Posts tagged: TC Electronic

The TC Interface Lives!

By , 2009 September 24 5:37 pm

I need to update everyone on the status of my TC Electronic Konnekt Live computer audio interface.

When we last discussed this thing, it was at TC’s N American service depot. This was suggested by the TC TS department, when they were unable to guide me in getting the unit working on any of three computers.

Long story short, service found nothing wrong with the unit. They sent it back to me with no repair performed.

Shying from my Windows boxes, I tried it on my Hackintosh. Hey! It seems to work! After days of uptime, using it intermittently, I encountered no issues.

Encouraged by this, I got a different FireWire PCMCIA card from BestBuy. This was the Dynex DX-FC202 – their house brand. I used this in my IBM R40 laptop to try to connect to the Konnekt, instead of the integrated FireWire chip on the motherboard. Hey! This seems to work too! Curiously, the (non working) integrated chip is a TI chip, which is the solution recommended by TC. The chip in the working PCMCIA adapter is a Via chip, which TC says to stay away from. Whatever. At least it’s working. The particular chip is a Vendor ID 1106, Device ID 3044.

I’ve now been using this for several weeks with exactly zero BSODs. All is not wine and roses – there are still a few issues with the system. If I leave the TC mixer applet up for more than a couple of minutes, while running a DAW, it will lock up the audio subsystem. To get resolve this, I need to break the FireWire connection, kill the applet and the DAW, reconnect, then restart everything. Still, it’s a damn sight better than a BSOD. Plus, I can work around it by not leaving both the DAW and the applet up at the same time.

But hey – I’m working with it, and I’ve gotten rave reviews on the improved sound.

umm… so what’s a hackintosh?

By , 2009 August 7 4:18 pm

Since my last post (The TC Saga), I’ve gotten a number of inquiries essentially wondering ‘what the heck is a hackintosh?’ [why email? an inline comment may make more sense - ed.]

Simply put, a hackintosh is a computer, running Apple’s OS X, but made out of non-Apple, off the shelf, commodity PC parts.

This was made possible when Apple decided to dump the PowerPC architecture for Intel processors,arranged in configurations much as any other garden variety PC running Windows, Linux, OpenSolaris, or other OS.

Well, it was really made possible when a community of hackers realized the implications of Apple’s decision. This community is known as the OS X 86 community. These are the people that built the code necessary to accomplish this interesting task.

Since this architectural change, the primary technical difference between an Apple and a generic ‘white box’ system is that the low level system firmware in the Apple case is something called ‘EFI’ (Extensible Firmware Interface), while a generic white box machine employs ‘BIOS’ (Basic Input/Output System). A hackintosh uses the system BIOS to load from disk and execute a chunk of code that implements EFI. Once EFI is loaded, then OS X can load. This can be accomplished either by a hacked version of the OS X kernel, or by a modified system bootloader.

Note that EFI is not Apple technology. It was actually developed by Intel, as a ‘next-generation’ technology to accompany Itanium based systems.

So what does this all mean in practical terms? For a hardware investment of a couple hundred dollars, plus some parts from my computing junk bonepile, plus a software investment of a retail copy of OS X and iLife, I have the functional equivalent of a fairly snappy new Mac.

Yes, it runs GarageBand. Yes, it runs the Mac port of Reaper. Yes, it talks to my Tascam US-122 audio interface. Yes, it runs SecondLife. In fact, I am now composing this blog within Safari on my hackintosh.

As always, if this floats your interest, feel free to comment.

The TC Saga

By , 2009 July 15 4:40 pm

So after working with TC Electronics’ tech support for over three months, they finally asked me to send my Konnekt Live to them for repair. How’d we arrive at this point?

Some time ago, I decided I’d be happier if I upgraded my audio interface. Ever the gear slut, I convinced myself that my lowly old Tascam US-122 was a limiting factor on my performances. The limitations that I perceive include:

  • large latency – prevents monitoring of ‘in the box’ effects
  • limited to two channels in, two channels out
  • sound quality is — eh — OK

Accordingly, I decided to procure a TC Electronics Konnekt Live. The benefits that I was expecting included:

  • lowered latency – enough to monitor from DAW
  • double the analog channel IO count (4 in, 4 out)
  • addition of SPDIF IO and adat IO
  • better preamps
  • hardware DSP – both reverb and compression

Better gear, better sound, better performance, right?

Unfortunately, it refuses to work with not only my main DAW, but pretty much with any of my other computers.

At TC TS’ troubleshooting suggestions, I have been through service packs, Microsoft hotfixes, OS reinstalls, multiple driver and application versions, multiple FireWire cards, multiple FireWire cables, ad nauseum. The end result has always been BSOD on the computer (Blue Screen Of Death – windows crashing entirely, and self-rebooting).

‘Tis truly a shame – in the couple minutes before BSOD, the unit does indeed sound absolutely glorious. Like, to the point that a casual listener would notice a distinct improvement. (as much as I obsess over gear, new acquisitions usually lead to gains barely discernible to the average listener).

In all fairness, the unit *seemed* to work on my Hackintosh, but that was just a quick check. It may have failed with a longer test.

It’s now at TC’s US service depot. I’ll update when I get it back.

Panorama Theme by Themocracy