Very weird FW audio interface issue

gvbento

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 6, 2019
2
0
Hi, my name is Gabriel Bento from Brazil, and I have been trying to wrap my head around this issue for quite some time now and I am completely lost. I'm seeking some help, hopefully someone here will be able to spot something I'm missing. It's quite a long story and I think a very weird one, so bare with me:


I have a Firewire Audio Interface (Actually a Soundboard with a firewire interface integrated. Allen & Heath GS-R24. FW400 port) that I used with my MBP Mid 2012 using one of those Lacie flat FW800/400 cables. It worked fine, both on Sierra and High Sierra. The only issue was, depending on what charger was connected, the interface would stop working (I suspect one of my chargers is not original). Both on battery power or with the other charger plugged, it would work fine.


I bought a MacPro 5,1 for the studio and the interface wouldn't properly work with it. The manufacturer's driver would sometimes see the interface for a brief second and then it was gone, sometimes not see it at all. The OS (Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Sierra and High Sierra were tried) could see the interface - it showed up as an Audio Input/Output option.


After trying the manufacturer's support, and following their troubleshooting instructions, they recommended I brought the interface to their authorized service (the only one in my country is 1600 miles from where I live) - which I did. In the meantime I kept bugging the manufacturer's support forum and they eventually found one of their old cases which was exactly like mine (works on MBPro, flashes in/out of the driver's sight on MP - using a Lacie flat FW800/400 cable) which was solved by using a different FW cable. So... Bingo!... I thought.


The authorized service didn't have another FW cable to test on (!!!!) but I was pretty confident that would be the issue since the manufacturer's support provided me with an exact symptom solved case.

So I got the interface back from the authorized service (they had to do a couple other small repairs and cleaning on it as well) - but now it's behaving even more weirdly. It's not seen at all (manufacturer's driver or anywhere in the OS) by any Mac. I've tried three: my MBP that used to work with it, my Wife's MBP, and the MP - nothing, so sign of any firewire device being connected at all. Not even an "unknown device" within System Report's Firewire Tab. Three different FW 800/400 cables were tried. All three Macs work with other FW devices just fine (an external HDD and a MOTU audio interface were tried).


But here it gets weirder again... it does work on a PC running Windows 10, equipped with a firewire PCIe card.

Just to see if it would work, I used bootcamp to install Windows 10 on my MBP secondary HDD (replaced the optical drive), but again not even an "unknown device" was seen in this case as well. That MOTU FW interface I mentioned before works fine with the Bootcamp system as well.


Anyway - the Authorized Service tells me everything seems to be fine with the FW module on the board. Manufacture's support say the console must be fine since it's working with the Windows PC. I have three Macs that won't even see the board at all.


This combo of weird situations is driving me pretty nuts and I can't at all understand what could possibly be the issue (I don't even understand why would a firewire cable work on a Mac and not on another, to be honest). Hopefully someone here has some sort of an idea of what could I look into.


I'd hate to have to buy another FW module and even more to have a $6000.00 paper weight on my hands when it was working just fine right before going to service.



Any direction someone could point me to?


Thanks
 

BrianBaughn

macrumors 603
Feb 13, 2011
6,365
938
Baltimore, Maryland
How does the FW PCIe card that's on the Windows 10 PC (the one that works) compare, build-wise, to the FW that's on the Mac? If there are differences, the only thing I can think of is the possibility that a Mac-compatible Firewire PCIe card with the same chipset as the working one from the Windows machine could work.

Something to look into, anyway.
 

gvbento

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 6, 2019
2
0
How does the FW PCIe card that's on the Windows 10 PC (the one that works) compare, build-wise, to the FW that's on the Mac? If there are differences, the only thing I can think of is the possibility that a Mac-compatible Firewire PCIe card with the same chipset as the working one from the Windows machine could work.

Something to look into, anyway.
Hi Brian,

Thanks for the reply.

Actually, the PCIe FW card that was on the Windows PC (TI 1394 chipset) is compatible with Mac as well, so today I brought it to the studio and plugged it into the Mac Pro. It did work with my Firewire HDD and MOTU Interface. Still the exact same behavior with the Allen Heath Interface, no sign of life at all on the Mac.