Software synths

The adaptation of all of our software synthesizers, samplers and effects to OS X is a high priority for us. NI products under OS X (except Traktor DJ Studio 2.0) will support Audio Units, Core Audio, and Core MIDI, as well as VST 2.0 and RTAS. RTAS will not be available for OS 9.x. Until the release of the OS X versions, all NI products can be seamlessly used under Mac OS 9.x.î

For users of MOTU Digital Performer: MOTU and Native Instruments are actively working together to provide mutually compatible products for an integrated music production environment under OS X.

ìEngineering teams at MOTU, NI, and Apple are in close contact and place the highest priority on the seamless operation of Native Instruments plug-ins within Digital Performer via the Audio Unit (AU) plug-in standard. Compatible updates of all NI plug-ins will be available as soon as possible.

ìCurrently, NI is focusing on making all Mac products compatible with OS X and Audio Units. Since MOTU integrated Audio Unit support in Digital Performer 4.1, NI will no longer be developing updates or future products for MAS.î

Nika Aldrich from Sweetwater had this to say from the retail perspective. ìAll of my customers are madly in love with OS X. and have nothing bad to say. Except for one freak whom we arenít sure really exists, since he emails us from different a country each time. The buzz always has to do with compatability.

ìThere are also a lot of people who donít want to switch because they canít get updated versions of their cracked plug-ins. [Ugly, but believable. ó Ed.] But for the most part, weíre seeing a lot of stability and support for the OS X platform from the major players in the industry.î

Brian Miller of at Emagic had this to say about Logic and OS X (These tips are also very useful for you OS 9 folks).

ìOne thing thatís good to know is that in Logic 5.2 and later, the audio instruments were moved down on the channel strip from above the insert slot (which is just for effects) to the input slot. Logic still only allows a single audio instrument to be played in real time. But there is a workaround using the I/O plug-in, which forces a track into Live Mode. (This works in OS 9 also.) Basically, insert an I/O plug-in on the audio instrument track and select any input and output in the I/O plug-in. Then bypass the plug-in. Now the instrument is in live mode, so you can use channel splitters or transformers to create layers and splits in the environment and play multiple instruments at the same time. The sequencer does need to be running. ìUnless youíre using a lot of samples with a RAM-based sampler plug-in, 512MB of RAM should be okay. If you use a lot of samples loaded into RAM, more RAM will really help. One thing to watch out for is that OS X uses virtual memory, so it will allow you to load more samples youíre your available RAM will hold without warning you. It will swap the RAM to disk, which will cause all sorts of playback problems (because RAM swapped to the hard drive is much slower than real RAM). You can keep an eye on your RAM usage in the activity monitor in Panther (Mac OS 10.3). In Jaguar (10.2.x) you can go to the terminal and type top-du and keep an eye on the page outs. With the G5ís support for up to 8GB of RAM, there may not be much need for disk streaming from sampler plug-ins anymore.

ìThere are some problems using certain FireWire drives and OS 10.3 (Panther) that can cause data loss. I believe it is related to the Oxford 922 chipset, which is for FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 drives. Firmware upgrades for the drives usually solve the problem.

ìItís a good idea to repair permissions frequently. Open the Disk Utility and select your hard drive. On the First Aid tab, Verify Permissions, and then Repair Permissions if needed. This will ensure that the permissions are correct. Corrupt permissions can cause all sorts of problems.

ìWhen using a laptop, itís a good idea to use an external FireWire drive for audio playback and recording with more than eight tracks; the internal system drive is pretty slow. Itís a good idea to keep samples on a separate drive if youíre using VSM (Virtual Sample Memory) in the EXS24 extensively. You can also keep EXS24 samples on a separate drive, just be sure the actual .EXS sampler instruments are in Logicís Sampler Instruments folder or at least an alias for the folder where they are located. Logic will search for the audio files if it canít find them. This can cause a long loading time the first time you load an instrument. In Logicís Project Manager you can select your sampler instruments folder and go to ëFunctions > Find unresolved file references for selectedí and it will search and find all the samples for each instrument, so loading is fast even the first time.

ìOpen the Energy Saver and set Optimize Energy Settings to highest instead of automatic when using the computer as a DAW.î

Thanks Brian! That was great stuff! Next month we dive into Pro Tools HD Accel and OS X.

Weíve got space for one reader question.

In the Dec. í03 issue, part of a question from Irwin asked whether having other software on a laptop used for music would be courting trouble. Mikeís reply seemed to say only, Be sure to buy, not pirate, the software.î’,’This is part two of a continuing series about OS X. I got some really great tips from some more software manufacturers. I hope you find them useful. Iím preparing to update all of my Native Instruments virtual synths. Native Instruments had this to say about OSX.

Mike McKnight Sounds Inc.

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