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Snow Leopard experience


cfmsp
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Just thought I'd share some quick Snow Leopard observations of what I've experienced thus far.

 

I installed Snow Leopard on two Macbooks last night - one a 2006 Macbook Pro and the other a 2009 Macbook Air.

 

First off, performance under Snow Leopard is very zippy. A major performance improvement, especially in the Macbook Air with SSD.

 

I was very disappointed that Amarra would not run properly on the Macbook Pro. I got an error that 'required extensions' were not found, and was directed to the PACE site to download the latest version of their Anti-piracy software (this is software that iLok uses).

 

The PACE site claimed that their latest version (5.7.2) supported OS X through 10.6, so I thought, this shouldn't be a problem. I downloaded it, and attempted to install, only the install wouldn't complete. It got hung up 'registering updated components'. After 15-20 minutes of being stuck, I killed the installer.

 

I then uninstalled the iLok extension (that had failed) - using the uninstaller that came with the download - and attempted to reinstall the new extension. I then got an error - waiting for another installation to complete. By now, I'm pretty disappointed, to put it mildly. It's one thing for an app not to work properly with a new OS software, but if anti-piracy software causes problems - that's pretty bad - pathetic, in my view.

 

After much more wrangling - including another complete restart - and reinstall of Amarra, I managed to get Amarra to work - although it is NOT clear what sequence of events allowed this. As near as I can tell, I took off the iLok, attempted to play demo mode, and then inserted the iLok, and it started working. Seems like a very tenuous situation still - I'm waiting for the 'required extensions missing' message to pop up again, as I was never able to get the installation to complete on the Macbook Pro.

 

Amarra sounded none the worse for the wear and tear, and the frazzled nerves on my part. Suffice it to say, this will likely be my LAST experience with software requiring iLok.

 

On to Snow Leopard - Audio Midi Setup is new as are most of the Apple applications that were delivered to the Applications folder during install. ITunes is not new however, and when I ran Xslimmer to reduce the 'fat binaries' on all my new Apple apps, I noticed that most were 'slimmed' down to Intel 64 binaries, including Quicktime, while iTunes remains Intel 32. Presumably we'll have a new release shortly.

 

The most interesting new feature of Audio Midi Setup is the 'info' tab on the Preferences panel. It shows the currently installed version number for each component/framework of the Core Audio bundle. Now the 64 bit Core Audio sleuthing can begin.

 

Clay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Apparently by default Snow Leopard loads with a 32 system kernel, unless you have a recent Xserve. If your computer is compatible, then you can force it to 64 bit by holding down some keys on startup.

 

I have absolutely no idea what the significance of this is, it's one of those slightly paranoid sounding rumours that gives me a headache when I try to find out more. For example, it seems that the 32 bit kernel doesn't stop 64 bit applications from running... so I'm inclined to say why worry... but then I read something about drivers which makes me think maybe it's important if you want the smoothest data path.

 

I'm planning on doing the update since my macbook was new this year, but am waiting for someone else to do the canary work, coward that I am.

 

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The 64 bit kernel will really only shine and have big advantages once it sees more than 32 GB of RAM. Not a short-term issue. ;)

 

The 32 bit kernel will play/use any 64 bit application just fine. All MAC machines that have EFI64 (64 bit firmware extensions; i.e most late model MACs) can reboot and run the 64 bit kernel EXCEPT for standard EFI64 Macbooks. Apple has disallowed my Macbook, for example, to use the "hold 6 and 4 keys on reboot" (the method for the rest of you to boot to 64 bit mode) so as to not bog down these 2-4GB machines while drivers and apps are tested and released. Dunno how long this governor will be in place. Any early Macbook or other equipment with only EFI32 will not, of course, boot to 64 bit mode either....ever.

 

So, net/net, most can boot to 64 bit if they want (hold down 6-4 keys) but it's kind of a moot (boot) point. Enjoy the new 64 bit apps in either mode, hope that players like iTunes and Amarra get to 64 bit someday and take advantage of a possibly improved core audio stack, and enjoy the fact that the OS now runs faster, is a 7-10 GB smaller footprint, and has slicker utiltiies.

 

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Also had problems with Amarra. Wouldn't install on my MBP13 after the Snow Leopard installation. When I tried copying the installed version from my Mac Pro, I got the same error message you did and then had problems installing the iLok extension from the Pace website. I found in the Pace FAQ a known problem relating to installing with the internet connection on, so I turned it off and successfully installed the extension, which allowed me to start Amarra. It apparently recognized the iLok because it runs and doesn't give me the intermittent silences, HOWEVER the Amarra display is screwed up and it doesn't seem to be communicating with iTunes. When iTunes moves to the next song, Amarra shuts off, and if I manually switch to a new song in iTunes, Amarra keeps playing the old song. Clearly there are problems.

 

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This has to do with memory management. If you have over 32 GB of RAM, you would use the 64 bit Kernal. This has nothing to do with running 64 bit programs or elements of OSX 10.6. Since the Mac laptops and desktops don't have this amount of memory, the default is the 32 bit Kernal.

 

Wavelength Silver Crimson/Denominator USB DAC, Levinson 32/33H, Synergistic Research Cables and AC cables, Shunyata Hydra V-Ray II with King Cobra CX cable, Wilson Sasha WP speakers with Wilson Watch Dog Sub. Basis Debut V Vacuum turntable/ Grahm Phantom/Koetsu Jade Platinum. MacBook Pro 17\" 2.3GHz Quad Core i7, 8GB RAM, Pure Music, Decibel, Fidelia, AudioQuest Diamond USB Cable.

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I had no problems with Amarra/Snow Leopard on 2 computers. I had do download the iLok program and after install, everything worked fine. I guess I was lucky. I'm using 3162 for Amarra.

 

Wavelength Silver Crimson/Denominator USB DAC, Levinson 32/33H, Synergistic Research Cables and AC cables, Shunyata Hydra V-Ray II with King Cobra CX cable, Wilson Sasha WP speakers with Wilson Watch Dog Sub. Basis Debut V Vacuum turntable/ Grahm Phantom/Koetsu Jade Platinum. MacBook Pro 17\" 2.3GHz Quad Core i7, 8GB RAM, Pure Music, Decibel, Fidelia, AudioQuest Diamond USB Cable.

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Any impressions on the sound quality with snow leopard compared to 10.5 with and without amarra?

 

 

 

 

Macbook pro 15\" 2.53ghz core 2 duo with Amarra, 1 TB storage, 6 GB memory -> USB locus-design nucleus cable -> EA overdrive DAC -> -> modded parasound JC1 monoblocks -> cadence ARCA loudspeakers + REL studio III

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Any impressions on the sound quality with snow leopard compared to 10.5 with and without amarra?

 

Not yet, sorry. I installed SL yesterday, but was unable to listen right away due to some family commitments, however, I am going to try and do some critical listening today.

 

Peace,

 

Lee

 

Locus Design Group[br]www.locus-design.com[br]www.cryo-parts.com[br]www.cryo-freeze.com

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I just traded some e-mail's with Jon @ Sonic Studios, he is working on a new installer that will operate correctly under Snow Leopard. I was unable to get Amarra to install after a clean install of Leopard/Snow Leopard either.

 

So, he is aware of the problem and working on it. SS is a great company--very responsive.

 

Peace,

 

Lee

 

Locus Design Group[br]www.locus-design.com[br]www.cryo-parts.com[br]www.cryo-freeze.com

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I perceive a more solid bass and a more clean hash-free midrange with the supposedly benign Snow Leopard upgrade. This is with iTunes/Amarra, neither of which has been upgraded (i.e still same 32 bit apps). This is also strange in that I'm comparing HUD (Amarra) to previous HUD (Amarra), not really Core Audio (cuz I wasn't acutely aware of raw iTunes sound before or after anyway). Likely placebo, but dunno.

 

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ted_b, yeah I understand it can be difficult, more so as the swap between 10.5 and 10.6 is not available. Does amarra still make a difference when bypassed and not bypassed.

 

One of the reason amarra makes a difference, from what I understand is that it is able to maintain a better real time throughput and 10.6 might be facilitating this better.

 

Macbook pro 15\" 2.53ghz core 2 duo with Amarra, 1 TB storage, 6 GB memory -> USB locus-design nucleus cable -> EA overdrive DAC -> -> modded parasound JC1 monoblocks -> cadence ARCA loudspeakers + REL studio III

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Jon has posted a new installer for 3162. There was a bug in SL and the iLok that out of his control. In any event, Amarra is installed and working on my MBP with SL.

 

Peace,

 

Lee

 

Locus Design Group[br]www.locus-design.com[br]www.cryo-parts.com[br]www.cryo-freeze.com

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This is all I see: Amarra 1.0.1 Installer (build 3162)

 

http://www.sonicstudio.com/releases/Amarra_101_Installer_3162.zip

 

That is it. He just updated the same link with the new installer.

 

There is a newer beta version floating around out there (3170), but I would encourage everyone to hold off until Jon posts it as a "real" release as it is still a work in progress.

 

Peace,

 

Lee

 

 

Locus Design Group[br]www.locus-design.com[br]www.cryo-parts.com[br]www.cryo-freeze.com

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Clay,

 

They should make you reboot after installing the new iLok extensions. I just assumed so and rebooted and it worked first time.

 

My MB Air on the other hand has not taken well to SL and it keeps retreating back to 10.5.8 during the install no matter if I use remote install or off the DVD. I get a white screen for 5 minutes and the it reboots back into 10.5.8 like nothing has happened.

 

Thanks

Gordon

 

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Gordon,

 

Thanks for the wise advice. Unfortunately, this problem was with the install itself, before even getting a chance to re-boot. The installer hung up 'registering updated components', or something like that, and I had to force quit.

 

Ironically, I had NO problem installing Snow Leopard on my Macbook Air, nor Amarra either, although the MBAir is no music server.

 

Question for you - would Amarra's iLok and your Proton co-exist on the Airbook's single USB output - via 'Y' cable?

 

thanks,

clay

 

 

 

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Lee says:

 

"So, he is aware of the problem and working on it. SS is a great company--very responsive."

 

Kudos to Jon for being responsive - we really appreciate it - but, in my opinion, a 'great company' would have been proactive, rather than just responsive. Snow Leopard has been available to test for months, and even the general public has known the actual release date since Sunday or Monday.

 

Lee also says:

 

"There was a bug in SL and the iLok that out of his control."

 

The bug could be with iLok, but not (very likely) Snow Leopard. It also could be with the installer. PACE had already released 5.7.2 which supposedly supported OS X 10.6 (per it's website last night).

 

Since Sonic utilizes/provides the iLok Extension (as a condition of running Amarra), it's Sonic's responsibility (e.g., to test it and to provide a working version with their software), irrespective of whether an iLok bug was 'out of his control'.

 

Clay

 

 

 

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