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    Behavior of amp when not connected to the iPad app

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    mlordin

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    Behavior of amp when not connected to the iPad app

    Post by mlordin on Mon Jan 16, 2017 3:37 am

    I just recently bought a Grandmeister 40 Deluxe along with the WMI-1 WiFi MIDI extension. I also have a MorningstarFX MC6 MIDI Foot Controller that I use for MIDI messaging, e.g. changing patches/presets etc.

    I typically connect and tweak parameters via the iPad GM40 Remote app - simply easier and I can also see the actual values of the various knobs that I can copy when creating new patches. The funny part is that as long as I have the iPad connected to the amp via the WMI-1 everything works fine - I can even disconnect the iPad and still change patches etc via my MC-6 midi controller. However, if the amp is entirely off, turn on the power the patch switching still works but the FX Loop is consistently enabled for each and every patch I select. I also get some weird artifacts such as a tiny background fizz if I mute (via midi) the amp and strum my guitar. As soon as I connect the iPad GM40 Remote app and start switching patches everything works like a charm. Again, once I have connected the GM40 Remote app I can shut it down and everything will work as expected until the next time I turn off the power of the amp, in which case the issue comes back.

    I typically don´t mind connecting the GM40 Remote app but it´s a bit annoying to require having to connect the app for the presets to function properly. It may be me missing something, hence wondering if anyone else experience similar problem and has a work around?
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    Syn666

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    Re: Behavior of amp when not connected to the iPad app

    Post by Syn666 on Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:46 am

    Maybe the MC-6 is sending MIDI commands that the GM40D doesn't recognize. Another user on this forum had the same experience when using a controller other than the FSM Mk III.
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    mlordin

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    Re: Behavior of amp when not connected to the iPad app

    Post by mlordin on Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:56 am

    had the same thoughts but then the problem wouldn´t be fixed once the GM40 Remote app is connected.
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    mlordin

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    Re: Behavior of amp when not connected to the iPad app

    Post by mlordin on Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:19 pm

    I sent an email to H&K Support and they answered quickly suggesting I manually press any Power Soak button after getting the problem I described and voila it works. A bit strange but a viable work around. Here's the answer I received

    "When you power up the amp just select a setting for the power soak manually with the buttons on the back (0,1,5,20 or 40 watts), does the amp works fine then? Otherwise we can offer to update the amp."

    Good service by H&K and glad that I can run the amp without the GM40REmote app!
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    spikey

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    Re: Behavior of amp when not connected to the iPad app

    Post by spikey on Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:59 pm

    When they offered to update the amp, does that mean there's a new firmware update availabe ?
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    mlordin

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    Re: Behavior of amp when not connected to the iPad app

    Post by mlordin on Tue Jan 17, 2017 1:49 am

    No idea to be honest
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    mlordin

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    Re: Behavior of amp when not connected to the iPad app

    Post by mlordin on Tue Jan 17, 2017 2:01 am

    and speaking of firmware update - anyone know if it's possible in Grandmeister series?
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    bordonbert

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    Re: Behavior of amp when not connected to the iPad app

    Post by bordonbert on Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:28 am

    Just a quick bit of background info here.

    I've never heard of a software/firmware update being available for any model. I could be wrong but I would be surprised if it is possible given the basic nature of the processing inside. It really doesn't have too much to do in computing terms.

    In terms of getting responses from H&K support, you are very lucky to get an email reply! People have languished, sickened and given up before while waiting Wink . An often better route is to contact them via their Facebook page which is scanned regularly and much more public if you get what I mean. Just do a FB search for "Hughes & Kettner" and choose the option with the angled amp face icon and "Products/Service". Post your query there and you usually get a quick response. Incidentally there is a fair bit of interesting advice, (not all always completely technically accurate or complete, it's a marketing tool remember), in their "Blog of Tone" articles if you haven't already found them. H&K Blog Of Tone Articles
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    mlordin

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    Re: Behavior of amp when not connected to the iPad app

    Post by mlordin on Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:42 am

    Thanks for the info but so far they have replied promptly to the emails I've sent and extremely service minded. I'm all set for now.
    Cheers!
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    spikey

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    Re: Behavior of amp when not connected to the iPad app

    Post by spikey on Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:04 pm

    I'm real surprised to read that they don't do mass firmware updates via a download. It's very common to do them in this way and nearly every one does that or has another product that scans what you have and tells you there's a new version out.
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    bordonbert

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    Re: Behavior of amp when not connected to the iPad app

    Post by bordonbert on Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:55 pm

    What method is there of getting the updated code onto the amp? All you have is the MIDI connection which doesn't give you access to any of the inner workings, just to a set of interface devices which interpret the signals from the controller and pass on control signals to the amp's internals. There must exist a path by which you can replace the existing code with the new code.
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    spikey

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    Re: Behavior of amp when not connected to the iPad app

    Post by spikey on Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:32 pm

    All you need is a USB to Midi interface. Below Strymon does this and they are one of many.

    http://www.strymon.net/gear-guide-how-to-update-firmware/


    And how do you know if the midi ports don't allow access to the "inner-workings" of the amp? I dont believe that just because they have not released a way to do this yet, means that it's not possible later.
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    bordonbert

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    Re: Behavior of amp when not connected to the iPad app

    Post by bordonbert on Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:44 pm

    The service documents with full schematics give you a few clues. Wink
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    spikey

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    Re: Behavior of amp when not connected to the iPad app

    Post by spikey on Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:29 pm

    OK I'll bite- where would I look at those then?
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    bordonbert

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    Re: Behavior of amp when not connected to the iPad app

    Post by bordonbert on Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:40 pm

    Well the GM36 service manual is out on the web now but I still can't just post the docs, we must respect H&K and they say don't make them public. If you do a little bit of searching anyone should be able to find it if it is still available. I think it turned up on a generic Music Electronics Forum somewhere. It shouldn't be hard to come up with it.
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    spikey

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    Re: Behavior of amp when not connected to the iPad app

    Post by spikey on Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:49 pm

    Alrighty I'll look for it then, thanks.
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    bordonbert

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    Re: Behavior of amp when not connected to the iPad app

    Post by bordonbert on Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:56 am

    Just an update on the firmware issue.

    I posted on H&K's FB page and asked them if this was possible.  Here is their reply:

    H&K Support wrote:We were just at NAMM and didn't have time to keep up with much else Wink Technically, yes - all this stuff can be updated. And it's only really relevant for the GrandMeisters. But it's unlikely to ever be necessary, and if it is, it'll be a challenge because it's something we'd probably have to do from here!
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    spikey

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    Re: Behavior of amp when not connected to the iPad app

    Post by spikey on Fri Jan 27, 2017 6:13 pm

    Well I guess that really means there is no ability for the user to update this amp, because no one there @ H&K is writing code for users to download and then update this amp at any future time frame, whether it may need it or not... Seems Like bordonbert was right when he stated earlier, doing it this way just ain't possible. sigh...
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    bordonbert

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    Re: Behavior of amp when not connected to the iPad app

    Post by bordonbert on Sat Jan 28, 2017 1:24 am

    I can't see this is any big deal here Spikey though as always, I may be missing something.  If you think of it, what does the firmware do in the case of the GM40D?  You have MIDI communications, you have digital effects, you have the digital controls, you have the TSC, they all work and work well with no obvious bugs in my experience.  I'm not sure what you are thinking you would be looking to improve that could actually be helped with a firmware update?

    Usually in the bootloader code which kicks a unit into life at switch on there is a small uploader section.  This is often triggered by some switch on button combination which it senses and that directs it into the updater code.  That simple updater then overwrites the existing code with the new stuff.  In some cases where there is enough memory available, the original code is held until the new code has been established as correct but that doubles the amount of memory you need.  Without that there is always the danger that an update will fail and the only thing that can be done then is to try it again.  And the worst case scenario is that that is sometimes even not possible and it has to go in for factory repair.  We've all seen problems like that I'm sure!

    I agree that there are many pieces of kit out there which have the capability to do this but they are generally much doing more complicated work from a digital perspective so they can benefit from it.  Modellers performing complex signal processing through digital manipulation will often have bugs in which get identified, or they have processes which can be made quicker or more effective or efficient.  The GM40D really is a neat and simple piece of kit digitally with no real need to be improved in that way as far as I can see.  It's always possible to install new firmware even if you have to remove the chips and flash them on an EEPROM programmer but is any of that worth it?

    I'm curious, what would you like to see addressed in a firmware update?
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    mlordin

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    Re: Behavior of amp when not connected to the iPad app

    Post by mlordin on Sat Jan 28, 2017 7:46 am

    bordonbert wrote:

    I'm curious, what would you like to see addressed in a firmware update?

    Normally I would agree - the amp is what it is but since this amp is also in the digital territory firmware updates are sort of the norm and also very useful. Example, the MIDI Program Change upon startup bug I discovered and H&K acknowledged could be fixed via a download and install rather than sending the amp back to H&K. I wouldn´t expect major new features for an analog amp but adjustments and extensions of the MIDI functionality along with the iPad App could be another area of improvements H&K could provide. Not a big deal and I´m a happy camper - simply love the amp. Just chiming in with my 2 cents since you asked Very Happy
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    bordonbert

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    Re: Behavior of amp when not connected to the iPad app

    Post by bordonbert on Sat Jan 28, 2017 7:55 am

    That is interesting and not how I would have seen things.

    "the MIDI Program Change upon startup bug" what was that ML?

    One thing I would say having been in this situation myself with work is, they would be reluctant to release any MIDI adjustment/extension if it altered the relationship between the amps and the FSM432 (or whatever the equivalent for the GM40D might become Wink ). Producing updates which make your product lines less compatible is not going to be popular.
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    mlordin

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    Re: Behavior of amp when not connected to the iPad app

    Post by mlordin on Sat Jan 28, 2017 8:47 am

    bordonbert wrote:That is interesting and not how I would have seen things.

    "the MIDI Program Change upon startup bug"  what was that ML?

    One thing I would say having been in this situation myself with work is, they would be reluctant to release any MIDI adjustment/extension if it altered the relationship between the amps and the FSM432 (or whatever the equivalent for the GM40D might become Wink ).  Producing updates which make your product lines less compatible is not going to be popular.

    The MIDI Program Change startup bug is described at the top of thios thread and the reason I origtinally started the thread. Basically the amp goes into a weird state upon startup and a MIDI Program Change is sent from a 3rd party MIDI controller device - I assume it works properly with H&K's own foot switch. I emailed H&K support and they acknowledged the bug but also provided a workaround. They also offered me to ship the unit back to H&K for a firmware update at no extra charge.

    As for Firmware updates, a majority of digital musical equipment manufacturers use downloadable firmware updates successfully to the benefits of the user communities - examples, Fractal Audio, Kemper, Line6, TC-Electronics etc, etc. Most software companies always have to consider the backwards compatibility issue when making changes but typically works pretty well - as a user you can always opt not to update your equipment in case you don´t see the benefits.

    However, as I stated earlier, doesn´t seem to be included in the design of the GM40 and honestly not an issue for me as long as the amp works and sounds amazing, but perhaps feedback to H&K to look into in future versions of their amps.
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    spikey

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    Re: Behavior of amp when not connected to the iPad app

    Post by spikey on Sat Jan 28, 2017 10:07 am

    I'm curious, what would you like to see addressed in a firmware update?

    Well, I'm coming from a few years of "modeller" use so those updates usually fix what mlordin talked about (fixing bugs and better workflow in the software), but also an update adds mics,cabs, and amps. But the BIG one is that you get better sounding and working FX's with updates. My Kemper just got some very nice added delays via an update, and Helix (Line 6) is going to get a fix on a few of the FX memory use issues (and maybe add some) in their next update (i think thats right). I however agree with mlordin and you bert, it's not a big issue as long as the amp sounds killer. Oh- and Sorry if this hyjacked the thread on the midi program startup bug. Smile Smile
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    bordonbert

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    Re: Behavior of amp when not connected to the iPad app

    Post by bordonbert on Sat Jan 28, 2017 11:42 am

    Of course.  Sorry about that, I didn't immediately link your mention of a bug with the thread directly.  Yeah, all is clear now.  Incidentally please don't think I'm just being argumentative or trying to put your thoughts down here, it's just interesting to get a perspective from the opposite side of the question and to have your own ideas and experience tested and criticised at the same time.  That way you maybe see where you are currently wrong or something different and new and you become better informed yourself.  Ok, the last thing I would point out is this and then I'll leave you to it.

    mlordin wrote:As for Firmware updates, a majority of digital musical equipment manufacturers use downloadable firmware updates successfully to the benefits of the user communities - examples, Fractal Audio, Kemper, Line6, TC-Electronics etc, etc. Most software companies always have to consider the backwards compatibility issue when making changes but typically works pretty well - as a user you can always opt not to update your equipment in case you don´t see the benefits.
    Now there are some interesting points you raise there but I would urge you to bear in mind that all of the companies you mention are dealing in heavily programmed intensive real time digital manipulation almost exclusively.  Their software will be large with many thousands of lines of code performing a huge number of continuous real time mathematical tasks as well as logical ones.  And the results of those complex manipulations can often be tweaked by performing the work to a different strategy which means altered programming.  There is a benefit to them having ongoing development which they need to pass on to their users, the task is complex enough.  As a simple example, I have a Line6 JTV59 Variax guitar.  It's modelling of different guitars is performed by having a digital template for each one which is used to mathematically alter the digitised signal of the guitar's own piezo pickups in the bridge.  It isn't in any way a digital version of each guitar's signal, it is more a kind of a mathematical modifier which gets imprinted on the guitar's signal, (anyone understand convolution?).  From time to time better model templates are produced and these are made available to owners so the guitar can be updated from their own software control suite which you get with the guitar.  That's a genuine need where things can be improved so the update route is necessary.  And it's even more necessary for something like the Kemper or TC Electronic units which are much much more comprehensive than my guitar.

    The GM40D and GM36, (and my Marshall JVM205H for that matter) are just not that type of beast.  They are performing ultra simple logic functions like - "detect a MIDI message, interpret the couple of characters, change a few settings", or "detect a change in a control's positional value, reset the control's current position, send a message to the control to change its resistance", or "monitor the output bias conditions, detect a change, adjust the bias", alongside its most intensive task which is applying the digital effects.  Even that is not at all a demanding task for the simple effects it has on offer and once established would not need to be upgraded at any time.  The processors are really basic ones, (a couple of ATMegaA88 and an ATMegaA168), with a very small memory capability of 8KB/16kB flash memory, 1KB RAM, 512B EEPROM, reflecting the simplicity of their tasks.  That's 3 processors, not including the digital effects on its own PCB, all to be updated separately.  If you think about it in those terms maybe you can see why H&K can update them back at base but the user can't.

    Now you found a bug which is very genuine, but you have to admit, it is a very obscure bug and as such is not one which would ever go on a software company's list of criticals.  I'm sure it will be fixed in a future model release when the whole software package is modified to suit but it is very unlikely to be addressed as a retrospective issue in itself even if the update pathway was available, it just isn't economic for them to work that way.  Bug fixing is generally done sporadically by engineers who have no other task on at the time and it's priority driven.  (It's also generally disliked a lot!)  The amp does not fall over in use or risk damage because of that bug, ergo, low priority.

    I would think of it this way.  If it was found out that your car had a brake fault which could mean that the brakes didn't apply under certain obscure circumstances the manufacturer would call that in immediately and deal with it.  If it was found that the boot could pinch the cable taking power to the rear end of the car when it was closed leading to a few wiring problems after a number of years they wouldn't do a recall for that. They might put the info out to their service centres to watch out for it, they might even plain ignore it as not really important.  That's what I think we are dealing with here.

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