Jump to content

Rampant Innovation and Compatibility


Recommended Posts

It appears that we are living in a time when there is an explosion in computer hardware, operating system and software innovation which is causing serious compatibility issues.

Just about every major producer of audio hardware and software have issued major “upgrades” and new versions over the past year (along with, and partially because of, major Mac OS and Windows technology changes). These hardware, OS, and software changes, if they occurred one at a time, might have been more easily and successfully implemented. However, taken all together, the challenges that the engineers and programmers have had to deal with are just more than they could handle and major compatibility issues are the result.

Read the posts in the forums of just about any major hardware, software or plugin producer and there are huge numbers of users reporting major issues and exclaiming that that particular update “is the most buggy update they have ever had to deal with”. They further speculate that the company in question “has become totally inept and no longer cares about customers”. Over the last 30 years I have seen some of this every time major updates are released, but I have never seen it so bad as it is now.

Hopefully, all the audio hardware, software and plugin producers will dedicate the next year or so, to dealing with compatibility issues instead of pushing “new features and innovative technology releases”.

Hopefully, over time this huge compatibility mess will settle down (if Apple and Microsoft both slow down their rates of major changes in their technology) and overall audio hardware/software/plugin compatibility will improve and return to some sort of “normal”.

We use most major DAWs and most major plugins on various hardware platforms every day. In our experience, no one audio hardware, software or plugin manufacturer is immune to the compatibility issues we are all dealing with at this time.

Luna 1.2.7, Logic Pro 10.7.4, Cubase Pro 11.0.41, Studio One 5.5.2, Pro Tools Studio, UAD-2 software 10.0, PreSonus Quantum 2, UA Apollo 8, UA Apollo Twin Mk 2 (2), UAD-2 Thunderbolt Satellite Quad (2), Studio A: Apple iMac 2020, i7 8-core 3.8 GHz, 64 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD, RP5700XT GPU, 10 Gb/s Ethernet, MacOS Monterey 12.3.1. Studio B: Apple iMac 2015, i7 4-core 4 GHz, 64 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD, RP395X GPU, 1 Gb/s Ethernet, MacOS Monterey 12.3.1.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We only tend to hear the ones with issues, legitimate they may be. There are plenty more people who aren't experiencing issues that we don't hear about.

But yes, developing software for computer platforms is *always* a moving target, sometimes moving fast, sometimes moving slow - it's part of the nature of the beast.

As a user, it's our choice for the most part to when we upgrade, and how to check compatibility issues, and backup our systems.

My new transitional platform is the best computer, OS and Logic system I've ever had, the most stable, and one by one any niggling issues with third-party plugins are being sorted out by the developers.

I'm not sure there is anything new here - I've been through numerous transitions, both by changing platorms, and by the platform I'm using evolving and changing under me - just that perhaps Windows users have often sat back and chuckled about the transitions Mac people have had to go through, and then when they now are finding something that's biting them ("Why aren't there VST2 versions of my plugins anymore?") they are annoyed, because the general back-compatibility of Windows has traditionally been a bit of a safe-space and now there is something that's started to affect them.

But I don't see any sky-is-falling scenarios. Could you be specific about the "compatibility mess" you're referring to?

mu:zines | music magazine archive | difficultAudio | Legacy Logic Project Conversion | Logic 10.7.4, MBP 16" M1pro

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

In my general experience (not just Logic ...), the Macintosh has always been a "safe haven" from compatibility issues because Apple owns the only hardware upon which their operating systems are allowed to run.  (Steve Jobs returned to the helm just in the nick of time, before Apple plunged itself into "clone-maker Hell" under the leadership [sic...] of a soda-pop guy.)

Per contra, Windows is allowed to run on anything ... often the very cheapest hardware that a manufacturer can devise to produce.  (An identical problem happened with the original "Android" for mobile phones.)  Software developers were left in a world of usually-incompatible "drivers," because their wares were still expected to work perfectly on "God knows what." (As a software developer by trade, I have faced this demon directly ...)

Over time, the Windows hardware situation has somewhat stabilized as powerful hardware has become cheaper and more consistent, but I still prefer to work in an environment in which one vendor controls both sides of the hardware/software equation.  Hair follicles are precious to me. 🤠

Edited by MikeRobinson

Mike Robinson - "I wanna quit being a computer consultant and become a composer and arranger at age fifty-nevermind."
Logic Pro X, MacBook Pro, 88-key MIDI controller.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

des99, my point was not that there are “sky is falling” industry destroying issues, but that there are numerous issues that just about every audio hardware, software and plugin product has some niggling issues that interact with each other that causes crashes, hang ups, loss of feature use, performance issues that come up with many, far from all, users. 
 

For instance, the transition to M1 Mac processors caused many plugin issues. It has taken many plugin developers a very long time to make their plugins compatible…many are still not native causing comprises. Couple that with the concurrent transition to Monterey which caused many plugins compatibility issues as well, even with Intel based Macs. 
 

At the same time, Logic was updated, Cubase Pro was not only updated but the licensing method was greatly changed, many hardware interfaces have released new drivers over the same period, some with compatibility issues. 
 

My point is that there is so many concurrent update, new versions, technology changes, business model changes, etc., that are occurring at this time that overall, there has been many challenges to those who utilize these technologies and products to record, mix and master audio projects. 

Luna 1.2.7, Logic Pro 10.7.4, Cubase Pro 11.0.41, Studio One 5.5.2, Pro Tools Studio, UAD-2 software 10.0, PreSonus Quantum 2, UA Apollo 8, UA Apollo Twin Mk 2 (2), UAD-2 Thunderbolt Satellite Quad (2), Studio A: Apple iMac 2020, i7 8-core 3.8 GHz, 64 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD, RP5700XT GPU, 10 Gb/s Ethernet, MacOS Monterey 12.3.1. Studio B: Apple iMac 2015, i7 4-core 4 GHz, 64 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD, RP395X GPU, 1 Gb/s Ethernet, MacOS Monterey 12.3.1.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Daveporter33765 said:

des99, my point was not that there are “sky is falling” industry destroying issues, but that there are numerous issues that just about every audio hardware, software and plugin product has some niggling issues that interact with each other that causes crashes, hang ups, loss of feature use, performance issues that come up with many, far from all, users. 

Sure. But there are always issues, to varying degrees. If I'm reading you correctly, you think that the current situation is somehow particularly bad?

1 hour ago, Daveporter33765 said:

For instance, the transition to M1 Mac processors caused many plugin issues.

Yes, transitions often do this. I don't know how long you're been doing this, but exactly the same issues came from, to stick with the Mac for now, the transition from macOS9 to OSX, then from PPC to Intel, then from 32-bit to 64-bit, and so on. Even from OS to OS (eg, Sierra losing garbage collection and killing the Redmatica apps I love), High Sierra APFS issues - OS upgrades can cause a bit of instability, at least at first, depending on what was changed.

At each case, the platform has been changed to (hopefully) move forward, and third-party developers have to keep with the times to support their software as their customers expect, or just stop updating them and let them die. This *is* a burden on developers - for sure - but it is a cost of doing business on the Mac platform. (Less so on the Windows platform to date, but changes are happening there too.)

In actual fact, Apple do transitions about as smoothly as they can be done imo, but Apple aren't responsible for third-party code, and if a developer has products that people rely on that are slow to be updated, for whatever reason, it can be annoying of course. But where compatibility and stability is paramount, and you know a transition is coming, the wisest coarse of action is to sit back and observe what happens, and *only then* update when things have stabilised.

(Yes, I know there are other factors that sometimes make this difficult, of course.)

1 hour ago, Daveporter33765 said:

Couple that with the concurrent transition to Monterey which caused many plugins compatibility issues as well, even with Intel based Macs. 

Catalina/Big Sur was worse as far as I can see, as it killed all 32-bit code support, and there are still plugins that don't work on Big Sur, but *do* work on Monterey. My experience has been pretty good with Monterey overall, and my setup is reasonably complex (not just audio stuff, but video, graphics, app & web development and more...). I skipped Catalina and Big Sur completely...

And sometimes you have to find a replacement for something that no longer works and is not supported... while this can be a bit annoying, I usually find (from a few decades' experience) it's actually an opportunity to retire some old things and actually find *better* replacements.

1 hour ago, Daveporter33765 said:

My point is that there is so many concurrent update, new versions, technology changes, business model changes, etc., that are occurring at this time that overall, there has been many challenges to those who utilize these technologies and products to record, mix and master audio projects. 

I get what you're saying, but I just don't think that today is really any different from earlier times where change happens. Change is often a bit painful, and often how you navigate it can make the difference between smooth sailing or rocky waters. I can understand that for people who maybe haven't gone through a technology transition before, things can feel shaky, but honestly I don't see it that way. And the Intel machines running Big Sur or Monterey or whatever your stable system is will stay that way until you decide to upgrade to the ARM platform, and you can wait until most or all of the things you use work.

* Actually, I've found that way more stuff works fine on ARM than I expected - the non-native stuff still runs in Logic under Rosetta. I've had very little plugins, or hardware, that totally haven't worked for me. Honestly, I've found things pretty great. The only hardware I *lost* due to driver issues was the emagic MIDI interfaces - but then a new MIDI driver was released for those, so all good there again. I can't think offhand of a third-party plugin I use that doesn't work (although I did take the opportunity to slim down the toolset when moving to ARM. I still have my old Intel setup if necessary).

I get the concern, but I don't see anything currently for me that is a particular cause for concern, but I understand if you see it differently...

Edited by des99

mu:zines | music magazine archive | difficultAudio | Legacy Logic Project Conversion | Logic 10.7.4, MBP 16" M1pro

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have been making the transition from analog recording to digital for over 30 years. I started as a recording engineer trainee in 1968 (better known as a grunt) and learned the trade on analog gear. 
I am very well acquainted with the Apple transition from Power PC to Intel technology and the transition in ownership of Logic from eMagic to Apple. I made both those transitions myself. 
I have moved back and forth between Macs and PCs several times over the years and have dealt with the issues that come up when transitions of that type are made. 
I agree that “growing pains” are a fact of life in our industry. Although the digital recording transition has been underway for around 30 years, the technology changes have really started to move at a much greater pace than ever before. 
In my opinion, the rapid pace at which technology is moving forward is creating compatibility issues which are the source of the large number of user complaints that we are seeing in just about every forum dedicated to audio recording. While some complaints have always been the norm when transitions took place in the past, I believe that the scope of the issues reported have greatly increased. 
What is causing the rapid pace of technology changes? Is it a real need for vastly different technology that yields real improvements in the utility of the hardware and software? Or, is marketing and sales that are generating a perceived need for this rapidly increasing technology? 

  • Like 1

Luna 1.2.7, Logic Pro 10.7.4, Cubase Pro 11.0.41, Studio One 5.5.2, Pro Tools Studio, UAD-2 software 10.0, PreSonus Quantum 2, UA Apollo 8, UA Apollo Twin Mk 2 (2), UAD-2 Thunderbolt Satellite Quad (2), Studio A: Apple iMac 2020, i7 8-core 3.8 GHz, 64 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD, RP5700XT GPU, 10 Gb/s Ethernet, MacOS Monterey 12.3.1. Studio B: Apple iMac 2015, i7 4-core 4 GHz, 64 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD, RP395X GPU, 1 Gb/s Ethernet, MacOS Monterey 12.3.1.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Yes, I'm with you that technology marches on, and it seems faster than ever - there's truth in that for sure, but also I'm not a youngster anymore so my view of the world is understandably different - when you're a kid, you value innovation and everything new that comes along is interesting and exciting (and you can probably get a career in it*), whereas when you get older it's easy to feel a bit left behind and out of touch while the world races on without you.

I wish Apple didn't commit to a yearly macOS upgrade, for example, I don't think there's much benefit there, and I think there's a good argument that the underlying OS doesn't need rapid changes, but a slower, more considered approach might be better. It's certainly hard on the engineers.

I don't think the chip evolution is the same kind of deal - it's taken Apple 10 years of developing ARM chips to be able to make the M1, and the improvements for the platform are immense. From now on, they'll be iterating on this new platform and improving it, and I'm fine with that, that's just progress.

But yes, I'm less bullish on aggressive OS update timetables, personally...

* To quote the wonderful Douglas Adams:

Quote

"I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:

Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.

Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.

Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things."

 

Edited by des99

mu:zines | music magazine archive | difficultAudio | Legacy Logic Project Conversion | Logic 10.7.4, MBP 16" M1pro

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

I am definitely not a youngster given that I am 68. lol

Since we have both made the transition from analog to digital recording I think it’s safe to say that we are not technology adverse. In fact, I actually love technology and technological advances that are based on real need, not marketing and sales considerations.

It is technological “advancements” made to increase profitability of a developer, and not the end user, that I believe causes unwarranted complexity and compatibility issues. I have seen “marketing based” feature creep expand and bloat DAWs and plug-ins…many of those “features” were rarely needed or wanted by the majority of users. But they gave the developer bragging rights that presumably increased sales. 
Well, I think we agree on some things, and respectfully disagree on other. That is a good thing which results in the sharing of viewpoints! 
I wish you a great day. Happy music-making! 

Edited by Daveporter33765
  • Like 1

Luna 1.2.7, Logic Pro 10.7.4, Cubase Pro 11.0.41, Studio One 5.5.2, Pro Tools Studio, UAD-2 software 10.0, PreSonus Quantum 2, UA Apollo 8, UA Apollo Twin Mk 2 (2), UAD-2 Thunderbolt Satellite Quad (2), Studio A: Apple iMac 2020, i7 8-core 3.8 GHz, 64 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD, RP5700XT GPU, 10 Gb/s Ethernet, MacOS Monterey 12.3.1. Studio B: Apple iMac 2015, i7 4-core 4 GHz, 64 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD, RP395X GPU, 1 Gb/s Ethernet, MacOS Monterey 12.3.1.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...