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Optimizing Your Computer for Audio - Mac OSX

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asked Aug 18, 2015 in Tuning & Optimizing Computers for Digital Audio by AlexTinsley (925,190 points)
Optimizing Your Computer for Audio - Mac OSX

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answered Aug 18, 2015 by AlexTinsley (925,190 points)
selected Aug 19, 2015 by AlexTinsley
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Video:  Mac OS X System Optimizations


Why would I need to optimize Mac OSX?

If your computer's audio has:

  • Pops
  • Clicks
  • Audio Dropouts
  • Distorted Audio
  • Noise


To Optimize Mac OSX:


Turn Airport Off

1.      Open System Preferences.

2.      Click the Network icon. 

3.      For "show:" select 'Network Port Configuration'. 

4.      Uncheck AirPort if available. 

5.      Click Apply Now.


*We recommend disabling wireless hardware and services, as they can often be very resource intensive and take computer’s processing away from audio over firewire.  Symptoms include clicks, pops, dropouts, and or erratic audio performance*


Running other firewire devices parallel to your interface:  The firewire ports on a Mac (FW400 and FW800) run off the main logic board and share system resources.  PreSonus interfaces are designed to be run in series with other firewire peripherals.  If you are experiencing erratic performance or pops, clicks, and dropouts, daisy-chain your FW400 peripheral from the secondary firewire port on your PreSonus interface.  If you must use a FW800 device, it is recommended to purchase a firewire expansion card for your Mac.


Repair disk permissions: 

1.      Disconnect all firewire devices from the computer.

2.      Open the Disk Utility. 

3.      Select the hard drive volume to the left. 

4.      Click the "Repair Disk Permissions" button. 

5.      When it is finished, restart the computer

*Repairing Disk Permissions is known to often resolve anomalous issues regarding audio over firewire or if you notice your system performance becoming erratic or slow*


Reset the PRAM and NVRAM:

1.      Shut down the computer.

2.      Locate the following keys on the keyboard: CommandOptionP, and R. You will need to hold these keys down simultaneously in step 4.

3.      Turn on the computer.

4.      Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys. You must press this key combination before the gray screen appears.

5.      Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for the THIRD time.

6.      Release the keys.


Disc Speed:

The preferred setup for all audio computers makes use of at least two hard drives. One drive, the system drive, will only have the OS and all applications installed on it. All data will be saved to other drives. This prevents the system drive from becoming too full, and allows for faster transfer rates for your audio files, thus increasing track counts. Full system drives run much slower than their clean counterparts because there is more data to search through when trying to find application files, and there are fewer open spaces to write files. It is strongly advised to save everything (sessions, downloads, documents, EVERYTHING) to a second (or third, fourth, etc.) hard drive. The general principle is that things you INSTALL go to the system drive, while things you SAVE go to a different drive. External hard drives are becoming very popular because the data can be easily transported to a different computer. Whichever type of hard drive you opt for, make sure that it has a minimum speed of 7,200 RPM (revolutions per minute). Drives running at 10,000 RPM are ideal, especially when running large sessions (over 24 tracks). Slower drives may not be able to keep up with the demands of recording and streaming audio.

Many MAC MINI's and MAC Books will come shipped with a 5400 RPM Hard Drive. You should always research your model to see what speed hard drive is included in your MAC for optimal performance when used for recording. It is preferable to write to an external HDD, but in cases where one is not available, the internal HDD should be at least 7200 RPM.


Related articles: 

Video of Mac Optimizations

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