Thunderbolt means serious I/O for UA's DSP-based processing on the Apollo card - even on a lowly Mac mini. Image courtesy Universal Audio.

The Thunderbolt Age Dawns: UA Ships Thunderbolt on Apollo; More to Come – Where it Makes Sense

Universal Audio is first out of the gate with an audio interface add-on that uses Intel’s Thunderbolt bus, the high-performance, low-latency connectivity option on current iMacs, MacBook Pros and Airs, and Mac minis (though, conspicuously, not the ever-more-outdated Mac Pro). The solution isn’t the most elegant – you need to add in an option card with an included tool – but once installed, Thunderbolt appears right in the box (see image below). And what can you do with all that extra bandwidth? On the Apollo, you get better performance even as you push the envelope with sample rates, and more …

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mountainliondanger

What To Know About Mountain Lion, So Far

Actually, okay, just backup before you install and maybe wait a couple of point releases and everything will be fine. Photo (CC-BY) Ingrid Taylar. OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion is out this week. And it’s a great time to point out that Lion, 10.7, is a terrific upgrade for anyone with a recentĀ Apple machine and 8 GB of RAM (which is what I’d recommend anyway). No, that’s not a misprint – sometimes, it seems, Apple upgrades are just about perfect and fully compatible with all your stuff round about the time the next new thing is out. Here’s the deal: …

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beachball

Audio Woes Now on New Apple OS, Not Just New Apple Laptops; NI Driver Fix in Beta, Others Soon

If you really must stare at a beachball, might I humbly suggest it look more like this? Photo (CC-BY) hadleygrass. Slow down, Mountain Lion early adopters. Okay, remember how a few weeks ago we made note that a number of audio interfaces weren’t working with USB3 ports on new Apple laptops? And remember how last week, Native Instruments released a statement about USB 3 issues? Funny story. It seems that it’s not just new Apple laptops with new USB3 ports suffering from sound problems. Now, Apple’s just-released OS update, 10.8 Mountain Lion, is prompting reports of audio interface problems. As …

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A More Robust Live Setup in Live, Free on Mac with Automator

In the ongoing struggle to make a laptop into an instrument, there’s inevitably the scramble onstage (or even in a studio) to get everything primed and ready to play. You want to adjust settings, launch certain applications, and generally get your laptop ready for actual music making. Wouldn’t it be nice to make all of that happen automatically, magically, instantly, and robotically? It is, after all, a machine. (They’re supposed to be working for us, I’m told, assuming they’re following the Three Laws.) Martin Delaney, London-based Ableton Live trainer, has put together a nice tutorial for production education center Dubspot …

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trackmaster

Track Master Makes Your Trackpad a MIDI Controller; A Must-Download for Mac

You’ve heard all the complaints about laptops onstage. But since there are many arguments for a laptop, why not put all that powerful hardware to use, and make your Mac laptop part of a musically-expressive performance? Track Master, a Mac-only application available on the Mac App Store (and one of the few serious music offerings we’ve seen there), is a great place to start. It transforms the built-in, multitouch-capable trackpad on recent MacBooks, MacBook Pros, and MacBook Airs into a MIDI controller. The trackpads on those are actually impressively sensitive and accurate, tracking as many as eleven fingers at once. …

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lion

Mac OS Lion 10.7 is Here; The Obligatory Take-Your-Time Post, with NI and Apogee Info

King of the jungle, as seen at the British Museum. Photo (CC-BY-ND) wootang01/mckln (Uninteresting side note – I happened to be at this location yesterday.) It’s become something of a tradition here on CDM. Apple releases new OS. Music developers – one or more – release notes that suggest you might want to wait to upgrade. It happens every time, and so you should be cautious every time. This time, it may be even more serious: developers are describing symptoms that they say they haven’t seen in previous updates. Native Instruments, often some of the first out of the gate …

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64-bit Mac Audio Tools Coming; Logic Pro and Mainstage Add Support

Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6) represents the end of a long-running transition of the Mac operating system from 32-bit to 64-bit support. 64-bit computing offers marginal (but measurable) performance improvements, and more importantly the ability to address more RAM — a lot more RAM, currently more than is even physically available in any shipping consumer computer. By contrast, under the current Mac OS, each 32-bit application can access up to 4GB of RAM. A few tools, like Apple’s EXS24 and Native Instruments’ Kontakt samplers, can address greater memory through the use of virtual memory and memory server schemes. But …

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Euphonix EuControl Software Patched, Fixes 10.5.7 Support and More

That was quick! The folks at Euphonix are already out with a patch that resolves an issue with the just-released update Mac OS X 10.5.7. From the description: Software update for both MC Control and MC Mix that fixes compatibility issues with Mac OS 10.5.7. Includes recent MC Control touch-screen response optimization, as well as improved Digital Performer integration and more. http://euphonix.com/artist/support/downloads.php

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Monitor Your Audio Drives for Trouble via SMART, Free (Windows/Mac/Linux)

We live and die by hard drives for music. There’s no substitute for redundancy and backups (hey, you could be Matthew Dear and have a drive stolen during your set). But it is helpful to know whether a drive is healthy or not. S.M.A.R.T. monitoring features built into drives can help. Lifehacker today points to a free Windows utility for the job called CrystalDiskInfo: CrystalDiskInfo Monitors Hard Drive Health and Uptime [via gHacks] But that got me thinking about other tools. There’s quite a range of choices for Mac, Windows, Linux, and even some obscure operating systems. The only bad …

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