So, you decided to spring for that Intel Mac. And now you’ve got a plug-in that refuses to run, because it’s PowerPC-only, not a Universal Binary for Intel. Sorry, but only plug-ins that have been updated as Universal Binaries will run in a Universal audio host. Fortunately, there’s away around it, and it’s even fully documented by Apple:

Intel-based Macs: Forcing a Universal application to run with Rosetta [Apple Support Doc]

That’s it. You force your audio application to run under Rosetta, as a PowerPC-native application. During the period when I had a MacBook Pro for testing, I was surprised to discover audio applications are usable. Performance is degraded — your Core Duo suddenly feels like a 400 MHz G4 (apologies to Titanium owners) — but they run. My advice: render any of those old plug-ins as audio, then reload; in Ableton Live, for instance, temporarily force the software to run in Rosetta, bounce the track with the plug-in you need, then re-load Universal and play the audio. Not the most elegant solution, but it’ll get you by.

Note that it’s not just us audio folks who have to suffer through this — the same is true for graphics and Web plug-ins. But now you can finally run that free PowerPC-native 8-bit music plug-in we saw earlier this week.

  • amt8

    Lol, you discovered the wheel…

    Everybody knew that since the very first day Steve announced the intel switch.

  • Yes, *I* knew this, but judging from the anguished comments over that PowerPC only AU plug-in, a lot people either didn't or forgot. And they can certainly be forgiven for that — there was a fairly significant lag between the original Steve announcement and when people actually had a MacBook sitting on their desk.

  • Adrian Anders

    On KVR the other day a user was finding that his 10 year old Direct X plug-ins weren't loading correctly since he rebooted windows XP recently. I just find it funny that us windows users can use our near decade old software and plugs along side the state of the art new hotness with almost zero compatibility issues. Good luck trying to get Waldorf Attack, Steinberg Xphraze, and SK Ganymed to all run at the same time in Live on a new MacBook. On a Windows machine that wouldn't even be a problem, because even though we have some degree of stability, security, and ugly-ass GUI issues, what we Windows users have in spades is pretty fucking good backwards compatibility with legacy software. It's pretty nice considering how often music software companies go under, "cross-grade" products, or stop supporting whole lines entirely.

    Something to think about…


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  • glacial23

    Of course, Garageband 3 doesn't allow you to run in Rosetta. Try it – "Open in Rosetta" doesn't show up on a Get Info. Some folks have had success running GB2 in Rosetta and then rendering their PPC bits to audio, and then reopening the file in GB3 to finish it. I haven't tried this myself.

    I did try playing with AUNetSend on GB and running AUNetReceive as a Generator in AULab (install the Developer Tools – that's where these things are hiding) running with Rosetta, which at least allowed me to open up iZotope's Vinyl (for example) and send audio to it from GB – I couldn't quite send it back though, since GB expects MIDI data rather than audio going into the Generator. If AUNetReceive ran as an effect though, I'd be set đŸ˜‰

  • Wow, that's utterly bizarre. As I said, Apple hasn't sent me the new iLife for testing. Logic 7.2 actually included instructions for doing this, as I recall. I wonder why they'd disable it; maybe just to keep people from degrading performance?

    Surely there's a way around this in GB3?

  • erik

    it should be noted that, when doing this with ableton live, it asks for your old serial, prior to upgrading to version 5.2, so switching between running in rosetta and not, requires you to type your serial in each time, old, new, old, new, etc.

    it hasn't happened yet, but i worry that they could have a problem with me unlocking so many times. thoughts?

  • Ok, I came up with a fairly terrible workaround for GB3. I first tried the "Modify the property list" trick outlined <a>here, but it did not work at all. I'm not sure why.

    I then made a copy of, calling it Inside that application bundle, I stripped out the i386 code from the executable as sort-of explained here in the "Use Terminal" section. The exact file to strip would be /Applications/

    Once you've stripped it (and saved the output at , say, /tmp/GarageBand) you can then copy /tmp/GarageBand back over /Applications/ will then run in Rosetta and see all the PPC instruments and effects that won't run when running Intel native.

  • Mies van der Robot

    In answer to Adrian, for what it's worth, I still run quite a few old OS 7/8/9 audio apps in Classic mode on my OSX/PowerPC Mac. Some of these are indeed a decade old. Granted, I can't wire them up directly to Live 5 or Logic Pro 7 under OSX, but they continue to work for me.

    There's no question that Apple users have to accept a difference in priorities versus what Windows users experience. Apple tends to place progress ahead of backwards compatibility, whereas Microsoft chooses the converse (witness the ongoing deletion of the most progressive features from Vista, while the compatibility layers are staying in, no question). On that you're correct.

    But that doesn't mean Apple leaves users completely adrift either. I have minimal experience with Rosetta, since I don't own an Intel Mac yet, but Classic mode was a very solid implementation and remains useful to me to this day.

  • benny goodstuff

    i found this on trying to get garageband to run under rosetta, it only worked after i'd followed all instructions and then copied garageband on to my desktop –

    This is a small tutorial on how to enable the option of "Open Using Rosetta" for iLife '06 applications. Here's how you do it. For this example, we will be using iMovie:

    1. Right-click on the iMovie application.

    2. Click "Show Package Contents"

    3. A Finder window should show up entitled "iMovie HD", and there should be a folder called Contents.

    4. Open Contents, and double click "Info.plist"

    5. Scroll down a ways to the bottom, and look for:


    6. Change to , or just delete it.

    7. Save the file.

    8. Then, open "Disk Utility" and repair disk permissions.

    9. After permissions are repaired, go to /System/Library/ and delete Extensions.kextcache and Extensions.mkext.

    10. Simply reboot, and…

    …Voila! The "Open Using Rosetta" option should now be under there in "Get Info". This works for all of the other iLife '06 applications.

    EDIT: If deleting Extensions.kextcache and Extensions.mkext doesn't do anything, try moving the application from one directory to another. Also, what will definitely do it, is duplicating the file, however that may take a while depeneding on the speed of your computer and the side of the file.

  • peter johnston

    Hey, does any one know ifthis rosetta workaround will work for Logic using Halion3 as a plugin?