Nixie will not see Strymon Big Sky & Timeline w/MC8

I followed the tutorial for Nixie and the latest firmware. Nixie says “Hardware Not Found”. I’ve confirmed settings multiple times and Midi Channels are separate for MC8 and the 2 Strymon. I’ve removed all other Midi Devices in my chain. Nixie does see the MC8. Any thoughts?

I’ve had this problem intermittently for the past couple years. A couple settings to check assuming the Timeline is your first in chain after the MC8:

  • MC8 midi out > Timeline midi in > Timeline midi out > Big Sky midi in > MC8 midi in > MC8 USB > Computer
  • Turn ON midi cross-thru in MC8 global settings
  • ensure Nixie is seeing the MC8 (in and out) on the MIDI adaptor list
  • check midi cables (I’ve had a faulty cable and when swapped everything worked fine)

Big Sky is actually first, but everything is wired that way. As noted above, Nixie does see the MC8 and I’ve quadrupled check that all the settings are correct on the Strymon pedals and on separate channels, etc.

Also make sure to check that Timeline and Big Sky are set to Midi “Merge” and not “Thru”.

Yes, as the instructions said, I have them set to Merge. I’ve checked that about 4x.

Update: I am now able to see the devices in Nixie after resaving the global settings in MS Editor. However, both pedals disappear after about 15 seconds and I’m back to “no device found”

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Can you sure a screenshot of your global settings? Is MIDI thru turned off? I’ll test it later in office

I just tested this and it works fine in my v3.8.2 MC6. Have tested both read and write. If you’re using Windows, perhaps you can try uninstalling the controller in your device manager and re-connecting the device.

Another thing to try - go into a physical USB port on your computer. Sometimes USB devices don’t play nice with external USB hubs.

Does it work with another midi hub? My failsafe has always been this guy:

I’ve gotten this to work with a Timeline and Mobius, simple thru chain:
MC6 → Timeline → Mobius → MC6

All Strymon set to MIDI Merge mode (so they pass MIDI as merged with their own messages)
MC6 set to “MIDI Cross Thru” → ON and “MIDI Thru” → OFF (to prevent loops)

It is not reliable though. Sometimes it starts up and the Morningstar just receives truncated messages from the MIDI bus so the Nixie detection phase sees no devices, eg.

957195.193 To Morningstar MC6MK2 SysEx Universal Non-Real Time 6 bytes F0 7E 7F 06 01 F7
957195.196 From Morningstar MC6MK2 Invalid 1 bytes
957195.196 From Morningstar MC6MK2 SysEx 2 bytes F0 F7
957195.198 From Morningstar MC6MK2 SysEx 2 bytes F0 F7
957195.203 From Morningstar MC6MK2 SysEx 1 bytes F0 F7

Using a simple USB to MIDI Adapter works great with the same path, so I suspect there is something causing the MC6 to drop parts of the SysEx (F7 is the terminating byte) response from the Strymon’s. I remember there were bugs in the Arduino LUFA library like this for large SysEx message (which the identify response is certainly not compared to the patch data passed around!)

Thanks for the tips!

Yes, if you have multiple MIDI devices in the chain, it gets more complicated because some MIDI devices will not pass SysEx messages through (HX Stomp for example). Or even large SysEx packets (IIRC Nixie /TL/M/BS sends SysEx messages >1k in length).

Thanks @james I double checked my cables moved the USB connection so it is direct to a Thunderbolt hub and it is working pretty stable now.

Yes folks, this does work, the Strymon pedals pass full size Sysex fine, if that is all you have in the MIDI loop. Be persistent, use the “MIDI Merge” setting on the Strymon (available on the latest firmware) and you can get it to work. Disable “MIDI Thru” on the Morningstar and enable “Cross MIDI Thru”

MIDI is loop based, depends on all the pedals properly passing messages they receive on MIDI IN to their MIDI OUT, unless they are the last device in the loop (which, in this configuration, the MC6 is) in which case they must NOT pass messages thru (otherwise messages never end and the whole thing falls apart)

Is it true that Nixie doesn’t work when the ML5 is in the MIDI chain? So:

MC6 → Mobius → Timeline → ML5 → MC6


MC6 → ML5 → Mobius → Timeline → MC6


ML5 can’t pass such large sysex messages through so it won’t work with the ML5 in the midi loop

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Hi James,

Does the same apply with the MIDIbox? Nixie communicates with my MC6 MkII if I use in/out out/in but it doesn’t seem to like it if I go mc6 MKii in–>MIDIBox In–>MIDIBox Out–>Mobius–>MC6MkII in

The MIDIBox does not use any software, so the MIDI splitting/thru are just using hardware buffers, so what signals appears at the input will be immediately reflected at the outputs.

I just tested this set up (MC6 >> MIDI Box >> Timeline >> MC6) and was able to use Nixie though.

Thanks for the speedy response!

Don’t know what changed overnight but I’ve just fired the board up and it’s all working.

Ill keep monitoring it.

ML5 can’t pass such large sysex messages through so it won’t work with the ML5 in the midi loop

Does anyone know if this is also true for the ML10? I’m currently in this phase of troubleshooting my BigSky / Nixie setup through a chain managed by an MC8. I’ve been eyeing an ML5 to add in some old dirt boxes to really try and go full MIDI, but this ML5 sysex issue is concerning. Seeing as the ML10 is newer I wonder / hope if it can handle such messages?

Since I haven’t seen this mentioned elsewhere I thought I’d put it here. I have an audio interface connected to my computer (Scarlett 18i8) and Nixie will not detect my pedals if it is turned on. This is unfortunate especially if you use a DAW to record with and you want to use Nixie to change your tones. AKA If you can’t get Nixie to detect your pedals, turn off your interface.

No, the ML10X employs a hard MIDI thru, so every incoming message is immediately passed to the MIDI Thru port.
Whereas for the ML5, every message is received and sent out by the processor and there’s a limit (SysEx message length) on how much the processor can handle.

In Windows, if you have a DAW that has connected to a MIDI Port, no other software can use that port. Like our editor, Nixie also uses the MIDI port to transmit data. This isn’t the case for macOS where multiple software can connect to the same MIDI port.