Author Topic: Mac Mini G4, FW audio interfaces, ASIO.  (Read 3641 times)

Online ssp3

  • Platinum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 714
Mac Mini G4, FW audio interfaces, ASIO.
« on: August 14, 2023, 06:37:14 PM »
What is the current state of audio FireWire interfaces, their ASIO drivers and Mac Mini G4 running OS9? Does anyone here have fully working, "no problems", preferably multitrack rig?

Here's my experience so far - I took home my Metric Halo 2882 interface, hooked it up to Mac Mini 1.42, installed all drivers+ASIO drivers, started their  own (MH) SpectraFoo analyzer (legit, not [k] version) and it immediately crashed upon me. The same interface + software works without any problems on various TiBooks..
I got the interface working with WaveBurner, but I hear some distortion during playback. I haven't checked Cubase or Nuendo yet, but I suspect I might run into problems there too. Crashing SpectraFoo is not a good sign..
I did try the same setup with Sound Manager related extensions off but it made no difference.

I mean, I know that there are problems with Mac Mini sound, i.e. no sound, but shouldn't the ASIO driver for particular hardware bypass everything related to onboard audio?

What's your experience, guys? Is Mac Mini Pro-audio qualified, or is it just a "proof of concept" thingy at the moment?
« Last Edit: August 15, 2023, 07:53:54 AM by ssp3 »
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

Online DieHard

  • Global Moderator
  • Platinum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2373
Re: Mac Mini G4, FW audio interfaces, ASIO.
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2023, 08:38:26 AM »
Quote
I mean, I know that there are problems with Mac Mini sound, i.e. no sound, but shouldn't the ASIO driver for particular hardware bypass everything related to onboard audio?

Yes, 100%  I have tried this and the ASIO driver in Cubase and other ASIO based apps will definitely "ignore" the built in sound and use the corresponding ASIO driver.  As a side note, on the mini, when selecting the soundmanager ASIO driver for "built-in G4 audio" will cause a massive system, crash, this ASIO driver (that works on all G4 desktops), definitely is a "no go" with the mini.
Quote
What's your experience, guys? Is Mac Mini Pro-audio qualified, or is it just a "proof of concept" thingy at the moment?
OK... for me the jury is still out on this idea of making the mac mini a workable DAW also...

When tested (over a year ago), the M-audio transit, as far as a mixing tool, worked out pretty well.  ASIO drivers loaded without issue in Cubase VST 5/32, Reason, Sonicworx, and all stand-alone instruments.  I was able to run the mini for several hours, loaded old projects with 32-bit audio, and mixing and exporting... BUT

As an actual working DAW, recording new tracks, sequencing, etc using the FW port with an interface was a total nightmare, most likely because I went the M-Audio route. I ran out of time, but after 2 weeks of hell it was apparent that BOTH the M-Audio FW410 and the FW audiophile were a total NO GO under OS 9.

I wanted to get a cheap MOTU 828 from ebay, but no time for this.  I will definitely get back to "mini testing" in the future, but for now, I also have yet to hear of a full "Mac Mini G4 DAW" in OS 9 existing in the wild :(

Online ssp3

  • Platinum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 714
Re: Mac Mini G4, FW audio interfaces, ASIO.
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2023, 01:40:41 PM »
When tested (over a year ago), the M-audio transit, as far as a mixing tool, worked out pretty well.

Yeah, but Transit is USB, not FireWire. I was hoping to hear that at least someone has audio over FireWire working.

Quote
...I also have yet to hear of a full "Mac Mini G4 DAW" in OS 9 existing in the wild :(

This is pitty. Mac Mini is so small and quiet, yet powerful enough that it could be an ideal candidate for non PCI cards based professional audio setup. It has enough processing power to host a bunch of quality VST plug-ins inside the multitrack DAW and it can handle external monitors, which can provide large enough real estate for DAW mixer/plug-in windows. 17" Al PowerBooks are too bulky for such job (IMO), plus they have FW800 problem. And their old CCFL displays are rubbish by today's standards.
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

Offline rvense

  • Veteran Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 132
  • Lombard & son
Re: Mac Mini G4, FW audio interfaces, ASIO.
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2023, 02:11:50 PM »
I'm going to pick up a MOTU 828 to try with my Mini. I have a stable Sawtooth + RME setup that I'm quite happy with but I'd like the option of moving to a Mini. I'm afraid it'll be a bit of a downgrade in conversion quality from what I have right now though.

Online IIO

  • Platinum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4443
  • just a number
Re: Mac Mini G4, FW audio interfaces, ASIO.
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2023, 05:03:43 PM »
the 828mkII works fine, yet firewire is a bit a weak point on the mini because we only have 1 port and might want to connect HDs to that.
insert arbitrary signature here

Online ssp3

  • Platinum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 714
Re: Mac Mini G4, FW audio interfaces, ASIO.
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2023, 05:57:48 PM »
So, ll0, you have a 828MkII based working setup? Simultaneous record and playback? No glitches? ASIO driver?
« Last Edit: August 15, 2023, 08:00:34 PM by ssp3 »
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

Online IIO

  • Platinum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4443
  • just a number
Re: Mac Mini G4, FW audio interfaces, ASIO.
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2023, 09:00:16 PM »
i´ve used it for a few days, 8 channel recording, 2 channel replay, mostly max/msp, both soundmanager and ASIO. behaved exactly like on a desktop mac.

but for the future i see USB solutions with audio minis.
insert arbitrary signature here

Offline rvense

  • Veteran Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 132
  • Lombard & son
Re: Mac Mini G4, FW audio interfaces, ASIO.
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2023, 12:32:07 AM »
I like the mixer features the MOTU has, like being able to route Sound Manager to any output.

I've already got an Edirol UA25, maybe I should try that. My experience with an Emagic USB interface on iBook G3 with OS 9 back when they were new was less than optimal, though.

Online DieHard

  • Global Moderator
  • Platinum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2373
Re: Mac Mini G4, FW audio interfaces, ASIO.
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2023, 08:41:24 AM »
Quote
the 828mkII works fine, yet firewire is a bit a weak point on the mini because we only have 1 port and might want to connect HDs to that.

Just get an HD that you can daisy chain, as long as it's powered, 2 FW devices are fine

The ultimate interface (from research last year), that has OS9 drivers (still avail on Roland site) is the Edirol/Roland FA-101, I was hesitant to announce this one yet since there were not that many below $70 on ebay, but at this point... I don't think I will have time to track one down

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/edirol-fa101

I could have picked one up for $45 plus shipping, but I slept on it :(

By the way it has 2 FW ports, so you can connect an HD to it

I would greatly appreciate a report posted here how it works, if anyone gets their hands on one.

Online IIO

  • Platinum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4443
  • just a number
Re: Mac Mini G4, FW audio interfaces, ASIO.
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2023, 04:12:14 PM »
using a hub is not suitable for any application, but it might be the way to go when you put the mini in a 19" enclosure anway. (on one of my various to do lists... if i ever find it back)
insert arbitrary signature here

Offline teroyk

  • Platinum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 623
  • -
Re: Mac Mini G4, FW audio interfaces, ASIO.
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2023, 06:06:10 AM »
using a hub is not suitable for any application, but it might be the way to go when you put the mini in a 19" enclosure anway. (on one of my various to do lists... if i ever find it back)

I think 19" reck enclosure specially made fo Macmini G4 motherboard would be hit, I would be buy it (and I am not the only one) if it has passive cooling solution even with under clocking to 1 Ghz and it can have even 4U height (that size passive copper heatpipe should be enough even for over clocking).
Bonus would be that modem port solution to serial port for it.

Online IIO

  • Platinum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4443
  • just a number
Re: Mac Mini G4, FW audio interfaces, ASIO.
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2023, 04:43:03 AM »
i have no idea about proper ventilation but i guess that can be learned. and it can´t get much worse than in the original enclosure.

a small audio/midiinterface, usb and firewire hubs, and eventually 2-3 SSDs would be included in the case.

and of course that annoying PSU.

noobs like me can use 2 HU rack enclosures made of plastic, so that you can easily drill holes into it to mount the required sockets. the base for the sockets can be a 19" panel for neutrik oder midi connectors (aka 16 bigger wholes already in the panel - you can easily get anything smaller into that, too. i recently saw some for 3 euro per piece...)

a bit an issue is the DVI port, but i guess it´s doable.
insert arbitrary signature here

Online IIO

  • Platinum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4443
  • just a number
Re: Mac Mini G4, FW audio interfaces, ASIO.
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2023, 04:47:01 AM »
it will be max/msp OS9 based and can be remotely controlled. not sure yet if will call it "bapycara mistresso" or "nordrack engine G7" but you get the idea.

i already used minis for a matrix mixer, max synths, and koblo synths, another application would be a standalone VST host effect.
insert arbitrary signature here

Offline FBz

  • Platinum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 666
  • Fury-Fungus FdB/FBz
Re: Mac Mini G4, FW audio interfaces, ASIO.
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2023, 05:42:51 AM »

                       IIO “creating” in his… la-BOR-A-tory (studio). :o

Picked up some Corian™ (think plexiglas, but stronger) countertop material the other day, thinking about case building.
But, I do wonder about electrical conductance.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corian

“acrylic polymer & alumina trihydrate (ATH), a material derived from bauxite ore.”

*Sorry, off-topic. :'(

Offline rvense

  • Veteran Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 132
  • Lombard & son
Re: Mac Mini G4, FW audio interfaces, ASIO.
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2023, 02:26:20 PM »
ssp3, other than the crash you mention, how do you like the Metric Halo? And do you happen to know if they're compatible with OS9 even if they've had all firmware updates and such installed? It seems like they received support for a long time.

As far as I can tell it's the most "high end" Firewire interface you can get for OS 9, and only the highest conversion quality is good enough for my weird noise doodles.

Offline vectrex

  • Enthusiast Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 61
  • new to the forums
Re: Mac Mini G4, FW audio interfaces, ASIO.
« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2023, 04:03:57 PM »
ssp3, other than the crash you mention, how do you like the Metric Halo? And do you happen to know if they're compatible with OS9 even if they've had all firmware updates and such installed? It seems like they received support for a long time.

As far as I can tell it's the most "high end" Firewire interface you can get for OS 9, and only the highest conversion quality is good enough for my weird noise doodles.

Not to hijack, but i might add, further to this discussion:

can a Metric Halo 2882 that has had the 2D upgrade be used with the OS9 drivers or does it require a stock 2882 unit?  Those are increasingly difficult to source as almost any on the market have often been upgraded to at least the 2D card.

There are further mysteries about the '+DSP' functionality in OS9. Has anyone had this working before? Did it require an additional software license or was it hardware specific to how it enabled options in the software?

Online ssp3

  • Platinum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 714
Re: Mac Mini G4, FW audio interfaces, ASIO.
« Reply #16 on: August 18, 2023, 04:05:54 PM »
ssp3, other than the crash you mention, how do you like the Metric Halo?
I like it very much. It is sort of swiss army knife for me. Wordclock, Adat, AES/EBU, 96kHz... Converters are of decent quality, but, of course, not in the highest league of Pacific Microsonics, Meitner or Grimm. ;)  Many people use it in live setups and in mastering studios.
Rebadged versions vere also sold under Sonic Studio (former Sonic Solutions) brand name.
Very flexible internal routing, although way too complicated for my taste and my needs. What I also don't like is that phantom powering is activated by software. If not careful, one can easily damage his/her precious ribbon mic by mistake or when in a hurry. But yes, Metric Halo is the best and at the same time not the most expensive FireWire AD/DA that one can get.

Quote
And do you happen to know if they're compatible with OS9 even if they've had all firmware updates and such installed?

This is somewhat complicated. I can only speak about 2882 or ULN-2, don't know about the other models.

Original, non 2d upgraded units will regain full functionality in OS9, if flashed back to old firmware.
2d card equipped units will have only limited functionality in OS9.
2d card equipped units can not use old, OS9 compatible firmware.

Limited functionality means that all input/output streams will work, but internal patchbay will not. This is because the old OS9 version of MIO Console app does not know how to configure "new" DSP on 2d cards.

MH converters can be flashed back to any firmware. All firmwares and flashers are available on MH website.

2d card equipped units can be brought back to original, pre 2d state by removing the 2d card and installing back the original bridge board (2882 and ULN-2) and Adat board (2882 only). ULN-2 will lose the Adat functionality in that way.
Of course, this will be possible only if the original owner upgraded his unit to 2d and kept the old bridge and Adat boards.

If the unit was bought already as "2d Expanded", then the only chance is to try to get the old bridge and Adat boards from MH support.

Quote
As far as I can tell it's the most "high end" Firewire interface you can get for OS 9, and only the highest conversion quality is good enough for my weird noise doodles.

Word! :D
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

Online ssp3

  • Platinum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 714
Re: Mac Mini G4, FW audio interfaces, ASIO.
« Reply #17 on: August 18, 2023, 04:31:26 PM »
There are further mysteries about the '+DSP' functionality in OS9. Has anyone had this working before? Did it require an additional software license or was it hardware specific to how it enabled options in the software?

'+DSP' on the front panel means that the unit shipped with second Analog Devices SHARC DSP chip soldered in place and was ready for extra processing power/more plug-ins, which required additional, paid license.
I think the plug-ins became available only by the time when MH already moved to OSX, but I might be mistaken. One of my "2d Equipped" 2882's has full +DSP license, but, to be honest, I'm not very enthusiastic about tearing it apart, swapping boards etc. only to satisfy my own or someone's curiosity. Sorry, vectrex  ;)
« Last Edit: August 18, 2023, 06:05:59 PM by ssp3 »
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

Offline rvense

  • Veteran Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 132
  • Lombard & son
Re: Mac Mini G4, FW audio interfaces, ASIO.
« Reply #18 on: August 18, 2023, 11:03:43 PM »
Original, non 2d upgraded units will regain full functionality in OS9, if flashed back to old firmware.
2d card equipped units will have only limited functionality in OS9.
2d card equipped units can not use old, OS9 compatible firmware.

Do you know if I can tell from a picture if a 2882 has the 2D upgrade install? Do the ADAT ports look different?

Offline rvense

  • Veteran Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 132
  • Lombard & son
Re: Mac Mini G4, FW audio interfaces, ASIO.
« Reply #19 on: August 18, 2023, 11:08:41 PM »
Original, non 2d upgraded units will regain full functionality in OS9, if flashed back to old firmware.
2d card equipped units will have only limited functionality in OS9.
2d card equipped units can not use old, OS9 compatible firmware.

Thanks for the rundown, this is gold. They're a bit too expensive to just buy one to try it out!

Do you know if I can tell from a picture if a 2882 has the 2D upgrade install? Do the ADAT ports look different?