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Optimizing OSX for Audio

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Apple computers are almost studio ready right out of the box. There is very little required from the user in terms of optimization.

  1. Enable secondary click in Mouse Preferences
  2. Disable Natural scrolling direction in Mouse Preferences
  3. Set scrolling to without inertia in Universal Access>Mouse>Mouse Options
  4. Change show spotlight from CMD+Space to Option+Space in Keyboard>Keyboard Shortcuts (so you don’t conflict with Pro Tools recording shortcut)
  5. Disable Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible in Energy Saver preferences

These are just some of my own suggestions.

please note, this article was originally written for OSX 10.7 but has been updated over the years and should be considered almost entirely up to date. (more…)

Learning REAPER – Resources & Help

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

I’m among the many frustrated Pro Tools users that is spending more and more time with REAPER these days. It doesn’t have all the features I need yet but is growing at an astounding rate, a new update is released every 2-3 weeks, a nice change from waiting months for similar updates from AVID. These updates aren’t just bug fixes, they’re new features, options and workflow improvements suggested by the user community.

Learning a new DAW, especially one so customizable as REAPER is not something easily accomplished in a weekend. Here’s a list of some resources to help you and I learn REAPER:

REAPER User Guide – Official user manual, regularly updated to reflect new changes

REAPER Wiki – user contributed Wiki for REAPER

REAPER Blog – News, tips and tricks

SWS Manual – SWS are some very useful extensions for REAPER

REAPER Forum – Official user forum

Groove3 Reaper Explained Tutorial video hosted by Kenny Gioia

If you haven’t tried tried REAPER yet get full version trial here:

5 tips for a more stable DAW

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Building and maintaining a stable DAW system is not an easy task. There are many things that can prevent it from working as it should and it can be difficult to figure out the cause of any trouble.
Before you do any of these tips, make sure that the computer you have will actually work with the software you want to use. For example if you want to use Pro Tools there are specific approved components and doesn’t work with every operating system. Right now it’s really bad because most PCs are being sold with Vista 64 or Windows 7 and Macs are shipping with Snow Leopard and Pro Tools won’t work properly on any of those. Check the compatibility section of their website first and save yourself a lot of frustration.



Free Plugin Of The Week – TT Dynamic Range Meter

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

Every Monday I highlight free plugins new and old that are worth checking out. See all posts in the Free Plugin Of The Week Series.

Lately I’ve been finding this new plugin TT Dynamic Range Meter by Pleasurize Music Foundation to be useful. I use it for two things, when I’m building a mix up I have it on the master so I can have nice big meters showing peak and RMS, this helps me keep things a conservative level from the start. The other thing I use this for is the MONO button. Setting your balances and even panning in Mono can really help. My interface doesn’t have a mono button on it (my 002r did but my 2626 doesn’t) so the MONO button on this plug makes it really simple.

My only complaint about this is the plugin is HUGE! It takes up nearly a 1/4 of my 22″ monitor

Oh yeah…it’s FREE! VST|RTAS|AU Mac/PC so everyone can play. A great weapon for fighting the loudness war, whichever side you’re on.

They also have an offline program to analyze the dynamic range of audio files, might be useful to some.

Pleasurize Music Foundation


I just noticed Brainworx has the TT Dynamic Range Meter for download here

Cakewalk SONAR 8 Producer Edition Review

Monday, April 13th, 2009

As you probably know, I’m a die hard Pro Tools guy, I’ve tried to switch to SONAR in the past, but in the end, I just ended up liking Pro Tools even more! SONAR did not like my previous computer and interface, I’ve upgraded both PC and interface since then but never bothered installing my SONAR 7 pro, this time things worked WAY better and I’m happy to have it.


This is kind of a half-assed review, I started writing it the day I brought Sonar 8 home after a training workshop at the Roland Canada HQ, and began writing as I was installing. Then I got distracted by other things and didn’t have the drive to finish the review until now.

What is SONAR 8 Producer Edition?

According to Cakewalk the creators of SONAR:

SONAR 8 Producer gives you what you need for recording, composing, editing, mixing, and mastering. Get innovations that matter, from exclusive features to ignite creativity and perfect your tracks, to groundbreaking technologies that always keep you in control, all backed by the industry’s leading 64-bit audio quality. And SONAR 8 Producer delivers the go-to production tools you want with the best collection of virtual instruments, mixing, and mastering effects found in any DAW.

With unlimited tracks, amazing creative tools, inspiring virtual instruments, the freedom to work with any audio interface or control surface, and the most complete delivery capability for collaboration with users of other DAWS, award-winning SONAR Producer is your best choice in a digital audio workstation.

That’s pretty much it. The only thing not mentioned was that it’s only for Windows computers. There is a 30-day trial version of SONAR 8 here:


Audio Mastering Basics

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Mastering is a dark and mysterious magic, becoming a Mastering Engineer involves a dedication to the dark arts and eating a goat’s head.
Actually, that’s not true, though sometimes it seems that way.

What is Mastering?

Mastering is the final step in the creation of an album before duplication. Mastering is all about the big picture, how the collection of songs works together as an album, and getting the album to sound good on most systems, from HI-FIs to iPods. Mixing is taking a bunch of tracks and making it sound great, Mastering is taking those great mixes and making them even better. It’s the final step of sonic correction and sonic enhancement.


Direct Monitoring Madness

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

Hey Everyone! This is Anthony’s first post contributing to AGZ. Make him feel welcome. ~Jon~

Direct Monitoring Madness

One of the things I’ve found that can really help running a native Pro Tools (LE, M-Powered) system is to monitor at input. Most USB audio interfaces have a direct or zero latency monitoring function, usually just a simple knob labeled “mix”.