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Thread: Is Jack breaking up with me?

  1. #1
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    Ubuntu Studio 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Is Jack breaking up with me?

    Chagrined, I slink back to this forum. It has been about two years since I sought help getting my Ubuntu Studio system set up. It was really a snap and I've enjoyed using the many wonderful programs like Ardour, Rosegarden, Hydrogen, etc. for my musical projects. Not only that, the support I received from this forum and others was exemplary.

    After being away from my computer for about a month, Jack will no longer start. I can think of no major changes I made to my system, except for blindly clicking "Install Updates" from Update Manager whenever prompted. I have searched the help docs but had no luck.

    The first error in the start up message is: "firewire ERR: Error creating FFADO streaming device"


    My interface is a Phonic Helix Board 18 Firewire MkII. I will post my Jack set up along with my start up error message.

    Many thanks in advance for any help!




  2. #2
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    Re: Is Jack breaking up with me?

    Hi swedstal
    The title of this thread really cracked me up Thanks for that!
    I remember having a similar problem with JACK (I'm also guilty of blindly subjecting my Ubuntu installation to unsolicited copious updates). Although I'm using an external USB device maybe there are similarities with your problem.
    Basically QjackCtl could not initialize because something else was trying to access my sound device before it. It turned out that each time the client failed to start it would leave an instance of jackd running in the background, I subsequently had to manually kill jackd before starting QjackCtl and my problem was solved.
    I realize this is somewhat of a trivial suggestion, and you've probably already thought of checking what processes where running post crash. But Nonetheless maybe it helps?

  3. #3

    Re: Is Jack breaking up with me?

    Hi. Was asked to overwrite a configuration file during update? How about the firewire configuration, have you edited one of $HOME/.asoundrc, /etc/asound.conf (if any) or /usr/share/alsa/alsa.conf ? If you have followed a tutorial when you have set firewire up, repost it.
    Last edited by CrocoDuck; August 14th, 2012 at 07:25 PM.

  4. #4
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    Re: Is Jack breaking up with me?

    QjackCtl could not initialize because something else was trying to access my sound device before it.
    The only thing that looks like it could be an issue is the "pulseaudio" process. I don't really know what this is, but I recall seeing it in another post. When I kill this process I am still getting the same error message as before. Interestingly enough each time I try to start Jack with Qjackctrl the pulseaudio process starts again. Any chance this could be the culprit?

    If you have followed a tutorial when you have set firewire up, repost it.
    I have not recently made any changes to any config file. I generally keep my grubby paws out of these sensitive areas unless I have very clear instructions. It has been about two years since I set this machine up and I'm having a hard time remembering exactly what I did. As I recall, this interface was pretty much plug and play. I spent a decent amount of time tuning the settings in Jack, but I think it pretty much worked for me right away.

    Necessity truly is the mother of invention (or education in my case). Once I got my system running well I basically stopped learning about Ubuntu related things. As a scientific person it pains me to admit to thinking of my current system as a black box, but the stability was so great I was never forced to learn anything more. Therefore I am still very much a beginner to these issues despite having used Ubuntu for years.

    Thanks, all, for your help and patience!

  5. #5
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    Re: Is Jack breaking up with me?

    To eleminate puleasudio turn it off like this
    Code:
    echo "autospawn = no" > ~/.pulse/client.conf && pulseaudio -k
    This will set pulseaudio not to automaticly start again.

    *warning
    If you have had set custom client.conf this will erase it. Then just add your self the autospawn line.

    Pulseaudio tends to bug jack, specialy pulseaudio-jack-sink. I also use firewire device, and once after quiting qjcakctl forcefully I couldn't get jack to run with ffado again. Didn't want to mess around so I reinstalled U.Studio (I had backup and it was fresh install anyway). Then first thing what I did was to uninstall pulseaudio-jack-sink. After that jack and qjacktl was closing fine. Later while workong with pci card, pulseaudio got even more buggy, start to loose hardver device, so I just turn it off for good. I don't see anymore it's use. With just alsa everything works perfect.

  6. #6
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    Re: Is Jack breaking up with me?

    Quote Originally Posted by swedstal View Post
    The only thing that looks like it could be an issue is the "pulseaudio" process. I don't really know what this is, but I recall seeing it in another post. When I kill this process I am still getting the same error message as before. Interestingly enough each time I try to start Jack with Qjackctrl the pulseaudio process starts again. Any chance this could be the culprit?
    Hi swedstal
    Many people recommend un-installing or completely disabling pulseaudio, if your machine is used primarily as an audio production workstation, for numerous reasons. Personally, I have not had to uninstall or disable pulseaudio on my system which runs with a 8.7ms response time (and is certainly usable for audio production). I still occasionally get errors where JACK fails to start, checking that my sound devices have loaded in the correct order and that QJackctl is referencing the correct device is usually the first place I start troubleshooting. Followed by closing QJackctl, I kill the process "jackdbus" (which can be done simply by using System Monitor), when I restart QJackctl, it restarts jackdbus at an appropriate time, and JACK and I are friends again
    NB.I'm not saying that you shouldn't disable/un-install pulseaudio, it's just that as a high level of abstraction for interfacing with your audio hardware, removing pulseaudio in Ubuntu could inadvertently end up disabling certain non-audio specific applications from interfacing with your sound device. On the other hand having less processes running in the background, could improve your systems performance as I noticed (a little off topic here) that the latency in your JACK settings are already quite high.

  7. #7
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    Re: Is Jack breaking up with me?

    Thanks, guys. This is giving me something to work with.

    Perhaps I'm a pacifist at heart, but I would prefer to fix this problem without killing a normal process. Tell me if it's naivete, but I trust that people much smarter than I have put this in here for a reason. That said if I don't find a solution soon, I may become a bit trigger happy.

    I did some more studying about pulseaudio and have read and re-read the responses here. I've succeeded in getting a little lost again. Here's where I'm struggling:

    checking that my sound devices have loaded in the correct order and that QJackctl is referencing the correct device is usually the first place I start troubleshooting
    That sounds great but I have no idea how to go about this. Any tutorials to which I could be directed? I wish I wasn't so needy....

    I kill the process "jackdbus"
    This is not showing up in my Processes list on System Monitor, regardless of whether I have Qjackctrl up or not. I have "dbus-launch" and "dbus-daemon". Are those the ones that need to be killed?

    One more question: What is the best way to see if my interface is actually connected? (and don't say look at the cable ). I did lspci and that output for firewire showed:

    Code:
    03:00.0 FireWire (IEEE 1394): VIA Technologies, Inc. Device 3403
    I then unplugged the interface and it gave me the same line. Is there a clue here? Maybe the port went bad somehow...? Is there a proper command to see what's connected?

    Thanks again, everyone. I'm learning, albeit slowly.

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Re: Is Jack breaking up with me?

    The existance/purpose of pulse audio, and its inclusion in an audio
    production system, are two different topics. It is best to remove it
    if possible, or stop its access, if your system is mainly for producing recorded music.

    On the other hand, home theater users may find it possible
    to use pulse to do special things for various media and devices, and
    to interact and interconnect the computer within their
    home entertainment system.

    Your screenshot shows a hw:0 for one thing, and 'default'
    for some others. I would try to insure everything is using
    the same device.

    aplay -l
    cat /proc/asound/cards

    those commands should reveal the detected soundcards in brackets.
    Run them with a fresh boot, card unplugged, then power off, plug it in, reboot, and run them again. Check in qjackctl dropdown list
    for the devices displayed in brackets:
    Input Device > click the > to see the dropdown list.
    OutputDevice >

    If a power supply is optional,
    it should be used, as bus power is probably too weak for fault free operation.
    Cheers

  9. #9
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    Re: Is Jack breaking up with me?

    Hello.

    I am not recommending to uninstall or deactivate Pulse Audio in anyway.

    I do agree that Jack sometimes broke down, and that I think the Ubuntu Studio team will make an effort to do so.

    However, Pulse Audio is, at least for me, a core package for Ubuntu Studio, and that sometimes you may find inconvenience in doing so.

    If Jack continues to break down and you think is a software problem, please report a bug to us.

    Thank you.

    Regards,
    Howard Chan
    Ubuntu Studio Team Member in https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuStudio/TeamStructure

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Re: Is Jack breaking up with me?

    What is the best way to see if my interface is actually connected?
    After you plugin firewire device you should get something like this from kernel
    Code:
    firewire_core: created device fw1: GUID 0040ab0000c3757b, S400, 1 config ROM retri
    to see above message use
    Code:
    dmesg | tail
    And new device must be present /dev/fw1

    This is for 12.04.

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