King of the jungle, as seen at the British Museum. Photo (CC-BY-ND) wootang01/mckln (Uninteresting side note – I happened to be at this location yesterday.)

It’s become something of a tradition here on CDM. Apple releases new OS. Music developers – one or more – release notes that suggest you might want to wait to upgrade. It happens every time, and so you should be cautious every time. This time, it may be even more serious: developers are describing symptoms that they say they haven’t seen in previous updates.

Native Instruments, often some of the first out of the gate with reported issues, has already flagged one significant set of problems that will likely dissuade their users from upgrading right away. (Think immediate crashes with 64-bit plug-ins.) But just because they’re the first to report something doesn’t mean that there won’t be other issues. Apple operating systems tend to change right up to release, and music developers have limited test resources, and music software is sensitive stuff. Do the math.

I’ve been told specifically that there are significant issues involving plug-in validation, which can go as far as causing DAWs to crash. (I have not confirmed that this is necessarily related to the symptom NI is describing; it’s better to look at it this way — stuff you rely on has changed and you may want to be patient.) Some of these issues may occur during Mac OS X testing, but because of the complexity of supporting things like Audio Units, I think it’s fair to give credit to music developers who say they may not be able to keep up with OS release timeframes. If there is a more significant long-term issue with compatibility, we’ll report it here.

Also, we have now multiple confirmed reports of significant crashes that should strongly dissuade all musicians from upgrading at this time, until there’s a timeframe for fixes. (I’m bolding that just in case anyone should miss this message.) Updated: these symptoms are reported in a variety of hosts.

Oddly, some of these regular posts by me have caused people to accuse me of being anti-Apple, which is like saying someone is anti-bicycle for suggesting you wear a helmet (or shoes).

Let me put it more clearly: if you like to test things yourself, and don’t mind an occasional problem, you should upgrade, at your own risk. (Just don’t complain if it doesn’t work.) If you prefer to let the companies you pay for your software do the testing, and you’ve got a system that’s running well, don’t. If you’re in the middle of a project or trying to finish an album or playing later tonight, you should take a deep breath and think about what you think is prudent.

If you’re the kind of person who never makes backups, there’s absolutely nothing anyone can do for you. May the computer gods have mercy upon your soul.

Here’s what NI has to say, though they tell CDM that they’re continuing to do tests and expect to have more information soon. I expect to hear from other developers, too – and, of course, what we’ll hear from some of them is that everything’s fine.

Native Instruments has conducted initial compatibility tests with pre-release versions of Mac OS X 10.7, and has found an issue that causes the 64-bit versions of NI applications to crash both when used stand-alone and as a plug-in.*

The cause of this issue has been successfully determined, and updates for the affected products are currently in development, with their respective release planned for September or earlier. In the meantime, users should utilize the 32-bit versions of the respective NI applications**, or consider to refrain from updating to Mac OS X 10.7 for the time being.

The following products have so far been updated with a 64-bit fix for Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion”:
BATTERY 3.2.2

Native Instruments has observed no additional compatibility issues under Mac OS X 10.7 yet, but will conduct further systematic tests once it has access to the final release version of the operating system. New information will be provided on this page as it becomes available.

Full NI post:
Mac OS X Compatibility [updated regularly, so if you use a lot of NI stuff, bookmark!]

Apogee is also out of the gate with the first solid hardware compatibility. So far, they have confirmed compatibility with Duet 2, GiO, JAM
ONE, and Symphony I/O; ONE low-latency mixing compatibility is coming next month. Duet and Ensemble will be compatible soon; Symphony 64 for X-Series and Rosetta Series converters is listed as TBA.

More telling than that, though, is the advice Apogee gives about upgrading (remember what I said about backups?) –

Apogee Product Compatibility Overview: Mac OS X Lion

– and this advice: “If uninterrupted operation of your studio is critical, please wait for an official Lion OS compatibility message from Apogee.”

I’d just skip that last clause and apply it to everyone.

By the way, does anyone remember the days when SoundHack and SoundStudio were the only two apps you could run natively on Mac OS X? Ah, those were the days. I had that, Mail.app, a browser, and TextEdit.app, but someone had to be an early adopter…

  • http://verticalsection.com Joel Day

    If you rely on a mission-critical system, it's very easy to audit new software by working with redundant backups. Backup your drive, upgrade, check for issues, restore if problematic. Never mess around with a stable environment while in the middle of a project.

    Just by being careful, you have no reason to whine about this kind of thing.

  • http://music.cornwarning.com chaircrusher

    I have nothing but love for some Apple products, but there's something arrogant and sketchy about OS Version upgrades that break existing code GRATUITOUSLY. Apple does it again and again.

    This is part of a pattern of disrepect from Apple for their users and developers.  I work at a University, and Apple won't site-license 10.7 unless they also purchase site licenses for ILife and IWork.  We could just buy 10.7 in the App Store but you need an individual App Store account for every copy bought.

    So Apple just told the University that it didn't want their business unless it was on their terms. 

    On top of the Final Cut Pro debacle, and the inevitable abandonment of Logic, Apple seems not to want the business of anyone who uses their computers for professional work.

  • Peter Kirn

    Without drawing larger conclusions about Apple, I think it is safe at this point to express concern about the ongoing compatibility of plug-ins, and in particular, Audio Units.

    Developers routinely complain amongst themselves about AU and plug-in architectures in general. To some extent, this can be read as a fundamental challenge of plug-ins. But even given that, I have not seen a really compelling effort to make plug-ins more reliable across hosts, version upgrades, and the like. I think an enormous amount of resources gets spent on supporting those things, in fact.

    And I do think it's possible to complain about that situation without necessarily "whining." The current state of plug-ins has had a negative impact on the developer ecosystem and musicians' productivity. And those two things are supposed to be the point.

    So, I'm not being glib here, necessarily, about those concerns – only poking fun at how obvious the situation has become, and how important it is, at least as a user, to continue to apply caution with upgrades.

  • http://ardour.org/ Paul Davis

    To triple up on the message from NI + Apogee, those of us here at Ardour Labs Central (the mixing bowl of Mixbus, also) can report similar issues when running Ardour on Lion – breakage that hasn't been seen in any prior OS X version. We hope to fix it in the future, but there's no current timeframe available.

  • http://ardour.org/ Paul Davis

    I'd also like to mention with specific regard to plugins (in general) that there *was* an effort to fix the situation back in the early 2000's, and that although its my opinion that the MMA (who hosted the effort) bear some of the blame (they wanted the development process to go "closed" once we had a spec, which shutdown the entire thing), its also the case that the attitude of 3 companies – Apple, Digidesign and Steinberg – were also seriously detrimental to improving the situation. Digidesign's position was "we don't care about this". Apple's position was "nice idea, but we just did the New Plugin API To End All Plugin APIs so we don't want to do it again". Steinberg's was "we're glad you like VST, but we will never, ever, ever give up control of the spec".

  • Human Plague

    Renoise tooltips were causing crashes, but the bugs were fixed July 1st courtesy of Lion preview releases.

    More info here:&nbsp ;http://goo.gl/IaTmE

  • http://www.cassiel.com cassiel

    @Joel Unfortunately, many users of music software can't take what would seem like a basic risk-averse route to upgrading because of DRM. I've lost three or four Ableton licences through doing things like moving a boot disk from a broken MacBook to a FireWire enclosure, trying to upgrade the application while not logged in as a admin, and so on. DRM is designed to thwart the basic properties of software systems that make changes recoverable.

    Current activity: sacrificing a 2006 MacBook Pro to Lion for testing, while the important MacBook Pro stays as-is.

  • http://music.cornwarning.com chaircrusher

    The problem with Apple and Audio Units plugins is this: They define an API, and then tinker with it so that it breaks things with every new OS release.

    An API is a set of functions with well defined behaviors that a program (or plugin) can use to communicate with its environment.  It is a contract between the program and the operating system or host program.

    It is also an agreement between the company providing the API and the developer, which boils down to this "if you follow our guidelines and use this published interface, your program/plugin will work."

    Apple routinely breaks this agreement.  It's not just bad engineering, it's bad business, and bad karma.

  • http://www.cassiel.com cassiel

    Btw, Ableton Live is a "no":

    http://www.ableton.com/news/osx-10-7-lion-compati

  • http://www.keyquestmusic.com aje

    Yes – ABLETON does not work in Lion.

    Reason/Record apparently both DO work, but ReCycle does NOT work (you need to wait for the 2.2 update which is currently in beta testing.)

  • http://www.valhalladsp.com Sean Costello

    @Paul_Davis: so, by remarkable coincidence, every company was on board to create a new plugin standard, except the 3 companies that had control of the existing plugin standards?

  • http://www.cassiel.com cassiel

    Oh, a new plugin standard… today's xkcd (http://xkcd.com/927/) is SO on the mark.

  • genjutsushi

    Any word on compatibility of MOTU products? 

    Oh and the only problem with waiting until youve finished a project before updating your OS is that for many of us, i suspect there is ALWAYS an unfinished project on the boil! Ive found in the past its more a case of update, then grin and bear the pain until all is stable again in a couple of months. 

  • http://noisepages.com/members/digitalfx/ DiGiTaLFX

    Well I'm currently running Native-Instruments plugins inside of Ableton (so I guess only 32-bit) on Lion right now. Everything seems just as before. I should note, I have AU plugins disabled in Ableton as I make a point to only ever use VSTs…

  • http://noisepages.com/members/digitalfx/ DiGiTaLFX

    MaxForLive seems to be working fine too! Haven't tried anything with Jitter involved yet though…

  • http://www.holdernessmedia.com HoldernessMedia

    For anyone who updated to Lion and is using a 1st gen Duet, here are 2 working solutions until Apogee has an official update. 

    http://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-computers/62

    original macrumors post:
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1186

  • Yasha

    The exclusion of Rosetta in 10.7 Lion may mean that some of your more obscure tools will no longer run. Microtonalists and Xenhamonicists who rely on Li'l Miss' Scale Oven will want to hold off on upgrading. On the video side, U&I Software's VTrack will not be updated to Intel code anytime soon.

  • blubber

    "there’s something arrogant and sketchy about OS Version upgrades that break existing code GRATUITOUSLY. Apple does it again and again."

    Actually, not really. Few products don't work in Lion. Typically it's stuff that is heavily dependent on Carbon, which is an old technology from OS9. Carbon is slowly being pushed out of existence, for many good reasons, and so anything that heavily relies on it is *not* Apple's fault (these are typically products that are meant to be cross-platform). It is simply the developer's fault for not reading developer documentation where this fact has been stated for the last 10 years. Carbon is going away. Stop using it. It's very straight forward. 

    Not to mention developers have had Lion seeds since summer, or the fact that there are tons of plugins and apps that DO work just fine, including other cross-platform products. NI products break on every OS update, this is true, but is hardly Apple's fault.

    Logic, Numerology, Aalto, UAD, and U-he plugins all work great. So no complaints from me, personally.

    "On top of the Final Cut Pro debacle, and the inevitable abandonment of Logic, Apple seems not to want the business of anyone who uses their computers for professional work."

    Regarding FCPX, anyone who actually cares will have understood that many features are either coming in an update, or moved around for a different workflow – but most people just read headlines and rants from those who haven't even used the program. But what sort of "evidence" do you have that Apple is abandoning Logic? That is an asinine assumption.

  • Metatron72

    @blubber

    I asked NI point blank in an email Service Center exchange, what specifically was going on in their OS X versions that they broke on nearly every update. They didn't answer my question at all, but blubber you have, thanks.

  • blubber

    So it seems like I made up the part about Apple saying in the dev docs that Carbon is going away for the last 10 years. My poor brain does this sometimes; I apologize.

    But my point still stands! Anyone who pays attention would see that Carbon is eventually going away. There were 3 notable Carbon apps a few years ago: Finder, Final Cut Pro, and Photoshop. All are Cocoa now. Zebra2 also just was updated to use a Cocoa UI instead of a Carbon-based AU view. And that plugin works *great* on Lion!

    @Metatron72, I am merely guessing what is causing problems for NI and Ableton (which is why i said "typically"). My guess could very well be as nonsensical as assuming Logic has been abandoned…

  • http://www.fladd.de fladd

    @cassiel: Why does one loose a software license when changing boot disks? I don't get this.

  • Peter Kirn

    @blubber: Just some points of contention here.

    Carbon is not a Mac OS 9 technology. It's always been a Mac OS X framework that happens to provide backwards compatibility with OS 9 APIs.

    Also, as of now, I have seen absolutely zero evidence to support the claim that the use of Carbon APIs is to blame for any of the symptoms seen here.

    Furthermore, just because one developer has issues and another doesn't does not necessarily mean one is doing something wrong. It's possible, but not always the case.

    Yes, developers have had Mac seeds. But testing problems itself takes time; resolving those problems takes still more time. 

    Native Instruments, like any other vendor, is open to criticism as far as quality, compatibility, and stability. However, primarily what I can say about NI is that they usually have public information on their testing results first. As I say in the article, I'm not making any comment on NI's quality here. In fact, as you'll see elsewhere in comments, we're seeing reports of compatibility issues that simply haven't been published yet.

    If I were to oversimplify, I'd say that Apple is actively changing APIs that are in use by developers, causing compatibility issues that can change during OS seeds faster than developers are able to test and identify the problem, and then resolve the problem, then test the solution to the problem.

    Remember, developers can't exactly modify code and then immediately push out those changes to you – or, certainly, you wouldn't expect them to do so unless you're a beta tester or using the development branch of an open source project. They kind of want to test what they've changed to ensure they haven't caused other problems.

    Whoever you wish to fault, this is simply a description of the general issue we're seeing here. The OS is changing faster than developers can keep up. Using the newer frameworks (Cocoa) in place of the older frameworks (Carbon) is a different issue.

    I have to say, I'm of the opinion that the OS vendor shoulders some of the blame when that happens. The OS vendor is responsible for maintaining developer relations as well as for changes in the OS that impact developers. I can say "OS vendor" generically, because even if Apple deserves criticism here, we've hardly only seen this problem with Apple.

  • Peter Kirn

    "Well I’m currently running Native-Instruments plugins inside of Ableton (so I guess only 32-bit) on Lion right now. Everything seems just as before. I should note, I have AU plugins disabled in Ableton as I make a point to only ever use VSTs…"

    You can add this to other evidence that suggests the issue is Audio Unit-related. Make of that what you will.

    I can't find the specific post, but Chris Randall (Audio Damage) at one point notes that Mac users often make use of AUs instead of VSTs with the expectation that they will magically work better, when that is not necessarily the case. A number of plug-ins do make use of wrapper technology, etc. And if the plug-in fails, it's also possible it'll bring down the entire host (which returns us to why things like Record and Reason can be immune)

  • blubber

    http://developer.apple.com/library/mac/#releaseno

    Just noting that AudioUnit APIs were only added, nothing was deprecated, and no methods/functions have changed declarations.

    But anyway, yes Peter you are right, there is no evidence whatsoever that NI or Apple is to blame. If NI is using some sort of wrapper technology, I would most definitely think that was the cause (which would also lead to the VST working fine). Only NI's engineering team knows for sure :) .

  • http://www.keyquestmusic.com aje

    There seems to be a lot more issues with Lion:

    Cubase not working

    Pro Tools 9 not working

    iLok reportedly not working…

    Focusrite interfaces not working…

    There even seem to be lots of "unconfirmed reports" that Logic Pro 9 isn't working, which seems particularly bizarre. 

    And Adobe have released this concerning the known issues across their product range, with generic stuff first, product specific details below:

    http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/905/cpsid_90508.html&nbs

  • Aaron

    blubber: Quit with the apologist act. It's fact Apple routinely pulls this BS and people are justified in complaining about it. Also, your comment on FCPX having missing features replaced and/or relocated shows you know nothing about the software and should reserve your comments. If only life were this simple.

  • Tom

    While apple should be working more with Devs and not messing around with the API's so much.

    An operating system is still unfortunately software and prone to bugs. So while it could be the fault of the developers on either side, there is also the possibility of random bugs that show up.

    Just hang out and hopefully all will be good soon enough.

  • Aaron
  • Tom

    What am I looking at there? I haven't done any AU programming, but apparently apple has changed the AU standard as well.

    http://developer.apple.com/library/mac/#technotes

  • sjc

    On the bright side of things: Logic 9 works fine in 32bit mode, along with what seems like all it's AU plugs (Kontakt, Waves, Spectrasonics etc…) as does Reason & Record. Yay.

  • Peter Kirn

    I do want to clarify that at this point, I don't know what the cause or causes of these issues may be. And you'll see that a lot of this is under active investigation by the developers (i.e., the *developer* may or may not know the cause). Symptoms and cause are two very different things!

    Unless people are disabling all plug-ins before running hosts, it's possible that plug-in issues are what's breaking hosts.

    On the other hand, the ability to run plug-ins is an expected feature of hosts — and these days, including 64-bit plug-ins — so if you make the host and you can't run plug-ins, you sure as heck are going to tell users you're not yet compatible.

    There are API changes, yes; there's also changing the way the underlying function of something works so that things that previously worked no longer work. That can have the same outcome as changing the API itself.

  • Thank God

    for Windows

  • http://regend.com Regend

    i still haven't found a reason to upgrade from 10.5.X but then again i still have boxes running Win98/ME and a bunch of old fun MIDI TOOLS and PRO TOOLS FREE

  • http://noisepages.com/members/papernoise/ Hanzo

    My experience with OSX since Tiger has been that each time I've updated I had problems and have experienced a slow degrade in performance. Tiger was rock solid and fast, in contrast snow leopard feels slow and bloated, and we've had a lot more problems.

    So I think it's really wise to not upgrade until you really must do so.

    And anyway, most of the new functions in lion are not really something you can't live without… OSX is becoming more and more an OS for entertainment and media consumption and less for professional use, and the recent updates really confirm this.

  • genjutsushi

    @Hanzo i cant disagree more. Snow Leopard was a massive improvement in performance. Boot times are lower, and in general it feels taughter than the older OSs. I do however agree about some of the superfluous aspects of the Lion GUI. The iOS style application launcher is just silly – unless you have a touchscreen

  • nylarch

    >>The iOS style application launcher is just silly – unless you have a touchscreen

    or a magic pad….IMO the only way to drive OSX now….

  • http://www.ambisonicstudio.com Daniel Courville

    Short list of audio software that I've been using for the past six weeks with 10.7:

    - TwistedWave

    - Steinberg Nuendo 4 & 5

    - Plogue Bidule

    - SonicBirth

    Apart from the lingering PPC VST plug-ins that still comes with Nuendo, everything works.

    In terms of audio interfaces, I use Metric Halo products: no problems there either.

  • http://cordovanmusic.com/ Greg

    If 10.6.8 is any indication of how upgrading to Lion will be, I'm holding off indefinitely!

    I'm back on 10.6.7 'cause 10.6.8 was a total nightmare for me.

  • JackOSX (sletz)

    They are quite important changes in Lion regarding the audio stack:

    - up to now a system process called "coreaudiod" was used to handle system sounds and interact with "default" in/out devices.

    - "coreaudiod" role has been enhanced a lot : it behaves now like a real sound server that access the audio streams to be sent and received by all running CoreAudio clients. So CoreAudio clients do not interact directly with the audio device driver anymore, but interact with "coreaudiod". 

    - "coreaudiod" starts a real-time thread for each new CoreAudio client (that is another RT thread  beside the one the audio applications owns)

    - since "coreaudiod" is the only process interacting with the audio device, it actually "shares" the related processing: in particular some possibly heady DSP processing (like the one done on laptop to protect speakers…) is now done once instead of several time like in the old design.

    - OTHO this design adds another context switch in the pipeline.

    - it is yet to be tested how this now design behaves in complex setups.

  • Jeff

    Regarding Logic Pro on Lion. So far it is working very well.

  • http://www.alone-music.co.uk alonemusic

    I downloaded the installer but yeah, too close to the end of a project to go a tit it all up on the final hurdle.

    Glad to hear Logic Pro seems to be working ok (which I would expect).

  • cray

    I stupidly assumed wrongly there would be no issues and updated. Now Ableton live crashes, TC Konnekt 48 doesnt work etc.

    Is there a way to go back to Snow Leopard without reformatiing the hard drive?

  • Lanterna dos Afogado

    Guys, do yourselves a favor: before EVEN beginning to wonder if you should update your OS on your work partition, try it on an external hard-drive, a dedicated partition and the like. This has been stressed a zillion times, but oftentimes it seems it's not enough.

  • JGS

    If it ain't broke don't fix it. If you feed your family working in this environment, you haven't upgraded – because you have learned to feed your family in this environment. Many thanks to all who post their failures and successes.

  • john

    I had just bought my first app from the Mac App Store a couple days before upgrading to Lion. I was scared after upgrading that my new app wouldn't work, but it did. Actually, it even looks cooler. The scroll bars changed and even some of the effects that you put on your music changed to upgraded versions. Its awesome. Check it out. Its called The Play List. You can see a demo here. http://www.subtorioussound.com/p/media.html

  • nic r

    Dropping Rosetta is something i'm frustrated with. 

    for example i have a CME Bitstream 3X midi controller. its config software is PPC. 

    add your own hardware to the list. one can't just use something else in that case. 

    nobody codes PPC apps for mac anymore. but why drop support for running them? it just keeps the mac valuable & relevant to be able to run them. but it devalues the mac as well as the hardware i still want to use. come on apple. please make this right.

  • Downpressor

    @cassiel why am I not surprised that someone who is confused on the subject of DRM would also reference that damn stick figure comic?

  • http://noisepages.com/members/griotspeak/ griotspeak

    :-/ @Downpressor I don't think 'confused is the correct word for @cassiel . He seemed to understand what went on perfectly well. What he described is a behavior of the DRM in Live. Broken computers lead to 'extra' licenses.

    also…

    I am not sure how much ground you gain by hating on xkcd … for reals.

  • http://www.concretecut.pl Matt

    The only issue was that my Logic was 9.1.1.

    Probably after upgrade it will all work fine.

    Waves plugins work, IK Multimedia and Izotope also.

    Nothing to worry then :)