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iConnectMIDI4+
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djfoxyfox
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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 5:04 am    Post subject: iConnectMIDI4+
Subject description: Adventures in Connectivity
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Greetings,

iConnectivity's iConnect MIDI4+ allows you to connect all manner of controllers to synths, computers, and iOS devices. It is the latest offering and a big brother to the iConnectMIDI2.

Last night, I finally had some time to play with the device. (It's what I did instead of Chez Mosc. Howard was feeling better by 11:30 pm when I left but he was a hurting puppy and in no condition to play music at 6 pm.) It arrived the week before last while I was preparing to attend the Asheville electro-music festival. (Fun time.) The iConnect is conceptually simple in what it does. Basically, it allows you to route MIDI data between devices using MIDI, both via DIN and USB connections. There are gobs of routings that you can do and this includes data between iOS devices and computers, i.e. host devices. There are three ports for these host devices. You can also transform and filter MIDI data in a big way. For me, the new* feature of "Audio passThru" is very desireable. That is where I started my adventures. After all, if you can't hear what's going on, it's hard to know what else is or is not working.

I was able to route digital audio out of my iPad 4's lightning connector through the iConnect to my laptop. That's *BIG* in my book! My problem is that once that audio has reached the laptop, how do I route it to the audio interface with low latency? I have an M-Audio Firewire 410 and my current method is to route the digital stream through Reaper. This is because Reaper seems to be the only piece of software I have that will see both the iConnect and the 410. I wanted to use Ableton Live to route the audio but I can't seem to make Live see the iConnect audio stream at all. Using Reaper to make this connection adds horrible latency, making the entire system unusable. I have a help ticket generated to see if iConnectivity can help me over this hurdle.

Once I got audio working (sort of), I then turned my attention to routing MIDI. All my efforts at getting my M-Audio Keyrig 49 (USB) controller to send MIDI to the iPad failed misreably. After much head scratching, I couldn't believe that that I couldn't make this work. After all, my training and experince as an electrical engineer and all of my MIDI experience says that this shouldn't be happening. In frustration, I opened that help ticket with iConnectivity and included this as part two of why I need their help. With tail between legs, I connected the MIDI out from my Nord Modular G2 (DIN) to the iConnect. In minutes, I was able to route it to the iPad. Of course, the audio latency problem made it unplayable in a musical sense, but the iConnect is working with respect to MIDI going to the DIN ports.

I will report more later when I make more progress.

Cheers,

Bill
* Turns out Audio passThru isn't so new. It existed in the older ICM2+. [Edited 2014-05-26 - Bill]

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

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Last edited by djfoxyfox on Mon May 26, 2014 2:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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remst8



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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I wonder if Audio passThru to Ableton Live would work once you've created an aggregate device configuration for your iConnectMIDI4+?

Here's a link to iConnectivity's video tutorials for the iConnectMIDI2+ (which I have):
http://iconnectivity.com/iConnectMIDI2plus/tutorials

On that page, you'll find video walk-throughs for configuring PC and Mac to set up an aggregate device. Strange that they don't also have videos for the 4+, but I imagine the general steps are the same.

Good luck!
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djfoxyfox
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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 8:23 am    Post subject: Aggregate Device Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

remst8 wrote:
Here's a link to iConnectivity's video tutorials for the iConnectMIDI2+ (which I have):
http://iconnectivity.com/iConnectMIDI2plus/tutorials
On that page, you'll find video walk-throughs for configuring PC and Mac to set up an aggregate device. Strange that they don't also have videos for the 4+, but I imagine the general steps are the same.
Thanks! I'll watch the video on Aggregate Devices asap. I haven't yet come across that topic in the new (preliminary) manual for the 4+ but this sounds like the missing link I need.
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djfoxyfox
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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 4:16 pm    Post subject: My Second Session with the ICM4+ Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Before I could find the time to act on remst8's advice, a reply came from iConnectivity containing the same advice regarding asio4all. I downloaded asio4all and now Live can get audio from the ICM4+. Current settings are 96 samples for ICM4+ and 512 samples for M-Audio. (I use 1814 in my home studio and 410 outside the home.) Latency is still a little too long for my tastes but it is much improved and fairly playable at the current settings. These seem to be the smallest latency settings that afford stable audio.

I continue to have success routing MIDI from the DIN ports to my damaged iPad. (The headphone jack busted on me Friday night and Apple says it is not fixable at a reasonable, unspecified cost. I was told that I can buy a new iPad mini (original) for the cost of repairing it!) However, I have yet to be able to get MIDI to trigger anything in Live. In the config screen, Live sees all the ICM4+ ports and I have enabled EVERYTHING possible. However, when I close the config screen and turn my attention to the I/O strip, I do not see any ICM4+ ports as options. Even though I have it set to All ins and All channels, my synth feeding DIN 2 input does not trigger a MIDI track in Live. Only apps on the iPad trigger.

Perhaps I am not understanding what I'm seeing in iCofig's Port Routing tab.

If I select DIN 2 on the left, I have enabled USB Device Jack 1, 1 - 16. This is why I believe MIDI is triggering apps. However, I also have enabled USB Device Jack 3 (where I have my PC connected) 1 - 16. Am I on the right track?

I took a break for dinner (spaghetti, salad, a glass of wine, and watermelon for dessert). I'm about to attack the problem I was having yesterday with not being able to trigger anything from the controller feeding the Host Jack 1. (Why is there a 1? There is no other host jack!)

Other observations/questions:

1. iConfig kept quitting and would not restart:

"An unexpected error occurred while trying to open a MIDI port. Please restart the application."

Finally, I quit Live and iConfig started right up without complaint. I made lots of changes and ended by doing a commit and reset just to be safe. I still don't understand which parameters require a commit and reset in order to be saved in flash. I'll reread the manual... again! Wink

2. ICM4+ can be used without a computer but how do I get digital audio out of my iPad without a computer and an audio interface? If audio could be routed to the Host Port and a class compliant device were connected, that would be ideal, especially considering my iPad's busted output jack. But the ICM4+ doesn't route audio to that port.

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djfoxyfox
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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 4:35 am    Post subject: Another Session of Head Scratching Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Greetings,

My session after dinner didn't go well. RJ at iConnect said, "Is your KeyRig showing up in the iConfig application under MIDI Info/USB Host Jack 1?"

No, KeyRig is not showing up at all. I tried a direct connection and also through my powered hub. Does this mean I may have a defective unit? I only have one other USB device, a Korg microControl (if I've remembered the name correctly). I'll try connecting it today to verify if anything can be recognized by the host jack.

I played my iPad some more, using my controller (actually a Kawai K5000S) via a DIN port. The latency is just too long to play well and audio keeps fading in and out. I connected the KeyRig directly to my PC to play VSTs in Live and I experienced the same latency and volume fluctuations. Perhaps asio4all is the culprit? After waiting 18 months for the ICM4+ to hit the street, this is such a let down. I *so* wanted the ICM4+ to work for my needs. With no other computer or audio device to make further tests, without knowing if asio4all is the problem, I cannot say that the ICM4+ is at fault but I have no other gear to make further tests.

The feature I suggested yesterday is that Audio passThru be extended to the USB Host Jack. This would allow direct connection of any USB compliant audio interface directly to the ICM4+ rather than having to pass audio through a computer to it's connected audio interface. It might even help with the latency issue, especially since it would take a computer and asio4all out of the equation.

Having ended in frustration, I took the KeyRig and iPad upstairs to my family room. I connected the controller to my iPad via a powered hub and USB to lightning adapter. I also connected a Behringer U-Control UCA-222 to the hub in order to get the audio into my hifi. Instant success and no latency problems. Considering that on Friday, I discovered that the iPad's headphone jack went kerfluey after using it successfully on Thursday night, this is now my only way of getting good audio out of the bugger. Apple say they cannot repair the jack at a reasonable cost and suggested that buying an iPad mini would be less expensive.

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remst8



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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Wow, I'm really sorry you're having so many challenges with the new gear. Sad

Which version of iConfig are you using: the iPad app or the desktop app? For me, the desktop version of the app was easier to navigate & use than the iPad version.

Keep persisting--I'm sure you'll get it sorted.
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djfoxyfox
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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 6:30 am    Post subject: Getting It Sorted Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

remst8 wrote:
Which version of iConfig are you using: the iPad app or the desktop app? For me, the desktop version of the app was easier to navigate & use than the iPad version.
I was only aware of iConfig that runs on my PC. It's a little dodgy because it quits and has great difficulty restarting if Live is running. Even if I quit Live altogether, it sometimes takes a few tries to start. And sometimes it starts right up immediately.

I'm looking for my glasses so I can work with it some more.

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djfoxyfox
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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 2:16 pm    Post subject: Sorted... Sort Of Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well folks, here's the latest. It all began with ICM4+ not recognizing my M-Audio KeyRig 49 controller. Coupled with me not knowing about ASIO4ALL, things didn't start out well. Without the manual being clear to my way of thinking, I had to guess at how to change MIDI routings to make things work. Big mistake. I put it into such a state that Alchemy Mobile was acting as if it were monophonic, but only when my MIDI controller (K5000S) was sending MIDI through the ICM4+. I must have been sending Alchemy so many repeat messages that it was at or beyond it's polyphony limit. Animoog was still acting polyphonic so, for a while, I was suspecting it was an Alchemy problem. It was not.

Frustrated, today I reset the ICM4+ to the factory default. Now my K5000S as MIDI controller will control an iPad app from any of the four DIN ports on the ICM4+. DIN port 1 cannot be selected as the MIDI source in Live on my PC but DIN ports 2, 3, and 4 can. However, if set Live to All Inputs, even DIN port 1 can trigger a VST in Live.

A Korg nanoKONTROL plugged into the one and only host input (for USB MIDI devices only) via a powered hub to allow for other MIDI devices to be used, controls apps on the iPad but is not seen by Live. I think this is a routing issue which I'll be able to correct when I learn the routing tab in the iConfig software. ICM4+ still does not recognize the KeyRig 49 controller for whatever reason. The controller works everywhere else; directly connected to the iPad or to the PC.

I have yet to figure out how to send MIDI out of Live to even test that aspect of the ICM4+.

Result: I'm torn about keeping or returning the ICM4+. It's build quality appears top notch and it seems to do exactly what iConnectivity advertise... within the scope of my limited testing ability. But the latency of my system goes to hell when I integrate it with my laptop. I expect some latency is due to the ICM4+. But I'm guessing that ASIO4ALL on my PC is the biggest source of latency. I just don't have the means to prove it or test other options as my Lenovo is my most powerful laptop. In fact, the old Dell and my ASUS netbook are limping so badly, no music can even be attempted with them.

I'm curious to hear what other people have experienced with this and other products from iConnectivity. I have the feeling that when I truly learn the routing tab and upgrade to a more powerful laptop (or ASIO4ALL is improved), then I'll be able to integrate my iPad, PC, and controllers any which way AND loose!

Cheers,

Bill

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remst8



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I see that iConnectivity just posted several tutorials for the iConnectMIDI4+ to their YouTube channel.

I don't know if you're still having problems, but maybe you'll find something helpful there?
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jksuperstar



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I had a strange issue with mine...it seems when my audio card (which has DSPs) isn't fully loaded before the iCM4+ is, then whatever junk is on the MIDI ports completely hoses the CM4+ until I unplug or bootup the audio card. During that time, the MIDI lights flicker, and iConfig doesn't see the device at all.
As soon as I unplug the audio card (if I can't boot it), the iCM4+ is detected right away (even if it can be a little slow to connect initially).
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djfoxyfox
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

remst8 wrote:
I see that iConnectivity just posted several tutorials for the iConnectMIDI4+ to their YouTube channel.
Thanks. I'll be sure to view all of them, eventually. (I've only had the time for two at this point.) Your ASIO4ALL suggestion is what got me going. Unfortunately, the two audio interfaces I've tried so far exhibite more latency than I can tolerate for live playing. The M-Audio Firewire series (I have the 610 and 1814) exhibit longer latency when wrapped by ASIO4ALL than when I use them stand-alone. Of course, I must wrap them in ASIO4ALL in order to incorporate the iCM4+. So I tried by Behringer UCA-222 which isn't even an ASIO interface. Wrapping it in ASIO4ALL made it work with Live (which requires an ASIO-style interface) but the latency setting required for stable operation was even worse than for the M-Aaudio devices.

My next step is to try other interfaces and, if possible, other computer/OS configurations.

Otherwise, the iCM4+ works great. If I can get over this audio latency hurdle, it'll prove to be a fine investment. In terms of MIDI, its operation seems to be top notch as far as I can tell so far.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Mine arrived today, I was a bit worried about some of the posts here but got one anyway.

Luckily for me everything works perfectly here, maybe because I'm using a mac and the aggregate devices work well, I have it working at 128 buffer with a FF800.

A very useful device, so far I have tested a Livid code and a Axis 49 into a hub and then into the ICM4, audio and midi working fine both directions from iPad and Mac, pretty impressed.

Tomorrow comes the big test where I connect it to the Kronos, the main reason I got it is to overcome some of the shortcomings of attaching an iPad via USB to the Kronos....
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BitMangler



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The functionality-concept proposed by this product is really inspiring. Hook all your neuvo-mobile gadgetry with your favorite DAW and all. However, my experience of this products use, on Windows, while 'just' being work-able, is far from the plug-n-play experience that a polished product carries.

I know a bit about embedded firmware and software design (15+ years of that) and am fairly certain that all of the rough edges could be polished with some more software and firmware updates for this product (if the folks at iConnectivity want to deliver on such endeavor).

I'm glad to see that the original poster on this subject was indicating that he also had problems with the iConfig program on Windows, as I am. Specifically, the problem there, is that you cannot have any "other" program utilizing the iConnectMIDI4+ while you utilize the iConfig program. In other words, there can be no 'other' active USB connections open to the iConnectMIDI4+, while you run iConfig. If you have other USB connections open to iConnectMIDI4+ the iConfig will crash, and the only way you'll get to load again is by insuring that you go close any application that potentially could be using the MIDI or Audio of the iConnectMIDI4+.

I'm really hoping that this is just a firmware problem, and that another "USB" endpoint, inside the device, which is "unused" can be instead programmed to be used by the iConfig program "exclusively". The problem is that Windows (MS'ism) USB driver stack doesn't want to share USB endpoints for the actual functionality, while at the same time allowing the iConfig to do configuration. If that's too technical for most...suffice it to say there is almost always a satisfactory software (firmware) solution for these types of problems in embedded devices...but that can be a lot of rework.

I'm glad to see that another poster just above states that he doesn't experience these problems on a Mac....and yes...OsX does have a much cleaner (and open source) USB driver stack. I'm sure that's why these frustrations don't exist on a Mac. I'm guessing he can configure iConnectMIDI4+ with iConfig and never worry about having to close any other app. (That's not to place all the blame on MS....but -> "come on iConnectivity folks....please polish these rough edges for the Windows folks").

Another comment on configuration....I thought...Ok...so configuring the device is a little inconvenient on Windows...so I'll just use my connected iPad Air ....oops...thought wrong....iConfig doesn't yet support the higher resolution of the iPad Air...thus the characters displayed on screen so garbled that they are un-usable. iConnectivity folks claim they'll have a fix for iPad Air in the future....but no estimates on when.

It's may be possible that iConnectivity folks (in small startup phase...are so caught in a support loop...that they can't get around to fixing these problems). However, only until they fix these problems, with new SW and Firmware releases, do these support requests, start dropping in number. It probably wouldn't be too fun being a sole support specialist at i Connectivity right now.

Bottom line, iConnectivity has just got a few rough edges to polish on this iCM4+ product, but after that, it's the best Swiss Army knife for electronic music making that one could buy. I'm hanging on to mine for now...verses returning it...just hoping they'll drive the SW/firmware fixes forward.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Curious if anyone knows definitively how MIDI clocks work on this device?

Is it just however one routes MIDI, that's how clock goes? Including merging, which could really hose a receiving device, merging loops (like through apple's core midi router), etc ?

I ask because I had an eMagic AMT8, and that automatically switched ALL ports to a single MIDI clock. There was always ONLY 1 clock.

I can see the use case for both scenarios, but the first case means you have to debug any new piece of gear (including from other musicians) to know what any gear is doing with clock, if it pass thru, generates it's own, or is locked to an external clock. Which can be a real pain, especially with a mix of iPad apps included.

Damn technology. I love you so.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Word on the street is that this model has started shipping to Australian stores with a Lightning cable instead of the 30 pin one.

Could be a matter of time before US stores start getting it too.

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