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Rme babyface with ipad and battery pack - class compliant and stand alone mode
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roughgear
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#1
6th June 2013
Old 6th June 2013
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Rme babyface with ipad and battery pack - class compliant and stand alone mode

I would like to share some of my experience with the RME Babyface as a portable recording device.
I use it with an ipad mini and an external battery with 10.000 mAh and it took me a while to figure out what causes the problems that I experienced.

CLASS COMPLIANT MODE:
Running the Babyface in CC Mode works as long as there is enough power for it and sometimes it's not obvious that there's not enough power for it. The Babyface might seem totally normal, and the LEDs are working as they should but if there are some problems regarding power (power peaks) - the program you work with on the ipad will start to act weird.
I work with Auria as my main DAW on the ipad and insufficient power can result in wrong timecode, slow recording, crackles, blackouts during recording and the ipad might unmount the Babyface from time to time.

As every setup is different I can only speak for my 10.000 mAh battery pack that i had bought on amazon (easyacc -27€) but it might also happen with other battery packs. This one has two USB connections - one labeled with 1A and one with 2A.

First of all, I can use the Babyface in CC mode with microphones that don't need 48 Volt Phantom Power (dynamics + ribbons) running from the 1A USB output of the battery. This works flawlessly!

Phantom Power nevertheless caused problems and even using the 2A USB output did not help. Auria was unstable and in the end unusable - sometimes it worked for minutes but everything acted weird and I had lots of problems. It might seem that the problem is Auria or the ipad but that's not the case - the problem are power peaks.

So I bought a USB Y-Power adapter cable (see picture) to connect the two usb ports of the battery (2A and 1A) at the same time. I connected his Y-Cable to the Y- Cable that RME provides to power the Babyface. Now 48 Volt mode on two channels is possible without problems!


STAND ALONE MODE

Stand alone mode is an amazing feature. With an external recorder (like a Zoom H1, H2 or others) you can record two microphones (using the RME preamps!) and record the signal via the line-in of the recorder. This is the smallest setup I ever had to record audio in good quality. It doesn't need as much power as CC Mode but you can also run into problems when using Phantom Power in stand alone mode:

1A battery output connected to Babyface:

With 48 Volt engaged I experienced high pitched noises that are connected to the flashing LEDs of the Babyface. Every time there is some signal
that makes the LEDs light up there is a high pitched noise that is added to the signal. You have to listen carefully as it's only added if there is some sound and you might not hear it when there is silence. You can help yourself by selecting "OUT" on the Babyface and reduce the level to the minimum so the LEDs won't flash at all or you change the power connection to the 2A USB plug of the battery. I recorded the line signal from the phones output to feed my external recorder, so i didn't need the "OUT" to have any level at all.

2A battery output to Babyface:

No problems with 48 Volt Power. Enjoy!

In general: Once you set the levels for the input source at the Babyface - switch to display the output that you don't need (phones or out) and reduce the level to a minimum to have no flashing LEDs. This should prevent noises even if the power drops.


I hope I could help some of you. I'm absolutely amazed by the new possibilities of the Babyface and I can't wait for the Totalmix FX APP!

Best,

Roughgear


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7th June 2013
Old 7th June 2013
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How long the 10,000mAh pack provides power for phantom, Babyface, and iPad? I would get a similar thing if it can go longer than 3 hours without stopping (Currently using USBpre 2 and Tascam DR100mkII).
roughgear
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8th June 2013
Old 8th June 2013
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During my tests I powered the babyface for 3 hours and the battery pack seemd still full (all LEDs on). I will do some more tests on my next rehearsal next week. The people from RME expected that the ipad will run out of power long before the Babyface will. So it should be no problem...
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8th June 2013
Old 8th June 2013
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Thanks for the information. iPad itself can go 6-8 hrs by its own battery (is that right?), so I bet 3-4 hrs should be just fine with the external power pack assistance.
roughgear
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14th June 2013
Old 14th June 2013
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Mixed Results

I did some testing during a rehearsal session, and the results were kind of disappointing.
I ran into several problems and I can't tell for sure if the problems are caused by the ipad, auria, the CC Kit (original), the battery pack (http://www.amazon.de/EasyAcc-10000mAh-P … 00BJCHH36/), the USB cable or the Babyface.

My setup:
2 condenser mics (mbho) powered with 48 Volt connected to Babyface, Babyface powered by easyacc 10.000 mAh battery pack with two usb outs (1xA2 1x1A) connected at the same time via a Y combination cable that allows power from two ports to feed one usb connector of the original RME Babyface USB cable. The other USB port of the RME Babyface cable was connected to the CCK Kit and then finally the CCK Kit was connected to the ipad. The ipad itself is running 6.1 has notifications, autolock, bluetooth and wifi switched off.

Problems:
This setup would be running and recording for minutes and then the screen would turn black - no recording left just the lock screen appears and the data is gone.
I could recreate this situation and noticed that timecode would stop counting in Auria before it freezes then after some time the lock screen would appear.
Sometimes I had no input in the input matrix of Auria but it shows me the input on the Babyface.
Sometimes my ipad just turned black with no lock screen and I need to restart it - after being not responsive (just black) for minutes.
Sometimes Auria didn't switch into USB mode and would stay in INT audio mode.
I also tried Cubasis a few times - which stops recording and freezes to crash as well.

After all this problems, I decided to reord the session via Standalone mode and an external line-in recorder (Zoom H1)
In standalone mode I also had high pitched noises - less with 44.1 and 48 Khz but lots with higher sample rates when connected to the two usb ports of the battery pack.
Using just one Battery port (1A) and a lower sample rate (44.1) made these noises disappear in 70 % of times.
Clicks and big overloads or just one channel working in - this happened even with USB cable powered via the USB charger (white ipad 1A charger in the wall socket).
The problem occured twice during the session and I needed to restart the Babyface three times in a row to get rid of it. (Audio samples will follow)

When I started out recording with the pad, my battery pack was loaded at 80% - when I decided to switch to stand alone it was at about 45 %.
I'm still testing, but it's kind of frustrating as there are several symptoms and they appear for several - not logical - reasons - it's a bit like playing russian roulette.

I sent this also to RME and asked a lots of questions about battery, power and possible solutions. As soon as I get an answer I'll post them here.

Best,

R.
roughgear
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16th June 2013
Old 16th June 2013
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Here is the answer I got from RME:

Hello,

and thanks for the detailed review. I would like to point out some things that might help to get your setup working better. The most important information is that the CCK is powered from the iPad, not from the other side (...battery). The effects that you experienced therefore are - most probably - caused by the voltage drop between battery and Babyface. You used an extension chord and the original Y cable, which takes the battery at the far other end, away from the Babyface. The ideal solution would be to insert the power from the battery via a B to B plug directly at the Babyface. See the photo in post 28 on page 1 of this thread. But please don't ask where to buy such a B to B plug for connection with a battery...

That said it might work better already by simply using a different USB cable. The one provided with the Babyface is good, but can detoriate over time. I had several dying slowly, mostly caused by internal breaking due to continous use and replugging.

Finally you are right by questioning the battery. I have several ones, and they all behave differently. They react differently on switching on phantom power, for example. The biggest one I have makes the BF go into flashing sqeek mode, until I switch it into charging mode (actually without being charged) - which is complely wrong according to the manual...but then it works. Chinese crap (sorry China).

And here's my answer:

I think that my easyacc is the source of the problems regarding phantom power.
The USB Cables are brand new as I just purchased them and the Babyface two weeks ago.
In some tests I read that these battery packs deliver different Voltages (Ladestrom).
Some are about 4,5 V some are about 5,2 V. Is there a minimum that the babyface needs to run with 48V correctly?
Can this be the problem? How could I measure this myself? I do have a Voltometer, but If there is nothing connected, my battery won't charge

Right now I'm at another session and I do some recordings without battery power from only the 2A USB Output of the Babyface. It works fine but I found one problem that can occour (always happens with my setup) but that is easily solved:
If I power up the Babyface and set levels etc. and then plug in the CCK the input signal drops massively (over20db) and is unuseable. However, when I have the CCK already connected to the babyface and then power it up there is no problem and the setup works as it should. Therefore: Always plug the CCK to the Babyface before powering up!

Best,

R.
roughgear
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#7
18th June 2013
Old 18th June 2013
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I could record two tracks in auria using dynamic mics without phantom power for 880 minutes (14.7 hours) with my easyacc 10000 mAh external battery pack. No problems - I just had to recharge the ipad twice. In the very end (when the power drops to zero) auria would mount and unmount the babyface. That's when I stopped.

Solution for phantom power is an external battery pack (8AAs) for the power socket.
Will make some further tests soon. Best,

R.
roughgear
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21st June 2013
Old 21st June 2013
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Hello again,

I did some further test and I found a solution that works very well for me.

The weak point for field recordings is the buspower via USB when running the Babyface in CC mode connected to the ipad.
As stated above it works with an external akku pack if you are not using phantom power - but it can be very unreliable / unuseable if you need 48 Volt on both mic inputs.

MC from RME posted that the Babyface needs at least 5,7 Volts to work properly via the DC power jack in the back.
@ togril - the link above is the right direction, but you need more power.

I bought a battery holder for 6 AA batteries and put an DC Adaptor to it. For my test I used 6 Eneloop rechargeable batteries with 1900 mAh and 1,2 Volts. So I ended up with 6 x 1,2 = 7,2 Volts.
With this setup I could use the Babyface with two condensers and 48 Volts enabled for 260 Minutes! Over 4 hours of recording time.
If that's not enough for you, you can also get a 8 AA battery holder (8 x 1,2 = 9,6 Volts) or use non rechargeable batteries that are more powerful at 1,5 Volts. (6 x 1,5 is 9 V). Running it from a 9 Volt block battery is not possible by the way. (less than 5 minutes before switching off...)

For me this is the ideal solution, as these batteries are easily accessible and the battery holder and clip cost 3 euros all together.
And most important: no problems at all...

Cheers,

R.

PS: Be aware to save your Auria Projects regularly. If the power drops and the babyface switches off then Auria switches to internal mic (track one) and stops recording the second track. The wav of the second track will later be empty!
#9
22nd June 2013
Old 22nd June 2013
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Another solution (although more expensive) is to use battery powered phantom power supply such as ART phantom II or Denecke PS1A. I have Denecke, which is a bit expensive for what it is, but very stable long power is guaranteed.
#10
15th August 2013
Old 15th August 2013
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Hi guys,

Just another note on the Babyface + Auria combo.

I think this problem with portable USB power is related to a bigger problem regarding delivering power solely via the USB Y cable.

I've interacted with RME support staff regarding this issue several times, but they did not provide many answers:

Babyface w/Ipad mini Phantom Power Problem (Page 1) — FireWire & USB series — RME User Forum

My experience has been that if you plan to use the phantom power on the RME Babyface while connected to the Ipad-- you have to use an external wall wart (which is not included and has to be found/purchased elsewhere).

Powering the Babyface via the included Y Cable and a USB to AC wall adaptor does not work reliably when using phantom power. So... the Easyacc may or may not be the culprit here.

When powered via the USB Y Cable and a AC adaptor, applying phantom power causes Auria to freeze up and I have to force restart the ipad.

On the other hand, Phantom power does work very well with the external supply. Its just that then you have another power supply to carry around...
#11
12th February 2014
Old 12th February 2014
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Help

I have two questions regarding babyface/ipad.....
1. How do you enable phantom power in class compliant mode? I'm using auria and there is no totalmix fx. I've tried setting phantom when in standard mode and then switching to cc to no avail...(no orange lights indicating phantom on)
2. How do I determine the proper barrel connector size so that I can make a battery case for the power input to babyface? I've taken it to radioshack and nothing seems to fit properly..... Is there an official power supply for this thing......

Thanks for any help u can provide!

-----

Answered #1 by reading the class compliant manual: In CC mode, when the input channel is selected, hold down the multifunction knob until the orange light comes on. Guess I should have RTM as it has been updated since I bought my baby face and there is a whole section on CC mode However, still can't find the specs for external power supply. I know the voltage specs but do not know the connector specs....

Last edited by jf4828; 12th February 2014 at 03:37 AM.. Reason: Figured something out for myself
#12
4th March 2014
Old 4th March 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jf4828 View Post
I have two questions regarding babyface/ipad.....
1. How do you enable phantom power in class compliant mode? I'm using auria and there is no totalmix fx. I've tried setting phantom when in standard mode and then switching to cc to no avail...(no orange lights indicating phantom on)
2. How do I determine the proper barrel connector size so that I can make a battery case for the power input to babyface? I've taken it to radioshack and nothing seems to fit properly..... Is there an official power supply for this thing......

Thanks for any help u can provide!

-----

Answered #1 by reading the class compliant manual: In CC mode, when the input channel is selected, hold down the multifunction knob until the orange light comes on. Guess I should have RTM as it has been updated since I bought my baby face and there is a whole section on CC mode However, still can't find the specs for external power supply. I know the voltage specs but do not know the connector specs....
First off thanks to the OP for posting this, it got me motivated to push my babyface and get the max out of it. Now i'm recording and performing mobile so thank you.

For question 2 I recommend using a power supply over the battery, saves the hassle of worrying about power you can find the official power supply at vintageking.com i believe. or you can find a cheaper version at radio shack. the specs are as follows Input 100V-240V AC, output 12V 1.25 A DC.
#13
5th March 2014
Old 5th March 2014
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It's in another price category -- but a Sound Devices SD702 -- or somthing like it would cut down on all the cables and would be much more reliable. Or just use the Babyface with a laptop.

If you are in a room with heat and lights I would expect there would be some wall sockets and 110V or 220V. If you are set up in a park in summertime you might even be able to slum it without external mics. Smart phones don't sound too bad and they cut down on cables.
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5th March 2014
Old 5th March 2014
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i am looking for a similar setup ... i have been looking at an NP Style Battery solution, if we can power 4 Lectrosonic wireless, a PSC mixer, and camera Hops as well then we should be able to power an iPad, Babyface scenario ... lots of power for the DC input of the Babyface and hopefully powering and changing the iPad as well ... need some adapters to make this work ... or like someone said, just use a Laptop and Babyface - Done ... trying not to make it so Kludgy .. less points of failure .. thx so much for all the testing you have done

cheers john
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5th March 2014
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