macOS Sierra USB Audio Issues

seedylee

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 18, 2017
14
2
I am experiencing the well-documented issue with Sierra whereby certain USB audio interfaces don't work properly due to Apple's unceremonious deprecation of a certain packet streaming interface in their class-compliant USB audio driver.

It appears that Apple have fixed this in the latest release of High Sierra, but given all the performance, stability, compatibility and security issues with that particular release I am hesitant to upgrade.

What is Apple's general policy towards releasing bug-fixes for an OS that was only superseded a few months ago? For context, I purchased my iMac from an Apple store only two months ago and it shipped with Sierra, so should I expect this to be supported? It seems ridiculous that a user of a new machine should have to choose between having working audio on a relatively immature OS, or having broken audio on a more mature OS.

If Apple are unlikely to provide support for Sierra, is there some way I can easily obtain the updated kext and back-port it to Sierra?

Thanks!
 

seedylee

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 18, 2017
14
2
Actually the last series of security issues has been fixed in 10.13.2. i see no reason not to upgrade.
Still many reports of general instability and compatibility issues around the traps unfortunately.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,179
5,535
OP wrote:
"I am experiencing the well-documented issue with Sierra whereby certain USB audio interfaces don't work properly due to Apple's unceremonious deprecation of a certain packet streaming interface in their class-compliant USB audio driver.
It appears that Apple have fixed this in the latest release of High Sierra, but given all the performance, stability, compatibility and security issues with that particular release I am hesitant to upgrade."


Well, if you're currently in a situation where things AREN'T working for you, you have two choices:
1. Go forward (with an upgrade that is purported to work),
or
2. Go backward.

That's your choice, no one else can make it for you.

If it was ME, I'd "stay back" with an OS that was "known good" to me UNTIL I had experimented with "the next step forward" to the point where I was satisfied that it would work.

That means creating an EXTERNAL boot drive, which (from time to time) I boot with and "test drive", as updates become available. I've done that already.

For something like audio production work (I use Cubase and an Echo AudioFire), it's probably best to "stay back" anyway -- with a setup that you KNOW works.
The "latest and greatest" OS becomes unnecessary. What IS needed is "stability"...
 

seedylee

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 18, 2017
14
2
Well, if you're currently in a situation where things AREN'T working for you, you have two choices:
1. Go forward (with an upgrade that is purported to work),
or
2. Go backward.

That's your choice, no one else can make it for you.

If it was ME, I'd "stay back" with an OS that was "known good" to me UNTIL I had experimented with "the next step forward" to the point where I was satisfied that it would work.
Unfortunately I can't go backwards as Apple have ordained that Sierra is the minimum operating system I can use with my machine as that's the version it shipped with. I suppose I can hack around getting an earlier version to work, but I wouldn't expect having to do so such things on a brand-new, expensive computer to be necessary?

So that leaves my options as
1. Go forwards
or
2. Do nothing

It seems with Apple's relentless MacOS release strategy upgrading is often more about choosing which existing problems you wish to substitute with a set of new problems? Given that, I am really hoping there might be a way to obtain the single kernel extension from High Sierra and back-port it to Sierra? Has anyone had any experience doing this?
 

BrianBaughn

macrumors 603
Feb 13, 2011
6,349
934
Baltimore, Maryland
I haven’t seen anything regarding a particular “patch” that would fix that issue.

Which High Sierra instability and compatibility issues have you read about that particularly prevent you from wanting to install it?
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,179
5,535
Sometimes, when older hardware won't work with a new version of the OS, and the manufacturer won't issue updated software, the only choice is to... upgrade the hardware (sigh)
 

simonhayre

macrumors newbie
May 2, 2009
7
0
I was using a Logitech A-00044 USB headset which wasn't working on Sierra then I moved to High Sierra and it was working again!! up until they released 10.13.2 on Friday! Now it's not working again, so don't upgrade!!
 

seedylee

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 18, 2017
14
2
Which High Sierra instability and compatibility issues have you read about that particularly prevent you from wanting to install it?
Reported performance issues with FCPX are the key ones, it's quite possible that many other bugs have been resolved in subsequent updates. Although I'm getting quite tired of having to update every twelve months to a new major version :(

Sometimes, when older hardware won't work with a new version of the OS, and the manufacturer won't issue updated software, the only choice is to... upgrade the hardware (sigh)
This is a class-compliant USB audio device, and the Sierra audio issues impacted many class-compliant audio devices. As it's class-compliant, there are no vendor drivers to be updated.

Even if I did want to upgrade the hardware, it cost more than my Mac ;)

I was using a Logitech A-00044 USB headset which wasn't working on Sierra then I moved to High Sierra and it was working again!! up until they released 10.13.2 on Friday! Now it's not working again, so don't upgrade!!
Thanks for the heads-up! 10.13.2 sounds like a bit of a stuff-up on Apple's part.
 

BrianBaughn

macrumors 603
Feb 13, 2011
6,349
934
Baltimore, Maryland
It has seemed like a matter of luck with compatibility problems between software and hardware since the beginning of audio software and interfaces on Macs. Nothing new there.

Looking at info for my own device (M-Track Plus, “Class compliant") it would seem it’s not supported in High Sierra but it is in Sierra, which is the OS it’s being used with.

“Class Compliant” doesn’t seem to be a factor at all.
 

seedylee

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 18, 2017
14
2
It has seemed like a matter of luck with compatibility problems between software and hardware since the beginning of audio software and interfaces on Macs. Nothing new there.
That is indeed true, however in the past most operating systems have not had major updates released every twelve months with such a large degree of undocumented changes.

Have you visited gearslutz.com to see if anyone there has similar problems?
Yes, quite a few other users have had issues with class compliant audio devices, including those from Focusrite, Korg and other vendors.
 

Walter Kemble

macrumors newbie
Jun 1, 2016
9
2
Vancouver, BC Canada
Actually the last series of security issues has been fixed in 10.13.2. i see no reason not to upgrade.
There are MANY reasons not to update. My belief is that it was released prematurely and is far too buggy. Friends who are IT professionals are refusing to update for the time being. Far too much hoopla and backslapping about the new file system that drowns out the slightest dissent about updating.
NO ONE tells you that If your external drive where you keep your back up isn't also SSD - files written under the new APFS in Time Machine can only be read by APFS systems.

The main issue I had with it which took a week out of my life in the busy season of December and necessitated HOURS on the phone with Apple Support was that my usb audio interface stopped working after an itunes update in High Sierra and a security update in H.S the same day ..don't know which caused the failure. ...the device was visible in the midi setup utility but wouldn't show in the sound preferences. My Apple rep and his supervisor were both confounded and never did figure out what was causing this. I got them to walk me though rolling my compute back to it's original Sierra and my audio is fine again. Of course bringing the files back from Time Machine created with APFS to and HFS requires some acrobatics worthy of Cirque du Soliel LOL

As a professional musician/performer -having one of the most important parts of your gear cease to function because of an un-admitted bug in their system (they really wanted to blame my device rather than a glitch in High Sierra)...AND when even two Apple specialists working simultaneously cannot explain let alone fix it ...this is a very good reason to stick with an OS that is functioning perfectly.

Even after we did the roll back and it was working again, the Apple rep suggested trying the update to High Sierra again. They do their best & I always have great service in every Apple dept including iTunes -who have many times bent the rules for me in a good will gesture. (a possible cause of usb audio failure was the last iTunes update)...but Jeez...they refused to even acknowledge that a simple Google search will return page after page of people with EXACTLY the same complaint about their external USB audio failing after going to High Sierra. LoL ...I'll shut up now
cheers xoxo :)
 

carbonsystem

macrumors newbie
Apr 8, 2018
1
0
I am experiencing the well-documented issue with Sierra whereby certain USB audio interfaces don't work properly due to Apple's unceremonious deprecation of a certain packet streaming interface in their class-compliant USB audio driver.

It appears that Apple have fixed this in the latest release of High Sierra, but given all the performance, stability, compatibility and security issues with that particular release I am hesitant to upgrade.
I'm on a Mid-2011 Mac Mini and I was holding out as long as I could to upgrade to High Sierra, wanting to avoid any of the bugs that would pop up. I do a lot of video editing and audio recording. Well, I upgraded and first thing that happened is frequent audio glitches/stuttering. It happens on playback (itunes, browser, adobe suite) and export.

After finding this thread, I've unplugged my USB device (Audiobox 2XLR USB external mixer) and I haven't heard a single audio stutter. Thanks everyone for at least helping me diagnose the problem.

That being said, I recommend not upgrading if you haven't yet. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. In the past four or so years, it seems like most OS upgrades do very little for improving performance, and quite a bit to create headaches.
 

Walter Kemble

macrumors newbie
Jun 1, 2016
9
2
Vancouver, BC Canada
Still many reports of general instability and compatibility issues around the traps unfortunately.
High Sierra became a nightmare with my midi-usb interface which was functioning perfectly with Sierra. Machine bought Dec. 2016 i7 iMac SSD internal and 32 GB ..external 7,200 rpm La Cie Quadra.
Was on the phone a few days with an agent at Apple Support ...finally he referred me to his supervisor. Major glitch in Midi Setup that was unexplainable.
No where does it mention that High Sierra & it's revolutionary file system is made to work ONLY with SSD's.
In my case Apple support took me step by step through a rollback to Sierra ...I would still like to have had the compression benefits of HS ...but I'd like my usb compliant peripherals working too.
There is page after page after page of audio professionals stumped with all manner of glitches in audio output. Rollback is not so easy ...because the Time Machine file system will have been created with the new file system which is not compatible with Apple's traditional one ...so you have to select folders manually and paste them back into your machine after rollback ...USE CAUTION IN YOUR DECISION TO LAUNCH HIGH SIERRA. Cheers xoxo
 

Tech198

macrumors G5
Mar 21, 2011
13,955
1,638
Australia, Perth
I always tend to think once you start mixing low level stuff across OS's you may be asking for trouble down the line...

It may work, it may not.. But i feel its always one step to troubleshoot, because Apple decides to depreciates and/or can loose stuff across versions. of different operating systems

Classic example: High Sierra = new file system. Although backward compatible, the fact anything new, tells me how long before HFS is gone .. This is why i'm still back at Sierra as well.

Try it and see is the only thing i can suggest.
 

Partron22

macrumors 68020
Apr 13, 2011
2,471
698
Yes
Still many reports of general instability and compatibility issues around the traps unfortunately.
How many icons on the right side of your menu bar?
I've got 9, and only one, FastScripts, is non-Apple.
10.13.4 has behaved flawlessly for me, except for that one bit if malware I picked doing what should have been a std. App update. And that was easy to fix.
Gave up on lots of System tweaky apps decades ago.
Things just run better that way.
 

Walter Kemble

macrumors newbie
Jun 1, 2016
9
2
Vancouver, BC Canada
I am experiencing the well-documented issue with Sierra whereby certain USB audio interfaces don't work properly due to Apple's unceremonious deprecation of a certain packet streaming interface in their class-compliant USB audio driver.

It appears that Apple have fixed this in the latest release of High Sierra, but given all the performance, stability, compatibility and security issues with that particular release I am hesitant to upgrade.

What is Apple's general policy towards releasing bug-fixes for an OS that was only superseded a few months ago? For context, I purchased my iMac from an Apple store only two months ago and it shipped with Sierra, so should I expect this to be supported? It seems ridiculous that a user of a new machine should have to choose between having working audio on a relatively immature OS, or having broken audio on a more mature OS.

If Apple are unlikely to provide support for Sierra, is there some way I can easily obtain the updated kext and back-port it to Sierra?

Thanks!
I went for BTO iMac in Dec. 2016. Maxed every upgrade in processor/graphics/RAM available to future proof as best I could. It shipped with Sierra. I wanted High Sierra for the new video compression but waited until it had undergone several update/bug-fixes.

When the risky elements appeared dealt with I went for it. My computer worked just fine for a few days then my "USB Compliant" sound card by M-Audio stopped working. I worked with Apple Care and the rep for a couple of days before he referred me to his supervisor and we tried this and that for another day.

Admittedly the device in question, Fast-Track Pro by M-Audio, was purchased in 2007. 10 years is a good run ....still ...it worked perfectly in Sierra and not only didn't function in High Sierra, in the Audio Midi Set Up utility it bizarrely showed up but could not be accessed or deleted.

The supervisor rep and I went over troubleshoot after troubleshoot for two days until he was stumped. The only solution he had was I ought to buy a new sound card. Apple does well for me and I have no complaints. You ought to know in this instance they:
•WILL NOT RECOGNIZE the multitude of pages Google returns with a search for "Issues USB Audio High Sierra."•

I had another solution -roll back my system to Sierra. Before you update to High Sierra you ought to be aware that rollback is not quite as simple because HS uses an entirely new file system that is only compatible with SSD's. Therefore -anything created with HS cannot simply be repopulated using Time Machine -you will get a message that those files were created with a different system. You have to copy and paste them manually.

My M-Audio went back to working perfectly with the Sierra rollback and even then the Apple Rep wanted me to try updating again.

I politely declined and am sticking with Sierra for now even though I drool at the idea of the extra video compression offered in HS.

Also before you upgrade be sure your internal and external drives are SSD. In my case only my internal is & I'm not prepared to spend $2,000+ just now for an external SSD the size I'd need.

Good luck whichever you choose. xoxo