Alesis IO26 - Are we sure it works?

Discussion and support for MOTU's Volta software.

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brandon daniel
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Alesis IO26 - Are we sure it works?

Post by brandon daniel » Mon May 25, 2009 6:19 pm

I know someone measured DC using the test files, has anyone gone ahead and bought Volta and successfully calibrated oscs/used Volta with the Alesis interface?

I'd sure hate to have the info out there that it works if it hasn't been 100% verified...
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smitty
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Post by smitty » Mon May 25, 2009 7:41 pm

I have been waiting for a definitive answer on this as well, and from all the posts I've read, my take was that it didn't. Soooo, I swung by the Guitar Center sale today and picked up a Motu Ultralite MK3. Of course, now we will get a post that it is working perfectly, bla bla bla.... :mad:

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gavechase
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Post by gavechase » Mon May 25, 2009 8:43 pm

I'd say, at the moment, "not compatible."

If you don't care about 1v/o, go nuts. LFOs, Envelopes, Gates, etc. work alright, but no calibration.

I gave it a shot because I already owned an io|26 and figured what the hell. I wouldn't recommend going out and getting one for Volta. My apologies if my earlier enthusiasm for the interface led to any disappointment for another forum goer.

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Post by monsturo » Mon May 25, 2009 11:54 pm

gavechase wrote:I'd say, at the moment, "not compatible."

If you don't care about 1v/o, go nuts. LFOs, Envelopes, Gates, etc. work alright, but no calibration.

I gave it a shot because I already owned an io|26 and figured what the hell. I wouldn't recommend going out and getting one for Volta. My apologies if my earlier enthusiasm for the interface led to any disappointment for another forum goer.
Yep this was what I found too. It was totally worth a trying even though I returned it and bought a MOTU. No apologies necessary!

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Post by brandon daniel » Tue May 26, 2009 9:01 pm

Seems likely, based upon that description, that it goes *close* to DC but not quite, so over the long term it still starts drifting down to 0v and that makes calibration difficult to achieve.
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gavechase
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Post by gavechase » Tue May 26, 2009 10:04 pm

Actually the problem wasn't the stability of the voltage. It's rock solid for me.

It' drivers. The sidechain input into Volta refused to pass any audio into the plugin whenever I clicked on the calibrate tab. monsturo and I experienced the same issues, and the problem went away with a MOTU interface.

I'm gonna stick it out a bit longer, see what develops software-wise. And if MOTU releases any dedicated Volta hardware, I'll be first in line.

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Post by votefordennis » Wed May 27, 2009 12:40 pm

FYI, I couldn't get it to work and I'm in the process of returning it. I picked up a used MOTU 896 but haven't set it up yet (waiting on the right cables).

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Post by stretta » Wed May 27, 2009 2:16 pm

Are there any volta users here who still have access to this interface?

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Post by brandon daniel » Mon Jul 06, 2009 9:22 pm

stretta wrote:Are there any volta users here who still have access to this interface?
Now I'm a Volta user with access to this interface.
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Post by brandon daniel » Mon Jul 06, 2009 9:51 pm

Current behavior I see with Volta 1.04:

Calibration does not work. No red line is displayed to show current pitch, I believe something may be going wrong with the audio input when in calibration window, since all other windows seem to output the audio input OK, but when I go to the calibration window the audio input is no longer passed through to the audio output. At least I know that the audio is being correctly bussed to the Volta input.

Perhaps the audio dropout in calibration mode is standard procedure, without having seen calibration work, I wouldn't know. Either way, Volta doesn't display the red line to show the current pitch and proceeds to fail calibration.

Here's the current test setup where I see these results:

http://fdiskc.com/img/VoltaSetup.jpg

Ch1 is the audio in from my SH101, bussed to Volta's input (sidechain-style). When I attempt calibration, I unplug the Gate input and set the 101 to Hold mode and hit a key to ensure the VCA is open and sending full bandwidth oscillator signal to the Volta input.
Ch2 is Volta, audio output being monitored on headphones.
Ch3 is Volta's CV outs 1/2, sent to audio out 1/2 on the interface and sent to CV/Gate inputs of the SH101.

I'm certain that the interface works fine down to DC, as I was able to generate DC pitch control to the 101 from Plogue Bidule and a similar configuration to the picture above worked fine with the Expert Sleepers Silent Way demo control and calibration. Also, if I set calibration in Volta to Manual and draw in a diagonal line, the synth responds well to CV/Gate, it's just not calibrated to V/Oct.

We should be able to get this going, eventually, as the interface is very DC-capable.

I'm willing to help track the problem down in any way that may be required, up to and including sending my IO26 to MOTU for testing.

Yeah, I do this for a living, I try to be thorough.
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Post by 1nput0utput » Tue Jul 07, 2009 8:35 am

In your screenshot, you have an extra track, 1 Audio. Why?

Volta has access to any CoreAudio input directly. In the Setup tab, select the iO|26. In the Calibration tab, select the appropriate calibration input in the Source menu. Delete the track 1 Audio.

I think the Volta manual is pretty clear on how to set this up in Live, so maybe check that out. If I recall correctly, there are also some tutorial videos on the installation disc.

Another thought: Since the SH-101 oscillators produce only sawtooth and pulse waves, Volta may not be able to track their pitch very well.

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Post by brandon daniel » Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:54 am

1nput0utput wrote:In your screenshot, you have an extra track, 1 Audio. Why?

Volta has access to any CoreAudio input directly. In the Setup tab, select the iO|26. In the Calibration tab, select the appropriate calibration input in the Source menu. Delete the track 1 Audio.
Yes, I get that, but using this method, there's never any audio bussed through Volta. It's only if I manually sidechain the synth into Volta's stereo audio input that I get signal running through it, though still nothing during calibration (or a red line). Trust me, I tried it both with and without this track. Same result, only without that track there's never audio passed through Volta.

In fact, this may be the giveaway for the problem, for whatever reason direct interface access isn't working with the Alesis, and looking at the calibration source menu, it does seem to want to use this method. Perhaps a decent workaround would be to add a selection in the calibration source menu for the Volta audio return inputs? It would mean manually bussing each audio source to Volta for calibration, but that's better than not working at all... and, in fact, that's how the Silent Way plugin seems to do things, and it works fine with the Alesis.
Another thought: Since the SH-101 oscillators produce only sawtooth and pulse waves, Volta may not be able to track their pitch very well.
I considered that, but I also tried filtering down to the fundamental and then tracking the filter to keyboard, which should result in a tracking wave closer to a sine wave, but still no red line.
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Post by os » Tue Jul 07, 2009 12:58 pm

The SH-101 is known to work with Expert Sleepers Silent Way:

http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=255926

If you'd care to test it with the IO26 I'd be grateful, so I can add it to the compatibility list.

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Post by 1nput0utput » Tue Jul 07, 2009 2:06 pm

brandon daniel wrote:
1nput0utput wrote:In your screenshot, you have an extra track, 1 Audio. Why?

Volta has access to any CoreAudio input directly. In the Setup tab, select the iO|26. In the Calibration tab, select the appropriate calibration input in the Source menu. Delete the track 1 Audio.
Yes, I get that, but using this method, there's never any audio bussed through Volta. It's only if I manually sidechain the synth into Volta's stereo audio input that I get signal running through it, though still nothing during calibration (or a red line). Trust me, I tried it both with and without this track. Same result, only without that track there's never audio passed through Volta.
Volta's return input is different from and independent of its calibration input. The plug-in's return input is passed out of the plug-in to the instrument track for additional audio processing and mixing. In Live I generally never use Volta's return input because Live doesn't deal with AU plug-in sidechain inputs very intelligently.
brandon daniel wrote:In fact, this may be the giveaway for the problem, for whatever reason direct interface access isn't working with the Alesis, and looking at the calibration source menu, it does seem to want to use this method. Perhaps a decent workaround would be to add a selection in the calibration source menu for the Volta audio return inputs? It would mean manually bussing each audio source to Volta for calibration, but that's better than not working at all... and, in fact, that's how the Silent Way plugin seems to do things, and it works fine with the Alesis.
Volta's calibration relies upon direct access to the audio interface hardware through CoreAudio. This seems to work well with other interfaces' drivers, so I'm not sure why the Alesis driver would be any different.
brandon daniel wrote:
1nput0utput wrote:Another thought: Since the SH-101 oscillators produce only sawtooth and pulse waves, Volta may not be able to track their pitch very well.
I considered that, but I also tried filtering down to the fundamental and then tracking the filter to keyboard, which should result in a tracking wave closer to a sine wave, but still no red line.
It probably won't matter if the filter cutoff is tracking the keyboard pitch because the keyboard pitch isn't being used during calibration, the pitch CV input is. What you would need is for the filter cutoff to track the oscillator pitch CV. Then maybe it would work the way you're thinking it should.

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Post by brandon daniel » Tue Jul 07, 2009 4:54 pm

1nput0utput wrote: It probably won't matter if the filter cutoff is tracking the keyboard pitch because the keyboard pitch isn't being used during calibration, the pitch CV input is. What you would need is for the filter cutoff to track the oscillator pitch CV. Then maybe it would work the way you're thinking it should.
On the SH101 the CV input and the Keyboard are functionally the same. If the you turn up the keytracking on the filter, it will track the keyboard if you're playing that or the CV input if you're using that instead.

I'll also note that these were the same problems (everything is fine except calibration, no red line, direct connection to the interface doesn't seem to work) other people saw with this interface.

I've talked with MOTU, they believe I've tried the correct steps, and I'll send my interface in to see if they can figure out what's going on and maybe get it all working.
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