Integrate a simple USB Audio player for common file formats

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This topic contains 41 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of volounteer volounteer 1 year, 6 months ago.

Viewing 12 posts - 31 through 42 (of 42 total)
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  • #99592
    Profile photo of volounteer
    volounteer
    Participant

    True. If it were advertised or hyped it should be there and work.
    OTOH smart consumers insist on a demonstration to prove that it is really there.

    Making suggestions is legitimate but not likely to get things fixed until the next generation unless it is a true problem now not just something nice to have. Although some things may have been planned but not ready when the device was shipped earlier due to competitive needs to get out there now. Those should have been clear as not yet available.

    I doubt that AH will do anything about the SQ drive issue.
    What they should do is make their own USB storage devices that are guaranteed to work.
    But their fix was to have an alleged database of possibly compatible devices.

    I really think since this is a massive problem that they would have done something already if it were feasible.
    And I hope the next generation has multiple ways to record USB, SD card, ESP, and whatever but not just one way like now.

    #99599
    Profile photo of Dilettant
    Dilettant
    Participant

    I think the obviously fix for next generation is to throw away the FPGA USB Storage implementation and intgegrate some embedded SoC or small computer into the mixing desk to handle that. Not the USB Audio/MIDI interface – those seem to work very well, no reason to kill them.

    But even a 40$ (for end Users!) RasPi with Raspbian or some BSD on it would do USB Storage very well out of the Box. That could be directly connected to USB Audio/MIDI Interface for that part.

    Such a Subsystem could bring many additional benefits since it could use standard free software libraries for many purposes beside the core mixing task.

    A multi format Audio Player or Multi Track Recorder is just hacking some user Interface over existing free libraries on that. Some kind of “MIDI Script sequencer” – for example, action sequences for soft keys would just be some MIDI Macros there. Streaming connectivity – Playback from Audio Streaming Services from Internet or directly live-stream a mix to any youtube account would not be too hard to implement. Managing stored Shows and Scenes would be much more easy. Using Mixer Faders to send DMX Control messages just would need some “MIDI to DMX Translator” which is not so hard to implement and a DMX interface (which could be connected via USB). Integrate some DLNA Server to directy download recordings to Musician’s tablets after Studio Sessions may make sense.

    The List of interesting features that become possible with little effort on that is endless. And even existing things may get more easy – various Presets for example would not need to get management implemented on the FPGA but could be simple files on an internal Storage managed by some kind of file explorer or even database.

    However, for sure that will not happen on now existing Mixers. It could be done by creating an external device connected to the USB Port on the backside of the mixer but the benefit of that compared to attaching a Notebook is too low.

    Anyway, i think they will at least try to extend USB Storage compatibility to some more acceptable level – maybe to most NVME and SATA SSD Drives, that should not be too hard – or at least bring in a really working compatibility list with bigger devices which is much less hard than one with thumb drives.

    I personally don’t think they’ll bother on thumb drives at all since without a really big write cache this will stay unmanageable. But to get most available SSD Boxes working would calm down most disguised users since that gives a feasonable solution to most cases with fairly low additional investment.

    #99600
    Profile photo of volounteer
    volounteer
    Participant

    I dont think they will do anything in this generation.
    And I doubt they will have any computers or databases inside the next one either.
    They are trying to maximise performance while minimizing costs at the same time while ensuring reliability; along with being competitive in the marketplace.
    But whatever they do they should guarantee providing devices to record on that will work so the user does not have these problems.

    #99628
    Profile photo of Dilettant
    Dilettant
    Participant

    Well the “minimize costs” thing went terribly wrong with SQ Drive i think. According to the Product Manager they have spent “hundreds of hours of developer time” on this.

    Integrating some SoC Subsystem based on open standards optionally sitting on USB Audio/MIDI is much less work i would say. But we have to see the timeline, too. The SQ Series must have been developed in 2010 or so – the RasPi was not as wide as now then, nor was Arduino. Some a little more “ugly” Arm Plattforms of course were.

    So i would not bet they don’t go that way in future. Maybe first on dLive or other bigger consoles but within a decade there will sure be mixers in the Market that do – maybe from other vendors – and they will have a massive strategic benefit from being extendable in many aspects then.

    #99629
    Profile photo of Andre S
    Andre S
    Participant

    Well the “minimize costs” thing went terribly wrong with SQ Drive i think.

    May I ask, what exactly “went terribly wrong” with SQ Drive? The only headache I had, was finding the right SSD and USB stick.

    Cheers,
    André

    #99633
    Profile photo of volounteer
    volounteer
    Participant

    What went wrong is that usb3 became usb3.1 and both have problems the way vendors implemented them.
    usb2 memory sticks are all good to go. finding a usb3 is trickier but I finally found a package.

    Definitely an annoyance but not gone terrible bad like @dilettant claims.
    I would fault the documentation more than the hardware for having issues.

    #99637
    Profile photo of Dilettant
    Dilettant
    Participant

    It went terribly wrong that although there were spent “hundreds of hours of developer time” it is obviously no more possible to keep up compatibility with really available devices.

    Practically the whole Market of USB Storage Hosts out there managed to do that, A&H says officially “we can not”. They can’t even suggest a single reliable working actually available device. If you call that “done right” we better not ask what you would call “gotten wrong”.

    Such a situation is a classical symptom when someone tries to self-implement complex things that are already widely standardized instead of using an already existing widespread standard implementation. According to KeithJ A&H the reason was “didn’t want the costs for integrating extra hardware” “some other consequences” which seem to be very special. Well, at least the cost argument is more than questionable after wasting hundreds of developer hours for tries to fix compatibility. It obviously from today’s sight was a bad design decision to do that like they did. However, such things happen in best families. Just they should not be repeated then.

    USB 2.0 won’t help on the long run. That is a dead end, nobody will develop new devices for that. Even new Hosts (smartphones, notebooks, desktop PCs) massively tend to only have USB-C Connectors (mainly because they need less space and are easier to use for end users).

    Since USB 3.0 officially and in most cases also practically keeps downward compatibility, there should be no problem with that at all. To be honest i know not a single other USB 2.0 host that reported massive Problems with USB3 devices despite some hard coded size limits when they only implemented FAT Filesystems.

    So, SQ obviously has a Problem here.

    That is _not_ because of “the way vendors implemented them” since their implementations seem to be perfectly legal in the sense of the USB Standards and work with almost any old USB2 Host out there. It is because A&H could or did not implement it “that way” and according to their statements also has made the SQ Hardware too unflexible to fix that specific Problem by rolling out new firmware.

    However, when you have found a working device, it will work for you. Just if you often need to change that or need to buy new ones, you are doomed to do more excessive testing since the incompatibilities can even hit devices of same vendor and model.

    #99638
    Profile photo of volounteer
    volounteer
    Participant

    USB2 was fine then.
    It is now that there is a problem.

    With 2020 hindsight perhaps AH should have done something different then what they chose to do.
    Hopefully their management PHBs will learn from that bleepup and do not do anything like that again.
    But history says that PHBs never learn anything except new ways to blame the engineers:)

    OTOH it is hard to protect about what other OEMs do who make the devices as well as new standards that are not fully compatible.
    If what the OEMs did was strictly ‘legal’ as in 100.00000% conformance to all the usb standards, then the standard is at fault.

    OTOH the AH gear is aimed primarily at live sound not studio work.
    Would be interesting to see what % of users really need the SQ or Qu drive at all.

    My complaint is that it does not work on every memory stick to even recognize it exists, just to save a show.
    That sounds like an AH effupp.

    We dont need 32 stereo channels being sent to a recording device.
    We dont even need one stereo channel sent to the usb drive.
    We just need an easier way to save the settings and it took us months to find a working usb stick for that.
    And that was an old usb2 I found in my office at home, when ones I had bought failed.
    We did finally find a new usb drive that would work well over a year after the mixer was installed.

    #99665
    Profile photo of Dave Meadowcroft
    Dave Meadowcroft
    Participant

    What is a PHB? You seem fond of acronyms and assume everyone knows what you mean!

    Re recording functionality, speak for yourself… I use the SQ live and recording is an absolute must have on a lot of gigs. I can multitrack to a laptop if needed, but there’s no need to have the extra set up when SQ Drive can handle it in most situations. Your use situation may be different but as a live engineer in a music venue it’s not unusual to be asked to at least record a stereo mix!

    Personally, I’ve only used 2 USB devices with the SQ, a 128 GB SanDisk Ultra Fit USB 3 thumb drive and a Samsung T7 1 TB SSD also USB 3 and I’ve had zero problems.
    The trick seems to be formatting to FAT32 with a 32 kB allocation size. I used this tool on both drives: https://ridgecrop.co.uk/guiformat.exe
    I’ve never formatted in the desk either, the desk writes it’s folder structure to a freshly formatted drive when it’s inserted so there’s no need.

    #99668
    Profile photo of volounteer
    volounteer
    Participant

    PHB = pointy haired boss. From the comic strip Dilbert.
    It is a very common term in USA, but maybe not so much in UK.

    A PHB is notable for his micromanagement, gross incompetence, obliviousness to his surroundings, and unhelpful buzzword usage; yet somehow retains power in the workplace.

    #99689
    Profile photo of Dilettant
    Dilettant
    Participant

    If what the OEMs did was strictly ‘legal’ as in 100.00000% conformance to all the usb standards, then the standard is at fault.

    That is wrong by definition. A Standard is never fault, a Standard _defines_ what is right. It may be dysfunctional but then nobody can (and hopefully will) implement it.

    So if something does not work like a Standard says, either one of the parts implementing the Standard _must_ be faulty or it is proven that the whole Standard is unimplementable. If you know something is not implementable, you may not sell it at all.

    BTW accoring to t he Standard, any USB 3.0 device is also an USB2 Device. By definition. It _can_ do some things on USB3 ports only but it has to work on USB 2 ports as well. And since most tested USB3 devices work fine at Computers on USB2 Ports, it does not seem that they are broken about that. At least, not the big Mass. They may be too slow for your application, of course. But if i look at my USB3 SSD, we do not talk about “too slow”. We talk about “even recognition or formatting keeps hanging in some endless loop”.

    Formatting my USB/NVME SSD (which also works fine on USB2 with computers) did not help, tried several variantes of VFAT and FAT and formatting in the desk. The Maximum i got out was that the Mixer starts to save a Show and then hat task keeps “working” forever – and after repowering or reconnecting, the storage is “checking” forever.

    #99691
    Profile photo of volounteer
    volounteer
    Participant

    you are quibbling
    if the standard does not work then clearly it has problems

    the standard defines what is
    but that does not mean it is right
    so like clinton said it depends what the meaning of is is

    if the standard has problems then it is at fault
    and the usb standard definitely has problems

    it may work in many cases
    but it does not work in all cases
    and people expect it to work in cases where it is failing
    but it fails because it is inconsistent and erroneous as a standard

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