No Leopard either, please.

By C. Steve | November 3, 2007

Do I need to remind you that upgrading to Mac OSX 10.5, aka Leopard, is a Bad Idea right now. It has not been certified by Digidesign, Waves, MOTU, or anyone else really. So unless you’re using plain-vanillla Logic Studio 8, just wait awhile. Okay?

Having said that, reports from the Digidesign User Conference claim that Pro Tools LE does work with a USB interface (original Mbox, Mbox2, Mbox Mini). However it seems not to work with a Firewire interface (Mbox Pro, 002 and 003).

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OSX 10.4.9 Approved by Waves, Digidesign

By C. Steve | June 9, 2007

The aforementioned troubles with Mac OSX version 10.4.9 appear to be solved for the most part.

Plug-in vendors including Waves and Ohm Force have released updated versions of their plugs (in the case of Waves, updated Waveshells) that allow them to be validated properly by the auval application in 10.4.9.

I’m still experiencing some minor speed bumps (more on those later), but for the moment it seems to be all good.

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Controlling Input Levels Using Auxes in Pro Tools

By C. Steve | May 17, 2007

Did you know that when recording a track in Pro Tools LE, the only volume control available between your mic’s signal and the hard disk is the Input level knob on your interface?

That’s right… the only control you have to avoid clipping during record is the level knob on your Mbox or 002 (or 003). The fader attached to the audio track has no effect on the input signal — only on the playback signal. This fact becomes even more important if you own one of the new Digidesign Mbox 2 Mini interfaces, since there aren’t even clip lights on the front of that little sucker. You have to use the metering in the software to make sure your signal is clean.

There’s a workaround, of course. I’ve been using it for several years now, just as a safety feature. It’s called an Aux track. Here’s what you do: Read the rest of this entry »

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Keeping a PC simple

By C. Steve | April 16, 2007

I found a screamin’ deal on a little IBM desktop with a Pentium 4 at 2.56 GHz — too cheap to pass up. I’ve installed Win XP Service Pack 2 on it, and I’m gonna use it as a standalone effects processor. It needs to be as fast as it can given the pokey processor, so here’s a quick look at how to squeeze the most out of a Windows machine.

1. Don’t install Vista, not yet anyway. It’s still a bit early to know how Vista will perform in an audio environment, but one thing we do know — it expends a lot of CPU cycles looking for DRM content (meaning copy-protected audio, video, etc.). We also know that the extreme eye-candy in Vista takes a serious toll. If you’re trying to squeeze performance out of a non-dual-core system, it’s better to stick with XPSP2.

2. Turn off all the eye candy. It’s pretty to look at, but all those fades, slides, and shadows on menus and buttons take extra CPU cycles and create more traffic on the bus going to and from your video card. Hit the System control panel, choose the Advanced tab, and set Performance to “Adjust for Best Performance.” While you’re at it, kill the Desktop pattern or backdrop as well as the screen saver. You’ll notice a significant increase in performance, even if it ain’t as much fun to look at. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mac OSX 10.4.9 makes trouble with some Audio Units

By C. Steve | April 5, 2007

Some plug-in developers, notably Waves and Ohm Boyz, have issued warnings against installing Mac OSX version 10.4.9.

Seems that Apple included the auval program from the upcoming Leopard (10.5) in version 10.4.9. The auval program validates Audio Unit plug-ins before installing them. This new version of auval is evidently more rigorous than previous versions, and some otherwise perfectly good plugs fail and can become unavailable for use.

If you’ve already installed version 10.4.9, the workaround is to acquire the older auval program and install it over the new version.

It’s yet another reason to turn off all automatic updates, on both PeeCees and Macs. Updating a working computer with new software always a bit risky, and doing so while in the middle of a project is suicidal.

Check for updates manually, and don’t install them without doing some homework first. The only exception is security-related updates (particularly for Windows). But even with those I like to check the web to see if anyone is having troubles before I install.

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Welcome to audiotechsupport-dot-com

By C. Steve | March 29, 2007

It’s up and running… more later. All good, promise.

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