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Potential audio problem with new iMacs
Old 18th October 2013
  #1
Registered User
 

Potential audio problem with new iMacs

I ordered one of the new quad core iMacs as soon as they became available (27" / 3,4 GHz / 3TB Fusion drive). Upon arrival I soon discovered that I got audio pops and drop-outs through my Roland Octa-Capture. At first I thought it was a setting in the interface or in Logic 9, but it turned out the problem affected audio from all applications. After calling support a couple of times they adviced me to get a replacement computer. I'm still waiting for it to arrive.

Others are also having audio problems with the new iMacs, as this thread on Apple forums attest: Clipping sound on new iMac

The best hunch is that the problem stems from the Fusion drive somehow, but that's just speculation right now.

Just a heads-up... Does anyone here have any similar experiences with the new iMacs? Maybe you're even lucky enough to have gotten everything working perfectly?
Old 18th October 2013
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
Brian R's Avatar
 

I have an i7 27" 3.4 but SSD (I was afraid of Fusion drive's, just sounded gimmicky & potentially problematic for music--and based on this post, I was right) and have had not one single problem. Ever.

So... My guess its the FD.
Old 18th October 2013
  #3
Gear Head
 
Biolumin3sc3nt's Avatar
 

Just make sure you dont have the Roland hooked up through a USB expansion hub. Run it into its own port in the Imac. My friends would always do that, and wonder why they got pops. No Bandwidth - too many damn things hooked up to one hub. Also - Check your Buffer Settings too
Old 18th October 2013
  #4
Lives for gear
 

I'm running a fusion drive on my mac pro with no audio issues. I suspect the problem is something else. Apple discussions are down, I'll try the link again later.
Old 24th October 2013
  #5
Registered User
 

I got my replacement iMac and it also had problems with my interface — same hiccups and small pops. So with nothing to lose, I upgraded to Mavericks. This replaced my hiccups with harsh digital distortion, which comes in intervals. When I first start up Logic everythkng sounds fine, but after a short while the problems start.

I'm going to try to get hold of another interface to test. Also, updating to Logic X might be a solution?
Old 24th October 2013
  #6
Gear Head
 

Same Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by r4bbit View Post
I got my replacement iMac and it also had problems with my interface — same hiccups and small pops. So with nothing to lose, I upgraded to Mavericks. This replaced my hiccups with harsh digital distortion, which comes in intervals. When I first start up Logic everythkng sounds fine, but after a short while the problems start.

I'm going to try to get hold of another interface to test. Also, updating to Logic X might be a solution?
Just picked up a new 27" iMac with Fusion Drive. Connected to Apogee Quartet. Sounds great at first but audio degrades over 10-15 minutes until it turns to complete garbage. Been working with apogee on a fix but we've come to the conclusion its the iMac. Sounds like these fusion drives are trouble makers.

The problem comes up whether I'm running OSX 10.8 or Mavericks.

Let me know how it goes on your end. Installing mavericks on my old 24" imac to check but I've already run the quartet through it with no problems. Seems like an Imac hardware issue.
Old 24th October 2013
  #7
Registered User
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by esimonson718 View Post
Just picked up a new 27" iMac with Fusion Drive. Connected to Apogee Quartet. Sounds great at first but audio degrades over 10-15 minutes until it turns to complete garbage. Been working with apogee on a fix but we've come to the conclusion its the iMac. Sounds like these fusion drives are trouble makers.

The problem comes up whether I'm running OSX 10.8 or Mavericks.

Let me know how it goes on your end. Installing mavericks on my old 24" imac to check but I've already run the quartet through it with no problems. Seems like an Imac hardware issue.
Well I'm sorry to hear that. But at least I know I'm not the only one with this problem. I've been trying lots of different stuff the last couple of days – re-installing drivers, testing different settings, but nothing helps.

I have to make a pretty quick decision whether I should send this iMac back as well, so I'll try to get hold of another interface this weekend. I'll let you know how it goes.
Old 24th October 2013
  #8
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by r4bbit View Post
Well I'm sorry to hear that. But at least I know I'm not the only one with this problem. I've been trying lots of different stuff the last couple of days – re-installing drivers, testing different settings, but nothing helps.

I have to make a pretty quick decision whether I should send this iMac back as well, so I'll try to get hold of another interface this weekend. I'll let you know how it goes.
Just got off the phone with apple care. Went through everything andtried a bunch of stuff. No luck. Still there. Updated old imac 24" to mavericks and hooked up the apogee quartet. Works flawlessly.

It's definitely a hardware issue with the imac. Going to head out to the apple store and swap it out for another one. On the fence about the fusion drive. Will probably do without one and see how it works out. Save a few $$. Will let you know how it works out.

Did you swap out yours for a non-fusion drive version?
Old 25th October 2013
  #9
Lives for gear
Running a 2013 i7 imac with 256SSD into Pro Tools HDN and via usb into Dangerous source. No issues so far... Apogee driver issue??
Old 25th October 2013
  #10
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Dpro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProPower View Post
Running a 2013 i7 imac with 256SSD into Pro Tools HDN and via usb into Dangerous source. No issues so far... Apogee driver issue??
Apogee does not use drivers anymore. Ya it got me. LOL

They rely on Core audio they do have firmware for the Units but I also run a Quartet with the latest firmware with a 2012 Mac Mini 2.3 i7 with SSD no problems.
I would definitely say its a hardware issue. I have always been suspect of factory Fusion drives because the HD side is a 5400 rpm drive. If it was a 7200 rpm it would be less circumspect. As 7200 rpm drives are already fast enough for audio, whereas IMO 5400 rpm drives are a little to slow for audio IMO.
Old 25th October 2013
  #11
Gear Head
 

Just got back from the apple store. Horrible. What a mess. The apple care rep was great and called the apple store and gave them all the info and let them know I was coming so I could quickly swap out my imac.

They gave me real trouble. My imac was purchased from B&H, an authorized apple retailer. The configuration on the model was not stock so the apple store would not let me exchange it. The best they could do was order exactly the same configuration for me from apple and have me wait 7-10 days to receive a new one. They couldn't return/exchange in store because the "genius" said there was no way to get it into their inventory since they don't stock that exact configuration.

Well, after hrs of tech support and $50 round trip cab ride it looks like I'll need to have apple contact b&h and convince them to let me swap it rather than ship it to apple myself and wait 7-10 days.

The apple rep was great though and filed all of this with consumer care and they are reimbursing me for all of the trouble. Too bad the geniuses at the retail store can't get it together.

Anyway, almost positive this is imac hardware related, could be fusion drive or it could be that this custom configuration was not put together properly. I'm going to order the stock 3.4ghz with 1TB 7200 rpm drive. Will let you know how it all works out.

Making a note to stay away from anything labelled fusion or a custom imac build from apple.
Old 25th October 2013
  #12
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Dpro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by esimonson718 View Post
Just got back from the apple store. Horrible. What a mess. The apple care rep was great and called the apple store and gave them all the info and let them know I was coming so I could quickly swap out my imac.

They gave me real trouble. My imac was purchased from B&H, an authorized apple retailer. The configuration on the model was not stock so the apple store would not let me exchange it. The best they could do was order exactly the same configuration for me from apple and have me wait 7-10 days to receive a new one. They couldn't return/exchange in store because the "genius" said there was no way to get it into their inventory since they don't stock that exact configuration.

Well, after hrs of tech support and $50 round trip cab ride it looks like I'll need to have apple contact b&h and convince them to let me swap it rather than ship it to apple myself and wait 7-10 days.

The apple rep was great though and filed all of this with consumer care and they are reimbursing me for all of the trouble. Too bad the geniuses at the retail store can't get it together.

Anyway, almost positive this is imac hardware related, could be fusion drive or it could be that this custom configuration was not put together properly. I'm going to order the stock 3.4ghz with 1TB 7200 rpm drive. Will let you know how it all works out.

Making a note to stay away from anything labelled fusion or a custom imac build from apple.
Ya i went through a headache once when I bought a refurbished Macbook Air off the Apple website and it was warped. Same deal I was told I would have to send it in and wait since it was ordered through the online store. I wound up calling Customer service in Cupertino at Apple HQ. They called the store and made arrangements for me to do a swap at the store. I walked in with the warped unit and wound walking out with a replacement unit. Basically you have to let them know that downtime is not acceptable.
Old 25th October 2013
  #13
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by esimonson718 View Post
Just got back from the apple store. Horrible. What a mess. The apple care rep was great and called the apple store and gave them all the info and let them know I was coming so I could quickly swap out my imac.

They gave me real trouble. My imac was purchased from B&H, an authorized apple retailer. The configuration on the model was not stock so the apple store would not let me exchange it. The best they could do was order exactly the same configuration for me from apple and have me wait 7-10 days to receive a new one. They couldn't return/exchange in store because the "genius" said there was no way to get it into their inventory since they don't stock that exact configuration.

Well, after hrs of tech support and $50 round trip cab ride it looks like I'll need to have apple contact b&h and convince them to let me swap it rather than ship it to apple myself and wait 7-10 days.

The apple rep was great though and filed all of this with consumer care and they are reimbursing me for all of the trouble. Too bad the geniuses at the retail store can't get it together.

Anyway, almost positive this is imac hardware related, could be fusion drive or it could be that this custom configuration was not put together properly. I'm going to order the stock 3.4ghz with 1TB 7200 rpm drive. Will let you know how it all works out.

Making a note to stay away from anything labelled fusion or a custom imac build from apple.
Phone support and the Apple store are completely different divisions and phone support can tell you whatever the hell they like because they don't actually have to follow policy in the real world and often they have no idea what actual store policy is.

I'll bet the phone guy never called the store. He created an incident for the SN of your unit and logged the details of your conversation. Next, he put you on hold and went to the public Apple store website and booked an appointment for you.

Also, this is why you don't buy Apple products from 3rd party retailers. You buy elsewhere and try to make an exchange at the Apple store, no dice. Take it up with B&H. If you had bought direct from Apple you would have walked out with another Mac this afternoon.

And of course the poor guy who waited on you this afternoon is a complete moron for following corporate policy and keeping his job. It's never the fault of the user who didn't bother to learn about the return policy of a $1,200+ unit before he whipped out his credit card.


Source: ex apple portables, network, and education support
Old 25th October 2013
  #14
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whatupdoe? View Post
Phone support and the Apple store are completely different divisions and phone support can tell you whatever the hell they like because they don't actually have to follow policy in the real world and often they have no idea what actual store policy is.

I'll bet the phone guy never called the store. He created an incident for the SN of your unit and logged the details of your conversation. Next, he put you on hold and went to the public Apple store website and booked an appointment for you.

Also, this is why you don't buy Apple products from 3rd party retailers. You buy elsewhere and try to make an exchange at the Apple store, no dice. Take it up with B&H. If you had bought direct from Apple you would have walked out with another Mac this afternoon.

And of course the poor guy who waited on you this afternoon is a complete moron for following corporate policy and keeping his job. It's never the fault of the user who didn't bother to learn about the return policy of a $1,200+ unit before he whipped out his credit card.


Source: ex apple portables, network, and education support

Yikes, take it easy. Get some fresh air or maybe quit your job at the apple store. I'm posting here because I have a similar problem to the to the forum member that started the thread. I'm trying to figure it out and post the outcome to help other people out in the same situation. The apple rep knew where I purchased the computer and sent me to the apple store. B&H does not accept returns on computers or software. It made sense to go to the apple store at the time and they would have accepted the return if it wasn't a custom iMac build but since they don't stock a model with the same specs they can't scan it into their inventory .

Anyway, for those that are having the same problem I will post the results when I exchange tomorrow if it works out
Old 25th October 2013
  #15
Having the same issue here with an i7 Haswell build also with a 1tb fusion drive. My focusrite 2i2 was behaving the exact same way as you guys described - but I managed to fix it by running the device in class compliant mode. Then I upgraded to Mavericks and now it's back...

Anyway - I've been working on a iMac with the last build of the Ivy Bridge processor with a 1TB fusion drive on for two months at work without a single issue...
Old 25th October 2013
  #16
Tui
Gear Guru
 
Tui's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dpro View Post
7200 rpm drives are already fast enough for audio, whereas IMO 5400 rpm drives are a little to slow for audio IMO.
This is somewhat OT, but I thought I'd mention that my current drive for streaming audio and smaller sample libraries (<2GB) is a portable WD 2TB, USB3 Passport drive. It gives me nearly 100 MB/s read and write throughput and is almost totally silent. It was inexpensive, too. It is much faster than my Lacie FW800 drives, which admittedly are a few years old, yet they do run at 7200 while making a fair amount of noise.
Old 25th October 2013
  #17
Gear Maniac
 
Brento's Avatar
 

Wow.. So lesson here is dont get a fusion drive. Yikes! I was thinking of doing that but now I'm definitely not going to!
Old 25th October 2013
  #18
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Stratgirl's Avatar
 

I just picked up the same iMac as the OP (27" / 3,4 GHz / 3TB Fusion drive), and I'm having the same exact issues. It started with cracks and pops, but after 10 minutes or so of having Logic open, the audio starts to also degrade to digital distortion, and I have to close and re-open Logic to revert to just cracks and pops. What a pain in the arse.
Old 25th October 2013
  #19
Lives for gear
All this makes it painfully clear that APPLE does not do Beta Testing for Music Professionals with there software or Computers. People are buying new machines and trying to run a 2 or 3 tracks and it wont work? You could buy a 30 year old Atari Amiga that will do that for you stable.

Apple no longer gives a SH*&T about Pro Audio users! I hate to say it but the stuff happening shows that is a true statement!

Truly sad for the most expensive hardware in the Industry. I am seriously considering never buying another MAC after my 2011 Imac. It is less efficient now than when I bought it. All because of newer buggy software and operating systems.
Old 25th October 2013
  #20
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stratgirl View Post
I just picked up the same iMac as the OP (27" / 3,4 GHz / 3TB Fusion drive), and I'm having the same exact issues. It started with cracks and pops, but after 10 minutes or so of having Logic open, the audio starts to also degrade to digital distortion, and I have to close and re-open Logic to revert to just cracks and pops. What a pain in the arse.
I've forwarded this thread and a thread on apple support to a senior tech lead at apple to make sure they're aware of the issue.

Was able to swap out the imac at B&H for a new 3.4ghz 1TB 7200 HD stock version. Running Mountain Lion. No problems. I don't believe Mavericks is the problem as everything is fine running the apogee and mavericks on my old 24" and the the audio problem was there with the 3.2ghz fusion drive imac and mountain lion. So must me a combination of mavericks / fusion drive or the new hardware / firmware that supports the new imacs with fusion.

Hope this helps and the model I purchased was the $1,999 standard 27" 1TB 7200

Cheers,
Eric
Old 25th October 2013
  #21
Lives for gear
 

I've seen lot's of reports of issues with the Fusion Drive.

The Fusion Drive uses firmware, to determine frequently used files.

The frequently used files are stored on the flash portion of the drive.

I have yet to see a definitive answer about how long this process takes, and if it is compatible for real-time recording.

I have a Momentus Hybrid dive in my MBP, the flash memory behaves more like a large cache, quickly moving data from the hard disk platter.

Old 25th October 2013
  #22
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Dpro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reborn View Post
All this makes it painfully clear that APPLE does not do Beta Testing for Music Professionals with there software or Computers. People are buying new machines and trying to run a 2 or 3 tracks and it wont work? You could buy a 30 year old Atari Amiga that will do that for you stable.

Apple no longer gives a SH*&T about Pro Audio users! I hate to say it but the stuff happening shows that is a true statement!

Truly sad for the most expensive hardware in the Industry. I am seriously considering never buying another MAC after my 2011 Imac. It is less efficient now than when I bought it. All because of newer buggy software and operating systems.
Wow talk about overreacting. First off it has nothing to do with the software. Several of us pointed out the fact that we do not run Fusions drives and have no problems .

Apple did not come up with the Fusion Drive concept for the Graphics intensive/Audio intensive user. It came up with the Fusion Drive as a way for the average user to get a drive that was almost SSD type speeds for less money.

When I upgraded to my 2012 Mac Mini last spring I had the chance to get a Fusion drive. It looked exciting but rather than just jumping on the bandwagon I looked into it. After a bit of reading about the Fusion drive I figured out it might be less than ideal for Audio production given the way it operates.
Now Apple is not forcing anyone to buy a Fusion drive machine. In fact it costs more to buy a Fusion drive equipped Mac. They have installed 1TB 5400 rpm drives because technically the platter access speed of 1TB 5400 rpm drive is equal to a 500GB 7200 rpm drive. Now I have not tested this out but some people have used them and said they will work.

Though to say Apple is screwing us and not paying any attention? Ya going a little over board there.
Old 25th October 2013
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reborn View Post
All this makes it painfully clear that APPLE does not do Beta Testing for Music Professionals with there software or Computers. People are buying new machines and trying to run a 2 or 3 tracks and it wont work? You could buy a 30 year old Atari Amiga that will do that for you stable.

Apple no longer gives a SH*&T about Pro Audio users! I hate to say it but the stuff happening shows that is a true statement!

Truly sad for the most expensive hardware in the Industry. I am seriously considering never buying another MAC after my 2011 Imac. It is less efficient now than when I bought it. All because of newer buggy software and operating systems.
In your soliloquy you have missed the fact the fusion drives are 5400 rpm. Computer recording 101 states that 7200 is needed. That and/or there are issues with these new kinds of drives in relation to daw use. Those who r always first using new implemented tech r always the beta testers. That's why facilities rarely upgrade computers.

Many people seem to think apple tests for audio daw users and interfaces. it's the smallest of the smallest niche market.

Enough guinea pigs make an issue out of the fusion drives and daw use they will fix it
Old 25th October 2013
  #24
Tui
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Quote:
Originally Posted by work2do View Post
Computer recording 101 states that 7200 is needed.
No. See my post further up.
Old 25th October 2013
  #25
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gdoubleyou View Post
I've seen lot's of reports of issues with the Fusion Drive.

The Fusion Drive uses firmware, to determine frequently used files.

The frequently used files are stored on the flash portion of the drive.

I have yet to see a definitive answer about how long this process takes, and if it is compatible for real-time recording.

I have a Momentus Hybrid dive in my MBP, the flash memory behaves more like a large cache, quickly moving data from the hard disk platter.


Another note to make to those still in need of help: Try to adjust your Energy Saver settings in system preferences. My apoggee software and osx are still buggy about dropping connection with the quartet. I check off "put hard disks to sleep when possible" and so far so good. Running solid.

This new "50% more energy efficient" feature is very suspect when it comes to hard drive performance.

Hope this helps
Old 26th October 2013
  #26
Here for the gear
 

Hi guys.
Here is another guy having the exact same issue. Bought a 27" i7 3.5GHz with 1TB Fusion Drive 3 weeks ago. I tried Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 and RME Babyface audio interfaces. BOTH have these sound cracks und complete dropouts you mentioned before. Tried all USB ports, completely reinstalled the system several times - I tried EVERYTHING but nothing worked for me.

Today I called the Apple Support. They gave me a "Capture Data" application and will now analyze this captured data in the next days. But I don't think they will find something.

I'm really upset. If at least we would know EXACTLY what the reason is...
Old 26th October 2013
  #27
Here for the gear
 

Me again.

Just want to let you know, what I am trying now.
Since some of you think the Fusion Drive is the bad guy, I will download Mavericks and install it on an external HDD. Then, I will boot from the external and give the audio interfaces a try. If it works then, that would totally identify the Fusion Drive as bad guy, wouldn't it?
Old 26th October 2013
  #28
Lives for gear
 

I use Macs, but I've never had or tried a Fusion drive, so I don't know that much about the process, but doesn't it make sense when doing something critical like Audio to use dedicated Audio drives, instead of using a method like Fusion Drive to split files between drives?

Fusion drive just seems like a way for people who can't afford a large SSD to gain more space and a speed increase. For audio, I'd rather just keep the SSD and regular drive separate, so I decide what goes to each drive and when.
Old 26th October 2013
  #29
Registered User
 

I got a new interface at a store with a 10 day return policy just to make absolutely sure where the problem lies. The new interface works much better, but there's still interference.

I think I'm done with these iMacs now. The second one is going back as well, and I'll just wait and see if this gets resolved. Maybe I'll get one with a regular drive eventually. Right now I'm just sick of tech support and trouble shooting. My 2009 iMac will have to suffice for a while more.
Old 26th October 2013
  #30
Gear Maniac
 

So is ANYONE having issues with the newest iMac that is using a SSD and NOT the fusion drive? We are thinking of getting one next week...

Thanks!
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