Troubleshooting Class Compliant USB Computer Peripherals

altMost USB audio and MIDI computer peripherals are Class Compliant USB devices. This means that to communicate with the computer, they use drivers that are built right into the host computer’s operating system. These drivers are written by Microsoft (or Apple for Macintoshes), and come pre-installed on all computers.

The advantage of Class Compliant USB devices is that they work on all modern computers, and all modern operating systems, and will work with the next generation of Microsoft or Apple operating systems the very same day they are released.  There are no special drivers to install, update, or configure.  

With these products, we commonly receive inquiries with the following symptoms reported:

  • Doesn’t connect to computer.
  • No Firmware installed … controller dead.
  • Doesn’t light up.
  • DOA

Based on our experience, 95% of similar inquiries can be quickly resolved and the user gotten up and running. For the most part, similar symptom descriptions indicate incomplete software setup, rather than a true malfunction or defect.  

This means that in the vast majority of cases, a preference, setting, or option in the host software (i.e. Ableton, Cubase, GarageBand, Pro Tools) is misconfigured.  These software programs don't configure themselves, and the user will not get any audible or visual response from the computer or peripheral until the software is properly configured.

This guide will help determine whether difficullty is due to software settings, a hardware defect, or other factors that can cause similar symptoms.

 

 

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What does 'class compliant' mean?

A class compliant device is one that doesn't require extra drivers to connect your Windows or Macintosh computer, or to your iPad. Class compliant devices use drivers which are built into the host (i.e. the computer or the iPad) operating system.

To find out if your USB audio or MIDI device is class compliant, check the manufacturer's web page. If it connects automatically to any computer without requiring you to install drivers from a website or a disk, it is probably class compliant.

 

Class Compliant USB Audio and MIDI Devices

Most USB audio and MIDI computer peripherals are Class Compliant USB devices. This means that to communicate with the computer, they use drivers that are built into the host computer’s operating system. These drivers are written by Microsoft (or Apple for Macintoshes), and come pre-installed on all computers.

The advantage of Class Compliant USB devices is that they work on all modern computers, and all modern operating systems, and will work with the next generation of Microsoft or Apple operating systems the very same day they are released.  There are no special drivers to install, update, or configure.  

With these products, we commonly receive inquiries with the following symptoms reported:

  • Doesn’t connect to computer.
  • No Firmware installed … controller dead.
  • Doesn’t light up.
  • DOA

Based on our experience, over 95% of similar inquiries can be resolved and the user gotten up and running. For the most part, similar symptom descriptions indicate incomplete software setup, rather than a true malfunction or defect.

This means that in the vast majority of cases, a preference, setting, or option in the host software (i.e. Ableton, Cubase, GarageBand, Pro Tools) is misconfigured.  These software programs don't configure themselves, and the user will not get any audible or visual response from the computer or peripheral until the software is properly configured.

The guide below will help determine whether difficulty is due to software settings, a hardware defect, or other factors that can cause similar symptoms.
 

 

Quick test - Windows
 

When you're frustrated with not being able to get up and running, or if you thinking you might  have a defective product, this 10-second is-it-broken test can restore the confidence necessary to continue working with the product and to complete any needed software setup or authorization process.

To verify that the device is working, and is being seen by the computer…

  1. On Windows 8, 7, Vista, or XP, open the Device Manager.
  2. Disconnect the controller from the computer, count to 5, then reconnect the controller
    Does the list of devices at all change, refresh, or flash? If yes…Good, the product is recognized by the computer.

If the product does pass the test above, it is not defective, and the difficulty is caused by misconfigured software settings or options.  Carefully follow the setup instructions for the software you are using, or contact Technical Support for assistance.

If the product does NOT pass the test above, it could be defective, or it could be that other factors are causing the symptoms.  Refer to the section below to rule out a defect or potential other factors.  This will help determine whether your symptoms are caused by something on your computer, or by a defective product.

 

 

Quick Test - Macintosh
 

When you're frustrated with not being able to get up and running, or if you thinking you might  have a defective product, this 10-second is-it-broken test can restore the confidence necessary to continue working with the product and to complete any needed software setup or authorization process.

To verify that the device is working, and is being seen by the computer…

 

  1. Disconnect the USB interface or controller from the computer, count to 5, then reconnect the device.
     
  2. In the upper-left of the screen, click the Apple Menu, and select About This Mac.

    mac quick test 1
     
  3. In the window that opens, click More Info.

    mac quick test 2
     
  4. On the next screen, click System Report

    mac quick test 3
     
  5. A System Report window will be displayed.  On the left-hand side of the window, under Hardware, select USB.

    mac quick test 4
     
  6. Your connected USB devices will be displayed on the right (minus the device you're testing since it is disconnected at this point in the test).

    Now, connect the USB interface or controller device you are testing.
     
  7. Once your USB device is connected, select File > Refresh Information to update the list of connected devices.

    mac quick test 5
     
  8. You should see a new device listed once you have refreshed the list.  Disconnect the device and repeat steps 6 and 7 above if you need to confirm. 

 

If the product does pass the test above, it is not defective, and the difficulty is caused by misconfigured software settings or options.  Carefully follow the setup instructions for the software you are using, or contact Technical Support for assistance.

If the product does NOT pass the test above, it could be defective, or it could be that other factors are causing the symptoms.  Refer to the section below to rule out a defect or potential other factors.  This will help determine whether your symptoms are caused by something on your computer, or by a defective product.

 

 

 

Other factors

Note that these factors affect all USB MIDI and Audio Devices the same regardless of the manufacturer, and can be resolved through Technical Support:

  • Poor USB communication – bad port, or the use of USB Hub or USB extension cables.  This is actually quite a common issue.  Perform the quick test above using a USB different port, or on a different computer.
  • Bad USB cable - try a different USB cable.
  • Logitech Camera Driver Conflict – if you’ve ever connected one of these web-cams to your Windows PC you’ll have trouble using USB audio or MIDI devices. This does not affect Mac users. See below.
  • Missing or corrupted Windows or Mac OSX files – these class-compliant product use drivers built in to the Windows and Mac OS. If these files are missing or corrupted, the product won’t function as expected. We can help diagnose and repair this symptom. Of the potential causes for difficulty descriped in this article, this is the least likely.  All other potential causes should be ruled out first.  See below.
  • Ruling out software setup errors versus hardware failure can be difficult.  See the Computer Peripheral Testing guide linked below. This archive includes resources and instructions that can be used to test any class-compliant USB Audio or MIDI computer peripheral in about 2 minutes. The guide linked below was developed to shorten evaluation time for repair depots, service centers, and is not intended as a self-support tool for general public.  If you need asssitance with your software settings, contact Technical Support.

 

Technical Support

The suggestions above should help quickly determine whether a product is functional, and to overcome common setup obstacles such as poor USB communication. If you require further assistance with product setup, contact Technical Support.  We've included contact links for several manufacturers below:

 

Prescription Resources

The three resources below are described above. These should be considered prescription medicine... only to be used to remedy a specific symptom. These are not general maintenance tools.  It is not recommended that you use these resources unless you are confident you are affected by the specific scenarios that cover them above. Use these files at your own risk.  If you are uncertain whether or how you should use the resources below, contact Technical Support.

 

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