Mac problem with firewire interfaces like RME and MOTU

I´m getting a small but good home recording setup together.
I had decided on a MacBook Pro or an iMac with a firewire interface like a RME Fireface 800 or a MOTU Traveler + some other stuff.

But now I´ve read several reports on recording forums about a problem regarding both the MacBook´s and iMac´s.
It seem Apple has opted for Agere firewire chips instead of the better TI chips - probably for a cost saving reasons. The Agere firewire chips however seem to be incompatable with the firewire protocol/standard the the major producers of firewire audio interfaces adhere to, and so an RME or MOTU (or many other company´s) firewire interface will not run properly with a new MacBook or iMac.
If it´s true then Apple is in for a rough ride, as at lot of if not most of their die hard fans and users are people working with audio.

Have any of you get any experiences with this, that could comfirm if the problem is real or not, and if there is any workarounds or the new Mac´s are a strict no-go with the mentioned firewire interfaces (at least until Apple change the chips or make a workaround).

Five Horizons

Silver Supporting Member
I haven't read about issues with the MacBook Pro, in fact it seems to be "the new standard" for mobile recording. While I wouldn't be surprised to see Apple cut corners on products, I'd be very surprised to see them turn their backs on customers who are interested in audio production (it probably makes up a fair amount of their fanbase - that'd be one really, really dumb move).

It'll be a few weeks until I get an Apogee Ensemble for my MBP, but I don't anticipate any issues. I intend on using my laptop for some heavy recording and if its ease of use on my basic recordings are any indication, I think it'll work out great.

dewey decibel

I bought a Macbook about a month and a half ago, but I got a refurb. It seems like the new firewire chip started appearing when Apple upgraded the Macbook to the Santa Rosa chipset (late Novemeber, IIRC). I would guess the started changing them in the Macbook Pro about the same time?

Anyway, there's lots of talk on other forums about this, but a lot of it is confusing because people don't always know what version of Macbook/iMac/etc they have. Here's some info on the RME forum:

BTW- the new Mac Pros were just released, I wonder what firewire chip they come with....

Jayson Chance

Gold Supporting Member
There's a discussion about this on the Pro Tools forum as well. I'll see if I can find the link...
If I remember correctly, it seems like a poster said they had contacted Apple and that the issue was being investigated/corrected by Apple, so maybe this won't be an issue when they release the new products this month.
I'm interested in this issue as well, as I'm looking at getting a new machine when tax $$ comes in next month.
I'm definitely a little concerned about the Agere chipset problems that are being discussed.

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