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WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

Roli Seaboard Block keeps crashing with FH-2
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Expert Sleepers  
Author Roli Seaboard Block keeps crashing with FH-2
mrMagenta
Update: Changed the topic because FH-2 keeps running, seems the Roli Seaboard is what is seizing up.

FH-2 is still hanging on me when using it with one or more Roli Seaboards. All gates get stuck and only a reboot will fix it.

I've been having problems with missing note-offs / stuck gates with the Arturia keystep as well.

So far, the only device that has been working well for me is my old Korg Microkontrol. No missing note-offs.

I've tried different USB cables, makes no difference. I'm running firmware 1.5.5

I got the FH-2 specifically to use it with my two seaboard blocks. It's all running great.. until it crashes. It seems almost like some MIDI input buffer is overflowing because the hangs occur when a lot is going on. I know the Roli sends various sysex messages.. could that be causing issues? Is there a way to ignore all incoming sysex?

I'm still hoping there is a fix for this, let me know if there is something I can do to help debug this.
os
There's a known issue with the Keystep, which I'm talking to Arturia about.

The FH-2 has to receive the sysex before it can choose to ignore it, if you see what I mean. Turning it off so it's not sent would be the only way to test if that's the problem (or filtering it out, if you have a MIDI router that will do it).
SteveElbows
In my experience the Seaboard Blocks only send sysex when they are connected to the Roli Dashboard app on a computer, so I'm not convinced that is the cause.

I've had crashing too, so I would like to get involved with nailing this issue down if I can be of any use. Give me a few days to get up to speed with latest firmware etc and I wills tart doing various tests. I'm hoping to come up with some reproducable crashes, and if it turns out to be applicable I will record a whole stream of midi that can trigger the issue. I do have various other MPE controllers too so maybe I can rule some stuff in or out using those too.
SteveElbows
Well I couldnt get it to crash if I connected the Roli to a computer and the computer to the FH-2 via its USB C port.

This means I cannot record or monitor the midi data to look for clues.

I also could not get it to crash if I used the USB A but put the RK-005 in between the FH-2 and the Roli.

I could not get it to crash if I connected thr Roli directly but only used one finger to play the Roli.

I could get it to crash if I connected it directly and then hammered all the keys with all my fingers in a very rapid manner. Sometimes I could get it to crash in less than 10 seconds by doing this, other times it took longer.
Tokyo-Noise
oh, sorry. i'm addressing my question to another topic...
mrMagenta
Thanks Steve for also taking a look at these issues! I haven't had the time to sit down and investigate this further until now.

Some findings I have so far:

Setup :
FH-2 with Firmware 1.6, FHX-1 expansion
2x Roli Seaboards with latest firmware as of this date.

Problems that I get:
Note hangs,
Polyphonic pitch bend starts affecting all notes,
Crash and lockup with all gates on.

Clues:
FH-2 has at times displayed the message 'MIDI device send queue overflow' when crashing.

Using only one seaboard block seems to make crashes and note-hangs less frequent, but they still occur (played with similar note density, three fingers).

Questions:
Is the receive buffer overflowing when Rolis are sending high amount of data? Or is the overflow because something else causes problems first?
Could this be a power issue? I've had the same problems with FH-2 in an Arturia case and with 4ms row power 40 supply, used in isolation.

When a single note hangs I can unfreeze it by reloading the preset.
When all notes hang I need to reload preset and powercycle the ROLIs.

Here is one of my configurations:


    22:04:32
    F0 00 21 27 2F 10 00 00 06 00 00 00 52 6F 6C 69
    20 76 30 2E 32 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 00 32 00 01
    01 01 00 00 00 00 01 00 00 00 01 00 00 00 00 00
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    00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01
    01 01 01 01 01 01 01 01 F7
mrMagenta
Routing through the computer seems to stop the crashing, just like it did for Steve. But so far I've only done it by passing the MIDI along using Max MSP, which seems to filter out certain things, for instance it reduces pitch bend precision to 7-bits. While not crashing, it still has intermittent issues with assigning pitch bend data to the wrong voices.

I'll try a more direct MIDI-routing and see if I can log the data in the process.

I checked out the RK005. Looks like a great little device, I might get one for other uses. I still want a solution to this particular problem that doesn't need it. It really ought to be redundant with the FH-2.
mrMagenta
Using MIDI-pipe to route the data directly to FH-2 I get similar results as above.

These are my findings so far:

1. Still no crashing as when connecting directly to FH-2 USB-A.

2. Intermittent wrong voice addressing of pressure and pitchbend data. I have a suspicion it might have to do with MPE channel allocations, even if the two seaboard blocks are connected to each other with the magnetic connector forming one Master and slave unit.

3. I've also tried separating the devices and piping them both as separate units. This seems to reduce the frequency of hanging notes but introduces other kinds of issues with voice addressing. I'm suspecting some portion of the hanging notes could be attributed to the connector and its sensitivity to physical alignment.
mrMagenta
Some more findings, might be helpful for anyone struggling with Roli issues in general.

Looking at the MIDI-stream I discovered that two Roli seaboard blocks connected together by their 'DNA connectors' do not form one controller as one would expect, they are messing up channel allocations by tracking allocations for each unit and not both units together. This can be solved by setting their respective MPE channels. One controller set to Low Zone with 7 channels and second controller set to High Zone also with 7 channels.

I made a hardware reset of the blocks and reinstalled their firmware, not sure if it had any effect, but it seems to have reduced the frequency of hanging notes, now the master block (the USB connected one) doesn't seem to get any hanging notes.

Now there remains two issues.

1. Hanging single notes on the slave block.
2. The total freeze of the Seaboard.

I suspect the hanging single notes are a ROLI issue due to the sensitive DNA connector that has too little tolerance for movements and misalignment. When connecting the blocks to my laptop via bluetooth or USB cable and passing the MIDI to FH-2 I get none or rare hanging notes.

So the main issue is the total freeze where all gates get stuck on high and all communication cuts out. This only happens with the FH-2.

I can unfreeze the FH-2 by reloading the preset, but the seaboard is stuck in the frozen state. It unfreezes by reconnecting the USB.

Does FH-2 send anything on USB-A that could cause the seaboard block to go into the frozen mode? It does seem linked to high traffic, though it takes a different amount of activity before freezing up each time.

My suspicion now is that there is some connection between the freezing and the charging state of the ROLIs. At the moment both my blocks are fully charged (single green light on the front), I'm not getting the total freeze and all hanging notes are on the slave block.

It would be so awesome if this could be solved. I love the way I can play my synths while it is working but I can't always have the computer between roli and fh-2 and I'm reluctant to add extra hardware to the rig to get around the freezing issue. I've been looking at the keith mcmillen k-board pro 4, but it doesn't have the same sliding capabilities as the rolis and the Roli Rise is too large for my specific use case and might even have the same issues?
mrMagenta
I'm still trying to narrow down this issue, it is so infuriatingly random. Once I think I might have solved then it happens again.

My feeling is it might have something to do with power. I've been trying a different power brick with my 4ms 40w supply, disconnecting the other modules in the case, and only using a single seaboard block. It functioned for some 25minutes before the Roli froze and all gates stuck on high, with seized MIDI traffic.

Steve mentioned that RK005 in between FH-2 and the Seaboard stopped the crashing. Could there be dome sort of voltage drop or spike when the ROLI wants to start or stop charging that causes things to lock up? Perhaps RK005 has some power smoothing capacitors in line that smooths out something.

Os, is this a plausible hypothesis?
os
I guess it's possible.

On the FH-2, have you set the jumper for 5V from the case PSU, or from the FH-2's own regulator?
mrMagenta
It was in the default position, JP1 pins 1 and 2. I switched it to 2 and 3 but the problem persists, so that didn't change anything as far as I can tell.

Tried with only one seaboard block, then the other one. Both are crashing with roughly equal frequency.

When I switch to regular polyphonic MIDI, running the seaboard block in single channel mode, it seems to make the crashing less frequent but it's still occurs after some seemingly random amount of time. Very difficult to draw any conclusions from this.

Any ideas what I could try next to narrow things down?

Is there a way to monitor the USB A port in both directions? I've now turned on midi forwarding from USB A to USB C to try to record the crashing, but is there anything the FH-2 could be sending to the ROLI and a way to capture outgoing commnication on USB A? Could there be some issue with an MPE configuration message or weird proprietary ROLI handshake it tries to do outside MIDI/MPE protocol?
mrMagenta
When connected to my laptop the seaboard block is sending outgoing sysex regardless if the ROLI dashboard software is running or not. I don't know if this is the case when connected directly to FH-2 as well.



These sysex messages are not showing in the FH-2 MIDI history so I can't tell if FH-2 ignores them or if they could be what is causing the trouble. They do contribute to a huge amount of extra traffic if present. Messages vary in length, up to 41 bytes and the stream is pretty much constant while playing, and while not playing there is a ping at 1 sec intervals.

FH-2 does not pass the sysex messages from USB A to USB C when the forwarding is turned on so I can't tell if the sysex messaging is as intense when the seaboard is connected directly to FH-2.

However, if it is the sysex stream that is causing the crashing then it has to be indirectly because the sysex is also being forwarded to FH-2 when I'm piping the seaboard to FH-2 via the computer. This is why I'm thinking the seaboard crash might be caused by a response to something FH-2 sends when provoked by the data stream. This would explain why having RK005 or a computer between FH-2 and Roli stops the crashing, FH-2 would be talking to those devices rather than the seaboard directly.

Os, is there something the FH-2 could be sending to a connected seaboard if provoked in a specific way? Perhaps as a response to the Roli filling up the entire input buffer with large amounts of sysex data? What could cause all the output gates of the MIDI/CV converter to go high?

If we could isolate whatever is causing the crash and recreate it outside of FH-2 then we could point Roli to it and hopefully they could fix it in a firmware update.

Is there a way to listen to what FH-2 is sending to its connected device on USB-A?
os
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These sysex messages are not showing in the FH-2 MIDI history

The FH-2 does show syses in its history, so perhaps they're not being sent.

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sysex is also being forwarded to FH-2 when I'm piping the seaboard to FH-2 via the computer

You should be able to see them in the MIDI history in this case.

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FH-2 does not pass the sysex messages from USB A to USB C when the forwarding is turned on

It would do if they were there, so this is another indication that they're not.

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Is there a way to listen to what FH-2 is sending to its connected device on USB-A?

In general the FH-2 sends the same thing out of all ports.

If the Seaboard is freezing, we really need to get Roli to look into it. Perhaps they have a bug like we recently discovered in the Keystep.
mrMagenta
Thanks for the recent firmware update, cool stuff!

Yeah, it looks like this is a bug in the Roli, but it has to have some triggering cause that doesn't occur when hooked up to a computer. I haven't found anything that looks like it could be the trigger.

I installed FH-2 firmware 1.7 yesterday and managed to play for some 20 minutes before it crashed, tried it again today just to see if I can capture anything going out from FH-2 when it crashes. Again, managed some 20 minutes of playing before it crashed, but the MIDI monitor caught nothing suspicious from FH-2 USB C with forwarding on from USB A, just regular MPE from the Roli. Also, no sysex. It seems the Roli can get stuck in the sysex sending mode if the dashboard software is used then closed on the computer, but this doesn't seem to affect use with FH-2.

Still can't shake off that this could somehow be related to power, even though I've tried two different supplies, different power bricks, disconnecting other modules and trying both 5V supply modes on the FH-2. Is there a safe way to install an extra smoothing cap on the 5V of USB A?
Handmedown
I have two seaboard blocks and was just about to order the FH-2. This issue does not look good. I will put off ordering until issue is resolved. I will be following with interest.
os
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Is there a safe way to install an extra smoothing cap on the 5V of USB A?

Sure, you could just solder it across the pins of the connector. I'm not sure this is the solution though.

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Yeah, it looks like this is a bug in the Roli, but it has to have some triggering cause that doesn't occur when hooked up to a computer. I haven't found anything that looks like it could be the trigger.

It might just be a subtle timing issue. An embedded host like the FH-2 is going to behave differently to a PC host, and assumptions that Roli have made (for example, in terms of how often the device gets service from the host) which might be perfectly safe when talking to a PC might not apply.

Have you asked Roli? They do have my modules there to test with, you know.
mrMagenta
Hi Os!

Yes, I've mentioned this to Roli twice over the last year. They said they are going to look into it but that was many months ago now. I've got a support ticket on this right now but it seems they are very busy.

I did get a reply regarding the dropped notes when connecting two seaboards together via the DNA-connector and the voice addressing bug. They replied that those are known issues and will be addressed in a coming firmware update. I wish they would look in to this freezing issue as well. To me it is super important, but to them.. dunno, could be that only a very small portion of their use base will ever come across this issue.

The FH-2 is very near ideal for MPE to CV with the Seaboard so it's a shame if this doesn't get fixed. I can set smoothing and output voltage ranges so playing feels more natural and instrument-like than even their own equator synth. And having no computer involved is so liberating.

What would make it even better would be if there were some additional MPE modes. One that I would find very useful would be an optional flattening of MPE to single channel MIDI, sounds daft but it would allow switching between sending single channel MIDI via the breakout DIN to non MPE hardware and using the polyphonic MPE-control via CV or even using both simultaneously. If this switching could be done for instance by sending a program change message to FH-2, that would allow for switching control schemes while playing live without having to set up an extra MIDI-keyboard just for standard MIDI.

Another nice thing would be to have a paraphonic MPE mode where the CV pitch of the voices are divided among the held keys, it would be useful for when there are more oscillators available than VCAs and VCFs but still wanting to be able to play more complex chords but also unison lead lines or duophonic stuff. For instance two held keys and four voices would assign voice 1 and 2 pitches to the low key and 3 and 4 to the high key. Three keys held with four voices would allocate the fourth voice to the lowest held key, five voices and three keys would double the lowest two keys etc. 16 voices and one key would make a dangerously fat unison, and probably loud too, so the paraphony could be optionally divided by available VCAs / Gates, allowing the paraphony to be bundled in sets of max unisons. Say that there are 4 VCOs, two VCAs, two VCFs, the physical CV output allocation could be pitch 1, pitch 2, paraphonic gate a, paraphonic pressure a, paraphonic Y-axis a, where pressure and Y-axis are from the highest key in the 'paraphonic group', following outputs would be pitch 3, pitch 4, paraphonic gate b, pressure b, Y-axis b. Perhaps there are pitfalls to this allocation scheme that I haven't thought through, but if this sounds interesting I could make a software mockup of the scheme to check if it is viable and makes sense under the fingers, perhaps each 'paraphonic group' would need to sum or average the MPE expressions of its associated keys to be more intuitive etc.

Edit. With some more thinking it would probably make more sense to allocate each 'paraphonic group' in turn until running out of groups, thereafter split the pitches of each paraphonic group in turn as more keys are added to the chord. An example, three VCAs/VCFs and six VCO makes three groups each having two associated VCOs. Holding one key activates group A, two keys A B, three A B C, all voices within groups are unison up until this point, and MPE expressions are straight forward one key / one group. Holding four keys splits the VCOs of the group with closest note proximity to the new note so its second VCO pitch is set to the new note without re-triggering the associated gate, MPE expressions for the group are now averaged between the associated keys. Ok.. this can get complex, so would need to be tested to see if viable.

Back to the freezing issue, I will try a powered USB hub next, if that solves it, then I'll test the smoothing cap.
mrMagenta
Update with some new findings, hopefully getting closer to a solution.

Installed the latest firmware (1.7.1) when it came out and got 25minutes of playing before the ROLIS seized up again, but I made a discovery that makes me think the problem has to do with noise. I noticed that the noise floor of my rig rises a fair amount when connecting the seaboards compared to any other gear.

The additional noise is distinctly digital with periodic whines and modem-like sounds. When connecting the RK005 in between the noise gets lowered. I'm thinking this could have something to do with the ROLIs bluetooth transmission being picked up in the system and causing trouble. The blue blinking bluetooth indicator on the ROLIS is correlated with the noises, especially some periodic ramping whines. The ROLIS should turn off bluetooth automatically when connected by USB but this doesn't always happen, powercycling the ROLIS can help if the blue indicator doesn't stop blinking by its own. The digital noise is only picked up by the system when the USB cable is plugged between FH-2 and the ROLIS, so bluetooth without the physical connection doesn't seem to be a problem. I'm guessing it could also have something to do with the ROLIS periodical charging.

I went and got a pair of ferrite cores and clipped them onto each end of the USB cable. I'm using an Otterbox 1m length USB A to C cable and it is quieter than ROLIS own USB cables. I've had the ROLIS crash when using the otterbox USB cable and FW 1.7.1, but not since I clipped on the ferrite cores. The seizing up is so random that I need to test this over time, but I have been actively playing the synth for a few hours total without the Rolis seizing up, including trying to cause a crash by mashing with all fingers.

Could the ferrite beads really be doing something? I kind of doubt it and suspect it has to be something else, but I don't know.. seems to be working.
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