USB MIDI issue for Play

Is anyone having any issues with MIDI against their DAW? I have repeatedly had issues where I have a project where all MIDI in is coming from Ableton. It works for a minute or so and then Play tells me there is no external clock. Secondly, Ableton randomly becomes non-responsive when I have the Play turned on. The instant I power the Play off, Ableton starts responding. I have 2-3 other MIDI devices working normally via USB, so I don’t think this is an Ableton issue.


What MIDI settings have you defined for the Play? Can it be that the Clock and Transport settings on the Play and the DAW are not in sync and both compete to “take the initiative”?

Thanks for the prompt response! I have the MIDI setting set up appropriately to use Ableton as the Master for clock/transport (MIDI In via USB) and everything momentarily works for a few loops of the sequence. After that, the Play will just freeze in the middle of play mode: the last active step will remain frozen highlighted, and no further sound will be triggered on the Play, although Ableton keeps playing. It then gives an error stating no external clock can be found. I then power cycle the Play, and experience the same scenario of momentary success, then failure.

What are you using to connect the Play to your computer? Are you going through a hub? Are you using the 1.3 firmware?

This happens when plugged directly into the laptop, and yes I have the 1.3 firmware. Oddly enough, I didn’t face the issue on 1.2 or prior, but also understand that doesn’t necessarily equate to root cause.

I was having the same issue since 1.3 and narrowed it down to an issue when trying to send clock to both Play and Tracker from USB-C ports on the same side/bus of my MBP. If I were trying to send clock via usb to both simultaneously off the ports on the same side/bus of my MBP the Play would freeze. If I moved one of the machines to the USB-C port on the other side/bus of my MBP all is well.

So maybe try some different cables or ports and see if that helps.

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Interesting scenario you experienced and glad you worked through it, but this is the only USB port on this bus. I also do not have any other Polyend devices hooked up to the laptop.

Not sure if there’s any progress here, but as I’ve been thinking about it more, would it be possible to have a way to re-initialize the MIDI driver without turning the device off? Part of my frustration is the constant reboot cycle I face when there’s no detection of clock/transport from the PC. Since the device is being powered over the same USB cable as the MIDI is being transported over, I can’t just do a plug/unplug as with other devices I have. Right now, it’s dicey whether or not the Play interfaces well with anything, eliminating the possibility of using it in a live scenario. I’d love to help troubleshoot if there’s any logging, etc. that can be pulled from the device. This thing has so much potential once all the kinks get ironed out.

Is it powered USB hub? Or dedicated port on your computer?

I had a lot issues when i had Play connected to USB hub, now, i have it connected directly to a dedicated port on computer and all my issues are gone.

And maybe if you are on windows this is related to USB suspending by the OS. Remember, there are two places you have to configure USB suspending in the win OS.

  1. in advanced powerplan options.
  2. in device manager in the “power options” tab of your usb hub/device (and this resets with every majow win update)
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I’m not going through a hub, and this isn’t simply an issue of the USB being suspended - this happens during active playback. Everything will be synced, I can initiate playback from the DAW, and then seemingly randomly the lights indicating the position of the current step will freeze and any audio/MIDI output will be interrupted.

Does the issue happen only when the other devices are also connected or also when the Play is the only device?

This last time I had the following device chain only:
Ableton>>USB>>Play>>MIDI DIN>>Soma Pulsar-23.

The Play doesn’t have MIDI Thru. Were you trying to send the MIDI clock from the DAW to the Pulsar?

I was indeed trying to send the clock to the Pulsar-23. I’ll test a bit further with it off and see if that resolves anything (it’s working right now). Any chance of the Play getting thru in a firmware update?

I don’t know whether MIDI Thru is technically feasible but as far as I remember nobody has created a wish. In fact, see Does the Play support MIDI thru beyond notes?

Back to your problem yes, I suggest you test with your DAW and the Play alone to see if that connection is stable, and then see what happens when you start connecting other gear, to the PC or the Play.

Thanks for the follow-up! I hope I didn’t come off as a complainer - I really appreciate what you guys are doing. I’m also happy to create the wish if nobody else has done so.