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Gaps in Audio (Lenovo W500 with MOTU 896mk3H)

Click for full size
Spectral Plot 22 seconds
I've been working on this problem all week:

My old MOTU 896 died last month and I was told it is no longer serviced. I was using it with a Sony GRX560 for about 7 years and recorded countless concerts with never a dropped sample.

Bought a new MOTU 896mk3 Hybrid (FW and USB). First of all, the FW port on my GRX560 won't detect the new MOTU. After 2 weeks of intensive troubleshooting, I bought a Lenovo W500 to remedy the problem. However, the Lenovo won't detect the MOTU either. But it works on the FW on my desktop PC, so I know the port is working and the Lenovo will work with a FW drive so that port is working too.

After two days, I gave up on FW and tried the USB. However, the interface would not work well, although it is detected. There are numerous dropouts, even in realtime passthrough 'echo' mode audio. Recordings have glitches too.

I spent a week tweaking the Windows 7 R1 environment and reduced the dropouts by 50% but I need 100% reliability to record concerts again.

A real problem is Room EQ Wizard 5--- the Generator application produces a sine tone which outputs about 300mS and mutes for 9mS at a regular rate. The spectral plot shows the interval of the glitches. I used an extremely long sweep rate so you can see what the periodicity of the dropouts looks like.

While I have Cakewalk Sonar working reasonably well now after stripping much of Win 7 services and streamlining as well as disabling all power management (even ACPI battery) anti virus and background tasks, it has not made any difference with this problem with the generator app in REW. The program cannot make a measurement if the output is switching on and off like this.

I've pretty much run out of ideas.

Laptop has 7200rpm drive, defragged, T9600 CPU at 2.8GHz and 4GB RAM. Should be overkill for this app.

Any other ideas on making this work better?