There’s nothing worse than owning a shiny, new MacBook and discovering you can’t run music software you want to run. “All I want for Christmas” (or Hannukah, too, as these are just in time) “is a Universal Binary.” Good news: my inbox continues to report incoming Intel-native plug-ins and instruments.

XO Wave, pictured at right, is actually a new mixing / recording / editing multichannel audio package with video scoring features. The basic version is free; you can upgrade to a pro release for US$75. It’s a new application, so I don’t want to comment too soon, but it’s worth checking out. Let us know if you’ve tried it. As it’s not a port, it doesn’t exactly fit here. But this illustrates that as time goes on, the Intel/PowerPC split will be forgotten just as the PowerPC/68k divide once was, for those of you who … erm, remember.

Native Instruments has brought its Akoustik Piano sample piano instrument to Intel Macs. Along with Reaktor and Traktor (the latter bringing some new features, as well), most of the NI line is now on Intel. As they plug the last holes (port the last plugs?), we’ll keep you posted.

IK Multimedia has released its massive Miroslav Philharmonik sampled orchestral library as a Universal Binary, and, even better, has eliminated the dongle for all platforms. Yes, you can now safely lose your iLok plug, and it’ll still run. Thanks, IK, though we won’t rest until every dongle has vanished forever. This follows the recent release of the bass amp simulation plug-in Ampeg SVX, AmpliTube guitar software, SampleTank, and T-RackS; the remaining instruments will show up early next year. (See their Intel release calendar.) Download all of them from the user area.

MOTU Instruments: MOTU has updated their MX4 synth, Ethno Instrument, and Symphonic Instrument with new Intel-ready versions. See the story at Create Film Scores.

Virtual Katy, the conforming system for post production (if you have to ask, you don’t need it) is now Intel-native. [PDF press release]

The general trend seems to be that everyone is wrapping up this month, with a small handful of stragglers shipping early next year. Of course, that doesn’t cover the many, many smaller plug-ins out there, which brings me to the next question:

Got Your Ports?

If you’re an independent music developer who has recently ported your music software to Intel native and want to make sure the world knows about it, do let us know about it.

And if you’re a plug-in lover who’s recently found an Intel-native port or new instrument, let us know about that, too. Can’t promise I’ll keep up, but I’ll try to post round-ups, particularly with Macworld Expo on its way. (If you’re going, say hi!)

And yes, Windows fans, I know you don’t have to deal with this. Fortunately, I have nearly every conceivable current platform on test here, which means I can experience the upgrade misery of every OS! Soon, Vista compatibility, which hopefully will be a smoother ride. Strangely, my Commodore 64 hasn’t needed any upgrades at all lately.

  • entasmiquity

    I'm a hobbyist with modest needs, modest means, and modest tools. I'm a little disappointed that NI hasn't ported their lean "Express Keyboard" line to Intel. I understand it's probably not their top priority, but how hard could it be?

    Likewise, I've been waiting for Novation to bring their V-station up to code. I read that they hoped to do that before year's end, but that doesn't appear to be happening.

    So now I'm pretty much stuck using my old Powerbook for Garageband projects, while the MacBook sits there unused. Kinda defeats the purpose.

  • I feel your pain, but the short answer to "how hard could it be" is "pretty hard." Developers couldn't necessarily drop other development cycles just to work on Intel porting. The other issue is that audio software both needs to be ported more urgently (won't run at all in an Intel-native host, and runs poorly in Rosetta), and is *harder* to port because it tends to be more processor-specific than simpler apps.

    I think Apple did the right thing with the switch, and I do sympathize with the challenges developers face. My big disappointment is that Apple wasn't more up-front with how tricky the transition would be, and didn't give its third-party developers the same running start it had on its in-house pro apps.

    And nothing changes the pain of not being able to run this stuff on your new machine. I do know both the projects you mention are coming; I'm with you — hope it's soon!

  • entasmiquity

    I agree completely, Peter. Steve Jobs' announcement of the Intel switch included a segment on how easy it would be for developers to generate Universal binaries, but obviously its harder than that–"pretty hard" in fact.

    Jobs also may have over-sold Rosetta. While it is amazing to watch MS Word boot relatively quickly even though it was made for a different processor, it was a big letdown to learn that Rosetta wouldn't work with Garageband plug-ins.

    Thanks again for the thoughtful reply!

  • I'm still eagerly waiting for updates to my AAS products — Ultra Analog, Lounge LIzard are available "end of November" according to the AAS website…. hmmm.

    And Tassman will be "sometime in 2007"…. fair enough, but where are the other two?