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TECHNOLOGICAL TORTURE...

Had another totally frustrating day with the installation of my studio's recording equipment. John made some headway with the Mackie Control Surface which now seems to function ok with the Cubase software. However, the ZOOM TAC-8 Thunderbolt Audio Interface has caused us a lot of head scratching.


After dashing out to buy an adaptor for the mains plug, we couldn't get the device to switch on. We suspected that the power supply might be the culprit, so I 'phoned Gear4Music to see if they had a replacement in stock. They said they no longer stocked the Zoom Thunderbolt interface and so did not have the appropriate spare power supply. But, after checking other makes of power supply, they said that a TC Electronic one would be compatible. So I dashed off to the Gear4Music hq which is situated on the other side of town, just off the ring road.


Arriving at Gear4Music a very helpful girl on reception arranged to get the TC Electronic power supply from the warehouse and allowed me to check that it did fit the Zoom interface, (which I'd taken with me.) Unfortunately, when the on switch was pressed, nothing lit up. My conclusion was that the power supply probably wasn't the culprit and so I set off back home thinking that I'd have to return the Zoom unit itself as faulty.


When I got back home, I looked closely at the rear of the Zoom unit and saw a tiny switch which said 'stand alone' mode on one of its positions. I asked John what the switch was for and he said it was probably for if you wanted to use the unit as a simple stand alone microphone-pre amp and not have it connected to a computer. Willing to give anything a try to solve the problem, I suggested that we put the switch in the stand alone position and try to plug it in and switch on again. Lo and behold, the device lit up like a Christmas Tree! Hurrah!


Next, John downloaded the necessary Zoom drivers to my Mac Mini so that the devices could talk to each other. Then came the next problem. The Mac Mini didn't recognise the Zoom audio interface...


John tried various things but nothing worked. After looking at lots of online information, John finally found the reason for the lack of connection. The Zoom unit apparently isn't compatible with the very latest Mac operating system, which happens to be the very operating system my new Mac Mini runs on. It would, however, work with the previous version, which is Mojave 10.14.4, but not with the one running on my computer which is 10.14.5. And, after a long and diligent search on the internet, there seems to be no updated driver on the Zoom website to make it compatible with this very latest Mac OS. I haven't got a lot of hair left these days but it's been a hair-tearing day, one way or another.


So, after looking at all the options and checking out other makes of audio interfaces, I've decided to buy a Focusrite Thunderbolt interface which will, unfortunately, cost a lot more than the Zoom one I bought back in April. But, after enquiring with Focusrite and being given the assurance that their device will work with my current Mac OS, I have no other choice but to buy it. So, it's up early tomorrow morning and a drive out to Gear4Music once more to purchase the Focusrite device.


Which leaves me with a brand new, unused Zoom TAC-8 Thunderbolt audio interface which will work happily with any OS except the absolute latest, most recent Mac update. So frustrating.


Should anyone be interested in buying the Zoom interface from me, please contact Jon Wallinger who runs my website and we will try to sort something out for a reasonable price. As I said, it's absolutely brand new, pristine condition, unused and will work perfectly as long as you're not running Mojave 10.14.5. Any OS previous to that will be perfectly compatible.


Technology eh?...an expensive nightmare. Well, that's me done for today.


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© Bill Nelson 2020

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