Topic: Mac USB driver for macOS 11 & Apple Silicon hardware
Info: RME offered a public preview of its USB series driver for macOS 11 Big Sur, Intel and M1 (Apple Silicon), already in October 2020. Since then this thread has been the sole resource for all the updates and further development, including the other driver platforms. So don't get confused if you still read about 'public preview', 'beta driver' or USB only - all the drivers are officially released meanwhile.
USB 3 / 2.0 Driver for macOS 11 Big Sur, Intel / M1 (Apple Silicon)
Notes on public beta driver version 3.23*
*See below, 3.24 is available on our website.
!!!This driver only supports macOS 11 (Big Sur)!!!
The whole driver package is a universal binary to support Intel and ARM natively.
Notes on M1 Driver Installation
With M1 computers (Apple Silicon) Apple has globally disabled the use of third party kernel extensions. To enable their usage one has to boot the computer into Recovery mode and allow the use of those extensions per partition. Apple calls this 'Reduced Security'. After that the procedure is the same as under High Sierra - after the driver installation it has to be 'allowed' in the dialog that comes up automatically, or if not then manually in Security & Privacy. We also noticed a difference to earlier OS: the 'Allow' process around Security & Privacy has to be repeated after every driver update!
Procedure is as follows:
- Boot the M1 computer in Recovery mode (turn it on with the power button pressed until the screen shows the startup options are loaded)
- Select Options, then your language
- In the top menu go to Utilities -> Startup Security Utility. Select the system where the RME drivers will be installed
- Continue with -> Security Policy -> Reduced Security -> Allow user management of kernel extensions from identified developers.
- Install the RME driver. Before the reboot for finishing the driver installation open System Preferences, Security & Privacy, tab General. There should be a grey Allow button in the right lower area. Click the unlock symbol first, then confirm using the RME kernel extension. Finally reboot.
Update: Meanwhile I found the original Apple article on this procedure (nearly impossble to find via Google):
Didi not find the German version, but all the right names are now in the readmes of our driver packages.
Driver download link:
Update on M1 operation, 2020/11/24
We now received an M1 computer with Thunderbolt port. These are our first observations:
- USB driver: driverless (CC) MIDI did not work. This issue vanished after updating the machine to macOS 11.0.1.
- After that update we had to 'allow' the RME driver once again. Conclusion: USB driver version 3.23 seems to work with no obvious issues under 11.0.1.
- Thunderbolt: The Thunderbolt driver for the UFX+ can be installed, Settings dialog works, but audio I/O is not working. We are investigating this issue.
- The Thunderbolt driver (for UFX+, v1.21) now works for Intel and M1 and has been released on our website.
- The Thunderbolt driver (for UFX+, v1.21) has been re-uploaded. The package now includes TM FX 1.70 which is a Universal Binary (runs natively on M1).
- The HDSPe Series driver and the MADI FX driver (HDSPe MADI FX and MADIface XT) have been updated, tested on M1, and also include Universal Binary TM FX 1.70. Available on our website.
- The USB driver 3.24 supports macOS 11, Intel and M1, and now also has TM FX 1.70 on board.
- The FireWire driver 3.40 supports macOS 11, Intel and M1, and has TM FX 1.70 on board.
Update 2020/12/02, fixed 12/03
As you might have seen on our website we now feel that we have all our hardware working correctly on Big Sur, both Intel and M1. There is a small disclaimer about Digiface Dante and Digiface AVB getting support later. Here are the details.
Digiface Dante: can indeed be used with the current driver 3.24. But as Big Sur dropped support for the network functionality that we provide (internal ethernet port to save one external ethernet cable) an external ethernet cable has to be used to control the Dante module. The even bigger issue is that the Dante Controller does not work on M1 machines, so you are forced to control the DF Dante from a different computer within the Dante network.
Digiface AVB: the loss of the internal ethernet driver under macOS 11 unfortunately means complete loss of functionality.
For both devices we are working on a new internal network driver that works under Big Sur, on Intel and M1. If that one passes all tests it would save the external cable for the DF Dante, and bring the DF AVB back to life. But the Dante Controller would still need an update from Audinate for M1 machines, obviously.
A new network driver for Digiface AVB and Dante restoring full functionality under macOS 11 is now available. Note that the Dante Controller from Audinate is not yet available as M1 version.
See readme for details.
Important Comment on M1 support 2020/11/27
If you have read the above you might think that now everything is perfect and you can change your whole production to an M1 system. It's not that easy. Apart from most DAW companies still advising not to do that change, our new M1 drivers are more like a public beta or pre-release than drivers that are matured and expected to work in any and all cases. There is still not enough testing done (remember the number of available machines is limited for us similar to the small number of users already using such a setup). Additionally the whole M1 universe is still very new. Apple will have to further optimize it, kick out some bugs, improve performance here and there. The same is true for us as well, this is a new platform, and we are busy keeping track of the constant Xcode updates that Apple releases regularly (which, basically, is a good thing, of course).
An example: the new TotalMix FX 1.70 is now included as Universal Binary. Fact is that it worked with less CPU load via Rosetta 2, means emulated - ouch. Not the first time we saw this effect. But TM FX behaves similar to Logic, producing more graphics dependent CPU load than one would expect. Even more confusing, the native TM FX runs on the so called 'efficiency cores', so how is that comparable to not using such cores?
We also experienced strange effects with the LaunchAgent where we sometimes had to start the Settings dialog manually. After that it got started automatically after each reboot. Some hidden rights problem maybe? Things like that need time to research.
That said the M1 platform is still very promising. Under the hood audio performance and stability reach new levels that excite everyone who is able to try it.