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iSub Problems with Intel-based Macs (and workaround) in OS X Tiger
Posted: 3/16/2007 (later updated w/iMic workaround)
Updated 6/2/2008 for Notes on OS X 10.5.3 w/iSub


OS X 10.5.3 Update Note: An iMac G4 wrote that the OS X 10.5.3 Update (released May 28th, 2008) fixed the iSub problem with earlier versions of Leopard - but still not working with Intel-CPU Macs. I tried an old iSub here with my AL iMac running 10.5.3 - no sound output - although it did produce some sound (very poorly) with my G5 tower running 10.5.3. See posts in the June 2nd, 2008 news page.
(Note: previous posts from OS X 10.5 users noted even PPC Macs had no iSub support in Leopard.)



The original article from a reader mail in March 2007 (re: OS X 10.4.x/Tiger) follows:

"Apple Has Decided To Discontinue iSub Support For All Intel Macs
I had submitted a few bug reports regarding the lack of iSub support on, initially my Intel iMac, and as time went on, all of my Intel Macs.

Summary:
The Harman Kardon iSub is not working on Intel Macs without the use of other USB audio hardware.

Steps to Reproduce:
1. Plug in iSub.
2. Check Apple System Profiler. Device is listed in Apple System Profiler, but does not work, and does not have separate volume control

Expected Results:
Expected iSub to work in conjunction with internal speakers, or with external non-USB speakers, as it should.

Actual Results:
Device is listed in Apple System Profiler, but does not work, and does not have separate volume control

Regression:
This bug does not occur on PowerPC based Macs, just on Intel based Macs. Tested on a Power Mac G4 400 Sawtooth, Power Mac G4 867, Power Mac G5 Dual 2GHz, Intel Mac Mini 1.5GHz Core Solo, Intel iMac 20" 2.0GHz Core Duo, Intel MacBook Pro 17" 2.16GHz Core Duo, Mac Pro Quad 3GHz.

Workaround:
Attach another USB audio device (sound card, USB headset) and select that for sound output. The iSub and it's volume control will magically appear. Once you select Internal Speakers or another non- USB output, the iSub and it's volume control will disappear, and will cease outputting audio.

Initially, for bug # 4590777, Apple had listed it as a 'duplicate' bug, so there was some hope of having this fixed. As 10.4.4 was the initial OS X build that shipped on the first set of Intel Macs, maybe 10.4.5 would remedy this. Then the updates kept coming. And still, it wasn't working.

Once 10.4.9 was released earlier this week, I tried the iSub again on all my Intel Macs. Again, no dice. So I sent in another bug report for Apple to fix. I was hoping this would be fixed prior to Leopard's launch. To my dismay, I received the following email from Apple.

    "Hello Anthony, This is a follow-up to Bug ID# 5061928. We have received the following update regarding this bug:
    <GMT14-Mar-2007 23:41:32GMT> Vanaja Pasumarthi:
    Engineering has provided the following feedback regarding this issue:
    Unfortunately, we have had to discontinue the support for iSub for built in audio. This is behaves (sic) as expected. Please disable iSub on yellow machines for all configurations.

    We have closed this report as resolved. Thank you for taking the time to notify us of this issue.
    Best Regards,
    Vanaja P.
    Apple Developer Connection
    Worldwide Developer Relations"

This has been an issue for quite some time. As an owner of a few Intel based Macs, I'm disappointed that Apple has decided to discontinue support for their quickly emerging platform. It sort of goes against the statement from Apple that "Everything just works." Funny how the iSub does work in Windows Vista, however.

Please post this for the other iSub owners who might as well know this now instead of waiting even longer.
-Anthony V."

An iSub owner reply on using an iMic as a workaround. (this was before OS X 10.5/Leopard was released - see top of page for notes on iSub problems in Leopard.-Mike)

"I started trying workarounds (I found one that works!)
Here the setup, done with a pair of klipsches, an iMic and the iSub. First plug your iMic into your USB port on your Tower or USB Hub, Then plug your speakers in to speaker icon side of the iMic then plug in your iMic into another USB port or your USB hub. Check your Sound Preferences and you will have both of the Klispches and the iSub working!
(he later wrote)
I'm using the imic to insure I can use both my klipsch speakers at the same time I'm using the isub not one or the other. Adding another usb device only gives you the option on an intel mac to use your internal speaker on your tower and an isub. By pluging my speakers into the imic I have the ability to use and control the volume for both my external speakers and the isub.
-George H."





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