Snow Leopard Watch: Changes, Compatibility, Caution, Native Instruments, Plogue

Rawr! A real snow leopard at age eight weeks at the Eichberg Zoo. Now, should you let the (operating system) snow leopard mature a little before you try to play with it? Photo (CC) Tamby Tamboko. Updated: See http://createdigitalmusic.com/snowleopard for a running report. Apple’s “Snow Leopard” 10.6 ships Friday, which means it’s time to start compiling information about the new OS flavor. Just don’t upgrade too fast, as always. Want to push an operating system to the breaking point? Ask a musician. Between the demands of real-time performance and the complex ecosystem of mix-and-match hardware, software, and plug-ins, odds are …

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Snow Leopard Watch: Upgrade with Caution

"Okay, I’m totally awesome, now just be careful upgrading, okay?" Photo (CC) Shawn Kinkade. Snow Leopard is coming, but try to keep your cool. I’ve just finished the first of a series of previews for audio users considering the Mac OS Snow Leopard upgrade, due this Friday. This quote from Plogue, I think, is classic: “Any musician foolish enough to jump on new OSes without a hint of caution, inevitably makes me wish for a new kind of Darwin Award prize.” Naturally, the same advice holds true for would-be Snow Leopard visualist upgraders. Snow Leopard includes lots of improvements, but …

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Kontakt, Battery: Enhanced, More Compatible, 64-bit Memory

Even on Mac, the new Kontakt can use the memory you’ve got installed. On Windows 64-bit, Kontakt (and Battery, too) can use memory beyond … well, what you’d even imagine installing. Native Instruments has updated its sampling engine, releasing beta versions 3.0.5 for its Battery drum sampler and 3.5.0 final for the flagship Kontakt sampler. Both are free upgrades. (For anyone who thought that somehow Maschine was replacing Battery, it isn’t: the former is a drum machine, whereas the latter is more like a high-end drum sampler.) There are a number of significant enhancements, but perhaps the most interesting is …

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Euphonix EuControl Software Patched, Fixes 10.5.7 Support and More

That was quick! The folks at Euphonix are already out with a patch that resolves an issue with the just-released update Mac OS X 10.5.7. From the description: Software update for both MC Control and MC Mix that fixes compatibility issues with Mac OS 10.5.7. Includes recent MC Control touch-screen response optimization, as well as improved Digital Performer integration and more. http://euphonix.com/artist/support/downloads.php

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Mac Users: Might Want to Hold Off on 10.5.7; Breaks Euphonix EuCon Control Surface

It appears that network changes in Mac OS 10.5.7 could adversely impact some hardware, specifically the Euphonix EuCon line of controllers. Here is information sent to customers today – thanks to reader Oliver Lucas for spotting this. Please note that the new Mac OS update released yesterday, Version 10.5.7, breaks support for the feature in EuControl that automatically detects what control surfaces are attached to your network. Euphonix is working on a fix – please DO NOT update your Mac OS until we release a software update that addresses the issue, as your MC Mix/MC Control will not be seen …

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Host Windows VSTs on Mac? (Yes, But Not as Easily as on Linux)

Now that Macs run Intel processors, what was once unimaginable is suddenly possible. There’s certainly no shortage of plug-ins available on Mac OS, but users may still have Windows plug-ins they miss. Released as beta today from SM Pro Audio, VFX is an app that lets you host your PC plug-ins on your Mac: VFX Mac Beta The requirements are modest — a lowly Mac mini should work just fine, and you don’t even need 10.5. But some of the specifics get a little weird. You have to run VFX as its own host. And you actually can’t use Mac …

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ExpressCard FireWire that Actually Works for Audio?

ExpressCard slots on new Mac and PC notebooks look tantalizing, but buyer beware: adding FireWire audio can be perilous. Multichannel FireWire interfaces work beautifully with the proper drivers and controller, but get some element of that equation wrong, and you may find your high-end interface is rendered unusable (think glitches and dropouts). The chipset in the controller and in the laptop can have an impact, but having a TI (Texas Instruments) controller in your ExpressCard seems to be a good start. Speaking of Rain Recording, Rain is about the only vendor I’ve found that offers a 2-port FireWire ExpressCard known …

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Apogee Confirms Compatibility with MacBook Pro FW800

As I’ve noted, unlike the new MacBook, the MacBook Pro revision retains FireWire, in the form of a FireWire 800 port. This does represent a switch to an NVIDIA chipset, so there may be new performance wrinkles with some interfaces. But it’s not the FW800 port per se you have to worry about. It gives you one less physical connector (previous MBPs had both a FW800 and FW400 port), but even the earlier models had just one bus for FireWire, shared between those two ports. There is a little bit of inconvenience there in that you need an adapter cable …

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Did Jobs Claim “All New HD Camcorders” Use USB? I Beg to Differ

HDV cameras like the widely-beloved Canon HV20: no longer compatibility with the MacBook. And, ironically, for the difference in price with a Pro that gets you FireWire, you could buy an entire PC laptop. But I guess this camera was, um, totally 2007? Photo (CC) Brad Wood. Apple’s decision this week to remove FireWire from all non-Pro MacBooks and switch to a single FW800 port on MacBook Pros has partly overshadowed what should have been a pretty popular product launch. Readers on Create Digital Music — Mac users, most of them, not PC users — have been downright irate. Now, …

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Did Jobs Claim "All New HD Camcorders" Use USB? I Beg to Differ

HDV cameras like the widely-beloved Canon HV20: no longer compatibility with the MacBook. And, ironically, for the difference in price with a Pro that gets you FireWire, you could buy an entire PC laptop. But I guess this camera was, um, totally 2007? Photo (CC) Brad Wood. Apple’s decision this week to remove FireWire from all non-Pro MacBooks and switch to a single FW800 port on MacBook Pros has partly overshadowed what should have been a pretty popular product launch. Readers on Create Digital Music — Mac users, most of them, not PC users — have been downright irate. Now, …

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