Topic: Playback stutters when touching the fader

Hello,


i'm using alphatrack for 1 year on an XPprofessional SP2 system with RME Fireface400 and Nuendo 3.2.0.

Since two weeks i've got this problem:
while "play" alphatrack's switching to "shuttle"-modus when i'm touching the fader.
(i can force this error by fast touch an unhand the fader several times)

i installed newest drivers, but didn't get rid of the problem.

i assume that it's an hardware problem..

what do you think???

thanks
tobias

Re: Playback stutters when touching the fader

Same thing here.

I am able to reproduce it on three different Alphatrack units on three completely different systems.


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Re: Playback stutters when touching the fader

Domenico wrote:

I am able to reproduce it on three different Alphatrack units on three completely different systems.

ok - that's interesting!
For how long do you have the problems?
Did it also start someday, or was it there from the beginning ?


kind regards
tobias

Re: Playback stutters when touching the fader

Where are you seeing the "Shuttle" indication? How is the behavior (playback) changing when this occurs? Is this similar to using the shuttle mode from AlphaTrack's tough strip (Shift+tap touch strip to enable/disable)?

Can both of you verify a few things for us?

1. Laptops or Desktop machines? And are they properly grounded if desktop.

2. If you hold your finder on the fader or encoder does the display show correct information, or something else?

3. If you run the self calibration (Shift+Stop+F4) does it improve?

I'm not sure where you are located but are you experiencing static electricity issues like we do up here in New England, or when the Santa Anna's are blowing on the west coast?

We'll try to repro this here.

CS


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Re: Playback stutters when touching the fader

Central Scrutinizer wrote:

Where are you seeing the "Shuttle" indication? How is the behavior (playback) changing when this occurs? Is this similar to using the shuttle mode from AlphaTrack's tough strip (Shift+tap touch strip to enable/disable)?

Can both of you verify a few things for us?

1. Laptops or Desktop machines? And are they properly grounded if desktop.

2. If you hold your finder on the fader or encoder does the display show correct information, or something else?

3. If you run the self calibration (Shift+Stop+F4) does it improve?

I'm not sure where you are located but are you experiencing static electricity issues like we do up here in New England, or when the Santa Anna's are blowing on the west coast?

We'll try to repro this here.

CS

1.Laptop and Desktop machines. Properly grounded.
2. Correct information
3.No, it doesn't help

I have managed to reproduce this problem and I think I have found out what it causes it.

If you touch the fader with the nail or with a finger with hardened fingertips, or on the base of the fader, then Alphatrack does not detect a valid fader movement and moves itself back to its original position(to see this behavior more easily move the fader with a piece of cloth to be very obvious). If this happens anytime (I admit it does not happen to me often but I am able to reproduce it) Alpha Track sometimes sends a shuttle message to Cubase and it skips playback or goes backwards. This is kind of a weird behavior and should definitely not be happening.


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Re: Playback stutters when touching the fader

Central Scrutinizer wrote:

Where are you seeing the "Shuttle" indication? How is the behavior (playback) changing when this occurs? Is this similar to using the shuttle mode from AlphaTrack's tough strip (Shift+tap touch strip to enable/disable)?

the alphatrack-display shows "shuttle" (AlphaTrackCN.dll version1.0.5.0);
it seems, that this error set a new "start-poin"
(when you "stop" and then "play" after an error-occurrence, it doesn't start at the former "start-point", but where the error occured);
it doesn't really shuttle - it simply jumps to another position.
(by the way: with AlphaTrackCN.dll version1.0.4.0 i don't see "shuttle" in the display, when the error occurs.)


1. Laptops or Desktop machines? And are they properly grounded if desktop.

laptop (no difference between with or without DC-supply)

2. If you hold your finder on the fader or encoder does the display show correct information, or something else?

correct information ("Lautstärke" and dBs)

3. If you run the self calibration (Shift+Stop+F4) does it improve?

unfortunately no difference

I'm not sure where you are located but are you experiencing static electricity issues like we do up here in New England, or when the Santa Anna's are blowing on the west coast?

I'm living in Duesseldorf - Germany. I'm not  aware of static problems in my region.

thanks for your endeavours!

kind regards
tobias

Last edited by u-topi (2009-03-18 18:25:16)

Re: Playback stutters when touching the fader

u-topi,

Domenico mentioned that he drives this condition when he attempts to move the fader with his fingernail, or similar object that prevents an initial 'touch' message. Is this also true in your case?

Still trying to find a way to reproduce this.


CS


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Re: Playback stutters when touching the fader

Central Scrutinizer wrote:

Domenico mentioned that he drives this condition when he attempts to move the fader with his fingernail, or similar object that prevents an initial 'touch' message. Is this also true in your case?

with v1.0.4.0:  no - in my case no error happens; alphatrack just "resets" the fader to the correct level without harming audio

with v1.0.5.0: the same

Still trying to find a way to reproduce this.

perhaps it is really a singular hardwaredefect and no construction problem?

Last edited by u-topi (2009-03-20 03:21:17)

Re: Playback stutters when touching the fader

Hi U-topi,

Well, I must admit this has me baffled. If the problem doesn't happen with the v1.04 plug-in then it would lead me to believe the problem is not a physical one but rather something in the v1.05 plug-in. However I have had no luck in trying to reproduce it here as yet. So my next thought would be that it has something to do specifically with your configuration of computer/software/environment or some combination there of. But this hasn't panned out yet either. Very elusive little bugger.

Still pondering things here.

CS

Re: Playback stutters when touching the fader

Hi CS,


sorry, but it seems that is some kind of misunderstanding:

with "the same" i ment: for this case (fingernail...) it makes no difference, if i'm using v1.04 or v1.05.

(and NOT, that it reacts as in domenicos system)


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Re: Playback stutters when touching the fader

Wow...


I had this problem yesterday during a long session with Cubase 5. After a certain period of time even the slightest touch of the fader made the Aphatrack screen go to Shuttling mode and Cubase's cursor jumped to random positions!

Maybe has something to do with the latest plugin in general? Maybe AT gets bogged down with a lot of midi data coming in and out? I find this problem a bit related to my long waited to be solved problem here:

http://frontierdesign.com/forums/topic/ … 07-plugin/

For me, reopening the Cubase 5 project solved the problem. But when working for a long time it reappears. But right now I find AT unreliable to work in projects in front of customers.

Hope both issues get fixed as soon as possible. I have mentioned it before, I own three Alpha Tracks on three two completely different studios. Up to now I have been having numerous problems.

I believe the concept is great, I love the unit but it has affected my midi recording stability and the software problems let it down in my opinion.

Also, I think that the grounding issue is something to be more than considered. I don't know if it is fixable in a software/firmware level but it is unacceptable to exist. I took Alphatrack two days ago to a fellow studio for the owner to try it out and it was completely unusable due to grounding the grounding problem. Luckily I don't have this problem myself but I feel sympathy for the guys that do.

And from another scope, Frontier Design probably lose some customers on this. So maybe try to find a fix for this as well?(Sorry for hijacking the thread).

Domenico

Re: Playback stutters when touching the fader

hello

i just picked up a used Alphatrack unit; after installing everything when trying out the unit i just ran into the same problem as exactly described in this forum thread so i have quickly noticed this abnormal behavior.. when ever i try to touch anything on the unit the scrub/shuttle and lcd goes crazy.. just like it is being saturated with data etc  this happens pretty much randomly here , so i ended up in here hoping to find a solution, because this problem makes my alphatrack barely usable at this moment..  but to my surprise it appears that this problem affects many other users and no solution has been found so far...   this is really disappointing.

I use Cubase 5, (win xp sp3, all updates) my mb is a gigabyte with P45 intel chipset and a E8600 cpu, i got latest drivers and alphatrackcn.dll plugin file i downloaded from the site just today.

btw, does the USB output power provided by the motherboard has to do something with it?

and i was wondering if it was possible to completely disable the digital scrolling / track-touch pad?

thanks
tsol

Last edited by tsol (2009-04-07 12:38:08)

Re: Playback stutters when touching the fader

tsol,

the first thing to check is your computer chassis grounding. Make sure it isn't ground lifted, or plugged into a power strip that is.
That is the number 1 cause of the symptom as you describe it. Once you do that run the calibration routine (Shift+Stop+F4 and release).

If you think that maybe your MB USB output power is weak or at fault you can insert a powered-USB hub in the line to test it with.

CS

Re: Playback stutters when touching the fader

Well, I went again to this fellow studio I had suggested Alphatrack to.

(By the way I guess they could easily have killed me because I suggested them this product and now they got two of them and none of them is working properly).

Well, the result is it MUST be a grounding issue. Why I say that?

Well, I noticed that while I was having my feet (yes my feet!) on the chair there was no problem. When I rest my one foot on the ground still no problem

But...
Once I stepped to the ground with both feet and touched the encoder or the fared bang!
The weird shuttling took place all over again.

So yes, it is a ground issue.

However,

I still insist this is something that is unacceptable and a SOLUTION/WORKAROUND has to be given. I don't know if you noticed but youtube is full of videos from users who have this problem with Alphatrack. I know that a system should be grounded but:

1)This shoudn't affect the workability of a device and
2) If it is actually affecting it, then this is very serious and there should be a big sticker in the box like "Warning-This device works only with properly grounded systems" or something like that.

I don't intend to be to critical. But I believe users should be informed correctly before they buy. As I said above, I don't have this problem personally because my laptop and my desktop PC's are properly grounded. But I hate the fact that I went to a studio and I still work with the mouse even though I have two Alphatracks lying around...

Honestly, I don't think this can be fixed as I believe it is a hardware flaw. The designers of the device should have taken into account this possibility and make the device immune to such problems.

However I would really be very happy to be proven wrong and see this fixed in a way.

Domenico

Re: Playback stutters when touching the fader

Hi, just wanted to corroborate that I am having this problem as well.  I'm using a Sony VAIO, Centrino chipset, no other devices connected, running from AC power (no grounding pin, since it's a laptop).  I'm primarily using Cubase, and this happens with the latest driver, .7, and the earlier .4 drivers from a couple years ago.  I've also tried the latest release of Reaper, and this doesn't occur, but Reaper tends to use a minimum of the AT's features.  I'm going to try using a powered USB hub to see if this corrects the problem, if anyone else comes up with a solution I'd sure like to know about it.  I've been looking forward to buying one of these and I'm a little let down by the buggyness of the touch-sensitivity.

Re: Playback stutters when touching the fader

GOOD NEWS LAPTOP USERS - I HAVE FOUND A SOLUTION FOR THIS PROBLEM

No it is not the most convenient, but it does make the product PERFECTLY USABLE.  With my laptop, all I had to do was disconnect the power and operate from the battery.  This makes the touch sensitivity on the AlphaTrack completely stable, and proves without a shadow of a doubt that my unit is suffering from grounding issues.  Granted I'm not exactly thrilled about having to remove my power cable to do precision fades...

Re: Playback stutters when touching the fader

Hmmm...

Not a solution when you are working with a desktop PC...

And I would NEVER do my mixing (which takes always more than 3 hours) on a laptop running with battery.

So we are at the beginning again...


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Re: Playback stutters when touching the fader

Well, just for curiosity, I find it perfectly reasonable to run the laptop from power and just disconnect the power cable while using the fader.  BUT I'm only working with voice overs and music beds, not instrument mixes, so I can understand this being much more painful in that situation.  I've gotta say that all in all I'm satisfied with the device for my needs.  But Frontier, please take note:

You owe it to your current customers to resolve this issue, and either offer a solution or a hardware recall, so we will know that you take our patronage seriously.  And you owe it to your own brand to improve this device, which is a great concept that would be a real world beater if only it worked as advertised.  (I remember the package saying "works great with laptops"...)  I wouldn't buy anything else, unless it offered a touch-strip jog/shuttle - by far my favorite feature, and that works just right.  But the goofy fader and dials do make this thing kind of a JOKE.

For you desktop users - there must be something wrong with either your motherboard or power supply if the ground is not being properly supplied to the USB ports.  Replacing them is a simple fix, but costly and time consuming, and there's no easy way to know WHICH is the culprit.

UPDATE: Just found out, with my external hard-drive connected (Maxtor One-Touch 250GB) it behaves the same whether the computer is powered or not.  Now THIS is ridiculous, this means I can't use the fader while working with files from the hard-drive.  I'm starting to think hard about whether to keep this device... :(

Last edited by NicklasRyan (2009-06-23 13:32:57)