Meter FireWire Bandwidth

UAD Bandwidth Allocation

The UAD Bandwidth Allocation setting reserves FireWire bandwidth for UAD plug-ins used within a DAW. The default value (65%) allows audio interfaces to run at higher sample rates (88.2 – 192 kHz).

Important: If using sample rates of 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz, we recommend increasing the UAD Bandwidth Allocation setting to allow more UAD plug-ins to run within the DAW. See the table below for recommended values.

Recommended Maximum UAD Bandwidth Allocation Values

Sample Rate (kHz): 44.1, 48 88.2, 96 176.4, 192
Without external FireWire hard drive: 80% 70% 55%
With external FireWire hard drive: 55% 40% 20%
I/O buffer setting for best playback results: 512 1024 2048

To change the UAD Bandwidth Allocation setting:

    1. Quit all DAW software (UAD hosts must be quit to change this setting).
    2. Open the UAD Meter & Control Panel application.
      (Mac) The application can be accessed under the blue UA diamond icon in the OS X Menu Bar at upper right of screen, or click its icon in the Dock.
      (Win) Select the application from: Start Menu>All Programs>UAD Powered Plug-Ins>UAD Meter & Control Panel.

UAD Meter & Control Panel icon

 

    1. Open the “FireWire” panel within the UAD Meter & Control Panel application. Access the FireWire panel by clicking the menu button in the UAD Meter window and selecting “FireWire...” from the drop menu, or type Command+F (Mac) or Control+F (Win) as a shortcut.

UAD Meter Menu

 

    1. Change the UAD Bandwidth Allocation setting (shown below) by clicking the up or down arrows, or click+hold the value for a drop menu.

UAD Bandwidth Allocation

 

UAD Bandwidth Allocation Notes:

  • Important: If switching to a higher sample rate, set the UAD Bandwidth Allocation BEFORE opening a session.
  • To run more UAD plug-ins within a DAW, use USB, eSATA, or internal hard drives for audio session files instead of FireWire drives.
  • UAD-2 Satellite has intelligent FireWire bus monitoring. If audio playback is compromised, a “FireWire Interrupt Detected” dialog appears. If that occurs, decrease the UAD Bandwidth Allocation setting for reliable playback.
  • UAD Bandwidth Allocation values in the table above are recommended as starting points for FireWire bandwidth tuning. Depending on external FireWire hard drive usage (e.g., how many audio tracks are being streamed), lower values may be needed for increased FireWire hard drive loads, or higher values can be used for increased UAD plug-in counts when FireWire hard drive usage is lower.
  • (Mac) FireWire performance is better on some systems versus others due to the FireWire controller chips they contain. In general, newer Mac Pro, iMac, and Mac mini systems contain a superior FireWire controller chip and will deliver better FireWire performance than MacBook Pro systems. There is no simple method to determine which controller is used.
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