Problems with the Maschine HW controller display

After upgrading to the MK2 of the Maschine controller about 2 years ago I soon ran into the issue of one of the displays flickering and ultimately ending up much dimmer than the other.

At that time I didn’t think too much about it but sent it back to the store for a replacement right away.

IMG_2935A couple of weeks ago I noticed that my replacement controller also started acting bad. The same problems with the display was happening on this unit.

Since I bought it in another country I figured I was out of luck and would have to simply use it with one display darker than the other.

Then something interesting happened. As I was drumming out a pattern and I hit the pad in the upper right, the display suddenly came back to full brightness.

Now whenever it drops in brightness I just tap the upper row of the pads a couple of times and it comes back up again. Probably there’s a loose connection in there somewhere so I’m going to open it up someday and poke around when I have the time.

Presonus Faderport and Logic Pro X 10.1

After pulling the latest update (10.1) to Logic, don’t be surprised if your Presonus Faderport stops working. All you need to do is download the same 64bit driver you installed for the previous version (10.0) and copy it back into the Logic application package content folder.

The reason for this is that as Logic get’s bumped to 10.1, the application package gets overwritten and your old Faderport bundle disappears.

In other words, just follow these instructions again and you should be all good.

(Also, you don’t need to delete your previous control surface settings in Logic before copying in the bundle again.)

Where to download the Access Virus TI Software

I have no clue why Access Music has decided to make it bloody impossible to find download links to the TI Software Suite (which includes plugins and Virus Control) anywhere on their website.

If you are looking for the downloads you need to go to this specific URL, which as far as I could see in my 5 min attention span searching the site, is not linked anywhere…

http://www.virus.info/start

(I found it on a postcard that’s included in the manual and warranty information bag that you get when you buy one of their synths…)

Anyways, hopefully this saved you 5 min of trying to navigate the Access Music web maze…

Custom Studio Furniture (Free Sketchup Plan)

Since I moved back to Sweden It’s taken quite a while to get all the gear back up, but now  it’s finally in place and all plugged in. One of my goals was to improve my desk space to get better access to my rack units.

Buying a ready made studio desk is both expensive and boring so I decided to ‘build’ my own instead. This would also provide the most compact solution.

I started with an Ikea desk called Galant. You can go for either the corner or straight type. I choose the straight (160 x 80 cm) for space saving. On top of this I put two custom built 6U racks made in solid oak to match the surface of the desk.

I left just enough space between them to fit my 27″ iMac, which I suspended from a monitor arm. The idea was to fit a slanting shelf in front of it to hold my Maschine and some other handy gadgets. You may notice that the desk is 5-10cm too short to fit both racks and the mac, but that’s ok. Hopefully I can upgrade to a bigger space at some point, or get a Mac Pro and a 24″ monitor… :P

Check out the results below, and download the Sketchup file if you want to build your own rack.

photo 1_1 photo 2_1 photo 3_1 photo 4_1

Dropbox link to Sketchup file: https://www.dropbox.com/s/din4o7j6icwj88k/6USlantedRack.zip

(Disclaimer: I’m not a carpenter so use the Sketchup drawing at your own risk…)

Mavericks and the Mackie 1640i

I’ve been holding off updating the OS of my main studio computer (Mid 2011 27″ iMac) for the last 2.5 years. It came with Lion installed and I saw nothing in Mountain Lion that would motivate the hassle of an update. Also, I’ve been burned several times by incompatible or untimely updates to firmware, hardware and OSs so I know better than to jump on the new shiny thing. The golden rule applies in any digital creative environment, ‘If it’s not broken, don’t fix it!’

Photo-2But! I’ve been an Ableton Live person for the past few years but the release of Logic X really got me thinking about a switch. The notorious MIDI timing problems of Ableton, and the fact that it’s not optimized for the type of linear, timeline based workflow that I prefer made Logic seem like a nice alternative.

After much consideration I decided to shell out the cash and buy the software from the app store, only to find out that you need at least OS X 10.8.

No luck for an old timer like me still stuck on 10.7.5…

Still I decided to go forward and see if my gear would be compatible with an upgrade to Mavericks or not. The only two things that set off an alarm was the Mackie 1640i Mixer (see below) and the Access Virus TI2 Virus Control software.

The mixer board was my biggest fear since loss of its Firewire capabilities would negate its most appealing feature. (I could have passed it via a couple of Fireface 800 or similar but still…). To test it out I connected it via a Firewire to Thunderbolt adapter to my MacBook Pro running Mavericks, and lo and behold it worked perfectly! (Yes, the mixer board is from the 003 serial number series, see below).

Photo-1

Encouraged by this I decided to upgrade my main machine as well and it is now happily chugging along on Mavericks.

So far I see no strange or broken behavior. I have tested Maschine 1.8 with the Komplete plug-ins, Arturia’s Analog Factory and Live 9.1. The Mackie 1640i seems to be 100% functional. I noticed some severe lag and dropped notes when I started out, but that was due to the System Drive being re-indexed for the first hour or so.

This is not to say that all is well in Mavericks land, beware that there can be any number of combinations of Firewire controller cards, serial number series, firmware versions, thunderbolt adapters and so on that could break compatibility, but at least for me it was all a very smooth and seamless upgrade.

Did you upgrade to Mavericks yet? Did you run into any problems? Share your experience or let me know if you have any questions.

My setup:
Mid 2011 iMac 27″ (3.4gHz, 12gb), Mackie 1640i (003xx) connected via a FW 400 to 800 adapter to Firewire port on Mac, also tested via Apple’s Firewire to Thunderbolt adapter.

A note on the Mackie 1640i Serial numbers:
There are series of the Mackei 1640i on the market. You can tell them apart from the start of their serial numbers. The older series starts with 003 and the newer with 204. The older series relied on the CoreAudio drivers on the Mac and the newer has its own fancy driver and control panel. According to the Mackie website the 003 series is not compatible with any OS X version above 10.7 which has caused a lot of confusion amongst users considering an upgrade. In my experience the 003 series works just fine in 10.9, both via a firewire port and via Apple’s thunderbolt to firewire adapter.