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blackbox MIDI via USB problem

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  • blackbox MIDI via USB problem

    I have detected unstable work of the blackbox MIDI over USB, while connected to Elektron Model:Cycles
    Seems that unit stops responding to any MIDI signals after the glitch. And the glitch happens after some time working with Elektron while I'm performing any kind of operations there.
    It might be also connected with MIDI transport signals like start/stop, sent by Elektron
    Together with that, when connected via MIDI out, no glitches or lags detected.

    Attaching the video, where you see that in order to fix that, I have to reconnect USB cable, and it works again.

    Has anyone faced with something similar?
    Last edited by dicemanpro; 06-02-2021, 12:00 AM.

  • #2
    If the blackbox stops receiving sync it has an internal clock that immediately takes over. So you may need a short pause before sending a new clock. This may seem inconvenient, but will you ever find yourself in a situation where you are toggling start/stop like your video?

    I do not have a Cycles to test but would be interested to see if it is sending a start and stop only or if it is sending a continue. If you have a MIDI monitor, please test it and let me know. Thanks


    • #3
      I have the same exactly the same problem on both a Digitakt and Digitone! Steve this appears to be a bug with the Blackbox and isn't an issue where pausing a bit longer before starting/stopping the transport on the Elektron will avoid the issue. It comes up in the course of typical workflow while developing a track, where one is stopping and starting transport. It also comes up when trying to perform a synced track. If the transport on an Elektron machine is stopped or started 1-3 times, sync is lost with the Blackbox, regardless of a pause before hitting Play or Stop. Once the blackbox loses sync, there is no way to use any midi functionality over USB, until the USB cable is replugged.

      I'm happy to run a midi monitor to help diagnose the situation, if you can help me understand specifically what you'd like me to monitor! FWIW, I'm also down to help test a fix.

      Steps to reproduce with Blackbox Firmware 1.7.F –
      1) On the Blackbox, set Tools -> MIDIn -> ClockSource: USB Port
      2) Connect an Elektron machine (Digitakt / Digitone / Model:Cycles) over USB to Device port on Blackbox
      3) Set Elektron machine to Clock Send & Transport Send
      4) Set a midi track on the Elektron to trigger a pad on the blackbox
      5) Press "Play" on Elektron Machine
      6) Let it play for however long you like
      7) Press "Stop" on Elektron Machine
      8) Wait for however long you like
      9) Press "Play" on Elektron Machine
      10) Blackbox looses sync
      11) Observe that no USB functionality is working

      I've confirmed that both Elektron machines can maintain sync, transport, and all other midi functionality with the blackbox when connected through the trs + DIN midi interface, so this issue appears to be specific to the USB midi implementation.
      Last edited by timriot; 07-22-2021, 06:33 PM.


      • Rafael Ikenaga de Paula
        Rafael Ikenaga de Paula commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi Tim, I have been trying to make my blackbox slave to my digitakt over DIN/TRS but can"t get to work, I have set my DD to send clock and start/stop and set BB clock source as MIDI port but no luck, when I hit Play nothing happens with the BB. Though if I press plat in the BB first and the hit play and then stop in the DD, the BB will also stop... so strange. I also have a Bluebox and it behaves the same. Thank you so much, Raf

    • #4
      I have the same issue with the Digitakt that timriot mentioned.

      In addition, Digitakt transport is unable to control BB, but the other way around works fine.

      Unplugging and plugging back in the cable only works for me if I hit start on a midi pattern in the Digitakt first. And it seems like only if notes are playing will it pick up the midi signal for a while. It appears to me that the USB port times-out or something, because not only will it not work after being stopped, it will just flat out stop receiving notes after 5 minutes or so - even while in the middle of playing a pattern.


      • #5
        from the first day of using blackbox I have different midi issues(
        some of them can be solved with power cycling unit after changing settings.
        but that's insane how such stable protocol like midi can be such...


        • #6
          Blackbox likes to be tha MIDI BOSS! It plays better and keeps MIDI sync with all other gear - when BB is set as the Master MIDI Clock. Set all other MIDI gear to external Sync, as MIDI slaves they will follow your BB.
          BB rules at the top of the MIDI chain. Keep BB happy and the groove goes on, brothers and sisters!


          • -thus-
            -thus- commented
            Editing a comment
            That’s worked well for me!

        • #7
          hi to all,it seems that usb device can host only clock and transport,cant receive MIDI notes ,any ideas? ,thank you!
          Last edited by Faros3577; 06-21-2022, 05:57 AM.


          • #8
            have you checked your settings? The blackbox should send and receive MIDI note events via USB Device port.
            Please share your firmware version (as a number).


            • #9
              I found USB midi to be very convinient and also very unstable.
              Similar bug of BB not responding when i want to use it as a slave, but in my case it stopped responding consistently after 10-60 seconds of normal use.
              Blackbox in current firmware really wants to be master of the setup (regardless which midi you use, USB or TRS), and i would consider using it as such if it had essential for me tools of communicating with external gear.


              • Steve
                Steve commented
                Editing a comment
                What is"current firmware?" Please use a number when sharing the firmware version. You may also consider sharing more details like your setup, connections, etc.

            • #10
              Firmware is 2.1.3 and core of my setup is blackbox and digitone.
              Im running audio from blackbox into digitone, and send midi out from digitone into blackbox standart midi in.
              Initially i wanted to use USB midi to cut down on number of wires and adapters, plus have bidirectional midi, sequencing pads and starting BB sequences externally, while using BB sequences to drive longer melodic lines on both devices.

              I have a lot of feedback about blackbox already, and id love to share it on the forum. But first i have to spend more time with it, to really understand how i want to use it.


              • #11
                Everything you mention is possible. It is important to note that the blackbox does not offer a traditional MIDI Thru. However, it can Thru signals based on routing. It can be easy to fall into a MIDI loop. Feedback is great. But do make sure you have watched the videos (on our YouTube) and read the manual. Often, new users have expectations based on the way other gear operates and that does not always translate to the blackbox.

                I have been using MIDI since 1986 but it took a minute to get my head around the way our samplers function. Post questions if you have them. If you need a quicker answer, email us directly from our website.