OS X El Capitan

Is Mac OS X El Capitan Ready For Audio? Are Your Hardware And Apps Compatible? Maybe You Should Wait A Bit Before Updating

Is Mac OS X El Capitan Ready For Audio? The question is: will my software and hardware play nice with OS X El Capitan (OS X 10.11)?

As of this date we are one day from the release of OSX El Capitan. Although it is announced as a minor update I have a feeling it’s an important one, especially regarding performance optimizations. The introduction of Metal for graphic rendering could (should) enhance the user experience considerably.

I am very tempted to upgrade right away. On the other hand, if upgrading causes my (your) software and hardware to fail, I (you) have a problem, so I did a little research.

I am using different DAW’s like Logic ProX, Cubase 8 pro, Ableton Live 9, Reason 8.3 and Reaper 5, My “to go” DAW is Logic ProX.

I also use third party VSTi’s and AU’s (virtual instruments) like Native Instruments Komplete, EZ Drummer 2, Addictive Drums 2 etc…

My score editor of choice is Sibelius 7.

My audio interfaces are: iK Multimedia iRigHD, Line6 Toneport UX2 and Line6 Toneport UX8.

Here are my findings from browsing the net for answers:

Cubase 8 Pro

Steinberg advices against upgrading to OSX El Capitan at the moment. This is their official statement.

Logic Pro X

Logic Pro X should work ok, but there are problems with the Auvaltool. Some plugins like those from Native Instruments crash the (new) Auvaltool and cannot be used in Logic Pro X under El Capitan yet. See below under Native Instruments for more info.

Ableton Live

Ableton Live is reported working at the Macrumors Forums. In general VSTi’s are reported working in DAW’s under OSX El Capitan where Au plugins (from the same manufacturers) fail to work (or validate).

One word of caution: Max for live depends on java, which is not fully supported on El Capitan.

Propellerhead Reason

Reason 8 (and 7) are reported as not working as of today (but we are still not 30 september). No word on this on the Propellerhead site which is understandable since OSX El Capitan is not out yet. Maybe they are working their a** of to get it right for tomorrow…

Reaper (5)

Stumbled upon an thread at the Reaper forums today where the developer confirms that there are issues. They are looking into it.

Native Instruments plugins (AU)

Native Instruments warn against updating at this moment. You can read their official statement (as of 29th of september 2015) here. They are supposedly working on a solution together with Apple.

The Au Plugins fail to authorize the plugins under Logic Pro X. This issue is reported by many users on equally many forums. There are workarounds posted on these same forums. This workaround consists in replacing the new Auvaltool with an older version from a previous version of OSX. Proceed with caution…I would just wait for an official fix…

Funny thing: I even received an email (about 15min ago) from Native Instruments telling me not to upgrade right away. They are working closely with Apple to develop a solution.

I also suspect other plugins will not pass the Audio Units validation. Check with your plugin vendor for info on the particular plugin you use.

Beta drivers are provided for older hardware like:

  • AUDIO 8 DJ
  • AUDIO 4 DJ
  • AUDIO 2 DJ
  • GUITAR RIG 3 (RIG KONTROL 3 hardware)

From the information above I guess that Machine 2 and the Recent Native Instrument keyboards should be compatible…

Some users report that the VST versions of the plugins do work.

EZ Drummer (2) and Addictive Drums (2)

Couldn’t find any info on these.

Sibelius 7 (and 7.5)

Again not much info available. From info on this site it’s not a good idea to update at the moment. In the same article users of Finale are also told not to update yet.

The Sibelius Contact player is reported to crash Sibelius on Launch.


Line 6 audio interfaces and PodFarm software

The few discussions I found on that topic were not very reassuring. I just hope Line 6 releases updated drivers really quick…

News on audio apps and hardware that I don’t use or own


Apogee has a detailed list in their site of compatible and not- compatible hardware. Note that the following firewire interfaces are not compatible with OS X 10.11 and will not be supported beyond OS X Yosemite:

  • Duet FireWire
  • Ensemble FireWire


Presonus Studio One (3)

At this moment Studio One Software is reported to work (mostly). One glitch: when the application is launched, the startup screen will not be seen and the program Start window will just appear, this is a minor issue which will be addressed in a future Studio One 3 update.

Here is the list of supposedly working software:

Presonus Software Applications (minimum version):

  • Studio One 3.0.2
  • Studio One 2.6.5
  • Notion Conducting 2.0
  • Notion 4.0.329
  • Notion 5.2.380
  • Progression 2.0.329
  • Progression 3.1.374
  • Room Control 1.0.28178
  • Capture 2.1

There are bigger problems with Presonus Hardware though. Most hardware (audio interfaces) will work, but the Presonus Audiobox VSL Control Software will not work under Mac OS X 10.11 and later.

The interfaces will function is class-compliant mode, meaning without any specific driver or software installed.

Here is the full statement from Presonus.

AudioBox Series Running Class Compliant with no driver / control software installed:

  • AudioBox 1818VSL*
  • AudioBox 44VSL*
  • AudioBox 22VSL*
  • AudioBox iTwo
  • AudioBox iOne
  • AudioBox USB

Reading between the lines: the VSL control software will not be further developed. Period. This means also no further development for the Windows platform.

The software will work as usual until a new driver is required. This new driver then will not include the mixer/ software. My guess is that the additional features (reverb, Fat Channel etc…) accessed via this mixer will not available any more.

If this is the case, I think it is at least misleading that Presonus still touts the VSL software in their PR on the interface product pages…

The software will not work on OS X 10.11 El Capitan and if  Windows 11 requires a new driver, it will not longer be available for Windows either…

Edit: a bit more research revealed that the VSL software and hardware had it’s troubles and that Presonus dropping the software does not come at a surprise. Just read the forum posts.

And here is a full list of working and not working devices from Presonus.

Digital Performer

Digital Performer 9.01 is reported to work


Focusrite hardware (audio interfaces) and software will mostly work under OS X 10.11. Click here for more info on your particular device.

Slate digital plugins

Same problem as with Native Instrument plugins: crashing the Auvaltool.


In an official statement Arturia states that there are compatibility issues between their plugins and OS X El Capitan. Do not upgrade if you rely on Arturia plugins.


Is Mac OS X El Capitan Ready For Audio?

From where I stand, it isn’t. While I don’t use all DAW’s and plugins in existence, most of the software and hardware I use is quite popular and standard. At least 4 of my DAW’s don’t work as they should or they don’t launch at all: Cubase, Reason,  Reaper and Logic Pro X. The latter does work, but fails to load a very popular brand of plugins: Native Instruments (Komplete).

Sibelius is not working and the people at Finale also advise you not to update for now. That’s a no go for the 2 biggest brands of notation software.

As you can see, with the software and hardware I use, updating on September 30th is not a good idea. Too many apps and audio interfaces not working.

As a music teacher and musician my I cannot afford being stuck with a non-working system…

I suggest you do your research as I did and google for incompatibilities between your soft- and hardware. As tempting as it is, you may have to wait a bit before taking the plunge. If you do, backup your system and data. Maybe consider installing and booting OS X El Capitan from an external drive.

I will update this article (or write a new one) when more info becomes available. I am sure more info will be available once (reckless) people will update their machines without inquiring first.

If you have any info on working or not working DAW’s, plugins, music hardware, please share it in a comment below. I will update this article accordingly.



14 thoughts on “Is Mac OS X El Capitan Ready For Audio? Are Your Hardware And Apps Compatible? Maybe You Should Wait A Bit Before Updating

  1. I have an issue with my audio i/o in Logic Pro 9 after upgrading my OS to El CapitanBtw i’m using Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface.I contacted the Focusrite Technical Team,and they solve the issue briliantly!In my case,they told me driver is old.So they suggested these steps.

    “I can see from your system report that you have an old Focusrite driver on your system that could be disrupting the signal. To fix this, go to Mac HD > System > Library > Extensions and delete the FocusriteUSB2Audio.kext file.

    It is also worth resetting your preference files. To do this please go to Mac HD > Library > Preferences > Audio and delete both files.

    Then go to Finder > Go > Hold Alt + click Library > Preferences and delete com.apple.audiomidisetup.plist

    Now empty your trash folder.

    Please also repair disk permissions from Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility > select HD and run First Aid.”

    i did the steps and wala,my Scarlett 2i2 are now functioning properly again!

  2. Saffire Pro 24 DSP with 2013 iMac. Upgraded to El Caputan and Saffire mix control 3.6 according to Focusrite. Does not work! FireWire not detected!!!!

  3. Having trouble with Reaper play back. Just sticking with no play. Also, I am using Focusrite scarlet for interface and, whilst El Capitan will allow input options, there is no option for output. I can not honestly say that I am not wholly certain of the source of the problem but it never happened before in 5 or more years of using reaper. Yes, I am now regretting getting involved with El-Cap beta ;-(
    Iain mackenzie

    • I just bought a Scarlett to replace my non-working (and old) UX8 (see previous post) and it is working great with El Capitan! Check if you have the latest update of the interface with Scarlett MixControl

    • Hi, sorry to hear about your troubles. I am personally holding off on upgrading. If it ain’t broken…It’s a bit bizarre that your Focusrite interface doesn’t work as it should since it should according to Focusrite. Did you check Audio/Midi configuration?

      • Thank you for your input folks. My apple audio input / output is showing scarlet connected for input but not for output. WHich is very strange. Also I find that reaper is not playing back OR recording; just frozen. I did try downloading the most recent version of reaper.
        Thanks for the tip on scarlet software; it says on the website that none is required for apple and 2i2.
        Will keep digging around



      • Scarlet problem is solved. The same solution seems to have resolved playback in reaper…. all a bit weird really.
        Anyhow; if you have the same problem, download the ‘classcompliantapp’ from the link below. Open the app and restart computer. Now my mac input / output recognises scarlet for both in and out and reaper works. (OK so far anyhow.


        “Some users have reported experiencing audio glitches and drop outs with the Scarlett range of interfaces since updating to OS X 10.9 Mavericks. If you are experiencing these problems with your interface, it is possible to utilise Apple’s USB audio driver by downloading and running the class compliant mode application below, while we investigate further.”

        Thanks again for all support on here 🙂

        • Hello Lain,

          Thanks for the heads-up. I hope more users will benefit from it. It makes sense since most devices running in class-compliant mode are said to work with El Capitan. Very similar to the Presonus story.

          I am personally in the market for a new audio interface. A bit fed up with the line 6 stuff, especially latency-wise.

          I am willing to splash out the dough that is necessary, so even an RME Babyface Pro is on my list.

          I have a Scarlett 2i2 at my disposal for review at the moment.

          First impression: nice interface. Guitar input sounds very open and clear to me. More highs than the Line 6 guitar input. Worked very well with bass (much better than the Line 6 input), but I have the impression the input is a bit too bright with regular electric guitars.

          Do you record guitars directly? If so, what is your impression?


          • I use the 2i2 for all my live music recording including vox (for which I use the sEx1 microphone) and for electro-acoustic guitar. (Currently a Martin)
            I dont use electric guitar or bass guitars currently ,though I would not hesitate to use this device for them if I had the gear with me.
            For my level of recording, mixing and mastering, it suits me fine; Since I travel a lot; it gives me a good balance of quality and trans-portability.
            You can find samples of the quality I am achieving here;

            Vox and acoustic guitar:

            Vox, guitar, harmonica and midi keyboard

            I reckon it gives crystal clear reproduction and nothing weird EQ-wise that distracts or would not be masked by other factors such as use of FX in the mix

            It would be good to hear about your review and how it compares; especially for a chap who is permanently mobile



    • Hello Pouncy, I hope you have another audio interface or solution to work with (or that you dual-boot). As I see how many apps and devices are affected, I could as well have written a post “things that work”. It would have been a much shorter article. As much I am eager to upgrade, I/ we will have to be patient.

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