El Capitan Breaking Your Audio Unit Plugins? Try This Fix.

I had a pleasant surprise after updating to El Capitan [dripping sarcasm]. First, let’s get this out of the way:

If you are involved in audio engineering, recording, mixing/mastering, and rely on ANYTHING third party (i.e. not built-in to your DAW software), do not update your operating system or DAW software without first ensuring that your mission-critical plugins will still work!

That having been said, I’m a software developer. Not updating to the latest systems (even beta versions) really isn’t an option for me. So I took the plunge. Unfortunately, El Capitan’s Audio Unit validator tool is failing to validate a lot of different plugins. Here is an extensive list of compatibility issues with audio software and El Capitan. Take a close look to see if you rely on any of these.

One fix I’ve found that solves the problem for the plugins I use (Native Instruments plugins including Massive and Maschine, iZotope plugins, and Nektar) involves replacing the El Capitan “auvaltool” with one from Yosemite. Unfortunately, to do this, you need to disable the new System Integrity Protection feature of El Capitan (more info about SIP here).

Here are the full steps:

  1. Boot into recovery mode (hold Command+R immediately after the boot-up chime)
  2. Select Utilities > Terminal to open a Terminal window
  3. Type in csrutil disable and press return.
  4. Type reboot and press return.
  5. When your Mac reboots, select Go > Go To Folder in the Finder. Type in /usr/bin and click Go.
  6. Scroll down until you find the auvaltool file. Drag this to the trash, and then replace it with the Yosemite version (download link)

Now you can open your DAW and your plugins should verify and be available. Happy happy joy joy!

After you’ve resurrected your plugins from the dead, it is probably a good idea to re-enable System Integrity Protection. Follow these steps to do so:

  1. Boot into recovery mode (hold Command+R immediately after the boot-up chime)
  2. Select Utilities > Terminal to open a Terminal window
  3. Type in csrutil enable and press return.
  4. Type reboot and press return.

iTunes 11 First Impressions

If you make a change to the song playing in a smart playlist, and the change removes the song from the playlist, music playback completely stops. On iTunes 10, the song would simply be removed from the playlist and playback would continue to the next song.

Can’t scrub through a song from the mini player — I used that all the time on iTunes 10. Hrm.

No cover flow view? Maybe I just can’t find it. I never really used this feature, but still surprised they took it out.

Wow this is fast. Much faster than the old iTunes 10. App loads quickly, tiles fly by, much of the lull and lag of the old iTunes is gone.

I love the new interface. Album view is awesome. I love the way they recognize and use the colors. Very cool. Works for albums that aren’t in the iTunes Music Store as well. For example, here’s an album I wrote, recorded and released back in 2008:


The use the album’s background color for the background, and even analyze the text font color for the text. Very, very slick.

Being able to play songs next without interrupting your flow is a godsend. Previously, when you would double-click a song to listen to it, you’d lose your playlist and wherever you were in it. Now you can resume back to your playlist at any time. This is great when shuffling, because songs that have already played won’t play again. Sifting through your songs and quickly adding them to the Up Next queue is wonderful. Re-arranging songs in the queue and removing songs you know you won’t want to hear is really nice too.

One small gripe: not sure if this is a bug, or intended behavior, but I want to mention it. When using the mini player, you cannot see the artist and song name if you have one of the playback buttons highlighted. I’ve setup my keyboard to let me tab through all controls (as many folks I’ve seen do). Whenever you switch to the mini player, the rewind button automatically gets the focus:

When the rewind button has the focus, the view will never switch to the artist/song name. I wondered why for an hour I could not view the name of the song that was playing in the mini player. It was driving me nuts! But now, I realize you have to tab four times over to the Up Next button in order to see the text. This is kind of annoying and should be fixed. I’ll be submitting this feedback to Apple.

I will be updating this post with more thoughts throughout the day.