Bill Roper (billroper) wrote,
Bill Roper

Hardware Wars

There is absolutely nothing in the world that's like working with a piece of hardware that you haven't used in several years. I've been intending to use the ProjectMix I/O box, but that intention has been hiding out where good intentions go to hide, I'm afraid. Still, there's no time like the present.

I went down into the basement and loaded up Cubase 5 on the studio computer so that I could update the licenses. Then I grabbed the dongles and took them upstairs so I could work with the new portable. I fired up the nice new Toshiba laptop, then switched on the Bluetooth mouse that I'd used the previous day. And the mouse didn't work at all. About an hour of clicking, swearing, and rediscovery followed to no avail. Finally, I found a post that said that the update to the RealTek network driver that Microsoft had sent out -- and which I'd cleverly loaded -- disables a Bluetooth mouse. So I rolled the driver back and the mouse started working again. Thanks, Microsoft!

Then it was time to install Cubase from the files I'd downloaded the day before. No problem. Now to fire up the ProjectMix I/O. I went to plug in the power cord --

And discovered that the beast wants a 9V 3500 ma wall wart. Ack! Where's the wall wart? Well, it wasn't it the bucket of stuff that I haul around when recording on the road. And it wasn't in the microphone bag. Nor was it in any of the cabinets. Maybe it was buried in that mound of stuff that covers the bookcases in the studio.

The studio was shortly much cleaner. Not clean, but cleaner. But still no wall wart. Damn.

I decided to grab the external eSATA hard disk and haul it upstairs to test it out. When I plugged it into the power strip, it refused to power up. What the heck? I went back to the basement and grabbed a different power cord. Still no power. I grabbed the other eSATA hard disk and brought it up and plugged it in. No power.

Ok, this is ridiculous. Two different drives can't just die sitting on the shelf. One was unlikely enough. I grabbed the power cord out of the power strip and plugged it directly into the wall outlet.

The drive promptly spun up.

After depositing the power strip in the trash and acquiring another one, I hooked up the drive. It glitched slightly upon being connected to the Toshiba laptop, but the glitch was quickly cured and the drive was neatly visible to the laptop. It even had Cubase tracks on it that I'd recorded when I was testing out this setup several years ago. Good! A project to test with.

If only I had the wall wart.

It was about this time that daisy_knotwise pulled out a wicker basket and extracted from it the wall wart and some additional software for the ProjectMix. She'd put it there when I apparently left it "decoratively draped" across the hutch in the dining room. Since that was before Katie was born, draping cords was safer then. I thanked her and plugged the beastie in. It happily powered up.

And the M-Audio control panel software refused to recognize it. Oh, come on!

After a while, I managed to -- pretty much completely by accident! -- trip over the menu item that had been installed on the laptop when I installed the drivers. The one that upgrades the firmware of the ProjectMix to work with Vista. And apparently Windows 7, because once I did that, the control panel software saw the ProjectMix. Yay!

Now, into Cubase. Cubase would happily play back the old project through the speakers on the laptop, but it wanted nothing to do with passing commands or audio from the ProjectMix. Eventually, I went through the old setup documentation for the ProjectMix, translated it to match the current Cubase layout and got the MIDI connection working.

Audio was still a massive failure. At least, it was until I found the right spot to switch to the M-Audio firewire drive and remap all of the channels. And then I was finally able to record and monitor.

I still have to hook up the Octopre and map its eight channels of I/O into Cubase, but when I finish that, I think I'll have this ready to go.

And then I will unleash it on Capricon. :)
Tags: cons, filk, musings, tech

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