reliable installation hardware advice


    Jan 30 2007 | 8:21 am
    Hi
    I'm creating a 6 channel gallery installation which will run for a month. No great processor overhead, but playing back multi channel audio files (up to 20ch). The gallery has a limited budget, but I will have 6 small, powered Genelecs so I need an interface with balanced outputs.
    I'm looking at the Presonus Firebox (firewire, 6ch, balanced) which seems to have had support on this list.
    Any views on: Mac mini vs iMac for robustness and the necessity of external 7200 firewire drive (? suggestions for what might be reliable & inexpensive - only need a few GB)
    (I don't get to keep the gear afterwards...)
    thanks
    Alistair

    • Jan 30 2007 | 9:17 am
      I have an Mac mini running an installation since almost 20 monthes, with a M-Audio410 (unbalanced outputs I'm afraid) using 4 outputs. All sounds are in RAM, the patch also does some processing on a microphone source, but there is no disc access. There were no problems so far. Make sure you test carefully the auto-reboot procedure: with the 410, I had to wait a couple of second after restart before the soundcard was recognized, so I had to delay the launch of Max/MSP.
      p
    • Jan 30 2007 | 9:25 am
      Hi Alistair,
      Be very careful in choosing your gear/operating system/etc. I've done a museum installation that is still not stable after a year. Even the fairly reliable MOTU hardware (my 828mk2 has worked flawless for years) lets me down all the time. Especially the MOTU Traveler will crash and/or loose its settings all the time. As to your Max patch: don't assume that because it works nicely in the comfort of your laptop it will work fine in an installation. Be prepared for all sorts of weird crashes and stalls. Will the gallery people properly start and stop your installation every day or will they just yank power? Wiil you be there the whole month to troubleshoot/restart when things go wrong? Otherwise you need to instruct other people what to do in case of problems. Install a VNC server so you can remotely administer the installation. That is, if you have internetconnectivity in the gallery... Make a shell app so you can remotely restart the system via SSH. Is the gallery supervised all the time? My installation is suffering from vandalism. The whole museum is chockful with camera's except for the two rooms my installation is in...
      I will try to start a new thread on this list in the hope that people will exchange information about their experiences with installation work done in Max. Maybe later today.
      Good luck. You will need it.
      Zip Boterbloem Media Mechanics Zwaluwstraat 54 2025 VR Haarlem The Netherlands +31627014758 zip@knoware.nl
    • Jan 30 2007 | 9:39 am
      I have had very good experience with the Firebox
      L
      On 30 Jan 2007, at 08:19, alistair macdonald wrote:
      > I'm looking at the Presonus Firebox (firewire, 6ch, balanced) which > seems to have had support on this list.
      Lawrence Casserley - lawrence@lcasserley.co.uk Lawrence Electronic Operations - www.lcasserley.co.uk Colourscape Music Festivals - www.colourscape.org.uk
    • Jan 30 2007 | 10:14 am
      I have been running max based installations for over five years now without any of these problems. Where there have been problems they have all been down to hardware issues. My patches, and max itself, have always worked fine.
      The only one where I had real problems, a network of three iMacs with pressure sensors, video cameras, microphones, speakers and DMX light controller was all down to the MOTU 828 Mk1, which refused to work reliably with the iMac, and a Midisport 2x2, which kept stopping (I noticed that that was the one that only had inputs, so I sent it some redundant midi output and it was happy!). OTOH, after several months of intermittent problems and replacing the audio interface, it settled down and has now been running for over five years. Occasionally one of the iMacs falls over, but somebody just reboots it and everything is fine.
      One installation in Germany, I discovered afterwards that one of the attendants never bothered to power down properly, despite clear instructions - there were around 50 "Rescued from Macintosh" folders in the trash at the end (that was on OS9), but it worked perfectly throughout the show.
      So don't be frightened! Make Sure your patch runs well - make sure your hardware is all compatible - test it thoroughly (often the hardest thing - I usually can't put the whole system together until I get into the gallery).
      Best
      L
      Lawrence Casserley - lawrence@lcasserley.co.uk Lawrence Electronic Operations - www.lcasserley.co.uk Colourscape Music Festivals - www.colourscape.org.uk
    • Jan 30 2007 | 10:16 am
      I have very reliable experiences with the MOTU 828mkII (not the traveler).
      I have been playing back 20 channels of audio from the internal disk of a mac mini g4 and also from a mac mini intel without any problems.
      best,
      Edwin
    • Jan 30 2007 | 11:21 am
      Hi Edwin,
      I swapped the Travelers for 828 mk2's (my 828 mk2 has been troublefree for years) where possible. Unfortunately, even the 828's will sometimes crash. That is, emit high pitched noise that will destroy the speakers attached to them. A reset will fix this, but it sometimes takes hours before someone in the miuseum notices the problem and gets hold of a technical savvy person and then the speakers are toast. The speaker manufacturer will not swap them for free, he says this is not their fault. So this costs a lot of money. Weird thing, the Travelers I replaced have been used for live recording using Logic Pro, without any problems whatsoever for over a year now.
      Best,
      Zip Boterbloem Media Mechanics Zwaluwstraat 54 2025 VR Haarlem The Netherlands +31627014758 zip@knoware.nl
    • Jan 30 2007 | 11:40 am
      Hi Lawrence,
      Interesting. The network installation, is that properly booted/shut down every day? What versions of Max? Os9? OSX? Is your network part of a bigger network? I'm interested in all the details, please reply to me privately if you feel this is a waste of group bandwidth. BTW, I swapped suspect interface hardware where possible, but this hasn't fixed all problems.
      You don't have other irritating problems like disappearing startup items, resetting Audio/MIDI prefs, changing display settings etc. I have these on a regular basis.
      Best,
      Zip
      Zip Boterbloem Media Mechanics Zwaluwstraat 54 2025 VR Haarlem The Netherlands +31627014758 zip@knoware.nl
    • Jan 30 2007 | 12:48 pm
    • Jan 30 2007 | 1:01 pm
      Op 30-jan-2007, om 13:48 heeft Leopold Frey het volgende geschreven:
      > for info : I had recently a problem with my firewire Traveler (high > pitched noise) with a powerbook. > I solved this by powering the traveler with it's own adaptor > instead of the PB FW port.
      Tried all that, Leo. Didn't prevent the high pitched noise problem from occurring, unfortunately.
      Best,
      Zip
    • Jan 30 2007 | 4:29 pm
      Hi Zip,
      Interesting! I've never experienced this problem. What I have experienced however is that the 828mkII can produce a high frequency kind of noise for one or two seconds when you power down the computer unexpectedly or disconnect the interface unexpectedly. I have also been using two 828mkII's together on one firewire port and didn't experience problems.
      best,
    • Jan 30 2007 | 5:27 pm
      On 30 Jan 2007, at 11:40, Zip Boterbloem wrote:
      > Hi Lawrence, > > Interesting. The network installation, is that properly booted/shut > down every day? Yes - the staff there are very good - I went out of my way to make it as simple as possible, and AFAIK it is always done correctly.
      > What versions of Max? Os9? OSX? This one is on OS9 - can't remember the exact version, but I think it's the last one they did.
      > Is your network part of a bigger network? No - just the three iMacs - again can't quote version immediately, but they have firewire (first model to have that?) It was 2001 when I put that stuff in. Also (apologies for slight misinformation here) they are not connected by ethernet, but by MIDI!
      > I'm interested in all the details, please reply to me privately if > you feel this is a waste of group bandwidth.
      I think this is still relevant.
      > BTW, I swapped suspect interface hardware where possible, but this > hasn't fixed all problems.
      It certainly did for me - I have not encountered these problems anywhere else. > > You don't have other irritating problems like disappearing startup > items, resetting Audio/MIDI prefs, changing display settings etc. I > have these on a regular basis. > No - I haven't encountered any of these problems on OS9 or OSX.
      Best
      L
      Lawrence Casserley - lawrence@lcasserley.co.uk Lawrence Electronic Operations - www.lcasserley.co.uk Colourscape Music Festivals - www.colourscape.org.uk
    • Feb 01 2007 | 6:29 am
      Quote: Zip Boterbloem wrote on Tue, 30 January 2007 03:21 ---------------------------------------------------- > I swapped the Travelers for 828 mk2's (my 828 mk2 has been > troublefree for years) where possible. Unfortunately, even the 828's > will sometimes crash. That is, emit high pitched noise that will > destroy the speakers attached to them.
      I've had an installation running for almost three years now, and it occasionally wigs out like this. Two 828's, and 14 channel sound in a parking garage in LA, quite embarrassing. We're now putting a key pad on the outside of the steel box it's in, so staff can shut it off. (Not everyone has the key.) The steel box protects us against vandals, but every summer the heat becomes a problem.
      In addition to power-cycling the computer, we bought one of these guys to power-cycle all the other gear:
      VNC is indispensable. I check the status very often. I also use shell to have it send me emails every day.
      We're using a Desktop G4, but have done shorter-term installations with a Mac Mini successfully.
      That being said, it's still up after three years. :-)
      mzed
    • Feb 01 2007 | 10:46 am
      It may be an appropriate moment to remind people about Keep-It-Up, a very flexible application for managing timed power-cycling, automatically check against crashes, and all the other stuff an installation needs.
      Recommended by a satisfied customer.
      The site recently moved to http://users.skynet.be/keepitup/
      On 1-Feb-2007, at 7:29, mzed wrote: > I've had an installation running for almost three years now, and it > occasionally wigs out like this. Two 828's, and 14 channel sound > in a parking garage in LA, quite embarrassing. We're now putting a > key pad on the outside of the steel box it's in, so staff can shut > it off. (Not everyone has the key.) The steel box protects us > against vandals, but every summer the heat becomes a problem. > > In addition to power-cycling the computer, we bought one of these > guys to power-cycle all the other gear: > > http://www.sophisticated.com/products/powerkey/pkp_650.html > > VNC is indispensable. I check the status very often. I also use > shell to have it send me emails every day. > > We're using a Desktop G4, but have done shorter-term installations > with a Mac Mini successfully. > > That being said, it's still up after three years. :-)
      -------------- http://www.bek.no/~pcastine/Litter/ ------------- Peter Castine +--> Litter Power & Litter Bundle for Jitter Universal Binaries on the way iCE: Sequencing, Recording & Interface Building for |home | chez nous| Max/MSP Extremely cool |bei uns | i nostri| http://www.dspaudio.com/ http://www.castine.de
    • Feb 01 2007 | 12:00 pm
      Op 1-feb-2007, om 7:29 heeft mzed het volgende geschreven:
      Unfortunately 110V only. We're on 240V here in The Netherlands. > > VNC is indispensable. I check the status very often. I also use > shell to have it send me emails every day.
      Yes. That's what I do too.
      > > We're using a Desktop G4, but have done shorter-term installations > with a Mac Mini successfully.
      I'm using a mix of macmini's and G5's.
      Thanks for the info. Are you runnung OS9 or X? Did you 'tune' the system? If so, what did you do? Do you regeularly run system maintenance stuff? Is the installation on 24/7 or do you restart every day?
      Best,
      Zip
    • Feb 01 2007 | 12:04 pm
      Op 1-feb-2007, om 11:46 heeft Peter Castine het volgende geschreven:
      > It may be an appropriate moment to remind people about Keep-It-Up, > a very flexible application for managing timed power-cycling, > automatically check against crashes, and all the other stuff an > installation needs. > > Recommended by a satisfied customer. > > The site recently moved to http://users.skynet.be/keepitup/ > >
      Wow. This looks great. Thanks, Peter!
      Best,
      Zip
    • Feb 01 2007 | 7:54 pm
      Thanks to everybody for all the info so far - I've downloaded Keep It Up which looks like it could be very useful (at a very reasonable shareware cost)
      Any thoughts on external fiewire drives for sound playback? Our local supplier tells us that the La Cie units we have had in the past are not so reliable - poorer drives in their enclosures (availability in the USA preferred as that's where it will be - Madison, Wisconsin if any of you are there from early April...)
      Alistair
    • Feb 01 2007 | 8:44 pm
      Not sure which particular LaCie drives you're referring to, but our experience with LaCie FW drives in general has not been so good; only 2 out of 6 400GB drives working a year or so after we bought them (and they were very noisy too), and a couple of the smaller bus-powered drives we bought to loan to students recently have failed already, Cheers Roger
      On 1/2/07 19:54, "alistair macdonald" wrote:
      > > Thanks to everybody for all the info so far - I've downloaded Keep It Up which > looks like it could be very useful (at a very reasonable shareware cost) > > Any thoughts on external fiewire drives for sound playback? Our local supplier > tells us that the La Cie units we have had in the past are not so reliable - > poorer drives in their enclosures (availability in the USA preferred as that's > where it will be - Madison, Wisconsin if any of you are there from early > April...) > > Alistair
    • Feb 02 2007 | 12:17 am
      > > Thanks for the info. Are you runnung OS9 or X? Did you 'tune' the > system? If so, what did you do? Do you regeularly run system > maintenance stuff? Is the installation on 24/7 or do you restart > every day? > > Best,
      OS X (Still at 10.3)
      No particular system tuning. Restart every day. (Although restart every week has worked for us on other things.)
      System maintenance is pretty irregular. One of us visits it every six months or so, to see how it's going. We've pulled it into the studio once in three years for some serious issues. I check it out on VNC every week or so.
      mz
    • Feb 02 2007 | 12:37 am
      I think the answer is "no", but thought I'd ask:
      Is there a [window] or max message that can be used to create a transparent window in max?
      If not, I wonder if [mxj] would allow this (java.awt.Window)...
    • Feb 02 2007 | 12:37 am
      > > Thanks for the info. Are you runnung OS9 or X? Did you 'tune' the > system? If so, what did you do? Do you regeularly run system > maintenance stuff? Is the installation on 24/7 or do you restart > every day? > > Best,
      OS X (Still at 10.3)
      No particular system tuning. Restart every day. (Although restart every week has worked for us on other things.)
      System maintenance is pretty irregular. One of us visits it every six months or so, to see how it's going. We've pulled it into the studio once in three years for some serious issues. I check it out on VNC every week or so.
      mz
    • Feb 02 2007 | 12:45 am
      You can set up macs to automatically shut off properly at a specific time. If you put a part in your patch to detect the time and shut down the patch before the computer powers off. Then you can also make it power up and start up the installation app (if you make it into a stand alone) so that the people at the gallery/museum never have to do a thing but turn it on in the morning :D
      Thats what I do, so many computer illiterate staff members, and ease of use is always the best thing to avoid problems.
      Also, I reccomend minimac if you don't need a monitor... that way its cheaper and it should still run with no screen and if you have it set up as I said above, its a simple matter of hitting the powerbutton and off you go!!
      Good luck!
    • Feb 02 2007 | 12:51 am
      You can change the startup and shutdown times in the energy saver, and you can set up startup programs with the account settings!
    • Feb 02 2007 | 12:53 am
      also yes you can make a window transparent with io.window
    • Feb 02 2007 | 1:16 am
      > I think the answer is "no", but thought I'd ask: > > Is there a [window] or max message that can be used to create a > transparent window in max?
      hi brad, check out windowmanager: http://www.wojciechkosma.kylos.pl/soft/ cheers, g.
    • Feb 02 2007 | 4:43 am
      Wow, great! This is exactly what I needed!
      On Fri, 2 Feb 2007, Georg Bosch wrote:
      >> Is there a [window] or max message that can be used to create a transparent >> window in max? > > hi brad, > check out windowmanager: > http://www.wojciechkosma.kylos.pl/soft/ > cheers, g.
    • Feb 04 2007 | 6:36 am
      Yeah. We are trying this out for a clients installation(s). This solves a few issues and adds functionality to our kind of iffy home brew solutions.
      Thanks for pointing this app out, much obliged!
      On Feb 1, 2007, at 7:04 AM, Zip Boterbloem wrote:
      > > > Op 1-feb-2007, om 11:46 heeft Peter Castine het volgende geschreven: > >> It may be an appropriate moment to remind people about Keep-It-Up, >> a very flexible application for managing timed power-cycling, >> automatically check against crashes, and all the other stuff an >> installation needs. >> >> Recommended by a satisfied customer. >> >> The site recently moved to http://users.skynet.be/keepitup/ >> >> > > Wow. This looks great. Thanks, Peter! > > Best, > > Zip >
      v a d e //
      www.vade.info abstrakt.vade.info
    • Feb 05 2007 | 6:16 pm
    • Feb 06 2007 | 7:40 am
    • Feb 06 2007 | 4:24 pm
      Patrick Delges wrote: > We know it was caused by some people from the museum's staff who was > bored to hear Pousseur's music 4 hours every day during 3 monthes, at a > not so low volume.
      You have to adjust your art to the taste of the stuff I guess...
      Stefan
      -- Stefan Tiedje------------x------- --_____-----------|-------------- --(_|_ ----|-----|-----()------- -- _|_)----|-----()-------------- ----------()--------www.ccmix.com
    • Jul 20 2007 | 9:08 am
      I am creating an installation called 'SynthCity' - an interactive model of a city using max/msp with 4 channels of sound. Would like to know what is the best way to restart/shut down the patch/computer when there is no one is operating the model. After an operator has finished playing with the model the audio needs to be automatically turned off. I using a mini mac which will need to be restarted each day from 2 months is there a way to launch my patch on restart? Some sort of script within the mac? Thanks for any help. mark pilkington
    • Jul 20 2007 | 9:27 am
      > >I using a mini mac which will need to be restarted each day from 2 >months is there a way to launch my patch on restart? Some sort of >script within the mac?
      in preferences system, users (or accounts - comptes in french), startup - put your patch/its alis here
      best
      kasper
    • Jul 20 2007 | 10:29 am
      I started this thread and followed the great advice. My installation ran without hitch for 3 months. Mac mini with Presonus Firebox & external firewire disk. I set the Mac to startup & shutdown every day (in System Prefs/Energy Saver) but used Keepitup (http://users.skynet.be/keepitup/) for 2 reasons. Firstly if Max crashes it will restart it (restart your patch) But secondly, and more critically, since I was using an external drive, if I used login items to launch the patch, the patch would load immediately and would look for and NOT find the external disk which had not yet appeared. The patch would not function. In Keepitup you can set a delay between launch of items so I launched a blank text file on startup then told it to wait 20 seconds before launching my patch. If it's all off your internal disk this won't be an issue
      good luck
      Alistair ---------------------------------------------------- > > > >I using a mini mac which will need to be restarted each day from 2 > >months is there a way to launch my patch on restart? Some sort of > >script within the mac? > > > in preferences system, users (or accounts - comptes in french), > startup - put your patch/its alis here > > best > > kasper > ----------------------------------------------------
    • Jul 20 2007 | 12:42 pm
    • Jul 20 2007 | 12:47 pm
      Thanks for sharing the information Kasper on how to selected start up items on a restart.
      Also if any of the maxers can recomend a soundcard with 8outs that will be stable for the two month period? Currently thinking about the MOTU 828 firewire card. Any sugestions welcome.
      best
      mark pilkington
    • Jul 20 2007 | 1:20 pm
      > >Also if any of the maxers can recomend a soundcard with 8outs that >will be stable for the two month period? >Currently thinking about the MOTU 828 firewire card. >Any sugestions welcome.
      from MY experience (which is not everybodys') i would not trust a 828 (mkII) for for 2 hours !!! (had bad stories with it)
      never had any problems with RME (Used to have 2 multifaces, still use one, know a lot of people using firefaces)
      only trouble with teh fireface 400 is that 2 of the 8 outs are unbalanced (the 2 outs of the headphone) - you could also use the behringer ada8000 with any card having adat - the ADA is cheap and works well; and is cheap enough to buy a new one in case, some 2 years later (but I still use the same and have no problem)
      best
      kasper -- Kasper T. Toeplitz noise, composition, bass, computer http://www.sleazeArt.com
    • Sep 01 2007 | 2:21 am
      I have just set up the 828 mk2 with a mini mac and max crashes when I activate the dsp. Only four more days to find a solution before the launch of the exhibition. If you can help in any way as to what may be problem please let me know.
      merci
      mark pilkington
    • Sep 01 2007 | 9:36 am
      Hi,
      I have used 828mkII extensively in installations on a number of computers over several years, with very reliable results, so you should be able to get this working. Some hints:
      - I assume that you have installed the newest drivers from MOTU? - What version of OSX do you have? AFAIR the 10.4.9 or 10.4.10 introduced some glitches in AudioUnit that were later fixed by an incremental update. Do a software update, or even better: download the combo update (check the list archives for imor einfo on this). - I usually use i/o vector size 512 and the other at 64, overdrive and scheduler in audio interrupt on. - start out testing that the 828 in general work well with the OS by opening AudioMidiSetup, setting system out to 828, and chekc that you have sound through the sound card in e.g. iTunes or QuickTime. - Next start Max, and open a very simple patch, e.g. the audio out test patch from the Extras menu. Do this work, or crash Max? - Trash Max preferences and restart Max if you still have problems. - If simple patches work while the real patch crash, it might indicate that the problem is with the patch, not the sound card. If so, take a look at the crash log (or post it to the list) to see if that might give some hints on what the problem is.
      Hope you get this working, Trond
      mark pilkington wrote: > I have just set up the 828 mk2 with a mini mac and max crashes when I activate the dsp. Only four more days to find a solution before the launch of the exhibition. If you can help in any way as to what may be problem please let me know. > > merci > > mark pilkington
    • Sep 01 2007 | 10:47 am
      On 1 Sep 2007, at 10:36, Trond Lossius wrote:
      > Some hints:
      And, of course, the oldest hint of all: double-check cables and connectors. Firewire cables can be notoriously flaky.
      -- N.
      Nick Rothwell / Cassiel.com Limited www.cassiel.com www.myspace.com/cassieldotcom www.loadbang.net
    • Sep 01 2007 | 2:10 pm
      The 828 mk2 works fairly well, in my experience. The only problems I've had over the years (with several 828's) is high pitched noise instead of normal sound. This can be fixed with a couple of button presses. Unfortunately, in an installation the noise will often have fried your tweeters before someone notices something weird isd going on. So I"m not 100% happy with the 828 mk2. But it's quite a bit more reliable than the Traveler. Built quality is also a problem, and tech support van be slow to react/not very helpful.
      Things to check out: hardware malfunction(can you play iTunes stuff without problems?/doe the 828 work with other programs)/FW cable.
      Best,
      Zip
      Zip Boterbloem Media Mechanics Zwaluwstraat 54 2025 VR Haarlem The Netherlands +31627014758 zip@knoware.nl
      Op 1-sep-2007, om 11:36 heeft Trond Lossius het volgende geschreven:
      > Hi, > > I have used 828mkII extensively in installations on a number of > computers over several years, with very reliable results, so you > should be able to get this working. Some hints: > > - I assume that you have installed the newest drivers from MOTU? > - What version of OSX do you have? AFAIR the 10.4.9 or 10.4.10 > introduced some glitches in AudioUnit that were later fixed by an > incremental update. Do a software update, or even better: download > the combo update (check the list archives for imor einfo on this). > - I usually use i/o vector size 512 and the other at 64, overdrive > and scheduler in audio interrupt on. > - start out testing that the 828 in general work well with the OS > by opening AudioMidiSetup, setting system out to 828, and chekc > that you have sound through the sound card in e.g. iTunes or > QuickTime. > - Next start Max, and open a very simple patch, e.g. the audio out > test patch from the Extras menu. Do this work, or crash Max? > - Trash Max preferences and restart Max if you still have problems. > - If simple patches work while the real patch crash, it might > indicate that the problem is with the patch, not the sound card. If > so, take a look at the crash log (or post it to the list) to see if > that might give some hints on what the problem is. > > Hope you get this working, > Trond > > > mark pilkington wrote: >> I have just set up the 828 mk2 with a mini mac and max crashes >> when I activate the dsp. Only four more days to find a solution >> before the launch of the exhibition. If you can help in any way >> as to what may be problem please let me know. >> merci mark pilkington
    • Sep 04 2007 | 7:31 am
      Nick Rothwell schrieb: > And, of course, the oldest hint of all: double-check cables and > connectors. Firewire cables can be notoriously flaky.
      Yes, just had my elswise very reliable Quatafire bugout at the concert at the ICMC. Seems it was the firewire cable...
      Stefan
      -- Stefan Tiedje------------x------- --_____-----------|-------------- --(_|_ ----|-----|-----()------- -- _|_)----|-----()-------------- ----------()--------www.ccmix.com