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Synchron Pianos on ARM Macs?
Last post Thu, Jan 14 2021 by fatis12_24918, 14 replies.
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Posted on Tue, Sep 29 2020 08:33
by mat123
Joined on Wed, Jun 24 2015, Posts 27

Hi vienna (and everybody else)!

I need a new laptop for on-stage purpose.

I just bought two of the new synchron pianos (Bösendorfer Imperial and upright) and my old mac is definitively too slow. It does still work reasonable well with a few old libraries, although I have the impression that it becomes more and more unstable.

So I do need a replacement. If apple hadn't announced its new ARM platform, I would buy a MacBook Pro 13 with a lot of RAM and SSD storage. Now.

However, when spending that much money, I want to use it for at least the next 6-7 years or so. I fear that, in a few years, new software will only be available for the new macs, not for the old intel platform.

Of course, I will not buy a new "apple silicon" mac before it is official that the software I need (and I specifically want to use the synchron pianos) is compatible with it. So I have to wait. But if it were already clear that it will take longer before compatibility is official (lets say more than 6 months), I would consider buying an intel machine now.

Any hints?

I am sure, someone has tested vsl software on the mac mini test machine...

Posted on Tue, Sep 29 2020 10:00
by MS
Joined on Wed, Feb 19 2003, Vienna, Austria, Posts 1760

Considering that it will most likely be quite some time before Apple introduces silicon powerful enough to replace the Mac Pro line, you'll most likely see developers keeping support for Intel CPU's up until at least 5 years after the last Intel Mac Pro is shipped.

My guess is that Apple will keep selling Intel Mac Pro's for another 3 years, so something like 8 years of Intel support would be expected from devs. Not sure how long Apple want to keep supporting Intel in macOS however, but I doubt they'll kill support for the last Mac Pro's that quickly.

Also remember, that developers will still have to develop x86_64 code in order to support Windows. Given this, supporting Intel alongside ARM isn't too much of an issue.

Martin Saleteg
Software Developer
Vienna Symphonic Library GmbH
Posted on Mon, Nov 09 2020 10:35
by mat123
Joined on Wed, Jun 24 2015, Posts 27

Thank you very much for your response!

After reading your response, I often felt tempted to buy a x86 MacBook. However, one thing made me wait: I want to be able to have my system running nonstop, because I want my children being able to spontaneously go to the keyboard and play without asking someone to start the computer. And my hope is that the new machines produce less heat and works well without a fan, so I would feel better when I leave the computer on for a long period of time.

Tomorrow we'll see.

If the new system isn't 100% compatible with old software (e.g. are there issues with eLicenser? Can I run a native version of MainStage and use it with x86-VSTs?), I'll get an x86 MacBook. Perhaps their prices drop soon.

Otherwise, I am eager to get an Apple Silicon MacBook...

Posted on Mon, Nov 09 2020 15:59
by RCMusic23
Joined on Wed, Apr 30 2014, Posts 36

Thanks for the insights. As a VSL Software Developer, could you tell us if you will be/you are currently working on VSL software and libraries etc for the new silicon Macs?

If I decide to purchase an Intel MacBook Pro 16 for instance, and that has silicon CPU, will that mean current software will still work with that ARM based Mac? Or will we have to wait until you / various other developers are ready for making their software compatible with silicon Macs?
If we have to wait then it might be better to get an Intel Mac at the moment.

Forgive my lack of knowledge about the engineering side of things :)
Posted on Wed, Nov 11 2020 02:47
by Cyril Blanc
Joined on Thu, Dec 19 2002, Paris France, Posts 2675

I have watch the Apple conference and they say you can run any Intel code ! faster ??? good question !

Let see what the audio Software suppliers are saying

I am a member of the Core audio conference develloper at Apple, let see what they talk about 

VSL is sometime a bit chilly to new technology, specially when they cannot charge for Developpement ; the last examples are NKS and Dorico Expression Maps, they are only available on Synchron base libraries and that after many year that the technology is available .

User that have paid many thousandS of euro on VI library and MIR can just sit down and cry 


Imagine a 4 x Mac mini (one for string, one for brass, one for wind and one for percussions and keyboards) running a full orchestra at 4 x 699 $/799 € (4x8 = 32 cores......) using  Thunderbolt to the master !!!! WOW

You do not need a 24 000 € Macpro

MacBook Pro 2019 16" + 2 x Odisseey G9 49" Big Sur
MacPro 2010 12 core 2.93 ghz 64 GB Mac OS X 10.11 2722 Rocket Raid Sata III card with 8 x ssd
VSL lib on a Raid 0 of 4 x 256 GB ssd Sata III - Raid 0 of 4 x 64 GB for other libs
System on a 1 TB ssd
Audio Motu PCI system 84 ins / 64 outs
Kbd : P80 Yamaha, S88 and S25 Komplete Kontrol, DX7
I-Controls Pro, 2xMidi expression pedals
Synth : many....
Macbook pro Retina 2.7 ghz 16 GB
Mac Mini server 10.10 (server, Itunes, WEB, and Backup )
Logic X , Dorico, Band In A Box, ORB Composer
VSL : MIR PRO, Appassionata Strings I, Solo strings , Wind and Brass Complete, Dimension Brass, Big Band Orchestra series
Kontakt, Omnisphere, QLSO, QLSC, CS 80, Arturia V5, Maximo, Realivox Blue. CS 80 V3, The Orchestra 2, Art Conductor 5, Genesis Children Choir, Lunaris, Lacrimosa

Final Cut pro
Camera full HD
Posted on Wed, Nov 11 2020 10:42
by GilP
Joined on Thu, Aug 31 2017, Posts 77


I think there are in fact a few questions here:

- QT: it's the software cross platform framework on which Synchron Player is based on (like other softwares like Dorico, Cubase, Sibelius, ...): currently at version 5, a beta version 6 juste came to life (20th October) and could possibly support macOS Big Sur: QT will support it, but no release date for now.

- CoreAudio: as Cyril Blanc said, the macOS audio API evolutions on Big Sur and/or ARM-based Macs could take time for developers to implement and be compatible with it

- Sound card: according to possible CoreAudio modifications, drivers should be updated and perhaps some sound cards won't be compatible

- eLicenser: this can also take time to make it usable on ARM based Macs



Tags: MacOS big sur ARM
Posted on Wed, Nov 11 2020 12:19
by mat123
Joined on Wed, Jun 24 2015, Posts 27

and there'll be another issue:

M1 based MACs are limited to 16GB RAM while my favourite libraries (Bösendorfer Imperial & upright) recommend 32GB.

So: either x86 now or Apple Silicon and waiting indefinitely

Posted on Wed, Nov 11 2020 12:51
by GilP
Joined on Thu, Aug 31 2017, Posts 77

I'm adding there that before all the software becoming native to ARM architecture, Rosetta 2 could be a temporary solution (if all the things are running correctly on it).

Posted on Fri, Nov 13 2020 02:33
by BubbaMc
Joined on Thu, Dec 04 2014, Perth, Western Australia, Posts 7

I'd also be very interested in a native Synchron player. Both my (fast) PC and 5,1 Mac do not have enough power to play the Steinway with acceptable latency.

Posted on Sun, Nov 29 2020 22:42
by clonewar
Joined on Tue, Apr 22 2008, Delray Beach, FL USA, Posts 4

The early reviews of Logic and Final Cut running on Apple silicon are really impressive. I'm hoping that VSL starts with porting VE Pro to Apple silicon, when that happens I'll run Logic on a new Mac and host VI's on my Windows workstations.

Posted on Mon, Nov 30 2020 13:44
by BubbaMc
Joined on Thu, Dec 04 2014, Perth, Western Australia, Posts 7

Can somone try their Synchron Pianos on an M1 Mac using Rosetta 2, and get back to us with a performance/latency report?

If it's usable/better than existing intel Macs I may just sell my 5,1 and get a new Mac Mini.


Posted on Mon, Dec 14 2020 00:15
by 90below
Joined on Thu, Jul 26 2012, NJ USA, Posts 2

RE:  porting VE Pro to Apple silicon


I’ve been playing with this idea for a few days on a new MINI. VEP 7 is working under Rosetta and doing a good job bridging to Vi’s and other plugins that don’t like the new silicon. I have also tried the ARM version of Reaper with similar results. Pro Tools 20.11 is also running (under Rosetta), and again VEP 7 works as a bridge to Intel servers.


This is all promising, but the results will be much better when the plugins are ported to Universal Binary. Combining native-ARM DAWs and Rosetta plugins is working, but has a significant hit compared to running 100% native.


Moving all Vienna Symphonic Library software to Universal Binary is undoubtedly a large project, but porting VP 7 plugins would be an excellent place to start. This would help large numbers of musicians transition to the new Macs. I know many music producers who initially became interested in VEP to help bridge their transition to 64 bit when many of their plugins were still 32 bit. The same type of interest could be generated today by helping to bridge to the new silicon.

Posted on Fri, Dec 18 2020 16:21
by RCMusic23
Joined on Wed, Apr 30 2014, Posts 36
Mat, did you try the Synchron Pianos on M1?
I bought an intel MacBook Pro 16, 64GB Ram, i9 and 2TB storage, only to find that no DAW on Mac will recognised my MAYA44 eX PCIe interface, housed in a Startech TB3 chassis. It wouldn’t let me adjust my buffer to get under 10ms which I wanted as a a pianist. It forces Core Audio driver over any other. I also had sluggish/unusable Cubase 10 Pro perform until I upgraded to 11.
M1 under Rosetta didn’t load ANY Native Instruments hosts/instruments as of a couple of weeks back. Been with Apple 3 years but returned it and now happier with a Dell XPS with 4TB NVMe running Synchron pianos (with my external thunderbolt card) at between 2-5ms and on an i7-8750H.
I’m interested to know the performance of M1 chips with VSL. Especially VEPro.
Posted on Thu, Jan 14 2021 15:00
by fatis12_24918
Joined on Sat, Dec 16 2006, Posts 284


I actually did try synchron Pianos on my Macmini M1 16Gb, and I didn't notice any difference with my MacBook Pro 2019 i9 32Gb.

Only problem is my Audio interface has not yet a reliable/supported ASIO audio driver for silicon macOs, then I can't say if latency and buffer parameters are correct. But loading was fast and playback fine with 64k (overload with long sustain pedal reaching more than 300 voices) and perfect with 128k buffer, and my Kawai VP-1 was very responsive and natural to play.

All the rest of VSL software is running surprisingly good as I'm reporting in another post.

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