m00dawg

"Monitor" Out on a Mac?

7 posts in this topic

So I've been wanting to transition over to using a Mac for music makins for some time. Or at least have the option. One annoying issue I've run into though is how to capture inputs and forward them to my monitor / speaker out. On a PC, I just bring the volume of the input up and call it done. On the Mac, at least with my Audio 4 DJ, I cannot find such a setting. So, in order to hear what's coming in from my inputs, I have to break out my DAW, setup an audio track, click record and monitor. Kind of annoying.

Anyone have any ideas on how to get around this?

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i am not a mac user, but i believe that audio routing can be changed via the CoreAudio settings (like asio for windows).

Maybe take a look there

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The closest utility I found is the "Audio MIDI Setup" tool. It does actually have a "Thru" option but it's greyed out for all interfaces (including the internal ones) so I'm not exactly sure how to get that thing enabled. I know there's a way since I can arm tracks in both Reaper and Live and hear the audio output. I assume that's through their audio filtering stack (as opposed to just forwarding the input directly to the output) but I'd take that option if I had to. It's a big missing feature I have grown very used to on my PC.

On the note of ASIO, one of the nice perks about a Mac is that those sorts of things "just work". I've never had ASIO or MIDI timing issues but on my PC I had a tremendous problem with MIDI becoming increasingly laggy the longer I used Cubase. I finally fixed it with some underdocumented, backwater, patch for the MIDI stack in Cubase. That was Ugly *shivers*

Of course, things like the GM5 should fix that assuming all MIDI comes through the same device. Pretty excited about getting my GM 5x5x5 up and running once that minimum order on the boards is met :)

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You could use AU Lab to create a direct path from an Audio In to Out. This nice utility would even allow you to insert some Audio Unit based effects - basically it works like a Windows Mixer, but it is much more powerful - let's say it's a DAW replacement without recording/playback capabilities :)

After the setup has been done, you could store the configuration in a .trak file, so that it can be recalled with a simple doubleclick on this file.

The application comes with the Xcode package, which is located at the first installation DVD of MacOS (10.4, 10.5 and 10.6)

After installation, you can start it under /Developer/Applications/Audio/AU Lab.app

Best Regards, Thorsten.

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Aha! Thanks TK! I'll give that a go! I hope it has better latency than what I am experiencing in Reaper. I have a very small, but sometimes noticeable, delay when monitoring tracks in Reaper. I suspect it's either because of running the audio through software or because of my sound device (NI Audio4 DJ, which uses USB).

So far, that's one thing Winders has over my Mac and, if AU Lab doesn't work, I'm not sure how to solve it. But, man, everything else is SOOOO much better...hmmm...

Oh well one way to find out :) I'll give it a try and post my results!

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Aha! Thanks TK! I'll give that a go! I hope it has better latency than what I am experiencing in Reaper. I have a very small, but sometimes noticeable, delay when monitoring tracks in Reaper. I suspect it's either because of running the audio through software or because of my sound device (NI Audio4 DJ, which uses USB).

I recently programmed an AU by myself (to evaluate the possibility for a virtual MBSID), therefore I know the background details about latencies a bit better now :)

Audio channels and MIDI events (to AUs) are streamed through buffer slices, the size is predefined by the host application. It's normaly 512 Words per slice, which results into ca. 6 mS delay at 44.1kHz sample frequency and two audio channels. If Reaper allows to change the buffer size (like Logic), then try it - but this will also increase the CPU load and the danger for buffer underruns.

The buffer size is the same for all audio channels handled by the host. So, a second host (like AU Lab) which streams with smaller buffers will definitely solve the latency issue.

Best Regards, Thorsten.

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I wonder if the Winders audio routing stuff is just a side affect of the soundcard hardware? I use 2 M-Audio 2496 PCI cards on my PC and it comes with its own mixer. So I assume it does no processing when routing my inputs to my monitor out. It also has no effects on it but that means it's also low latency. Seems like that is something lacking with the Audio 4 DJ so perhaps that is my real issue.

I'll see if I can diddle with the buffers. Reaper does, indeed, support changing those things although it's not the typical method I am used to seeing. I'm going to try the AU Lab stuff too. If nothing else, that makes it easier to hook my sammichSID up to my laptop and jam out on SID tunes :)

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