Mac USB Audio: M-Audio Says Avoid the Left-hand USB Port, All Ports Not Equal

MacBook USB port, under scrutiny. Photo: Kevin Hiscott. Is your MacBook Pro a rightie? Something’s going on with the one or two left-hand USB ports on all MacBook Pros. I’ve heard some issues with hard disks, and now some problems with audio. (Controllers are evidently just fine.) The solution: use the right-hand USB port for audio instead. Updated: Reader Adam suggests that this is probably due to a difference in power delivered to the respective ports. USB audio requires more power, and so odds are you’re under-delivering on the left-hand ports. I’m inclined to think that this is exactly what’s …

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Tips: Fix Windows Explorer, Be Happy

I’m a big believer in open platforms, computer platforms, and the power to customize stuff. Unfortunately, there’s a simple reality: developers’ work is sometimes a bit like the proverbial bull in the china shop. (Code SMASH!) In short: a lot of times when Windows’ file managemer Explorer is hanging, it’s not Microsoft’s fault. Misbehaved shell extensions – often installed without your permission by other tools you’ve installed – are often responsible. If you’re like me, you’re willing to put in a little bit of effort if it saves you time down the road. For me, a few tweaks to Explorer …

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Max 5 Bug Squash, Expo74 Max/MSP/Jitter Event in April

Max/MSP: it does a body good! Photo (CC Yao Chung-Han / worKingLab) If you haven’t been following Max 5 updates, the folks at Cycling ’74 have been aggressively bug squashing. The changelog for 5.0.6 alone is exhaustive. (Via @rekkerd on Twitter, of rekkerd.org.) Updated: Also new in Max 5, it’s now possible as of 5.0.6 to properly save your patches to a version control repository. Don’t know what that is? Now’s a perfect time to find out — it means it’ll be easier to track changes you make to your own patches, and easier to collaborate with other people. And …

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RjDj Updates: Compatibility, Reliability Info

The creators of interactive iPhone music app RjDj have posted a quick update on their blog answering a number of questions readers have raised here. The easiest fix: if you can’t hear RjDj’s output, you need to use the official Apple headset and mic. Tougher, but in the works: iPod touch support, and a fix for the nasty crash bug. Don’t tell us here on comments; go straight to their bug tracker and help them squash the problem. (One reader here thinks the issue may be downloading over-the-air rather than via iTunes sync.) Some people were trying to install RjDj …

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Pro Tools 7.4.2 Officially Leopard Compatible, But Check Your Plug-ins; Leopard FireWire Fix

Pro Tools 7.4.2 is now fully tuned, qualified, and tested for Mac OS X Leopard. It’s a free download for users of Pro Tools 7.4 HD, LE, and M-Powered. (If you’re not yet on 7.4, you will need to purchase an upgrade to 7.4 first.) According to Digidesign, the update results from collaboration with Apple to acheive the expected levels of performance and stability under Apple’s newest operating system. 7.4.2 Announcement – download is right there [Digidesign] That’s the good news. The bad news is, your plug-ins may not yet be along for the ride. Digidesign reports some current instruments …

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Mac OS X 10.5.3 Released; Addresses USB Audio Issues

Apple has made its Mac OS X 10.5.3 update available. Among the bug fixes: “Addresses an issue with stuttering video and audio playback in certain USB devices.” Also interesting, given that some issues may have been related to wireless issues: “Improves 802.1X behavior and reliability.” About the Mac OS X 10.5.3 Update [Knowledge Base HT1141 at Apple Support] Thanks to John for the tip. (I hear shouts of joy from various people as that Software Update dialog pops up…) This would appear to address at least some of the audio performance complaints with 10.5.2. Those of you who have been …

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Blame Apple, Not Your Driver Maker, But Leopard Fix May Be Close

Sometimes the kernel pops, sometimes it doesn’t. We’re waiting for a Leopard fix, and have reason to believe we may not have to wait much longer. Photo CC EastBayAnt. Updated: As expected, the Mac OS X 10.5.3 update has been released, and it promises to address USB audio playback issues. That may or may not fully resolve issues users have been encountering; I expect we’ll know more soon. Let’s get one thing straight: if you’re having audio problems under Mac OS X 10.5.2 and you’re looking for someone to blame, it’s reasonably safe to blame Apple, in case that wasn’t …

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Leopard Audio Woes and Digidesign; 10.5.2 is a Lemon for Music?

The more we learn about Leopard, specifically 10.5.2, the worse it gets. I don’t think there are any larger lessons to be drawn here, or meaningful platform discussions to be had. I think you should find a workaround and keep making music. Hey, I’ve been running Mac, Windows, and other operating systems (cough, yes, DOS) for a long time. Some releases are beloved keepers, rock-solid models of compatibility and stability. Others, you move on, and try to erase the version number from your mind. Both seem to come in cycles. Digidesign has joined its M-Audio unit in responding to our …

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Fix for Mac Audio Dropouts: Roll Back Tiger AirPort Support

Background: Many laptop-based Mac OS X users are experiencing significant audio issues on Mac OS X Tiger and Leopard. On Tiger, the culprit appears to be the AirPort Extreme Update 2008-001 released earlier this spring. One workaround on Tiger is to simply turn off AirPort. On Leopard, the problem appears to be slightly more complex, but generally linked to 10.5.2; several software vendors are recommending music users avoid that update for now. (10.5 / 10.5.1 appear unaffected.) The issue is not universal on Leopard (some laptop Mac users report no problems), but if you are experiencing issues, the only current …

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