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General:  New Mac Owner - Needs Help! Please!

25-Oct-01 (breakstyles)
26-Oct-01 (syntax)
26-Oct-01 (inocybe)
26-Oct-01 (JeremyNC)
26-Oct-01 (breakstyles)
26-Oct-01 (JeremyNC)
26-Oct-01 (inocybe)
26-Oct-01 (breakstyles)
27-Oct-01 (the Whiz)
27-Oct-01 (inocybe)
27-Oct-01 (the Whiz)
29-Oct-01 (ashleysaturdays)
29-Oct-01 (breakstyles)

Original Message
breakstyles.... New Mac Owner - Needs Help! Please! (25-Oct-01  10:29PM )

- This is my first mac (G4, 733, 256mb ram, 60GB 7200rpm HD) and i am a wee bit confused about to configure this beast for some audio work. It is hard enough just getting to grips with a new OS, let alone figuring out new things like OMS, how to configure "Logic Fun" (off of a magazine cover CD, the only audio software I have at this point). Any info, tips, ideas or even web-sites with some info on setting up a mac for audio would be greatly appreciated.

I plan on using cubase, as that was what i am familiar with from the PC.

Thanks in advance for any in


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syntax.... Re:New Mac Owner - Needs Help! Please! (26-Oct-01  01:34AM )

- Hop over to pro they would be a good start to getting hold of some good info.


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inocybe.... Re:New Mac Owner - Needs Help! Please! (26-Oct-01  05:30AM )

- Well congrats on your new Mac.

Normally, with the specs you have you should not worry about logic fun to run. It will. But you can tune your system for better performance and to relief some stress from the memory usage by the OS. I don't know how recent the machine is, but be sure to boot up in OS9.2 (or 9.1) and not in OSX when it comes to audio .. there isn't yet audio soft available for that platform, but steinberg and emagic are working hard (so they say) to get it there. (well seems that emagic is working a bit harder as steinberg.. but hey..)

So tuning the system.. Mac OS9.2.

First of all go to the memory control panel and set virtual memory to off. No audio app likes virtual memory and will not be stable if this is put to on. The problem is that only 256Mb will soon seem like not enough with a few apps open, so maybe it's time to look at the system itself to see if you can't make it lighter and use less memory.

First step... don't install additional fonts in the fonts map. Try to strip them down to the bare minimum (what the OS installs + cubase fonts + explorer fonts) for example. Take a look at Adobe Type Manager Deluxe or Extensis Suitcase if you need more fonts. Those apps enable you turn on/off fonts on the fly (and configure sets of fonts etc..) and are disigned to cope with very large font databases. So you can always access all your fonts without crowded font maps in your system folder.

Next step... and this is the tricky part. Go to extension manager and make yourself a new extension set. (you can always switch these sets to go back to basic settings or when something goes wrong.). Extension manager lets you configure extension sets (wich are something like DLL's on the PC's) and thus change the abillities of your system. Here you find extensions wich enable PC format readings, ethernet, etc... Never delete extensions, just turn them off. You could do this by hand in the system folder, but extension manager is easier and gives you more info. Note that you always can undo the settings you have set.. and if your system doesn't startup anymore, hold the shift key and restart and use extension manager to remover conflicting or add missing extensions back to the active extension set. Before you go through with this.. take some time to think over the things you want to be able to do with your computer. Will you need printing? Will you need ethernet/network connections? will you use internet? will you need colorsync? will you need PC compabillity (I advise you to have it though..)? Will you need 3D acceleration? etc.. etc.. Don't care if you set something off you can still always add it back later and turn the disabled extensions back on.

Now go through the list of extensions and turn thing off or on depending on what you need. when in doubt, read the info provided with most extensions. (The show item information tab at the bottom).. experiment a bit with these settings and restart the machine. You'll notice the decrease in memory usage by the system. The more you put off, the more free memory. There are few extensions wich are vital to the system.. in fact the system will run with no extensions at all .. but some progs require their presence. Or some extensions require each other. It's a bit of guesswork at the beginning, but nevertheless you should get familliar with this. It's THE place to solve conflicts between progs and do some maintainance from time to time.

You can make different sets of extensions for different purposes. This becomes handy when the machine comes to age and you want to strip down the system to get the most performance out of it as possible.

Next thing to do is optimizing your progs memory usage. Mac OS doesn't do the memory allocation on it's own, but lets the user do it. There are many mac users not aware of this, but it's a powerfull tool if used with some intelligence. if you select a prog (not the alias but the prog itself) and press apple+i (or choose info from the finder menu) a window pops up with info about the prog. In the show menu, choose memory..and there are 3 fields of wich 2 are editable. the first shows the suggested memory allocation for the prog as set by the programmers. It's not wise to set settings below this. the seconds show the minimum size.. this is equal to the amount of free RAM minimum required by the prog for it to run. If there is less then this memory free, the prog won't run and show an out of memory error. Generally you should not change this. The third field is the modt important one. This is the maximum amount of Ram a prog takes. If you open a prog it will try to allocate as much memory as defined here (no more, less if less is available) . You shoul try to set this size according to your needs. If a progs requires more Ram then you have allocated to it it will give you an out of memory error, even if there is still plenty of RAM available on your puter ! this seems like stupid but it also let you keep progs in boundaries andyou should balance the amount of ram allocated with your use of the prog. If you generally use a lot of cubase you should give this a higher number, if you generally don't use this much ram then you can lower this and make thus more Ram free for other progs at the same time. A good example of this technique is photoshop. If you use it for print applications (and work with BIG files, you should give it at least 128Mb of ram to use, but if you use it for web design you could get away with 64Mb or even less (32Mb) and keeping the same performance.). All of this is pretty much usefull for squeezing as much in your Ram as possible and by allocating intelligentlly, and up to your needs, you avoid out of memory errors, and still have lots of room to run different progs. The (under the apple menu) About this computer, gives you a statistic of the amount of RAM allocated and how much of it is actually used by the program (so take a look at this from time to time..).. Keep approx 5 megs free for the system partition to grow (wich is the only memory allocation wich can grow and shrink, depending on your needs..)..

Well that's about it.. for a first lesson in Mac OS... for the rest.. experiment. If something goes wrong, start up with shift pressed (so with no extensions).. and questions, ask in the Mac forum.


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JeremyNC.... Re:New Mac Owner - Needs Help! Please! (26-Oct-01  09:20AM )

- Thats such a kick arse tutorial...

I wish when I went mac someone would have done that for me... Then again I wish when I went mac I was in a position to buy a G4... Then again I wish even now I was able to buy a G4....


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breakstyles.... Re:New Mac Owner - Needs Help! Please! (26-Oct-01  12:28PM )

- Thanks Inocybe! Thats some great info. I will check all of that out when I get home (i am at work now). Can I trouble you (or anyone else) for some info about OMS? Is it installed automatically with a sequencer program, or do i have to install and configure it seperately (I have OMS 2.3.? on another CD)?

Thanks again for that "mini OS tutorial" Inocybe. Isn't The Gas Station a wonderful place!


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JeremyNC.... Re:New Mac Owner - Needs Help! Please! (26-Oct-01  12:52PM )

- you can either download it from their website (do a search, i think its opcode or something like that) or it will ship with most sequencers/midi interfaces... the company that made it is now defunct though...


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inocybe.... Re:New Mac Owner - Needs Help! Please! (26-Oct-01  04:51PM )

- OMS is indeed from Opcode.. but I even think you can't get it from there .. I am not sure. In every case you can get it from those huge download sites like tucows and cnet... no problem.. or just rip it off some cover disk or something. Be sure to get yourself version 2.3.8, wich is the latest (and final) version and does include a USB driver. ...

You need to install it seperatlly (as it is not a part of cubase, nor any other sequencer.(although it was designed for opcode vision.) and it installs a control panel and a few extensions. Basically it integrates Midi in the mac OS, providing you (and the system, and all apps you're running) with all necessairy midi function . In/output drivers for the hardware (if it's OMS compatible..). Access to the quicktime GM soft synth (not that it's worth it..) and last but certainlly not least.. extra midi busses for routing midi data between applications (IAC bus). (for standalone softsynths or whatever other construction you might think off like syncing reason to cubase or vica versa of course... basically whatever you feel like...)

When installed it will search for attached midi devices.. and let you make a layout of your studio, so apps know wich devices are located where and to wich channels they respond. It's not really necessairy and pretty staightforward in use. You don't even really need to layout your studio as cubase lets you controle your midi enviorment... the softrouting can be fun though..

Hope this explains a bit..

ohw yeah.. I normally don't post total OS tutorials.. I just had a bit way too much time on my hands at work :).. so I though I spend it usefull and help out a confused soul a bit :)... and I'm kinda of a Mac addict :).. watch out because it might happen to you too :)


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breakstyles.... Re:New Mac Owner - Needs Help! Please! (26-Oct-01  06:28PM )

- inocybe comes through again! Thanks for all your info. I too suffer from having "too much time on my hands at work" occasionally. I love my new mac, and am becoming addicted...

...which at times it borders on frustration, but thanks to yourself and others i am learning this system. It is frustrating because I had an old crappy PC and I could fugure out how to do just about anything with it. Now I have the latest, high-tec, specced-out machine and I cant make music like I used to. That is changing as I learn more and more about this system every day. I'm sure the new audio processing power within the mac will become evident as I learn to get the most from it. Thanks again, Gotta Run....


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the Whiz.... Re:New Mac Owner - Needs Help! Please! (27-Oct-01  12:59AM )

- Hey, Inocybe (what does that handle mean?), I've got a quickie for you.

What's the smallest program that allows one to run VST softsynths? Not a full-fledged program like Cubase, hopefully...

the Whiz

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inocybe.... Re:New Mac Owner - Needs Help! Please! (27-Oct-01  07:38AM )

- The whiz.. here ya go:
It's called VSTi Host 3.0.. Maybe there are smaller or better ones .. I don't know.. but this should do the trick I guess.. seems like it has all necessairy options.

That handle.. well it's in fact the name of a familly of muchrooms and the name of the band I play in. We were desperate for a band name (we needed to get a name for a gig.) and a small pocket book about muchrooms was (I still don't know how or why) lying in our studio. We picked it up, opened it up and the first page we looked at was the inocybe familly of mushrooms.. we kinda thought it was nice, so took the name .. but for the rest we don't have anything to do with mushrooms at all..



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the Whiz.... Re:New Mac Owner - Needs Help! Please! (27-Oct-01  11:49PM )

- Thanks!

I'm pretty confortable with Digital Performer, and sometimes just want to run a softsynth without having to buy Cubase...

the Whiz

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ashleysaturdays.... Re:New Mac Owner - Needs Help! Please! (29-Oct-01  10:33AM )

- Wow Inocybe! quite thorough. You did an amazing job in summing up a relatively complex thing...there are a few key points that I would add, of which Breakstyles may already know. Most of which I wish I had known them before I set my system up the first time.

1) Partitioning the hard drive, probably the single most important thing you can do for optimal audio performance. This puts your OS at the front of the system and avoids fragmenting the segment which the apps are running from, this results in noticeabley better performance. It is considerably easier to do this early on in the process, as partitioning wipes the drive.

2) Also the memory allocation...I, and many others, set the min. and max. to the same numbers, this avoids the RAM leakage phenomenon. For audio apps I give them all the memory I have available, minus the 50 or 60mbs for the actual Apple OS. This is because, typically when working with Cubase, or what ever sequencer you choose, you will have no other apps running concurrently and hence your sound app will run much smoother with all the available memory available dedicated to it. 1 gig if possible.

Breakstyles, I would also suggest that, in the interim before Cubase, you at least download Protools Free instead of that shitty Logic thing. Obviously Protools is a very good program to become familiar with.

Also if you go over to the mac forums at there are loads of archives on setting up your mac for optimal audio performance, including the dreaded extensions management topic.

Good luck.


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breakstyles.... Re:New Mac Owner - Needs Help! Please! (29-Oct-01  08:33PM )

- Thanks for keeping my post alive ashleysaturdays! Thats some more good info as well. I have been gathering quite a bit of info and sorting through it all over the last week or so. I will definately check out those mac forums at and see whats there.

I really cant wait to get my music set-up back up and running, so i can get back to working on music!

Thanks again for the info and tips! keep 'em coming!


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