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M1 Studio Ultra - first impressions


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Okay so the beast (128Gb RAM but only a 1TB internal SSD) arrived today, I was cursing this morning as the Apple Store had changed from delivery today to delivery tomorrow. So I was very surprised when it arrived today.

I also got the ‘fingerprint’ version of an extended keyboard, Magic Trackpad and a Logitech M3 mouse (cheaper than Magic Mouse and seems to have pretty good integration with macOS), I’m waiting for the 5K monitor to arrive though: I decided on a 5K monitor after reading about the rescaling shenanigans that go on if you only use a 4K monitor and yes that was a significant blow to finances. I also have a piece of custom furniture being built to take my Kurzweil PC3 on a tray (at exactly the right playing height for me) underneath a desktop that has a centrally sloped centre (to take the X-Touch at an angle such that I can read the scribble strips) on order but its five weeks away (photo will be posted 🙂 ) the idea being a display either side of it.

So initial ‘setup’ was limited to replugging the old Apple TB (1 or 2?) monitor with the Firewire, USB and TB port all used into it, connecting the mouse (incidentally a USB-C port on it), trackpad and keyboard (all via cable as they were unused and they generally don’t arrive fully charged) and a OWC nve m.2 x4 container (TB3).

So power on for the first time - everything is recognised except the firewire device (UFX or FF800 I have both ) and not surprising as no driver installed. A minor hiccup during setup with trying to scan my fingerprint- press twice quickly on the Studio’s power button. A couple of un scheduled restarts and shutdowns later - I’ll leave that to later. The OS was Ventura - but out of date so I downloaded the latest, next stop RME for drivers, firewire drivers installed fine and TotalMix opens/works just like my, soon to be former, iMac Pro. Installing the USB driver for the UFX was a bit more complex - Learning how to boot into recovery mode and adjust system security settings there and then remembering you also need to do it in settings once you’ve rebooted normally (and not having it timeout like I did the first time).

Refreshed from my success I decided to tackle the finger scan again - I was about to give up when I finally had success on the two quick presses (I’ve always known my timing isn’t good 🙂 ), finger successfully scanned and that’s where I left it. I should also mention that during all this the mouse, keyboard and trackpad all charged to 100% and I disconnected them from their cable attachments. 

So next up this evening will be the MOTU MIDI express XT driver install. I am also thinking that for the iLok, EW Installation Centre, and Native Instruments ‘Native Access’ I’ll download them rather than bringing them across from my iMac Pro. The OWC enclosure has all the Kontact and EW libraries on it so a delink should be easy. And again rather than possibly bringing trouble with me onto the beast I’ll do a clean Logic Pro install - saying goodbye to a reasonable number of previous versions.

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And surprisingly downloading Logic Pro has proven difficult - not sure whether its my ISP or the Apple end but I eventually got Logic Pro downloaded and installed - curiously installing Logic didn’t offer the fingerprint reader to allow it.

With only 45 Gb of 1 Tb used I decided that the Sound Library can live on the boot disc and as of yet haven’t been able to fully download it. I was tempted to rip the libraries out of Backups but decided I take te short term pain for the satisfaction of knowing that I haven’t restored hidden troubles.

Still while fathing around with that I did verify that both the UFX via USB and the FF800 via Firewire work concurrently 🙂

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