Native Instruments warns users of Big Sur hardware damage

Native Instruments
Native Instruments (Image credit: Native Instruments)

What you need to know

  • macOS Big Sur is now available to download.
  • Native Instruments has warned users that it is still testing the release to confirm compatibility with its software and hardware.
  • It has highlighted several issues, including hardware being damaged by the new release.

Popular music production company Native Instruments has warned users upgrading to macOS Big Sur that they risk potentially damaging their hardware, as it works to establish compatibility with the new release.

Big Sur was released yesterday, but a number of server outages plagued launch night, making it difficult for some to download. Music production software and hardware is notoriously vulnerable to new macOS updates, and Native Instruments has warned users that Big Sur is no exception.

In a support document the company stated:

Apple has announced the release of macOS 11 (Big Sur) for November 12th, 2020.We are currently conducting systematic tests with the release version of macOS 11 (Big Sur) in order to offer full compatibility of our soft- and hardware products as soon as possible.

A table shows that plenty of NI's hardware and software is working with Big Sur, including TRAKTOR DJ 2 and PRO 3, as well as many of its TRAKTOR KONTROL units. However, there are some key issues that mean if you rely on NI for music production, or don't want to risk damaging your hardware, you may want to hold off on Big Sur for now. From NI:

Using a TRAKTOR KONTROL S4 MK3 on macOS 11 (Big Sur) can cause malfunction and potentially damage your controller! We are working together with Apple to find a solution to this problem.

The company further notes that the MASCHINE MK2 and MIKRO MK2 are causing high CPU spikes, and it is working to find a solution with Apple.

It also says that KOMPLETE AUDIO 1, KOMPLETE AUDIO 2 and KOMPLETE AUDIO 6 MK2 are seeing similar spikes, as well as distortion with sample rates above 172kHz. A solution for this is in the works, but NI recommends selecting large buffer sizes (2000ms) to avoid this issue in the meantime.

Finally, NI says that as with macOS 10.15, Big Sur will signal the end of operability of some of its legacy hardware, including the MASCHINE MK1, MASCHINE MIKRO MK1, TRAKTOR AUDIO 2 / 4 / 8 DJ, TRAKTOR AUDIO 2 MK1, and TRAKTOR S2 / S4 / X1 MK1.

You can read the full support update here.

In a separate document this week, NI confirmed that at this time its products are not supported on computers with Apple silicon processors. The company says it is working with Apple on this, but can't offer any specific time frames because it will vary from product to product.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9