Recently I have been re-imaging an iMac (2015 intel model), getting it ready for various new projects.

Normally I install GarageBand as well as Logic Pro just incase I ever want to use audio doodles from my iPad or something like that.

This time after fiddling about with GarageBand I discovered two things:

  1. The additional sounds that are downloadable contain some really nice synths and arps.
  2. VCV Rack 2 Pro works great in GarageBand (ie you don’t need buy Logic if you just want to play with Rack Pro in a DAW)

I also discovered that the performance of this iMac seems to be regressing as MacOS moves forward, it feels very sluggish and has a fair few hangups. I guess this is to be expected as Apple focus on their own chips, and is nothing to do with VCV, its just a shame because when this hardware was new it was an amazing dev machine… oh well


I’ve been playing with using Rack sequencers sending MIDI to GarageBand for the instruments and pads.

A word of caution though…

I was happily running macOS 10.15 (Catalina) on my 2019 MacBook Pro, and it had GarageBand 10.3.5. Recently I decided to bite the bullet and bump it up to macOS 11.7.4 (Big Sur). I only decided to do this because I will be needing Big Sur to run licensed versions of QLab 5 for two different community theatre groups in the near future.

Sadly, the so-called “upgrade” killed GarageBand. It says: “You do not have permission to open the application “”. Contact your computer or network administrator for assistance.” And, it claims that the app is “damaged”. I am supposed to delete it and download it again from the App Store.

I tried that, but the App Store will only offer to install GarageBand 10.4.7, for which “macOS 12.0 or later” is required. There is now nothing for Big Sur. Even if you find a link (in a tech blog or whatever) that purports to take you directly to where you can download 10.4.1 (which I think I need), Apple automagically redirects you to GB 10.4.7. I couldn’t even find a bootleg torrent for it.

I fear that I will end up jumping ahead yet again to Monterey, just so I can get GB again. I could always just reboot and select the APFS volume with Mojave installed, and use that version (10.3.4) of GB, but it’s terribly inconvenient. I save that for running exclusively 32-bit apps.

Oh, I just noticed - a 2015 iMac you say? As it happens, we found a 24" one at the Salvation Army Thrift Store for $35. I maxed out the RAM and put in a 1 TB SSD (because the original was failing) and managed to install El Capitan on it. My wife loves it for running Adobe Creative Suite 4, so it’s exclusively hers now.

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Wow, quite the deal

I am thinking about maybe creating a dual boot with AV Linux, to see if the performance is better. Obviously I won’t benefit from GarageBand or Logic Pro, but if it relieves the sluggishness it would be worth the setup.

I’ve got a 2014 MacBook Pro that I found in a free book bin last year. It still works great and runs VCV if I keep the module count low. Shame on Apple for depreciating their exceptionally well-built hardware so quickly.

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