I love my Akai EiE Pro. It’s a great piece of gear; rugged and dependable. I use it weekly to record my podcast “You Talk Loud” and my musical experiments as well as the music of fellow Austin musicians. Well, at least I used to.
On Wednesday July 25th, Apple released the latest version of OS X: 10.8 Mountain Lion. Mountain Lion adds many features that I love on my iPad and integrates OS X with all the iOS devices. iCloud, Notifications, Notes and Reminders: all these things are very attractive to me.
However, I’m not a fool. Computers have been a part of my life for 24 years and in that time I’ve learned that the .0 release of any software has bugs. I’ve read that Apple products are not immune and people working creatively with them are wary of upgrading. Applications need to be checked for compatibility, the machine itself needs to be prepared for the upgrade, and all data needs to be backed up. So with this in mind, I set out to see what problems I might encounter if I upgrade.
My checklist was fairly short: Ableton Live. Since Logic and GarageBand are Apple products, I was confident they would continue to work. “You Talk Loud” is recorded in Ableton Live and luckily for me Ableton had updated Live to be compatible with 10.8. So after upgrading Live, I figured I was set. Not quite.
I waited a few days for the smoke to clear and the reviews were unanimously favorable. No one seemed to have any problems with Mountain Lion upgrades. I upgraded the drivers for my EiE Pro and upgraded the firmware on the unit. I was ready to rock.
The upgrade was painless. Everything worked as it should and I was happy. That is until I plugged in my EiE Pro. Nothing. Not recognized by OS X. I redownloaded the drivers, uninstalled, and reinstalled. Still nothing. I uninstalled Soundflower in case that was causing issues. Nope. I fired up “Audio MIDI Setup” I saw a blank device in the MIDI settings, but no interface in the audio properties. I was crestfallen. I’ve been on OS X long enough to forget about driver problems. “Those are for Windows users!” I thought. No such luck.
What did Akai have to say? Nothing. There was no announcement, no explanation, no recourse. I sent them a support email, only to receive a reply 4 days later that told me they did not have Mountain Lion compatible drivers. They assured me that they would be released shortly. That was Monday. As of this writing, it is Friday, August 3rd. I still have a non-functioning EiE Pro. A thread on the Akai forum has been bubbling over comments from irate EiE Pro users. We’ve been commiserating and trying to get some answers, but so far it’s all been form letter replies and weak apologies from their social network team. No hard data. The most shameful part is that all the useful information I’ve received has been from the user community and not from Akai themselves.
I’m actually more disappointed than mad about this. I’m disappointed that they have such terrible customer service. I’m disappointed that they waited until release day to test driver compatibility. But mostly I’m disappointed that this is the last Akai product I’ll ever buy. They’ve let me down so much that I can’t trust them to be there if I have problems in the future. I wanted to get an APC40 controller, but I’m going to get something else. Maybe a Native Instrument’s Maschine. Shame on you Akai. Get your shit together.
Complain to Akai via Twitter: https://twitter.com/akai_pro
Two weeks after the release of Mountain Lion, Akai finally posted a compatible set of drivers. Of course I had to find out via the complaint thread on the Akai forum, not from Akai themselves.
Visit the EiE Pro page for the new drivers: http://www.akaipro.com/eiepro/
Or download them directly from me: akai_eie_pro_driver_2.1.18.zip