As more readers send in reports, the picture looks something like this: both Mac OS X 10.5.2 and an AirPort update for Tiger are suspect in problems causing audio dropouts and other issues on some (not all) recently-updated Macs. Serato is joining Native Instruments in saying 10.5.2 is "officially unsupported." At the same time, a number of readers on Tiger are reporting dropouts with their AirPort switched on; if you haven’t installed the AirPort update, I’d avoid it just in case, but in the meantime, try switching off your AirPort card while doing audio work if you run into trouble.

Here’s the Serato report:

Mac OS X Version 10.5.2 not officially supported

Scratch LIVE users have reported various problems, including increased USB dropouts, after installing the 10.5.2 update of Mac OS X.

While these are yet to be confirmed and followed up with Apple, it is currently not recommended that users update to 10.5.2.

Users who have already updated and are experiencing problems should start a topic in the help forum to let us know the details and receive technical support.

In case this comes as a surprise to anyone, it shouldn’t. Real-time music applications are very probably the most timing-dependent of any consumer application. If only we could get every software engineer in the world to do real-time music making. (Well, at least a fair number do.)

Speaking of real-time, we appear to be getting this news close to real-time. Be sure to send detailed results to software you’re working with — as precise as possible — and hopefully this issue will be resolved soon. And be sure to comment here, as well, as all that data really is helpful.

AirPort fix upcoming? If it makes you feel any better, 10.5.x Leopard could generally screw up your AirPort, too. MacFixIt reports that 10.5.3 will resolve these issues and suggests some fixes. I hope that music playback issues get on Apple’s priority list with these fixes, as well, with these other fixes — rather than music users getting left by the wayside. At least AirPort seems to be the target of the updates, which suggests that whatever is causing this issue may be in the process of getting fixed, as well.

  • george

    oh great. i just installed that tiger airport update after having it in my updates list for, like, ever….


  • GUF

    Whooo! Win XP SP3 FTW!

  • matt

    Unfortunately this is true. I installed the Airport update in late March (I'm running 10.4.11) and it caused nothing but problems. It was the same glitches as you would expect from an improper buffer setting. Because I have to use this cpu live, I freaked out!

    After getting tech support from Apple, the solution was to reinstall the OS from my original boot disk and then do the necessary updates. It was a nightmare for a day, but everything is back to normal now.

    I'm staying away from every update from now on. If it ain't broke, don't fix it is my new mantra 😀

  • Well, and I hate to rant, but it's hard not to feel like:

    * Apple has too many updates. (Okay, up for debate, but I know this is the reaction I hear from Mac users, perhaps because it isn't always clear what you're getting or what you need.)

    * It's too hard to tell critical security updates from bug fixes from additions, etc.

    * Quality is sometimes unpredictable.

    * There's no easy way to roll back updates.

    Now, all the rest of this would be okay if it weren't so hard to uninstall updates.

    The simple reality of the situation is that all kinds of things can go wrong in OS/driver development to cause glitches, so I don't think on any OS we'll get away from updates causing bugs in the near future — it goes with the territory. But there are things that could make this less painful.

  • I was so worried something horrible had happened to my computer. Thank the lord its just a bug.

  • custardweasel

    I've recently reinstalled leopard and then updated to 10.5.2,

    It's a pretty clean system and I'm getting random hard crashes that I never used to get.

    The mouse and keyboard freeze and I can't get the system to recover.

    It's either 10.5.2 or I've suddenly developed a hardware fault.


  • george

    I rolled back my .kext file to 2007-004. I know it sounds nasty but it fixed my audio glitches. Hope this helps: – Tiger only.

  • Pingback: Create Digital Music » Fix for Mac Audio Dropouts: Roll Back Tiger AirPort Support()

  • I've found that the most effective – though a bit inconvenient – way to use offending audio apps is to just turn the airport off. They work with no problem at all (this was a suggestion from the folks at Propellerhead). In the long run, this may be less convenient than reinstalling your system, but it works plenty well for me.

  • Stacy

    I have a Apple iMac 1.8 2GBRam using RME fireface 800. I am running Cubase 4 and Reason 4. While listening to music via iTunes all is good and playing piano through cubase only all is good when I turn on Rewire in cubase then upload a piano sound I want in Reason that's when the glitching starts and it is really bad 2 second silences!! Has anyone got the same problem or is there anyone that can help me? Thanks