Focusrite Liquid Mix, Legacy Firewire and Windows 8.1 and 10

Update: Since writing this piece, I have had the Liquid Mix working perfectly on Windows 10; this guide still applies to that OS – This update is for a few Gearslutz who were asking about it.

Update 2: I have noticed that using ASIO4ALL helps with stability issues compared to my Focusrite Scarlett driver, which looks like caused issues with the LM; there have been no issues when running ASIO4ALL

Update 3: It looks like it is essential that you install the 44.1kHz emulations, even when using a higher sample rate. When I have not had those installed, running at 48kHz, I would run into a fair few issues so I recommend doing this regardless of whether you have experienced issues yet or not.

Update 4: Another update; it looks like the download file from Microsoft is gone. Thanks to Manuel Ricciardi who emailed me his copy of the file which I have included as an additional download link. 

One of the biggest improvements with Windows 8.1 over Windows 7 is the general performance boost. Everything from a day-to-day standpoint is snappier and that little bit quicker. For DAW work, there is no perceivable difference for me but one of the biggest drawbacks is that the Focusrite Liquid Mix won’t work. Since I use Windows 8 for work and general duties, having to dual-boot to Windows 7 can become a pain.

At least, that was the case until recently. The issue is that the Liquid Mix is old enough that it needs the Legacy Firewire Drivers to operate. In Windows 7, it was very easy to switch to those drivers; however, they were dumped in Windows 8 and 8.1, and you were not able to install them from a Windows 7 machine as the drivers were not digitally signed. This means that the firewire chip in your computer could not be switched to the old driver.

To be fair to Microsoft, they listened to the complaints of myself and many others who relied on the legacy driver and released an installer (alternative download) which places the legacy drivers in your Program Files folder, where you can right-click a certain file and install the driver to your system. Then, as with Windows 7, all you have to do is switch over to that driver in the Device Manager. The instructions are pretty clear from the link earlier in this paragraph.

There is another issue which I want to cover in more detail here, which is on the Focusrite side of things. Where Microsoft have solved the digital signing issue for the legacy firewire driver, Focusrite have not sorted the Liquid Mix driver so the actual driver for the Liquid Mix needs to be installed in a convoluted way.

1) Using your keyboard press Windows Key + the letter I,
2) “Change PC Settings”,
3) “Update and Recovery”,
4) “Recovery”,
5) “Advanced Startup” and “Restart Now”.

The computer will then restart. You will be sent to a special screen which asks you what advanced features you need. At that screen, select option number 7, which is shown below. This disables the check which Windows does to stop drivers being installed which are not officially signed, until the next restart of the computer.

image

Image taken from a more detailed Advanced Startup guide which can be found here.

6) At this point, start the Liquid Mix installer. You may get a driver installation warning, which is what we are looking for so press OK or Continue. Windows is no longer blocking the installation, it is just warning us about it like it did in Windows 7.

7) Once it gets to the point where it says “connect the Liquid Mix”, open the Device Manager and navigate to the Liquid Mix, which should be “Unknown device” of some sort. Update the drivers for it, and select the manual option so you can then point it to the Liquid Mix folder in your Program Files. This will do something for a while, but once complete then your Liquid Mix installer will finish and you will have a fully working Liquid Mix again. I have run it for a good while and all is well!

Finally, no need for dual boots with Windows 7 and 8. Thank you, Microsoft! Focusrite, it would be great if you could just patch this one little fix for us!

Quick Note:
After a restart or two, you may have to double check that Windows 8 is still using the legacy firewire driver. Since writing this, it switched to the regular one and the Liquid Mix stopped working and I think it was down to me using the laptop without the firewire card, so keep an eye out with that as when I put the FW card back in, it reverted to the “normal” Texas Instruments driver. I may look at removing that driver completely if it becomes a persistent issue.

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9 thoughts on “Focusrite Liquid Mix, Legacy Firewire and Windows 8.1 and 10

  1. Hi,

    Thanks for your help with this. I’m using Windows 10 (x64) and having issues with this. Just wondering if your having the same.

    The first instance of the plugin works perfectly, but each instance after that causes the firewire device to reset connection, meaning each instance after the first crashes and becomes ‘void’, in the sense that it doesn’t show up or link to the hardware and no audio passes through it either.

    I’m using Windows 10 Pro 64 bit, and tried on various DAWs including Studio One, Ableton, FL Studio, Sonar and Harrison Mixbus, all with the same results. The DAWs I use are 64 bit and I have used latest jBridge to bridge the plugins, so the issue may be on the configuration of the bridging?!?!

    Any ideas? Any help or thoughts would be hugely appreciated!

    1. Hi there,

      In my experience, Jbridge causes more problems than it is worth.

      I have never actually needed Jbridge to get this working on any system.

      Aside from making sure that you’re using a Texas Instruments FW card and that you have the legacy drivers installed; I would try installing the 44.1kHz emulation files regardless of whether you use that sample rate.
      I would also check what else is on your FW buss.

      The problem you’re having is one I have never encountered as specifically as that; but I have had a number of reset connection errors which I was able to fix by using ASIO4All.

      Where I can not be too specific to help you, I hope some of the above sorts you out.

      Best,
      Rob

      1. Ok, I’ve eliminated the jBridge factor.

        I just cleaned the entire thing off my system, drivers and registry and all. I then reinstalled as per your guide. My Liquid Mix is detected in Device Manager and using the legacy drivers I installed etc. I also installed all of the emulation files for 44.1, 48, 88.2 and 96kHz.

        I have not bridged anything and left only the 32 bit plugins in place. I pointed FL Studio to that folder and it’s the same thing. First plugin loads fine, after that I get an error saying:

        “LM Hardware has been disconnected or a bus reset has occurred. Please check your connection and allow Liquid Mix to restart. If the hardware fails to reconnect automatically you may want to force another reset by holding ‘Save’ + ‘Load’ + ‘Go Back’ on the hardware. If problems persist, please close and reopen your Liquid Mix session.”

        I am using a Texas Instruments internal firewire card and the Liquid Mix is the only thing plugged into and using it, no other devices.

        I then tried using ASIO4ALL as per your suggestion, but still no joy and same problem.

        Just installing Reaper now to see if it’s anything DAW specific…

        Really frickin’ annoying as I love the sound of the Liquid Mix and wanna be able to still use it!

  2. Just tried that and made no difference. Really confusing!

    I do have an onboard VIA firewire chip, currently used by my MOTU 828 sound card. Might try disconnecting that and see if that makes a difference, then try to use the VIA socket to see.

    1. That is a pity about Defender and Firewall. One of those two can sometimes reactivate without telling you.

      This seems like a very computer/system specific problem. Let me know how you get on.

      1. This has just got more bizarre!

        It works perfectly as it should in Reaper 64 bit, using it’s native bridger to fetch the 32 bit plugins, but not in any other DAW, even ones with built in bridgers like FL Studio and Cubase. Trying with jBridge in likes of Ableton and Studio One doesn’t work either.

        Totally confused now!!!!

  3. Sorry to go on, but i fully resolve it now, using jBridge to get it working in any DAW as a 64 bit plugin.

    When you load first instance, open up the jBridge settings and there is an option near the bottom along the lines of ‘run in existing auxhost’. Select this, delete plugin and reload. Verify it’s still there. Then it should allowyou to load multiple instances as it should!

    Fixed!

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