How I upgraded my music workstation and lived to tell about it


Installing and transferring other music software

Logic Pro

Installing Logic was easy. I had Logic Pro 8 and 9 on my old Mac, but I don’t have many custom settings or 32-bit plug-ins, and I had heard enough good things about Logic Pro X that I was willing to leave the previous versions behind. Should you not wish to make a clean break, it is entirely possible for Logic Pro X to coexist with your previous version.

Since I hadn’t bought it yet (Logic Pro X isn’t compatible with Snow Leopard), I headed over to the App Store. $200 and 50 GB later, Logic was installed on my new Mac.

I chose to install the legacy instruments and content. I also opted to “Show Advanced Tools” in Logic > Preferences > Advanced; it seems silly to have a powerful program like Logic not display these options. (If you’re upgrading and already have Logic 9 on your Mac, “Show Advanced Tools” should already be checked.)


Vienna Instruments

I have the Special Edition of the Vienna Symphonic Library, volumes 1 and 2. The instruments themselves existed on my samples drive in my old Mac, and I simply transferred the entire folder named 100 SpecialEdition and its 57 GB of contents over to the new Mac via Ethernet, on the external drive I had designated for my samples.

VSL uses a USB key dongle authorization, so I unplugged the key from my old Mac and plugged in the new Mac. I then went to the site for the eLicenser Control Center, downloaded the latest version of the application, and installed it on my new Mac. I opened the application just to make sure the VSL registrations appeared, and then quit the program.

I then went to the download area for Vienna Instruments and Vienna Ensemble. Once logged in, I saw links to download the latest software, which I did, and installed it.

After installing the Vienna software on my Mac, I went to Macintosh HD/Applications/Vienna Ensemble and opened the Directory Manager. I told it where to find my sample libraries, and that was that.



I have EWQLSO Gold, Symphonic Choirs, and Stormdrum. Like the VSL instruments, I transferred over their three folders from my old Mac to the new (about 145 GB).

Each of these libraries uses the PLAY player, and each license is authorized to an iLok key, purchased separately. I had already set this up when I first installed the libraries on my old Mac, so in this case, I didn’t need to download any software. I just unplugged the iLok Key from the old Mac and put it in the new Mac. More information is at this EastWest knowledgebase article.

I then went to the PLAY Software update page and downloaded and installed the latest PLAY software. Once installed and downloaded, I opened PLAY and went to the “Browser” window. From there, in the “Favorites” section I added each of the libraries, as instructed in this article.


The XSample solo libraries have some very nice sounds and effects. As with the previous sample libraries, I simply transferred its folder and 15 GB of sounds from my old Mac to the new.

XSample uses the Kontakt Player (more on that below).


I have Kontakt but hardly use it – I skipped installing it on my new Mac. If I need it at some point, I’ll install it. For now, I just downloaded the Kontakt 5 player and installed it.

I opened Kontakt Player and added to it my XSample library, as described in this article on Native Instruments’ site. I clicked “Activate” and entered my serial number, and I was ready to use XSample.


NotePerformer for Sibelius

Wallander Instruments’ NotePerformer for Sibelius is a relatively new product that I enjoy using, with excellent results, for bigger orchestra projects in Sibelius that don’t call for a lot of time-consuming custom setup.

Installing NotePerformer is incredibly easy. I went to the product update page, requested a download link, received the link in my e-mail, downloaded NotePerformer, and installed the software on my new Mac.

M-Audio MidiSport driver

I have a USB MidiSport 2×2 that is about 15 years old. I use it to connect my Mac to my equally old Roland RD-600 keyboard. M-Audio drivers are found here.

Mine works fine, but if you have one of these gadgets and are having problems getting it to work, this Apple support article might help.

Midiman, still going strong
Midiman, still going strong

For daily note entry and editing I use a discontinued M-Audio O2 USB MIDI controller, which is basically the same product as the M-Audio Session Keystudio 25, which has also been discontinued. I like its size and slimness, and I haven’t yet found any current product I like as much for the way I use it. It’s class-compliant, so no drivers were necessary.


To be sure I had the latest version of ReWire, I downloaded it from Propellerhead.


  1. Henry

    Thank you for an incredibly useful resume of the upgrade process, which I expect will be of great help to me …. when I can afford to move on like you did! Best wishes.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thanks, Henry. It had been a long time coming!

  2. Mike

    What a fantastic and detailed writeup, Phil! Lots of very valuable and helpful tips here. I wish I had known about that solar-powered Logitech keyboard a few months ago. Not knowing about it, I ended up with the Apple wireless keyboard, a separate Belkin numeric keypad (also wireless), and a bunch of rechargeable batteries. It works fine and looks OK, but…yuck!

    One small additional tip that some readers may find helpful. My computer is nowhere near my main router, so I had no way to connect the old and new machines to it with an Ethernet cable. Instead, you can connect your Macs directly to one another! If you have a really old Mac, you might need a special cable called a crossover cable to do this, but most Macs sold since 2000 can use a regular cable. More info is here:

    Keep up the great work!

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thanks, Mike Benoit. I was (and am) grateful for your advice!

      And, thanks, Mike Klinger!

  3. Mike Klinger

    Awesome! A lot of us are at that same point in time, this will be extremely useful.

  4. Matt Carey

    Thanks Philip! I love reading your posts and this one is very timely for me as I picked up a new computer yesterday. Do you know when Sibelius 7.5 will be released? I’m wondering whether there is any benefit in not installing the current version and just waiting for 7.5 to try and keep my computer a little ‘cleaner’ for as long as I can.

    Thanks also for sharing info about other software you use. I’m going to look into 1Password and a few of the other things you mentioned.

    One more question since this is the first time I’ve commented on your blog. As a ‘power user’ do you use the (piano) keyboard for much of your note input or do you prefer the (computer) keyboard? I’ve been using Sibelius for years and found that (computer) keyboard entry has been faster for me – even for piano/keyboard parts – but maybe it’s worth the investment of time to learn how to use the (piano) keyboard note entry facility more efficiently?

    Thanks again.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thanks, Matt! I don’t see any harm in installing Sibelius 7.1.3. In fact you might benefit from keeping it around, should you need it; 7.1.3 and 7.5 seem to co-exist happily on my machine. Plus if you put the Sibelius Sounds on your machine now, your 7.5 install will go more quickly since you’ll have gotten that part out of the way.

      Avid has said “February” for 7.5 release so I predict any time in the next 11 days. :-)

      I was just talking note entry today with a colleague. I generally use step-time entry with the MIDI keyboard, but occasionally use the computer keyboard too. The methods are really quite similar and you can freely use both; instead of typing on your computer keyboard, you just play the note on your computer keyboard.

  5. Dennis

    This is in response to Mike, but might interest anyone who has a similar problem. I also have a router nowhere near my computer(s). But offers cables that work great at a very reasonable price. I’ve had a couple of the 50′ ones with great results. Having a hardwired connection (even for a temporary connection) is great, and well-worth the money.

  6. Tim Parkin

    Thanks for a great article Philip. I shall need to do a similar transfer here in the UK in the next 3 months and this article will be invaluable.

  7. Peter Roos

    A very cool and entertaining post Philip. I’ll cross post this on other music forums. I’m a PC and I have been through several of these exercises.

  8. Peter Roos

    Edit my previous post — I am not a PC, I am *on* PC (windows). :)

    1. Philip Rothman

      Ha, thanks, Peter!

  9. Alan Knight

    Hi. I think you’re running the (not yet released) Sibelius 7.5 here on Mavericks? Does this fix the problems that (still, months later!) plague the released version of Sibelius on Mavericks?

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Alan, until Sibelius 7.5 is officially released, it’s probably best if I refer to statements made on Sibelius’s official Facebook page, regarding Mavericks, where Avid’s Sam Butler said “We have resolved the font problem in 7.5 and are working with Apple on a solution that will resolve the performance for all v7 and v7.5 products all at once.”

  10. Ernie Jackson

    Incredible article. Is there someone who could provide a PC version as well? that would be great.

  11. Mary Jo Disler

    Just curious how long the setup/install process actually took, after the planning and purchases were in place. And thanks for such care and detail. Terrific!

    1. Philip Rothman

      Thanks, Mary Jo! I did it over a weekend and still had time to write the whole thing up in the blog. But yes, the planning and purchases happened ahead of time.

  12. Jane

    I have the same OLD Mac. I am wondering if I really need to replace it with another pro. I have been hankering to have a Macbook. Would that usable for Sibelius if I added a monitor, synth, keyboard, etc.?


    1. Philip Rothman

      Jane: Yes, you can add peripherals to a MacBook and Sibelius should run just fine on any of the latest Macs.

  13. John Day

    Hi Philip
    can you please advise how I can download Sibelius 7 sounds
    FYI – I bought my copy online so I don’t have the disks which I understand are usually necessary.
    Many thanks

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