Does Push 2 need a "special" USB cable?

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Chris Hill
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Does Push 2 need a "special" USB cable?

Post by Chris Hill » Wed Dec 16, 2015 6:49 am

So yesterday I finally caved in and bought a Push 2 (yeah, yeah, I know...) Went through the initial setup and everything was fine: connected to Live, did the firmware update and Push working exactly as advertised. The one thing I wasn't keen on, though, was the angled USB cable supplied with Push. This means that the cable is exiting Push to the right, which is the exact opposite of what I need in my setup, and means I have to bend the cable back on itself to make it fit. Not good. Anyway, this shouldn't be a problem, I just substitute in a "straight" USB cable (one supplied with an HP printer, with the correct connectors and known to work) and the problem should be solved, right? Well, no. In fact things got a bit weird. I tried the new cable with both Live 9.5 and the Melodics app, both with and without Push's external PSU, and here's what happened:

Live 9.5. Initial logo screen on Push, but then goes blank. Live doesn't recognise Push at all. Still get the initial Logo even when Push's external PSU is not used (so must be getting power over USB at the very least), but apparently no data communication. Go back to the originally supplied USB cable and everything is fine again.

Melodics. Melodics could "see" that Push was connected, but no response to the Push pads. Again, this was the same whether Push's PSU was connected or not (so power reaching Push over USB as before). Also (and this was very odd) the USB modem that I have connected to another USB port on my PC stopped working when trying to use Push with Melodics via the substitute USB cable. This wasn't just coincidence, I repeated the experiment several times with identical results. When I went back to the original USB cable, everything worked fine.

So... is there something "special" about the USB cable that Ableton supply with Push? The only visible difference is that the Ableton-supplied cable has a cylindrical "hump" in it which I assume is some kind of interference suppressor (???) I'm pretty sure that the substitute cable was seated properly too, though this is something I could investigate further. I may have a couple of other substitute cables that I could also try this evening. I really don't want to carry on using the angled USB cable because it looks ugly bent over the way it is and I don't think the internal conductors are going to last long being bent like that.

Any thoughts?

Tarekith
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Re: Does Push 2 need a "special" USB cable?

Post by Tarekith » Wed Dec 16, 2015 7:11 am

You can use almost any USB cable, the only restriction is that the USB port on the back of Push 2 is a bit tight and some plugs won't seat fully unless you press them in kinda hard.

Chris Hill
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Re: Does Push 2 need a "special" USB cable?

Post by Chris Hill » Wed Dec 16, 2015 7:42 am

Tarekith wrote:You can use almost any USB cable, the only restriction is that the USB port on the back of Push 2 is a bit tight and some plugs won't seat fully unless you press them in kinda hard.
That's what I thought! I've just found four other "straight" cables, from various sources, which I can try this evening. As an engineer I'm quite keen to know the answer to this problem. If it's not a seating problem then I wonder if it could be due to cable quality? I can imagine that cheap 'n' nasty cables might not meet the full USB spec in terms of frequency response, reflections, etc. I've never knowingly encountered this problem with USB, but I've certainly seen it happen with VGA cables. I will investigate further and report back.

Fossiel
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Re: Does Push 2 need a "special" USB cable?

Post by Fossiel » Wed Dec 16, 2015 7:44 am

I happen to have a lot of high quality usb cables, all of which dont fit because they are too thick for Push 2. However, there are lots of specialized cable resellers that can probably assist you with a good fit.

Chris Hill
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Re: Does Push 2 need a "special" USB cable?

Post by Chris Hill » Wed Dec 16, 2015 9:29 am

I really should be getting on with other things, but my curiosity won't let me leave this alone...

If I look at a picture of a USB Type B connector (the smaller one) such as at:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB#/media/File:USB.svg

I can see that the two data connections (D+, D-) are recessed a little into the body of the connector compared to the power connections (+, -). If I look closely at the examples on my desk then this is also what I see. Also looking at my various connectors I can see that the length of the metal shell proruding from the plastic body is not consistent, there's maybe a couple of mm difference between the longest and shortest. Putting these two things together I can now see how the power connections might be made (so Push powers up and displays the logo), but the data connections not made (i.e. no communcation with Push). Worse, the data connections might only be made intermittently, resulting in erratic behaviour, crashes, etc. Maybe this is what I saw last night. I see a few posts on this forum from people complaining that Push only displays the logo but does nothing else. Maybe this is the reason why?

störgeräusche
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Re: Does Push 2 need a "special" USB cable?

Post by störgeräusche » Wed Dec 16, 2015 4:01 pm

i was very happy to see that the original cable of push 1 fits push 2! i also don't like the angled cable.
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Tarekith
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Re: Does Push 2 need a "special" USB cable?

Post by Tarekith » Wed Dec 16, 2015 4:29 pm

I like the angled USB cable myself, but I too would have preferred pointing the other way. Oh well.

Chris Hill
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Re: Does Push 2 need a "special" USB cable?

Post by Chris Hill » Wed Dec 16, 2015 5:12 pm

OK, so here are the results of my highly scientific USB cable exeriment. Out of a total of 7 cables I tried (not including the one supplied with Push):

3 would allow Push to power up, but nothing more

1 would allow Push to power up and also allowed interittent normal operation

3 allowed full, normal operation

As far as I can see the deciding factor is the size of the connector's plastic body. The ones that didn't work had bodies too wide to be fully inserted into the recess in the back of Push. I'm not sure I would describe this as a Push design flaw, but it's something that perhaps could have been given more consideration at the design stage. After all, it is unreasonable to expect people to only ever use the supplied cable as it could get lost or damaged. Oh well, at least I now have a reliable "straight" cable that I can now use.

Chris Hill
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Re: Does Push 2 need a "special" USB cable?

Post by Chris Hill » Thu Dec 17, 2015 6:46 pm

A follow up to my recent posts about the apparent Push 2 USB cable problem...

So today I come to use Push 2 with Live using one of the "good" cables I identified yesterday. Fire up Live, turn on Push, see the logo, then... nothing. Oh dear. So I shut down Live (which took a suspiciously long time to close), swap the USB cable for the original Ableton-supplied one, Fire up Live, turn on Push, see the logo, then... nothing. So now it doesn't work at all, even with the original cable. This, I should add, was with the Push external PSU connected too. I will also add at this point that during the brief, glorious moments of operation yesterday, when Push was actually *working*, I was also privileged to experience the "random velocity" and "unexpected latency" features mentioned elsewhere as well as two surprising crashes of Live (which until yesterday had been rock steady).

Sitting here, staring at what must now be the world's most expensive paving slab, I am left wondering: "what on earth have I paid 500UKP for?" Push 2 is clearly not fit for purpose. An expensive piece of equipment from a reputable company simply should not be suffering from the multiple bugs that I and many other users are experiencing. I am beginning to wonder whether, in an effort to capture the Christmas market, Ableton have rushed Push 2 into production with insufficient beta testing and quality control. Sure - there are often minor bugs with new products, but really: this many? Seriously?

You're probably now thinking "why doesn't this guy get in touch with tech support?" The answer to that is that, right now, I really cannot be bothered. My enthusiasm for doing anything further with this expensive piece of garbage has evaporated. It really, really shouldn't be this difficult. Push 2 is going back in its beautifully tailored cardboard box and it can sit in the cupboard under the stairs until hell freezes over for all I care. What an utter waste of time and money. Ableton, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

Chris Hill
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Re: Does Push 2 need a "special" USB cable?

Post by Chris Hill » Thu Dec 17, 2015 9:45 pm

Wow. This really does get better and better. Now when I try to use Live stand-alone i.e. without Push even connected, Live crashes whenever I try to load a project. These were projects which were perfectly fine before. In other words, Live is now also screwed.

Tarekith
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Re: Does Push 2 need a "special" USB cable?

Post by Tarekith » Fri Dec 18, 2015 7:03 am

Sounds like you should contact support@ableton.com to see if they can help you out. Obviously this isn't happening to most users, so most likely it's something specific to your system that's causing this like a non-supported plug-in or something. They can help sort you out, complaining here won't do much sadly.

Chris Hill
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Re: Does Push 2 need a "special" USB cable?

Post by Chris Hill » Fri Dec 18, 2015 7:50 am

Tarekith wrote:Sounds like you should contact support@ableton.com to see if they can help you out. Obviously this isn't happening to most users, so most likely it's something specific to your system that's causing this like a non-supported plug-in or something. They can help sort you out, complaining here won't do much sadly.
Tarekith, I take your point, although the problems I am seeing are very similar to those reported elsewhere, so it's not just me in this position. Of course I have no way of knowing what proportion of the total number of users are experiencing problems of any kind. The question of plug-ins isn't relevant as I wasn't using any, Live was crashing in its completely default state right after being started up.

I appreciate that complaining here won't fix anything - the forums are not for technical support. After I cooled down from yesterday's anger/frustration/disappointment I did actually mail Support with the relevant crash reports. It'll be interesting to see what they come back with. At the very least a re-install of Live will be required as it is completely broken (displays the GUI but does nothing else).

4T
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Re: Does Push 2 need a "special" USB cable?

Post by 4T » Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:27 pm

Chris Hill wrote: I did actually mail Support with the relevant crash reports. It'll be interesting to see what they come back with.
I'm curious, did you manage to resolve your issues with Push 2 specifically? I'm having similar related problems. Was Ableton's response adequate? I actually returned my Push 2 as I assumed it was faulty only for the replacement to act in exactly the same non functioning way (either blank screen on start up or powers up but no sample wave or mixer vol activity display.)

I'm back and forth with ableton tech support but the 3-4 days between responses adds to the frustration.
Former MPC & Maschine User.

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