TI2 and Big Sur - Disappointment

  • I have just come back to using my 3 TI2 units (including the Polar 61 and 37 keyboards).


    What a disappointment to see that they have totally dropped support for these units!


    *** I really only need the computer for auditioning patches and also to layer and setup tracks.

    I have Logic (would love to use the latest version but sticking with an older macOS prevents that) and Ableton.


    You would think that they would at least create a lite version of Virus Control


    is there any help from Mystery Islands?


    ;(

    John

  • I just got a reply from ACCESS - somewhat vague that you can use Catalina but it does not make any sound then - so what's the point - otherwise I would have certainly downgraded to Catalina. Is this some sort of arrogance instead of being loyal to customers?

  • that's so ridiculous, the support of access should be ashamed to deal with their customers in this way.

    Yep - it's absolutely disgusting. I mean for FFS - of course hiring someone and getting them to work on integrating the new PloyTec drivers etc will be expensive. They don't have to do this - they could get a freelancer to work on it.


    The lack of communication / lack of willingness to be seen to do anything publicly / lack of flexibility - it's quite frankly pathetic, Access.


    My Virus TI Polar may be 10 years old or so - but it was sold largely on the top of its close computer integration. You're still selling the unit - and no mention on Mac compatibility issues. Grow some frigging balls - get someone external to update your drivers - many of us have even said we're willing to pay towards this. This "ignore everyone" attitude just puts me off all future computer integrated audio products quite frankly.

  • The VC relies on the PloyTec MIDI and Audio driver:


    https://www.usb-audio.com/download/


    On this page, they state:


    macOS Big Sur 11 no longer loads kernel extensions, it's not possible to provide an update for Big Sur. Still, we have plans to keep the driver updated for earlier versions of Mac OS X.


    So, that’s the end of the TI on macOS.


    And that’s maybe the true reason why Access does not invest any money in macOS development anymore.

    Bass Player and Synthesist.
    Virus TI2 Darkstar | Virus TI2 Desktop | Moog Sub 37 | Blofeld | Machinedrum | Monomachine | Analog Four | Digitone | MPC Live | NI Maschine+
    Mac OS X 10.14.6 (Mojave) | Cubase Pro 11.0 | Ableton Live 9.6 | Logic 10.4 | MainStage 3.4 | NI Komplete Ultimate 13 | RME Fireface UFX+

  • I missed that - but they (PloyTec) have still released a new version for Catalina. Also I think that's nonsense - for example see this page about Motu drivers under BigSur - https://motu.com/techsupport/t…ling-motu-drivers-big-sur. I haven't researched it - but it's not like Apple don't provide an alternative mechanism under OSX - it will just take some effort on behalf of PloyTec.

  • I missed that - but they (PloyTec) have still released a new version for Catalina. Also I think that's nonsense - for example see this page about Motu drivers under BigSur - https://motu.com/techsupport/t…ling-motu-drivers-big-sur. I haven't researched it - but it's not like Apple don't provide an alternative mechanism under OSX - it will just take some effort on behalf of PloyTec.


    The MOTU page refers to High Sierra 10.13 and is not updated for Big Sur. Otherwise, the current VC should just work by enabling it, right?


    As for Apple providing an alternative mechanism: After 20 years they go back to System Extensions, which do not work with the same privileges as kernel extensions. Whether real time bit aligned custom audio streaming can be made available via this mechanism is to be discovered. However, if possible at all, it means that drivers and the applications relying on them, require a major rewrite.


    I wonder what the future of Elektron Overbridge looks like...

    Bass Player and Synthesist.
    Virus TI2 Darkstar | Virus TI2 Desktop | Moog Sub 37 | Blofeld | Machinedrum | Monomachine | Analog Four | Digitone | MPC Live | NI Maschine+
    Mac OS X 10.14.6 (Mojave) | Cubase Pro 11.0 | Ableton Live 9.6 | Logic 10.4 | MainStage 3.4 | NI Komplete Ultimate 13 | RME Fireface UFX+

  • The MOTU page refers to High Sierra 10.13 and is not updated for Big Sur. Otherwise, the current VC should just work by enabling it, right?


    As for Apple providing an alternative mechanism: After 20 years they go back to System Extensions, which do not work with the same privileges as kernel extensions. Whether real time bit aligned custom audio streaming can be made available via this mechanism is to be discovered. However, if possible at all, it means that drivers and the applications relying on them, require a major rewrite.


    I wonder what the future of Elektron Overbridge looks like...

    Sorry - I don't for a minute believe Apple would remove the ability to support audio hardware via custom drivers. It's just it's a big step change for the vendors. And this isn't my area - but I am a software engineer - so I can research further.


    -- Edit: Some time later - and I'm playing catch-up for sure (apologies). I see - so whilst we can still get Catalina KEXTS to work with BigSur (with a bit of effort to turn down the OS security settings) - Apple are pushing forward with user-mode drivers via DriverKit ultimately.


    Ok for now, we still have the updated Ploytec USB audio drivers that should work with both Catalina or BigSur. I'm still not clear if we can use the vanilla Ploytec drivers with the Virus TI, to at least regain some functionality.


    As for the future (user-mode drivers) - it seems PloyTec are copping out prematurely here - and I'm curious why. It's a given some effort will be involved moving to the new driver model - and there may be bumps in the road - but I'd be amazed if Apple hadn't put in a fair amount of due diligence to ensure there was a migration path and it should all perform as required.

  • but I'd be amazed if Apple hadn't put in a fair amount of due diligence to ensure there was a migration path and it should all perform as required.


    Then you probably don‘t know Apple long enough. They have a long history of breaking things in a major way, and leaving third party developers out in the rain. Some pick up the pieces, some just vanish.


    Most of the time, the problems might be solved, but the return of investment is questionable, if not clearly inexistent. Especially for small to mid sized companies, which cannot afford to invest man power in an experimental project without foreseeable income. It‘s economics. And as we can see by many reactions from users also here on the forum, the acceptance to pay for updates is very low. Sad but true.

    Bass Player and Synthesist.
    Virus TI2 Darkstar | Virus TI2 Desktop | Moog Sub 37 | Blofeld | Machinedrum | Monomachine | Analog Four | Digitone | MPC Live | NI Maschine+
    Mac OS X 10.14.6 (Mojave) | Cubase Pro 11.0 | Ableton Live 9.6 | Logic 10.4 | MainStage 3.4 | NI Komplete Ultimate 13 | RME Fireface UFX+

  • Sorry - I don't for a minute believe Apple would remove the ability to support audio hardware via custom drivers. It's just it's a big step change for the vendors. And this isn't my area - but I am a software engineer - so I can research further.

    This is the company that dropped Firewire which was a widely adopted standard in the audio industry with no prior warning.


    This is the company that introduced a security chip which completely screwed up USB audio drivers for an extended period of time.


    Apple has shown time and time again that they don't care about backwards compatibility or about being helpful towards existing users. They just charge forth and drop new tech and updates without giving a sh*t about the impact these changes will have.

  • This is the company that dropped Firewire which was a widely adopted standard in the audio industry with no prior warning.


    This is the company that introduced a security chip which completely screwed up USB audio drivers for an extended period of time.


    Apple has shown time and time again that they don't care about backwards compatibility or about being helpful towards existing users. They just charge forth and drop new tech and updates without giving a sh*t about the impact these changes will have.

    I take your point - but I don't think it's about not "giving a sh*t". Definitely backward compatibility is not Apple's approach - but I do think they are constantly aggressively modernising because they think it's the right thing to do. From an IT perspective - it's simpler and better (from a security perspective and more) to remove historical baggage (painful as it is to users).


    Look - I'm not saying they won't mess things up (like the T1 chip USB audio latency / reliability fiasco) - however I'm sure they don't intend to mess up. If they get it right - user-mode audio drivers should be fine (it's all about timing not permissions after all).

  • Then you probably don‘t know Apple long enough. They have a long history of breaking things in a major way, and leaving third party developers out in the rain. Some pick up the pieces, some just vanish.


    Most of the time, the problems might be solved, but the return of investment is questionable, if not clearly inexistent. Especially for small to mid sized companies, which cannot afford to invest man power in an experimental project without foreseeable income. It‘s economics. And as we can see by many reactions from users also here on the forum, the acceptance to pay for updates is very low. Sad but true.

    Your points are very valid. However, yes I am aware of Apple's behaviour - and I switched over to the Mac over 10 years ago. I gave up on Windows/PC's after no end of audio related issues over the years - i.e. occasional pops and clicks with several audio interfaces - fighting DPC latencies due to BIOS issues etc etc. Including lots of issues with the Virus TI Polar under Windows.


    Sure - if you're lucky and have the right (DAW friendly) PC hardware and the right audio interface (and drivers) - Windows can serve you well. However I found it a bit of a mine-field. I've had far fewer issues with my Macs (currently still rocking a 2010 6-core 5.1 Mac Pro as my DAW - although it's had a few upgrades e.g. graphics card and M.2 PCIe SSD) and over many OS upgrades - I've lost count - I switched to Mac when Leopard was the current OS I think.


    Companies just giving up supporting computer integrated audio related hardware - that's been an issue though. For example Native Instruments and the Kore II. I've been burnt a few times.


    I would happily pay for an updated driver personally - but within reason obviously. However currently they are selling TI hardware still - and it's misleading for Apple users. It's a difficult one for sure. Heck maybe some sort of crowd-funding initiative is the way forward - I don't know.

  • Definitely backward compatibility is not Apple's approach - but I do think they are constantly aggressively modernising because they think it's the right thing to do. From an IT perspective - it's simpler and better (from a security perspective and more) to remove historical baggage (painful as it is to users).

    We'll have to agree to disagree on this point, I work in IT myself and while I am aware it's simpler to remove historical code I don't believe it's better from a sustainability/ethical standpoint.

  • We'll have to agree to disagree on this point, I work in IT myself and while I am aware it's simpler to remove historical code I don't believe it's better from a sustainability/ethical standpoint.

    To be fair I was first and foremost calling out the (potential) security benefits of removing historical baggage and keeping things lean and mean. I don't disagree with your comments from a sustainability and ethical point of view.


    For sure Apple's aggressive stance on modernisation / not giving a crap about backward compatibility - is a (expensive) PITA from a user/vendor perspective.


    The answer is invariably somewhere in the middle - Apple need to find the right balance. I like the fact they are attempting to secure/advance the OS, at a fundamental level, for the benefit of most users (although there will always be glaring holes serious hackers can exploit for sure). Which is where I think they are coming from - despite it breaking backward compatibility. However it's definitely very aggressive.


    There is definitely an argument that Apple should provide security updates for what they consider legacy OS's for a much longer period than the current 3 years - if they are going to re-factor / break compatibility so aggressively. Or that they provide the option for people to re-enable "legacy OS features" at their own risk.

  • In fairness, Apple changed their architecture and security policies (Catalina), rendering the software obsolete. So it's more than just some settings. Access on the other hand released their last product in 2009 and have only been maintaining the code base.


    When I read these forums, it's like everybody is mad at Access while in fact they should be mad at Apple... They made the changes, they rendered your 2K toys useless if you counted on the integration. Also everyone complaining about buying a new virus ti and not having the integration were negligent on their part for not doing the research.


    So imo you have 3 choices:


    1. Use the Virus as a standalone synth over midi.

    2. Enable dualboot/bootcamp on your mac so you can manage your sounds with the Virus Control Center while keeping their production via midi and analog outs inside Mac OS.

    3. Switch over to Windows.


    I did the latter in february 2020 and have been enjoying my full user experience with total integration from my Virus Ti from 2005. Anyway, solutions are to be found for those who do not want to be blind...

  • Hey Jamesfarrell,


    So back when the shit hit the fan, I was still on Mojave. When Catalina came out, I did not upgrade because the Virus Ti is my most important piece of gear in the studio and waited patiently. Sadly, no solution came. It is my understanding that the plugin still works on Catalina and also midi over usb. What does not work is audio over usb and also the Virus Control Center with which you upgrade firmware, manage sounds and backups.

    So I bought a Macbook Pro 2018 i7 32GB in january 2019. While this whole catalina thing unfolded, I've started noticing that my 3300€ laptop + peripherals were experiencing alot of thermal throttling on that machine. To my dismay I found out while producing, most of the time only 32% of my max core speed could be achieved and performance in Ableton started to be worse than my previous 5 year old windows 10 i7 16gb laptop. So to cut my losses, I sold the laptop in december for 2500€ and cut my losses. Eventually I ended up buying a tower this time since I realised 95% of the time work at my own studio and not on the road as 5 years ago. So I bought a Ryzen 9 3950X 16c/32t processor, 64GB Ram and A 1TB nvme on gen4 for about €3000. https://valid.x86.fr/dkdz5g


    Never had a problem since.

    My main DAW is Ableton Live 10 and Audition for tracking. I play around with VCV Rack, Mashine, FL Studio. I previously worked with Reason and Cubase.


    People used to buy Macs for solid performance and ease of use at the cost of a premium price. Those are no longer the days people.