Apple's T2 proving troublesome for some professional audio interface users

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited February 8
Macs equipped with Apple's T2 coprocessor are causing serious problems for some people using Thunderbolt and USB professional audio interfaces, whether for sound or video work.

T2


Those affected by the issue are encountering dropouts, pops, and other similar issues with gear brands like Apogee, Focusrite, Native Instruments, Yamaha, RME, and MOTU, according to complaints on Reddit, Logic Pro Help, Apple's support forums, and elsewhere. USB interfaces have been the most commonly impacted, but trouble may manifest to a lesser extent with Thunderbolt hardware.

Apple is reportedly aware of the glitch, as are manufacturers like RME, which have linked the problem to macOS. The cause could have something to do with macOS' system time daemon, "timed," as some people have reported success by unloading it. The daemon returns once a Mac is rebooted, however.

For audio professionals the issue may make a Mac difficult to use in recording, and simply unusable for live performances. It isn't clear at present how many are impacted by the issue, as it does not manifest universally.

The T2 chip controls a variety of Mac subsystems, including boot and security functions. It has already been blamed for some other troubles, including kernel panics, Mojave installation errors, and interfering with third-party repairs.

Macs with the T2 chip include the iMac Pro and 2018 models of the Mac mini, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro. AppleInsider has reached out to hardware vendors and Apple regarding the matter, and has not as of yet received a response.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 50
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,105member
    Another sign of Apple's quality control at its best! /s

    I hope Apple can turn their quality issues, both software and hardware around soon. The old "It just works" has been a thing of the past for too long now.

    Yes, I am aware that Apple's hardware and software was never perfect, but neither were they the clusterfuck of problems that they are now.
    edited February 7 ceek74mike54SoundJudgmentgutengelpscooter63tokyojimu
  • Reply 2 of 50
    Is this what is also causing the Adobe Premiere Pro "blown speakers" audio problems on MacBook Pro, or are they two separate software related issued?  I'm really starting to wondering if it's time to move to Windows for professional work.  I bought the hype at the Intel processor shift and there were a few really great years, but things are not what they used to be.
  • Reply 3 of 50
    Neither Windows not macOS are Real Time operating systems. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real-time_operating_system "real-time operating system (RTOS) is any operating system (OS) intended to serve real-time applications that process data as it comes in, typically without buffer delays." Collecting and dispersing audio and video is a real time application. If you want guaranteed I/O then go get a RTOS: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_real-time_operating_systems or get a hardware recording device that doesn't use an operating system at all.
    SoundJudgment
  • Reply 4 of 50
    saarek said:
    Another sign of Apple's quality control at its best! /s

    I hope Apple can turn their quality issues, both software and hardware around soon. The old "It just works" has been a thing of the past for too long now.

    Yes, I am aware that Apple's hardware and software was never perfect, but neither were they the clusterfuck of problems that they are now.
    Yes, and my 1957 Ford never had the power windows fail, never had an injector clog or an engine control computer malfunction like today's cars do. If you kept the points clean, timing set, regularly changed the spark plugs it just ran. Lets bring back the good old days!
    king editor the grateAppleExposedfastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 50
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,094administrator
    bsbeamer said:
    Is this what is also causing the Adobe Premiere Pro "blown speakers" audio problems on MacBook Pro, or are they two separate software related issued?  I'm really starting to wondering if it's time to move to Windows for professional work.  I bought the hype at the Intel processor shift and there were a few really great years, but things are not what they used to be.
    Adobe Premiere Pro issues are happening because Adobe is playing fast and loose with hardware calls.

    It's too early to tell specifically what's going on here, and this isn't the first time that an OS update has changed how audio gear works -- or doesn't.
    SoundJudgmentwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 50
    mike54mike54 Posts: 293member
    Another blunder by Apple. Not enough testing and implications not realised and lack of consultation prior to using these T# chips.
    Tim Cook has guttered the macOS development teams.

  • Reply 7 of 50
    mike54 said:
    Another blunder by Apple. Not enough testing and implications not realised and lack of consultation prior to using these T# chips.
    Tim Cook has guttered the macOS development teams.

    More like they are pushing harder to create system differentiators to appease a certain vocal community of users. They are also trusting the concept that a community of beta testers actually improves quality while in reality that access is being leveraged against them. Likely by competitors incentivizing finding bugs and hold them to release at very strategic times. 
  • Reply 8 of 50
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,965member
    I always knew there was going to be T2 issues. I just didn't think it would be with this stuff.
  • Reply 9 of 50
    Maybe this explains the many issues that I had migrating from a 2011 MBP to a new 2018 MPB at the end of the year.   The process required several attempts and OS reinstalls.   
  • Reply 10 of 50
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,615member
    I’m betting that those saarek said:
    Another sign of Apple's quality control at its best! /s

    I hope Apple can turn their quality issues, both software and hardware around soon. The old "It just works" has been a thing of the past for too long now.

    Yes, I am aware that Apple's hardware and software was never perfect, but neither were they the clusterfuck of problems that they are now.
    Oh go suck on a sour pickle. I’ve been around and owned Apple products since 1982 and the issues are about the same as they’ve always been. Meanwhile the majority of users don’t have any problems to speak of. Audio interface hardware is one of the quirkiest products out there with manufacturers tweeking where they shouldn’t be tweeking. And where were these hardware manufacturers during the beta testing period? Why didn’t they test their gear with T2 equipped machines? Why didn’t the aforementioned “professional” users test before upgrading? Why did they assume all would be well? They’re professionals, right?
    raybopscooter63AppleExposedwatto_cobramacxpressroundaboutnow
  • Reply 11 of 50
    lkrupp said:
    I’m betting that those saarek said:
    Another sign of Apple's quality control at its best! /s

    I hope Apple can turn their quality issues, both software and hardware around soon. The old "It just works" has been a thing of the past for too long now.

    Yes, I am aware that Apple's hardware and software was never perfect, but neither were they the clusterfuck of problems that they are now.
    Oh go suck on a sour pickle. I’ve been around and owned Apple products since 1982 and the issues are about the same as they’ve always been. Meanwhile the majority of users don’t have any problems to speak of. Audio interface hardware is one of the quirkiest products out there with manufacturers tweeking where they shouldn’t be tweeking. And where were these hardware manufacturers during the beta testing period? Why didn’t they test their gear with T2 equipped machines? Why didn’t the aforementioned “professional” users test before upgrading? Why did they assume all would be well? They’re professionals, right?
    Blame may fall anywhere but on Apple, eh? They are omnipotent in their being. All shall look away when Apple shows its full glory. Give it a rest sport.
    bsbeamerpscooter63saarekavon b7
  • Reply 12 of 50
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 416unconfirmed, member
    GHammer said:
    lkrupp said:
    I’m betting that those saarek said:
    Another sign of Apple's quality control at its best! /s

    I hope Apple can turn their quality issues, both software and hardware around soon. The old "It just works" has been a thing of the past for too long now.

    Yes, I am aware that Apple's hardware and software was never perfect, but neither were they the clusterfuck of problems that they are now.
    Oh go suck on a sour pickle. I’ve been around and owned Apple products since 1982 and the issues are about the same as they’ve always been. Meanwhile the majority of users don’t have any problems to speak of. Audio interface hardware is one of the quirkiest products out there with manufacturers tweeking where they shouldn’t be tweeking. And where were these hardware manufacturers during the beta testing period? Why didn’t they test their gear with T2 equipped machines? Why didn’t the aforementioned “professional” users test before upgrading? Why did they assume all would be well? They’re professionals, right?
    Blame may fall anywhere but on Apple, eh? They are omnipotent in their being. All shall look away when Apple shows its full glory. Give it a rest sport.
    Or you can switch to a virus-ridden Windows machine and deal with that clusterfuck of problems.
    pscooter63MisterKitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 50
    Doing too many things on the same port was a clear design mistake. USB has never worked properly over these combined ports and the situation is even worse with hubs nothing behaves as expected because of obscure bandwidth limitations only experts in PCIE lanes would understand. They should have put 2 new ports and 2 USB ports on it while they worked out all the issues and replacing them with something different in the future as obviously is what will happen cause the current situation is dire in particular for anyone doing audio.
  • Reply 14 of 50
    I don’t know how widespread this problem is. Fortunately I’m not using any T2 Macs at the present time.

    Truth is, the lack of problems like this is why for decades the Mac has been the go to computer for audio production.

     I can imagine many people will be staying with pre T2 Macs until this is sorted out and solved, if it is indeed solvable.
    curtis hannah
  • Reply 15 of 50
    It is to my understanding that the interfacing of the T2 chip with intel CPUs cause these glitches. I can say from experience that the T1 chip on my MacBook Pro causes relatively common crashes and glitches on the Touch Bar, hopefully they can fix it in future versions of Mac OS or hardware, but from what I've seen is most issues are fixed with a restart or two and then you don't see them again for another few days, I wonder if it's the same for the audio problems.
  • Reply 16 of 50
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,094administrator
    Doing too many things on the same port was a clear design mistake. USB has never worked properly over these combined ports and the situation is even worse with hubs nothing behaves as expected because of obscure bandwidth limitations only experts in PCIE lanes would understand. They should have put 2 new ports and 2 USB ports on it while they worked out all the issues and replacing them with something different in the future as obviously is what will happen cause the current situation is dire in particular for anyone doing audio.
    USB works fine over these combined ports. The issue here doesn't look like the Thunderbolt 3 or the USB-C spec given that the gear worked before Mojave on the port, it's with the changes that Mojave introduced in audio handling, somewhere. The same thing happened when High Sierra came out, and Sierra before that. Driver updates and OS patches solved the problems for gear that could have a solution then, and that is likely what is going to happen now.

    Regarding hubs, a poorly designed hub, pinched on bandwidth, like most USB 3.1 type C gen 1 hubs are, are indeed problematic, and the manufacturers don't spell this out well to the users. Thunderbolt 3 ones have sufficient lanes, and pass-through bandwidth across TB3 for everything to work.
    edited February 7 fastasleep
  • Reply 17 of 50
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,144member
    Neither Windows not macOS are Real Time operating systems. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real-time_operating_system "A real-time operating system (RTOS) is any operating system (OS) intended to serve real-time applications that process data as it comes in, typically without buffer delays." Collecting and dispersing audio and video is a real time application. If you want guaranteed I/O then go get a RTOS: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_real-time_operating_systems or get a hardware recording device that doesn't use an operating system at all.
    RTOS is only a name and doesnt exists as such.
    And when it does its really unworkable (of no practical use). Just like formally verified software (its maybe correct, but of no practical value).
    A normal OS should be perfectly able to support uninterrupted data streams, and have extreme low latency, even when multitasking to the max.
    Remember that at 4GHz the world around us is at a complete standstill, and even sampling a sound wave of 20KHz gives us 200000 instructions to look at the matter (is it low, is it high, wait lets first calculate the first 200000 prime numbers and look after that ...).
    So thats why computers are mostly idle (running, nothing of importance (NOP) instructions all the time) and why servers make (some) sense.

    The problem reported has probably to do with a device causing a massive rate of interrupts (T2) and harming performance in the extreme, or causing heavy high latency interrupts (like executing ‘tmutil delete localsnapshots’) also harming the system.
    In any way a big fuck up so it seems.

    edited February 7 roundaboutnow
  • Reply 18 of 50
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,069member
    FWiW, it is not just audio interfaces, same happens to some degree with external DACs/headphone amps. I get pretty frequent dropouts using three different Apogee interfaces, a pro-jekt DAC and a Beyerdynamic headphone amplifier (current 15“ MBP). There is quite some gap between these dropouts, but they happen at almost consistent intervals and seemingly unrelated to resource usage, audio levels etc. So, a clocking problem, as suggested, would make for a pretty reasonable explanation.
  • Reply 19 of 50
    lkrupp said:
    I’m betting that those saarek said:
    Another sign of Apple's quality control at its best! /s

    I hope Apple can turn their quality issues, both software and hardware around soon. The old "It just works" has been a thing of the past for too long now.

    Yes, I am aware that Apple's hardware and software was never perfect, but neither were they the clusterfuck of problems that they are now.
    Oh go suck on a sour pickle. I’ve been around and owned Apple products since 1982 and the issues are about the same as they’ve always been. Meanwhile the majority of users don’t have any problems to speak of. Audio interface hardware is one of the quirkiest products out there with manufacturers tweeking where they shouldn’t be tweeking. And where were these hardware manufacturers during the beta testing period? Why didn’t they test their gear with T2 equipped machines? Why didn’t the aforementioned “professional” users test before upgrading? Why did they assume all would be well? They’re professionals, right?
    How is a user supposed to test any existing peripherals without buying a T2 Mac first?  Nearly all of the vendors on the list in the article are heavy Apple players.  So I find it odd that you'd place blame on them and not Apple.  At the very least, it was a combined effort.  I've owned Apple products a long time too - not nearly as long as you but I've seen the ebb and flow of the product lines just the same.  They are significantly less user-centered than they used to be.  
  • Reply 20 of 50
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,094administrator
    lkrupp said:
    I’m betting that those saarek said:
    Another sign of Apple's quality control at its best! /s

    I hope Apple can turn their quality issues, both software and hardware around soon. The old "It just works" has been a thing of the past for too long now.

    Yes, I am aware that Apple's hardware and software was never perfect, but neither were they the clusterfuck of problems that they are now.
    Oh go suck on a sour pickle. I’ve been around and owned Apple products since 1982 and the issues are about the same as they’ve always been. Meanwhile the majority of users don’t have any problems to speak of. Audio interface hardware is one of the quirkiest products out there with manufacturers tweeking where they shouldn’t be tweeking. And where were these hardware manufacturers during the beta testing period? Why didn’t they test their gear with T2 equipped machines? Why didn’t the aforementioned “professional” users test before upgrading? Why did they assume all would be well? They’re professionals, right?
    How is a user supposed to test any existing peripherals without buying a T2 Mac first?  Nearly all of the vendors on the list in the article are heavy Apple players.  So I find it odd that you'd place blame on them and not Apple.  At the very least, it was a combined effort.  I've owned Apple products a long time too - not nearly as long as you but I've seen the ebb and flow of the product lines just the same.  They are significantly less user-centered than they used to be.  
    They're just as user-centered as they've ever been, if not more so. The focus has just shifted to a different kind of user.
    fastasleeproundaboutnow
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