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Ensemble & Duet FireWire no longer supported by Apogee.

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Re: Ensemble & Duet FireWire no longer supported by Apogee.

Postby Eddy Deegan » Thu Oct 01, 2015 10:55 pm

I'm totally disgusted at the pathetic excuse offered by Apogee that they rely completely on the OS X firewireaudio driver to continue support for the Ensemble.

I paid well over a grand for it a few years back, and it's a great bit of hardware, and one that I use daily. I spoke to their support people and they said that as Apple has removed the firewireaudio driver from El Capitan (what a stupid name for an operating system, by the way) they were powerless to do anything about it.

When I referred them to support pages from the likes of MOTU and Focusrite where there are firewire audio products that *are* supported under the latest OS X they backtracked a bit and said that this was because those manufacturers used custom drivers as opposed to relying on the OS X firewireaudio driver.

Then they had the cheek to send me a mail saying if I spent over 2 grand on the thunderbolt version of the Ensemble they'd throw in a crappy little piece of equipment I don't need worth a couple of hundred quid for free. Screw everything about that.

Basically, there is *no technical reason whatsoever* for them to discontinue support for the Ensemble and Duet, they are just taking the lazy way out and don't want to develop their own driver. So, good luck all us folks who bought their hardware, but for the reason cited we're stuffed.

This is world class shoddery on the part of Apogee and I won't be buying anything from them again. Disgusting.

Signed,

Angry from Brighton!

PS: I was nicer to the support guy - it's not his fault. Here is the latter part of that transcript:


[Me]
You mention the driver as being an OS component - are there no alternative components in the new OS X build?

Apogee Technical Support
Correct. The Ensemble and Duet FireWire rely on the Mac OS's FireWireAudio driver, which is not being updated or supported in the new versions of OSX.

There is no alternative driver that we could use.

[Me]
That sucks majorly :-( ... and the notification is rather last minute, as the new OS X is already pushed live.

Apogee Technical Support
I apologize that there wasnt more notice on our part.

[Me]
Doing a quick google, there are firewire audio products from MOTU and Focusrite that are compatible with El Capitan . I cannot find a page on apogeedigital.com which discusses this in any detail. Again, I'm sorry to be blunt, but this has been handled very badly by Apogee and I can't see myself remaining as a customer as a result. I shall standby for the Monday announcements, but this leaves me with a very bad taste in the mouth all round.

Apogee Technical Support
None of the Saffire line of Focusrite is compatible as of yet, neither are products made by UA. MOTU is compatible, but again, they do not rely on the driver that is being phased out by Apple.

While relying on Apple’s rock solid CoreAudio driver had offered many benefits, low latency performance, outstanding OS integration and the resources of a superior engineering team, the challenge is when an issue linked to the audio driver occurs (in this case discontinuation of FireWire connectivity) Apogee is unable to provide a solution.
7:33 PM

[Me]
http://us.focusrite.com/answerbase/are-focusrite-products-co... This page would disagree with you.

Apogee Technical Sup port
My mistake, they have not updated their compatibility checker: http://us.focusrite.com/downloads/os

That is where I got that information.

In any case, I am very sorry to deliver this news to you, and I wish there was an alternative that I could offer you. It’s unfortunate but firewire is going away and there’s nothing we can do about that. We hope you reconsider Apogee in the future.

[Me]
Well, I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me. I'm pretty angry with the whole situation now, as I have about $6k-worth of useless hardware in perfect working order. Probably time for me to go do some research as to my best options, and it's nothing personal, but Apogee just dropped way down my trust scale on that front. Something doesn't add up here, in that there *is* supported firewire hardware out there for El Capitan, but as a company it seems Apogee don't want to figure out how that can work for their kit. If Apple had dropped it altogether, fair enough, but they really haven't as far as I can see from googling around, though they may have made it a bit harder. I've got no option but to look elsewhere really.

Apogee Technical Support
Please understand that our device operates completely different than the companies that are still offering support.

We use the CoreAudio driver in OSX, they use their own proprietary driver.
Us using the CoreAudio driver gave many benefits over these years, its only now that its become an issue.

[Me]
I understand that, but that's not world class support. 'We use the OS X driver or none at all', even though it is quite possible tow rite a custom driver for those of us with perfectly good hardware that's useless without it. I'm left high and dry, in other words. Apogee should have been on top of that and if they really wanted to, they could. They just won't. That's the kicker... the company that made that great hardware we use regularly simple drops support for it when the OS takes away a driver provided.

Please convey my feedback if there is a mechanism for doing so, and again, thank you for taking the time. I'm really not having a go at you personally, and I appreciate the time.

Apogee Technical Support
I will forward this to my team. Happy to be here to provide information, no offense taken. My name is [Removed for discretion]. If you have additional questions later on, please return to chat and I'll do my best to assist you.

[Me]
Noted, cheers, and I wish you well handling any grief that gets ugly from people who think it's your fault :-) Cheers.

Apogee Technical Support
I appreciate it! Have a good day.
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Re: Ensemble & Duet FireWire no longer supported by Apogee.

Postby ConcertinaChap » Thu Oct 01, 2015 11:32 pm

For me as a former Powercore owner there is a certain déjà vu about this.

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Re: Ensemble & Duet FireWire no longer supported by Apogee.

Postby littleJ » Thu Oct 01, 2015 11:43 pm

unfortunately i bought and Apogee ONE for iPad and Mac (release in 2013) a couple of months ago.
they give cable adapters to 30-pin and lightning connections.
what will happen if Apple changes their iPad line to USB-C connectors next year and by 2017 remove the Core Audio 30-pin/Lightning driver from iOS 11?

"For this reason, we simply cannot ensure a stable/reliable experience for users of our FireWire audio interfaces who choose to upgrade to this new Mac OS release."

"While these products may work normally for some users"

Apogee is an Apple only company (and an old partner) and they only warn us on the day the OS is released?
So the driver was removed and they say it might work, they didn't test it? They don't know what to expect?
It may work? what kind of support is this? they don't know what's going on on Core Audio now?

This sucks.

Maybe we should talk to Apple.
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Re: Ensemble & Duet FireWire no longer supported by Apogee.

Postby littleJ » Fri Oct 02, 2015 1:00 am

the plot thickens:

"What has changed is that Apple has ceased development of the FireWire Core Audio driver that those devices use to operate. When it was in active development, if we became aware of any software/driver issues we could typically communicate with Apple to get them fixed. But now that Apple has removed FireWire ports from all of their current-gen computers and optimized Core Audio for USB devices so that it significantly outperforms FireWire, they will no longer be developing or maintaining that FireWire code. What's there in El Capitan is basically "legacy" code, and if issues develop with it in the future we won't truly have a way to fix them. This is why we are dropping official support for these devices in 10.11 and beyond, even though they might still continue to work fine on future OS versions. We simply can't guarantee it."

Don for Apogee on Gearslutz (OS X 10.11 El Capitan + say goodbye to Apogee Ensemble firewire).
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Re: Ensemble & Duet FireWire no longer supported by Apogee.

Postby turbodave » Fri Oct 02, 2015 8:33 am

I commented on this last year with Yosemite..I saw the thin end of a large wedge being created. It's one thing to upgrade software, but when it then makes expensive hardware obsolete, or close to it, there is an almost moral obligation being abandoned...and to those that say "don't upgrade to the latest OS"...I don't buy that one! Professionals maybe, but there is now a large swathe of people , myself included , who use their expensive, powerful computer to do all kinds of jobs...some may eventually require the upgrade....as much as I hate to say it on an audio forum (gulp)....audio is only one thing I do on my computer! Dave
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Re: Ensemble & Duet FireWire no longer supported by Apogee.

Postby ConcertinaChap » Fri Oct 02, 2015 9:35 am

turbodave wrote:there is an almost moral obligation being abandoned


Drop the word "almost" and you're exactly right. Doing business is not an excuse for abandoning morals (banks, VW etc).

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Re: Ensemble & Duet FireWire no longer supported by Apogee.

Postby littleJ » Fri Oct 02, 2015 9:44 am

it's funny how Apple is. if you want to develop applications you are urged to update the OS/Developer Tools. Things stop working if you don't.
if you do some Pro work (unfortunately with a five year old interface) you are clearly advised to stay away from the new OSs...

if you do both...well, get a second hard drive or something...dual boot...buy new hardware...
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Re: Ensemble & Duet FireWire no longer supported by Apogee.

Postby hbernhard » Fri Oct 02, 2015 9:46 am

Thunderbolt was announced 2009, first implementations 2011 on Mac and 2012 on PC. In no other "modern, fast pacing" industry, people would buy after these announcements a complex HW/SW product based on yesteryear's technology (aka firewire with weired chipset issues for example) and complain that it is no longer upgradeable; in minimum, the risk was evident, now we have two culprits, Apple and Apogee, but I think this is just the beginning....

For me it was a wakeup call to make a sanity check of all my equipment, and - guess what - I also found a Sony camera with firewire interface, i.e. I will start to convert all remaining proprietary tapes via firewire to more future proven datasets before migration to EC.
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Re: Ensemble & Duet FireWire no longer supported by Apogee.

Postby Scramble » Fri Oct 02, 2015 9:48 am

There's one decision made for me now. Don't ever buy Apogee gear. Stick with good old RME.
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Re: Ensemble & Duet FireWire no longer supported by Apogee.

Postby Mixedup » Fri Oct 02, 2015 9:48 am

Part of me isn't surprised given Apple's tendency to keep moving the goalposts, but given that Apogee were so closely aligned with Apple recently — to the extent that they were actively being promoted by Apple as the perfect pro-interface partner to their systems — this is rather more disappointing than it might have been with another manufacturer.
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Re: Ensemble & Duet FireWire no longer supported by Apogee.

Postby denitronik » Fri Oct 02, 2015 1:39 pm

I have a Firewire Duet and I just upgraded to El Capitan. So far so good, my interface is fully functional with the Apogee Yosemite drivers and Maestro II runs perfectly.
I have a mid 2012 Macbook Pro, the last Apple laptop with a Firewire interface.
Since El Capitan is supposed to be compatible with computers dating back to 2008, I presume that Firewire is still supported by Apple; they may not do anymore development for Firewire but it's still there and working.
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Re: Ensemble & Duet FireWire no longer supported by Apogee.

Postby ConcertinaChap » Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:08 pm

Thanks for reporting that, good to know.

The issue with Firewire, so far as I understand it, is not that Apple are no longer developing it but this: suppose in some future version of Mac OS a problem occurs in Apogee's software and it is shown by Apogee's developers that this is due to a bug in Apple's Firewire driver. Apple will not fix this bug because Firewire is no longer supported and hence, say Apogee, we cannot fix it either so we are giving up on support for our Firewire audio interfaces.

We users feel aggrieved because we feel that at the price Apogee charge for their kit we should expect better than this: either they should develop their own Firewire driver as, seemingly, other makers have done or they should devise workarounds if/when such bugs occur. To us it seems that Apogee are taking an expedient and self-serving way out of a problem which, granted, is not of their making.

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Re: Ensemble & Duet FireWire no longer supported by Apogee.

Postby littleJ » Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:45 pm

ConcertinaChap wrote:The issue with Firewire, so far as I understand it, is not that Apple are no longer developing it but this: suppose in some future version of Mac OS a problem occurs in Apogee's software and it is shown by Apogee's developers that this is due to a bug in Apple's Firewire driver. Apple will not fix this bug because Firewire is no longer supported and hence, say Apogee, we cannot fix it either so we are giving up on support for our Firewire audio interfaces.

what if the bug is on Apogee's Software after a change on some Mac OS API?
imagine for instance that the Maestro App crashes after a sleep or after you choose to maximize it?
we're done and firewire has nothing do to with it... :frown:
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Re: Ensemble & Duet FireWire no longer supported by Apogee.

Postby ConcertinaChap » Fri Oct 02, 2015 5:41 pm

Quite so. That's part of why I say their decision is expedient and self serving. Oh, and immoral.

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Re: Ensemble & Duet FireWire no longer supported by Apogee.

Postby Phil Foster » Sat Oct 03, 2015 6:54 am

There are a few things that clearly show Apogee has very little respect for it's customers.

1. Blaming Apple and claiming they can no longer support their FirWire products because Apple is no longer developing FireWire. The clue is in their own statement. Yes maybe Apple has stopped developing FirWire but that doesn't mean they have stopped supporting it. If Apple can still support their FirWire hardware then so can Apogee. They can support without developing.

2. They have clearly known this day was coming for some time and yet chose to give no warning. Why? The only reason I can think is to try to panic people into upgrading their hardware. The sudden realisation that our hardware is no longer supported or compatible could cause a knee jerk reaction to instantly upgrade - especially for us an*l Apple type geeks who like everything to up to date!!

3. The incentives they offer are mocking. We all know what we need is a reduced price.. They know it, we know it. But they choose not to offer it. That in itself speaks volumes.

I personally place as much importance on the way a company treats it's current customers as I do on the quality of the gear. Apogee has great gear but this, for me, will stop me ever buying from them again. They should be ashamed but I'm sure they aren't!
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