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Help! - Apogee Ensemble not compatible with Paca?

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Hello dear Kyma users,

I hope someone may be able to help.

 

I have just upgraded my old Capybara 320 running Kyma X  to a Paca and Kyma 7.

So I bought myself an apogee ensemble firewire to use with the Paca.

 

However, it seems that the ensemble is not compatible with the Paca and Kyma 7.

Even though, it's listed as a one of the officially compatible interfaces by Symbolic Sound?

 

So I'm wondering if someone out there using an apogee ensemble with Paca and Kyma 7 can help me here?

 

I have tested the apogee ensemble + Paca with my Mac mini running Mac OS Sierra 10.12.6, with my PC running WIndows 10, and with my Macbook Pro running Mac OS 10.14.5.

 

Kyma 7 starts fine and detects the Paca fine in all the three computers.

 

But the apogee interface gets 'rejected' as soon as I select it on Kyma 7 on any of my 3 computers.

 

It's very frustrating because I haven't been able to use the Paca since I bought it three weeks ago.

 

The Ensemble works perfectly well with both of my macs (even without the apogee drivers or maestro installed on them).

Ableton Live detects the interface seamlessly and I can select any of the 18x IO's, change the clock, etc from Ableton with no problem at all.

 

Of course, I make sure the ensemble is not selected on the Audio/MIDI Preferences of my mac when I try to connect it to Kyma.

But interestingly, the same thing happens on my PC running Windows 10..

 

I'm using quality firewire cables (Belkin and Lindy, billingual FW), and I have even bought brand new cables to test with the system.

I have even bought a belkin firewire hub, but the ensemble keeps being rejected as soon as I select it on Kyma 7.

The Paca connects and disconnects to the interface as maniac (showing flashing messages on the front panel).

 

Sometimes the ensemble connects fine with the Paca, and I can even see the ensemble showing on the paca front panel.

 

But as soon as I select it on Kyma 7, the dsp freaks out and disconnects from the host computer, showing a firewire error 22 message on Kyma 7.

 

So, I don't know what is causing the problem.

 

I'm using the latest version of  Kyma (7.25f0 - 11th June).

 

 

Can someone using an ensemble with Kyma 7 give me some advice please?

 

I sent several emails to Symbolic Sound but I haven't received response from them yet.

 

 

Many Thanks,

 

e.

asked Jun 16 in Hardware & Interfaces by eli (260 points)
edited Jun 16 by eli
What you describe seems to be a classic "fight" between the computer and Paca over which has control over the connection to the Apogee. This suggests that there is driver or other software installed that is attempting to connect to the Apogee. Completely remove any Apogee drivers or other Apogee software that you may have installed. It could be that the driver/software is still trying to connect to the Apogee even though it is not selected as the computer's sound card.

You did not mention any other FireWire devices but if you have them disconnect them completely and then retest.

Also, try disconnecting the FireWire cable between the Paca and your computer; only have FireWire connected between the Apogee and Paca. You will not be able to start Kyma but you can select the Paca's soundcard from the Paca's front panel. See if the Paca can connect successfully. If it can then the problem is probably due to the host computer "taking over" the Apogee. This would suggest that there is still driver components installed on the computer that is affecting FireWire operation.
Much appreciated for your help Doug!
Yes, that is exactly what I thought.
I did exactly what you suggest, and selected the interface with the Paca disconnected from the computer host. The Paca seems to connect to the ensemble fine and shows up on the front panel. But as soon as I open Kyma 7 on the computer and select the apogee, everything goes bananas, and the Paca disconnects from the computer.
I didn't install any apogee drivers on the mac mini.
It seems that the ensemble is natively compatible with the mac so it just turns up on my Mac even without any drivers installed.
Now, the interesting thing is that exactly the same thing happens when using Kyma on my PC running Windows 10.
There's no drivers for the apogee on my WIndows PC, and the problem persists..
Many Thanks for your help,
e.
I believe that your hunch that the Apogee does not need drivers on the Mac is correct. I did some basic Internet research and it seems that the Apogee Ensemble FireWire version used the OSX's built-in FireWire audio drivers. Apple considers FireWire a legacy technology so it is unclear just how well OSX after around Mavericks or Yosemite supports it. It could be that the OSX FireWire driver is just no longer "playing nice".

Apogee shows on their website that OSX 10.11 (El Capitan) was the Ensemble (FireWire)'s last supported version.

Your idea to remove the KEXT is an interesting one. Not sure it won't have other ramifications but it is worth trying. One macOS Mojave this file looks like it might be the one:

/System/Library/Extensions/AppleFWAudio.kext

Make a back up of the file then delete it completely (empty trash). Reboot the Mac but have it boot in Safe Mode. This will flush the KEXT cache. Then reboot normally and the Mac should rebuild the KEXT cache.

If this work around does not work then your best next move is to wait for Symbolic Sound to answer your email. They have other tricks in their bag that they can pull out ;-)
Thanks for sharing that info!
The thing is that I still need to use the firewire port on my mac mini to run my other interface: Midas VF24
I've been using both ports (Firewire and the Tunderbolt 2 with Apple Firewire Dongle) on my Mac mini connected to my Capybara 320 and my Midas VF24 with no problems at all..
On another hand I don't know how to boot the Mac Mini in safe mode anymore. It has a Fusion Drive and it only allows me to boot on Internet Recovery Mode instead..
Nevertheless, I still don't understand why the ensemble doesn't work on my PC either..
Thanks
If you can, use the FW-port for Midas, and the Thunderbolt 2 for Paca. I never got my setup with FW-soundcard/mixer + Paca (with FW-interface) to work as the FireWire buss bandwidth wasn't high enough. Also, take care when plugging and unplugging 9-pin connector FireWire cables, they have design flaw that can brake the FW-chipset if the cable is "hotplugged".
The Capy's FireWire interface does not normally affect FireWire audio operation so the fact that it was working fine with your Midas probably does not tell you much.

If the Midas uses its own custom drivers then there is a good chance that its operation will not be affected by removing OSX's native FireWire audio KEXT. Even if it does I think it would be worth the effort to try removing it just to see if that eliminates the Paca/Ensemble issues.

Odd that you cannot boot into Safe Mode...

You could just manually delete the KEXT cache. Its located here:

/System/Library/Caches/com.apple.kext.caches

You will need to do this from Terminal using sudo.

Or you could use a utility application like TinkerTool System.
Thanks for your help.
Well, as I said. I was running my capybara and the midas both connected to the mac mini, with the midas sending 24x audio tracks bidirectionally and i never experienced a single itch.. both devices were rock solid. Capybara IO's sound amazing, really open and punchy. The Midas is FW400, not even FW800. And that has enough bandwidth to send and receive 32 tracks of audio bidirectionally just for you to know. I've been using firewire devices since it's invention (drives, cameras, interfaces, etc.). The key is to find a driver and a fw chip (e.g. texas instruments) both compatible. My last set up with the capy and the midas was really great, stable and robust. No problems. So I don't understand why the ensemble and the paca is causing so many problems when the interface is listed on the official compatible list by Symbolic Sound.. I'm starting to think this Paca is faulty because the Ensemble works fine with both of my macs even without the drivers.. Sorry to be a bit negative but the transition from the Capybara is being hell for me.. :(
Thanks Doug.
I think I'm gonna try to fix the problem by using my PC running Windows instead than the mac, and see if it's easier to find what the problem is.
Much appreciated for your support,
e.
Reading again through your description it is unclear whether you are sharing a single FireWire bus for all connections, or if you split it up by having the Midas on one bus (say the built-in FW connection on your Mac mini), and the Paca-Ensemble on the other (the Thunderbolt FW adaptor).

If you are sharing then that could definitely be the cause of your problems. Your Midas uses 48 total FW audio channels (each direction counts as 1), and your Ensemble could be consuming as many as 36. The maximum channel count for FW400 operating at 48 kHz is 64. So if the two soundcards are sharing the same bus then the FW bus is saturated, which can cause instability, spurious bus resets, and errors.

The test you mentioned in your first comment to my initial post said that you tried connecting the Paca to the Ensemble without the Paca connected to the computer. Did you try connecting the computer, Paca, and Ensemble on one FW bus without the Midas connected?

Another thing to check on the Mac is that the Ensemble has not somehow inadvertently been assigned as the Mac's default sound input or output. I know that you checked it in Audio Midi Setup but also check System Preferences: Sound to confirm that SFX, Output, and Input are all assigned somewhere other than the Ensemble. Likewise if you have any AV software running in the background (Skype, FaceTime, screen or audio capture, ...) verify that they have not somehow been assigned to the Ensemble.
Alright, just to simplify the issues here.
I'll try to explain the situation once more.

I do have an Apogee Ensemble FW connected directly via original Apogee FW400 to FW800 bilingual cable to one of the Firewire 800 Ports of the Paca.
I do have another Belkin Firewire 800 to Firewire 800 cable connected from the second port of the Paca to the Firewire Port of my Mac Mini.

I DO NOT HAVE THE MIDAS CONNECTED AT ALL

The Paca doesn't connect to the Ensemble.
It freaks out showing flashing messages of connecting and disconnecting to the Firewire Bus. Until the Paca disconnects on it's own, the Ensemble get's rejected from the Firewire bus of the Paca, or I have an Firewire Error 22 on Kyma 7 on the Mac.

So to simplify even more.
Even when I connect the Ensemble to the Paca standalone, without the FW800 cable connected to the Mac Mini, when I try to select the Ensemble from the touch front panel of the Paca hardware interface, the same problem occurs.

This problem also happens when connecting my Windows PC with not native apogee drivers installed at all.

Now, I little update:

Symbolic Sound has now got in touch with me, and I sent them the log files.
They asked me to contact apogee and find the firmware file to downgrade the firmware of the Ensemble interface to a version prior 2011.

I contacted Apogee, and downgraded the firmware on the Ensemble to 2009.

The problem persists!

Now, is there someone using an apogee ensemble with a Paca successfully?
If so, could you share the versions of your firmware?

Thanks all once again for your help

2 Answers

+1 vote
 
Best answer
Any luck with this?

I read your question and skimmed some of the other answers.

I have an Ensemble firewire and run Kyma 7 with no issues but the critical difference between us is that I'm still running 10.7.5 on that particular set-up. I did extensive research at the time (about 2 years ago) and found that with the Ensemble, being a legacy piece of gear, it would no longer be supported for anything after 10.7.5 so went out of my way to accomodate that. I don't believe the issue you're having is with the Paca or Kyma but the operating system on your Mac. I could be wrong but I believe with your current set-up and operating system there's no way to make it work without a sort of hack.

I tried to look on the Apogee website for the article I read at the time but can't seem to find it.
answered Jun 19 by will-klingenmeier (Adept) (1,100 points)
selected Jun 21 by eli
Here's my set-up and everything is working perfectly as of this writing with the latest update in Kyma (not sure what some of this means but figured I put it all):

Apogee Maestro 2 Version 2.8.8
Ensemble Versions:
Daemon: 1.22.5
BCD: 1.9.30
FPGA: 1.34.4

Mac OS X 10.7.5

Kyma 7.25f0

Hope this helps!
Much appreciated for your help!
That helps a lot indeed.

It's really strange but I couldn't make it work with any of my three computers.
Symbolic Sound couldn't find traces of the problem from any of the log files and videos I sent to them.
They thought, it could be a bug on their drivers for the ensemble.
But your post proves that the drivers are fine.

To be honest with you, I’m convinced the version of the OS is not the problem because the conflict was happening even when connecting my paca to the ensemble without the computer.

So if your ensemble has the very latest version of the firmware, and you are running the very latest version of Kyma 7, I can only think something was wrong with my hardware (the ensemble or the Paca).

Nevertheless, my Paca is working fine with an old motu ultralight, and the ensemble is working perfectly with my computers.. sigh..  

So I’m now looking to buy a tc electronic impact twin instead because I particularly detest the sound coming from motu’s converters.
Especially, after been using the stellar IO’s of the Capybara..

Although, after reading your post I might attempt to buy another ensemble at some point in the future and give it another try..

Thank you very much for sharing the info.

Best,

eli
Okay, glad I could help. Good luck with the set-up and please let me know if you need me to check anything else.
0 votes
Just to be clear you mean the Apogee Ensemble Silver mk1 version?

Have you tried removing all Apogee Drivers from the mac and then connecting the Ensemble to the Paca and the Paca to the computer to see if that works?

Sorry if you have already tried this.
answered Jun 17 by simon-smith (Practitioner) (370 points)
Much appreciated for your help.
Yes, this is the silver apogee ensemble with firewire
I even tried to reset the firmware using another computer but I couldn't do it because the ensemble already has the latest firmware.
So the firmware option was greyed out..
I also reset the ensemble numerous times but nothing..
I don't have any apogee drivers installed on my mac mini but it seems that there's a native mac driver compatible with the ensemble.
If anyone knows how to find that system extension, I'll try to delete it form the mac if I can..
Nevertheless, the same problem happens on my PC running Windows 10, and without any apogee drivers installed..
Thanks all for your help
e.
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