Innovation Causing Instability

It appears that we are living in a time when there is an explosion in computer hardware, operating system and software innovation which is causing serious compatibility issues.

Just about every major producer of audio hardware and software have issued major “upgrades” and new versions over the past year (along with, and partially because of, major Mac OS and Windows technology changes). These hardware, OS, and software changes, if they occurred one at a time, might have been more easily and successfully implemented. However, taken all together, the challenges that the engineers and programmers have had to deal with are just more than they could handle and major compatibility issues are the result.

Read the posts in the forums of just about any major hardware, software or plugin producer and there are huge numbers of users reporting major issues and exclaiming that that particular update “is the most buggy update they have ever had to deal with”. They further speculate that the company in question “has become totally inept and no longer cares about customers”. Over the last 30 years I have seen some of this every time major updates are released, but I have never seen it so bad as it is now.

Hopefully, all the audio hardware, software and plugin producers will dedicate the next year or so, to dealing with compatibility issues instead of pushing “new features and innovative technology releases”.

Hopefully, over time this huge compatibility mess will settle down (if Apple and Microsoft both slow down their rates of major changes in their technology) and overall audio hardware/software/plugin compatibility will improve and return to some sort of “normal”.

We use most major DAWs and most major plugins on various hardware platforms every day. In our experience, no one audio hardware, software or plugin manufacturer is immune to the compatibility issues we are all dealing with at this time.

Just my two-cents worth.

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Agreed. Although I can think of one exception (to a degree anyway)…Reaper.

It seems the smaller team of programmers that can add features quickly is more flexible and producing stabler code. And because they update so frequently (95% of the time nothing breaks as a consequence either) there is a thriving community in the beta test section of the forum with the developers actually in there! interacting!
Then also if you choose to play it safe or keep it simple you just dont update for a while and stay in the general forum.

You might ask then why didn’t I stay with Reaper, well I still do with many colleagues but there is a couple of blind spots in Reaper such as ATMOS, external video player card feature and midi remote that brought me here a few months ago as my film score work gets more involved.

Steinberg needs to learn a few things from the Cockos idiom imo.


I must admit that I have not used Reaper so I am not familiar with it.

My point was that I was not pointing fingers at any one DAW, hardware or plugin manufacturer for a lot of the over complexity and compatibility issues many users are reporting on many forums. I believe it’s a huge increase of technology which is causing stability and compatibility issues for audio hardware and software users.

Hopefully the technological innovation period will slow done long enough to to allow all the products to tighten up and become more compatible with all the rest of the hardware and software that goes into making a fully equipped studio.

Your point is certainly valid.
Perhaps I was being a bit harsh. I see this as a frank conversation about our tools and I get that the developer would see it differently.
I do appreciate what they make us, music is a win win.

I err on the side of a moderate to swift update release cycle like reaper. Not at the price of stability though, as you say.

Generally reaper is good in this regard, the core code is stable and flexible. Frequent updates are not much of an issue. Although they lag in features that require proprietary standards/licensing it seems, like Dolby. This is the advantage of the bigger teams like Steinberg and the main reason why I additionally use Nuendo now.

I kind of agree, but I don’t think it is specific to these times. The IT world has always been rather fast paced, seems to be somewhat inherent to Moore’s Law. And yeah, change always implies the risk of failure.
I think one problem is also that “stability “ doesn’t sell. There are probably some users, especially professionals, who would actually pay for a DAW to not change much and just be compatible with OS changes, but as you can also see here with loads of feature requests, most people expect new things with updates they have to pay for.

Can’t say anything about reaper because I don’t use it, but I imagine a public beta can be really helpful, I suggested something in another thread for Cubase, too. Everyone who is using the beta knows that things can break, but you have a testing pool of people that is much bigger than a private beta testing team. It takes up more resources for organization of course.
U-he do a similar thing with their VSTi plugins, there often is a public beta for a new product.