ESI U24XL and ESI interfaces in general - STAY THE HELL AWAY ON MAC (angry post)

Discussion in 'Soundgear' started by Xeraser, May 27, 2022.

  1. Xeraser

    Xeraser Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2020
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    87
    Location:
    Japari Park
    I bought an U24XL to add digital inputs to my setup without having to completely bin my Mackie Onyx and this is the only sub-100 bucks interface I could find, courtesy of @BEAT16 if my memory serves right.
    It's compact, built really well for the price (89€) and it's such a cute lil' thing.

    So what's the problem here?

    The problem is that it's absolute dogshit in MacOS if you want to use it for what it was built for - recording from the digital inputs.

    First, you need the control panel. That's the only way to switch from the analog inputs to the digital inputs. It's dogshit on MacOS even without comparing it to the Windows version. Options reset every time you open it, sample rate seemingly resets on every reboot, etc.

    Anyway, set your options and open your DAW or Audio Hijack or whatever - oh yeah, did I mention you can't monitor the digital inputs through the headphones output? Yeah, the monitoring is only analog to analog so you'd better have some recording software ready if you want to listen to your inputs.

    Create a track, select the inputs, click record and.. it works! What a miracle, it wor-- oh hey what's all this crackling? Oh great, now it's popping. Aaaaaaand now it's white noise. Surely that's just a monitoring issue, right? No way it's on the actual recordings. Oh wait, it is.

    Yep, see the problem? This is completely random. It could be ten minutes. It could be two seconds. But your signal WILL turn into a garbled mess no matter what. Messing with the sample rate, buffer and even boot arguments (REALLY? BOOT ARGUMENTS?) like ESI suggests on their site won't help at all. Wanna hear what it sounds like? Have a listen. I've spared you the part where it turns into white noise. Fantom-X and Motif XF demos. The even worse part? The thing stops working altogether at times and 90% of the time fiddling with the control panel will have no effect on it. Hell, I've had to reboot a couple times cause plugging it out then back in didn't work a few times.

    Oh yeah, DID I MENTION THEY'VE KNOWN ABOUT THIS ISSUE FOR ELEVEN YEARS AND ALL THEY HAVE TO SAY IS "oh it's due to some changes in apple hardware that affects the USB ports on newer macs on 10.7 and higher"? After some back and forth with them via emails (which they seem to translate from english to german first and I'm almost sure they just translate their replies with google translate 'cause shit gets lost in translation more often than not with these people) I was told that "the ESI U24 XL is a „Class Compliant” device and works with the Apple own CoreAudio driver under macOS / OS X and should therefore work very well. No other driver is necessary or even available, we only provide a control panel this is not a driver. From our side we can't do much under macOS like under Windows where the U24 XL runs with our driver."

    Yeah, bullshit. Not everything is class-compliant on Mac. Also, big emphasis on "SHOULD THEREFORE WORK VERY WELL". That's fucking insulting, especially since EVERY SINGLE FAQ PAGE FOR THEIR PRODUCTS LINKS TO A (click me -->) KNOWLEDGE BASE ARTICLE DESCRIBING THE ISSUE ON MAC. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. THEY'VE KNOWN ABOUT THIS FOR 11 YEARS AND IT WAS SEVERE ENOUGH FOR THEM TO 1: MAKE AN ARTICLE ABOUT IT AND 2: LINK IT IN THE FAQ SECTIONS FOR ALL THEIR PRODUCTS.

    I'm so fucking pissed. And you know what the best part is? It works 100% fine under Windows. The control panel in Windows is actually alright. This is the first time CoreAudio has failed me and it's not even its fault.

    "Does it work in a VM? Can't you just use a VM? Surely you don't need to record digital audio every day, right?" The answer is yes, but actually no. Their driver crashed CATASTROPHICALLY (extremely loud buzzing noise, won't stop until you unplug it from your machine) under my Win 7 and Win 10 VMs at random. It could take 10 mins, it could happen as soon as you pump a digital signal into it.

    And yes, I've tried 5 different cables.

    It's small, it's portable, it's well-built, the headphones output can drive my A900X and Starfields just fine and the actual recording quality - WHEN IT WORKS - is as clean as it can and should be. But that's the point. It doesn't fucking work for long and it pisses me off immensely. I planned to take it out on a long hospital stay - I don't need to record audio there but that'd still leave me with a defective interface once I get back home and actually need to use it as more than a glorified DAC for my headphones. And this is the only one I (well, it wasn't me) could find.

    Just stay away from these if you're on Mac. I'll go have a drink or two now.
     
  2.  
  3. BEAT16

    BEAT16 Audiosexual

    Joined:
    May 24, 2012
    Messages:
    7,180
    Likes Received:
    5,168
    If you have bought at thomann there is money back within 30 days.
     
  4. Xeraser

    Xeraser Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2020
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    87
    Location:
    Japari Park
    Yep, sending it back tomorrow. Still frustrated.
     
  5. ArticStorm

    ArticStorm Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Messages:
    6,125
    Likes Received:
    2,705
    Location:
    AudioSexPro
    As a matter of fact, apple is pissing you against the fence. As they have no backwards compatibility (windows has backwards compa.). So you need to create/update very often new drivers and apps. That is very annoying for devs/companies.

    Anyway, sent it back ;)

    Its also the problem with hardware synths like Blofeld, Virus, etc thats they software on Mac becomes outdated in a short period of time, within 2-3 years, while windows ones are still working, even from 2014.

    So i guess somebody else is here to blame, not ESi.
     
  6. Xeraser

    Xeraser Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2020
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    87
    Location:
    Japari Park
    It's absolutely ESI in this case - they've known for the past 11 years and it's a problem serious enough that it affects all of their interfaces apparently. Weird how they're the only ones with these issues, apparently all thanks to "apple changing the hardware and messing with the USB ports". Yeah, right. Class-compliant my ass.

    And manufacturers not updating their drivers is absolutely on them, not Apple. ESPECIALLY if they're still selling said products. With how much Virus makes you pay for a glorified VA plugin in a wooden box they'd better get their drivers working on AT LEAST Intel. And speaking of which, M1 is nearing its 2 years anniversary, companies that still haven't updated their shit (and I mean big profile ones, not your bedroom plugin dev) should be ashamed.

    Manufacturers are lazy assholes that don't want to pay their software engineers to do something as "simple" (maybe it's not that simple but it's no herculean task for sure) as updating their drivers.

    I don't even want to imagine how pissed people would've been back when Apple went from PPC to Intel.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2022
  7. BEAT16

    BEAT16 Audiosexual

    Joined:
    May 24, 2012
    Messages:
    7,180
    Likes Received:
    5,168
    Please get over yourself... as soon as something doesn't work, people freak out.
    I understand that you are angry. But to call other people lazy A.... to call is not O.K.
     
  8. clone

    clone Audiosexual

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2021
    Messages:
    2,314
    Likes Received:
    957
    How did you guys go from discussing a 100$ interface with digital i/o, no less; to a virus?

    something has been added to the water.
     
  9. Xeraser

    Xeraser Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2020
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    87
    Location:
    Japari Park
    Artic mentioned that Virus/Waldorf software becomes outdated every 2-3 years. Which is and isn't true. 99% of the time whenever manufacturers don't have drivers past Mojave is cause Catalina is 64-bit only and I'm guessing updating drivers for 64-bit is too hard despite Apple warning people time and time again that OSX would drop support for 32-bit apps. We're talking about the Sierra/High Sierra years.


    But this isn't the case here. Fine, companies are lazy and won't update their drivers for X period of time when a new OSX release comes around. Sure. Fine.

    But in ESI's case it's been well over 11 years since they first documented these issues. That's inexcusable. Especially since they offer such niche products and it's not even a big brand. Are you trying to tell me they just don't sell interfaces to Mac users anymore?

    How "soon" is your soon? Is it 11-years-soon? We're not even talking about drivers here, we're talking about inherently flawed products with pretty big issues that are only found in a FAQ page on a site that spends more time 500'ing than actually running.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2022
  10. ArticStorm

    ArticStorm Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Messages:
    6,125
    Likes Received:
    2,705
    Location:
    AudioSexPro
    Remember M1 means a fully rewrite. while transtion from win 10 to win 11, just meant unpgrading API stuff mainly (i guess). But its easy. Also lots of drivers just work from windows 10 for windows 11.
    for ESi on windows, this would make 2011, this was before win 10! windows 8.1 drivers worked partially in windows 10, with a few more slight fixes they work on windows 10.
    What is the main problem for the drivers for the ESi, still 32bit?
    Well it comes down, how lucrative the ESi interface line was, how long they are on the market? Maybe those are phasing out? So ESi didnt bother updating the drivers anymore?
    (the cheap audio interface market is really dead, i came to this point in 2021, as i looked for an interface, for something good, you had to go atleast 200€, everything below had flaws in anyway)

    Thats about the discussion, how often MacOS drops backwards compatability. (It would annoy me tbh) So read or skip, so the passge below, pretty much sums it up for me
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I dont think it is that simply to upgrade drivers for MacOS, otherwise manufactures would do it.
    As i said: i have drivers from 2010 still in use on windows 10 and they work, could this be possible with Apple's way of doing?

    The transition from PPC to Intel was horrible, people lost so many useful applications. Atleast Intel to M1 gives you a simple way to run in rosetta stuff, which keeps older applications alive if you still need them.

    But hey Apple made 3 transitions: PPC --> Intel --> M1, while windows 10 can still run applications from the PPC area (looking at the time frame).

    As a manufacture i would simple say fuck it. Screw MacOS and their ongoing changes, signings and things.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Dont take this personal. I am not against you using MacOS. Its just how it looks. (There is also countless of audio apps, which went missing from the PPC to Intel transition :( )

    Anyway i hope you get your money back from Thomann for ESi, maybe settle for SSL2 or SSL2+, these are more expensive, but driver support should be a lot better. Best of Luck!
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2022
  11. Xeraser

    Xeraser Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2020
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    87
    Location:
    Japari Park
    You keep forgetting that this isn't about drivers on MacOS though. Not when it comes to the ESI interface.
    ESI proudly stated that their interfaces are all class-compliant, aka driverless as CoreAudio handles them. The problem is that every single interface of theirs behaves this way on Mac and has been doing so for the past 11 years. That's unacceptable. Why do cheap Mackie and Behringer interfaces work on OSX without a hitch but these don't? It's entirely a software issue and one they clearly haven't even bothered investigating and just blamed Apple for making "hardware changes that affect USB performance" - weird how no other interface manufacturer was affected by these changes. Fine, you can't make new drivers since you're too lazy. How about a firmware update then? Or ANYTHING? Instead they just tell you to use boot arguments to attempt to fix the issue (spoiler alert: the boot arguments mess with Intel Virtualization Technology, completely unrelated to the issue) and they don't work. How they even came up with them is a mystery.

    And still, if you keep selling a product and claim compatibility with an entire OS - one that is used primarily by musicians it's your responsibility to update your drivers if your device needs them in order to work.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2022
Loading...
Loading...