Topic: Strange MadiFX behavior


We use quite a few MadiFX cards in our workstations for large television productions.  Yesterday I was testing a workstation and experienced a strange problem I could not solve and so far today have not been able to replicate it here in the lab but I'm still trying.  I'm hoping someone can share some information because if this happens on site the operators won't be able to deal with it.

MacOS 10.14.6
MacMini 6,1 quad core
Sonnet xMac Mini chassis
MadiFX firmware v91, driver v1.28
No other applications running
No Midi, audio, or usb connections except for eLicenser and HID

This system has been in use for approximately 6 months, the only change was installing some OS security updates.  We have a number of these exact systems deployed and they have worked fine so far.
On first boot the RME Settings dialog indicated a MadifaceXT instead of HDSPeMadiFX and obviously nothing worked.  Reseating the card and rebooting multiple times did not correct this, reinstalling the v1.28 driver then correctly displayed a MadiFX card.

With no signals connected after reboot the Setting Input Status window initially displayed correctly.  After an indeterminate period of time the Input Status window would display incorrect information.  Connecting Madi signals did not correct the Input Status window and audio would not pass.  Rebooting without Madi would correct the problem until it came back, rebooting with Madi attached or attaching Madi after reboot before it failed worked fine.

Details when this occurred -
1 - The first column displayed "Sync" instead of "No Lock" for ALL input signals with no signal present.
2 - The second column displayed empty space instead of "No Lock" for all input signals with no signal present.
3 - The third column displayed "96k frame 16 channels" on the three Madi inputs instead of empty space with no signal present and the other signals displayed empty space.
4 - Clocking to either Madi input or Internal, the Sample Rate changed to 32k.  Setting it to 48k it would change back to 32k.
5 - Plugging in Madi did not change the incorrect Input Status and no audio passed.
6 - A reboot was required, and if the Madi was present it would indicate correctly.
7 - If rebooting without Madi, initially the Input status indicated correctly and plugging in Madi before it failed would result in correctly Madi indication and operation.

Initially I thought our electrical>optical converters, without Madi input, were spitting hash and the card was interpreting some bizarre bitstream and locking up so I disconnected the fiber completely and the problem persisted.

The only odd Console entries were several launchd entries asking the de.rme-audio.RMEHDSPeFX_Launcher to switch away from OnDemand to KeepAlive, this may or may not coincide with reboots.

I've included some pictures as I recognize the above is confusing.

Correct Settings with no signal - … l.png?dl=0

Correct Setting with signal - … l.png?dl=0

Incorrect Settings no signal after failure change to 32k - … k.png?dl=0

If anyone knows about this I appreciate any information you may have, we can't have this happening without reason.



Re: Strange MadiFX behavior

To pin down the real culprit I would first exchange the card with a different one. No change - exchange the Sonnet chassis and the TB cable. No change - exchange the Mac Mini.

What you descirbe is typical behaviour with interrupted/distorted communication. The distortion could happen on all levels, OS and hardware. While you didn't write abpout it I am pretty sure in such a state a simple playback via the card would not be possible without dropouts or worse.

Matthias Carstens

Re: Strange MadiFX behavior

Hello Matthias,

Thank you for the response.  I've run that workstation in the lab for the past two days booting it approximately 50 times and unfortunately cannot recreate the issue, it's working fine now.  On site the issues were insurmountable through many card reseats, slot swaps, etc., now I cannot get it to fail.

Thanks for responding,