Pro Tools Minus the Hardware? Mackie Says New Mixers Support M-Powered; Q&A

It’s a Mackie mixer! It’s an audio interface! It’s both – and now it works with Pro Tools, despite the presence of an M-Audio or Digidesign logo anywhere on the case? The Mackie Onyx-i (note that it still has a hefty bulge below the back of the mixer). It’s been one of the few constants in music technology. To use Pro Tools software, you need Pro Tools hardware – that means M-Audio interfaces for M-Powered (and now Essentials) and Digidesign interfaces for LE and HD. Without M-Audio or Digidesign hardware actively plugged in, the software refuses to run. And there’s …

READ MORE →

Apple MacBooks: Reappearing FireWire, Disappearing ExpressCard

As you no doubt heard, Apple today refreshed their MacBook lineup with across-the-board adjustments to pricing. I’ll let other sites comment on the news more generally, as this is a music site, not a notebook site. But the big news for audio in terms of I/O, just so you don’t miss that: FireWire on more models: Finally, you can again get a 13” MacBook (now called MacBook Pro) with onboard FireWire – a FW800 connector. That’ll restore the use of audio interfaces and certain high-speed storage, and means the MacBook is again a good choice as an audio machine at …

READ MORE →

Apogee Dumps Windows, Tells Users Macs are Better

Maybe it was aesthetically incompatible with ugly PCs. Apogee Electronics has just announced they’ve dropped support development for Windows. Now, that’s their prerogative – not least because customers who prefer using Windows can simply choose to buy their competitors’ products. But in a press release entitled “Apogee Discontinues Windows Support,” “Apogee Discontinues Windows Development,” Apogee decides to tell you why, if you’re using Windows, you’re using an inferior platform. Correction: Apogee just sent an updated press release. ATTENTION ALL RECIPIENTS: Correction to Apogee’s most recent press release titled “Apogee Discontinues Windows Support”. IMMEDIATE: Please revise headline to read “Apogee Discontinues …

READ MORE →

Want a FireWire, Non-Pro MacBook? The $999 MacBook is Looking Better

Apple has updated the US$999, white MacBook to some of the specs of the new “unibody” models – but retaining the one thing we like about it, namely, an actual FireWire port. (The only other option has been upgrading to the Pro for significantly more cash.) Now for US$999: NVIDIA 9400M graphics (meaning this is mainly a story for visualists, so see our take on Create Digital Motion – but the rest of you can more easily enjoy World of Warcraft, if so inclined) Newer Core 2 Duo, still 2.0 GHz but now with a faster 1066 MHz frontside bus …

READ MORE →

MOTU Traveler Mk3: More I/O, Features Hit Mobile FireWire Audio Interface

Let’s start with the important bit: the Traveler really is a mobile interface. It weighs under four pounds and fits into a backpack; it’s actually a little lighter and more compact than a typical 15” laptop. Now, if your input and output needs are limited (a mic in, headphone out, and stereo out do suit a lot of folks just fine), your options are obviously many. But the Traveler manages to be this small and pack an absurd amount of I/O and functionality into that small space. Audio interfaces tend not to get a whole lot of updates, but MOTU …

READ MORE →

Lenovo S10 Netbook Does Ableton – and Developers, Go Grab a Netbook

Yep, that’s an ExpressCard slot. Photo (CC) Ja-ae (Jarawee) – hello, Bangkok! (Know we have some readers out there.) Tim Hanlon of gizmag.com recently got an IdeaPad S10 – Lenovo’s lovely, $400 “netbook” – to test. He didn’t just do the usual benchmarks, though. His review also included the unlikely choice of Ableton Live and, thanks to a free ExpressCard slot, a MOTU Traveler FireWire interface.

READ MORE →

ExpressCard FireWire that Actually Works for Audio?

ExpressCard slots on new Mac and PC notebooks look tantalizing, but buyer beware: adding FireWire audio can be perilous. Multichannel FireWire interfaces work beautifully with the proper drivers and controller, but get some element of that equation wrong, and you may find your high-end interface is rendered unusable (think glitches and dropouts). The chipset in the controller and in the laptop can have an impact, but having a TI (Texas Instruments) controller in your ExpressCard seems to be a good start. Speaking of Rain Recording, Rain is about the only vendor I’ve found that offers a 2-port FireWire ExpressCard known …

READ MORE →

Apogee Confirms Compatibility with MacBook Pro FW800

As I’ve noted, unlike the new MacBook, the MacBook Pro revision retains FireWire, in the form of a FireWire 800 port. This does represent a switch to an NVIDIA chipset, so there may be new performance wrinkles with some interfaces. But it’s not the FW800 port per se you have to worry about. It gives you one less physical connector (previous MBPs had both a FW800 and FW400 port), but even the earlier models had just one bus for FireWire, shared between those two ports. There is a little bit of inconvenience there in that you need an adapter cable …

READ MORE →

Apple Chooses Form Over Function; Users and the Press Rebel

When is progress not progress? When looks come before use, and when you take one thing away without giving something else back, users respond. It turns out Mac users care about more than just aesthetics, whatever anyone tries to say. Photo: Ondra. It should have been another home run for Apple today. The new MacBooks and MacBook Pros look like absolutely gorgeous, brilliantly-engineered, environmentally-friendly machines. And for many, the fact they run Mac OS is all you need to know. I really do look forward to seeing one of these machines in person. But in case you haven’t caught on, …

READ MORE →

Whither, FireWire? What the New Apple Laptop Port Changes Mean for Audio

By now, you likely already know that Apple came out with new laptops today. I could talk about the new features at the existing price points or about how the new machines are very pretty, but you can easily find that elsewhere. Instead, I want to address some unfortunate details on the new laptops in terms of ports. After all, small details can make a big difference for audio users. For connecting drives, audio interfaces, MIDI devices, and the like, you get: MacBook Pro: Two USB 2.0 port, one FireWire800 port, one ExpressCard/34 slot MacBook: Two USB 2.0 ports MacBook …

READ MORE →