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Microphone Month 3


Mac Optimization for Mac OSX version 10.4 Tiger and Earlier Mac OSX Versions

Many computers require special software and system ‘tweaks’ to make them work properly with audio and MIDI recording software. Fortunately, Mac OS X (including the latest version 10.4) make this list of adjustments much shorter and easier to adjust than older Mac OS versions or Windows systems.

A) Automatic Updates – Mac OSX provides some services to automatically check for software updates. We recommend disabling these services for two reasons: (1) You don’t want your computer searching and downloading from the internet while you’re using your DAW software, (2) You’ll want to check to make sure your DAW software is compatible with new OS and other updates BEFORE you perform the update.
To disable these services:
– Click the Apple Menu and choose System Preferences
– In the System Preferences window, click Software Update
– Look for the “Check for updates” option and click the check-mark in the box to turn if OFF
– Click SHOW all at the top-left corner to show all System Preferences panels. Then click the Quicktime panels.
– In the Quicktime panel, UN-check “check for updates automatically.”

B) Energy Saver: “Sleep” options place the computer into a low-power mode. While this may save a small amount of power, it frequently interrupts hardware drivers and software with recording applications. To disable these options:
– Click the Apple Menu and choose System Preferences
– In the System Preferences window, click Energy Saver
– In Energy Saver’s “Sleep” page, slide all sleep schedules to NEVER. Also un-check the option to put hard drives to sleep.
– Visit the Options page in Energy Saver and look for a Processor Performance option (not all computers have this, so don’t worry if you don’t see it). If available, set this option to HIGHEST for best performance with your DAW.

C) Keyboard Shortcuts : Some system shortcut keys may ‘overlap’ with keyboard commands that your DAW software also uses. To reduce possible conflicts:
– Click the Apple Menu and choose System Preferences
– In the System Preferences window, click Dashboard & Expose
– Set all keyboard shortcut options to “-” which is the OFF setting.
– Click “Show all” to view all System Preferences then choose the Spotlight panel. There, un-check the two keyboard shortcut options at the bottom of the screen.
* Note that Spotlight and Dashboard are new features in Mac OS 10.4 “Tiger.” If you’re using an earlier version of OSX, you won’t need to look for these.

D) Virus prevention and other extra utilities.
While we find that the security services in the latest version of Mac OSX, some users choose to install third party software for extra protection. Some of these applications install themselves to automatically boot with this OS. This in turn can interrupt normal operation with your recording software.
To check for anti-viral or other utilities:
– Click the Apple Menu and choose System Preferences
– In the System Preferences window, click Accounts
– In the Accounts panel, choose your user account then choose
“Startup Items” or “Login Items.” Consider un-checking any items related to third-party protection, for example “Norton” or “AntiVirus” items.
– After closing System Preferences, double-click your Macintosh HD.
– Inside the Mac HD, open Library, then locate and open the StartupItems folder. Look inside this folder for virus/utility items like “Norton” or “AntiVirus.” If any are present, simply drag them to the Trash and restart your Mac to make the changes take effect.
* Note, some applications like Pro Tools install some StartupItems like “DigidesignLoader” or “PaceSupport.” StartupItems related to your music production software can and SHOULD remain in this folder.

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