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

i am seriously looking into lenovo x1 thinkpads… even thought i’ve been using apple computers since 2004… would be curious to hear experiences anyone who’s done this switch recently.

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the sad truth is that Macs are expensive compared to much else right now. I think Windows would be a better choice if you aren’t bought into Mac world right now. Like I say I’m also doing iOS development so not an option for me - but everything else - music and adobe creative stuff runs on both

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maybe a source of frustration in its own right, but have you considered a Hackintosh setup? I haven’t done it myself, and it seems you have to be pretty intentional with certain aspects of the build/spec, but I have heard enough good things to be curious about it…especially as one can build a 32 or 64gb, 6-core PC machine for $1000-1500.


edit: just reading up on Hackintosh stuff again for myself, and I don’t think I’d bother with the update hassles…your plan of a maxed out Mac Mini is probably a better one, at least to avoid hassles. Is 2012 the last generation of the quad-core models besides the current/fucked up ones?

I’ve been leaning towards something like a mid 2015 15" quad-core i7/16gb Macbook Pro to maximize performance/compatibility, but ~$900 for a used laptop is beyond my normal comfort level.

The value of the time gained by not messing with Windows’ update and driver hell is worth far more than the cost differential, for me. Not to mention the massive usability improvements - Windows just feels like slogging through mud compared to how quickly I can zip around on my Mac. And before you think it’s because I’m just not used to Windows, I used to be a .Net domain administrator for a company of 200 people. I know my way around Windows very well. The Mac is like greased lightning getting things done by comparison. I can’t enumerate how many hours of my life I got back. So I really don’t care how much their hardware costs, I’m not going back to Windows and the main reason is how much more productive my life is, how much less time I spend doing sysadmin tasks, and how little I actually think about my OS on a day-to-day basis by comparison.

And every single mac is worth what you pay for in terms of hardware, performance, and security, as far as I’m concerned. I hate dealing with cheap Windows hardware and compatibility, but then I’m rather allergic by now to dealing with drivers, compatibility, and other mundanity and want literally nothing to do with them ever again if I can help it! :+1:

I’ll also second @emenel’s comment: I’m running a 2014 Macbook Pro 13" and a 2014 iMac and can’t see myself replacing them for another 5 years, likely. When I do I’ll buy whatever’s current and keep going, as I’ve done for nearly 15 years now.

Not bashing. Just giving my 0.02. :blush:

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so I’ve not used windows since the late '90s - so good to know my choices my have been expensive but not so bad :slight_smile: it is easy to think the grass is greener…

longevity - yeah that’s why I went 2018 mac mini - i know that it works for me in its current state and like you say it will keep me going for a few years at least

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Hahahahaha. I’ve been provided Lenovos by both my current and former employers. In the first case I gave up and started bringing my own MacBook Air and later a Pro. In the second case I actually made “Mac laptop” a condition of accepting the offer of employment (I’ll never make that mistake again) but my boss had to argue with “IT” or purchasing to get it done, so I was in Lenovo-land during which time I, again, gave up and brought my own MacBook Pro until the company-issued one arrived.

Granted, the X1 looks like a modern, spec-ed out “business laptop” but I’m sure you will find that the PC world’s attitude towards “competing on specs” will mean that user experience and fit-and-finish always take a backseat. Here’s some notes based on the ones I used:

  • Heavy and clunky.
  • Dim, low-res screens.
  • Atrocious battery (you’ll still see Lenovo users with secondary batteries permanently protruding from their laptops).
  • Cheap and plasticky. They rattle when you pick them up.
  • Keyboard hasn’t changed since I used Lenovos in 2000 or 2001.
  • Trackpad physically descends into the body cavity of the laptop when you press it (with a sickening “thunk” like a stapler or holepunch)
  • No palm rejection to speak of.
  • Trackpad has buttons (ffs it’s 2019).
  • That weird pencil eraser pointer thing is still there because presumably some 50-year-old IT Admin in Utah would get upset if they removed it.
  • Terrible OS support for the laptop’s “features”

Aaaaaaand Windows. It’s amazing that in 2018 (at the time) Windows is still such a piece of shit. It is truly hysterically ugly, inconsistent, and cobbled together. There are third-party solutions to first-party problems (e.g. you can install a modern *nix-like shell), but all they do is introduce more garish, broken software into an environment that should work fine out of the box.

Satya Nadella is a great CEO and I see enormous, Titanic-steering changes in Microsoft’s software ecosystem, but I guess in the words of Sloan, “It’s not the band I hate / It’s their fans.”

Apple has been fucking up laptops left right and centre over the past four years. Tim Cook needs to move on, but macOS is still the best thing going, unfortunately.

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What sort of logs should I look for in Console? I don’t see any kernel panics and only a few items containing “audio” or “RME”, but those don’t seem like error messages.

I did test audio playback (using an unpowered dongle) for a long period of time on the Fireface UFX - had it running for several hours while I fixed an XLR snake. No glitches of any sort.

I’ll try to do some more multichannel testing tomorrow.

Yeah, a friend suggested going Hackintosh as they have a bunch at his job and run great, but after looking up a few vids I was really put off. It looks so terribly faffy (and potentially fragile) that it’s not worth the effort, particularly if you break the system, all you really have is a Windows machine…

The 2012 is the last “good/cheap” mac mini they made. There was a refresh in 2014, but for all intents and purposes it was a massive downgrade (no quad core, soldered RAM/HD, etc…).

I was initially excited about the 2018 refresh, but I was most definitely priced out (8gb of soldered ram in 2019?!).

Just try doing what I do in this video (turning “set date and time automatically” on and off) and see if you run into problems:

You could search for stopAudioEngine or try to let your MBP go to sleep and see if it crashes (and search for bridgeos)

That being said, the problem seems to be mitigated using a Thunderbolt 3 hub, powered or un-powered is not relevant.

Could you please give us details about the dongle you’re using?

The RAM is not soldered in the 2018 Mac Mini. You can upgrade it.

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Ah right. The SSD then.

I had just chalked it up to being “way too expensive” if you speced it out to at least a computer from 5 years ago (16gb RAM / 500gb HD).

Juuuust picked these up from the mail :smiley:

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is that the new kevin drumm?

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my imac is slowly disintegrating and im dreading replacing it tbh. i have a pc to fill in for it in the mean time, but i dont know what im going to do when the mac finally dies…

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Whatever you do, don’t buy a iMac right now. They gonna be updated pretty soon.
Did you consider a laptop?

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it will either be replaced with some kinda laptop, maybe refurbished apple of some year??, or maybe i will build a fucked up linux supercomputer for eurorack dev and supercollider/vcv stuff

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I think the fact that there are a lot of devs / code enthusiast around here must be kept in mind. That’s still at that point for me, the only real argument I can find in favor of the current Mac offer (and it’s a big one if that’s a regular use case for you !). Other than that, I’d like to point out that all of those “windows is so awful in 2019” stories, I don’t relate to any of them, for me computers have been kind of set and forget kind of things for the past decade. My tower computers especially as there’s no second layer over windows made by the laptop manufacturers, I’ve had a tower computer for a decade working flawlessly, only recently changed because I couldn’t upgrade the RAM and add Thunderbolt so I switched to a new one and it’s been nothing short of amazing, stable and all for half the price the same config would cost for a mac. Also important, I can’t remember the last time I had a “driver issue” so that must be some kind of an issue for devs that you don’t have when you’re solely in the music / video realm so again, fine on that front.

For laptops I get that there might be more of a discussion but yeah, I’m on a HP Omen with 16GB of ram 512 SSD, i7 and some nice dedicated graphic card and I’m yet to have an issue there as well so I can’t really advise anyone against it IF UNIX IS NOT A PARTICULAR CONCERN. Isn’t that the bottom line of all of this ? NEED Unix (and a streamlined user friendly OS) ? Mac (or Linux if you’re hardcore). Don’t ? Well then you’ve got options, check them and adjust.

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Hmm, tried doing exactly that, only using Ableton Live - otherwise same setup I think - built-in MBP mic and speakers, recorded one channel of me humming while turning off the Date & Time thing repeatedly.

Didn’t get any problems at all…

Yeah, I get some IOAudioEngine[<private>]::stopAudioEngine() logs whenever I unplug my interface, but not in any other scenario - but that is expected behavior, I believe?

Besides the TB3 dock, which is expected to work, I also use this dongle without any problems. What’s confusing is that Amazon has the hub titled “Thunderbolt 3” but I am sure it’s simply USB-C - TB3 is not mentioned anywhere in the listing and AliExpress for example also calls it a USB-C hub. Hope this helps somebody.

When you say the built-in mic and speakers, do you mean no soundcard at all? There’s no problem with that at all. In the video I posted I’m going in via a USB2 soundcard, and then monitoring via the built-in speakers. That causes the problem.

One thing to note: if the built-in soundcard is set to a different rate (e.g. 44.1kHz) than an external soundcard (e.g. 48kHz) you’ll get clicks and pops. That’s not a bug, that’s the natural result of different audio rates. Just to rule out a possible confounding factor here!

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