Sunday, October 14, 2007

Mac 101: Audio Attachments

Mac 101: Audio Attachments

Guitars, basses, microphones, keyboards, digital music players, home stereos, and speakers—these are just a few of the devices that you can connect to your Mac. Whether you're a musician or a music fan, here's how to connect some audio and music devices to your Mac, and how to set them up for use.

Attaching an Audio Interface

If you want to record instruments on your Mac, using USB or FireWire audio interface devices is the easiest and fastest way to get started! A variety of products are available to hook up your music gear, such as XLR, 1/4 inch phono, RCA jacks, and MIDI.

This USB controller (the M-Audio Ozone) features a built-in audio interface,
and supports a wide range of connectors.

For the serious musician, check out the USB and FireWire audio interface devices from M-Audio, Edirol, MOTU, and Digidesign. If you're more of a hobbyist, Griffin Technology and M-Audio have audio interfaces that are affordable, Griffin even has a few that connect to your computer's audio input port—if your Mac has one).

Once you've got an audio interface device, here's how to connect it to your Mac and set it up for use.

  1. Follow the setup instructions that came with your audio interface device and install the software drivers first.
  2. If you have a USB audio interface, connect it to a USB port on your computer, using the cable that came with your device. If you have a FireWire audio interface, attach it to your computer's FireWire port, using the appropriate FireWire cable.
  3. Turn on your audio interface, if it needs to be powered.
  4. To make your Mac use your interface as its audio input, open System Preferences from the Apple menu, choose System Preferences.
  5. Click Sound to display the Sound preferences pane.
  6. Click the Input tab.
  7. Click your audio interface in the list to select it for use. Note: Don't see your interface in the list? Be sure that you've installed the driver.