Linux compatibility problems? Wally’s got his DJ gear working on Linux, and broken on Vista. And that makes him MAD. We’re celebrating random rant Friday, so let’s have at it until it gets fixed, ‘kay? He gripes because he loves, I’m sure. His opinions are his own, but I think it is important to be honest about the way users do tend to react when hardware support isn’t in sync with major OS updates — particularly when many of those new operating systems are preinstalled on machines, and licenses are pricey. -Ed.

UPDATED — by coincidence, see the end of the post: drivers just popped up for Vista.

As I’ve written on CDM before, I’m a big fan of the M-Audio Conectiv USB DJ audio interface. It’s a great bang-for-buck device that works really well with my existing collection of MsPinky vinyl.

Unfortunately though, I can’t use it (or Torq) with my new Vaio notebook running Vista (not easily anyway – I’m sure I could do some run-around by installing it as a generic USB audio device and using ASIO4ALL). Why not? Because M-Audio has yet to release drivers for it. Vista hasn’t changed for 7 months. Developers (including M-Audio, I’m sure) have had their hands on it for at least the last year. It’s been out officially for 5 months now.

However, I had no issues getting it up and running on my 8-year-old Linux box. I powered my ancient Dell running FC5 down, connected the USB cable, and booted back up. Sure enough, it was recognized as a USB audio device. A few modprobes and .asoundrc edits later, I’ve got it working with Alsa, Jack, etc.

The moderators’ dissembling on the Torq forums is nothing short of breathtaking. In this thread, entitled “alternatives to work around Vista conflict“, moderator MusicMeister says “And you can complain all you want, but M-Audio is only one of MANY companies that don’t work on Vista currently.” Wow! Take THAT, you whiny Vista user. Imagine wanting to use a hardware device released at the end of 2006 with an OS released at the beginning of 2007. The nerve! Great response to your customers, BTW. It’s interesting that both my RME Multiface and Presonus Firestudio work on Vista, using the same drivers for XP, even. Want to know what else works on Vista? DJDecks, Deckadance, Traktor3, Live 6.0.7, Max/MSP 4.6.3, Reason 3.0.4, Renoise 1.8. You get the picture.

Later in the thread, a user asks “How hard is it to create or update a new DRIVER?” The rather disingenuous (or grossly misinformed) response by MusicMeister is: “Very. Especially when the OS changes as much as Vista did from XP.”

You know, maybe I’m misinformed, but I find it hard to believe that much changed (in the audio layers, anyway) when I can use the same vendor-provided drivers for both XP and Vista with my Multiface and my Firestudio.

I’d go on with MusicMeister’s ridiculous statements, but the idea that Vista is SO much different from XP that it would take them 7+ months since Vista was feature-frozen to get a driver out the door for a USB 1.1 audio device is laughable on it’s face. Perhaps I’m wrong, and updating the Conectiv drivers for Vista is this huge technical challenge for M-Audio, and it’s developers are working day and night to get a stable driver out the door.

What’s much more likely is that the cause for the delay is poor technical project management at Digidesign that short-shrifts the M-Audio DJ division, and unfortunately, we customers are paying the price for that.

UPDATE Hours after this post went out, M-Audio announced the availability of beta drivers for the Conectiv here: http://www.torq-dj.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3153. While I’d like to think that CDM is a major source of influence in the digital audio world, and my snarky post led to some major panic at M-Audio HQ (“CDM is complaining about the lack of drivers for the Conectiv. Get something out there – STAT!”), but it’s probably just a major coincidence.

  • http://indiedanceparty.com DJ McManus

    How about a demo for this program?

    I'd seriously love to actually try the lite version out. I'm quite open-minded about it. I really don't care for the controller interfaces though.

    I own 3 programs for DJing and quite frankly I had to try cracked versions to see what they were really like before buying them. Deckadance still crashes like like a blind juggler. Traktor needs to get them beat grids sorted. Live really lets you do it the way you like and does what it's supposed to do.

    rant here. – Why no metal box? I can get a tin of mints or tea for under $5 but this thing comes in looking like a happy meal toy.

  • Wallace Winfrey

    The case is plastic but it's quite solid for my needs. The knobs and dials feel good. One could splurge and get something like the Audio8 or the RME HDSP BPM, but for the price it's a great piece of hardware. Too bad I'm actually forbidden from even trying to use the XP drivers on my Vista notebook.

  • Wallace Winfrey

    BTW, I own Deckadance too, and while it's got a lot of room for improvement I can't say I've managed to crash it yet. Maybe if you need another DJ app to fool around with you should give DJDecks a try, especially with the SPM skin (search the forums).

  • http://xfader.com regend

    Serato!

    Next up is the ability to manipulate video files.

  • Wallace Winfrey

    MsPinky's been able to do this (manipulate video) for 5+ years. I'm sure Serato is a fine system, but I've cast my lot with the little guy, the system with the Max/MSP objects and the freely-available SDK.

  • http://indiedanceparty.com DJ McManus

    I'd love to hear some thoughts on Torq from people who have tried the other software options. Maybe some views on the EQing, mixing, beat synch, and the general feel of the program.

    Please, no hating on asking about beat synch. Some programs it is too choppy and others I can see actually having two tracks synched smoothly while adding extra effects and loops.

    Wallace – Deckadance crahes for me if I've go some effects on and then trow a new track on. It has happened enough that I'm never surprised anymore. I like the feel more than Traktor even though they are similar I find the EQs in decadance smoother. I just don't like the feel and sound of Traktor. I may just break down and get the lite version of Torq?

  • dark

    http://www.torq-dj.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3151

    Just when you did this report, later today the drivers came out.

  • Adrian Anders

    Simple solution: roll back to WinXP. You can most likely find the XP hardware drivers for your notebook even if Sony doesn't officially support it by using PC Wizard (http://www.cpuid.com/pcwizard.php). That's what I did with my Toshiba. It took about a day to get everything squared away, and now all my legacy hardware and software works no problem on XP (screw MS for breaking compatibility so much in Vista!)

    ATA

  • Wallace Winfrey

    dark: yes, see my update.

    adrian anders: sony will not provide me with a free copy of windows xp. the notebook shipped with vista, and i'm not buying an OS that will likely be obsolete in a year.

    it's a moot point anyway — i've installed the beta drivers and they work great.

  • http://indiedanceparty.com DJ McManus

    Now if they post a demo I'll know Wallace is Oprah's brother.

  • Vasques

    Panic, Highly unlikely. Coincidence, I think yes. I remember 2 moderators talking about Vista support in May.

    One said "Do not count on vista compatible. I am taking a big guess here on this and I do not think it will happen until after 1.5 comes out."

    The other moderator mention to him M-Audio has started to release Vista compato drivers and software.

  • http://www.adjandmore.com MusicMeister

    Ouch… I've been quoted out of context….

    I do want to make a few things clear.

    1. I do NOT work for M-Audio now and never have in the past.

    2. The step to Vista was significant. If you think Vista isn't significantly different than XP try asking an IT professional that's having to support it in the enterprise. What the hell, you can ask me because I am one of those IT professionals that is having to support it in the enterprise.

    3. At the time I made those comments Serato had been working about 2 weeks – and even now they recommend using XP over Vista. Pro Tools doesn't work on Vista, neither does Final Scratch and a lot of other applications. And of the applications you listed most do NOT require the development of a hardware driver.

    4. I've worked with people doing driver development and it's not an easy feat.

    5. I'm surprised you didn't bring up the OS X 10.4.9 and 10.4.10 breaking the Torq application and how it could possibly impact driver development with developers being pulled to work on fixing uers that were 'down' or were busy with the deployment of a new product (the Xponent).

    But hey… what do I know… I've only been working in the IT field for 20 years….

    As for the 'complain all you want' it was aimed squarely at some users who had been complaining in the past over what was more or less 'non-issues'. If it 'offended' you – I apologize.

    But again, I'm NOT an employee of M-Audio, DigiDesign, Avid or any of it's divisions…

  • http://indiedanceparty.com DJ McManus

    Dude, you're on the Starship Enterprise? Awesome!

    Hook us up with some M-Audio t-shirts.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @MusicMeister:

    These opinions were Wally's, not my own, but while I tend to agree with what you're saying, the key point is the amount of lead time Microsoft gave its developers. Music developers were invited directly to Microsoft headquarters well before the release — I think it was August 2006 when the last developer summit took place. You had an OS that was feature-frozen in 2006, that had its business release in November 2006, that was available to the public and preinstalled in January 2007. By the time you hit July 2007, you would hope that the situation were more together. And you do have to notice the discrepancy between some companies who are there and some that are not. It doesn't seem to be for lack of resources.

    Something is breaking down. It may not be entirely on the developer side, and may not be entirely on Microsoft's side. But you have to admit, this is not the way things should operate.

    I am quite confident that this is not the picture Microsoft wanted painted of the OS by July 2007. That's not to say there's no reason for this to happen, and you're right in that it's hardly unprecedented, but I hope the development community is able to come together and find a better way of working in the long run.

  • carmen

    i remember getting a vista driver SDK disk in the mail in like…2003. and that was when i ordered it – it was probably available earlier. it talked about how the audio api was changing etc. so. . i can sort of blame developers. but also microsoft for deciding to break everything to add new DRM features to every portion of the OS..

  • mike

    hi wally:

    though this article is mostly about vista support, it is also the top hit for the few of us looking for information on how to use the connectiv with linux.

    surprisingly little information out there; would you mind sharing any edits you did you make the device work with the usb subsystem and alsa?

    cheers..

  • djtachu

    hello, i am interested in do work my torq-connectiv with linux, how i can?, i want unbuntu. thanks.

  • Chris

    I too am interested in how you got Conectiv running under Linux. Which software do you use to actually mix the Mp3 files?

    Thanks,

    Chris

  • http://fnk4.wordpress.com fnk4

    sure thing one can use torq conectiv as usb soundcard, cause linux (ubuntu 8.04) had no problems recognising it as USB Audio for deck A and USB Audio #1 for deck B, BUT did you manage to run Torq software?!

    so far i've managed to run it through wine after copying four needed dlls to ~/.wine/drive_c/windows/system32

    i've also tried cedega and crossover with no results.

    so, it runs under wine, i can even load files to decks, but none of the internal windows (preferences, nor about) won't show properly and i think that's the major problem.

    one won't be able to run it without setting up the preferencess, so i tried to overwrite the prefs files with my windows configuration files, but still it didn't work.

    i've even tried to edit the prefs file inserting "USB Audio" as device name, but still no good.

    maybe the thing is to force linux to see the device as "Conectiv" (or sth similar) not "USB Audio" but i don't know how to do it. yet ;]

    do you know how to make an alias of a device?

    thanx for your help, and we're waiting for some screenshhots :>

    cheers

  • nic

    What were the needed dlls called?

  • Wallace Winfrey

    Just for the record, I sold my Conectiv last year so cannot provide any more feedback on how I got it up and running. Why did I sell it? It just quit working one day, and after waiting 6 weeks for a replacement, with very poor communication on M-Audio's part, I just decided I wasn't satisfied with the product or the company. I'm using an NI Audio8 now, but have yet to try it on Linux.

  • http://fnk4.wordpress.com fnk4

    @nic:

    when you run (from console!)

    $ wine Torq.exe

    it tells you which dll's are needed. firts it will give you one dll's name, and after you copy it it will give you another 3 needed to run. good luck.

    i'll check the names for you when i'm at home.

    @Wallace Winfrey:

    but did you manage to actually mix using external contorl?

    cheers

  • Wallace Winfrey

    I never tried to use Torq with Wine, but I was able to use xwax with TS vinyl. However, I only played around with it a bit, and got rid of the Conectiv soon after. Definitely didn't "put it through it's paces" but I can't see any reason why it wouldn't work.

    I inquired about getting the xwax guys to support Torq/MsPinky vinyl, especially seeing as the API for vinyl control is freely-distributed, but they didn't like the fact that it was closed source and also did not want to reverse-engineer the MsPinky timecode. At that point I ran out of patience and moved on. I no longer bother with trying to run audio apps under Linux, frankly, and my use of Linux at this point in time is limited to enthusiastic use of AndLinux on my Vista notebook and as a server platform.

  • http://fnk4.wordpress.com fnk4

    drmclien.dll

    wmasf.dll

    wmidx.dll

    wmvcore.dll

    http://rapidshare.com/files/147172400/torq-dlls.t

    extract them here: ~/.wine/drive_c/windows/system32

    @Wallace Winfrey

    thanx for the answer.

  • fugitive

    I've just bought an m-audio conectiv and am trying to get it working on ubuntu 8.04. Can anyone upodate me on the above posts – did you have any joy with wine? I'm having a bash at installing it on a streamlined XP VM in Virtualbox. The card installed fine I'm just having some probs with playback. If I succeeed I'll let you know.

  • http://fnk4.wordpress.com fnk4

    still no success. but i haven't tried virtualbox yet.

  • nickz

    I'm using Mandriva and I can get my Connectiv to work with Amarok if I go to Settings>Configue Amarok>Engine>Select Output Plugin>ALSA and then type "plughw:Conectiv" (yeah, with one "n", not sure why it is that way but it is) into the Alsa device configuration box for Stereo (or mono if you want mono files to go out through the Connectiv). You can do the same thing with OSS selected as your output plugin. For some reason, I get occasional, very annoying clicks and pops, though. Think it may have to do with latency, which I haven't yet figured out how to adjust. Cheers.

  • http://www.photoshoptutorials.info/ Jenny

    There's some more information here if anyone's interested

  • http://fnk4.wordpress.com fnk4

    thanx for fukkin spam, jenny from the block

  • oida

    Also trying to get the Conectiv to run on Ubuntu (Studio 8.10).

    aplay -l gives me:

    card 1: Conectiv [Conectiv], device 0: USB Audio [USB Audio]

    Subdevices: 1/1

    Subdevice #0: subdevice #0

    card 1: Conectiv [Conectiv], device 1: USB Audio [USB Audio #1]

    Subdevices: 1/1

    Subdevice #0: subdevice #0

    Playback works perfectly.

    However recording using ALSA or Jack just produces silence (or rather a low 28dB noise signal).

    amixer -D hw:1 doesn't do anything.

    I think the input channels are muted or set to zero volume and I can't find a way to control their volume.

    Anyone got a clue for me?

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