TNSS: Free for All

So before we start our adventure into Logic, a nice little surprise showed up yesterday:

Reaper M1

Our friends at Cockos dropped an update to REAPER with Big Sur capability as well as a Beta for M1 (Apple Silicon) Macs. Of course I downloaded the Beta… It looks really nice (buttons and other items have been rendered to a higher resolution to my eyes), but I haven’t dug deep into it yet. That will come later.

REAPER AS Beta

TAL’s NoiseMaker running as an AU Instrument in REAPER, and again seems to be working fine. 🙂

Let’s start installing Plugins in Logic. I had already installed TAL’s NoiseMaker and Valhalla DSP’s suite of effects in the last post, so today was all about seeing what would work and how resilient Rosetta 2 is. Logic has to Validate Audio Units before they can be used by other programs (like REAPER), so we have to start there anyway.

Magnus and Frederik over at Sonic Charge have had a great reputation for not really needing updates to their plugs once a new OS comes out. I have always been happily surprised that they ‘just work’ when I do an update, and this is no exception. The downloader worked without a hitch, and their online Authorization System didn’t even blink, and Logic happily loaded them. As MicroTonic is my ‘go-to’ plugin for drum synthesis, it’s nice to have it installed. Excellent.

FabFilter updated a post saying that their plugins work fine on Big Sur. I Downloadedtheir combined Installer, and they are correct that they work fine. Its Validation crawl is the pic for this post. I use FF Plugins in pretty much every session, so doing The Happy Dance here.

IK Multimedia dropped a really nice set of effects called MixBox earlier this year. I really like it so even though they say they are still testing I had to try it. TLDR: it works. Below is MixBox treating a MicroTonic drum track.

MixBox

But not everything was a resounding success. I decided to try Dexed – a really smart Yamaha DX emulator (it will even work as a Librarian for the actual hardware…) but the old Logic Bug of refusing to show new Plugins until you Log Out or Restart your computer reared its ugly head – again. How many years has this been going on now…?

After a (very) quick Restart, it loaded and passed Validation properly. Dexed happily loaded all my presets and receives and plays MIDI data as it should. But if you try to edit any parameters on screen, it ‘glitches’ the GUI briefly before updating. This only happens on playback, but is a bit annoying…

In all I installed multiple Plugins from nine different Developers and only Dexed had any kind of issue. I’m going for broke and installing everything I own.

I’m seriously impressed here. I truly believe I could do a lot of my production on Edsel and notice little difference from my current workflow. A few more OS updates will help things along, and obviously native M1 versions of Apps and Plugins will certainly make things better, but at this point I’d say if you’re interested in Apple Silicon I’m not going to dissuade you. These are very powerful machines. Big Sur runs quite smoothly for such early days, and Rosetta 2 is a masterwork of emulation. Chef’s Kiss, Apple. 🙂

But before we go let’s take a walk into Crazytown, shall we?

One of the things the M1 Macs will do is load iOS Apps – so let’s see if we can download one and make it work.

(Cue ominous music…)

When you go to the App Store on Apple Silicon, you will see a new choice on your Purchases page:

AppStore1

Choose that and you can see all of the Apps you’ve acquired on iOS. Most will say ‘Designed for iPhone (or iPad). Not verified for macOS.’ But you can still download them. I have no idea what to do with them, but you never know until you try…

I decided to try Kai Aras’ ShockWave:

AppStore2

It downloaded with no quibbles. I also figured I should grab something else just in case… I went for the Spectrum Synthesizer Bundle, a nice little synth based on Mutable Instruments Eurorack hardware:

AppStore 3

I was pretty limited in what I could choose from, even though I have a lot of iOS Music Junk. Apparently Developers can choose to not allow their Apps to be used ‘cross-platform’ (iOS and Apple Silicon) – a lot of what I have purchased was nowhere to be found. I have a feeling this might change in the future, but I’m betting a lot of issues (both coding- and money-wise) need to be sussed out first. All good – I’m patient. 🙂

Not really sure what I needed to do next, so I just launched Logic on a hunch. AU Validation window pops up on launch…

IOS AUv3 Validation

Surprise! Logic Validates them just like any other AU Plugin…

ShockWave wouldn’t pass the checks (even after trying ‘Reset and Rescan Selection’), but two of the ‘modules’ in the Spectrum Bundle did. Let’s try to load one up:

Modal

It’s available in the AU Instruments menu. Knobs twist and controls move, but no sound, and no MIDI control whatsoever.

(Cue ‘sad trombone’ sound here)

But still – this may be the foreshadowing of some good things to come. I’ll put this on the list of things to check occasionally as we move forward with the Saga.

We’ll end here on another (quasi) high note for this round. There is more to come, but Logic is doing what Logic does, and it seems AU Plugins do too. Stunned at how seamless this has been.

I guarantee it can’t be this easy though… 🙂

TNSS: A. B. And C.

While I’m in Testing Mode I ran across a few things you might like to know. Oh, and I am currently writing this post on Edsel, so the transition to normalcy is off to a flying start – every passing day is another round of Apps with Bur Sur and/or M1 updates, and comparing Clara Jane to Edsel right now shows maybe 4 or 5 Apps (non-musical) I would really like to have. Not bad for about 5 days in!

And with that bright spot, on to the main points of this update:

A. While poking around the Interwebz® for news and updates I ran into this tidbit from Chris over at Audio Damage:

We have begun our port to Apple Silicon, and have already updated some products. We hope to have everything done by the end of November.

Having said that, it should be noted that our testing has shown that native Apple Silicon hosts don’t really seem to care whether the plugin is Intel or ARM. In our testing so far, our own products are indistinguishable in the Apple Silicon native versions of Logic and Mainstage, as are the other plugins we have tried from our friends in the industry.

On the whole, our general opinion is that as a producer you won’t really notice (or even be able to tell) whether a plugin or host is running native ARM or in Rosetta 2. The CPU load should be more or less the same; the ARM version may be slightly lower, but this is difficult to measure consistently.

This is super interesting. The reports I have read about both Apple Silicon and Rosetta 2 performance are showing that The Mothership® is not only going to radically change the whole Macintosh lineup not only moving forward, but that future really is right here, right now. I’m wagering the true ‘Pro’ versions coming in the next year or so are going to push computing to a whole new level, and we may look at Intel-based systems in less than two years like we look at Power PC Macs of Yore – doorstops.

With Chris’ post in mind I decided to do something to test it (and I need some Software Instruments other than the Logic built-in ones), so I popped over to Patrick Kunz’s House of Awesomeness and even though he says they are on the ball with Big Sur, Apple Silicon, and M1 support is coming soon, I grabbed NoiseMaker to see if it would work since I don’t think it’s been updated since the Catalina updates a year or so ago.

Installer called no fouls, and it passed Logic Pro Validation. A quick sequence didn’t break anything, so very impressed. More testing to come…

Validation Passed

Sidebar: TAL’s NoiseMaker is free, and if you like it please support Patrick and Co. by buying a plugin or six. They are worth every penny and you’ll be supporting small developers. I could say this for a lot of Music App Makers, btw… 🙂

Speaking of, the rest of the Audio Software Devs are assumedly busy at work as the news of updates has slowed to a crawl. Again, this is expected and as I live by the Venn diagram I put as the Post Header (and you should too.) I’m fine with it. Take your time and get it right, but if the Rosetta 2/TAL NoiseMaker test is any benchmark I believe the floodgates will open shortly. I’ll test some other small dev plugins as time allows before then.

B. I have had a very odd hardware issue with Edsel – the Apple Magic Mouse I’m using for it randomly loses connection and refuses to reconnect until I hit a key on the accompanying Magic Keyboard. Happens about once or twice a day. I have used the Magic Mouse with other Macs and even iPads with no problems whatsoever.

I personally hate using mice, and really wish there was a way to connect a single Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad to work on multiple Macs. There’s supposedly a trick of turning Bluetooth off on one machine and then on on the other to switch back and forth, but I couldn’t replicate that – Edsel wouldn’t even recognize either of the Bluetooth devices that had already been paired with Clara Jane. So I pulled my old HP Bluetooth mouse out of the ‘computer junk’ drawer and it seems to work as expected. Looks like I’ll have to get another Magic Trackpad, but there really should be a more elegant solution for this other than lining mApple’s pockets a little bit more.

C. The new monitor and arm have arrived and are put into place. Makes a big difference and switching between both computers is easy. Just the constant swapping of Input Devices is a pain in the you-know what, so I’ll just use Clara Jane’s built-in keyboard and trackpad for any two-device testing.

Desk updated

In the pic above Edsel is on the Big Screen, Clara Jane on her own for the Logic comparisons I’ve been doing. The Arturia BeatStep Pro and UA Apollo to the left of it are connected through the CalDigit dock for Clara Jane (you can see it peeking out below the laptop stand). I need to dig out an audio interface and MIDI controller for the Mini so I’m not listening to sounds from its internal speaker while pecking away at Logic’s Musical Typing keyboard. Time for a trip to the Closet of Discarded Wonders to see what’s in there.

That’s all for today, next time we’ll get into Logic – I promise. 🙂

TNSS: The Chimes of Big Ben

When you turn the new Macs on they make the old breathy startup chord sound of Macs of Yore. It even has a reduced sample rate quality that is oh so fashionable every year or so in the Audio Biz. I’m sure there are thousands of videos out there that demonstrate this if you care about such things. In my case I found it slightly…annoying.

Last night was the Software Update to the last Big Sur release. On Clara Jane, a comparable update (3.83 GB in this case) would take about 10 minutes to download and about 40ish minutes to complete. Edsel chewed through everything in about 15 minutes. There is some speed in here, yes.

The App Store updates were surprising – nothing needed to be updated. I did have to ‘authorize’ Pages, Numbers, and a few core apps to work on this machine with a button click, but a recheck for updates produced nothing. Nice.

Next was Logic Pro. A quick download followed by 40 minutes of ‘Additional Sounds’ (yes, I did the full 80GB lot). A box in the bottom left corner displayed downloading times and installing progress while I puttered off to have dinner. I’m not sure if I’ll put Final Cut or Motion on Edsel yet. I use them occasionally but not that often and they can be installed later if need be.

The first ‘3rd Party’ App I put on any new system is 1Password. They had released a Big Sur-compatible version (7.7) just that day so it was off to Agilebits to get the latest installer. Did have a glitch where Edsel refused to install on the first try, but I launched the Installer again and it went off without a hitch. This is foreshadowing or things to come, I’ll bet…

And so ends my first day with The New Shiny-Shiny.

The next morning I ordered a new monitor from scAmazon®. Desk Real Estate is limited and having multiple monitors is not an option. Told you to be prepared to spend more money than you expected. 🙂

Desk3

(Yeah – this ain’t gonna work…)

The rest of the early morning before EduCorp® duties commence is spent scouring the trade sites for info on what issues other users have found with Apple Silicon or Big Sur and hopefully glean a bit of info on Apps I use that have been updated for MacOS 11. 

For the Music Software side G has a running Thread over at MacOS Audio that is updated constantly. A lot of his info is from email dispatches from the Devs so you might have to do a bunch of clicking through to get the latest info. He does this for almost every System Update, btw…

This is one of the main reasons Pros will always tell you you to wait before updating your system. It’s a long game of waiting for everyone to catch up with the newness and work out the bugs and oddities. If you just check your fave websites and cat videos with your computer then you’ll probably be fine with the latest and greatest. For those who rely on Third-Party Developers to get a lot of their work or play done you have to wait until they have everything ready a few months after the tidal wave has crested. 

Strangely, the November 12th updates showed up for GarageBand, Keynote, Numbers, Pages, and iMovie at lunchtime – 6 days after they were released. Go mApple!

Found that a lot of my needed Utilities, Bartender, Hazel, CleanShot X, and Yoink! have Big Sur versions. Keyboard Maestro looks like it works too… Good news. There were some Upgrade fees involved with a few of these apps, but I expected this – about once a year they begin to creep in, and all worth the price of readmission to me.

Downloaded Office 365 before heading back into the fray and frenzy of work. Will test it later. Spoiler Alert: it works.

After dinner were a couple of things I wasn’t sure about. I downloaded the latest version of REAPER. Spoiler Alert: it seems to work – shakedown testing later.

Then to Valhalla DSP, makers of my favorite time-based effect plugins, based on a Tweet that everything was go for Big Sur.

Sean Costello is Awesome

This makes me sooooo happy, and what a perfect place to stop for the evening. Surprisingly, nothing else I installed had issues after the 1Password hiccup. There are lots of trips to System Prefs to make various Utilities work, but if you’re coming from Catalina you are more that used to this. Most of the apps walk you through the steps on first launch.

In the next thrilling episode we’ll start digging into Logic (and maybe REAPER too)  – and I’ll have a new monitor to make things a bit easier (fingers crossed).

TNSS: Arrival

About this time of the year I’m researching Stupid Music Holidaze® Gifts for an end of the year giggle (and we need as many of those as we can get this year) – but nooooooo. I decide to buy a new untested bit of computer hardware and software and walk everyone through the non-parted Rea Sea of lunacy we call ‘planned obsolescence’. Is it too late to end this and post goofy pictures of Vanilla Ice-themed oven mitts or something? Please?????

(Sip of coffee, 30 seconds of breathing exercises, and one last gulp of coffee)

So yes, it arrived as the Delivery App foretold. Head to the Tube of Yous for gazillions of drool-worthy Unboxing videos if you desire. We are proudly a slow media zone here.

Sidebyside

On the left is my 2012 Mac mini. Quad-core i7 with 16 Gig of RAM and 1.5 TB of SSD’s. It’s been a faithful steed for over 8 years, but it can’t upgrade to MacOS 11 which is why I got the MacBook Pro earlier this year. For those tallying stats it’s the 8-core i9 with 16 GB Ram, 1TB SSD model. On the right is Edsel (the Apple M1-chipped, Big Sur’d The New Shiny-Shiny). Yep, I’ve decided Cupertino can smell the glove – I’m calling it Edsel. The MacBook Pro still needs a name – like Clara Jane (you do know we have access to the same Interwebz® right? So do your research.)

For all intents and purposes they are identical (if you ignore the carbon scoring on the 2012.)

2012back

But from the back you can tell the difference. The 2012 has Ethernet, FireWire 800 (wow – memories!), HDMI, Thunderbolt (v2), four USB 3 ports, SD card slot, and separate mic and headphone jacks.

2020back

Edsel has Ethernet, two Thunderbolt (v3)/USB 4 ports (rather sneaky wording you did on this kids), HDMI (2.0), two USB 3 ports, and the headphone out jack. That’s a lot of empty back panel space compared to the 2012, and at the very least an SD slot would have been a nice addition. Hoping a MacFixit teardown will provide clues as to why so much extra space…

So the drill with any card-carrying AppleGeek® acquiring new hardware is thus: plug it in, turn it on, sign in with your Apple ID, then head straight for the Software Update pane to check for System Updates. After about an hour of waiting on these you can now go check for App Store updates. Wait about 20 minutes or so for that to finish, then open every single freakin’ App you downloaded to download the crud they need to work properly (this is mostly for ProApps like Logic and Final Cut, but you’d be amazed at what else wants additional content). By the next day you should be ready to start working, uhhh, I mean testing.

BTW: with new Mothership® Goodies this process will be incessant for the next month or so. You awaken every day to another Nagbox telling you there’s an update to one of the Tetris pieces inside that got broken since the last time you used it. Get used to it and remind yourself this is why you never buy Version 1 of anything from anyone. I am only mildly joking here, of course.

Oh, and if you’ve never set up a new Mac before you have a wonderfully rewarding few days ahead of you. I’d never spoil the fun, so we’ll just skip over this part, mmmkay…

I encountered the first major hurdle during the ‘turn it on’ phase – it doesn’t like my video cable. I had the old Mini connected via HDMI-to-DVI to my old NEC monitor and figured that since there’s also HDMI on Edsel it should ‘just work’. Nope. Edsel is starting to live up to its name.

My NEC also has a DV port, but that is connected to the MacBook Pro (Clara Jane from here onwards). I grabbed the Thunderbolt 3 cable connecting Clara Jane to my CalDigit TB3 dock and inserted it into one of the Mini’s Thunderbolt ports and Edsel garishly came to life on the screen. (Seriously – the default Big Sur color scheme is blinding…) So it works, but apparently not with my cable or DVI or whatever voodoo is baked into the M1 chipset. So now it’s off to do some Interwebz® research and probably to scAmazon® for the needed wiring. Hey – did I mention that you will spend lots of extra $$$$ in addition to what you shelled out for The New Shiny-Shiny? Yes. Yes you will.

In a flash of ‘Holy Cats – did I just outsmart myself?’ I remembered that I bought one of those portable monitors on sale from said scAmazon® just after I got Clara Jane. Dug the box out of a closet and was pleasantly surprised that not only does it have USB-C – it comes with the cables too. Plugged it into one of the Thunderbolt ports on the Mini and was rewarded with a blazing barrage of colors as Edsel’s interior workings could now be seen. 

Settingup

Told you it was garish! (And sorry for the poor quality – quickly snapped from my phone on the old NEC monitor)

In the next Episode we’ll actually do something with this thing and see if Edsel actually does live up to its name. Wish me luck.

Catalina Capers

So, I took plunge. I did a clean install of Catalina (10.15) on my MacBook Pro.

It’s been an adventure.

It was time to clean all the upgrades, shareware, betas, and just things I wanted to test off the hard drive and start anew. The ‘experts’ say this is a good idea to do every year – I do it about every three, because like most of you I have a life and actually want to get things done with my technology.

The installation went fine. Made a bootable flash drive of Catalina, went though and deauthorized everything that needed to be on the old System, and then popped the USB stick in and restarted while holding down the R key (Recovery Mode). Used Disk Utility the Recovery Partition to wipe the drive (no low-level format this time, but did check the SSD integrity) and then let 10.15’s Installer do its thing.

All in all took about 4 hours to get to this point. For some perspective, I usually plan an entire day for this whole adventure…

Apple is always improving getting you up and running after an OS install or update. I can remember when putting in all of the details after a new installation used to take like 20 minutes just to get through all the pages and selections and preferences. It’s getting close to just a few minutes now. Kudos.

After checking all of the stock Apps to make sure my mail settings, bookmarks, and other bits and bobs made their way down the iCloud pipeline, I started the process of installing the ‘must-have’ Apps – 1Password, Hazel, Keyboard Maestro, Bartender, and a few other utilities that were blessed with Catalina Compatibility. Sadly, there are a few I like to have that have not, but I installed them anyway because somebody’s gotta test this stuff out. 

One nice touch here. Catalina makes better use of the Apple Watch for not just logging into your machine, but for bypassing a lot of the BS when installing Apps – including having to type in your password five hundred umpteen times. Just double-click the Side Button on the watch and it goes from there. Might actually shave off a half-hour from total time spent doing this. 🙂

Of course, you need an Apple Watch to do this. The Mothership® will always reel your wallet in somehow…

Next comes the potentially scary stuff – music and audio apps. I know I’m going to run into problems with at least half of what I want to install, so I ignored the ungainly list of everything that I had before and just concentrated on what I ‘absolutely’ needed. It’s all going to get put back on anyway so it’s just a matter of time before my machine is as cruffed up as the old system was.

I went with two DAW’s – Logic and REAPER. Plugins were limited to what had Catalina compatibility at the time. Universal Audio had just released their 10.15 update (yes!) and FabFilter said they were compliant since Summer. Eventide had updated their installers. Arturia had as well. Cockos had dropped a 10.15 compatible version or REAPER just after my installation, but the older version worked fine after telling MacOS is was okay to open it. As of this posting, REAPER has been update to version 6 with full Catalina support and lots of extra goodies to boot. Since logic is an Apple product, you can probably be sure it’s going to work – or at least 86.3% functional. 😀

Izotope was a no-go, and as of this posting is still waiting for an update (2+ weeks after installing 10.15). Bummer

Soundtoys teased with an update, but alas was their last 32-bit version. Again, 2+ weeks later I’m still waiting. Also bummer.

I can’t work without Valhalla plugins, so they had to be installed and tested. Sean at Valhalla has been signing Catalina installers, but the old versions seem to be working fine in my tests.

I decided to push the envelope and install a few AU and VST plugins that I wasn’t sure would work (and developers had yet to comment on). Nothing like living dangerously (you can see a few in the screenshot below).

So after installation comes the really scary part – will the Audio Units actually pass Validation in Logic, because there’s nothing like  seeing this:

Plugin Manager

Yeah, I realize that PaulXStretch was a bit of a (ahem) stretch as I had no idea if it would work of not, but at least a got a pic for the Catalina Verification. 🙂

When installing new plugins, sometimes something seems to get tangled up in Apple’s Validation System. Most of the time you can pop into Logic’s Plugin Manager (pictured above) to select the Plugin and choose ‘Reset & Rescan Selection’ at the bottom left. Most times the Plugin will happily Validate and you’re back in business. Sometimes a Restart and then doing this will get the Plugin to work.

Not with Catalina, bub.

Look at that Error Box above again. It says it won’t scan because the ‘developer cannot be verified’…

So if you try the ‘Reset & Rescan Selection’ button with one of these, you get this lovely message in the AU Validation window ad infinitum

Validation Fail

Try it as many times as you like. Restart until your battery dies. 

Same result.

So apparently now all you can do is wait for an update.

Or do we?

Fortunately, it looks like someone was looking out for us there at the Mothership®

Some Installers (like Universal Audio) will kindly tell you to go to the Security & Privacy System Preferences Pane to allow them to be installed, but many do not – and this tip just might be your savior with a few that are 64-bit savvy and have yet to be ‘formally Signed’ for 10.15:

First, install your Audio Unit Plugin as you normally would by Installer or dragging to the Components Folder. Again, make sure the Plugin is 64-bit compatible!

Next, open Logic. It *should* Validate any new Plugins, but if they don’t seem to show up on the Channel Strip or in the Plugin Manager restart your machine and launch Logic again.

Sidebar Rant: this problem has been around for years now Apple! When are you going to fix this issue?

If you get the validation warning like the one shown above, head over to the Security & Privacy pane of the System Preferences window:

Security Override

See that little blurb under ‘Allow apps downloaded from:’?

That Open Anyway button will allow you to install (pretty much) anything unsigned and hopefully, get your ‘Unauthorized’ plugin(s) to work.

One interesting thing I found when testing this – sometimes the ‘Open Anyway’ button shows ‘Allow Anyway’:

Allow Anyway

I think this might be for those plugins that you have to add to the Components folder manually (no Installer Helper) – you programmers out there can happily correct me on this. 🙂

I’ve tried this with a few plugins that I didn’t think would work (like Airwindows, Voxengo (the Correlometer shown above) and Waldorf’s PPG Wave 2.v and Attack) and surprisingly they’ve worked just fine on Logic and Catalina. Once they pass Validation in Logic they will show up in REAPER (or any other DAW that can use Audio Units) as well.

These ‘tricks’ allowed me to open some needed (and wanted to test) AU’s until the properly signed versions arrive. I haven’t stress-tested those I’ve installed, but for the most part they seem to work as normal for my needs. Hopefully this helps some of you out there in the interim before your fave effect or instrument gets an update to the latest MacOS.

I will also stress (I’ve I’ve mentioned here before) – never update a critical system to untested software! Just because I did it doesn’t mean you should…

Until next time…

Addendum: Checking for 10.15 (Catalina) 64-bit compatibility

Been asked a few questions on how to check for Catalina compatibility from the last post. These might help you if you haven’t discovered them already.

Roaring Apps Compatibility Checker – Bryce Cameron makes a great searchable database of OS compatibility. As of this writing a lot of the 10.15 Apps are mostly blue Question Marks (unknown or no user tested data available), but worth checking out nonetheless. As we get closer to the release date and more info comes in these will get updated. Keep in mind that some of the more obscure applications might not get updated – I have seen this in the past here… Regardless, it’s still a great resource.

St. Clair Software Go64 – a fantastic little App that digs down pretty deep into your System to find out what won’t work. Helped me dig up some of the Installer/Uninstaller info from the last post.

Roaring Apps has a Compatibility Checker too, but as of this writing their App doesn’t show any info for Catalina – so just use the website until it gets updated. 

You also have 64-but checking built-in to your Mac, to a degree. The System Information App (look in your Utilities Folder) will show you 64-bit compatibility if you choose Software>Applications in the Sidebar and wait for the window to show you everything you have installed. It only shows Apps (no Plugins), but can help root out a few that might need updating or purging. See the pic below for an example:

SysInfo

Just so you know, the Components Sidebar pane will show you Plugin info (for Audio Unit Plugins as well as System and other Media Components) but doesn’t give you any 64-bit info unless there’s something I’m missing…

CompInfo

I would like to add that both St. Clair Software makes some great Apps (Default Folder X being one) in addition to Go64. If you find either of these useful please buy one of their other products you might find useful or at least drop them a donation to show some support. It’s people like these that make our world just a little bit nicer. 🙂

Hope you found this helpful, and I’ll update this topic as it seems necessary.

Until next time…

The New Shiny and a Little Temprament…

(Image from wallpaper cave.com)

Hi everyone!

Sorry it’s been a bit since some rambling on here – Summertime is always the busiest around APITEland and EduCorp®. Things should get even busier as the Holidaze® get closer… 🙂

So The Mothership® showed off a bunch of new Shiny Shiny this past week as they do every September. Hope all your Credit Cards (or that Shiny Shiny new AppleCard) are paid down and ready for the onslaught. Still not sure what I’m going to get (do I *really* need anything new?) but that’s not what I want to talk about this go ‘round anyway.

We need to talk Computer Updates and the next big one from the Kids in Cupertino.

Back in the days when an Operating System update was way more than a year between changes and came on something called a CD-ROM or (heaven forbid) a Floppy Disc, the Technorati (and anyone else who actually liked to get work done on their machine) had a simple plan – never upgrade a ‘Mission Critical’ computer.

You might have a ‘secondary’ machine that you would test a new update on (Operating System or even Application!) and if it passed muster, didn’t crash, and added something that you didn’t already have (or really wanted) then you would take the plunge and install it on your main system(s). If you weren’t blessed with a ‘Testbed’ Computer, then you scoured the Trade Mags for info and talked with other users about their experience to see if it was worth installing or not. But sometimes you just had to take the plunge because you really, really wanted some new feature that was available.

And every time I did the last thing I always got bitten where the sun doesn’t shine…

I’m telling you this as a bit of a warning, since I’ve been testing the latest MacOS (10.15, a.k.a ‘Catalina’).

If you’re doing Music Creation or Production you seriously need to wait a bit before upgrading your main machine.

Let me say that one more time: Don’t upgrade to Catalina when it’s first released in October!

But why?

The 64-bit requirement is probably the biggest issue.

“A-ha!” You might say. “All of my software has been 64-bit compatible for years! I’m taking the plunge…”

I thought that too – and then I did a bit of digging…

You see, even though the software might be 64-bit compatible some of the embedded libraries it relies on are still 32-bit.

I’ve seen this in nearly every DAW I’ve checked and many other music/media Apps too. The culprits are usually Propellerheads’ ReWire or QuickTime-related, but there are others too…

And until they are updated or worked around, NONE of them will function properly in 10.15.

Some examples: As of this writing ProTools won’t even launch on any of my machines running Catalina. Ableton dropped a note saying that Live 9 is not and will never be 10.15 compatible (meaning you’ll have to upgrade to 10 when they get the fix done for it). Reaper seems stable but I’ve had issues I’ve never seen before. I’ve read blurbs from many other Music Software companies with similar problems running 10.15.

Some further lurking revealed that Apple’s own Final Cut Pro, Motion, Numbers, Pages, and Keynote are still showing incompatibility with Catalina! These will be fixed before launch certainly, but talk about waiting until the last minute…

What about Plugins?

Again, most are 64-bit ready, but several on my system are not. I’m not a Code Junkie, so all I can really assess are the ones that have companion Standalone apps. All are 10.15-incompatible on my setups. I will say that most without Standalone Apps seems to work as normal though.

But that leads us to Installer Apps. None of them are 64-bit ready on any of my systems (this goes for the Uninstallers too). Izotope shows Dialog Box after Dialog Box of warnings when you try to install a plugin, ultimately leading to Catalina saying is wasn’t installed properly. I tried Eventide, Korg, and Valhalla as well – only Valhalla would actually install without issue. Go Sean! 🙂

So will Plugins already installed on a pre-Catalina System update just fine? I’m running a clean installation of 10.15 in a Container so I can’t say at this point. I will be upgrading one of my ‘less critical’ machines from Mojave to Catalina, so I’ll update you with what happens when the official release comes out.

But as Han Solo would say, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this…”

It’s been about a decade since I’ve warned people about updating a Mac OS, and since those issues were resolved a few months later I’ve never hesitated in telling anyone to go ahead and install the latest version. This will happen again very soon, so don’t worry about sitting on the sidelines for a bit.

Until next time…

Just as a disclaimer: my intention is NOT to panic anyone out there with this post – it’s merely my own observations with some age-old wisdom attached. I’m certain MacOS 10.15 is going to be a powerhouse when it’s ready for Prime Time – the functions and security are setting the pace for OS’es to come in the next decade.

But I have decided I’m not going to upgrade any of my Macs that I actually need to do work on, and I’m recommending that you don’t either if you’re in the Music and/or Media Production Industries. I’m lucky enough to have a Testbed Machine that I will keep checking upoming updates (both OS and Apps) on, but until everything I need is ready and working as it should I’m happy to stay put on 10.14. Apple doesn’t force anyone to upgrade, and going Bleeding Edge just because it’s the new Shiny Shiny is not worth losing work (and money) over! These issues will get resolved, and for all I know everything might be perfect by the time I hit ‘Publish’… If that does magically happen, I’ll provide an update to this post. 🙂

Izotope RX 7

Izotope dropped RX 7 today, adding Music Rebalancing, Vocal Removal/Isolation, and a new Repair Assistant to its suite of audio correction tools.

RX is one of those pieces of software that I don’t use often, but is a lifesaver when you need it for fixing dialog issues or removing anomalies like extraneous sounds or clicks or pops (Audiocasters should look into this if you haven’t already just for the Breath Control feature alone). It’s a nice update to a solid audio repair and enhancement toolkit, with tiers available from the casual user to the professional audio, movie, or television Post-Production engineer.

All the info you need here.

What really intrigues me is though is the latest update to their Insight metering program, which is unparalleled for measuring Loudness (LU), Sound Field, Spectrogram, and other audio analysis functions. Insight is not something for everyone (although the new version is less than half the price of the original), but for those of us who need accurate reporting of audio spectra it’s money well spent.

These updates are happening yearly from the Isotope crew, and it’s great to see consistent for all all of their products. 🙂