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No more Focusrite interfaces for me

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Re: No more Focusrite interfaces for me

Postby ef37a » Sat Apr 03, 2021 4:48 pm

MOF wrote:
In fact the whole world needs to stop and think, "Do I NEED a new car/phone/tablet/computer this year or even next?"
If everybody updated their computing devices each year then you’d probably have a point, however the reality is that people upgrade according to their ability to finance them and the need for new features and then their old devices are passed down to family or sold on. Eventually, Apple deconstruct end of life items for recycling.
I’m grateful for the upgrades, my first iPhone was version 4, which enabled me to use Garage Band to compose anywhere, albeit not the easiest way to play a (virtual) keyboard, then version 6 that I bought off a mate and allowed me to have Alchemy in Garage Band, so much more inspiring sounds, plus Drummer and now I’ve recently bought iPhone 12 mini and the 6 will go to my parents to join the 4.
The 12 mini not only runs Garage Band without pauses for rendering it also does 4k HDR video.
So no the world doesn’t need to stop, if you stop you’re actually going backwards.

Most of that is 'function' and could probably be incorporated by firmware updates (I say in all ignorance) You might claim special pleading but 99% of the rest of the world are just duped into keeping up with next door.

The world will not go backwards if we stop. It's going D'arhn son. To hell.

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Re: No more Focusrite interfaces for me

Postby MOF » Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:03 pm

Most of that is 'function' and could probably be incorporated by firmware updates (I say in all ignorance) You might claim special pleading but 99% of the rest of the world are just duped into keeping up with next door.

No firmware update will be sufficient to increase the cpu power that much.
Indeed we’ve just witnessed the advances Apple have been making with their iPhone chips now that they’ve released the related M1 chip for Macbooks which is very much faster than the Intel chips and uses much less power.
Whatever people’s reasons for buying new technology are it’s not my concern, all I do know is that such widespread adoption creates a market for better devices and technologies. I wouldn’t want to be stuck with analogue tape machines, 8mm cine and 35mm photo’ film, typewriters and telephone boxes and they’re not either i.e. mobile phone, stills, video, text device and the internet thrown in.
Then you have all the extra employment opportunities added to justify it.
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Re: No more Focusrite interfaces for me

Postby BobTheDog » Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:22 pm

RME software may go on forever but from my experience their hardware doesn’t, I have two dead firefaces here, neither lasted longer than 5 years.
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Re: No more Focusrite interfaces for me

Postby ef37a » Sat Apr 03, 2021 9:33 pm

MOF wrote:
Most of that is 'function' and could probably be incorporated by firmware updates (I say in all ignorance) You might claim special pleading but 99% of the rest of the world are just duped into keeping up with next door.

No firmware update will be sufficient to increase the cpu power that much.
Indeed we’ve just witnessed the advances Apple have been making with their iPhone chips now that they’ve released the related M1 chip for Macbooks which is very much faster than the Intel chips and uses much less power.
Whatever people’s reasons for buying new technology are it’s not my concern, all I do know is that such widespread adoption creates a market for better devices and technologies. I wouldn’t want to be stuck with analogue tape machines, 8mm cine and 35mm photo’ film, typewriters and telephone boxes and they’re not either i.e. mobile phone, stills, video, text device and the internet thrown in.
Then you have all the extra employment opportunities added to justify it.

I did NOT say we return to tape or bean cans on strings and if technology can make processors faster and use less energy, bring them on. The fact is however, the vast majority of computer users use less than 1% of the power of their machines. You will know I am sure how little real processing power it needs to run many audio tracks.

I am no Luddite. Heck I earned my living with the cutting edge of TV technology of the day. I enjoy my FSTV and audio systems but I am happy with what I have. People in the professional audio industry it seems to me buy the very best gear then keep it running for years, only upgrading as they need to. The rest of the world is just effectively buying shinier toys.

"Extra employment" Yes, we need to sort out a different economic model but those huge brains would be better bent to solving the planet's problems instead of making things 'thinner, lighter,faster, cheaper and disposable.

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Re: No more Focusrite interfaces for me

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Apr 03, 2021 9:43 pm

^^^ This ^^^
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Re: No more Focusrite interfaces for me

Postby Guest » Sun Apr 04, 2021 1:08 am

@James, et al, thanks for the deets. Interesting, I didn't think anyone was writing software anymore - even a driver. Most companies have outsourced everything, including lawyers.
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Re: No more Focusrite interfaces for me

Postby MOF » Sun Apr 04, 2021 1:47 am

The fact is however, the vast majority of computer users use less than 1% of the power of their machines. You will know I am sure how little real processing power it needs to run many audio tracks.

Yes but it’s easier to sell a well specified device that can cope with the demands of all programs e.g. playing back 4k video that someone else has made, than tying up a factory to make low powered cpu and RAM chips.
As for audio I was pushed into upgrading my 2009 iMac to deal with the audio tracks, plugins and virtual instruments (and I’m not talking 60 plus tracks here) that were causing audio spikes on my recordings, despite having a UAD co-processor. So I was only too glad to get the processor hike, plus it enabled me to move over to 4k V Log 4:2:2 video, a non starter on the previous iMac.

People in the professional audio industry it seems to me buy the very best gear then keep it running for years, only upgrading as they need to. The rest of the world is just effectively buying shinier toys.

They hold onto classic microphones and other analogue hardware, space permitting, but typically they have an upgrade path with computers, monitors and interfaces for commercial reasons. I can’t think that any bookable studio still has the original Protools hard and software or the very sexy Apple perspex monitors and the computer will be at least a trashcan type if not the new cheese grater tower.
Also software writers always want faster processors to facilitate their ideas.

"Extra employment" Yes, we need to sort out a different economic model but those huge brains would be better bent to solving the planet's problems instead of making things 'thinner, lighter,faster, cheaper and disposable.

Well those very powerful computers are needed to do the climate modelling, big data analysis, 3D, AR and VR preproduction visualisation of all the products that mitigate against climate change etc.
Those lightweight mobiles are used all over the world to get the News of atrocities and state sanctioned misdemeanours out to the rest of the world. If it wasn’t filmed it didn’t happen as far as News oulets are concerned.
‘Disposable’ as I said earlier, they get passed down and then, certainly in Apple’s case’ get deconstructed and reused.

If this was Room 101 I couldn’t let you put “Put computer development on hold” into Room 101. :D
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Re: No more Focusrite interfaces for me

Postby ef37a » Sun Apr 04, 2021 7:11 am

MOF you keep defending rampant consumerism by citing one off, or very few off extreme examples. I am sure you know very well that "The World" does not really need 95%ish of the trash and toys the electronics industry churns out.

I have already said that audio professionals will buy the best kit and keep it running, always have and that goes for science, engineering and ENG. It is the rest of the consumption we need to stop, or at least make repairable.

The world sometimes has to "stop" and take stock and do the right thing. WWll and now Covid-19. Global warming and habitat destruction are even more important. I don't want to stop people having fun as it were but I strongly object to about 5% of people in the world having a bloody good time at the expense and sometimes even off the backs of the rest.

Be happy but FFS be content with what you have. For mow.

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Re: No more Focusrite interfaces for me

Postby The Elf » Sun Apr 04, 2021 10:40 am

BobTheDog wrote:RME software may go on forever but from my experience their hardware doesn’t, I have two dead firefaces here, neither lasted longer than 5 years.
Two Fireface 800s here still working perfectly.
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Re: No more Focusrite interfaces for me

Postby blinddrew » Sun Apr 04, 2021 12:23 pm

The thing is Dave, I don't think your 'edge cases' are as rare as you think.
I completely agree that we need to be more responsible in our consumption, and that manufacturers need to be more responsible in finding ways to prolong product life, but our world turns on technology and our demands have changed.
I have a brand new laptop from work, open a PowerPoint, get an excel macro going and start a Teams call and I'm hitting 50% (at least) processor power. This isn't trinkets to look shiny. It's that progress that allows me to not be sitting on a manky old diesel train for an hour and a half every day.
So yes, we need to be more responsible. But no, it's not all driven by chasing shiny toys.
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Re: No more Focusrite interfaces for me

Postby Rockrooms » Sun Apr 04, 2021 12:50 pm

CS70 wrote:Thing is, writing a driver is not particularly difficult.

It's actually much easier than building a complex business application or even a website. Drivers are easy simply because if you have a very well defined scope and clear interfaces both on the OS side and on the hardware side.

First up full disclosure, I work for Focusrite and have really debated commenting on this thread, Forte was before my time and support decisions aren't my area, so my comments are personal thoughts, from a position of working with the Windows driver team and having worked in Windows software development, since Win 2.x ran on top of MS-DOS, in various companies, small and large, desktop, server and cloud side.

I have a life time of blue screens and crash dumps and must respectfully disagree with writing Windows drivers is not particularly difficult. As part of my some of my roles as a software developer in test, causing drivers to crash is something I've been paid to do and sometimes it really isn't that hard. Getting things fixed however is usually significantly harder task especially when things are happening in real time and sometimes running with the debugger or on a checked build is enough to change timings so things no longer break, or just plain behave differently.

Writing drivers for some peripherals such as printers is easier than others (but the recent MS screw up with printing is a reminder that even with their resources, things still break ), but writing threaded kernel mode drivers is requires considerable dev chops and even if they weren't difficult to write, testing them against the myriad of chipsets / motherboards / DAWs and OS versions is a massive and expensive undertaking. There's always one laptop or PC type where things don't work properly or reliably.

Documentation goes out of date and is sometimes just plain wrong or incomplete. APIs get deprecated - I have some sampler software that broke because access to the registry was changed and it happened to use that for it's licensing protection to name but just one. Timings and security permissions change. Other kernel mode drivers don't play nice. For audio if we miss a window you get dropouts and glitches and reproducing those can be especially time consuming. Windows audio is a nightmare of shifting sands and changing APIs. WDM audio is especially problematic. There's always the worry that the next Windows 10 update will just break things "for a small % of customers" as the saying goes.

It is very frustrating when a manufacturer stops supporting a device and I've been burned many times over the years, especially when there's a switch from hardware or software formats - Vesa Local Bus to PCI, firewire to USB that are just two that I've been through.

Ending support will inevitably might cause some people to vow to never buy from a company again and there are plenty of competitors to chose from. I have a lot of respect for RME, their drivers are excellent both from a technical and long term support perspective and they will have taken financial decisions for levels of support.

As I say, support decisions are not my area and none of the above is from any official Focusrite position, but I think suggesting that any company, Focusrite included, doesn't take careful consideration of the impact of stopping support is a bit on the harsh side, but understand and respect your decision not to chose any more products because of support ending.

I wish the outcome were different and I can't offer any remediation, only that I know the decision wouldn't have been taken lightly.

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Re: No more Focusrite interfaces for me

Postby ceejay » Sun Apr 04, 2021 1:03 pm

There's always the worry that the next Windows 10 update will just break things "for a small % of customers"
... and that is becoming a big worry ... my main audio PC had a big problem with the 2004 update last year and Microsoft just refused to install it ... some months ago the PC, having been blocked from updates other than virus definitions, just stopped working and refused to install Windows 10 from the latest download ... so I've reverted to the original 8.1 for the present ... a few weeks later my wife's main PC hard drive died and it has been replaced with a new 10 install ... now many of the programs like Adobe Creative Suite that ran quite happily before are refusing to do so ... her new replacement PC arrives in the next couple of days and I'm dreading what we will be able to install.

So they've got us by the short and curlies from both directions ... hardware and software and if we don't keep up with the latest shiny toys, they're not interested in us.

Incidentally, I operate two small FM radio stations and their main on-air PCs still run under Windows XP and keep on going for years without any problems ...
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Re: No more Focusrite interfaces for me

Postby ef37a » Sun Apr 04, 2021 4:42 pm

blinddrew wrote:The thing is Dave, I don't think your 'edge cases' are as rare as you think.
I completely agree that we need to be more responsible in our consumption, and that manufacturers need to be more responsible in finding ways to prolong product life, but our world turns on technology and our demands have changed.
I have a brand new laptop from work, open a PowerPoint, get an excel macro going and start a Teams call and I'm hitting 50% (at least) processor power. This isn't trinkets to look shiny. It's that progress that allows me to not be sitting on a manky old diesel train for an hour and a half every day.
So yes, we need to be more responsible. But no, it's not all driven by chasing shiny toys.
I take your point Drew but for every ten people sitting comfortably at home running Teams there are 100,000 out there working for next to sod all making stuff that nobody really needs.

I am not just putting the blame on the audio/phones/gadget industry. The bothering vegans would ban all meat production and for sure methane is a big problem but we could help by just eating maybe 20% less beef. The fashion industry (rag trade) is a massive polluter and user of energy. We all just need to DO a lot less of everything.

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Re: No more Focusrite interfaces for me

Postby OneWorld » Sun Apr 04, 2021 5:15 pm

ceejay wrote:
There's always the worry that the next Windows 10 update will just break things "for a small % of customers"
... and that is becoming a big worry ... my main audio PC had a big problem with the 2004 update last year and Microsoft just refused to install it ... some months ago the PC, having been blocked from updates other than virus definitions, just stopped working and refused to install Windows 10 from the latest download ... so I've reverted to the original 8.1 for the present ... a few weeks later my wife's main PC hard drive died and it has been replaced with a new 10 install ... now many of the programs like Adobe Creative Suite that ran quite happily before are refusing to do so ... her new replacement PC arrives in the next couple of days and I'm dreading what we will be able to install.

So they've got us by the short and curlies from both directions ... hardware and software and if we don't keep up with the latest shiny toys, they're not interested in us.

Incidentally, I operate two small FM radio stations and their main on-air PCs still run under Windows XP and keep on going for years without any problems ...

I had exactly the same experience on my DogsBody computer. It's od but fast having good solid XEON CPU, certainly more than adequate for browsing, emailing, document processing etc it used to work fine but a few Win10 updates ago refused to install, and the most irritating thing is, I get the 'Your computer is ready to be updated' I select 'install' it goes through all the motions - download, install, several reboots and at the final step, it fails and roles itself back

I have found it is the old graphics card I have that is the problem, but it suits me, I get 1920 x 1080 resolution, on a 40" LCD Monitor which is fine for me. OK I know I could get a 4K card, my monitor is 4K, but I don't need one, not for browsing the web and typing docs.

So, if the Win10 installer is so clever, why does it not do a hardware audit before it begins the install sequence? I am not going to shell out £50-£100 for a replacement graphics card when the one I have is perfectly adequate.

Sometimes I just yearn for an OS on a Flash ROM, install, lock it shut and be done with instead of all the cursed updates which don't seem to do anything convincing anyway - I want a functional OS, not a flashy one
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Re: No more Focusrite interfaces for me

Postby OneWorld » Sun Apr 04, 2021 5:46 pm

Rockrooms wrote:
CS70 wrote:Thing is, writing a driver is not particularly difficult.

It's actually much easier than building a complex business application or even a website. Drivers are easy simply because if you have a very well defined scope and clear interfaces both on the OS side and on the hardware side.


I wish the outcome were different and I can't offer any remediation, only that I know the decision wouldn't have been taken lightly.

Joe

An interesting read, and brings home to me what the issues are. I used to write software way back when, and my area of expertise was computational linguistics. The problem, in common with many areas of development, anticipating every possible circumstance. One project I worked on was funded by the EU and the issue was this - translating from language A to language B was easy to fix, there was only one language pair A <-> B so the fault was easy to find. But at the time there were 9 languages used by the EU, so now we have (9x9)-1 language pairs to consider. In theory the machine translation engine should translate unseen text, arbitrarily, from source language to target language(English for example, to Spanish for example) but traverse the whole spectrum of languages in the Universe of Discourse.

English -> French.........................Italian -> Spanish

So if the code was robust and predictable, you could translate From A.........B and B.......A and the translation that came back should replicate A. Hmmmmm, a big ask, especially when the translation engine were also expected to translate between any two languages in the set of 9, chosen at random. Difficult enough, but factor metaphor into the problem and things get even more perplexing. EG, I write some code to parse an English sentence......

Cats drink milk

noun verb noun => english_sentence(dogs eat bones)

But hang on, that means milk can drink cats? and bones eat dogs?

OK animate_noun verb inanimate noun => english_sentence

But inanimate_noun verb animate_noun => not_english_sentence

But hang on - "rust eats iron" hmmmmm, back to the coding board

I would imagine writing drivers equally cryptic. You simply cannot anticipate and code for every situation, especially when the number of hardware and software combinations are beyond contemplation.

I believe RME made the conundrum a little easier to deal with by making their own chips? whereas Focusrite, no doubt along with many other hardware manufacturers, relied on 3rd party products, and so the predictability of the working environment became an unknown - and how can you code for that!

I feel your pain :-)
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