hardware.

alphalive.

midi.

audio.

product support form.

Name*

Email*

Phone*

Location*

System*

Product Serial Number* (located on barcode on base, or for an elite series 2012 type "elite2012")

AlphaLive Version Number* (go to 'AlphaLive' (on OS X) or 'Help' (on Windows) and 'About AlphaLive...')

Firmware Version Number* (go to 'AlphaLive' (on OS X) or 'Help' (on Windows) and 'About AlphaLive...')

Subject*

Message*

I have plugged in my AlphaSphere – why isn’t it making any sound?

You need to install the AlphaSphere software, AlphaLive, onto your computer, and this software needs to be open whenever you are using the device. You can find the software on the disc that was provided with your AlphaSphere – insert the disc into your computer and open the ‘Installation Instructions’ file to begin. Alternatively you can download the software from www.alphasphere.com/alphalive/, however the downloaded version will not include AlphaLive’s audio library.

What should I do if a pad won’t turn off?

Press the hardware reset button, the button on the base next to the USB port. It recalibrates the sensors within the AlphaSphere. On the rare occasion that a pad ‘sticks’, use this button to fix this problem. It is recommended that you do not press this button while any pads are being pressed, as this will temporarily decrease the sensitivity of the pressed pads.

What does the button on the base next to the USB port do?

That is the hardware reset button. See above for what it is used for.

How do I replace a broken pad?

See the printed user guide that was supplied with your AlphaSphere for instructions on how to do this. This guide is also available as a PDF here. If you are in need of more replacement rubber, this can be purchased from here.

One of the top pads has stopped working – what should I do?

If you have replaced the rubber of one of the smallest pads on the top row, there is a possibility that the foam will be inserted back into the pad the wrong way up, which will cause the pad to not work. With your AlphaSphere disconnected from your computer, remove the pad and reverse the position of the foam to fix this. On the rare occasion that this doesn’t fix the problem, or another pad has stopped working, please get in touch with us using the contact form above.

How do I update the firmware?

Occasionally an AlphaLive update will include an update to the AlphaSphere firmware too. Once an AlphaLive update has been applied (see here for instructions on how to do this), the software will then alert you if there is an available firmware update too (please note that on Windows you may need to disconnect and reconnect the AlphaSphere whilst AlphaLive is running for the firmware update to be found). To apply an update, follow the onscreen instructions carefully as it involves a procedure to put the AlphaSphere into an ‘Updater Mode’. Please note that on Windows, once you’ve put the device into it’s Updater Mode the operating system my alert you that it needs to drivers for the device. Please wait until this process has been completed before continuing with the firmware update, otherwise it may causes errors with the update.

I’ve received my AlphaSphere and installed AlphaLive – I can see the pads are being triggered when I press them but how do I get it to make a sound?

By default all pads on the AlphaSphere may be set to ‘Off’ Mode. To get the pads to do something you must first select the desired pads using the pad layout display in the centre of the AlphaLive interface, and then give them a mode using the set of 5 buttons found at the top of the circular section on the right hand side. The quickest ways of producing a sound using the AlphaSphere are as follows:

  • Select a pad and set it to Sampler Mode. Then go to the Samples tab in the Toolbox in the top right corner of the AlphaLive interface and double-click on an audio sample to apply it to the pad. Pressing the pad should then trigger the audio sample.
  • Open up any MIDI software, such as your DAW, connect it’s MIDI input to the AlphaSphere device, and create a MIDI track with an active soft synth. Then in AlphaLive select a pad and set it to MIDI Mode. Pressing the pad should trigger sound within your MIDI software.

Why isn’t the AlphaLive Audio Library Installer working correctly on Windows?

If the Audio Library Installer application doesn’t seem to be installing the audio samples onto your computer, you may need to run the application as the administrator. To do this, right-click on the application and click Run as administrator.

Why is AlphaLive always failing to update itself on Windows?

Like above, AlphaLive and the AlphaLive Updater applications need to be ‘run as administrator’ for the software updater feature to work. However in this case you will need this to be set permanently for both applications. For both the AlphaLive.exe (found in Program Files/AlphaLive) and AlphaLive Updater.exe (found in Program Files/AlphaLive/Application Data) files, follow the following guide: 

http://www.wikihow.com/Always-Run-an-Application-As-Administrator-in-Windows-Vista

How can I update AlphaLive?

AlphaLive version 1.1.0 and above comes with an updater feature that by default will automatically alert you when a new version is available to download. You can also manually check for updates by going to Help -> Check For Updates within AlphaLive. Please note that you must be connected to the internet for this feature to work. Software updates are then downloaded and automatically installed onto your computer. If you want to update AlphaLive on a computer with no internet connection, you can manually download the update from http://www.alphasphere.com/AlphaLive_Update.zip, and then open the ‘AlphaLive Updater’ application found in the ‘AlphaLive/Application Support’ folder on your computer and follow the provided instructions to install the update. Software updates may also come with a firmware update for the AlphaSphere. See here for instructions on how to apply firmware updates.

Why are there missing items in the Toolbox?

The toolbox is essentially just a browser for various files that exist in sibling directories to the AlphaLive application file. If you have moved the application file away from this directory, or removed the other folders, this would result in AlphaLive not being able to locate the toolbox items. If you have manually edited the contents of this directory you should re-download the software and refrain from editing any of the directories contents.

Also note that to have the full audio library you must install it using the ‘Audio Library Installer’ application found in the AlphaLive installation disc.

Why am I getting ‘missing files’ errors when attempting to update the software and/or firmware?

When updating the software it uses the ‘Software Updater’ application found in the ‘AlphaLive/Application Data’ folder. When updating the firmware it uses the ‘firmwareUpdater’ executable found in the same directory. If these files have been manually moved or deleted from this location updating the software/firmware from AlphaLive will not work. Re-download these files and/or put them back into this location to fix this issue.

Why am I getting ‘missing audio files’ warnings in my project?

If you have the ‘Copy external audio files’ option within Project Settings set to ‘on’ (default), this would be caused by manually moving or deleting the audio files from the project’s Audio Files directory. If you have the ‘Copy external audio files’ option set to ‘off’, this would be due to the audio file not existing in the same location as when it was added to the project, which would happen if you’ve imported the project from a different computer.

Why are OSC messages not being received from AlphaLive to external software?

The port number you are using may already be in use. Try a different port number.

Why isn’t AlphaLive being translated into one of the support languages?

AlphaLive uses a set of files found in ‘AlphaLive/Application Data’ with the ‘trans_’ prefix to translate it’s text. If these files have been manually moved or deleted from this location translations will not work. Re-download these files and/or put them back into this location to fix this issue.

Why am I not producing any sound when using pads set to MIDI Mode?

MIDI messages do not create sound directly as a MIDI message is simply a command sent to a sound generator (such as a hardware or software synthesizer) telling it what kind of sound to produce. Therefore you must have some kind of external MIDI software open and connected to the AlphaSphere (or have some kind of MIDI hardware connected to the MIDI-out port on an AlphaSphere elite) and configured appropriately to generate sounds using MIDI pads.

Why won’t my AlphaSphere send any MIDI messages without AlphaLive running?

Currently the MIDI messages coming from the AlphaSphere are produced by AlphaLive rather than the hardware itself. Eventually the MIDI message generation will be moved into the AlphaSphere, allowing the device to operate without the need for AlphaLive to be running at the same time.

Why is Polyphonic Aftertouch not working with my MIDI software?

Polyphonic Aftertouch, also know as Poly Pressure or Poly Key Expression, is a type of MIDI message that allows MIDI notes to be modulated individually, however this feature is not supported in all Digital Audio Workstations and software synthesisers. 

DAWs that support poly aftertouch include ACID Pro, Cubase, Digital Performer, EnergyXT, Logic Pro, Mixcraft, Pro Tools, REAPER, and Sonar. Popular DAWs that don’t support poly aftertouch include FL Studio, Garageband, Ableton Live, Reason, and Studio One. If you are using another DAW please consult its documentation to find out if it supports poly aftertouch.

Soft synths and instrument plugins that support poly aftertouch include Camel Audio Alchemy, Rob Papen Blade, FXpansion DCAM: Synth Squad, Native Instruments Kontakt, Spectrasonics Omnisphere 1.5, Rob Papen Predator, Native Instruments Reaktor, Vember Audio Surge, and Zebra U-He. If you use other software instruments please consult their documentation to find out if they support poly aftertouch. Also please note that your host DAW must support poly aftertouch for the feature to work in compatible plugins.

AlphaSphere elite dials as MIDI CC controllers – absolute or relative?

The dials on the AlphaSphere elite can be set as either absolute or relative MIDI CC controllers, but what’s the difference between the two?

Absolute controllers send a fixed absolute value determined by the dials position, meaning that the value of the software parameter being controlled is always equal to the value/position of the physical dial. These controllers often come in the form of dials with a fixed range of movement, and when connecting hardware MIDI CC controllers to MIDI software the interaction is usually given an absolute mapping of values by default.

On the other hand, relative controllers send ‘value increment’ or ‘value decrement’ messages instead of absolute values, in most cases incrementing a value with a clockwise turn or decrementing a value with an anticlockwise turn. Relative controllers prevent parameter jumps when the state of a software control and the corresponding control on the hardware MIDI controller differ (e.g. by changing scenes in AlphaLive, or mapping the dial to a new software parameter). These controllers often come in the form of dials with continuous movement, more properly known as rotary encoders. Most DAW software supports connectivity for relative controllers, however as different devices/manufacturers send different MIDI values as corresponding increment/decrement messages, you usually need to chose a specific relative controller type within your DAW.

The dials on the AlphaSphere elite are rotary encoders; they can be endlessly turned, therefore these controls work best when set to relative controls. To get them to correctly interact with software parameters, within your DAW you must set the relative controller type to ‘Two’s Complement’ – see your DAWs documentation for instructions on how to do this. By default AlphaLive will set the elite dials to be absolute controllers as this is the way most DAWs will initially expect connected hardware dials to work, however we recommend setting them up as relative controllers for the best experience.

Also note that AlphaSphere elite dials have an internal ‘acceleration’ feature, meaning that faster turns results in a larger value change, however you may find that your DAW can turn this off (e.g. in Ableton Live this is called ‘linear’ mode) if you do not want this feature.

How can I connect AlphaLive’s audio output with my DAW?

There are a number of available systems that allow applications to pass audio to other applications that you could use to connect the AlphaLive audio output to you DAWs audio input. This would then allow you to record and modify AlphaLive’s output directly within your DAW. A couple of free applications that we recommend are Soundflower on OS X or JACK on OS X and Windows.

Why have I got a large delay between touching a pad and triggering its sound when running AlphaLive on Windows?

On some Windows platforms the default sound driver/device set within the Preferences pane will be Direct Sound, which typically has a high latency for audio playback, causing a noticeable audio delay. We recommend using ASIO on Windows for low-latency audio playback. If your sound card does not have native ASIO support you can try out ASIO4ALL: The Universal ASIO Driver For Windows Driver Model Audio. The Windows WASAPI/Windows Audio can also produce an acceptable latency.

I am running AlphaLive on Windows alongside my DAW, but I am only getting an audio output out of a single application. Why is this?

This may be down to your audio driver setup for AlphaLive and your DAW. If you are using an ASIO driver, be aware that the majority of ASIO drivers are single-client drivers, meaning that you can only attach a single application to the driver at any time. Therefore if both AlphaLive and your DAW are attached to the same ASIO driver, audio will only be heard from one of the applications. There are a couple of possible ways around this:

  1. Use a multi-client audio driver
  2. Attach AlphaLive to a different audio driver/device from your DAW
  3. Use an inter-application audio routing utility such as Soundflower or JACK to route the audio output from AlphaLive into your DAWs audio input, as described above.