1 (edited by trubadix 2023-05-01 22:37:31)

Topic: Madiface XT with hardware defect?

I have a somewhat strange problem with my Madiface XT. This is a unit I have rarely used for some time, but I just wanted to replace my HDSPe Madi FX with it, as I want to switch to a non-PCIe Mac pretty soon. Right now, I am still on a Hackintosh.

After switching to the Madiface XT, everything seems to work fine, until I suddenly got some strange noises when playing back music. It was a repetitive, digitally distorted pulse, that slightly changed over time and then suddenly went away. This behviour always returns at some random time and there seems to be nothing I have done that caused it. I.e., it just appears at some random time during playback (browser playback or iTunes or anything ...).

So, to record this noise for reference, I turned loopback on for the monitoring channels whenever it would come back. During testing, I discovered that the recorded audio in Cubase also sounded strange although the playback sounded fine during the recording. I then discovered that - without changing anything at all, the recorded loopback chased between ok, induced with some high-pitched noise up to totally distorted.

This is an example that demonstrates how it sounds fine in the beginning and then deteriorates (it sounded fine on the monitors during the recording).

https://we.tl/t-Ys12j9hQwf

This comes and goes during a loopback recording. Because that discovery I switched the sample rate and found that (so far) 48kHz the playback issue from before did not return. Instead, I got some seconds, when the audio sounded like though a bit crusher - but that was only a few seconds. I also noticed some occasional dropouts for less then a seconds, but these were rare.

Does this sound like a hardware defect to you? Is it possible to somehow narrow it down to some part? As the Madiface XT is currently not available, I would really like to find the reason for this. Tomorrow, I will also test with my m1 MacBook Air and see, if there is the same problem going on there.

2 (edited by oli77sch 2023-05-01 23:01:22)

Re: Madiface XT with hardware defect?

Hi
The recording and also the description sounds to me like a clock  sync issue or sample rate mismatch issue.
What are the settings for the sample rate in Cubase? In Apple Audio/Midi Setup? What clock settings do you have for the Madiface? Are there other devices connected to the Madiface?

UCX - FF 400 - Babyface pro - Digiface USB - ADI-2 (original)
Mac mini M1 - Macbook pro - iPad Air2

3 (edited by waedi 2023-05-01 22:58:05)

Re: Madiface XT with hardware defect?

Best you can do is test with another computer, and report including firmware version number and driver version and OS.

It sound horrible. Oli halt die Ohren zu !

M1-Sonoma, Madiface Pro, Digiface USB, Babyface silver and blue

Re: Madiface XT with hardware defect?

waedi wrote:

Oli halt die Ohren zu !

Danke für die Warnung, Waedi lol
Hab's inzwischen gehört, gar nicht schön…!

UCX - FF 400 - Babyface pro - Digiface USB - ADI-2 (original)
Mac mini M1 - Macbook pro - iPad Air2

5

Re: Madiface XT with hardware defect?

This is disturbed USB transmission, not clocking. The Settings dialog will most likely show USB errors as well. Every stop/start will reset the buffers and start the cycle again. Try a different USB 3 port and different USB 3 cable (short preferred).

Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME

6 (edited by trubadix 2023-05-03 12:37:01)

Re: Madiface XT with hardware defect?

Thank you, guys! I Apologise for not warning to turn down the volume! Don't you guys like Errol Garner? ;-)

MC wrote:

This is disturbed USB transmission, not clocking. The Settings dialog will most likely show USB errors as well. Every stop/start will reset the buffers and start the cycle again. Try a different USB 3 port and different USB 3 cable (short preferred).

This seems to be the right direction to look for, although there were 0 USB errors reported in the settings window. However, I just put it on the USB3 Hub for more than an hour. In spite of the hub being connected with a 5m USB3 cable to the PC, suddenly there are no problems any more. I also switched the cable (the original one) with a 1.5m one.

A general question: as long as it does work, does anything speak against using on a USB3 hub or a longer cable?  And could longer cables and/or Hubs cause problems with larger track counts or cause degradation of the sound in a less obvious way than what you hear here?

The longer cable would be beneficial as I could only integrate the interface in my studio desk using at least a 5m cable. I don't have to do that, but I would like to ...

7 (edited by trubadix 2023-05-02 20:31:14)

Re: Madiface XT with hardware defect?

It looks like it was the USB3 port. With another one the problems seem to have gone for good. I even tried the 5m USB3 cable I have. It is nothing special - ordered from Amazon. But it seems to work! There was no degradation of sound or dropouts I noticed.

Is there anything to watch out for when using such a long cable? I mean, I found some threads here where people mentioned that properly shielded cable might work for more than 3 meters. But is there anything like a stress test to check if it works reliably (e.g. playing audio on all channels at once? Or something to watch out for besides the obvious (sound degradation and dropouts)?

Re: Madiface XT with hardware defect?

Hmm ... I need to update again: the loopback recordings now sound fine - regardless of which USB cable I am using. However, the strange pulse during playback has no returned twice. The first time I thought this was due to the 5m cable. But I switched to the very short one included with the interface and now it also occurred once while using that cable and and the USB port that did not cause the other problem. I am not sure wether this is also a USB problem or unrelated to the other one!? Unfortunately, I was not ready to record when the problem occurred. I will try to catch it the next time it happens.

9 (edited by trubadix 2023-05-06 13:58:08)

Re: Madiface XT with hardware defect?

Ok, I can now verify that there is a separate problem that probably is unrelated to the USB port. I cannot be sure until I have checked playback from ALL other USB ports for a long period, as it only occurs rarely at an unpredictable time. Here you can download an mp3 of what it sound like. Be warned that it is not pretty and that you should start listening at a low volume, as there is some ugly digital distortion sound going on here!

https://we.tl/t-U6JdouDqEO

I faded in the audio in the beginning a little. It actually sounded like that for several minutes and then - I did nothing on the computer but recording and playing back the music! - it goes back to normal. I recorded this via loopback again. USB Settings shows zero CRC errors. And this is how plackback sounds as well! Through the other USB port I now have clear recordings though loopback, as long as this disturbed sound does not occur. It happens on every USB port I tested so far (almost every one) and it also persists when I switch the USB port during the time the problem occurs.

This makes it very likely as far as I understand these things, that this problem is indeed an internal problem of the device itself. It certainly is unrelated to the cable, as I have by now witnessed it with three different ones. I am kind of afraid that is really is a hardware problem. But maybe I am lucky and it is just the power supply? I hope someone can deduct anything from the way it sounds.

Re: Madiface XT with hardware defect?

Ok, the problems seems to be solved!

I ordered a Sonnet USB PCIe card that was recommended here in combination with all sorts of connection problems. I admit I was sceptical that all this could be related to poor onboard USB3 ports. But indeed: the Sonnet card solved all problems!

This is the card:
https://www.amazon.de/Sonnet-Technologi … B00GRGCV2G