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Viewing topic "Compatibility of Motif XF8 with latest Mac Hardware and Software (Apple Silicon + Ventura)"

Posted on: July 31, 2023 @ 01:05 PM
Total Posts:  29
Joined  01-27-2012
status: Regular

My recent retirement is finally allowing me to resume a passion that I have had to put on hold for a few years: home music production. That hopefully includes being able to continue to use my venerable Motif XF8 as a mainstay instrument - both as MIDI controller and as an audio interface using my FW16E firewire interface.  The challenge: I’m now using a 2021 MacBook M1 Pro running Ventura, and also have a copy of Apple’s latest version of Logic Pro (10.7.9) as my go-to DAW.

I’m trying to get a good idea of the extent of compatibility of the XF8 and FW16E with this latest bit of Mac gear.  So a couple of questions, based on some threads I’ve read here and on other forums…

- XF8 as MIDI controller:  Am I correct in assuming that the situation here remains quite good - namely that the XF8 remains bidirectionally compatible with a MacBook M1, but that it requires running Logic Pro (or any DAW) under Rosetta? 

- FW18 as audio interface:  My understanding (again based on some threads here on Motifator) is that the situation is not nearly as promising. I had just presumed that getting the FW16E to work with a late model MacBook running the latest OS was just a question of chaining together the right FW to USB-C cabling, which I have acquired.  But am I correct in presuming that this is all for naught, and that the software needed to run the FW16E remains 32 bit only and will not operate with Apple’s latest 64 bit only OS? 

- Audio interface option: If I’m correct about the above, does this mean that I’ll need to invest in a new audio interface and essentially abandon any use of the FW16E?

I realize that I could try figuring this out for myself through trial and error, but I am hoping that by posting this plea for help I might avoid a lot of time and frustration if others have already figured the above out.

So any advice/suggestions on the above would be greatly appreciated!

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: August 01, 2023 @ 06:18 PM
Total Posts:  364
Joined  12-17-2013
status: Enthusiast
sjmarano - 31 July 2023 01:05 PM

My recent retirement is finally allowing me to resume a passion that I have had to put on hold for far too many years: home music production. That hopefully includes being able to continue to use my venerable Motif XF8 as a mainstay instrument - both as MIDI controller and as an audio interface using my FW16E firewire interface.

@sjmarano please take my response to your post with the good intentions that I have in making it.  And I do have good intentions.

The question should not be whether your Motif XF8 is compatible with your new M1 Macbook.  The question should be what computer do I need to acquire to be compatible with my Motif XF8.  In this scenario the Motif XF8 is the fine musical instrument.  It is the most important thing in your home music production situation.

First, because the Motif is a full blown ‘Music Production Synthesizer’ It can be used from the original musical idea right through the finished song ready to distribute to the Internet or to put on CD, on Spotify, ITunes etc.  It is both a full blown Midi studio and capable of producing a mastered stereo audio stereo track.  It literally can handle the entire process.

Second, computers come and go, and are largely easy to come by.  In your scenario I presume that you can’t just run out willy nilly and replace your Motif XF 8 (which is a masterpiece!)
So if for some reason you feel you need to involve a computer in your music production workflow, the real question is what computer and OS do you need that will be compatible with the XF8.

You can find almost any age mac at

Mac Of All Trades


New and Used Macs Of All Kinds

The driving factor here is the musical instrument, not the computer.  If you desire to use your Motif XF8 and you need to transfer 16 channels of audio simultaneously for some reason, then get a computer that is compatible with your Firewire card.

On the other hand if the DAW and the computer is the most important thing to you., then quite frankly you don’t need the Motif XF Go get yourself a garden variety Midi Controller and be done with it.

The value of the Motif is that it is a “Music Production Synthesizer” And it has a power house Sequencer, and Integrated Sampler to show for it.  Of course it has awesome sounds and a synth engine to., But you don’t need a DAW to take advantage of those.  Motif also has killer effects including compression, limiting, reverbs, isolators, etc. I haven’t seen any DAW plugins that surpass Motif’s effects.  Of course you may have some that you simply prefer.  But if you have to choose between your venerable Motif XF and your computer. The choice is simple.  You drop the computer LOL

The most effective (and simplest) music production combo you can have right now for the Motif is the Motif + Multitrack Recorder.  Today’s digital multitrack recorders have extremely advanced (but simple) audio editing, with built in mastering tools.  And there is no need to worry about compatibility using a multitrack recorder.  You can either import you Motif audio, or record your motif audio directly into it without the need for the FW16E

Portable Multitrack Studio

Portable Multitrack Recorder

You either mix your tracks on the Motif and send the stereo audio to the multitrack recorder for mastering and other audio editing.  Or you import or record your audio to the multitrack recorder for the mixing and mastering process.

I have fire wire for my Motif.  I typically do all the mixing on my Motif, and export the stereo audio and finished up on my
Tascam 24 SD Portastudio.  However there are times when I need to mix my Motif with vocals, horns, and percussion, In this case I use my Firewire to transfer 16 channels of Audio to my mac and then I import the 16 track of Audio directly into my Portastudio for mixing and mastering.

I dumped Cubase years ago, when I realized that the Motif simply had superior effects, a better and integrated digital mixer, and a sequencer already designed to work with my performance mode, song mode, pattern mode, and master mode set ups.

The computer can be useful:

Running the Motif XF editor
Converting Wav/AIFF to Mp3
Emailing, Uploading Wavs MP3 to the Internet, Youtube etc
Advanced Audio Editing (Audacity works great for this)
Score writing Software

But by no means should a M1 laptop or any other kind of computer dictate/dominate the ‘Music Production’ relationship in Motif XF + computer scenario!  You should obtain whatever computer hardware works with the Motif, and if you can’t find any, drop the computer from your workflow.  If the computer is more important to you than your Motif XF, then drop the Motif from your workflow.  If you put your Motif XF for sale, I’m sure you’ll find more than a few Motif admirers that would love to take it off your hands!


  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: August 02, 2023 @ 04:09 PM
Total Posts:  29
Joined  01-27-2012
status: Regular

Thanks, Monk, for your detailed reply.

I fully understand and in fact to a large degree agree with your viewpoint. In fact, that’s why up until last month I have steadfastly stuck with a 2012 MacBook Pro running - believe it or not - Snow Leopard! 

But the reality is that I love and depend upon both the Motif and my Mac-based computer software. Both are indispensable to me. Yes, the Motif is a wonderful full blown workstation that equals and arguably exceeds a lot of computer-based DAWs for recording, mixing and mastering. But I also use a wide variety of music production software on the Mac (e.g. Omnisphere, Synthmaster, Kontakt, Melodyne to name a few) at different times. And I have found - at least for my workflow - that I am most comfortable working with them through a software-based DAW like Logic. It’s because I like the latter’s wide ranging functionality that goes well beyond recording, mixing and mastering, and whose functionality has significantly improved over time. For example, I now use the Mac to host an MPE-capable MIDI controller - a Linnstrument - which serves as a great complement to the Motif and which works really well in conjunction with Logic (which added full MPE compliance a few years ago).

But, as you pointed out in your response, the unavoidable and unfortunate reality is that a large percentage of music production software mfrs have dropped support for older MacOS versions. And to take advantage of the latest features of their music software- many of which are highly desirable to me - it eventually reached the point where I had no choice but to get a new Mac that could support a far more up-to-date version of the OS.

On the other hand, I have no desire to sell my Motif. IMHO its combination of functionality, built-in sounds, stage-piano-like keyboard action, and overall build quality remain nearly unrivaled even today. To be frank though, I use and enjoy the Motif primarily as a performance instrument now and not as a workstation. But even in just that limited capacity, I have no desire to sell it, as I would likely have to spend almost as much money on a sufficiently high quality stage piano. Because let’s face it- a cheap MIDI keyboard is hardly an acceptable substitute for an actual piano, which is something I am most accustomed to and most enjoy playing.

But to get to the heart of the issue which prompted my initial post, my concern isn’t about whether to prioritize my Motif or my computer. Rather it’s specifically about whether I can continue to use the FW16E audio interface in the Motif, which unfortunately uses what has effectively become an obsolete connectivity standard. Given this and my desire to continue to use both the Motif and my new Mac, my thinking is that the most sensible course of action might be simply to abandon use of the FW16E and purchase a decent quality USB-based audio interface. That’s certainly not my preference but it would be a solution, I think.

But that goes back to my original post. Before abandoning the FW16E, I’d like to at least see if it IS possible for it to work with the new MacBook in some capacity. And as I stated in my initial post, while I intend to try this out for myself, I was hoping that someone here might have already attempted to get this configuration working and could provide some guidance. 

Last, and for the record, I am not rejecting your recommendation by any menas.  I am holding onto my 2012 MacBook Pro and have updated the OS to Mojave, which is the most recent that computer can run and which I am fairly certain still supports FireWire.  So it at least gives me the option to use the full capabilities of the Motif with some/most of my Mac music software if and when there are times that is desirable. 

In any event, thanks for taking the time to respond to my post, and I’m hoping someone could answer my question specifically about FW16E support.

Steve Marano

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: August 03, 2023 @ 08:58 PM
Total Posts:  364
Joined  12-17-2013
status: Enthusiast

Okay, I think I fully understand your dilemma.

A while back some dude on youtube found a firewire to thunderbolt to usbc series of adapters.  I didn’t believe it., Everyone says there is no way to go from firewire to usbc but this guy had a series of adapters (from Apple) that went from firewire to usbc and demonstrated it on his channel.

I will try to find that setup.  I wrote it down somewhere, my intention was to test it.  If I find it all post it.  Or try to find that guy’s channel again and post it. 

I do understand that software can take you places differently and beyond what the Motif by itself does.

I have found that when I want to truly extend my Motif with capability that it does not have, that the Ipad (with regularly midi connection works) For example I have the SWAM modules that all use physical modelling synthesis

Swam Physical Modelling Synthesis

I use the IPAD as a synth engine that I sometimes integrate with my Motif using Master Mode, and that I sometimes sample from the synths on the IPad

For example on my IPad I have SynthMaster2, Nambu , NAVE, AudioKit(Virtual Analog) and a Model 15 a Moog Modular Synth that I integrate with my Motif either through Master Mode or by Sampling the sounds and adding new voices to my Motif or mixing the audio into the digital mixer on the Motif.

I control the IPAD synth modules through Midi from my motif and either run the Audio out of the IPAD directly into my Motif’s Audio in (if I want to sample) or I run the Audio out of the IPad into my Tascam Model 12 Mixer as a submix.

I’m just saying., in many instances if you’ve just got to have capability beyond the Motif., the Ipad’s Midi interface and midi learn allow you to add a great deal of extremely current
audio and midi technologies.  In fact when I need MPE, or Midi 2 integrated with my Motif I do so by integrated the IPad.

Since I already do use the Motif IPAd apps, I stumbled on how nicely the Motif integrates with softsynths, audio bus, etc on the IPAD with out the need for FW16E.

The value of FW16E (Which I have and do use) is being able to transfer 16 channels of audio out of (or into) the Motif and the computer for additional processing.  And I understand you may want to use plugins on the computer to process your audio., but let me share the paradigm I use (you may be familiar with it already)

If there is some audio processing that I absolutely need to do in a plugin then I run than audio through my audio out on my Motif into computer (using Model 12 as the interface) process the audio on the computer and run the audio back into my motif through audio in for final processing.

I literally use my Motif as the main sequencer and audio processor.  So even if a DAW is involved I send the audio out of my Motif to the Daw process it on the DAW and then route back into the Motif to apply effects, compression, limiting, EQ etc.

Yea, that’s the old skool approach of using Aux Send/Return for effects, but in my case (on very rare occasions LOL) I send the audio out and return it back through audio in.

But I do get that you are attached to various pieces of software and your computer workflow, and that you use your Motif primarily for performing.  I also clearly respect that.

But for the same reason that you ultimately had to supplement your older mac with the M1, you will have to supplement the M1 with something else, and on and on.  For me that got old.  Subscription services, dongles, software patches and updates breaking things, constant version chasing just got in the way of my music.

Now, since you use your Motif primarily for performance and not music production., your in a different category altogther, and if the DAW works for you then by all means.  But!!!  LOL

There are now hardware alternatives that won’t leave you chasing subscriptions, dongles, constant upgrade juggling, version change risks etc.  Almost all the major vendors have recently released hardware digital recorder/mixer/audio interface combos that have amazing built in Plugins, mastering tools etc.  For example:

Hardware DAW!

These new class of Digital Mixer/Recorder/Audio-Interfaces have all the advantage of software DAWs with non of shenanigans LOL
For the most part I’ve gone the hardware DAW, hardware multitrack recorder route + my Motif.  If there is some new whiz bang softsynth or VST I must have, I access it through my IPad.  I do use my computer for Notation Software, conversion of WAV to MP3, distributing my music, arrangements, through e-mail, youtube, etc.  But I’ve largely removed the computer from my music making process and have gone with dedicated hardware DAWs and music production.

But I understand your dilemma, If I find that adapter (Apple exclusive) sequence that allows you to go from firewire to usbc I will definitely post it.  I won’t have a chance to test it, so you’ll be on your own.  But it that solution works you’ll be able to go from your Motif to the M1.

Also if you can’t find a solution for you FW16E, and you find yourself needing another audio interface, I strongly recommend this:

Digital Mixer/Recorder/Audio-Interface

Along with having extremely high quality preamps, its a digital mixer, also 12 track digital recording/editing, and its an audio interface, and you can use it as a remote surface for Cubase/Logic etc.

If you have to replace your Firewire Interface the Tascm Model 12 is a whole lot of bang for the buck.


  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: August 03, 2023 @ 10:55 PM
Total Posts:  29
Joined  01-27-2012
status: Regular

Thanks so much, Monk. This is all great information on products I was not aware of, and I will check out the links you have provided.

By the way, as far as connecting a Firewire device to a new (Thunderbolt 3-equipped) Mac, there are articles and Youtube videos that provide information on how this supposedly can be done. And in fact, I already have the adapters that - at least from a hardware connectivity standpoint - are supposedly needed to get that to work. But based on some forum posts I’ve read, I was/am under the impression that the hardware connection is not the issue, but rather that a Yamaha software driver that supposedly needs to be installed on the Mac to get the FW16E to be recognized does not work under the new 64 bit MacOS. I haven’t had the time yet to check this out for myself, so at the moment this is all secondhand information for me. That’s actually why I made my original post, to see if anyone has actually tried getting the FW16E to be recognized on a new Mac after they first got the FW-to-THunderbolt 3 connectivity in place via those adapters.  I am hoping to get the chance to test this for myself within the next couple of weeks, though a big challenge is that it’s been a number of years since I was familiar with all the Motif software, so I likely will have to re-familiarize myself with all of that.  Once I get the chance to do all this and test whether a FW connection can still be made, I will try to post an update here on the outcome.

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: August 04, 2023 @ 08:26 AM
Total Posts:  364
Joined  12-17-2013
status: Enthusiast

Well, you should be able to run a virtual machine on the new Mac


Virtual Machine for Mac

If you get this running on your new M1 it will allow you to run an older MacOS at the same time as running the new Mac OS.  The Virtual Machine (VM) looks like a Mac App.  You click it on and it opens up a window which is essentially a virtual mac running the Catalina, Mohave, Lion, whatever.  You could install the older FW16E driver in that VM, and share between the new and old environments.  Of course this is advanced use of VM’s on the Mac but it works.  I have done this in the past.  But I’ve never tried it on the M1.  But I did use it on Mac OS 10.11 when I needed to run an application that only ran on Mac OS 10.7 But in my second life my master’s degree is in computer science, so I’ve spent more than a little time messing around with low level unix, linux, virtual machines and hardware etc.  I was able to drag and drop betwween Mac OS 10.11 and Mac OS 10.7 easily.

You also have network options between your older Macbook and your new one, that will let you do sharing between older apps and newer apps (depending on what you’re doing) On my Mac network all connected over my home wireless I have 3 Mac Pros, 1 Macbook Pro all 4 are running different versions of Mac OS from Tiger to Catalina, and I am able to drag and drop between all of them and in some cases Midi flows transparently.

Well, good luck, I will be interested in how this all turns out for you.

To me the Motif is a fine classic musical instrument and should be cherished and catered to just as much as a Stradivarius, or a classic Steinway D, or Hammond B3, or a $30,000 Bassoon.  From my perspective whatever needs to be done to accommodate the Motif in a performance or recording scenario should be done LOL.  Software/Computers come and go, but the Motif, Motif ES, Motif XS, and Motif XF are classics and we’ll likely never see them in their original forms again.  Here is Levin playing Mozart’s original piano LOL

Mozart’s Original Piano

Thank goodness we don’t have to worry about fire wire, software versions, expired subscriptions, old computer operating systems, etc to block us from getting to experience and see Mozart’s original piano.

Obviously its clear I’m among the enthusiastic fanboys of the Motif.  From my vantage point its an absolute Masterpiece and I treat as such :-)

The latest trend is actually toward hardware oriented music production systems by combining digital mixers with built in Plugins and Multitrack Digital Recording.  I realize you’ve just dropped serious money on your new M1 LOL. Just keep in mind the future of computers and music involves lots of subscriptions, pay-walls, DRM-blockings, and version chasing. You suffer none of that with hardware-oriented music production work flows ;-)

Zoom R20

Maschine Plus

MPC One Plus

New Yamaha DM Series

Tascam Sonic View

Zoom L 20

Tascam DP 32

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: August 04, 2023 @ 08:06 PM
Total Posts:  29
Joined  01-27-2012
status: Regular

And once again thank you for providing some really great information about hopefully continuing to get the benefit of a fully functional FW16E.  In any event, rest assured that I have no intention of selling my Motif XF8. I purchased it years ago because I felt it was the best of its kind then, and frankly I still feel the same way if not more so.  And you’ve inspired me to take another look at all of its capabilities, and not just using it for its superb keyboard and voices.


Steve Marano

  [ Ignore ]