1 (edited by jpc.zonder 2022-07-26 09:55:40)

Topic: FF400 : drivers / flash update problem with MacBook Pro AND Mac Studio

Hi;

I have a problem with my old (and beloved) Fireface400, which has been with me for at least 15 years, without any problems until recently.

For about 6 months now, I can't install it on my MacBook Pro (Retina, 13", mid-2014), nor on my new Mac Studio (2022, Apple M1 Max) received 2 months ago.


  • Hardware used to perform the tests:


iBook G4 SuperDrive, 2006, OSX 10.6: works
MacBook Pro, 2014, OSX 10.13.6: used to work, but no longer does
Mac Studio, 2022, OSX 12.4: never worked

NB: I did the following tests with the original FF400 power supply (power ext.), with another identical power supply (power ext.) and without power supply (power bus): identical results, it doesn't work anymore.


  • History:


My FF400 worked on my old computers though (iBook G4, Intel iMac etc.), and even, before reinstallation, on my MacBook Pro (Retina, 13 inch, mid-2014).

- On the iBook G4: FW400 to FF400 output
- On the iMac: FW800 output + cable FW800->FW400
- On the Mac Book Pro: thunderbolt 2 output + Th2 to FW800 adapter + FW800 to FW400 cable

What I would like now with the Mac Studio: thunderbolt 3 output + Th3 to Th2 adapter + Th2 to FW800 adapter + FW800 to FW400 cable.

I looked on the forum, and some people have done this without any problem.


  • Context :


Apparently due to power surges where I used to live, I lost my Babyface and my FF400 (which I had stacked in the OSX to make a sound card aggregate that worked very well) on the same day. At that time, I was running these 2 cards on a Hackintosh with the "aggregat".

After a lot of fiddling, I got my Babyface back, but still not my FF400. I'm coming to you for help.


  • Problems installing drivers / Flash Upadate


Here are the problems encountered during the various reinstallation attempts, each carried out several times on my MacBook Pro and on my Mac Studio :


1/ Installation of the corresponding drivers [driver_fw_mac_341]


2/ The card seems to be recognized (see screenshot below)

https://rehost.diberie.com/Picture/Get/f/81111


3/ Testing it, no sound in or out


4/ Error message appears (see screenshot below): I have to flash the card

https://rehost.diberie.com/Picture/Get/f/81112


5/ I do the requested manipulation with [Fireface Flash Update 171 277].


6/ Error message "RME Fireface Hardware Mismatch" persists on the Finder + display bug (see screenshot below)

https://rehost.diberie.com/Picture/Get/f/81114


7/ As requested, I try to reflash the sound card, but a new message appears (see screenshot below):

The "Fireface Flash" app needs to be updated.

The developer of this app must update it to work with this version of macOS. Contact the developer for more information.

https://rehost.diberie.com/Picture/Get/f/81115


From there, nothing is possible.

Let us recall here that the same results of the tests described just before are identical on the Mac Studio as on the Mac Book Pro, on which, let us recall it, this FF400 worked for years.


The only way to make it work again - and perfectly - is to plug it back into my old iBook G4 (from 2006, with FW400...), with drivers and flash and after some manipulations, my card works again.


That's it. Does anyone have an idea?


The problem is not hardware (thank you RME and your incredible manufacturing quality) but software (see last error message).


But what bothers me the most is that when replicating the tests on Intel or M1, the results are identical.


Thank You.
JPChalte

2

Re: FF400 : drivers / flash update problem with MacBook Pro AND Mac Studio

Your FF400 is on 1.69, the last version for the old Power Mac G4 CPU. Changing to Intel required the still current firmware 1.71, released in 2012 (!). This firmware updater does not run under latest macOS anymore, you will need to find an older Intel Mac or use a Windows computer to perform the firmware update.

Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME

Re: FF400 : drivers / flash update problem with MacBook Pro AND Mac Studio

MC wrote:

Your FF400 is on 1.69, the last version for the old Power Mac G4 CPU. Changing to Intel required the still current firmware 1.71, released in 2012 (!). This firmware updater does not run under latest macOS anymore, you will need to find an older Intel Mac or use a Windows computer to perform the firmware update.

Thank you very much for your answer MC.

The "PC Windows" solution is one I haven't tried yet. The power surge problems have "fried" the FW card in the Hackintosh.

Indeed, before all this, the Hackintosh was running both a recent Windows and an OSX 10.13. No problem with the FF400 which, from memory, I had flashed under Windows.

If I found the right configuration, would you advise me to install the latest drivers on the PC, and then, I imagine, flash the FF400?

4

Re: FF400 : drivers / flash update problem with MacBook Pro AND Mac Studio

Sure.

Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME

Re: FF400 : drivers / flash update problem with MacBook Pro AND Mac Studio

MC wrote:

Sure.

Thank you very much MC.

As soon as I find a PC, I'll try the steps and come back on this topic to tell what's going on.

Wishing you a good day.

Re: FF400 : drivers / flash update problem with MacBook Pro AND Mac Studio

My first FF400 was exactly like yours. Couldn't get it to work on Intel Macbooks or on Windows. It worked fine with a G4 Powerbook on bus power.

It already had the latest firmware. So I figured I could at least use it with the Powerbook. When I tried it, months later, it also worked with the Macbook Pro.

I think using it on the G4 somehow reformed the electrolytic caps in the PSU part. I later recapped it and that fixed it completely.

It had been on the "to repair" shelf for at least a year before I tested it. The previous owner threw it out. Fortunately, I can be stubborn on occasion :-)

MB Pro - FireFace 400 & DigiFace USB
ADAT gear: Korg, Behri, Fostex, Alesis
Appsys.ch ADAT over UTP

Re: FF400 : drivers / flash update problem with MacBook Pro AND Mac Studio

Which caps did you recap?

8 (edited by jpc.zonder 2022-07-27 08:36:22)

Re: FF400 : drivers / flash update problem with MacBook Pro AND Mac Studio

cyrano wrote:

My first FF400 was exactly like yours. Couldn't get it to work on Intel Macbooks or on Windows. It worked fine with a G4 Powerbook on bus power.

It already had the latest firmware. So I figured I could at least use it with the Powerbook. When I tried it, months later, it also worked with the Macbook Pro.

I think using it on the G4 somehow reformed the electrolytic caps in the PSU part. I later recapped it and that fixed it completely.

It had been on the "to repair" shelf for at least a year before I tested it. The previous owner threw it out. Fortunately, I can be stubborn on occasion :-)

Hy; very happy to read this Cyrano. Indeed, it is a superb machine, used for more than 15 years and that I want to continue to "pamper". I have to fond a personn with a PC, now. Not so easy, I moved to the country recently, and don't know too many people. But I'll find a solution, that's for sure.

And as asked by Joachim Voelcker, what were the manipulations of "recapping" you are talking about? Is it possible to do this by yourself?

Nice day to You both.
Jean-Philippe

Re: FF400 : drivers / flash update problem with MacBook Pro AND Mac Studio

joachimvoelcker wrote:

Which caps did you recap?

I started with those around the PSU section, but noticed the big ones in the line output were also bulging, so I replace all electrolytics in the end.

MB Pro - FireFace 400 & DigiFace USB
ADAT gear: Korg, Behri, Fostex, Alesis
Appsys.ch ADAT over UTP

Re: FF400 : drivers / flash update problem with MacBook Pro AND Mac Studio

jpc.zonder wrote:

Is it possible to do this by yourself?

Depends on your soldering skills, of course. It's not hard as elco's are big. Nothing like SMD parts.

I did that one myself, as the FF400 only partially worked anyway. Not much to loose, I figured.

One of our other FF400s has been done by a real tech. The FW port on that one didn't work. One of our users succeeded in plugging the FW plug in upside down.

MB Pro - FireFace 400 & DigiFace USB
ADAT gear: Korg, Behri, Fostex, Alesis
Appsys.ch ADAT over UTP

Re: FF400 : drivers / flash update problem with MacBook Pro AND Mac Studio

cyrano wrote:
joachimvoelcker wrote:

Which caps did you recap?

I started with those around the PSU section, but noticed the big ones in the line output were also bulging, so I replace all electrolytics in the end.

Thank you!

Re: FF400 : drivers / flash update problem with MacBook Pro AND Mac Studio

Hi there.

Just for the record: I managed to find someone with a PC.

Unfortunately, there was only USB-C but I tried the connection described above: USB-C adapter (Thunderbolt 3) -> Thunderbolt 2 adapter -> FW800 to FW400 cable.

Impossible to flash the FF400 with this "combo": despite all attempts to install and flash the FF400, it was never recognized by the PC. Moreover, the flashing application was detected by the PC as "obsolete". (Windows 8 apparently.)

My last solution is to find a PC with a firewire card, which is not easy, firewire was not very common in the PC world.

13

Re: FF400 : drivers / flash update problem with MacBook Pro AND Mac Studio

That PC most probably did only have USB on the USB-C connector, not Thunderbolt. Then the adapters will not work.

Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME

Re: FF400 : drivers / flash update problem with MacBook Pro AND Mac Studio

Hi MC.

I hadn't thought of that: simple USB protocol on a USB-C plug. I hope that could be what's blocking the flashing.

I'll keep looking for a solution, with a PC stamped "USB-C", but also a hypothetical PC with a firewire card.

15 (edited by jpc.zonder 2022-09-23 16:26:05)

Re: FF400 : drivers / flash update problem with MacBook Pro AND Mac Studio

[SOLVED]

That's it, my old FF400 is back, finally! After a day of testing, everything works perfectly, for a sound card that is over 15 years old.

Here is the way I got it back, so that it can be useful to other people in the same case as me.

1/ I have an old 2008 iMac (Intel Core 2 Duo) with OSX 10.6 and, above all, "native" firewire 400 / 800 plugs on which I plugged my Fireface400 with my FW 800 <-> 400 cable.

2/ I downloaded and installed the drivers compatible with this version of OSX:

"Mac OS X SL (10.6) Intel Driver for Fireface 400/800" (2010-08-30) [fireface_x86_275.zip]

3/ I downloaded and flashed my card with :

"Mac OSX Intel Flash Update Tool for Fireface 400 & Fireface 800" (2012-05-22) [fut_mac_fire_x86.zip]

After these manipulations, my FF400 is finally updated in the revision 1.71 of the firmware, which blocked everything since the beginning of the problem.

After some tests, it works perfectly on my 2008 iMac.

4/ I then connected it to the Mac Studio, with this "cascade" of adapters: USB-C adapter (Thunderbolt 3) -> Thunderbolt 2 adapter -> FW800 to FW400 cable

nb: used the "real" Thunderbolt 3 plugs - the ones on the back of the Mac Studio M1 Max - and not the 2 on the front, which are "simple" USB-3

It is recognized without any problem.

I then installed the drivers / fut for the Mac Studio, and everything now works perfectly.

///

Just to be sure, I had fun stacking my Babyface Pro FS + the Fireface400 as a Mac "aggregate", and there too, total success.

///

I'm happy to have finally found this sound card. I found the invoice: it dates back to 2007, so it is 15 years old, and works perfectly.

Thank you RME for the quality of your products!

///

nb: how do I change the title of the topic? I would like to rename it to [RESOLVED] but I can't find the solution.