In this case it is definitely not an „Error 40“ (this kind of error which is located in 40 centimeters distance in front of the monitor …)
Sometimes the connection is stable for the “big” time of 20 minutes, then suddenly dropouts appear. Sometimes one, sometimes two, sometimes ten or twenty in three to five minutes. Then suddenly the system is stable again and nobody knows when the next dropouts will appear.
It seems to be not an issue of the settings.
In the stagebox setup the output source is set to “AVB Send 1-8” and besides the name of the stagebox the green sync indicator is visible. When I set the output source to “none” and press “Apply” the green sync indicator disappears. Instead there is a message on the screen that an output source needs to be selected to enable AVB clock sync. But the box can also play audio without this sync setting. So this is not the problem.
On top of the Digital Patching screen there is this green “Master Reset” button you can touch which will return all input and output digital patching to the factory default routing for all inputs and outputs (analog and digital).
In the scenes screen you have two reset buttons which unload the current scenes and projects and return the settings to factory defaults.
Are there more places with reset buttons I have not seen yet? Of course when powering on I start the mixer first and then the stagebox so that the AVB listener (stagebox) can find an active AVB talker (mixer) on the network when initializing.
It is not an issue with the cabling. The dropouts appear even if there is only one StudioLive 16 connected with one blue Presonus network cable (length 1,50 meters) to one NSB 16.8 stagebox on AVB-input A.
I was able to hear a device connected to the stagebox on the mixer headphone output. Then I set one Earmix device to receive audio streams on the first and second channel (AVB channel 49 and 50). In the mixer I routed Mix 1 and Mix 2 to be directed to AVB channels 49 and 50, selected Mix 1, raised the faders of my input source to nominal level, also the sum-fader for Mix 1. Same for Mix 2. As result I could hear the left channel of the audio source on Earmix channel 1 and the right channel of the audio source on Earmix channel 2. I could do a separate mixing there, with panning, EQ Limiter and Level. So I understand the routing of this ecosystem.
Of course there are differences between cables. I started with Cat 5 because it was not clear that at least Cat 5e should be used. The blue Presonus cable is Cat 6 unshielded. Now I have everything in CAT 7 where everybody says that this is not necessary. I see at least three improvements when using CAT7: The initialization of the stagebox in the beginning works faster. When you switch on and off phantom power on a channel the phantom power LED’s on the stagebox react faster. Most important for me: The sound seems to be more open in the high frequencies. Maybe not much but noticeable. When listening to music for a longer time the sound is more relaxed on Cat 7 than on Cat5.
The dropouts appear on both types, the blue Presonus cable and the Cat 7 tourgrade cable with professional Neutrik Ethercon connectors. If Cat 5e cable is sufficient for a digital connection a Cat 7 connection should do this job with ease. But it doesn’t.
The problem seems to be an issue with the network clock. The sync gets lost and then the Audio stops. When you press the home-button and select the system screen there is a network clock indicator which switches from green to red in a timeframe from about two seconds before a dropout and five seconds after a dropout. Sometimes in cases of small half second dropouts you might not see a change from green to red but in most cases the red status correspondents to a dropout.
Exchange some hardware?
I originally purchased a new StudioLive 16 III mixer, two new NSB 16.8 stageboxes, one new AVB switch and two new Earmix devices. One NSB had issues with dropouts from the beginning, the other was quite stable. The first device I gave back to the dealer was the mixer because the select buttons on Channel 5 and 6 didn’t work. The StudioLive 16 is no longer delivered to the dealers, only the 32 SX is available in this size. But it has no longer the small displays in the dynamic fat channel which I see as advantage in some situations.
Therefore I got the last StudioLive 16 of the dealer from the demoroom. The next part I gave back to the dealer was the one stagebox that had the higher amount of dropouts. I got a new Stagebox. Unfortunately the new box had also dropouts, but only on input A while AVB B delivered a good Signal (even though both Inputs should be parallel).
With the second originally purchased stagebox the connection mostly was stable, even after three hours of operation. Therefore the mixer as master clock source seems not to be the problem if one stagebox is working. So I gave the exchanged stagebox back a second time, also to be able to purchase the Cat-7-cables which are more expensive than Cat 5e. Also I exchanged the snake cables two times. First I purchased the recommendation of the dealer, a 75m-Cat-5-drum. I exchanged it to a 50m-Cat-5e-drum, and I returned this one again to order the current 75m-Cat-7 drum.
Unfortunately now this second stagebox shows also dropouts. I don't think that there is a hardware problem. The bug is somewhere in the data handling / protocol operation.
In the forum here I read from other people about similar dropouts combined with red/green signals from the network clock indicator. The descriptions sound similar to my issues.
There is no problem with standalone operation of the mixer, no dropouts or anything else, just a workflow and some features that I prefer compared to the digital mixers from other manufacturers. In general this is a very competent and well designed product and I would like to get it working.
I fear if I would open a ticket to check this device it would be sent back to me after some weeks without any error detection.
I think most people here don’t have these kind of problems because most people outside are not working with digital snakes. Or most of them are no computer technicans and don’t understand that this issue they are talking about might be not hardware related but located on the protocol level where device communication takes place. And therefore they would not set a “like” to this topic here.
So I’m asking for a possibility to check my devices to get an idea why the network clock gets lost. The complete calculation engine of this mixer is designed to work with the channels in the network connection. Therefore it should be possible with a different software to review and qualify the measured data. What was taking place in which part of the mixer when a dropout appeared?
Currently no music is playing, nobody touches the mixer, nobody touches the cabling. The green light besides the network connector is constantly flashing, the amber light is constant, and three minutes ago the green network clock indicator in the system screen changed from green to red for 15 seconds. Why was the system out of sync?
So even if there might be not many likes for this topic here I as a single person ask for a diagnostic software which runs inside this ecosystem and is able to report issues.
Fluke might be a professional company with high quality tools that might be able to clarify unclear situations. But they have no solution which is able to report issues in a StudioLive eco system.
There is the need for diagnostic tools in event situation where the audience expects from a technican to solve a problem that the show can go on. I purchased this equipment to do some interesting jobs with it. Currently I take it sometimes out of its cases, place it on my table in the living room, connect one stereo device to it, play a little bit around with it, thinking if it’s worth the risk to try it in a professional situation.
When the diagnostic reports would show that the problem is the mixer I would open a repair ticket. But I don’t want any longer go to the dealer and ask for an exchange of parts for try-and-error-diagnostics. In the meantime I think they start rolling eyes when they see me coming and describing issues with Presonus equipment.
So why does the network clock indicator change to red sometimes even on professional and Presonus recommended cabling (blue cable) with only one sound device connected on the stagebox in a short distance?