2010.02.26

February is the month of the RPM Challenge. You know, record an album in a month… I’ve done it before, and was going to do it again, and to do it, I use a Behringer FCA202 FireWire audio interface.

Of course I also decided to upgrade to Snow Leopard this month, and for some odd reason, that rendered the FCA202 useless. It just wouldn’t show up anymore in the System Preferences as an audio input/output device. It did show up as a FireWire device though, so that was odd.

I ended up trying to replace the AppleFWAudio.kext kernel extension, zapped the PRAM, deleted cache files, removed audio units, different cables, using the power supply, tried logging in as another user, and on and on… I rebooted from my 10.5.8 backup and it showed up, so it must have been something specific to 10.6. I tried it on my MacBook Pro (10.6) and… it didn’t show up! Ugh, over to the Mac mini (10.6) and it showed up fine. I gave up for the night, convinced it was a 10.6 issue. The next day I tried it on a Mac Pro and MacBook Pro (both 10.6) and it worked, and then tried again on my MacBook Pro and it worked… so now it seemed that it was just the iMac I normally use to record to that wasn’t working. (I blame the “not working” on my MacBook Pro the night before to being tried/frustrated/bad cabling.)

I was pretty fed up by now, and sick of searching for possible solutions… I did find a post somewhere about the CoreAudio SDK and how it may install/updated the needed audio extensions to fix FireWire audio issues. One problem though, the CoreAudio SDK was last updated in 2005! But, the answer to that one was to install Xcode. I did that and like a little bit of magic, it worked.

System Preferences - Sound

So now I should be back in business, with the Behringer FCA202 showing up and selectable as an audio input/output device.

I wanted to blame Behringer for this weirdness, but honestly, it was something weird with my own Mac. I’m still not sure what it was, but I really should consider doing a clean install next time. My system has probably built up way too much cruft over the years.

Oh, and just a note… I’m not convinced this is the end of the issue. I left the Mac up and running last night, and this morning the Behringer disappeared again. But I’ve read that is can happen, and a quick unplug/replug of the unit fixes it. So… as long as that doesn’t happen while I’m recording, I may be ok. (This problem I’m more tempted to blame on Behringer…)

5 Responses to “FireWire Audio Headache”

  1. mathiasxNo Gravatar says:

    I still have a Behringer USB audio interface that has worked great on every machine I’ve plugged it into; you could’ve borrowed it. Glad to hear you got it working in the end.
    I had so many problems with upgrading to Snow Leopard that I was forced to do a clean install of it on my Macmini.
    Also, every Mac should come with XCode installed, in my opinion. Useful CLI tools at the very least.

  2. I could have used my old USB audio interface, but I get stubborn when a technical problems comes up, and get determined to solve it. And, I’m 98% sure I did install Xcode after the Snow Leopard update, as I always install the dev tools, so I don’t know what the deal was there…

  3. ElaNo Gravatar says:

    Same problem here,

    would you kindly explain how did you fix your firewire issues, step-by-step for a dummy like myself?
    Xcode – CoreAudio SDK — ??
    Thanks a lot

  4. Hi Pete,

    Sorry you had issues. Have you had a chance to contact an Apple genius to get some help? It might be worth contacting our service dept to see whether they have a solution for you (even if it’s software on the Mac). http://bit.ly/a8q3HM – Click “English” and then “Ask a question” to get in touch with our support crew. Thanks!

  5. Ela,

    1. Download Xcode. (Or find it on your Mac OS X install disks)
    2. Install it.

    That did the trick for me…

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