Symphony 32 and OSX 10.6.8

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In case you're tempted to contact Apogee's Customer Support about this issue--which I find incredible, in light of the highly promoted Apogee/Apple technology partnership, and Apogee's consequent position of washing their hands of the Apple's updates, and their impact on their installed user base--this is a chat log I just had, that may be of interest. The names and personal info have been removed to keep this on as professional a level as possible (albeit, I was pissed--if I may say that on this forum--and will continue to be until I get a reasonable response from Apogee or Apple).


6/27/2011, 11:00 PST

Please wait for a site operator to respond.
You are now chatting with 'XXXXX'
XXXXX: Hello!  I am an Apogee customer service representative here to assist you with your tech support needs.  How can I help you today?

Customer: Hello. Over the weekend, my Mac OS X 10.6.7 system was automatically updated to 10.6.8. Consequently, my Symphony 32 PCI-e card is now incompatible and has brought my DAW (Logic Pro 9) to its knees. This couldn't have happened at a worse time. Give that these OS updates are automatic on my system, and there was no notice or warning sent to me by Apogee beforehand, reverting to 10.6.7 is impossible (since I don't use Time Machine to do backups-which is a system option.) So, the questions I have are: 1. Do you have an upgrade path to the Symphony 64 PCI-e card? 2. Is this card compatible with my Rosetta 800? I've also contacted my Sweetwater representative about this problem, but have yet to hear back, and my need is urgent! I have a session scheduled today, and my system is down as a result of this.

XXXXX: I apologize for your frustration and for the inconvenience. The Symphony 64 card will definitely work with the Rosetta, but we do not have any upgrade programs. Unfortunately, reverting to 10.6.7 is the only way around this at this time.

Customer: Well, that's *very* disappointing--to say the least. Apogee and Apple are promoted as "partners." This is one of the reasons I purchased the system in the first place.
I would, at least, expect Apple's upgrade system to detect the Symphony 32 and warn the user of the incompatibility.
And you're tell me there's nothing you can do for me?

XXXXX: No, Software Update doesn't have anything to do with our products. That's why it's a good idea to turn off automatic updates on a mission critical work system.
Unfortunately, at this time, the only workaround I have is to revert to 10.6.7.
I understand your frustration and, again, I apologize, but that is the only workaround right now.

Customer: What's that have to do with not having an upgrade program in place to allow users to purchase the 64 and restore their systems? Are you partners with Apple, or not?

XXXXX: I would have to inquire with my manager about an upgrade for you, as we don't have a program in place. Can I reach you at your email address?

Customer: Yes, but please do so very soon. I need to get this fixed ASAP. Like yesterday. Please escalate this in any way possible. If I don't hear back about this in a timely manner, I'll be escalating this in any fashion that I can. This a huge hiccup in the promotion of the Apple/Apogee partnership, and devalues that aspect of your offerings considerably. (And, by the way, Apple's software updates--considering all this--indeed do have a lot to do with your products. That's an unacceptable position for your company to take!)

XXXXX: What I was saying is that Software Update doesn't update our products.
But, yes, I will send an email to my manager right now.
Also, what is a phone number for you?
I see it on the pre-chat survey info.
Is the xxs-xxx-xxxx a good one to reach you at?

Customer: You're missing the point. Apogee--being an Apple technology partner--should be communicating *before* they roll-out updates to their OS, such that, at a minimum, a warning is presented to the user. You must realize that Apple pushes automatic updates, and that it isn't something you turn off on "mission critical" systems. In fact, if the system is mission critical, OS updates are something of a safeguard--since they often contain urgent bug fixes. Yes, it is my cell number.

XXXXX: Yes, I agree, we should definitely have known about the incompatibility sooner and I apologize for the delay in communication and the problems it has caused you.
I have sent the email to my superiors. Someone should be getting in touch with you very soon.

Customer: Thank you. By the way, being an engineer, and having some insight on such matters, and I know that a software update system can check for what's installed on the target computer. In any case, I would appreciate this be handled in an appropriately urgent manner, and your help in doing so. I'll also be sending Sweetwater's management a copy of this correspondence log. Thanks again!
HI there, welcome to the LUG. As frustrating an experience as this no doubt was and is for you, I note the following:

You state that you are an engineer.

As a DAW user, it is reasonable to assume that you are familier with basic system housekeeping. Sorry if this is a false assumption on my part.

It is an age old golden rule that, prior to allowing any significant changes to be made to your system, you ensure that there is a working, reliable backup of your system in the state it was in right before installing the update. Not doing this is, quite frankly, asking for trouble - but you already know that by now.

In short, you deserve some sympathy for having got caught out by this. There is a lesson to be learned - never, ever make changes to your system without having a 100% bulletproof method to revert back.

Allowing automatic updates without a method of backing up (why don't you use time machine?) is increasing the risk of something going wrong.

Without wishing to be seen to jump in to defend Apogee, a few things are worth noting:

This update does not effect the current Symphony 64 Card. AFAIR, the 32 card was introduced back in OS 10.5 (or was it 10.4) days. I have no way of knowing, but it may be the case that tests were not carrried out to check whether the 32 card would work with 10.6.8.

Apogee very quickly acknowledged this issue, the statement on their website, together with the work of spreading this news through resources such as the LUG will hopefully make many aware of this before they get caught out. FTR, I immediately mailed a good friend who uses the Symphony 32, and was able to warn him. He is still on 10.6.7. Sorry you didn't get any warning. Next time, maybe wait a few days before updating anything ....

Finally, it remains to hope that Apogee will treat this as a priority and provide a solution ASAP.

One more thing, and please understand, I am writing this without making any sort of guarantee that it may work. You take complete responsibility, neither I nor the LUG will be held in anyway accountable should things go wrong:

You could try first of all backing up your system HD using something like Time Machine, super duper, CCC etc. Then load your OSX 10.6 install DVD into your optical drive and re-install OSX. Once this is done, update to 10.6.7 and you might be OK. I want to mention that I have no personal experience, have never had to do this myself.

I emphasize - do this entirely at your own risk!

good luck and kind regards

Thanks Mark!...

Mark: Thanks for the welcome. And, yes, user/consumer-beware lesson learned. Thank you.

And I will take steps in the future to attempt to avoid such catastrophes.

However, after carefully considering your reply, I have to say that my opinion is that your whole mindset on this issue is incorrect.

First of all, your assertion is that I need to protect my system from Apple updates?! While this might be a real problem, it needs to be addressed by Apple, on behalf of its customers. Further, we're not talking about a virus crippling my computer, acquired from surfing porn sites. This is a highly-promoted and heavily-recommended (to the point of having built-in automation of its installation within the OS's suite of utilities) system update from the *manufacturer,* presumably to prevent malfunctions, not to create them. Why should the customer be first to be considered at fault for not taking preventative measures to backup the entire system, instead of focusing on why a heavily-facilitated update wasn't sufficiently tested to not break known (and, by the way, co-designed, or at the very, very least, approved) hardware?

Second, why is it that none of my other hardware has stopped working after the update? If the OS-X updates are dangerous enough to take out my audio card, then what makes my hard disk controller hardware safe? Or anything else to do with backup, for that matter. So, therefore, what's the point of backing-up anything? The backup disk and network facilities that I have in my Mac Pro could be rendered inaccessible. So, that's a reasonable scenario?: Disassembling your hardware to retrieve the data so that you can rebuild and troubleshoot the computer.

Third, follow the money. Who's going to receive the windfall of this hardware suddenly become incompatible? And who's going to pay the $1000.00 for the updated audio card? I've heard of planned obsolescence, but this seems a little more egregious and malicious than that. (And, no, I'm not a conspiracy nut.)

Fourth, this isn't some hardware relic of an audio interface. It's still being sold by many mainstream vendors here in the U.S. Go to:, and see for yourself. It's not marked as a discontinued model with the vendors. BH Photo & Audio states: "Requirements - OSX." How angry would you be after purchasing this card and wasting your time trying to get it to work?

Fifth, why is being relegated to, and stuck in, the past considered a viable workaround? What if one of the bugs that the Apple update is designed fix is to prevent damage to my system in some other form? Perhaps to stem the destructive potential of a new virus?

Lastly, I never received an announcement from Sweetwater or Apogee about this. And I don't think, after paying that kind of money, the onus should be on the user to sift thought information on the 'Net, to discover the need to head-off such a problem. I've also just searched and found no such announcement of incompatibility, and its dangers.

I understand the reality of managing a computer-based system, and that backing up is a wise thing to do. But your mindset, as I said, is incorrect, and actually enables incompetence (or worse) within Apple and Apogees' development and marketing groups. I would recommend that you not put the weight of this incident, and general problem, on the shoulders of the users, and paying customers who've purchase entire Apogee systems from reputable vendors, new.

And, by the way, it's been many hours since I left my phone number with the helpful folks in Apogee's Customer Support, and not a peep. As you can probably tell, I'm not pleased, and continue to consider this situation to be unacceptable.
Update: Letter to Apogee Customer Service

Just an update on all this. Customer Service did get back to me, through the original representative. They offered to give a break on a new 64 card, as a resolution of the problem. Also, informing me there was no feature benefit to the new card, other than more channels. The following is my reply, with the names and such blocked out, as before.

In summary, guys, we have to stop acting as enabling doormats, with no push-back against companies who receive our hard-earned money for their products and support, based on their claims and promotions. The pervasive attitude among users I see regarding these acts of greed and/or incompetence (without accountability) by such companies, is acquiescence and acceptance. IMHO...


Hello XXXXX (and XXXX <the Customer Service manager>).

Look...because of this issue, and the way your company is handling it, I've decided to dump my Apogee gear, and upgrade to one of your competitor's systems.

I understand that you've just been holding the company line, which is your job. But the decision by your sales and marketing staff that allows an Apogee product (that is still on store shelves with no disclaimers of it being discontinued or incompatible with the current version of OS-X, by the way), is unconscionable, and a slap in the face to your customer base who have these cards installed.

Remaining with an old operating system version is *not* a viable workaround. I can't believe that you're telling your customers that, and noting it on your Website. OS-X is updated periodically for reasons of system stability and protection, along with evolution. It's simple not a reasonable position to take with your customers!

It's my belief that this was not a technical issue for your company. Being conversant in engineering, technical issues, and software, from long professional experience in the industry, I'd love to have a conversation with an engineer from your company to explain exactly why this incompatibility issue was unavoidable. I highly doubt you could produce such a person.

It should be noted that of all the OS-X updates I've installed over the years, none have crippled existing hardware on my system. Should such a thing occur, Apple would or should escalate the issue and expedite a follow-up update to address it. But it's impossible in your case...why is that?

This is more likely one of those poor decisions made by companies, weighing the cost of loosing a few customers avoiding the cost of maintaining the compatibility of installed systems of the existing user base, and diverting company resources to it. And/or a classic error of forcing your users to upgrade, instead of seducing them to upgrade, with new, improved products and features.

Further, only offering to provide a solution to get customers' systems working again, for a price--regardless of the required amount--is simply insulting, and tantamount to blackmail. Particularly, when there is no functional benefit to the customer. 64 channels is 48 more than I would ever need. The 32 channel card, as it stood, was double.

Of all the problems to experience with your products, this is the most unexpected, given your widely-publicised, close partnership and exclusive integration with Apple platforms. I have to ask: exactly what is the benefit of this partnership to the customer? The obvious implication was the avoidance of compatibility issues, and tightly integrated, elegant solutions resulting from close collaboration with Apple, in design and implementation.

Or am I missing something? Please tell me!

Sincerely, (Customer name, and complete contact information)

RESULT: NO RESPONSE FROM APOGEE. (Sadly, as expected...)
I split and moved these posts to their own thread.

Have you not tried reverting back to 10.6.7?


Integral to the Issue of Moving to 10.6.8

Hi Mark. Well the whole reason I'm spending my time to post this information is to aid people who are having the same issue with the 32-channel Apogee card, and your announcement (and promotion) of the upgrade to 10.6.8 within the original thread.

But you're the moderator, and can do what you want, I guess.

If you read the content of my posts, you'll understand my reasoning for not downgrading to 10.6.7, and instead, upgrading to hardware that works on an updated system. Which, as I've described, is the correct approach to such problems--as costly as they might be.

And, in case you missed it, a major point of my postings contains encouragement the user community to stop enable this kind of company misbehavior.
big Q: why does your system auto-update? You can turn it off in your system prefs, then you have no issues and the power to update when it's safe.

just wondering...
OS Updates

Every OSX Mac I've ever had asks me if I want to update. Most of the time I click 'no' until I have time to look into the update...

How is it that you have your Mac 'automatically update' without your knowledge?
Apple Updates Are Necessary!

Please read my posts for my logic behind my opinion that updates aren't optional. And that any requirement from a hardware manufacturer that you remain with an old version of the OS for their products to work, as a formal workaround, is ludicrous.

Quoting the Apple promotion of the update (in context):

"The 10.6.8 update is recommended for all users running Mac OS X Snow Leopard and includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac"

But, also, I think it's important not to focus on that one point.

The main, even more important, points are these:

1. Apogee is a highly-promoted partner of Apple's. The Mac is Apogee's sole platform. How is that an Apple update can break an approved and supposedly co-designed hardware component purchased and widely-installed by its customers?

2. The 32 PCIe card is a current, and currently available product for sale through Apogee's distributers. The distributors have no disclaimers about this card running only on out-of-date Macs. This is not some esoteric, or out-of-date product.

3. Forcing a customer to pay a company additional fees to upgrade to a new product, that offers no benefit to the customer, which has been rendered unusable by a shortcoming of the products design, is an unacceptable policy. This is a case of incompetence on the companies part, or part of a strategy to produce more revenues. Regardless, any additional costs to have the customer's existing, otherwise viable hardware to function, on its primary platform, when it's updated, should be rejected by their customers.
but that IS the point: you don't upgrade your system just because Apple releases an update.

Heck, if you are running Protools you are screwed, as is Digital Performer. I do tech on at least a half a dozen major LA composers and producers. NO ONE will ever install an update before I have had a chance to thoroughly test it, check all boards I know (like the LUG) and usually don't do it for a minimum of 2 weeks.

It is impossible for developers to ensure that every Mac OS update is going to work with their products, and I can also assure you that, while Apogee have a handshake agreement with Apple, it's not what you think it is...

So, common knowledge would suggest that, now that you know this, don't update automatically. Simple. And you can moan and groan all you want, these guys don;t consider 1 (or even 100) people enough of a reason to change how they do business. You are not going to change how this works by grumbling here, that's for sure.

One other thing: one should ALWAYS do a disc verification and a disc permissions repair before every install or upgrade, and it's advised to do a new disc permissions repair after you do an instal. If you do an upgrade of an OS to a corrupted drive... well, lets just say your lucky your system works, so being CAREFUL is important IF you are using your rig for work or important projects.

I hope this helps you to understand how most professionals approach this specific issue.

Good luck...
Waste of Time

Thanks, I understand that prevention is necessary, given the state of the behavior of the companies involved. Obviously, I'll need to accept and work on that.

What I don't accept, however, is that a company, such as Apogee, position themselves as not accountable, having a policy of requiring the customer to update their hardware, and demanding more money, just to reenable an existing system's ability to function--created as a result of an update promoted as necessary by their only support platform's company--Apple. It might be a bit different if the new hardware added, even as a side effect, any benefit in useable functionality, in doing so.

I could also accept this if the hardware in question was grossly out-of-date, but their distributors are currently selling their stock of the interface card, with no stated caveat of it working only with older versions of the platform's OS. Which, I don't think is reasonable.

My expectation, given the expensive of the system they sold me, would to be to offer a patch, or an updated card, to rectify the problem. These are the kind of policies that build a user base, instead of diminishing it.

In any case, thanks for your points, and my apologies for my initial response. I was angry, and having a hard time with tearing out the heart of my recording system to replace it with converters from a competing company, and dealing with the down time.
Wow, I thought I burned calories on sorting this out! I went right to reverting to 10.6.7 and learned one needs a snow leopard disc (not leopard like what I used....twice) to restore using time machine. So, I learned: remember to be more prudent before you update as if it's not apogee that will break it will be something else. And, use snow leopard to restore your system using time machine or be prepared to have a non bootable computer (did I mention I did this 2 times in a row?). Definitely one of my more painful learning experiences but I don't feel I need to sell my rig. If I was feeling cutting edge then I would get a symphony 64 as it would mean no down time and I'm too busy to hook up a whole new system. Where can one still buy a symphony 32? I seem to remember they were discontinued few years ago. Even when I bought mine I think they weren't making them then (got mine on eBay).
Buy a 64, and just another $1k out of pocket for *no functional improvements, other than the extra channels* to enable the syndrome of exploitation of their user base. A fleece job, and "throwing good money after bad," IMO. So, we continue get what we deserve. Check out B & H Photo, for the card, or run a Google search.

Good luck!
Tonosity, kindly note the following:

- It's up to Apogee to provide a fix.

- You can go back to 10.6.7

There is a danger of this thread starting to get repetitive and deteriorating into flaming and bashing. You have made your point, I will now lock this. Should you have any questions, please contact me privately. Please do not start any more threads on this issue, they will not be accepted on the LUG.


Mark - LUG Admin
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