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Topic: Firmware Update FPGA 254 for ADI-2 Pro FS R BE

This firmware update is a hotfix for an issue reported by forum user GoldenOne (better known as GoldenSound in YouTube). While measuring the Balanced Phones output of his ADI-2 Pro FS R BE he discovered a phase shift between left and right. Firmware version 254 fixes this.

Note 1: if you don't use the front balanced out you don't need to update right now, you might just wait for the next, bigger update.

Note 2: Only the latest PRO FS R BE (with AK4493) seem affected. We could not reproduce this issue with former PRO versions (which all have the AK4490). But the fix has been added to all models.

Note 3: The phase shift is a sub-sample delay between left and right channel and usually inaudible. It only occurs if one changes the DA filters and scrolls over NOS. It can also reset itself (snap back) when doing this again.

Note 4: The added resync method involves a short mute phase (0.4 s) whenever the filter is changed.

Windows:
http://www.rme-audio.de/downloads/fut_madiface_win.zip

Mac:
http://www.rme-audio.de/downloads/fut_madiface_mac.zip

Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME

Re: Firmware Update FPGA 254 for ADI-2 Pro FS R BE

Könnte es sein, dass im liesmich.txt vom *_win.zip was nicht angepasst wurde?

ADI-2 Pro series: FPGA 250, DSP 102

Im readme.txt steht

ADI-2 Pro series: FPGA 254, DSP 102

(deswegen Beitrag in deutsch. die nicht-Deutschsprachigen interessiert es wohl eh nicht)

Ralf
(ADI-2 Pro FS with Dell XPS13 and Dynaudio Focus 600 XD or Focal Clear — and a lot of Jazz)

Re: Firmware Update FPGA 254 for ADI-2 Pro FS R BE

> Note 4: The added resync method involves a short mute phase (0.4 s) whenever the filter is changed.

Tried but don't like the mute during filter change. Probably consider only enabling it when user is using 1) balanced out and 2) switching to NOS, and 3) on the 4493 devices?

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Re: Firmware Update FPGA 254 for ADI-2 Pro FS R BE

Sorry, no. Much too complicated over all the different hardware and PCB revisions. Also doing it always is just proper handling. One might need it in a situation/state one not thinks about right now.

Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME

Re: Firmware Update FPGA 254 for ADI-2 Pro FS R BE

Got it. I sometimes quickly switch between filters to see what difference they make to a track. now the .4 sec gap interrupts such fun experiment during which my brain stops processing.


No worries, I can keep a copy of the previous firmware and when I want to kill time by doing such things I can always flash back temporary:)

6 (edited by ramses 2021-06-29 22:41:57)

Re: Firmware Update FPGA 254 for ADI-2 Pro FS R BE

If this only happens with balanced phones (minority of users) and only when changing D/A filters (even fewer cases)
wouldn't it be a better solution to keep things as they are and to release a special version for people using balanced
phones and who want to change DA filters ?
I think this would be more beneficial for the majority of users.
Sorry should I have misunderstood or overlooked something. Simply a humble question, because 0.4s is quite some
time when changing filters ..

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

Re: Firmware Update FPGA 254 for ADI-2 Pro FS R BE

ramses wrote:

If this only happens with balanced phones (minority of users) and only when changing D/A filters (even fewer cases)
wouldn't it be a better solution to keep things as they are and to release a special version for people using balanced
phones and who want to change DA filters ?
I think this would be more beneficial for the majority of users.
Sorry should I have misunderstood or overlooked something. Simply a humble question, because 0.4s is quite some
time when changing filters ..

I'll second this. Or, could we get a menu option (similar to the expert mode menu option in ESS based DACs) to turn this mute behavior off. This won't cost too much engineering effort and would work across all models/pcb versions.

8 (edited by CrispyChips 2021-07-14 14:19:51)

Re: Firmware Update FPGA 254 for ADI-2 Pro FS R BE

Quote: “I sometimes quickly switch between filters to see what difference they make to a track. now the .4 sec gap interrupts such fun experiment during which my brain stops processing.”


Its great to read that you are enjoying yourself, having fun with your audio equipment.

Your post brought some interesting thoughts to mind that I trust will be both thought provoking and helpful.

Irrespective of the .4 sec gap. Even if the switch was virtually instantaneous, the manner in which the human brain deals with audio is such that within milliseconds of audio entering the auditory canal, passing along the auditory nerve to the brain and entering short-term memory.

A reductionist process then ensues which strips away a certain degree of harmonic information the brain deems is not absolutely necessary. Retaining the fundamentals and a harmonically minimised version somewhat of what we heard. This, is packed away neatly and tidily in our long-term memory. 

We could think of that process as being somewhat similar to the algorithmic processes deployed in lossy MP-3 players. Where C.D.’s and lossless files are stripped and reduced of their harmonic content to some degree, enabling and facilitating greater, more efficient, long term storage capacity in a space that has finite limits.


This is why A B,  A B X testing etc. et al is strewn with so much inconclusive and contradictory “expert” opinion.

When what one remembers one heard, is actually slightly different to what one actually heard in fact. As one listens again, our brains can deceive us.

How do we get round that issue? I would like to propose two approaches that both work brilliantly, used by highly respected experts, but which paradoxically, are the exact opposite of, being diametrically opposed to each other.   


The first, is to follow the principle that as in life, “first impressions are always of supreme importance”.

Concomitant to that principal is the unassailable truth that “you never get a second chance to hear something, for the first time.”

Therefore, the ability (experience, training, judgement) in absolute immediacy to accurately and precisely discern the nature and character of what one is hearing; can reliably inform one in a trustworthily dependable manner, of exactly what one is facing and dealing with.

Very experienced recording and mastering engineers are usually good at that.

Listening over and over, repeatedly switching, can give an overall impression and may make specific differences, more obvious.

However, the problem with that is it’s often the case that particular aspects of sound one instantly disliked and rejected at first as being incorrect or undesirable; can gradually seem less obtrusive, be embraced and ultimately, wrongly found acceptable.

As by repeated exposure, the ear and brain imperceptibly, progressively and sequentially with each passing incidence of exposure, increasingly find what was initially disturbing, accommodated by the susceptibility involved as the brain flexibly adjusts itself to a novel tonality.

The issue here is no longer the differences in the equipment, but rather the manner in which your ear and brain responds now to a sound which it responded differently to, a while ago. There are a great many cultural analogies from a historical perspective that could be considered as to our ability to adjust to find acceptable, what was previously unacceptable. Its just that this happens a lot faster!

Please note that the first can involve a deeply pronounced sense of concentration, a certain passion and level of intensity, in any case a high degree of engagement and a totally focused, decisively discerning ability, to make good judgement calls.


The second is the precise opposite and involves an altogether deeply relaxed, state of mind and being.
 
The basic principle behind this approach is that which often affects great artists, songwriter and composers.

For it’s often the case that when they stop trying to create their art and are not thinking about that at all, completely relaxed, perhaps distracted, focussed on something else entirely.

Eureka! Inspiration strikes, kicking dust in the face of the perspiration they were utilising so hopelessly, and a completely transcendent breakout occurs that lifts their level of creativity to an altogether higher plane. 

Why is it that when I am not concentrating on music, laid on my back wiring musical and audio equipment, reaching under equipment but with music on in the background; I notice things I never heard before in a recording that was very familiar? It has to be related to the state of mind!

Years ago, a group I was in was greatly helped by a gentleman (sadly no longer with us) who often employed and benefitted from precisely this manner of listening. Rupert Neve would put music on in the background, while he worked, concentrating on something else entirely. Often, particular aspects of sound and tonality would suddenly come to his attention and he would learn something regarding his audio equipment, without even trying.

He would thus come to fully appreciate the hallmark characteristics of components in his designs, almost by a form of osmosis. Subconsciously assimilating their tonal nature simply by a form of cultural exchange that happened daily, seemingly without any expenditure of effort. This is of course, not the whole of Rupert’s approach to audio design, not in any way whatever, but rather, one unusual aspect which reveals an important and often ignored truth.

Strangely, we both had JVC Hi-Fi’s at one time, and on his audio-systems radio providing background music while he was working on certain things, he would hear a radio station playing music, perhaps from the other side of the world, and recognise the exact broadcast console that the music was being played through, which he designed, carefully selected the components for and manufactured. He could tell all that quite readily, without concentrating on what he was listening to, because something about its tonality, shone through the air waves at him, that he recognised.


I have a couple of friends, (one sadly no longer with us) whose names would be familiar, who exactly like me, would employ a strange trick when they had finished a mix, that seems completely counter intuitive.

Instead of sitting in front of the console in the ideal listening position to judge the balance of a mix they had finished, they would leave the control room and stand in the corridor by the edge of the open door and listen to how the mix sounded, from that entirely different perspective.

Like me, they might learn things about the sound balance that weren’t so obvious at the ideal listening position.  This goes to a profoundly deep place for me and involved long conversations (outside the scope of this thread) with hit making session musicians as to how ordinary people (non-musicians and non-audio people who they made music for) relate to music.

The salient point is, most ordinary people (non-musicians and non-audio people) listen to and enjoy music in a completely different manner to the typical music and audio geek individuals that expend huge amounts of money, time and effort, endlessly argue about triviality and minute’ and search for and try to attain a degree of sonic perfection, that they find profoundly impressive.

Nothing wrong with that of course. Its good, but it’s not everything.

The point is, could we, by paradoxically listening to musical sound in a manner that is completely unconcerned and totally unabsorbed by the quality of sound; notice and learn something significant about the quality of tonality, we would otherwise have completely missed?

What I’m discussing here is really all about the state of our mind as we listen. About more fully appreciating how our brains actually work in regard to sound. I myself have found this technique useful at times and over the years have been very pleasantly surprised, in fact highly delighted, to find that far more impressively notable figures have found the same truths, and used the same techniques, quite independently of each other.

Most ordinary people listen to and think about music differently to most musicians and audio people.

There are particular artist’s whose music concerts will only attract musicians and audio people.

Understanding the reasons underlying that phenomenon, facilitates the ability to make hits.

Instead of changing the equipment, could we learn by changing the way we listen?

9 (edited by ramses 2021-07-14 15:15:58)

Re: Firmware Update FPGA 254 for ADI-2 Pro FS R BE

Hi Crispy .. hope you are doing well. Regarding your post.

If I have understood you correctly, then your focus is in the area of methodology and you are not against our proposal, to make the switching faster again as default.

Rationale: I think that this is comparable to the general demand for fast A/B testing between two VST settings in a DAW, if you want to compare two different sounds. There it is also considered advantageous - if not even regarded as a must - to be able to switch quickly between two settings.

I think the explanation for this is, that the brain can't remember sound that well, that's along the lines of what you said, so switching between A/B as immediately as possible would be beneficial.

I am currently reluctand and not updating firmware, because I have no balanced phones (like felt 97% of customers).
I prefer quicker switching, but at a certain point - if some important fix / new features will be added - I will have to upgrade..

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

Re: Firmware Update FPGA 254 for ADI-2 Pro FS R BE

@Matthias: would it be possible to enable this fix / change for balanced phones only, if balanced phone mode is selected ?

I think this would be a perfect implementation that makes most sense as:

1. in all other use cases (speaker, non-balanced phones) customers would keep the advantage of quicker filter switching.
2. customers of the DAC model - which doesn't support balanced phones - wouldn't get this 0.4s delay without any technical reason.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, E5-1650v4, Win10Pro21H2, Cub11Pro, UFX+, XTC, 12Mic, ADI-2 Pro FS R BE, RayDAT

11 (edited by CrispyChips 2021-07-14 23:57:56)

Re: Firmware Update FPGA 254 for ADI-2 Pro FS R BE

Quote: “your focus is in the area of methodology and you are not against our proposal, to make the switching faster again as default.”


Hi Ramses, I am never against any good idea.

If an idea comes from you, I’m especially not against it, as there’s a high probability that’s it’s a truly excellent idea!

If your proposal meets with RME’s approval and they are willing and able to readily implement the solution as you have now outlined it, how could anyone reasonably argue against such a thing? I certainly wouldn’t and extend every good wish to you and your proposals.

In society, freedom of speech is vital along with a free exchange of ideas because it enables us to sift the wheat from the chaff, amongst the many ideas that get mooted, is my general view. Historically, many seemingly good ideas not only prove to be wrong, but might even kill us if we implemented them.

In Munich years ago at BMW’s Aero plant, someone had a good idea. To create a more powerful aero engine, they took the four cylinder engine block they were currently using in aircraft and cut an additional four cylinder block in half, welding parts together to create a more powerful, six cylinder engine block: “The test pilots considered themselves lucky, if the aircraft they were testing shook itself to bits before the aircraft took off.” (Verbatim Quote).


My understanding of the issue raised, was that Mattias had expressed the sentiment that the muting was a necessary inclusion, internally regulated proper handling; and that the complications involved with implementing such a change as originally mooted, across all hardware revisions and printed circuit boards of the product, made it a complete non-starter.


This was the sole reason for outlining, proven, alternative approaches. 


With deepest respect, dear friend..

In regard to instantaneous switching.

I once had a Bang and Olufsen Remote Comparator and Fred Snellgrove, a colleague who used to help out the BBC at times, fabricated an additional custom designed Comparator for me.

Typically, such Comparators would enable instantaneous switching from a single source, between 5 entirely separate audio systems and 10 sets of speakers. Any system switching to any set of speakers, which is probably way beyond the capabilities of anything you are currently considering.

So, 10 separate audio systems and 20 separate sets of speakers over the two Comparators. Therefore, it should be clear to you that I am not against the idea in principle, as I have used it extensively in years gone by, to the extent of even commissioning custom devices to be built, to facilitate exactly that process. (We had such facilities at our disposal).


My point is.

That in practise, irrespective of instantaneous switching, the brain will process the sound from short term memory to long term memory, even quicker, than the instantaneous switching itself. Mere milliseconds!

People might not be willing to accept this, but perhaps a few years subscription to the “Journal of Neuro-Science” instead of “Sound on Sound” might be the simplest approach to persuading them of the truth regarding such matters.

That all experiments and attempts at AB switching, ABX switching etc. et al are not genuinely and authoritatively, conclusively decisive in the manner they appear and are commonly believed to be. That the ear and brain can at times involve deceiving complexities, which is of course why “expert” voices regularly argue about such testing. 

That the sound one remembers hearing a moment ago, is very subtly different from what one actually heard. Others may disagree entirely and I’m fine with that as instantaneous switching “appears” to be the best approach available like the six cylinder engine with a variable inlet valve to compensate for thin air at high altitude. But having commissioned devices to be built (as well as utilising Bang and Olufsen devices for this process), I’ve come to the conclusion that certain people at the very top of their field, who utilised entirely different methods, were worth learning from.


Especially, if the methods they used, (I write it humbly), coincided with mine. I viewed such duplication as validating endorsement. 


So, for sure, instantaneous switching “appears” to be an optimal solution. 

Many devices appear to be an optimal solution, but in fact, give the illusion of an accuracy and authority they do not in truth, possess.

I thought about that yesterday, looking at two digital temperature and humidity devices, supposedly caring for my stored stringed instruments. They were both, out of whack by several degrees, despite their authorative accurate appearance!


Are there alternatives?

Other ways we could approach the discernment of sound between components?

Approaches that have proven helpful and reliable to people deeply and profoundly concerned with the calibre of sound, at the highest possible level?


Well, yes!


They involve time and experience.

And both methods have proven very successful for legendary figures in the recording field.

I understand the desire for the simplicity and absolute convenience of a switch that appears to entirely circumvent, such learning curves and effort.

It’s worth considering that I came into studio work during an era when producers and engineers had to commit to a mix decision, often in anticipation of further tracks being overlaid. Judging a mix balance with half of it missing.

Today, no one has to decisively commit a mix to those type of radical decisions. As a result, what I regard as an essential, high level skill of discernment and decisive judgement, has largely been lost. Some might take the view that skill is no longer required, but if learnt and practised, it can guide and inform us in many other situations. Situations, professionals face, every single day. The methods hold good!


The “gift of anticipation” is also especially desirable in a good valet or butler. smile