Software and hardware woes

Just before the start of this new year I ordered a brand new MacBook Pro. The most expensive 15″ model with 16 gig RAM, 500 gig flash-drive and 2.3 gHz CPU. I could have paid 200 bucks more for an even faster CPU but decided to keep that money in my pocket.

With my old MacBook Pro I almost never hit the limits of the CPU power, so I expect the quad-core Intel Core i7 to turbo drive anything I throw at it.

Then the shit started to hit the fans

I installed Reason 7 on the new machine opened a couple of songs I was working on and noticed a super weird thing: on the new MBpro my guitars sounded out of tune along the synth parts in Reason! I started to stress and opened the old MBpro as well and started to compared both. I was right: the old machine was in tune and the new one was not!

What the F???

I even started to stress a lot more because I received a warning from Propellerhead by email:

It seems that on Jan 6, 2014 5:01:39 PM, two computers tried to access your account authorization simultaneously. This can happen for a number of reasons:

  • You tried to run the program on several computers simultaneously. By the licensing agreement you have agreed to, this is not allowed.
  • Someone else has access to your user account and has tried to use the program at the same times as you (or someone else). If you think this is the case, we recommend that you immediately change the password on your Propellerhead web account. To do this, go here and follow the instructions on screen.

I received another email like that and a warning message from within Reason. I was not able to use the program for a while. Something that was probably caused by the fact that both MBpros where running Reason at the same time.

Thanks to Propellerhead support that got sorted out.

I found out that the tuning issues were caused because I had set the tuning in Reason on the old machine to A 440 + 22 cents. Don’t have a clue why I changed that and when I did that.

Licensing problems

Somehow I was very unlucky by moving the authorisation for Reason 7 from the old MBpro onto the new one. I deautorised the old machine but I wasn’t able to get both the new machine authorised and the dongle to work. Errors were showing up under my account and I needed to contact support for help again.

The process appeared to be far from flawless. I even needed to download different kinds of CodeMeter software drivers for getting the dongle to work. After 4 days of emailing support Reason 7 was running fine again and I could get back to work.

Along the way I found out that I’m not allowed to sell my software licenses for the Rack Extensions for Reason I have bought. Which is strange because in Europe software companies must allow customers to sell their software, including downloads, if they want to do that. I don’t want to take the Props to court but this upsets me seriously.

Max for Live

Last year I used Live 8 on many occasions (mostly when working on video projects doing music composition, sound design and audio editing). Although I thought I might be able to do everything in Reason 7, it turned out that I was wrong wrong. Since Live 8 is not supported under OSX Mavericks I needed to upgrade. I decided to buy the upgrade to Live 9 Suite including all instruments, effects, over 50 gig of sounds and Max for Live.

The authorisation process of Ableton went extremely smooth. In Live 9 I pressed the authorise button once and all was set.

I must admit that now with Live 9 + Reason 7 I have way too many devices and sounds to choose from. How much stuff do you really need? I have decided from now on to play as much guitar, bass, percussion and other acoustic instruments as I can. Max for Live has many terrific devices for manipulating audio which I think is great. You can “play” a single audio file for hours using audio twisting Max for Live devices like the great Granulator II which is made by Robert Henke. This is somehow a more organic and playful process than the layering process I often do in Reason.

I am planning to create my own Max for Live devices but I’m an absolute beginner at the moment. But the whole “roll your own” mentality of Max for Live feels good. I like that.

WIFI issues

Although my new MacBook Pro is a very powerful machine it has one extremely annoying problem: the WIFI works like shit. Sometimes a few times per hour the internet falls away and I need to switch Airport off and on again. Also when I ping my router I get extremely high ping values.

This discussion about the issue I am having is (at the moment of writing) over 21 pages long. And still not a single word from Apple about the status of this issue! So it might be a software driver issue, maybe a OSX Mavericks issue or maybe a hardware issue. Tomorrow I have to decide if I keep my MacBook Pro or send it back to Apple. I will probably send it back to Apple ’cause it might be hardware related.

Must I buy a PC laptop instead? Maybe, but I don’t have clue which laptop to buy.

And do I really want to go through that authorisation process again? Oh well…

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One Response to Software and hardware woes

  1. Maury February 4, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

    Hi Marco,

    I had a lot of issues with my mbp and reason/live too.

    I switched to an iMac and i am super happy.

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