Motormix oddities

Discussions about the use and operation of SAC (Software Audio Console)

Motormix oddities

Postby jlklein » Fri Sep 25, 2015 9:42 am

Hey folks,
I had no reponse on the SAC board so maybe someone here can help:

I've had some weird oddities with my two pairs of motormixes recently. We use these side by side in church, one pair for the FOH mix and the other pair for the recording mix.

The two most recurring issues I've had are:
-One of the pairs stops sending MIDI data after 5 - 10 minutes. It will follow the onscreen display, but won't send data to the onscreen display.

-The other pair works fine except when you change screen views from one of the screens with a particular fader fully down to a scene with it up to say 0dB, SAC appears to "read" the incoming MIDI data while the fader is still traveling up to the 0dB position and decides to match the onscreen fader to match, usually occurring when the physical fader is about halfway up, i.e. virtually no output (happens on my mains fader most...not good). I can't tell if it's gotten slower, they're not superfast any day of the week, though.

I took the two fader pack pairs home, along with the Roland UM-One MIDI adapters and ran them on my home test system for hours, day and night and, while one Motormix pack chattered a bit during heavy fader movements during screen changes, everything worked fine. I did change that pack out that was chattering.

I get to church and rehook everything up...same issue.
Now, I did have an XP System at home running SAC 2.9, while my church system is Windows 7 with SAC 3.1, so there's that. I did have to install the UM-one drivers at home so, thinking I had a possible corrupted driver (in two different PCs), I decided to uninstall and reinstall the drivers on the church PCs. I did not get to do this until after the services, so only had about 15 minutes to evaluate, but I did not see any issues.

Over the following couple of weeks, the fader pack pair that was failing after 10 minutes and no longer sending data (but receiving it fine) is still working fine, so that seems to have been due to the Motormix that I changed out and/or deleting and reloading of the Roland UM-One drivers.The drivers are the same version that was already in there, so I can't say for sure why that helped, but it may have.

The other fader pack pair, which was initially re-installed on my FOH Host PC, is still occasionally dropping the mains to half level when switching around the F-key views. So I switched the fader pack pairs for the FOH Host and Recording Remote machines...and it did not follow the fader pack. Different fader pack, same issue...still affects only the FOH Host PC.

The maddening thing is I can't repeat it at will...it just happens. I can rapidly switch F-key views and then sit there and wait for the Motormix pair to catch up, since it can't process the switches as fast as the screen does, and it comes out perfect every time. You'd think that would be a prime time for it to goof up, but nope.

Any ideas on why the on-screen fader might be randomly dropping to halfway? It's always the same fader, the Main Fader, which is the 15th channel on the 16 channel Full Mixer view, but again, it doesn't follow the fader packs, just stays on the same machine. All of these units have been working flawlessly up until recently but now both PCs are having issues with both controllers starting within a week of each other.

I did just get the AMP beta, and am hoping that using one MIDI adapter per Motormix instead of daisy chaining pairs might work out better, and will at least make troubleshooting easier, but I have not yet set things up with it yet.

Thanks,
Jeff
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Re: Motormix oddities

Postby Frank DeWitt » Mon Sep 28, 2015 8:13 am

I can't help you with the Motormix issues. I can tell you that AMP works well with Motormix. I made the switch a while ago and I am very glad I did. AMP already works great and all the new features are a joy to use.
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Re: Motormix oddities

Postby jlepore » Mon Sep 28, 2015 7:14 pm

I have always found weirdness like that when you have midi cables starting to go bad. The dangerous thing with SAC is can read bad data and cause itself to get bad parameters and just crash. He doesn't validate data to make sure it is in range and not corrupted.

I too have found better results with motor mixes on amp and by running them individually instead of chaining
Gigabyte H55-USB3 i5-650/4G/XP/SSD Profire 2626x3/ADAx2/MLA7x1 Motormix x2 AMP/SAC/SAWLite
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Re: Motormix oddities

Postby jlklein » Mon Sep 28, 2015 8:25 pm

Thanks, guys.
Joe, I've tried swapping out MIDI cables, and also brought the original ones home for the test and they did fine.
I'm definitely looking forward to running them individually through AMP.
There's apparently a more involved self test than the "self test" (burn in test, runs about an hour) that supposedly will more reliably highlight a bad fader. I'll try it, but it did the same thing on multiple Motormix packs, so I doubt that's really it.

Thanks,
Jeff
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Re: Motormix oddities

Postby jlepore » Mon Sep 28, 2015 8:50 pm

Yeah.. It detects multiple bad faders on mine too, but I think the test is a bit non forgiving. Any time you're dealing with a rubber band moving things to an exact place I can expect some misses, and it seems to trigger on that. The only times I have had issues with mine were in sending bad data. I know there's a lot of data on that midi bus for those things, especially the way Bob refreshes the scribble strips. There is definitely better results with some midi controllers than others ... Those little use dongle things are really bad .. The seem to have no buffering
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Re: Motormix oddities

Postby RBIngraham » Wed Sep 30, 2015 2:00 pm

jlepore wrote:Yeah.. It detects multiple bad faders on mine too, but I think the test is a bit non forgiving. Any time you're dealing with a rubber band moving things to an exact place I can expect some misses, and it seems to trigger on that. The only times I have had issues with mine were in sending bad data. I know there's a lot of data on that midi bus for those things, especially the way Bob refreshes the scribble strips. There is definitely better results with some midi controllers than others ... Those little use dongle things are really bad .. The seem to have no buffering



It depends. Based on reports from folks that I trust, those Roland small dongles actually do a lot better than almost anything from M Audio and MOTU, even going against their higher end units. The issue seems to be streaming large amounts of Sysex Data, which in this case is all that display data. But similar issue can creep up with MIDI Time Code and large volumes of MIDI Show Control messages... anything Sysex based really.
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Re: Motormix oddities

Postby jlklein » Sun Oct 11, 2015 6:56 pm

So I haven't gotten a chance to run the burn in test, but I did verify that the issue only happens when the MIDI Active In is set to enabled. I made 5 short video clips of the anomaly in a playlist on Youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... EUzegSFQN5

The videos show as follows (also noted in the descriptions of each video):
1 - flipping between F1 and F2, showing Motormix channels 1, 2 and 4 ending up in new positions.
2 - same actions but with no MIDI In or Out Active selected, so no Motormix connection and no issues.
3 - after MIDI In and Out re-enabled, repeating the test and showing how the screen shows correct but the Motormix has a fader out of position, and as soon as I move the Motormix fader, the SAC fader jumps to match.
4 - same actions as #1 but with no MIDI In Active selected (MIDI Out is still selected), and no issues.
5 - MIDI In and Out Active are both re-activated again, so this is the same setup as #1...however, now there are no issues. So, possibly the re-connection of the MIDI In Active link re-sync'd something, but not sure if that's a SAC thing or a Motormix thing...or why deselecting and re-selecting both In and Out links didn't clear the issue...

Jeff
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