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 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.
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…
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:
- TRAKTOR KONTROL S4 (MK1)
- TRAKTOR KONTROL X1 (MK1)
- TRAKTOR AUDIO 2 (MK1)
- AUDIO 8 DJ
- AUDIO 4 DJ
- AUDIO 2 DJ
- MASCHINE (MK1)
- 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.
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.
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.