In another free help guide from the team at Pro Tools Expert, we explore some more Pro Tools error codes that you asked to look at following our article 5 Common Pro Tools Error Codes What They Mean And The Fast Way To Fix Them. In this article, we look at errors asked for by the community, 6101, 6106, "Avid Video Engine Unable To Stop" and "The video engine is unable to make thumbnails for the video track" errors.
6101 and 6106 Errors In Pro Tools
Community members Ryan Elliott and Lorenzo Capone asked about these errors on our Facebook page. In researching the 6106 error in Pro Tools 12, it led me to a family of Pro Tools errors that relate to the H/W buffer size in Pro Tools. These include Pro Tools errors -6086, -6085, -6031, -6080, -6093, -6097 and -6101 with error messages like these...
- The operating system held off interrupts for too long. If this occurs frequently, reduce the number of plug-ins or increase H/W Buffer in the Playback Engine Dialog. (-6086)
- The audio device buffer underflowed. If this occurs frequently, try decreasing the "H/W Buffer Size” in the Playback Engine Dialog (6085).
- You are running out of CPU power. Remove some RTAS plug-ins or increase the CPU Usage Limit in the Playback Engine dialog (-9128).
The Hardware Buffer Size (H/W Buffer Size) controls the size of the buffer used to handle host processing tasks such as Real-Time AudioSuite (RTAS) plug-ins. These messages will usually only be displayed during playback or recording and will result in Playback or recording being stopped. These messages may occur for a variety of reasons:
- RTAS Processing overload
- Incompatible hardware
- Interface communication problems
- Incorrect System Optimisation
- Incompatible Plug-ins
- RTAS Processing Overload
You may simply be running too many simultaneous RTAS plug-ins, so to rule this out first check your CPU (RTAS) meter in the System Usage window. But the problem is much more likely to be elsewhere in your system. So work your way through these suggestions to help resolve the problem.
Computer hardware that has not been specifically tested and approved by Avid may contribute to buffer errors. The following are the most common system components to cause buffer errors if incompatible:
Motherboard Chipset (on Windows machines)
Firewire Controller (less likely on newer machines, but if you are still using older FireWire peripherals this may still be an issue).
- Network Adapter
- Integrated Graphics
- Interface Communication Problems
- A faulty firewire or USB cable may be the culprit. Some ports work better than others. Try all available USB and firewire ports.
- Incorrect System Optimisation
Turn off Wi-Fi
In their computer optimisation guides, Avid recommend that you turn off your Wi-Fi connection if your computer is equipped with Bluetooth wireless and/or a Wi-Fi (AirPort) card, for Pro Tools to work correctly. In addition to freeing up system resources, disabling these can help resolve DAE errors -6085, -6086 and -6101.
Sometimes having incompatible plug-ins installed can degrade system performance and contribute to buffering related errors. Check that you have the correct versions of all plug-ins for your version of Pro Tools. PluginUpdate can help here fro Mac users but PluginUpdate doesn’t support AAX plugins in the Windows version, otherwise, it is a matter of checking the latest version from each developer's website one by one.
AAE error -6101 in record or playback at lowest buffer setting on OS X 10.11.x (El Capitan)
This is another known reason for Pro tools to throw up a 6101 error message, as it is a known issue using Eleven Rack, Mbox 3, C400, or C600 on some older (USB2) Macs running OS X 10.11.x (El Capitan). The initially recommended workaround is to increase the HW Buffer size. The better news is that Avid has reported that this was fixed in later versions of the drivers for these interfaces so make sure you have the latest driver installed. v1.2.9 of the drivers is listed as fixing this problem
Pro Tools loses audio playback or an -6101 error occurs when disconnected headphones on a MacBook Pro
This is another known example of where Pro tools can report a 6101 error. While playing back Pro Tools 11 and listening to audio from the internal headphone output from a MacBook Pro computer, if the headphones are unplugged a 6101 error may occur. If the headphones are disconnected while Pro Tools is idle and not playing back, audio may no longer come out of the speakers on the MacBook Pro. To resolve this, either plug the headphones back in to continue monitoring audio, or restart Pro Tools to hear audio from the built-in speakers on the MacBook Pro.
Random 6086 errors in Pro Tools, especially after all other troubleshooting has been attempted.
Avid have reported examples of ongoing 6086 errors have been known to be caused by bad RAM modules. Removing or replacing modules may assist in locating the problematic module.
Avid Video Engine Issues
Community member Ivo Broum asked about 2 Avid Video Engine related errors.
Pro Tools Error “Avid Video engine unable to stop”
This seems to be an issue with Pro Tools 12.5 but we know that users tend to work with older versions of Pro Tools and of course if you have allowed your upgrade plan to lapse you are stuck with the version that was released when your plan expired.
It can occur if you have made a ‘micro-selection, usually when you place the cursor and accidentally make a very small selection. Then when you next hit play, Pro Tools try to play just that selection and throws up the error. One way to get round this error is to Save your session and close Pro Tools, then relaunch Pro Tools and open the session again.
Another workaround is to toggle the video track online button and the video should start playing again without having to close and re-open the session.
it seems to have been resolved with Pro Tools 12.5.2 but if you are still having trouble with the video engine stopping with later versions of Pro Tools do let us know.
As to other workarounds, they mainly relate to general tips for good video performance in Pro Tools and we suggest that you use the following recommendations...
- Use DNxHD, or DNxHR codecs at 8bit
- Display video track in 'blocks' - Don’t use Thumbnails
- Use right-click on the video window to select the predefined sizes. (Don't manually resize the video window to make it bigger or smaller).
- Select 'best performance', and 'lowest quality' in the video track settings.
- Consider reducing the resolution of the video
- Avoid H264 codecs, the files may be small, but they put a lot of load on the computer.
There have also been reports that this issue can be tied to video hardware drivers, especially Blackmagic Drivers, so it may be worth checking those. However, with Blackmagic drivers, the solution isn’t always to update to the latest drivers. Sometimes the fix is to revert to an older version of the Blackmagic drivers.
Pro Tools Error “The video engine is unable to make thumbnails for the video track.”
This seems to be an issue mainly in Pro Tools 12.4. Avid added a note in the Pro Tools 12.5 Release Notes saying “Pro Tools no longer fails with the error "Unable to create thumbnails" after switching active video track in large sessions while the video track is set to Frames view” but the general consensus is don’t use the Thumbnail view option. Set the video track to Blocks as this puts much less load on the Pro Tools computer.
There is also a post on the Pro Tools Ideascale so if you are still suffering this problem it might be worth voting this one up.