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Saffire Mix Control on MacOS Catalina

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Saffire Mix Control on MacOS Catalina

Postby Goughy » Fri Jun 21, 2019 2:21 am

I have been happily using the Saffire Mix Control (version 3.7) to set up my Saffire Pro40 on a Mac (MacOS 10.14.5) but I fear that it will stop working with the next MacOS update (Catalina) because that OS won't run non 64-bit software.

I realize Saffire Mix Control is elderly, but does anyone know if there will be an update to 64-bit?

Thanks,

Richard

(I couldn't get past the CAPTCHA on the Focusrite website!).
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Re: Saffire Mix Control on MacOS Catalina

Postby Dave B » Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:24 am

Interesting.

If you are running your Saffire from a FW port, then I do wonder if the next OS release will support your machine - I've already had to stop on High Sierra for an older MBP and wonder how much longer my (late 2013) Minis will last. They are stonking machines but I do wonder what our fruity overlords have planned for something that they now consider 'vintage'...

:)
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Re: Saffire Mix Control on MacOS Catalina

Postby Studio Support Gnome » Sun Jun 23, 2019 6:16 pm

I'm going to make the point that older OS , hardware and software doesn;t stop working just because new shiny toys came out ...

the software that enabled us to do the job adequately last year , will continue to do so for years to come.... and if new stuff comes out.... that cannot run on such platform, ask yourself do you REALLY ,**NEED** it .....

Typed on a 2012 quad core i7 17"MBP, 2TB of SSD 16GB of RAM , capable of running current OS , and with boot partitions on SSD for Several installed versions of OS X , including High Sierra , but actually mostly still using Yosemite

The interesting bit is.... and why I will probably eventually move to using my HS boot partition , or later, is ... the 17" MBP MDP video port , as reported on older OS X editions, seems to report and operate as Thunderbolt on later OS editions ..... and is described as thunderbolt on more recent Apple Spec documents .

SO in principle, (yet to be tested , ) I should be able to get a thunderbolt interface to run with no need for firewire adaptors or support ... I must remember to borrow a TB connected focusrite unit to test this theory ....

however my trusty Pro40 works just fine..... and since I have retired from large scale Pro-audio for the most part, I don't see me needing to jump anytime soon.

I may however, start buying spare 2012 17" i7 MBP units .....

stockpiling them against the inevitable graphics chip failures that seem to beset the model

(which can be bypassed , either in hardware, if you're seriously solder competent, or by a minor OS Boot Rom hack , to operate on the onboard intel chip only, but this disables external screens and obviously, the thunderbolt functionality, but at least gives you a reasonably handy Mac for the wife to use... ;) . )
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Re: Saffire Mix Control on MacOS Catalina

Postby desmond » Sun Jun 23, 2019 6:57 pm

Studio Support Gnome wrote:I may however, start buying spare 2012 17" i7 MBP units .....
stockpiling them against the inevitable graphics chip failures that seem to beset the model

The 2011's are worse for this, and are by far the worst offenders.

Studio Support Gnome wrote:(which can be bypassed , either in hardware, if you're seriously solder competent, or by a minor OS Boot Rom hack , to operate on the onboard intel chip only, but this disables external screens and obviously, the thunderbolt functionality

Disabling the dGPU like this (ask me how I know! :tongue: ) removes external monitor support (as that is hard-wired to the dGPU) but does *not* disable the thunderbolt port, or thunderbolt functionality - as this has nothing to do with the GPU.
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Re: Saffire Mix Control on MacOS Catalina

Postby desmond » Sun Jun 23, 2019 6:59 pm

Goughy wrote:I have been happily using the Saffire Mix Control (version 3.7) to set up my Saffire Pro40 on a Mac (MacOS 10.14.5) but I fear that it will stop working with the next MacOS update (Catalina) because that OS won't run non 64-bit software.

*If* that is the case, and your hardware is unsupported, just stay on Mojave. That will last you a good few years. There is no real need to update, and Mojave is already pretty bleeding-edge at this time anyway...
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Re: Saffire Mix Control on MacOS Catalina

Postby Studio Support Gnome » Sun Jun 23, 2019 11:22 pm

desmond wrote:
Studio Support Gnome wrote:I may however, start buying spare 2012 17" i7 MBP units .....
stockpiling them against the inevitable graphics chip failures that seem to beset the model

The 2011's are worse for this, and are by far the worst offenders.

Studio Support Gnome wrote:(which can be bypassed , either in hardware, if you're seriously solder competent, or by a minor OS Boot Rom hack , to operate on the onboard intel chip only, but this disables external screens and obviously, the thunderbolt functionality

Disabling the dGPU like this (ask me how I know! :tongue: ) removes external monitor support (as that is hard-wired to the dGPU) but does *not* disable the thunderbolt port, or thunderbolt functionality - as this has nothing to do with the GPU.


I'd ask, but I think I already know ;)

Wifey now has my previous 17" MBP , with dGPU disabled. all she does is browse the web, do email., and a certain amount of MS Office use for work.... no external screen doohickeys required for her use. .
I however, do actually use an external Screen as well as the built in one..... a thumping great big thunderbolt/MDP Cinema display , for my CAD stuff more than DAW to be honest , so external graphics is still requirements for me..

I am pondering what will happen if I go to using a later OS, and a thunderbolt Hub to connect both a new interface and the screen ?? any clues oh Obi_wan??


(I am choosing the specific Jedi name for a very convoluted "in joke" reference, that I am smirking too hard about to not blatantly point out .... and then cruelly, and crucially, not explain to anyone who doesn't get it..... I reckon there might be 4 of us who could understand it offhand without research )
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Re: Saffire Mix Control on MacOS Catalina

Postby ConcertinaChap » Sun Jun 23, 2019 11:44 pm

Studio Support Gnome wrote:I am pondering what will happen if I go to using a later OS, and a thunderbolt Hub to connect both a new interface and the screen ?? any clues oh Obi_wan??

Pardon me butting in on the private joke but just to make sure I understand. You don't get Thunderbolt hubs like you get USB hubs, the protocol doesn't work like that, it's designed for daisy chaining. Instead what you'd need is an interface with two Tbolt ports on it so you can connect the interface to the computer and the monitor to the interface. If the monitor has two Tbolt ports you can run the daisy chain that way - that's exactly how my setup works.

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PS there's an old programmers' joke about "off-by-one" errors in code ...
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Re: Saffire Mix Control on MacOS Catalina

Postby desmond » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:22 am

Studio Support Gnome wrote:I am pondering what will happen if I go to using a later OS, and a thunderbolt Hub to connect both a new interface and the screen ?? any clues oh Obi_wan??

So, the thunderbolt port carries multiple streams of data - let's ignore USB-C for now, but on 2011-2015 machines, the thunderbolt port carries both thunderbolt data, and displayport data as separate things.

When you plugin a thunderbolt device, the thunderbolt stuff will work - for instance, I can plugin in a thunderbolt dock thing, which has FW, USB3 ports and other things. This works fine. I also have a UAD2 card I can plugin into the thunderbolt port too - again, works fine.

What won't work is external displays. These generally use the displayport connection (over thunderbolt, or over their own displayport port), and external displays are *only* handled by the dGPU - as soon as you plugin an external display in, the machine (when it works!) will switch to the dGPU. No dGPU, no external display.

Even if you plugin a display into the thunderbolt port on my working TB dock, the display won't work - there's no dGPU to power it.

On later machines, I'm not sure, but later machines don't have the same GPU failure issues so it's likely not an issue anyway.

Now, there *are* some external display options that don't set themselves up as an external display, as far as the OS is concerned. You can get some monitors that use the thunderbolt connection, and proprietry handling, to provide external displays for things like FCPX. These work apparently, but I think are quite expensive. Also, there are some USB display systems that should work, but aren't very good.

But anything that OSX thinks is a proper external monitor won't work, as these are hard tied to the dGPU in 2011 machines, at least.

Now - I'm not 100% sure of the exact behaviour on the 2012 machines, because I'm invested in the 2011 and most of my experience and knowledge is around that, so it's worth double-checking (I'll have a nose around...)
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Re: Saffire Mix Control on MacOS Catalina

Postby desmond » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:36 am

ConcertinaChap wrote:You don't get Thunderbolt hubs like you get USB hubs, the protocol doesn't work like that, it's designed for daisy chaining. Instead what you'd need is an interface with two Tbolt ports on it so you can connect the interface to the computer and the monitor to the interface. If the monitor has two Tbolt ports you can run the daisy chain that way - that's exactly how my setup works.

I think he means a thunderbolt "dock" - I have one too. It has two TB ports, one to plugin the computer into, and a second, which is the daisy chain, and allows you to connect either another TB device, or a displayport/monitor.

Single-ended TB devices are a bit of a pain when you have more than one... :headbang:
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Re: Saffire Mix Control on MacOS Catalina

Postby ConcertinaChap » Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:45 pm

I thought that might be the case but wanted to check because as I say you can't have a true Tbolt hub because the protocol doesn't allow it.

desmond wrote:Single-ended TB devices are a bit of a pain when you have more than one... :headbang:

Oh indeed. An act of hostility when dealing with a daisy-chain protocol, so far as I'm concerned. Fortunately I've got four TB3 ports on the current beast.

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Re: Saffire Mix Control on MacOS Catalina

Postby Goughy » Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:32 pm

desmond wrote:
Goughy wrote:I have been happily using the Saffire Mix Control (version 3.7) to set up my Saffire Pro40 on a Mac (MacOS 10.14.5) but I fear that it will stop working with the next MacOS update (Catalina) because that OS won't run non 64-bit software.

*If* that is the case, and your hardware is unsupported, just stay on Mojave. That will last you a good few years. There is no real need to update, and Mojave is already pretty bleeding-edge at this time anyway...

Yes - I had come to that solution too. Of course this might have other implications because I use the Mac Mini for other purposes besides music.

It is not the hardware that is unsupported, as far as I know. It is the Saffire Mix Control software, used to configure the Pro 40, that will not run on Catalina. I am getting warning messages from the MacOS about the 32-bitness of Mix Control.

I hadn't considered any firewire issues at all. Since I do not need Mix Control to be running to actually transfer audio, midi etc. between the Pro 40 and Logic on the Mac, I had assumed that if I set up the routing etc. in the Pro 40, once, using Mix Control, then the firewire would continue to work even if I updated the OS from Mojave to Catalina. Of course the Saffire configuration would be frozen in time and I wouldn't be able to change the Saffire settings in future, but I could probably live with that.
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Re: Saffire Mix Control on MacOS Catalina

Postby mobr » Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:30 am

Goughy wrote:
desmond wrote:
Goughy wrote:I have been happily using the Saffire Mix Control (version 3.7) to set up my Saffire Pro40 on a Mac (MacOS 10.14.5) but I fear that it will stop working with the next MacOS update (Catalina) because that OS won't run non 64-bit software.

*If* that is the case, and your hardware is unsupported, just stay on Mojave. That will last you a good few years. There is no real need to update, and Mojave is already pretty bleeding-edge at this time anyway...

Yes - I had come to that solution too. Of course this might have other implications because I use the Mac Mini for other purposes besides music.

It is not the hardware that is unsupported, as far as I know. It is the Saffire Mix Control software, used to configure the Pro 40, that will not run on Catalina. I am getting warning messages from the MacOS about the 32-bitness of Mix Control.

I hadn't considered any firewire issues at all. Since I do not need Mix Control to be running to actually transfer audio, midi etc. between the Pro 40 and Logic on the Mac, I had assumed that if I set up the routing etc. in the Pro 40, once, using Mix Control, then the firewire would continue to work even if I updated the OS from Mojave to Catalina. Of course the Saffire configuration would be frozen in time and I wouldn't be able to change the Saffire settings in future, but I could probably live with that.

Any word on this?? I'm worried about this as well. From what I can gather it should be fine as long as you can live without the program.
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Re: Saffire Mix Control on MacOS Catalina

Postby ConcertinaChap » Thu Jul 18, 2019 2:41 pm

Just a thought. The license for later versions of MacOs allow you to run it as a virtual machine, if you have the wherewithal to run virtual machines (i.e. Fusion, Parallels or VirtualBox which is free). So you could create a virtual machine version of Mojave and install Mix Control on that, then update the main OS to Catalina or whatever is current, knowing that you can always run the virtual Mojave when you need to use Mix Control.

It may not be worth the effort, of course ...

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Re: Saffire Mix Control on MacOS Catalina

Postby Dave B » Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:34 am

Can you propogate the FW bus to the VM?

I know that USB is ok ... not sure about FW ...
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Re: Saffire Mix Control on MacOS Catalina

Postby ConcertinaChap » Fri Jul 19, 2019 11:00 am

Hm ... fair point. I have no way of testing this and no obvious answers via Google so best to regard this as a speculative idea.

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Re: Saffire Mix Control on MacOS Catalina

Postby Watchmaker » Fri Jul 19, 2019 11:48 am

My view of the computing world is very selfish. In my audio production environment my primary goal is a rig that is stable above all else. There haven't been such significant improvements in OS's in years to justify screwing up my known and very reliable system, although I did install High Sierra just last week on my primary machine, I kept my old system on my backup.

I try to delay updating OS unless I absolutely have to and a stubborn bluetooth glitch in Yosemite drove me to it. When I do upgrade I do clean installs so the pain of re-configuring is still with me. I do not plan to "upgrade" anytime soon.

My cynical perspective is that sales teams are made up of flunkies who live or die by commissions, developers just want to get paid - and both of those needs are incompatible with my need for a stable environment.

I'd say wait until you absolutely must upgrade.
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Re: Saffire Mix Control on MacOS Catalina

Postby ConcertinaChap » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:35 pm

I largely agree, though I take my upgrade cycle from Apple's support cycle, i.e. when Apple drop support then that's the time to upgrade. When I do move it normally isn't to the latest version but to one back, as by then all issues with drivers and such have usually been worked out. To do this, though, requires a little pre-planning. You have to remember to download the latest OS installer (but not, of course, run it) so that it's available when you do actually want to use it.

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Re: Saffire Mix Control on MacOS Catalina

Postby Goughy » Mon Jul 29, 2019 7:50 pm

desmond wrote:*If* that is the case, and your hardware is unsupported, just stay on Mojave. That will last you a good few years. There is no real need to update, and Mojave is already pretty bleeding-edge at this time anyway...

Having given this some more thought, I think this is the best way forward. My Mac Mini is a late-2012 model and I wouldn't be surprised if the next MacOS upgrade after Catalina did not run on this machine (pure speculation, of course!).

I'd considered creating a bootable Mojave external drive which I could boot from to run Mix Control after I'd updated to Catalina, but it seems a bit of a faff and would be slow unless I used an SSD.

I have an iMac which I can use for other applications which need to be kept up to date with Catalina. It'll just need some shuffling of the software etc.

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Re: Saffire Mix Control on MacOS Catalina

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Jul 29, 2019 8:32 pm

Perfectly possible to run a USB stick with an earlier OSX on for occasional configuration tasks (and speed is really not of the essence here). Why not give it a try and if the performance is fit for purpose then do the upgrade?
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Re: Saffire Mix Control on MacOS Catalina

Postby Julian_M » Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:55 am

Long time since I posted here last as Mrs M's been quite poorly, but as I've been shopping around for another Firewire interfaces this evening (Mrs M wants to do some of her own recording) and checking compatibility, I stumbled on to this thread.

Sorry to say, but you've got it all wrong!! I'm reliably informed (by my latest bank statement), that everyone reading this thread should immediately set about becoming absolutely current with the very latest versions of MacOS as a matter of urgency.

Do not, I repeat do not, delude yourselves into thinking that your horribly out-of-date Firewire interfaces will continue to serve you perfectly well for many years to come.

[This most especially applies to owners of interfaces from RME and Apogee, but also (at a pinch as Mrs M won't know the difference anyway) those from Focusrite, MOTU, Presonus and Mackie.]

You lot really have to understand that you simply cannot continue just plodding along at 400 or even 800 Mbits/s! Embarrassingly slow! What you all need - nay deserve - is the latest, greatest, super-duperist, fastest, USB 3 and Thunderbolt interfaces. Think of the exhilaration of the speed with which your audio signals will transmit up and down those cables! Stop denying yourselves this ultimate thrill! Think of the teeny-weeny latencies you won't be able to hear anyway! Think of those massive sessions involving multiple orchestras you've always wanted to record! Think of the exquisite sonic detail you'll theoretically be able to capture if you also upgrade the rest of your entire signal chain! Out with the old - in with the new, shiny and vitally necessary equipment upgrades!

And absolutely do not under any circumstances chicken out and keep hold of that old equipment, reject entirely the possibility that you won't be able to hear the tiniest difference. Immediately and without hesitation, sell it cheap (not giving a moment's consideration to the impact of a sudden massive glut of Firewire interfaces on the secondhand market) or, preferably, if you happen to live in Yorkshire, just leave it outside your house and PM me your address - I will nobly rid you of the embarrassment, nice chap that I am.
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