Thursday, January 1, 2009

Coreaudiod not responding - Pro Tools and Mac OS X

For the last year, doing anything with sound on my Mac system has been a major hassle. This is due to a Digidesign bug that causes the Core Audio daemon to stop responding. When this happens, which is always and constantly, I have to trick my system into playing audio through my speakers. Otherwise I'm getting sound through the tiny speaker hidden in the PowerMac beneath my desk. 

Despite tips suggested in this Apple Support thread and a known issue post at Digidesign Support, tricking my system (G5 PPC Dual 1.8 GHz, OS X 10.5.4) into playing sound involves the following steps:

1. Booting, or rebooting if the CoreAudio Manager has failed during use.
2. Launch Activity Monitor (Applications>Utilities>Activity Monitor).
3. Launch System Preferences and click through to Sound>Output.
4. Launch iTunes (as the quickest path to testing sound output).
5. Highlight "coreaudiod (Not Responding)" and click "Quit Process", enter admin password.
6. Verify that "Digidesign HW (003)" is selected as the output device.
7. Play a selection in iTunes, make sure the Digi 003 isn't muted and speakers are on.
8. If no sound, repeat.

That's a lot of process just to get system sound through the speakers. I must repeat this process if I need to use Pro Tools, because once you've activated the CoreAudio Manager, Pro Tools will think that it's still in use, even after you quit it. 

This illustrates the complications of software-driven tools. If the Digi 003 rack was pure hardware (or at least it's input/output were hardware-driven), sound would work as soon as it had power, no fiddling with the OS. Pro Tools is one of the more complex softwares out there, and it feels like Digidesign has a touch of the Windows lack of simplicity. Considering the months to years they take to update Pro Tools for the latest Mac OS, it seems like the protocol could be simplified somewhere. Or rebuilt from the ground up? That said, Pro Tools is really money when it's working...


Andrew said...

I came across this post while searching for a work-around to coreaudiod hanging. It seems removing the Core Audio driver in /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/HAL/ stops the daemon from hanging, but I'm currently only testing this solution.

As to a faster method for closing out the coreaudiod daemon, open a terminal and type 'sudo killall coreaudiod' without quotes. It'll ask you for your password. If the sound doesn't work after that, you only need to press up in the terminal window and enter to repeat the command.

Anonymous said...

I resolved this issue by removing an app by the name of "Hear".
And the leftover plugin @ Library>Audio>Plug-Ins>HAL

Hope this helps.

David Weiner said...

I tried trashing the Digidesign CoreAudio.plugin in /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/HAL/ and that seems to have worked! The weird thing is that my Mbox2 Mini still seems to work, even though the Digidesign plugin is missing. I haven't tried launching ProTools LE, since I'm a Logic guy, but if you're using ProTools it may require the plugin...

Arvid Tomayko-Peters said...

yeah - removing Digidesign CoreAudio.plugin from /Library/Audio/Plig-Ins/HAL/ and force quitting coreaudiod seems to do the trick for me. odd that your digidesign interface still works - probably removing it will kill coreaudio for most digi/avid interfaces, but pro tools should still work. I put it in a HAL (Disabled) folder in the Plug-Ins folder so i can drag it back if i ever want to use coreaudio with the mbox.