Mac USB3 compatible MIDI Interfaces?

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Mac USB3 compatible MIDI Interfaces?

Postby SeventhStar » Sun Jul 06, 2014 9:25 am

Is anyone connecting a synth, via MIDI, to a newer Mac computer with USB 3 ports and OS X Mavericks?

If so, what MIDI interface are you using, that actually works correctly?

For example, M-AUDIO states, on their website, that ALL of their USB 2 MIDI interfaces, including their infamous MIDISports, are NOT compatible with USB 3. I have read various comments on the Internet, written by people claiming to have problems with M-AUDIO interfaces and USB 3. Along with other comments about issues with USB 2 Audio / MIDI Interfaces, by other manufacturers, on USB 3 Macs.

MOTU, in contrast, claims their USB 2 MIDI interfaces are compatible..

It seems no company is making an interface designed specifically for USB 3..

Is anyone successfully using a MOTU MIDI interface (such as the "FastLane") with a USB 3 Mac? If you are using something else that is working, what is it?
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Re: Mac USB3 compatible MIDI Interfaces?

Postby madtheory » Sun Jul 06, 2014 2:42 pm

No, they state that they're not qualified. Which means they haven't gotten around to testing them properly, so cannot guarantee they will work. Doesn't mean they won't work though!
http://www.m-audio.com/index.php?do=sup ... aaa49eba80

The same issue of time for testing exists with their older audio interfaces too (you'll see they don't have Mavericks drivers, and won't say for sure if and when they will). My guess is that either they've scaled down their testing operation (that fits with the recentish drop by Avid), or else support for older products has become overwhelming, as evidenced by the wording on the above link. It's really describing audio interface problems. MIDI doesn't crackle when it goes wrong. Seems to me someone is just ticking boxes as best they can.

But I would not be jumping to conclusions like "not compatible with USB 3.0". This is popular gear, surely we'd have seen an internet flare up by now?
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Re: Mac USB3 compatible MIDI Interfaces?

Postby SeventhStar » Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:22 am

madtheory wrote:But I would not be jumping to conclusions like "not compatible with USB 3.0". This is popular gear, surely we'd have seen an internet flare up by now?


Thanks for the response, but I am assuming you don't have a USB 3 Mac..

I have found complaints on the Internet specifically with the MIDISport 2x2 and USB 3. Complaints of poor latency performance. The MIDISport is about the least expensive midi interface one can buy. That is why I was looking at that particular model.

Unfortunately, I personally know no one who has both a USB 3 Mac and a MIDI and/or audio interface. I'd like to get a used MIDI interface. If I don't know whether or not it will work properly, with good latency performance, I'm hesitant to do that.

I thought surely there would be someone else, besides myself, on this forum, who has a USB 3 Mac and a MIDI synth. Maybe someone who does will see this thread, and can speak from personal experience.
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Re: Mac USB3 compatible MIDI Interfaces?

Postby madtheory » Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:35 am

SeventhStar wrote:I thought surely there would be someone else, besides myself, on this forum, who has a USB 3 Mac and a MIDI synth. Maybe someone who does will see this thread, and can speak from personal experience.

I agree.
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Re: Mac USB3 compatible MIDI Interfaces?

Postby UltimateOutsider » Thu Oct 16, 2014 7:05 pm

Native Instruments has started adding "USB 3 not necessarily supported" notes on their site for their various interfaces and DJ devices with interface features.

I'm not a Mac user, but I got rid of my NI Komplete Audio 6 exactly because it simply wasn't usable on my laptop's USB 3 ports.

USB 3 is a lot better on paper than it is in practice, for a large number of reasons. I imagine Macs have it better just because they at least have consistent chipsets across the board, whereas there are millions of potential PC configurations... but there are many reasons why the music industry is more or less skipping USB 3 (and adding caveats about using their USB 2 devices on USB 3 buses).

EDIT: Oops, just noticed this thread is several months old. :oops:
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Re: Mac USB3 compatible MIDI Interfaces?

Postby meatballfulton » Thu Oct 16, 2014 7:27 pm

USB has always been better on paper than in practice :?

We are now in a state of total confusion because USB3 and Thunderbolt have become the standard in new computers forcing interface mfrs to play catchup.

Not surprisingly, Thunderbolt has the advantage today...there are mfrs selling native Thunderbolt interfaces and a $30 adapter from Apple allows FW devices to connect directly to Thunderbolt ports.

As far as USB, even mfrs that championed FW in the past (MOTU, Yamaha, Focusrite) have shifted over to USB 2.0 products. How well they work with USB3 machines is anyone's guess. With both Mac and Windows OS releases on the horizon as well, it's a lousy time to be putting together a new computer-based rig :oops:
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Re: Mac USB3 compatible MIDI Interfaces?

Postby Marco Koeller » Mon May 04, 2015 9:25 am

SeventhStar wrote:- If so, what MIDI interface are you using, that actually works correctly?
- MOTU, in contrast, claims their USB 2 MIDI interfaces are compatible..

t seems to be a really bad situation. I also did some further research. It seems the manufacturers of MIDI-Interfaces and MIDI-Controllers really dont care about upgrading their gear or make it "real" compatible with the USB3-bus. Still, many many devices as MIDI-Interfaces, MIDI-Controllers, MIDI-Keyboards or DJ-Gear are affected. In 2015 ! It seems the problem is not the USB 3.0 bus itself, it seems as if lousy drivers and firmware of the gear ist the true problem. In some cases, also an incompatible chipset maybe the problem.

Of course, on their websites they all state, that their devices will also work on the USB3 bus. When you look closer in communities or manufacturer forums worldwide, nearly everyone seems to have the problem with devices originally running on USB2 or USB1.1. I tried myself with a MOTU MIDI-Express 128, running OSX 10.8 (Mountain Lion), 10.9 (Mavericks) and 10.10 (Yosemite). Sadly, without success. Currently, i cant use MIDI on Mac to trigger my gear. I am still researching other possibilities, maybe someday there will be solid firmware and drivers and upgrades.

So, i contacted Steinberg, Native Instruments, MOTU, M-Audio, ESI and others to get a statement. And guess what? All they´re saying is, that the solution "could be" you connect a powered USB2-hub between your computer and the device you want to be running. Truly, in most cases even this wasnt a solution to the big community of people who cant get their devices running on an USB3-bus.

Can this be? USB3 is a connectivity standard for a longer time now, its not an exotic protocol. But, the manufacturers of MIDI-Interfaces and MIDI-Controllers hasitating to update their gear and firmware or privide solid drivers.

Yes, i always here this argument: "But, think about. USB3 would be overkill speaking about midi data throughput, as USB3 offers a huge bandwidth". - And? What shall this mean? Most modern computers are shipped with USB3 only. What, if none MIDI device is running proper? Buying an older or used computer which still offers USB2 connectivity? Then you will have fewer performance, for example when also working with audio.

Its a shame that customers using audio and midi gear seems to be customers of 2nd class. Okay, audio devices are going Thunderbolt. But what about running MIDI-Interfaces in the future? What about stable drivers and supporting firmware?

Its really a shame that an industrial standard connectivity port is ignored by nearly all manufacturers.
And guess what? There are already first plans for USB 4.0 (or maybe a USB3.0 gen2).

Maybe other users can report here, if they have a working MIDI-Device (Interface or Controller) on their USB3?
Last edited by Marco Koeller on Mon May 04, 2015 11:50 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Mac USB3 compatible MIDI Interfaces?

Postby Marco Koeller » Mon May 04, 2015 11:47 am

meatballfulton wrote:With both Mac and Windows OS releases on the horizon as well, it's a lousy time to be putting together a new computer-based rig

True words! Its getting worse and worse. This gear aint working, that gear aint working. It can be that it works, it can be that it dont. As i figured out, the problem isnt the USB 3.0 bus protocol, its more that many manufacturers have not upgraded their drivers or, much more important, their firmware.

So far, i have no problems with the new OSX 10.10.3 and Logic Pro. It works like a charme. But currently, this is worthless, as i cant use my outboard gear via MIDI.
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Re: Mac USB3 compatible MIDI Interfaces?

Postby Marco Koeller » Mon May 04, 2015 1:21 pm

Upgrade: as far as i figured out, the good, old Emagic AMT-8 runs proper under USB 3.0 and even OSX 10.10 Yosemite

Solved: If the generic Apple driver doesnt work for you, go to the Apple Support Website and download the Unitor Family-Driver 2.5.

What follows is a little handcraft to get it installed on OSX 10.10. Mount the downloaded image. Rightclick onto image > Show Package Content. Unpack the file "Archive.pax.gz" from the folder "content". You´ll find a MIDI driver called "EmagicUSBMIDIDriver.plugin". Place this file in the folder "Library > Audio > MIDI Drivers" onto your Mac HD. Now it should work as it does here for me.

A 15 years old MIDI-Interface solves the problems.
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Re: Mac USB3 compatible MIDI Interfaces?

Postby SeventhStar » Tue May 05, 2015 9:01 am

Marco Koeller wrote:Upgrade: as far as i figured out, the good, old Emagic AMT-8 runs proper under USB 3.0 and even OSX 10.10 Yosemite

Solved: If the generic Apple driver doesnt work for you, go to the Apple Support Website and download the Unitor Family-Driver 2.5.

What follows is a little handcraft to get it installed on OSX 10.10. Mount the downloaded image. Rightclick onto image > Show Package Content. Unpack the file "Archive.pax.gz" from the folder "content". You´ll find a MIDI driver called "EmagicUSBMIDIDriver.plugin". Place this file in the folder "Library > Audio > MIDI Drivers" onto your Mac HD. Now it should work as it does here for me.

A 15 years old MIDI-Interface solves the problems.


Thanks for all the detailed info Marco! Sounds like the time is ripe for someone to design a good, fully compatible (with updated drivers), USB3 MIDI interface (at least 2x2, and 4x4 or 6x6), and bring them to market for a reasonable price..

I successfully ran a MOTU Fastlane 2x2 MIDI interface with my Multi-Trak, on a USB3 Mac Mini running Mavericks this past summer.. I've not used the Multi-Trak or Fastlane, with my Mac, since upgrading to Yosemite (I was a late upgrader). When I get some time, I'll test them on Yosemite. Still need to change out the memory battery in my Multi-Trak. Have been putting that off for too long it seems..
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Re: Mac USB3 compatible MIDI Interfaces?

Postby Marco Koeller » Tue May 05, 2015 7:02 pm

But anyway, good to know that the Fastlane also works with the newer Macs and on the USB 3.0 bus. The Fastlane would have been my backup if i wouldnt have discovered the good, old Emagic AMT-8.

As i figured out, on Yosemite (for example) there is the MIDI driver for the AMT-8 already pre-installed with the OS. Maybe its because Apple took over Emagic several years ago, so they wanted to make sure, that Logic will run proper together with the AMT-8 in the future.
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Re: Mac USB3 compatible MIDI Interfaces?

Postby Marco Koeller » Tue May 05, 2015 7:05 pm

SeventhStar wrote:Sounds like the time is ripe for someone to design a good, fully compatible (with updated drivers), USB3 MIDI interface (at least 2x2, and 4x4 or 6x6), and bring them to market for a reasonable price..

I think that wont happen the next years. USB 3.0 was released some years ago, if there would have been plans for an USB3 MIDI device, it already would be available.

The main reason is an argument like this: USB3 would be overkill for the few data throughput of MIDI. Dont understand this as modern equipment has to be connected via modern connection standards. But, if they think so, let them die for good.
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Re: Mac USB3 compatible MIDI Interfaces?

Postby john909kid » Tue Oct 13, 2015 1:39 am

The Edirol interfaces work fine with USB 3 ports, and Roland have updated drivers for OSX 10.9 + 10.10.
So UM880, UM550, UM-ONE Mk2 all work fine.
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Re: Mac USB3 compatible MIDI Interfaces?

Postby PerryHoupsos » Sun Oct 01, 2017 11:57 pm

I am using a Roland UM-ONE through a USB-Type C Multi Hub to connect with a MBP running 10.12.6. After much trouble, I found a driver that is recognized by Audio MIDI Setup. Here is the link for an OS 10.12 driver:
https://www.roland.com/us/support/by_pr ... s_drivers/
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