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OS X El Capitan Update Breaks Some Music Software

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

You know the drill. There’s a new operating system from Apple. It breaks some music software. If you don’t like things breaking, you should wait a bit. Then once you’ve verified the stuff you need is compatible, go for it — it’s probably better than the last OS once the wrinkles are ironed out.

This post occurs with each new OS, a bit like some sites do Holiday Shopping Guides, or April Fools’ jokes. I could almost turn it into a Mad Libs post. But here are the specifics.

The operating system: OS X 10.11 “El Capitan.”

What breaks: plug-ins, mainly. Some Audio Unit plug-ins don’t pass validation. We’ve heard that from Native Instruments and Arturia already. Arturia says they’ve seen issues with standalone software, too. Either way, we’re talking software qualification. And I suspect we’ll hear from more developers through the day, not just Arturia and NI (feel free to sound off in comments).

Check hardware, too. Here, we only have heard from NI, but it’s a huge issue — kernel panics with the MK1 editions of Traktor Kontrol S4, X1, Traktor Audio 2, and Maschine, plus the Audio 2/4/8 DJ and Guitar Rig 3 Rig Kontrol 3 hardware.

Meanwhile, Elektron say their Overbridge tech isn’t quite working with 10.11 yet, either. (Their hardware is fine, but not with all the integration features.)

The good news here — in NI’s case, at least, there are already beta drivers. I’m all set to use my VST versions of my plug-ins and Maschine in glorious monochromatic orange.

Back in my day, Apple never used to have OS upgrade quality issues. Why have they abandoned pros? Ah, too true. I remember the golden days, back in Yosemite, OS X East Bay, OS X Delayed BART train, 10.6, 10.5, 10.4.8, 10.3, Mac OS X Puma, Mac OS X Llama, Mac OS X Rabid Kitten Beta 3, System 8, System 7.5.3 revision 2, System 7.blergh, System 6, PowerBook 5300 On Fire, Apple III Drop It On A Table Until It Starts Working… no problems whatsoever. Everything “just worked,” back when Steve Jobs was with us and I used my Mac Classic at school which I went to and from uphill in the snow both ways even in September, until the sad day when Gibson bought Studio Vision Pro and killed Christmas forever and the End Times were nigh.

Okay, no, seriously:

Will this get fixed? Yes, and if past OS updates are any indication, reasonably quickly. Just sit tight.

Why Shatner? Kirk in Star Trek V climbs the mountain El Capitan, in Yosemite Park (each a namesake of an OS X update now). Also, spoiler alert: Kirk falls. So before you make “love to the mountain,” be aware of the risks, and make sure Spock catches you. I mean, uh, make sure you have a backup before you upgrade.

Backup first. I’m not preaching abstinence; I’m saying use protection. Make a backup first. That was tasteless, sorry — but I think I’ve written this story ten times in the history of CDM, so you can expect the quality to degrade as I age. 😉

Updated: when you are ready, here’s four hours of Shatner while you wait on your machine to backup and upgrade.

The post OS X El Capitan Update Breaks Some Music Software appeared first on Create Digital Music.


XT Software releases Machine3 for Mac and Win VST

Monday, September 28th, 2015

XT Software has released Machine3 for Mac OS X and Windows. Based on the old Machine II VST plugin, Machine3 adds more features like multi-timbral VST support and section based pattern sequencing [Read More]

Oxe Software updates Oxe FM Synth – Now with Automation

Saturday, September 5th, 2015

Oxe Software has updated Oxe FM Synth to version 1.3.0. The new version includes full automation support and some features to improve usability. Changes: New feature: full automation (on channel [Read More]

Roland Launches SYSTEM-100 PLUG-OUT Software Synthesizer

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Roland has announced the SYSTEM-100 PLUG-OUT software synthesizer. Part of the AIRA series, this new soft synth is a modern reproduction of Roland’s semi-modular SYSTEM-100 monosynth. It integrates [Read More]

Minimoog controller reminds us hardware, software go hand in hand

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

What’s an ‘app’?

For years, it was an uphill battle just getting people to recognize the ability of computers to generate sounds. When Native Instruments was founded in Berlin in 1996, their name was a clue to where they imagined the future going. Propellerhead’s release of ReBirth in 1997 began a concerted effort by the Stockholm-based company to campaign for in-the-box emulations of gear — and their partner Steinberg would shortly thereafter push ReWire and its own VST.

Now, it’s not so much the app as the map — the physical control given to software. Whatever analog versus digital debates may rage on forums, the reality in the marketplace is now an ample combination of both technologies. That means a lot of standalone hardware can be thought of as just another computer. Drum machines and synths have computers inside. Roland sells its SYSTEM-1 instruments in both computer plug-in and hardware form. Eurorack modules, in the very bastion of analog love, now include computation (and even now monome and SoundHack modules). And on the software side, a growing number of tools from Native Instruments, Ableton, Arturia, and so on combine hardware with software.

Even on mobile, we’re seeing crossover. In some cases, tablet and phone touchscreens augment physical gear. In others, you’re connecting additional physical controls to your iPad instead of your laptop.

Seen this week, the SFC-Mini is just a prototype, made in quantity two. But it’s been interesting to watch this spread online, even in these summer music gear doldrums. The clever thing about the SFC-Mini is that it doesn’t have to be a generic controller: there are now so many Minimoog emulations that having hardware simply copy the classic Moog control layout is a no-brainer. It’s mapped already to the Arturia Mini-V and my go-to favorite monosynth of the moment, the NI Monark. But it could be used with any synth with a similar architecture.


Dutch custom builder Sound Force has more of these. For SH-101 fans, there’s the SFC-101. What’s interesting about this is that you get something more closely tailored to the SH-101 than ever Roland offers — because the AIRA SYSTEM-1 has a more generic layout. And you get arguably better sound, because while the TAL-BassLine-101 is a CPU-hungry computer plug-in, it does sound great.

There’s also the SFC-60, a dedicated controller for the TAL U-NO-LX. The best feature here: an integrated step sequencer. Watch:

Designers I believe are going to have some choices to make ahead. Do you lean on the powerful computational abilities of laptops people already own? Do you turn to increasingly versatile DSP platforms? What about faster, cheaper, more power stingy embedded computation platforms? Or, for that matter, when is analog circuitry actually still a better solution?

Those choices may ultimately be relatively invisible to the user. But one choice that can’t go ignored is how to make hardware control work. Humans have indeed developed opposable thumbs, and faders and knobs have endured long past their analog necessity partly because they seem to work really well with our hands.

So that could mean designing your own hardware, or at least make mapping to faders and knobs people already own easier.

But it’s impossible not to recall this quote from visionary computer scientist Alan Kay — one of the key people who defined how we think about the graphical user interface, object oriented programming, and how to teach computing:

“People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.”

More and more music tool makers seem to be taking that idea to heart.

That quote is indeed so often quoted in tech circles that I suspect a lot of people have no clue where it came from. Apple Macintosh pioneer Andy Hertzfeld tells the story:

Creative Think, July 1982 [folklore.org]

Not coincidentally, one of Kay’s favorite metaphors for defining how computers should relate to the human, and one apparently brought up at that speach: the computer as musical instrument.

This is I expect also relevant to electronic musical instrument makers: “it’s all software, it just depends on when you crystallize it.”

It’s a shame we don’t have the original talk, but it seems it influenced the development of the Mac — and thus the GUI as we use it today.

Anyway, while I ponder more philosophical ideas, you can browse the lovely custom stuff at Sound Force — and buy it, if you like. The SFC-Mini isn’t here yet, but I might have to get one. In the meantime, the SFC-60 is just 249€, which I find impressive for something made in this way.


Congrats to one-man operation Nicolas Toussaint.

The post Minimoog controller reminds us hardware, software go hand in hand appeared first on Create Digital Music.


Universal Audio releases UAD Software V8.3 – Adds AKG BX 20 Spring Reverb Plug-in

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

Universal Audio has released UAD Software v8.3, featuring the AKG BX 20 Spring Reverb plug-in. Introduced in the late 1960s, the AKG BX 20 spring reverb was an ingenious assembly of mechanical [Read More]

Mercuriall Audio Software announces “Tube Amp Ultra 530” for Mac & Win VST & AU

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

Mercuriall Audio Software has announced a new plugin called Tube Amp Ultra 530. It is expected to be released in the Autumn of 2015 for Mac OS X and Windows in AU and VST plugin formats. Features [Read More]

TASCAM releases “Hi-Res Editor” – Free Stereo Editing Software Includes Native Direct Stream Digital Support

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

TASCAM has announced that Hi-Res Editor has been released, a free application that supports up to 11.2MHz DSD files or 384k WAV. The software allows playback and export of DSD files without intermediate [Read More]

Softube updates software to v2.2.19 – iLok no longer required

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Softube has updated its plugins and Console 1 software to v2.2.19. The Console 1 update includes an EQ analyzer and new screen views. Softube has dropped the requirement for a USB iLok key, making [Read More]

digi toys updates Quenta – MIDI clock software for Mac OS X to V1.2

Saturday, June 13th, 2015

digi toys has updated the Quenta MIDI clock stand alone software for Mac OS X to V1.2. This update includes: Operation manual as a pdf, accessible from the Quenta window. New control matrix which [Read More]