MOTU 896HD and the original 896 clocking together bug

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[Edit Feb 2006: The bug which sparked this thread has now been fixed. The continuing discussion on clocking a multiple-MOTU-interface system and maximizing track-count has been broken out to a new thread:
http://www.silentway.com/forum/clocking-multiple-motu-firewire-audio-interfaces-max-tracks

Read on for the bug and the fix....]

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This is a confirmed bug for which MOTU is working on a fix. This is with the MOTU FireWire driver version 1.07 for Mac OS X [and was not fixed in version 1.09 on 3/31/04, see below]. I don't know if the PC drivers have this bug.

The newer 896HD and the original 896 (the 896HD's older brother) will only clock together on the "internal" firewire clock if the 896 is first in the physical FireWire chain, AND only if the 896 is the clock master. Individually they each work fine.

If the 896HD is first in the chain, the 896 will not clock off of it. If the 896HD is first in the chain, the original 896 can not be the clock master either. You must put the original 896 first. Another workaround might be to use an external wordclock cable.

My 896HD has ROM 1.01, boot loader 1.0
My 896 has ROM 1.02, hardware v2

I found this bug and confirmed it with a MOTU Senior Technician after I ran MANY trial-and-error tests. We ruled out a hardware malfunction in my particular unit by swapping my 896HD with a new one (which didn't fix the problem). They knew about this bug as of 1/16/04.

Check here (requires free login) to see if they have released a newer driver:
http://www.motu.com/download

(Another work-around is to use an external wordclock cable.)

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On 3/31/04 MOTU released version 1.09 of the MOTU FireWire driver.

I have tested this new driver and found that it does not fix the clocking problem I discovered in late 2003. There is one minor improvement but essentially the problem remains.

The original 1.07 problem summary:
Quote:The 896HD and the 896 only clock together if the 896 is first in the physical FireWire chain, AND only if the 896 is the clock master. Individually they each work fine. OS 10.2.8, FireWire Driver 1.07, G4 PowerBook 867/768MB.

My 896HD has "ROM 1.01, boot loader 1.0"
My 896 has "ROM 1.02, hardware v2"

With the new 1.09 driver dated 3/31/04, the 896 still must be the clock master. If the 896HD is the clock master, the 896 just flashes it's light, indicating that it is not clocking (regardless of physical FireWire chain order.)

The only seemingly new development with 1.09 is that the 896HD and the 896 WILL clock together if the 896HD is first in the physical FireWire chain AND the 896 is the master. This is an improvement, because with 1.07 the 896 needed to be first in the physical chain. But the 896 still needs to be the clock master in this configuration which is not correct.

When the 896 is first in the physical chain, the 896 must be the clock master (as it was with 1.07). The 896 will not clock off of the 896HD in this configuration.

All of this is when used with Mac OS X 10.2.8.

I have informed MOTU that this bug still exists and they are "looking into it further." I will report any new developments here.

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As of 10-16-04, there has been no update to the 1.09 driver.

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Joined: 12/15/2004

There is a bigger problem of synchronization between MOTU896 and MOTU896HD on Windows2000. There is no way to clock them together as described on this page or in MOTU user guide . Newest drivers (3.32) were used without changes. I am very surprised - it seems that only external synchronizer must be used.
Does anybody have the same experience?

Martin

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Sorry, I don't have any way to test Win2K, nor any experience with MOTU interfaces running with Win2K. Hopefully other forum visitors will chime in.

But in other news, MOTU has come out with a new driver for Mac OS X, version 1.2.1 (Jan 17, 2005). [The OS 9 driver remains unchanged at 3.12 (from 1/12/2004).] I will test 1.2.1 and report back here if it has fixed the clocking problems.

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I have tested the new driver, 1.2.1 (released 1/17/05), and this problem has still not been fixed! It is the same as before:

If the 896HD is the clock master, the 896 just flashes it's light, indicating that it is not clocking (regardless of physical FireWire chain order.)

The 896 must be the clock master (as it was with 1.07). The 896 will not clock off of the 896HD.

All of this is when used with Mac OS X 10.2.8.

Is has now been over 1 year that MOTU has known of this bug. Today I received confirmation from them that this bug has been reported to the development team.

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Problem solved - dont use VIA FireWire chips.......

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Interesting- could you elaborate? What computers use VIA FireWire chips?

I assume that by "problem solved" you're referring to your windows 2000 problem, not my Mac problem.

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Problem of synchronization on W2K was solved, not position on FireWire cable.
Sorry for misunderstanding.
The problem of the position of 896 (must be first on FireWire cable) and 896HD still remains on W2Ks too.
VIA chipsets are used on a lot of PC motherboards. My is MSI K6 Delta FISR.
So I had tried to buy PCI FireWire controller with Texas Instrument chipset and synchronization is working!
Martin

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Joined: 02/12/2009

Hi everyone, I'm back to report on FireWire driver version 1.2.5, which was released on May 10th, 2005.

From my tests, the bug seems to have been fixed! I no longer see the flashing clock indicator on either the 896 or the 896HD no matter what I do.

I have also tested this driver (1.2.5) in OS X 10.3.9. And it works fine there too.

Interestingly, the clock light doesn't even flash if I set the interfaces at different sample rates, or if I put them in a "clock loop" by clocking off each other. Did they just turn off the error light or did they fix the underlying problem?

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My conclusion: the safest bet for a multiple-MOTU-interface system is to use word clock via BNC cables. For more on this, a further discussion has been split into a new thread:

http://www.silentway.com/node/1290

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