Lexicon Omega ASIO Driver Problems...

Discussion in 'Hardware Discussion & Support' started by GigaWatt, Sep 18, 2008.

  1. GigaWatt

    GigaWatt Now In Color :D

    I just bought this card, the Omega model from Lexicon, it's an external USB connected audio card, mainly for music production, mastering adn recording. It's supposed to be like a home studio system.

    But there is a problem, the CD that came with the card had a 2.0 version of the driver for the card, so i installed it, and heard how it's playback sounded, can't complain, even at high output volumes, the card still clips and distorts very little, so basicly in playback mode, the card is OK.

    So I tried it in ASIO mode, the driver has verry little options, it has only one slider that says "More CPU usage" on one end, and "Less CPU usage" on the other, which ofecourse sets the input and output latency times of the card. So I set it to the max, and tried how the card would behave at max value. When I loaded a VST insterument in Cubase SX 3, after playing a few notes, the card started carcking and poping when the instrument was played. So I changed the latency time to something a little less demanding, the input latency to about 10ms, and the output latency to about 30ms, even though that knd of latency would be ridicilous for a card this expencive (200 Euros), but I did it anyway, so I started playing again, it did the same thing all over, started carcking and poping after a few played notes, especialy in the higher frequency spectrum (around C6, C7).

    So I tried a newer version of the driver, downloaded from the manufacturers main site, a 2.5 version. So, I installed the new version, put the driver in ASIO mode (it has only two supporting modes, ASIO mode, and WDM mode), and tried it how the card will behave in playback. Surprisingly, it sounded better in playback than with the 2.0 version of the driver, so I thought the problem with the cracking and poping must have been fixed by now. I started Cubase SX 3, put a VST instrument to a MIDI track, and started playing. This time, there was no sound coming from the card :rolleyes:, it's like the card completely vanished... nothing :wtf:.

    So uninstalled the 2.5 version and installed the 2.0 version again. The cracking was gone. Not completely but it was a lot better now, it only cracked when you hit the really jigh notes, and just a little bit, not a lot, like the previous time.

    One of the members on the official Lexicon forum said that this was a common problem with the Omega and Cubase SX 3, atleast thats what I read in one of his posts, but the post was a reply to a totaly different problem, this was just mentioned in the post. He wrote that an even older version of the driver (older than 2.0), was the soulution to this problem.

    So, my question is this, has anyone had experience with the Omega and Cubase SX 3 and has the same problem, or similar one, does this problem has a soultin that doesn't require a driver change? And if it does require a driver change, where can I find an older version of the driver, I googled around but I can't seem to find any older version than 2.0.

    Thanks upfront for your help, any kind of suggestion is appreciated ;).
  2. stinkbot

    stinkbot New Member

    What version of windows do you have?
    What buffer setting did you use with the 2.5 driver?

    what VST instrument were you using?
  3. GigaWatt

    GigaWatt Now In Color :D

    1) OS: WinXP SP2

    2) RAM: Kingmax DDR2 800MHz 2x2GB Dual Chanel DDR

    3) CPU: Intel Dual Core @ 2.0GHz, E2180, 1MB cache per core

    4) Motherboard: Abit IB9

    5) GPU (I know this specification has nothing to do with the probelm but here goes): Biostar nVidia GeForce FX 7200 GS 256MB DDR2 RAM, GPU @ 630 MHz, DDR2 RAM @ 648MHz (overclocked)

    6) Buffer sizes with the 2.5 driver: The driver specifies it's own buffer sizes, as I said earlier, there is only one slider in the ASIO Control Panel button under Cubase SX3, on one side of the slider it reads "Less CPU", and on the other it reads "More CPU", and that's about it. The slider isn't actually a slider, it has predefined points where the slider just snaps, and there are 7 predefined points. When you set a certain "CPU usage" value on the slider, the driver adjusts it's own buffer sizes, I tried with every buffer size, nothing worked.

    7) Buffer sizes with the 2.0 driver: Whell this driver worked, I set the value of the slider just before the last value of the "More CPU" point of the slider, because at the last value, the card just crackles an pops when you play a VST instrument. The input and output latency times at the last point of the slider, where it reads "More CPU" are:

    Input Latency: 2.268ms
    Ouput Latency: 35.601ms

    The value of the input and uotput latency at the point of the slider where I put it (as I said, just before the max value at the "More CPU" end) are:

    Input Latency: 4.535ms
    Output Latency: 55.556ms

    These settings are at 24 bit deppth, 44.1KHz, I tried setting the river to 48KHz sample rates, but it just wouldn't change, it keeps rolling back to 44.1KHz. Just to get the idea of how the Omega ASIO conteol panel looks like, here is a snapshot. This snapshot is from the 2.0 version of the driver, the 2.5 version of the driver just has the slider as an option, lol.


    8) VST instruments used with the 2.0 version of the driver: TimewARP 2600, PoiZone, Vanguard, Audio Realism Bassline 2.0, Micro Tonic (uTonic), Arturia CS-80V... None of them worked, there was no sound comming out of the card.

    9) VST instruments used with the 2.0 version of the driver: The same as above, except this time they worked, but they kept on cracking and poping when the slider was at it's max value, at the value nex to the max, they work "fine". I put it in quotes because there stil is a little cracking a poping whne I used the Arturia CS-80V, but only at the higher range octaves (C6, C7, C8), and if the CPU was busy at the time, for example, converting a DVD moovie to DivX. I know it takes a lot of CPU to convert, but hey, most of the tools I use aren't even dual core ready, so they mostly drain one of the cores, the other stays free. So why doesn't the card function as it should, and just use the rest of the CPU power to process the VST istruments.

    The input latency times are not so bad, in both cases, I can live with a 5ms input latency time, I mean, it's not so bad, but why is the output latency time so big, is there a reason for that?

    Thanks for yor help upfront ;), musch appriciated.
  4. jiiteepee

    jiiteepee Active Member

    On Cubase audio options, there's a button named as "Expert settings" ... disable the "Lower latency" option from use.

  5. stinkbot

    stinkbot New Member

    The control panel for the 2.5 driver is different.
    It is still a single slider bar but it goes from Lower Latency to More Stability.
    It should also tell you the latency value just below the slider bar.
    It should range from just over 5ms to about 140 ms.

    They actually fixed that problem where the input and output latencies are different now.
    I use this on XP as well and found that at the lowest latency setting I get no audio.
    I checked Lexicon forums and found that it only works at 5ms on Vista :confused:

    Regardless of the fact that you have a dual core computer with lots of RAM; Cubase is an intensive program, especially if you are running VST instruments. Some instruments are more intensive than others.
    Don't run other programs while Cubase is running, it will cause problems.

    If you have been running programs and Cubase is producing poor audio, restart the computer and only open Cubase.

    You should probably install the 2.5 driver again and make sure to adjust the buffers in the Control Panel.
    With VST Instruments you would only need to worry about the output latency anyway and the 2.5 driver allows for a lower setting.
    The minumum you will get is 10ms though; which is actually quite low for a USB 1.1 audio card.
  6. dj_stick

    dj_stick Apple Fanboy? Staff Member

    NOT a good idea to convert movies while trying to work in a DAW - of course you're going to get buffer underruns

    as for the latency/buffer - often soundcards will fail at the extremes of their latency range, for some reason if you give them too large a buffer they'll act as if the latency is set too low

    somewhere in the middle is generally a good idea, but definately shut-down ALL non music related programs, ESPECIALLY cpu intensive ones, even if they only access a single core, they still take away memory and fsb bandwidth away from your DAW

    also you say the samplerate kept rolling back to 44.1 khz? I wonder if that's due to the project you were using, whether cubase was automatically changing that or not, or whether you have another program (or windows) using the interface as it's default output - try changing that and seeing if your results are any better
  7. GigaWatt

    GigaWatt Now In Color :D

    OK, i have three replies to answer so, i'm just going to go by the order in which the replies have been posted.

    i did try that, but it didn't work, atleast not with the 2.5 version of the driver, with the 2.0 version of the driver, it didn't make andy difference. anyway, the whole point i bought this card is to have a low buffer ASIO card, so where is the point in disabeling low latency.

    i installed the 2.5 version of the driver, set it to 9.5ms (around 10ms, as you put it), and as the french would say, voila :D, the driver worked, and worked pritty good i might add, no glitching or poping during the test run when i loaded PoiZone. even when i added 4 other instruments (TimewARP 2600, Vanguard, uTonic, Arturia CS-80V), still, no glitching...:D. i was overwhelmed, the card actually worked fine for the first time after i bought it :D. thanks for this wounderfull advice ;).

    though a total latency of about 19ms (9.5ms for input and 9.5ms for uotput) is pritty good, it still bugs me why i can't go all the way, 5.5ms input latency and 5.5ms output latency (a total of 11ms latency). the trick they are pullig looks more to me like some cheap Vista commercial, eventhoug they didn't write that anywhere in the specifications of the driver, the users tested it and what they concluded was "whell, we tried using the max latency value under XP and it didn't work, so just install Vista, it works under Vista". :mad: am i supposed to change my operating suystem just because i bought a new piece of hardware :eek:. even when i wrote a mail to the tech support of the Lexicon website, the first thing they wrote back was "in the Vsita Control Panel you can find the...". they automaticly assume i use Vista :eek:. but they wheren't much help anyway, all they wrote was to install the 2.5 version of the driver, and that all of my problems would be solved, which by the way did, but after i whent through hell and back with installing and uninstalling drivers.

    i know it's not a good idea, but hey, isn't that the reason why dual core technology was inveneted, so you could have multiple CPU intensive tasks running in the backround while you do some other stuff on PC. the single core technology whent as high as it can go, so dual (multi) core technology was spawned. i know i don't have the greatest processor in the world (it's a dual cre, not a core 2 duo ;)), but i figered, why not... i've got plenty of CPU power to burn, so why not make the best of it.

    anyway, just for the heck of it, i tried running cubase and using Gordian Knot Rip Pack (Ripping a DVD) at the same time with the 2.5 version of the driver at 9.5 input and 9.5 output latency. :D worked like a charm, no cracking or poping, nothing... just pure VST sound. it's good to know this for future reference.

    i activated the "Release ASIO Driver in Background" option in Cubase, so it wouldn't make any difference, when cubase is not in front or not minimized, the default uotput bit depth should be 16 bit, and the default uotput sample rate should be 44.1KHz. but no matter what i did (unclclick the release driver in background option, change the smple rate of Winamp to force 48KHz output, changing some settings in Media Player Classic, about the output sample rate of the player, so the media programs and the ASIO driver would be sample rate compatible), it just wouldn't budge, just kept rolling back to 44.1KHz, even if i had every other media program off (not running minimized). i guess that was some kind of bug the driver had, or it's just a system incompatibility issue, i really can't tell...

    anyway, now i'm using the 2.5 version of the driver, and there aren't any setting about the bit depth or sample rate, the Omega ASIO Control Panel just informs you what bit depth and sample rate is currently using, mine is set to 16bit, 44.1KHz, which is good, but the device supports up to 24bit depth, and when i used the 2.0 driver, it seemed to work with it. anyhow, i guess i'm trading better bit depth and sample rate for a more stable driver, so the choice is OK, untill the next release of the driver, which i hope would be soon.

    thanks for all your help everyone, you all helped in getting his issue of mine out of the way ;). just one last question stinkbot, what where your settings for the bit depth and sample reate in the 2.5 version of the driver?
  8. dj_stick

    dj_stick Apple Fanboy? Staff Member

    for the samplerate reset, it's probably your session being 44.1khz, BUT is the lexicon your default windows sound device? if it is, choose another and post your results

    secondly, you may have missed me earlier point - you might have dual cores, BUT you're still sharing bandwidth (among other things) to those cores with other applications - THAT is the main bottleneck/problem, not the amount of CPU cores
  9. jiiteepee

    jiiteepee Active Member

    Hmm... disabling Cubase option "Lower latency" does have effect inside Cubase only ... and only for playback latency there. So, if you get certain issues (as what you seem to have) it's recommend to be disabled ... read the Cubase SX User's Guide (if you have one).

    Also, as enabling multiprocessor support on CW Sonar starts giving audible issues ... maybe it's same w/ Cubase (if there's an option for this).?

  10. GigaWatt

    GigaWatt Now In Color :D

    yeah, you where right, lol, it where the project settings :D, i started a new project and checked in the project drop down menu, there is a Project Setup... setting, i opened it and saw that the project was set to 44.1KHz, as a default setting, so i just changed it to 48KHz, and checked in the Omega ASIO Control Panel if the sample rate would cange, and it did :D, it was set to 48KHz, so i guess this whole problem is resolved.

    but one thing i still can't find out though, in the Project Setup... menu of the project there is a field which sets the bit depth of the recording format, it was set to 16 bit, so i changed it 24 bit. but in the Omega ASIO Control Panel, the bit depth of the output signal can't be seen, there is no notification or setting for it (atleast not in 2.5 version of the driver). so how can i see what the bit depth of the output signal is? and the bit depth in the Project Setup... menu is only set for record format, not for playback, or VST realtime prcessing, so how could i know that the output (playback) bit depth is 24 bit when there is no setting for it in the Omega ASIO Control Panel and in the Project Setup... menu?

    here is a screenshot of the 2.5 version of the driver, with the sample rate of the project set to 48KHz, and the bit depth of the recording format set to 24 bit, in the Project Setup... menu:


    so, as you can see, or better yet not see :D, there is no indication field that says at which bit depth the uotput signal of the recording is, so how could i find that out?

    i have the Cubase Getting Started Guide, a printed pdf version of it but nevertheless, it does the job. i've read it, whell... altleast half of it (really dont have much time, studying and all that...), and i didn't came acraoss any kind of part in the Getting Started Guide that says to turn off Lower Latency of i had a problem with the playback (cracking poping, etc.). now, with the 2.5 version of the driver, i don't have that knid of trouble any more, so if i do in the future (hope not :D), i'll definetly look into it, and change the setting, thanks for the advice ;).

    as far as i know, Cubase autodetects the number of CPU's you have on your machine, or, in this case, the number of CPU cores, so it shows two CPU usage bars in the Transport Panel. althow, when i used it to play the VST instruments, only one of the bars kept poping up and down, the other stayed flat, so i guess, it drains only one core, untill it drains it to the max, and then starts to drain the other core, or something like that...

    anyway, i'll look into the main settings panel, see if there is a multi core setting option, but as i said earlier, the issue with the input and output latency is resolved (for now), if i have any problems with a newer version of the driver (hope to be in the near future, the newer version of the driver, not the problems, hahahahaha :D), i'll post again ;). thanks...

    ooooooooh, i get it now, the bandwidth is the problem, not the number of cores. so what you are saying is, i can have onnly one CPU intensive task running at a time, not many. whell, i guess i can do that :D, i promise i will not convert movies and run Cubase at the same time, hahahahaha :D. thanks for your help and for the advice ;).

    now there is only the bit depth issue to be resolved. how can i know what is the bit depth of the output signal if the driver doesn't give me any info?
  11. dj_stick

    dj_stick Apple Fanboy? Staff Member

    the bit depth will be what ever you set your project to, there's usually no driver setting for that
  12. GigaWatt

    GigaWatt Now In Color :D

    yeah, but as i said, in the Project Settings... there where no options about the output bit depth, only for the recording bit depth, i think this setting is for the recording inputs of the card, not for the otput...?
  13. GigaWatt

    GigaWatt Now In Color :D

    here is what the tech support of the LexiconPro website wrote back when i wrote to them that when i put the maximum latency on 2.5 version of the driver, there is no sound comming out of the card:

    so there you have it, officialy, for now, you just can't get the lowest latency with the omega in XP, only in Vista... bummer... :tears:
  14. jiiteepee

    jiiteepee Active Member

    I suppose the ASIO driver for omega is a WDM wrapper driver ... maybe you should try Asio4All ... some USB/FW audio interfaces are told to perform a bit better w/ asio4all compared to original one.

    There's no risk on installing the asio4all ... if it does not perform better then just uninstall it.

  15. GigaWatt

    GigaWatt Now In Color :D

    i know, tryed it, didn't work better, it worked just like it worked on my onboard card... actually it was worse, it sucked, even after a few hundred variations of the settings of asio4all, still nothing, so i just quit, uninstalled it and installed the 2.5 version.

    so, the next question is... can the driver be fooled thinking is running under Vista,... or what is so better in the Vista USB interface than in XP, can that better USB performance be transfere to XP (by transfering dll's, setting up some registry entries), fool the driver into thinking its running under Vista, and have the full 5.5ms input, 5.5ms output latency, a total of 11ms latency,... now that's the real question ;) ...
  16. jiiteepee

    jiiteepee Active Member

    Driver system is totally different on Vista so to get the Vista like performance you need to have Vista installed.
    'bout latency ... have you measured it or is it taken from Cubase interface (IIRC, it's showen on audio options page? You can measure it using this utilitiy:


    Soo, in this point, as a last suggestion I can recommend you to try USB-ASIO driver - USB 2 Audio - low latency audio

    If something works better w/ this driver the just pay the license fee.

    Last edited: Sep 21, 2008
  17. GigaWatt

    GigaWatt Now In Color :D

    no, i just took for granted what Cubase wrote on the VST Audiobay setup, i didn't measure the input and uotput latency with any kind of tool.

    anyway, i downloaded the CEntrance ASIO Latency Test Utility, and booted it up, in the Select Diver section i selected Omega ASIO, but when i clicked the measure button, the application returned an error: Error instantiating ASIO driver. even when the ASIO driver was active (during work in Cubase), it still returned the same error, i don't know what instantiating means, but it couldn't do the test.

    i tried the other application too, Max/MSP latency-test, got nowhere with that too, on the status window it wrote: Failed to open ASIO input device. tried again with Cubase running so the Omega ASIO driver would be active for shure, unclicked "Release driver in background" option in the VST Audobay so the driver could run even in Cubase wasn't in fornt, still no result, it returned the same error: Failed to open ASIO input device.

    so now i thoght, why not try the USB ASIO driver, see how it runs. downloaded it and installed it, followed all the isntructions the installation of the driver asked me to do (unplug audio device, plug it back in, than unplug it agan...), and the installation finished succesfully. so i tried to see if the driver would actually work, it detected the card properly, Lexicon Omega. so i turned on Winamp, see if there will be any playback, and there was, so i turned to test the hard part, the VST part ;).

    i turned on Cubase, whent to the Device Setup section, whent to the VST Audiobay part of the settings and chose the usb-audio.de ASIO driver as the default ASIO driver. tried many different combinations of settings (needs tweaking a liitle bit, but hey, i asked for it...:D). finaly i got input latency 4ms (3.9) and output latency 4.9ms (4.89) at 44.1KHz and 24bit output, if the project is set to a different sample rate, 48KHz for example, i had to save the projects sample rate, restart Cubase so the driver could restart too, and then the driver would be set to 48KHz sample rate at 24bit output. got a little bit hgher latencies this time, input latency 4.5ms and output latency 5.5ms.

    these are the minimum latencies i could get from the card, there are no better. but they still are better than the lowest latencies the original 2.5 version of the driver can provide even under Vista :D (5.5ms for input and 5.5ms for output). the buffer size for input is 175 samples, and for output is 216 samples in 44.1KHz and 24bit mode. tried playing some VST instruments under these settings, didn't have any underrun, no cracking or poping :D. opened a project i've been working on, in one point of the project there are 7 VST instruments playing at the same time... no glitchning, no poping, no cracking :D. here are screenshots of how i set up the USB-ASIO driver fro teh Lexicon Omega.



    then i tried to see what kind of results the CEntrance ASIO Latency Test Utility would give me. opened the application, chose the "usb-audio.de ASIO driver" and clicked measure. the results varied from 1ms to 2ms, depending on the sample rate and input sensitivity, but here is a screenshot from one of the measures i did.


    so i guess it can't get any better than this right :D, which is pritty great. the driver is awsome, all you need is $55 to by it. but on the bright side, it works much better than the original driver did, even under Vista, so i would recomend it to anyone who has a Lexicon Omega card ;).
  18. GigaWatt

    GigaWatt Now In Color :D

    i didn't mention this earlir because i just noticed it, there is a slight change in the CPU usage meter in Cubase SX 3 when i use the USB-ASIO driver. the meeter is kinda unstable, goes up and down, not by a lot, but still. i'm not shure if this is the drivers fault or is this how Cubase behaves under low latencies.

    also, when i was configuring the driver to work properly in Cubase SX 3, i noticed that when the driver is not configured correctly (i.e. there is no sound coming out of the card), the CPU meter in Cubase whent up and down like crazy, form 0% to 100%, but when i tweaked the driver just right, the CPU meter settled down. have no idea why the CPU meter behaves like that...
  19. stinkbot

    stinkbot New Member

    Hey thanks for the information.
    It's good to know that you can get lower latency with stability with that other driver.

    Though, since I'm using Vista, I don't see the point in spending $55 on a driver so I can get an improvement of 3ms.

    I don't use my interface to process real time audio with effects, just to record.

    The only time the latency comes into play for me is with my soft synths and I already have 5ms for them.
    $55 for 1-2 ms is too much.

    Though for XP it is nice that you can get a lower latency oh yeah
  20. GigaWatt

    GigaWatt Now In Color :D

    yeah, isn't it :D, the driver actually bypasses XPs native USB drivers and controls, so the driver can choose any speed it likes ;). when it goes into ASIO mode, the card turns off and on just for a second (the USB LED starts to flash as if there was no USB connection), so the driver realyy does work on it's own, that's why you could also get these latencies even if you run Win98 (the same version of the driver is intended for Win98 and ME too :D).

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