Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tweaking the Mac for Better Audio Performance

A good customer of mine who is quite savvy when it comes to Mac computers (something I am not) provided me with some great advice I thought I would share.

Mac Tweeks for better PC Audio Performance

  • The HiFace is NOT hot Swapable on the Mac! Always shut down the computer first before inserting or removing the device.

  • Use a mac laptop that has an aluminum shell or a Mac mini. The current macbook Pro and Mac mini are both fine to use. I highly suggest you dedicate the computer to your Audio System to use as a transport and do nothing else.

  • For your Mac Operating System, the Snow Leopard system is the best with Leopard coming in second. The Mac OS X does not use a Kernel mixer like windows XP.

  • Do NOT keep your music on the internal hard drive. All computers make noise and the mac mini makes the least amount of noise. Since you are using a Mac, get yourself a portable, Bus powered Firewire interface drive. I have tremendous success using an Oyen Digital enclosure with a Western Digital Blue Scorpio drive. I use the included, shielded 1394B cable.

  • FYI, the smaller 2.5 inch drives sound better than the 3.5 inch drives. Also, the 5400 RPM drives sound better than 7200 RPM drives. With this already stated, an external, aluminum enclosure (keeps the noise down) and a good drive like the WD Scorpio Blue, you are on your way. There is some difference of opinion on this matter. I think we all can agree that Solid State hard disks sound the best (if you can afford them). Some in the recording industry do say that the 7200 rmp drives sound better, and that is what is used in the industry as well

  • For macs, the fire wire interface will sound better than USB as it uses lower CPU usage!

  • For your front end application, do NOT use Itunes. That included app does not sound good, it is geared for Ipod usage. It has way too high of a CPU usage and it does not support many of the lossless codecs.

  • One of the best sounding front ends on the Mac is a application called Play. This freeware app works with Core Audio and sounds so superior. For paid apps, try Amarra, or Pure Music.

  • As always, use a Hi-Face and BNC is better. The Stereovox cables are supreme and you should consider them. allow them to Break In as they do require some time.

  • Since your computer is dedicated to running your stereo, do not run an Anti Virus client and do not surf the when when listening to music.

  • As Always, try these tweaks at your own risk, benign as they are. I am not responsible for you screwing up your computer.

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