Topic: FF400 Isn't Recognised by Dell 9300 XP Pro


The device manager in my Dell 9300 laptop (XP Pro SP3) doesn't list the FF400 when it's connected. When I try and install the FF400 software, from CD or latest versions from RME website, I get the 'mixer' and 'settings' buttons in my lower task bar, but clicking on them does nothing.

The HOST light is permanently red.

If I remove the FW cable or turn off the FF400, Windows makes the noise it does when you disconnect hardware, and when I disconnect it. This is the only recognition Windows gives that the FF400 is connected.

I have read the installation manual many times. I have spent many hours trying to get this to work... Please help.



Re: FF400 Isn't Recognised by Dell 9300 XP Pro

Try a different firewire cable.

Matthias Carstens

3 (edited by 19 frets 2010-04-03 13:56:23)

Re: FF400 Isn't Recognised by Dell 9300 XP Pro

After you connect the Fireface and Windows makes the sound acknowledging this, go into Device Manager and see if it is registering under Sound Devices.  This will help you determine if Windows is registering the device properly.  It should register properly without any yellow exclamation points showing a problem.

Re: FF400 Isn't Recognised by Dell 9300 XP Pro

I went out and got another cable and it makes no difference at all. The Device Manager doesn't list the FF under 'sounds, video and game', nor does it mention the FF400 anywhere else in the Device Manager tree such as IEEE1394 etc . If I unplug the FF400, I get the Microsoft 'wood block' noise, as I do when I switch it back on. The DM list flickers when I switch FF400 on/off, but I get no additional devices listed. It ignores the FF400 unless I plug / switch it in / out, whereupon I get the microsoft 'wood block' noise (its only acknowledgement of the FF400). My 'remove hardware' icon in lower task bar doesn't list the FF400

I have also tried the FF400 with my quad-core Win-7-Pro Dell. It works, but one channel is always around 8dB louder, and I have a load of noise / hash above 15kHz...

So, one laptop speaks to the FF400 but has interference and volume imbalance (whichever I/O I use - I believe this is an A-D problem) and the other laptop ignores the FF400 (unless I switch it on / off - in which case it makes a noise).

I've wasted many hours now. Not to mention buying a new cable.

5 (edited by MJohnson 2010-04-05 15:05:37)

Re: FF400 Isn't Recognised by Dell 9300 XP Pro


I've bought a PCMCIA adaptor card in case my Dell 9300 / Win XP Pro laptop FW interface was the problem, but there is no change. There is no mention of the FF400 in my device manager under any of the options, sound or otherwise. I cannot get any ackowledgement of the FF400 from my PC at all - it pretends it does not exist. The host red light stays on.


Out of desperation, I have tried the FF400 on my new Win-7 Pro quad-core Dell - via inbuilt FW interface. Please see attached FFT diagram... This is not right.

I can only conclude that this FF400 has serious problems. I simply cannot afford to spend more time and money getting it to work. Can you please advise?

Re: FF400 Isn't Recognised by Dell 9300 XP Pro

Since making the last post, I've tried another laptop (the 3rd one) running XP Pro SP1 with the same result - it totally ignores the FF400 and it doesn't register in the Device Manager.

I've also tried external A-D and D-A converters with the newer Win-7 Pro laptop. The ~8dB level imbalance has gone, but the FFT plot looks the same as the one above.

This FF400 is definitely not working. Is there a way to do a 'hard reset' on it? Can you disconnect an internal battery or suchlike to reset it to factory conditions?

Re: FF400 Isn't Recognised by Dell 9300 XP Pro


I now have it 'working' in 16-bit mode with XP SP3. However, there's around a 6dB drop between channels and it doesn't work in 24-bit at all. I've tried different cables, and this drop appears to be there regardless of which 'pairs' of inputs I use (it appears to be on the A-D side).

It locks up ok with my Win-7 Pro machine, but I get the interference shown in the last post.

I can live with it not working under Win-7, but it would be nice to have it working on *just* one of my 3 computers...

If I use outboard A-D / D-A I can use 16-bit mode fine, with good SN Ratio - but I cannot use 24-bit.

My suspicion is that this problem is due to the firmware. I have the latest version, but I've read that some people have problems with the newest version and XP SP3 and Win7-Pro.

Can anyone assist?

Thank you.

Re: FF400 Isn't Recognised by Dell 9300 XP Pro

Try things with FF400 ASIO driver and some appropriate ASIO hosting audio software with win XP (SP3). Of course your FF400 must be installed properly (in Device manager no yellow exclamation points). FF's mixer and/or settings dialog must show up when you clik on icons in sys tray and with FF400 ON. If those two conditions are not satisfied than you have serious problem with your hardware.

Before attaching FF400 disable all unnecessary things (such as wireless interfaces, bluetooths, etc) and most important, DISABLE SYSTEM SOUNDS. Set your built in audio device for default recording and playback device - NOT the fireface. Ensure that there is no program that "holds" FF400, nor there is any other audio program running in background (windows live messenger can interrupt audio system badly even on perfectly configured system).

Try things with ASIO hosting audio software. Hope it helps.

Re: FF400 Isn't Recognised by Dell 9300 XP Pro

Forgot to mention, use DPC latency checker to test your computer's realtime streaming ability. Correctly configured laptops show around 20-30 us average and not more than 150 us peak, and correctly configured desktops around 10-15 us avg and not more than 100 us peak, but also 2-3/15 is possible. Any abruptions higher than 1000 us will badly interrupt audio streaming.