Apple/Mac issues: hardware, firmware, interfaces, etc

Maybe you won’t notice at first but the dropouts occurred every 20 or 30 minutes.

When recording with Ableton Live, I didn’t noticed any issue. Only when I played back the track I noticed some glitches.

With Logic Pro X, the soft will simply stop recording.

First woth the caldigit hub and its brilliant, solved all the issues AND increased performance in some areas AND emits way less heat. Good times. Can’t wait to get back into the box this weekend.

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I have a mid-2012 13-inch MBP. I also threw in 16GB of RAM, but only a 500GB SSD. I’m considering removing the optical drive and installing a second drive.
This almost 7 year old computer is still performing quite well.
The anecdotes in this thread are making me think I should keep this computer running as long as I possibly can…

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google ‘dell xps sound crackling’ before making any promises :wink:
no offence to anybody but modern laptops are over-designed and under-engineered crap IMO

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Everybody is making a really big deal about a thing that, yes, shouldn’t have happened and shouldn’t be being ignored, but is in the end easily fixable albeit with some petty annoyance (an extra dongle). However, this is par for the course with most high tech, especially Apple.

A very long explanation for why this is actually normal and not a terrible evil thing

They discard old connectors and protocols as fast as they change marketing campaigns. If you haven’t noticed that they were the first major company to get rid of floppy drives in all machines, get rid of CD-ROM/DVD drives, eliminate the VGA port, eliminate the DVI port, eliminate any vestige of a standard serial port, eliminate the printer ports, embrace USB before most everybody else, embrace Thunderbolt, switch the main connection on their smartphones from one proprietary standard to another, etc. etc. etc. then you haven’t been paying attention.

The point isn’t whether or not Apple should be doing these things, or whether it’s ‘good’ or ‘bad’. The point is that it’s in their nature to always and only be best supporting the latest interconnection technology and nothing else.

Fortunately the latest interconnection tech is effectively as good and versatile as giving us a PCI backplane, so we can easily use very high quality adapters as @dansimco has found out, without compromise, allowing us to remain in whatever decade we wish when it comes to our outboard gear. And RME (among many other vendors) continue to fight the good fight to keep their equipment interoperable with both the major changes in Mac hardware/software and of course the absolute zoo that is Windows driver development as well. It’s turtles all the way down on both sides, don’t forget.

So, instead of complaining bitterly that change happens in high tech, do what anyone who uses high tech as a profession does, and keep using the gear you know and trust for as long as you can, and when it comes time to upgrade look at what other pros are using and make your choices from the most robust options that fit your budget, then stop upgrading until you have to. Pros don’t upgrade on a whim, or buy budget interfaces that are likely to lose support quickly, and there’s a reason for it - they have to put the bread on the table every day for decades and the only way to do that and stay sane is realize that tech will always change and will always have these hiccups and isn’t always changing for the better, so they find a system that works for them and they ride it as long as possible, keeping the old system around even well after the new one has come online, just in case.

There are pro engineers and producers who are using decades-old software to make killer tracks today, because they know it and it just works for them. Sure that ancient hardware requires TLC and the occasional eBaying of parts to keep running, but that’s just the cost of doing business for them.

I say this because I think a lot of people here act like Apple “owes” it to them to be perfect and always compatible (and let me be clear, the situation can be and has in the past been just as frustrating on the Windows and Linux sides in their own seasons) with everything. But if you embrace the new with Apple hardware, you’re going to deal with these sorts of issues from time to time. Firewire audio did have this problem before too (Firewire as protocol had a lot of problems, but it was still the best in it’s time for video transfer), as did nearly every kind of audio interconnection before it, from time to time, on certain brands or others. This story is as old as computing is, in many senses.

And yes, Apple should fix what are obvious bugs in their products, but sadly, they’ve made a history of marking technology as effectively “end of life” as soon as they have anything to replace it with, and it gets no further support. I’m not denying that, but it’s the reality and complaining bitterly won’t change it.

So, my recommendation is, everybody calm down the old computers still work great and the new ones still function perfectly well to make music, but the new systems and the old systems together need a little interoperability assistance in the form of a dongle. Big deal - it’s been this way for at least two decades across various connections and industries. Apple isn’t being ‘evil’ here, they’re being big, slow, and remaining on the same course they always have - dropping “old” tech like a rock and not even bothering to give it a backwards glance.

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the duality of Apple at play

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Well after a nightmare of a gig a couple of weeks ago where I had to physically unplug/replug my soundcard throughout the whole day(s) of rehearsal, I went in and see the people at the Apple Store. They created an RTA (some kind of escalated engineering report) and they got back to me with some tools and instructions on creating logs of the problem.

I’ve gone and made examples/logs of each combination of gear I have (RME / MOTU | Logic / Live / Max / Reaper | Input / Output / Input+Output).

Can also force it happening super consistently by disabling/enabling the “set date and time automatically” flag in System Preferences.

Check out this disgusting shit:

Hopefully this gets them closer to being able to fix it, but one take away, RME handles the problem waaaay better. With the RME examples I get a little ‘beep’ for about 300ms at most, and RME + Reaper just interrupts the audio briefly and keeps playing after that. MOTU + Logic is the worst, by far, combination I found, followed by MOTU + Live.

(AND on a side note, my 2011 macMini is acting a fool at the moment. It’s crashing when it wakes from sleep or not finding the boot disk. The new macMinis are waaaay too expensive, particularly for what they are. And I’m unsure if I want to invest any kind of money in another Mac computer given how shit things have been going…)

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I don’t feel like there is any great option at the moment. Bought a high spec pc this year and its no better. The caldigit dock solved the issues on my Mac, but right now I’m just using the octatrack as a master/daw because I’m fed up with computer challenges. The computer as a tape machine now etc.

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I ended up buying a Caldigit dock too and it seems to have solved all my glitches (although I was fine in Class Compliant mode). I connect a Push 2 and UCX to it through thunderbolt.

love your experimental work :wink:

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The expense/value proposition of owning a brand new computer for audio is very low. What happened?

My main reason for buying a 2016 MBP last November was a combination of saving $800 and having a newer Mac that could still run Sierra.

It’s scary, when I really think about it. I’m fortunate that my 2012 i5 Sierra iMac gets the job done with an Ultralite MK4, and that I don’t mind the headphone out on the 2016 MBP for monitoring the U-He VSTi work I rely on it for. I use the two in tandem with Ableton Link and am thankful I don’t have to rely on just the laptop.

My eyes were pretty glazed over for a new Quad i7 Mac Mini but they’re also having USB issues with audio interfaces.

The best and least problematic MBP to recommend might still be the 2015 Retina, sadly. I’d revert myself but I love this 2016-2018 trackpad and form factor too much, crappy keyboard and touchbar not withstanding. A good friend of mine bought an XPS 13 i7 last year to save money vs another MBP, and it is giving him crazy noise issues.

There’s no way to win and you still pay out the nose.

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that’s unfortunate to hear! While my 2015 retina mbp is still going strong, I did look to see what was next. The 21.5" iMac maxed out (+ user replacing ram which looks to be rather easy) seems like the best “deal” right now (though certainly not cheap) for what I would use it for.

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Just to be clear here: the problem is ONLY with USB audio interfaces that are NOT class compliant.

Thunderbolt, Firewire, and class compliant USB audio are not affected at all and continue to work flawlessly.

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From my experience, and what I’ve read that’s not the case.

Both the MOTU and RME are class compliant, and can be run as such, but still give audio problems.

From the testing (and reading) I’ve done, there’s a core problem with how time (of all things) is computed, somehow fucking up the audio thread.

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Turning that off doesn’t fully fix the problem, though, so that’s not the only thing that’s causing it. And since it doesn’t cause problems with the Caltech solution, I doubt it’s anything but a strange confounding factor, in reality.

I didn’t realize the RME devices still had the problem when put explicitly into CC mode - I had read many times in the thread that that was working fine for people - but of course latency is higher and you can’t use the routing features…

But I mostly meant to say that the class compliant interfaces like Focusrite Scarletts, etc. don’t exhibit this problem (at least, I haven’t seen any reports of that happening yet). If they are also acting up, I’ll amend my original post for clarity.

And of course, it’s still true that Thunderbolt and Firewire audio solutions do work perfectly.

I mean, the closest thing to an “official” response from RME (which is sadly a forum post) is that the problem is hardware based and the only solution is the Thunderbolt dongle:

Here is some info on the current situation with Apple’s Mac Mini 2018 and 10.14.2.

  • USB 2 is not usable for audio on any port.*

  • USB 3 is not usable for audio on the two USB-A sockets.*

  • USB 3 works as expected on all USB-C ports using a USB-C to USB-A adapter**

https://www.forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.php?pid=136666#p136666

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Oof this is discouraging. I was thinking of purchasing a new mac but now thinking otherwise since my audio interface is UAC2. Thanks for posting this!

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After some deliberating, I think I’m going to get a maxed out 2012 “server” mac mini (quad core 2.6 i7, 16gb ram, etc…). It’s a bit of an “old” computer, but everything in that form factor after that is dogshit (or crazy expensive).

For the record (at least I think I asked in this thread or another) - I ended up with a 2018 Mac mini (i7 16gb) and a 4k monitor - using it with my Saffire pro 40 (on a string of dongles - looks ugly but works fine.

Probably is on the expensive end - certainly compared to windows but wasn’t prepared to jump ship, and also I’m working on iOS apps on the side.

Went this route because it gives me a more granular upgrade path and a good while before I need to upgrade again. Pretty pleased with it so far - has loads of grunt etc.

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