TLDR; Power fluxes (mains->laptop->USB) kill my connectiv audio output, not happy never have been.
Before I start reeling off information and filling out MusicMeister's helpful form regarding this issue, let me just say this will be a long post as I have a lot to vent. Connectiv/Torq has never worked smoothly for me but I am extremely glad I've found this thread (don't know how I missed it before on these forums.) Power fluctuations via usb knocking over Connectiv seem to be exactly what has happened to me in the past on stage where el-cheapo power strips are used or the phase is overloaded/not earthed correctly etc etc, and this is exactly what happened to me performing a set last night.
Just to recap what happened last night, I was performing (I DJ) with an emcee friend using the same setup as we have done so many times before over the past ~4 years I have owned Connectiv/Torq. Basically, I drop the beats and do back-up vocals/scratching where needed and my friend raps. 3/4 of the way through our set audio cut out of torq, sound tech/club owner ran over and spoke to me quickly while my emcee continued the track acapella so nobody seemed to care (there was a large audience so naturally I started to feel embarrased at this point.) Couldn't see anything obvious, all power lights are on, nothing was on fire, my laptop (Core-duo running Win7) had not crashed or rebooted, Torq still up on the screen in sync with my torq vinyl (new) running away happily just no audio output. Song finished, everyone cheered, I unplugged my connectiv, re-plugged and rebooted torq, level comes back and I started cutting in the next track.
So we get through another track and a half, cuts out again, same procedure although this time I upped my sample rate from 256 to 512 just in case. Gets through the intro of the track then cuts out again, the emcee gives up and bids goodnight, I drop to the floor behind the dj booth and sulk. This isn't the first time it has happened, although I may attribute my early failures to my inexperience with digital vinyl setups. Now I have used just about all of them, so just when I think I have my system down-pat and bug free a problem rears it's ugly head again. Guess it's my fault for putting faith into something I know is so tentative and not having a plan-B to roll with "just in case."
The club in particular had a seperate 30amp phase running to the stage just for dj/pa equipment and had been recently checked as it was a new venue. I discussed the issue with the club owner after everyone had cleared out at the end of the night and pointed out it was more than likely the cheapo power strips. He also had some unnecessary spotlights sitting at the back of the stage chewing on the power, as well as the dj fold and FOH pa (a nexo system from memory.) My emcee mate said he felt static on his lips coming off the mic or something to that extent, though I didn't notice anything on mine. To be honest, I'm not sure where the mic's were getting their P48 from, the stage or the mixing desk (which was apparently on a different phase.) I had my torq setup working at home for 3 hours straight the day prior like clockwork, the turntables in the club are the same that I use at home (technics 1200's) and I brought along my own needles (sure m44-7) so it could not have been those. Like I said before my torq vinyl is new so I don't think it was a control signal problem. My setup was originally bought as a part of ms pinky so I wore those records out first then switched to the fresh torq vinyl which came free with the package.
To further reinforce my theory of the clubs power circuit fluctuating, the headline act who came on after me running ableton from a macbook had the sound drop out on him for a few seconds too, making me think the system was momentarily overloaded, or the mixer had cut out etc. Seeming as he wasn't using external power to his laptop (from memory) it would not have affected his system directly, yet the pa was still affected. Another previous act who was dj'ing using serato had no problems running from a windows based laptop, from battery and not mains.
Basically when all is said and done I have convinced myself this current problem is a power issue. This means my connectiv box is inferior to any other external digital dj interface on the market - if a brief power flux is going to wreck my performance while other interfaces keep on ticking away. What am I going to do about this next weekend when I perform my own set, exclusively from the laptop? I can't cut my own tracks to vinyl as I don't have a vinyl cutter handy, I'm a turntablist at heart who doesn't use cdj's mainly because they do not offer me the control I need, so I rely heavily on my laptop and my torq setup to work. What if this problem happens again? Do I take my own power strips? Do I replace all rca cables and usb cable on my box just in case? Do I try and stretch my laptop out on battery power for the entire set?
I need a strategy, or I need to purchase my own Serato setup. Something that isn't going to fail.Sorry for posting so much but I've been extremely frustrated and I the only way I know how to write is well... a lot.
1. Date you bought Torq and the Conectiv.
Roughly mid 2006?
2. Where you bought Torq/Conectiv.http://www.mspinky.com
I found the idea of being able to cut up video novel, although I never got my head around their custom software so stuck with torq.
3. Make and Manufacturer of computer you're using - if you're using more than one, list them.
Samsung R710; specs HERE
- Purchased this in the UK although I am from and currently residing in Australia. I had to purchase a new 3 pin clover leaf mains cable to stick in the transformer as we don't use the same pin configs of course.
4. Operating System used on each laptop.
Windows 7 Ultimate. 32bit.
5. Outline your setup - particularly the power side of things. Are you plugging into a cheap power strip, a rack mount strip, the wall, etc.
The gig I described above where my last problem occured, had 2 el-cheapo no-name brand 4 outlet power strips stuck up on the dj booth. I could not see if they were chained from anywhere else or running from their own dedicated sockets. My laptop was plugged into one of these, sharing with 2x cdj's, 2x technics 1200's, a rane empath mixer (with the odd rotary volume faders) and a bunch of odd rope lights which were running around the edge of the booth. A recipe for disaster really, but I had no other option at the time and no other act had the same problem as I did with their laptops. nb; I will be going back to the venue to help the club owner sort out a proper booth situation.
At home I use quality Jackson power strips, designed for workshops/industrial situations, with rmi/efi filtering and of course surge protection. Never had any problems with them.
6. Anything you've tried to fix it.
My last problem does not seem fixable if the connectiv box trips out due to a power flux, unless I carry along my own power strips from home which may provide a cleaner power, although I'm not sure if this is going to work. My next set I plan on running from battery as long as I can before plugging in mains and hoping for the best.
7. Other equipment in your set up - for example, Tech 1200 MKII's, CDJ 800's, Numark 1002 MKIII mixer, etc.
I use a Korg padKONTROL to manipulate Torq, although I did not have this at my last gig, and at home it has never caused any issues. At home I use a Denon DN-X300 mixer.
8. If you've tested the outlet for cross wiring/lifted ground/etc.
Will confirm this when I go back to the club to have a look.
9. If you use a power strip with a voltage readout do you see any large fluctuations when the fog machine comes on? Same for current if you have that readout as well.
I have not tested the voltage output of the sockets I use to power my laptop, but when I go back to the club I may, at my house I don't believe there are any faults. The particular club I was in did not have a fog machine on stage, but did have the spotlights I mentioned. Will look into it.
1. You've tried using an external power adapter for conectiv and if you still have a problem.
Don't own one, but will purchase one in case. Makes good sense to me, but it's cumbersome having to plug in another appliance for my DJ setup.
2. You've tried using a ground lift device like the EbTech HumX on your computer and still have the problem.
3. You unhook all the signal cables from the Conectiv if you still have the problem.
When I go back to the club I will try different cables and try one deck at a time.
4. If you hook up the PA side of things but not external control if you still have the problem.
I have never had a problem with the internal mixer. In the past when I have had control signal issues with busted needles or otherwise, I have switched to internal mixer without faults.
5. If you hook up external control but not the PA system if you still have the problem.
I always headphone cue the output before sending it to the pa, have never noticed any problems cue'ing out of the connectiv box or dj mixer I have been using.
Once again, sorry for writing so much sh*t! It's the only way I know how. That and it's good to vent