Firewire inteface "kills" Monome

  • Hi,

    today during rehearsal I realized that my audio interface "kills" my Monome 256. Once in a while the Monome lit up quickly and led feedback stopped working. After I experienced the same thing without using my Macbook's power cord I figured that it was the audio interface that was causing some sort of error, maybe "power spikes" (not sure of the english term).

    Can this hurt the Monome?
    Should one avoid firewire interfaces?

    The Macbook is three years old and the interface is an Alesis iO 26.

  • actually, this has happened to me too. i was playing a gig, the only thing plugged to my macbook was my 256 and the mini kp to the audio output. out of nowhere, the 'nome lit up and then went dark.

    the app was still working but the monome was not responding. i had to unplug and then plug it in again.

    it worked fine for the rest of the night, but those where some terrifying 2 minutes.

  • the 256 takes no power from the computer, so i doubt it was a surge. possibly something with bus interference? i have no idea.

  • yeah... weird... it hasn't happened again, but if it does, i'll let you know.

  • I use a firewire interface as well, I've never had a problem with the two running off my powerbook at the same time. I'll pop back in if ever I have trouble.

  • I have to restart Mlr everytime it happens.

    I've got a gig tomorrow night and I'm going to use built-in audio. But the coming weeks I'm going to try different audio interfaces to see if this issue is isolated to specific hardware.

  • I've encountered similiar issues, and would recommend making sure whatever port you are plugged into is your "powered" port. Sadly most apple computers only power fully one USB connection. This might true for FireWire on certain mac models as well. Usually a good restart of the connection is enough, disconnecting and reconnecting. I also found this to be more of an issue in Europe... Good luck!

  • Thanks! I'll try that today!

  • I would agree that it couls be bus issues. There have been many discussions on firewire and audio causing trouble. All your in out opperations run through your southbridge on your motherboard. That means USB, Firewire, SATA, internal Audio and so on. In a bid to reduce costs, a lot of laptop manifacturers are cutting costs in this area and Apple are not excluded from this (they are using intel chips now you know!!?!?!?) If you try and force a lot of infomation through a poor componant, some bits are going to go missing causing verious results from audio drop out to crashing, which has happened to me.

    I have never had specific Monome issues apart from crashing but have had Firewire Audio interface problems.

    I run an M-Audio NRV10 Firewire along with a 128 monome through an external texas instruments PCMCIA Card. I also use an M-audio Axiom 25 through a further USB Port. I also turn off as much as possible to put less strain on my Southbridge. Go into your preferences and switch off things like Wifi, Network cards, internal Audio cards. I personally turn of battery checking, and external power checking, SD Card reader and DVD drive.

    You may want to try this

    http://www.pcauthority.com.au/Download/111338,dsp-latency-checker.aspx

    It tells you how much DSP activity is going on and will indicate spikes that may cause you problems. Its worth turning stuff off with this running to give you an idea of how well your changes are working. Don't get too carried away though. You will never get it perfect and I found myself reading ubergeeky forums trying to get the perfect set up when I should have been making music!!

  • I have nothing useful to add, I just think that 'Firewire inteface "kills" Monome' would be a great newspaper headline.

    EDIT - actually, I take that back. I have had an issue once with my 40h dying, but it was related to static electricity. my friend Bill has one of those "im so jealous im going to cry" studios with tons of gear, modular synths, and other mad-scientist homemade gear. We were doing a radio show for ElectroMusic.com, and we had to spray fabreeze on the ground to get my hand to stop shocking the device and killing it when i touched it.

  • are there any dsp latency checkers for mac?

  • Sorry guys!! I thought, it would run on Mac!!! Hopefully there will be someone that knows of a checker that may work. I would still suggest turning off as much as poss. Even though you have paid the mac tax, its no guarantee of quality!! (although you do get a glowing apple on the lid which I aint got!!)

  • I followed Daedelus advice and tried using the powered USB port and it seems to work! Thanks a lot!

  • how'd you know which one it was?

  • one way to tell is if you go into your About This Mac apple menu item and click more info you'll see another window with USB as an option, in this sub-menu you'll see how many USBs are 2.0 versus 1.0 hope that helps!

  • well now, this is weird... theres 3 USB Bus, 1 USB High-Speed Bus, and 3 others which are the Bluetooth, Internal Keyboard and ISight USB Busses. I can't tell the 3 USB apart, except for the change in PCI Bus ID and Device Number. also, i only have to available USB ports in my macbook... maybe there's a hidden one somewhere (i hope! haha)?

    thanks daedelus!

  • its behind the apple!

  • On white Macbooks, use the front port .
    http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2008/05/the-macbook-all/

    I have a vague memory reading about Macbook Pros and their usb ports over at Create Digital Music. Worth checking out if you own a pro.

  • thanks plopp!

    hey i just remembered something else about the firewire interface... when that's plugged in, it creates some noise on the audio output of the laptop. is there anyway around that?

  • I had this problem for a while. I think it is down to your power supply. Does it do it if you run on batteries?

    I sorted this by making sure that none of my audio leads were near any power. You may not be able to sort it though if it is an internal shielding issue.