OS X Musician: Fixed Bugs, Better Support, New Capabilities in Jaguar

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Date: Wednesday, September 18th, 2002, 07:55
Category: Archive

After a rocky start, Mac OS X is finally a serious audio and MIDI operating system, offering significantly more power and stability than OS 9 and a dramatically streamlined setup process. Now there are some signs we’ll all be able to start using that power.

In addition to audio processing and stereo and multitrack editing from BIAS and TC|Works, software synthesis from Propellerhead and BitHeadz, and music notation from Sibelius, Emagic’s Logic 5 for OS X is now shipping (Emagic is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Apple), and Steinberg and MOTU are promising CubaseSX and Digital Performer, respectively, this fall. (Cubase we should see late October / early November and we expect DP to be in our hands by December.) Mac mainstays MAX MSP from Cycling `74 and Digidesign Pro Tools are both under development, with release likely in 2003. Plug-ins are another story, but having these apps to test will probably mean plug-ins will start to appear very rapidly. The question is no longer should you upgrade, simply a matter of when — and for most customers, that will be when available OS X apps have reached critical mass (and an upgrade fits their budget, sicne switching is potentially very expensive).

10.2 is bringing rapid improvements in the OS. Serious audio and music users running 10.1 should unquestionably upgrade. The best new visible feature is Audio MIDI Setup (AMS), which now provides universal audio setup options for I/O settings for apps that don’t have setup of their own. AMS also contains global MIDI settings very similar to OMS (Open Music System from now-defunct Opcode) and FreeMIDI from MOTU in OS 9. The OMS – AMS acronym similarity can’t be accidental. Users of MOTU multichannel FireWire audio interfaces: the beta software downloadable from MOTU works just fine with the new release, but if you use BIAS‘ Deck, be sure to grab a new Jaguar-compatible driver. (Thanks to Steve Berkeley of BIAS for the tip!) More good news: Digigram has posted drivers for its line of audio interfaces, including the PCMCIA-based VXPocket (the only choice for legacy PowerBooks). And lastly, the expected release of 10.2.1 (which MacNN reports Apple posted Monday before quickly pulling it) is likely to bring a number of audio tweaks and fixes.

Stay tuned to the PowerPage for the next month for info/reviews/tips on Sibelius, VBox, Peak, Reason, the MOTU 828, and more running under OS X!

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