OS X El Capitan update breaks some music software

You know the drill. There’s a new operating system from Apple. It breaks some music software. If you don’t like things breaking, you should wait a bit. Then once you’ve verified the stuff you need is compatible, go for it – it’s probably better than the last OS once the wrinkles are ironed out. This post occurs with each new OS, a bit like some sites do Holiday Shopping Guides, or April Fools’ jokes. I could almost turn it into a Mad Libs post. But here are the specifics.


Apple’s OS X Yosemite Proves Largely Wrinkle-Free for Music; GarageBand Updated, Too

Here’s a welcome change. OS X Yosemite (10.10 is a major update to a desktop operating system that brings with it almost no apparent headaches for pro audio. The normal advice applies. Backup your system before doing anything (even Apple’s Time Machine I’ve found does the job nicely). Time something major like an OS update for when you’ve got time to test, and to revert if you have trouble. (Hint: not in the dressing room before a gig.) And don’t rush to update – there’s nothing here that you immediately need for music work. But in this case, if you …

Oh, hello. That's not a Windows Phone.

Putting the PC in MPC: The Next Akai Drum Machine, Numark DJ Products, on Windows Embedded

The dedicated drum machine is at a crossroads. Computer hybrids are simply capable of more than dedicated hardware – and that, in turn, has changed user expectations. You can go retro, as analog machines have done. You can go small, as boxes like the volca beats and upcoming Akai Rhythm Wolf do. You can stay the course, as Elektron does with their boxes. You can go hybrid, as Native Instruments’ Maschine, Arturia’s Spark, and Akai’s Renaissance and MPC Fly do. Or, there’s one other option. You could put the soul of a computer – and the touchscreen interface – in …


OS X Mavericks Compatibility with Music and Audio Software: Updates, Resources, Advice

The usual advice applies: if you’re thinking of rushing to update to a major new OS, and you’re a musician, take your time. That’s the advice for OS X Mavericks as it would be for any big update to OS X, Windows, Linux, and now even iOS. But with that disclaimer, OS X Mavericks is so far looking like an uncommonly smooth release. The impact of App Nap, a new power-saving feature, appears to be negligible. (Presumably, it isn’t getting aggressive with apps using the audio system. We’ll need to do more testing, and as always it’s worth keeping your …


Inter-app Audio in iOS 7 + Audiobus? Think Big Plans

Apart from the text we copied yesterday, audio developers can’t say anything about the contents of audio APIs in Apple’s new iOS 7. It’s all under NDA. So, instead, since Apple is all about feelings this week, let me convey the emotion I’m hearing about audio in the iOS update, in the form of a Facebook sticker: It was only recently that I had to explain that two solutions to getting sound between apps are better than one (now JACK and Audiobus – support for each continues to grow). Now, it seems, we’re wrapping our heads around the feature being …


Tracktion, Elegant, Modern $60 DAW, Now Does Linux, Too

Properly configured, a Linux system can breathe life into old hardware or finely-tune performance on new gear. The problem has often been not the OS, but having a comfortable tool for production when you load it. And so that means Linux fans – or would-be fans – will likely be pleased to see the image above. It’s Tracktion, the lovely but oft-overlooked, bargain-priced DAW, running on Linux. (I highly recommend the just-released Ubuntu Studio. The update includes loads of fixes that solve the kinds of audio configuration problems that have kept many people from Linux, and the compatibility of that …

You know, Windows 8 ... on a desktop. Photo (CC-BY-ND) Filip Skakun.

Windows 8 for Desktop Music Making: Faster, No Reason *Not* to Upgrade

“Windows 8,” in Microsoft brand vaguery, can refer to all sorts of technologies, from infamous new sets of colored tiles that mostly confuse users to touch-enabled ultrabooks to tablets to Surface to Surface Pro, from computers that run Intel chips that run traditional Windows software to ones with ARM chips that don’t. In the near future, some of this could be cool. Imagine a conventional laptop, for instance, you can convert into a tablet for touch-enabled live performance — no iPad required. But yes, “Windows 8” is also the version of Windows that follows “Windows 7.” While we await more …


What To Know About Mountain Lion, So Far

Actually, okay, just backup before you install and maybe wait a couple of point releases and everything will be fine. Photo (CC-BY) Ingrid Taylar. OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion is out this week. And it’s a great time to point out that Lion, 10.7, is a terrific upgrade for anyone with a recentĀ Apple machine and 8 GB of RAM (which is what I’d recommend anyway). No, that’s not a misprint – sometimes, it seems, Apple upgrades are just about perfect and fully compatible with all your stuff round about the time the next new thing is out. Here’s the deal: …


Music Developer on Windows 8: A Leap Forward for Desktops; A Leap Backward for Metro, WinRT?

Steven Sinofsky showing Windows 8 last year. Photo (CC-BY) BUILDWindows. There’s good news and bad news on Windows 8 for music making. If you’re using Windows on a conventional, Intel PC, running conventional, desktop Windows apps, the news is really all good – really good. It’s still early days, but Windows 8 promises to be better than Windows 7 at audio performance metrics across the board, a no-brainer sort of upgrade for music makers. By contrast, if you’re using Windows 8 on a new ARM-based tablet or interested in seeing music apps that take advantage of the new-fangled store and …


What Visual Software Readers Use: Some Clear Favorites, Plenty of Diversity, in Census Results

Two clear frontrunner apps, among a number of superb, popular choices, are pictured here. At top, Resolume Avenue in action, in a photo (CC-BY-SA) Colombia-based artist Otto Nassar. At bottom, Deborah Johnson looks on as Modul8 glows onscreen, in a photo by Jaymis Loveday for CDM. (See that interview on her work with Sufjan Stevens – and watch for a new chapter soon.) Live visuals and VJing are growing and maturing faster than ever, but even as projectors beam stunning visuals into performances and installations, there’s surprisingly little light shed on the community behind the work. Earlier this summer, CDM …