I’ve been hearing a number of reports that the Mac OS X 10.4.9 update causes significant issues with some Audio Unit plug-ins, including those from popular developers Audio Damage and Ohmforce. (See Analog Industries blog for a comment thread and reports on Audio Damage; there’s also discussion on the Core Audio developer list which I hope will yield some revelations. Update: Note that Audio Damage is having only development issues; their plug-ins will work just fine if you’re a user.) This update apparently installs yet another version of the AU validator, which could be one clue. Apple has also made significant changes to QuickTime in recent releases, which can also cause issues with audio software in some cases.

Your best bet: don’t install the updates the Software Update recommends unless you can easily go back to the previous version. And hold off on 10.4.9 for now.

Users and developers are understandably angry with Apple: rather than bundle updates together, Apple has been making lots of minor changes in successive updates, and developers too often find about changes after things break. That’s especially problematic when the changes are being made to an API like AU — the whole point is supposed to be providing a solid platform for developers. Apple either needs to adjust the way it rolls out updates or communicate better with its developers. Be aware, as well, that the upcoming 10.5 upgrade is an enormous release; I expect you may want to wait for updates to catch up with that when it comes out (when that is, no one knows).

Now, no Windows vs. Mac arguments, please: the bottom line is, developers are having a rougher time than they should on both platforms. (On the Vista side, what I’ve heard from developers is that they had the same difficulties the rest of us did — it was tough to get test systems up and running because of new compatibility and driver issues, so it was hard to test in advance.) Updates and the resulting bugs are a necessary evil, but there’s clearly room for improvement on both the Apple and Microsoft side that could result in a healthier, happier platform for everyone.

  • Kid_B

    ooops! i guess there's no way to uninstall the 10.4.9 i just installed hey!!

  • Well, test it first. You may be okay. Results have been mixed; most stuff seems to work (including some Audio Damage plug-ins).

    And if you do run into problems, let us know here!

  • John Labovitz

    I don't want to be too bitchy, but developers should consider joining the ADC Select program. Granted, it's $500/year, but with that they will get access to all the development "seeds" of OS updates.

    In this case, 10.4.9 has been evolving for several months now, and any ADC Select member could have downloaded the those versions and tested them for compatibility.

    This probably won't help in all cases — notably, Apple doesn't seed QuickTime versions in development, nor does it seed its applications like Logic or GarageBand — but it might catch some problems before the general release.

  • Alan

    I had an issue with Guitar Rig 2.2, few seconds after launching the program it stops working, but the audio's still on. I cannot change presets or do anything, and I presume that's the 10.4.9 upgrade bothering… Before the upgrade, everithing worked right and smooth.

    All my other plugs still work fine, including Audio Damage.

    If any of yours has a solution, please tell me.

  • I think a lot of developers *are* ADC Select members (or higher). And I'm sure that does help them catch some issues, so it's definitely a good idea. The problem is complexity here: some problems are unpredictable, there are a huge number of changes happening, and rather than being bundled into larger releases there are all these comparatively tiny changes.

    Also, even if developers are ADC Select members, that doesn't mean they have the time to test everything to the extent that might make them uncover problems.

    And the fact that this seems to be a surprise to everyone on the Core Audio list is a little troubling. On the other hand, don't get me wrong — there are all kinds of unpredictable issues that can happen, that Apple may have been unaware of. I just think this could be simplified a bit by bundling these changes together and better documenting them.

  • Peter

    could this be why streaming wma no longer works in parellelsxp after the update? The whole concept makes my brain hurt.

  • I'll share my experience so far:

    I installed 10.4.9 on a 1.5 ghz G4, which is my guinea pig computer before updating anything on my G5 Quad. Immediately I noticed Peak Pro 5.2 took forever to start up. Keeping the keyboard shortcuts & trashing the general preferences for this app did the trick. Past that, all my plugins are coming up fine…Waves, Pluggo, Ohm, etc. Though, I haven't bounced any of them to see if they glitch yet. I also haven't tried Logic Pro to see if that is messed up. I am definitely holding off updating the G5. I always wait for a while and make sure to do a complete backup of all the terabytes of data I have lest some update screws up my whole system after the install.

  • Oli

    after reading this post, i checked the plugins that i'm using in my next live set. Lucifer 2 is now broken and there's some nasty glitch with Guitar Rig 2. switched to amplitude 2 and after about half an hour the audio out from ableton glitched and then continued to come out detuned with a horrific nasty garbled bit crushed effect. nothing had changed since my last run through except some apple updates. nothing! now i'm biting down on all the pissed off thoughts swarming my mind. question: is there a way to roll back to 10.4.8? do i have to reinstall my OS? anyone have a solid solution? would killing someone help? if so, i'm down 😛

  • Oli

    sorry, was a bit hot headed a whole 10 seconds ago. switched to VST's and now everything at least loads glitch free. looks like i've lost my presets though. hope everyone is still sending nasty e-mail to apple.

  • For the record, our existing products will work fine in 10.4.9, at least as far as we can tell. Our problem is that new products and updates we built with 10.4.9 don't work in 10.4.8, and we can't exactly figure out why. Anything we built in 10.4.8 and prior works fine in 10.4.9. This is obviously an issue when it comes to updates.

  • Thanks, Chris. Sorry I had misunderstood your post. Of course, there are now enough other indications of people having trouble that end users should take care, as well. Sounds like a really weird issue.

  • 10.4.9 have 'broken' more than just AU plug-ins, Pro Tools users ended up being unable to even start Pro Tools! The solution for that was to NOT use the system updater but instead use the COMBO UPDATE on Apples website. Might help with your AU plug-ins as well?

    Good luck and thanks for bringing us this nice blog.

  • Pingback: Digital Motion dot net » OS X 10.4.9 Breaks Some Audio Unit Plug-ins?()

  • Purple

    OSX 10.4.9 breaks Native Instruments Audio units: Stormdrum Intakt (not Kompakt) and Koncept Funktion when using with Logic Pro 7.1

  • Purple

    Found solution to the 10.4.9 Logic Pro 7.1 plug-in problem!

    By downloading and resintalling the au hotfixes from the Native Instruments website, this gets everything back working fine!!

  • I couldn't launch Logic Pro 6.4.1 after going up to OSX 10.4.9 with the sytem updater – it just crashed immediately. So I'm glad I read 'Stiff''s comment above re. Pro Tools. I used the COMBO UPDATE from the Apple site and it seems to be working fine now. Thanks to your site I'm up and running again – wonder how long it would've taken me to find out from Apple!!

  • Dean S


    Thanks very much for posting this column/advice. I installed 10.4.9 a day after it came out. Up until I did so I had never felt the power of the grey screen of death. I never had one crash with my Mac ever. With 10.4.9, I had countless issues with Logic Pro with or without Guitar rig 2.2

    I even tried to do a permissions fix, a repair drive fix and re-do the upgrade with the 300MB combo update file. I still had problems.

    A few days ago I cleanly re-installed 10.4.8 from scratch and I'm leaving it that way.

    It's nice to find a column that supports my findings as I thought I may have been one of a select few users experiencing problems.

    I really have no need for 10.4.9 since everything I use was working fine to begin with on 10.4.8.

  • J B

    My Logic pro 6.4.1 also stopped loading after the dreaded 10.4.9 update, so I updated Logic to 6.4.3 (which I didn't know was available) and everything seemed ok until Logic kept on crashing whilst saving songs (just when I thought I was getting somewhere – silly me). Installed the combo – still crashing.

    I guess i'll be backtracking to 10.4.8 (previously backed up a while ago which will still be a pain to get back to how my computer was previous to 10.4.9).

  • Hello Everyone,

    I've run into a problem myself although I don't know if it's the same reason, it certainly is a suspect I recently installed the 10.4.9 update and when launching Pro Tools "the icon jumps up once" as if it's opening the "black arrow" appears and then it stops…I don't know what it might be, but if anyone knows anything. Please let me know by writing back here. thank you.


  • Update.

    Some feed back here if anyone is interested.

  • Skyy Baller

    After I installed the updates to 10.4.9 my Ableton Live will not start. Has anyone else had this same issue?

  • Alex Gardel

    I just ordered a new MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo solely for audio use (Logic Pro 7.2). I assume that it will ship with 10.4.9 preinstalled? If so, how can I revert to 10.4.8 on the MBP?

  • Alex, I think you should just give 10.4.9 a try. Updates can often present compatibility issues. If 10.4.9 does show on that MacBook (and I wouldn't be surprised if it's actually 10.4.8), give it a shot and see what happens. Not all of these issues are widespread.

    For instance, I have 10.4.9 running on two machines without interfering with Ableton Live. Skyy, what version of Live are you using?

  • The only problems I have had with Ableton is that the Mode Wash AU plugin wouldn't work – the VST is fine however.

    I had the same problem with Pro Tools (popping icon, black arrow then nothing). I installed 7.1 (m-powoered) which now has so far removed all my preferences – back to the original mac windows- and then messed with my screen contrast and resolution

    Apple does it again

  • Pingback: Inside Home Recording » IHR Episode #42 (Enhanced) - Mbox 2 Mini and Contest Entries (IHR_2007_05_25)()

  • Pingback: Create Digital Music » Apple Explains Audio Unit Changes to Developers()

  • Dickie Hermon


    Does anyone know where I can get hold of the AU Hotfixes for the Zero-G/EastWest/Native plugs that now fail validation?

    NI's website requires registration but I do not have serials.

    The hotfixes I need are:

    Koncept & Funktion / The Operating Table / Nu Jointz


  • Dennis

    dawm after the update 10.4.11 everythings crashed !

    can not open pro tools…i tunes do not work-no sound at all!

    do u think the combo update will help?

    i also lost my pto tools installation cd – f***