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Chaining iConnectMIDI4+ with iConnectAUDIO4+ - using two iPads.

edited May 2015 in Audio
Hi,
I'm in a world of confusion trying to figure out the best way to chain and control a bunch of devices which I've previously had working "OK but not perfectly" with just the M4+. Now that I've added the A4+, I can't seem to figure out a workable method for chaining the two devices, particularly with regard to getting USB audio from an iPad connected to M4+ to an iPad connected to the A4+.

I'm also getting a lot of static-like clicks and pops which I'm guessing are lost buffers or incorrect master/slave clock relationships. This occurs even when only having an iPad connected (no other devices) to one of the device ports on A4+. Changing various clock/buffer settings doesnt seem to help.

The A4+ and M4+ both have latest firmware.

Until the arrival of the A4+, I've used the M4+ alone, resorting to using the analogue output jacks on some of the devices. It was messy due to iPad jack foibles, but workable.

I hoped the addition of the A4+ would release me from those restrictions/workarounds and I'm now hoping my brain is the problem - I'm finding it very difficult to figure out how to route USB audio from M4+ to A4+.

One problem is the missing iOS app for A4+, which means I have to give one of the device ports up to the PC I'm using to access and configure the A4+. When can we expect the iOS iConfig to support A4+? Months or weeks?

OK - some details:

I'm in a trio which uses multiple MIDI devices and loop stations. My setup is pretty much self-contained - the only "connection" between my system and the other band members is I supply global MIDI Clock to the band via an RC505, which routes to a DIN repeater which delivers the clock to the other members and back to me via DIN. I need that clock signal to propagate into the A4+ and the M4+, which should then propagate to my two iPads and a VoiceLive Touch2 which I use for vocals and vocal looping.

My MIDI controllers comprise an FCB1010 and a Roland GI-20 (I use a Godin Multiac guitar).

I use two iPads. One runs software instruments/samplers, the other runs Loopy HD.

IOW, one iPad (iPad A) makes sound, the other (iPad B) captures those sounds and loops them. Additionally, I feed analogue guitar and bass from our X32 mixer into iPad B for looping in Loopy. I monitor all iPad B inputs via Loopy, which should feed the A4+ analogue out. So iPad A only needs to route USB audio to iPad B.

RC505 - delivers MIDI Clock to all devices via DIN repeater.

VoiceLive Touch 2 - needs to receive MIDI Clock (from either iConnect device) and CC control from FCB1010.

iPad A - Currently connected to device port 1 on M4+. Needs to receive Control input from GP-20, routing audio to iPad B via USB.

iPad B - Currently connected to device port 1 on A4+. Needs to receive MIDI Clock, Control input from FCB1010, routing audio to A4+ analogue out.

Windows 8.1 Tablet - runs iConfig, connected to device port 3 on M4+ and (via second USB cable) is also connected to device port 2 on A4+. So that is the way I've chained the USB audio from A4+ to M4+. Is that supposed to work?

I could run software instruments and samplers on the Windows 8.1 tablet in lieu of iPad A, but I prefer iPad A for multiple reasons.

NOTE: I'm getting a LOT of crashes of iConfig on the tablet, nearly always involving msvcr120.dll.

As some others have noted, the A4+ seems to freeze sometimes.

Any suggestions appreciated!

Thanks.

Diggo








Comments

  • edited May 2015
    In order to use both hardware at the same time, while using audio (and MIDI) from both in your DAW/Recording Software, you will need to create an Aggregate Device on Mac or by using ASIO4ALL on Windows. Here's an overview of that process:



    Then any special routing between the iCA4+ and iCM4+ (that is not physically connected by cables) will happen within your DAW.
    So you know, there is no way to pair audio hardware like this on iOS.

    We do not have a release date on the newest iOS version for iConnectAUDIO4+ at this time. Although, it is a top priority.
    We will be sure to post on social media, if you are following us.

    Let me know how I can assist further,
    -JS
  • Hi Josh,

    That is what I feared - despite the opportunity to chain iConnectivity USB audio host devices, chaining was outside the design scope. Seems like a missed opportunity with an ironic result - the A4+ can only manage two USB digital audio host devices while the M4+ can manage three USB digital audio host devices.

    I dont use the iConnectivity devices with a DAW - I use the iConnectivity devices solely for live performance. I have RME devices for my DAW.

    Regarding your question about further assistance, in my initial post you'll note I'm experiencing significant (showstopper) digital crackles/pops with USB audio in the A4+. I'm not experiencing those problems with USB audio in the M4+.

    The crackles in the A4+ are also occurring when the A4+ is used in isolation (i.e. the crackles still occur when M4+ is removed from the system). Changing audio buffer and/or clock source settings doesnt seem to resolve the problem. I'd like further assistance to resolve that problem please.

    I'm also seeing lots of crashes of the iConfig software in a fully updated Windows 8.1 environment when managing the A4+. I'm not experiencing crashes when managing the M4+ with iConfig. So I'd also like further assistance with that problem. I'm using the latest version of iConfig.

    As others have noted, the A4+ seems to freeze when left idle for a while, which then requires the A4+to be restarted.

    Are you the J Sandeen who previously worked in web based support for Alesis?

    Thanks,

    Diggo





  • edited May 2015
    Is there a specific action that is causing iConfig to crash? Is this consistent? Do you see any errors when this happens? Can you confirm what firmware version and iConfig version you are using?

    Have you checked out the controlling latency article? It's a great place to start if you are dealing with pops and clicks: http://www.iconnectivity.com/blog/controlling-latency

    Yes, I used to run the inMusic forums before coming to iConnectivity. Using the same avatar as well. Good to run into you again :)

    Let me know how I can assist further,
    -JS
  • edited May 2015
    Hi Josh,
    You can answer a lot of your questions by re-reading my first post, where I anticipated your questions with answers. No specific action provokes the crash - it crashes randomly (often without any user action). As mentioned, nearly all of the crashes involve msvcr120.dll

    I already confirmed I'm running the latest firmware on both devices and the latest iConfig.

    As far as I can tell, the iConfig crashes are probably related to the mixer (i.e. the key difference between iConfig A4+ and iConfig M4+ is the mixer).

    I've tried all latency settings and all latency offset settings in various combinations. I've been using professional computer audio devices daily since 1995 - this is not new to me. I own and run a high end mastering studio which I also use for multi track recording and mixing when my customers want that service. I've tested software for developers since 1997 and first dealt with latency on ISA slot devices on Windows 95. That doesnt mean I'm not doing something wrong within iConfig and provoking user errors - it's a confusing interface and the insistence on device reboots for buffer changes is very time consuming (AFAIK, none of my other audio devices require device reboots when buffer settings are edited).

    I'll open a support ticket and provide detailed info including event logs and video of the issues via the support ticket.

    Thanks
  • Let me escalate this with my team and see what we can come up with.

    In the meantime, could you please send me a contact number and preferred weekday call time (including time zone) to jsandeen(at)iconnectivity.com? We may set up a call with you if our technicians feel necessary.

    Also, so you know, we have uploaded a new version of iConfig in the last day or so. You can check out this new version here (v4.1.0):
    Win:
    http://www.iconnectivity.com/downloads/software/iConfigVer4-1-0.exe
    Mac:
    http://www.iconnectivity.com/downloads/software/iConfigVer4-1-0.dmg

    Thank you for your patience,
    -JS
  • Hey @diggo - how's the new version of iConfig running on your system?
    Are you still seeing the msvcr120.dll error?
  • yep. Also still seeing "communication error" and crashes. Tried it on Windows 7 64 bit and Windows 8.1 32 bit.

    I've giving up on this for now. No time to deal with a product which seems to have been rushed out the door prematurely and I dont have time right now to be a sorta kinda beta tester via support ticket. I cant keep trying to set the patches up via PC, then disconnect it and connect my second iPad hoping the patches are correct - it's like slow torture. And the crackles/pops in the USB audio are showstoppers which require extensive troubleshooting when I don't have the spare time.

    At this point I think I'm gonna put the A4+ on the shelf at least until the iPad app is ready.

    The contrast with M4+ couldnt be greater - the M4+ works really well. I'm really struggling to get MIDI working properly in the A4+, whether it be MIDI Clock or PC/CC.

    The design of the touch screen is not so good for live performance - the labels can only be seen in bright light.
  • Just a quick update - I spent a few more hours with it after posting the above message and managed to get MIDI Clock to both iPads, so there's that. No change to USB audio though - pops, crackles and worse (loud bursts of static before everything dissolves to noise). This is using 256 samples or 512 samples within Audiobus on each iPad. I dont know how to match the buffering/latency on A4+ in iConfig as it doesnt use the "xxx samples" nomenclature. Settings of 1 - 6 are vague in this regard - what actual sample latency is applicable to each buffer setting? Same applies to the related latency compensation setting - what do the settings actually mean in samples?

    iConfig 4.1 is still very unstable in Windows 8.1 x86 as far as I can tell. The fader meters in the mixer tab seem to be one of the main culprits - the meters freeze, which then invokes the "communication error" message. When this happens, the A4+ has to be restarted and the mixer settings revert (i.e. the settings arent saved).

    Very frequently the iConfig tabs become blank (i.e. the device details vanish, leaving the tabs empty of information). This occurs randomly, sometimes after only a few mins. A4+ then needs to be rebooted.

    I've commenced a dialogue with iConnectivity Support via the ticketing system and will update the forum on any useful results in due course.
  • Hope this helps with the iConfig settings:
    ----------------------------------
    Number of Buffered Audio Frames - refers to how many USB frames of audio the interface will buffer between the two USB ports. Each frame is 1 millisecond of data. Lower values yield lower latency but at the risk of distorted sound (lost data). Higher values yield higher latency but less likelihood of distorted sound due to lost data. User should select the lowest value that works best for their system.

    Sync factor Value - used to calculate the frame rate for synchronization between the two USB ports. Lower values yield higher jitter, high values yield lower jitter. User should select the value that works best for their system.
    ----------------------------------
    Could you post your ticket number for me? That way I can help you escalate the case.

    Thanks,
    -JS
  • Hey @diggo - looks like RJ has you covered on this inquiry through out support ticket system. He'll take care of you.
    If you have any further concerns you can respond to the ticket.

    Wish you the best.
    Cheers!
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