July 31, 2010

Pro audio apps leave much to be desired (, , , )

by fluffy at 11:16 PM
So, I'm finally getting around to reinstalling Native Instruments Akoustik Piano on my MacBook, and I'd forgotten how much of a royal pain in the ass it is.

Akoustik came with its own player app, but this has been deprecated by Native Instruments instead of being updated to work with OSX 10.6. They suggest using the free Kontakt Player instead. Fine. However, you still have to install Akoustik itself in order to get the sample libraries for Kontakt to see - simply copying the sample data from the DVD to the hard drive isn't sufficient. Of course, the installer requires Rosetta since it's an ancient VISE-based installer that was built only for PPC. Ugh. (At least it didn't forcefully kill all my apps and reboot my computer like so many VISE installers do...)

However, after doing all that, Kontakt still isn't seeing the library (even after I specifically pointed it to every single directory of Akoustik), so I ran their Akoustik Updater with the hope that it would patch Akoustik to make it Kontakt-compatible. Only doing that caused an older version of the NI Service Center to get installed, wiping out my activation for Kontakt. And it doesn't want to activate Akoustik now.

Oh, and meanwhile, the NI Service Center immediately just updated itself to the latest version and needed to be restarted. After restarting, it updated itself and needed to be restarted. After restarting it updated itself and needed to be restarted. After restarting it found other product updates and asked me to download them. After it downloaded them it told me that the files were downloaded and asked me if I wanted to open the files. When I told it to open the files it just opened a Finder window to my Desktop folder and I still had to find and manually launch the updater myself anyway. Which was a .mpkg stored inside a .dmg. Feh.

I really wish pro audio vendors would cut it out with this product activation (or should that be "Produkt Aktivate?") horseshit and just use something like Sparkle for their updates. This is probably the single most expensive piece of software I own and I'd really like to be able to actually use what I paid for. I'm getting pretty tempted to just look for a warezed copy, seeing as how the experience is usually better.

What would have been much easier is if I could have just directly copied the Akoustik files directly from the DVDs, downloaded a Kontakt database from NI's website, and activated it in Kontakt from that database. That seems to be all that the Akoustik Updater did anyway, except that it wrapped it in a bologna sandwich of failure. And that's just annoying.


#13381 fluffy 09/15/2010 09:12 am
    Another bit of obnoxiousness: the "universal control" app (a glorified mixer and driver launcher thing) for the PreSonus FireStudio line. In order to set up your mixing chain you have to run Universal Control. While it's running, there are two windows: one for the device mixer, and one for the device selector. The device selector is set to be always-on-top. If you try to close the device selector, it just minimizes itself to the dock. Funny, I thought the 'minimize' button was supposed to do that. It also uses in-window menus (like on Windows) and there's a stupid pointless screen-level application menu bar.

    Also, updating the driver means updating this app, which requires disconnecting the hardware, rebooting your computer when it's done, and then running another manual "firmware check" process to make sure that your driver and firmware are in sync (it will happily try to keep on using the device with outdated firmware, rather than just automatically checking this at startup).

    There is no automatic notification of when a new driver/software version is available, either. Again, another case where Sparkle would have been wonderful and easy.
    #14069 fluffy 07/20/2011 01:15 pm
      And now that Lion has dropped Rosetta support entirely, well. So much for me ever using this software I paid several hundred dollars for.
      #15222 fluffy 12/26/2012 10:00 pm
        So on the plus side, Presonus Universal Control actually works pretty nicely now.

        On the minus side, all of my drum hardware really wants to work with BFD Lite. Which is PPC-only. And sucks anyway. And nobody wants to just support standard MIDI drum controls.

        Fucking pro audio bullshit. Fuck you Alesis, fuck you BFD.